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News Roundup: Perez's Performance, Utley's Injury, D. Young's Contract

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-P- You might look at the box score from today's game and assume that the Pirates got to Oliver Perez, but you'd be wrong. This may seem like a weird thing to say given that the Bucs scored five runs on Perez, but he dominated them, racking up nine strikeouts and only allowing one hit that left the infield (Josh Phelps' homer). Otherwise, Perez was beaten by infield singles and poor fielding (including his own - he botched a throw to first). He pretty much flummoxed the Pirates today, and he looked like a very good starting pitcher.

The Pirates touched up rookie reliever Joe Smith and the scrubby Scott Schoeneweis for a few more runs after Perez left, but this was one of the weaker eight-run offensive performances I've seen recently. Of course, it was still better than the zero- or one-run performances we seem to get two or three times a week, and I'll still take a win any way we can get it. And the Pirates' pitching, led by Paul Maholm, was okay. But this wasn't exactly the world's most inspiring victory.

Also, the Sub Club was out in full effect today:

  1. Josh Phelps .693 OPS
  2. Jose Castillo, .596 OPS
  3. Ronny Paulino, .639 OPS
  4. Nate McLouth, .674 OPS
  5. Pitcher
  6. Cesar Izturis, . 600 OPS
The Bucs deserve a pass on Phelps, who has a career OPS above .800 and raised his season OPS above the .700 mark with a terrific performance today. But, other than with a bunch of infield singles and errors, how is this honkingly huge portion of the lineup supposed to help the Bucs score runs? This is unacceptable. Ryan Doumit needs to play every day. The Bucs just can't afford to sit him. And, as little as I like Jack Wilson, he needs to start over Izturis if the Pirates are going to run out lineups that are so deficient in other areas. This was just a terrible lineup.

-P- The Bucs may not be able to trade Salomon Torres, who has a grievance against the club. He could become a free agent if he wins, which would still apply if he were traded to another team. So the Bucs may have to reach a settlement with Torres if they try to trade him. If the Pirates do try to deal him, I wonder whether he might be willing to forget the whole grievance thing in exchange for being dealt to a contender.

-P- Chase Utley, hitting .336/.414/.581 for the Phils, broke his hand and may be out for a month or so. Abraham Nunez will likely replace him, which means that the Philadelphia offense will take an enormous hit - really, this is about as much as losing a single player can possibly hurt you. The Phils are five games back in the NL East and two back in the Wild Card race. The rest of their roster is really going to have to pick it up if they're going to stay in the hunt.

-P- The Nats are close to signing Dmitri Young to a two-year, $10 millon deal that could easily become three years and $16 million, given that all Young has to do to make the option vest is have 500 plate appearances in 2009 or 900 in 2008 and 2009 combined. I liked the Ron Belliard signing for the Nats, but I don't get this one. Young is obviously having a great year and he was a very good and unappreciated hitter during many of his seasons with the Tigers and Reds, but he's old, in poor shape, and unreliable, and he has no defensive value. He hasn't played any position other than first and DH since 2005, and hasn't played any position other than those for any significant length of time since 2003. Signing old first basemen with spotty track records to multi-year contracts just isn't a good idea.

On top of that, the Nats already have Nick Johnson, who also only plays first, signed through 2009. Johnson's extremely fragile, but he's a legitimately terrific hitter when healthy, and the Nats pretty much have to get him into the lineup if he can play. I've heard rumblings that the Nats might try Young in the outfield; personally, I don't know how anyone could entertain that idea if they've looked at Young recently. So the Nats are pretty much forcing themselves to trade Johnson or Young if Johnson ever gets healthy. "If" might be the operative word here - Johnson's probably going to miss the entire season with a broken leg anyway, so this signing might suggest that the Nats don't ever think he's coming back. I think it's more likely that they just don't know what they're doing, though.