Tag Archives: James Jones

2015 NBA Playoff Preview: Eastern Conference, Round 1

Listen. Listen. Listen. That’s how I’ve been taught to get people’s attention—just repeating the word listen. Are you listening?

It’s been a while since I’ve written basketball things, but, like, it’s NBA basketball season 2.0, the never-ending, highlight-manufacturing, circus show that ends the never-ending, highlight-manufacturing, circus show that is the NBA season in a burning blaze of glory. And I should have plenty in the tank so to speak, since I haven’t exactly availed of the aforementioned idiomatic tank in a veritable long ass time.

Atlanta Hawks (1) v. Brooklyn Nets (8)

Alright, so Kyle Korver narrowly missed being the only dude ever to make the 90-50-50 club (with a paltry 89.8 FT%, 49.2 3PT%, 48.7 FG%), but let’s be honest and admit that back in November, this was what we, the basketball elite, and Hawks fans from Macedonia to Decatur were positive was going to be the most memorable thing the Hawks did this year.

Yet somehow Coach Mike Budenholzer has orchestrated a magical season, turning a watery (pretty muddy water at that) lineup into a fine, 60-win vintage with notes of juniper berry that finish with savory, peppery undertones (read: Coach Bud is Jesus, which makes Greg Popovich God). Four of the starters made the All-Star game, only the seventh time in the history of the NBA. Collectively, they balance the 10th best offense that assists the second highest total in the NBA with the 5th best defense—all without anyone averaging more than 17 points or 33 minutes per game (both: Paul Millsap).

The Hawks have given us shades of the Spurs-East, and at times have been the most entertaining team to watch in the NBA (sorry I’m not sorry, Steve Kerr). This has been in large part due to the revelation Al Horford has been, putting up numbers not unlike The Big Fundamental Tim Duncan, himself.

               Player A: 18.0p, 8.4r, 3.8a, 1.5b, 53.8fg%, 21.4 PER, 8.7 WS

               Player B: 17.3p, 11.4r, 3.7a, 2.4b, 51.2fg%, 22.6 PER, 9.6 WS

Hold the suspense. Horford is Player A. Let’s keep in mind, Horford played only 29 games last season and 11 games two seasons before that.

Lastly, in your NBA playoff bacchanalia that I’ve been assured other people do as well and is a perfectly normal ass thing to do in celebration of the greatest sports event ever, don’t’ forget to pour one out for Thabo.

PREDICTION: Give me the broom. Give me the broom. *sung to Biggie’s “Give Me the Loot.” Hawks sweep.

Toronto Raptors (4) v. Washington Wizards (5)

This will be the second most intriguing matchup in the East. 2 things to watch out for besides the backcourt battle:

  1. Toronto GM Masai Ujiri launching another f-bomb in a pre-playoff game hype train spinning off a geopolitical beef with Paul Pierce that may or may not include POTUS, launch codes, and chants of Buck the FlueJays till infinite.
  2. What banal and innocuous hygiene tool will DRAKE! turn into one of the most brilliant marketing schemes of the year? What could possibly be better than lint rollers? Floss? Toenail clippers (wait, Steve Ballmer, did we just stumble into something together?!)? Hair curlers? Those tiny paper cups that fancy people keep in a dispenser for rinsing mouthwash? Indentured servants? Lest we forget, since DRAKE! officially partnered with the Raptors organization as “Trill Ass Global Skrilla Ambassador” or T.A.G.S.A., they have gone from a 34-win team that hadn’t made the playoffs in 5 years to one of the best teams in the shitty Eastern Conference to get bounced in the first round.

PREDICTION: Toronto will make it to the second round for the first time since 2001 and for only their second time in franchise history. It will take all 7 games, a whole goddamn country’s sheer force of will, and a Jimmy Brooks type effort.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers (2) v. Boston Celtics (7)

Kyrie Irving has never played in a playoff game before. Neither has Kevin Love. The Celtics are surging. Brad Stevens is a wiz. All true statements. There’s also this:

Oof, harumph, and bazinga. Lebron James in the playoffs has averaged 28.0p, 6.4a, 8.4r on a crazy 48.2 fg% in an inhuman 42.7 playoff minutes per game. 2013 Finals, Game 6:

2008 First Round, Game 1 (LBJ first career playoff game):

2013 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 7:

2013 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 1:

2009 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 2:

2014 Finals:

He may just eat your babies:

PREDICTION: Cavs in 5.

 

Chicago Bulls (3) v. Milwaukee Bucks (6)

This matchup is super duper fun times for basketball wonks. The Bulls find themselves in a rare position where they’re facing a statistically superior defense come playoff time (although marginally so)—97.4 pts Bucks allowed per game v. 97.8 Bulls allow. Oddly, the Bucks score precisely the amount of points the Bulls allow—97.8. Jason Kidd has turned this band of long-armed avatars into the 8th best defense in the league with the most steals per game (9.6), all while sharing the ball at the 7th best clip with 23.6 assists per game. Unfortunately, the hustle J Kidd has inculcated into his young shapeshifters come at the cost of rebounds. They rank 24th in the rebounds while the Bulls tally the 3rd best rebounding rate in the NBA. Have I mentioned the Bucks height yet though? The starters come in averaging 6’9”, of which they’ll need every inch to corral Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler, while staving off a deep and talented Bulls front court. The major storyline for the Bulls: emergence and resurgence.

Pau Gasol playing like it’s 2005, bumping Lil Wayne on his 512 GB iPod Shuffle on the way to a cool 18.5p on an alarming 49.5 fg% and even more alarming 46.2 3pt%—oh yeah, and there’s the career high in rebounding (11.8).

Nikola Mirotic making the case for Rookie of the Year and James (Harden) Beard Award honors averaging 20.8p, 7.6r on 44.1 fg% in just 30.8 mpg in March.

Jimmy Butler emerging as a go to offensive player in addition to the nightly guard-the-best-perimiter-player role he’s so dutifully filled the last few years; in addition to resurging this past month, following a few weeks of a bona fide injury scare.

Taj Gibson also coming back from injury in the last month to put up solid double-double-esque numbers.

Joakim Noah finally moving the floor like the 20something he is, running the floor, getting those assist numbers up from 3.5 in January to 7.2 in March.

Derrick Rose suiting up at all.

PREDICTION: Jason Kidd will find a way to get fined sans spilling drinks (though he’ll undoubtedly think about it), and it’ll be the most entertaining defensive slugfest you’ve ever seen. Bulls in 6

 

Doodads and Knickknacks

 

MVP for Lebron

Lebron James is a phenomenal basketball player and deserves the MVP award.

From a statistical standpoint, he scores more than Steph Curry but less than Harden. He assists more than Harden, but less than Curry. He outrebounds them all. He has the highest field goal percentage on the highest attempts. He is without a doubt the best defender of the group.

Then there’s the how-valuable-is-he-to-the-team wrinkle that gives blowhards like Colin Cowherd the leeway to say stupid shit on airwaves like Russell Westbrook is the second coming of Shaft and White Jesus.

But ultimately, I think it comes down to this: the Cavs we’re looking at now didn’t exist 12 months ago. The coach is new. Two of the three best players are new, and only four players remain from last season’s roster. Whereas the Golden State Warriors are effectively the same team. Even the Houston Rockets’ continued core brain trust of Kevin McHale, James Harden, Dwight Howard and those three other dudes that were also on the roster last season positively impacted this season’s record. If continuity establishes trust, which is the bedrock of the game within the game, the turnover and new environments must be considered. That James could perform comparably to Curry and Harden in brand new (old) conditions, points to his deservingness.

I tried to start this section with something like “Stephen Curry and James Harden have had prodigious years…” I really did try, and they totally have. But fuck that. I get it. Nobody likes to see the same person win everything for forever. But the shear amount of articles I get bombarded with about the closeness of this MVP race that don’t actually go into the argument for Lebron James is an insult. We only get Lebron for like another 5 years. Maybe. He deserves all of it. Everything.

Pitchforks for Michael Jordan

I had the good fortune of stumbling onto the below beauty of a quote from the G.O.A.T., His Royal Airness Michael Jordan. In a 2010 interview with CNBC, Jordan prophesized, “Ultimately, if you can say that I’m a bad owner and we’re winning championships, I can live with that. But if we’re not making the playoffs and we’re spending and losing money, then I have to look in the mirror and say maybe I’m not taking the necessary steps to doing what it takes to run an organization.” If by some miracle, MJ ever happened upon this paragraph (he won’t), I want to maintain a semblance of respect and dignity (a first), so I won’t say the thing I really want to say (also a first). I wouldn’t venture to say eat crow, but maybe the lackluster performance as owner is having disastrous effects on the legacy of MJ? Pish posh and thimbles and stuff. We love you anyway, you gambling, self-aggrandizing, conceited, arrogant, bald, beautiful old-ladykiller, you.

Bitterness and Glee Reign, Man

Last night, Shawn Kemp hosted a party in celebration of the Thunder missing the playoffs. It was amazing. Or at least, I think it was. I have kids and was building a bunk bed from IKEA while everyone was getting turnt at Neumos. Thank god for Twitter:

Seattle Mariners 50 Game Check-in Starring: The Back End of the Starting Rotation

 

The Mariners have played 50 games of the 2014 season. We have seen some players fall well short of expected production (read: Brad Miller) yet we have also seen players exceed expectations and step into larger roles (read: Michael Saunders). We have seen players perched oddly in the middle of the disappointment-to-pleasant-surprise spectrum (Read: Robinson Cano). The middle of most visible light spectrums is greenish. Robinson Cano is green. Ish.

That being said, if you had asked me prior to this season’s beginning where the Mariners would be after 50 games, I would likely have given a far more modest projection than where they presently sit in this reality.

In an alternate reality, the Mariners could be much, much worse. Their pitching staff could easily have crumbled under the weight of a combined lack of depth coupled with a reasonable dose of the league-wide “all young pitchers must die” epidemic. Thankfully this alternate universe exists parallel to ours and does not cross it. In this parallel universe, I don’t even like the Mariners, but am rather an exquisite Russian Ballerina with skills that marvel fans yet private reservations regarding my unique but voracious sexual appetites.

We do not live in that universe, as my browser history suggests. We live instead in a universe where the Mariners have neither a losing record, nor a winning one. The Mariners, according to record, are neither bad nor are they good. We are decidedly average. Yet, I can’t help but translate this averageness to optimism. After all, the M’s are undermanned- having only had Hisashi Iwakuma for a month and having both James Paxton and Taijuan Walker on the injury block as well. When people argue that the Mariners are doomed towards negative regression, it is those 2 names I bring up as bullet points subsumed under my list of arguments for the rebuttal.

Think about Brandon Maurer, Roenis Elias and Chris Young for a bit. These are the 3 guys who round out the Mariners’ starting rotation following the one-two punch of Felix and Iwakuma. None of these guys were expected to be contributors at the beginning of the season. All of them have had to fulfill important roles for this team. This team has not tanked completely. That alone provides a space for positivity.

Let us start with Brandon Maurer. Maurer has been the one pitcher of the aforementioned 3 to come out every 5 days and basically suck every time. His ERA is presently above 6 and, despite having what appears to be excellent and projectable stuff, he has yet to show an ability to locate his pitches and has done a bad job of limiting damage once things begin to unravel. This has been documented in the past. Maurer, in a fashion similar to other young pitchers with throbbing libidos and a taste for Taco Bell, lacks the wisdom of age.

This is OK. We all didn’t expect Maurer to be a contributor this year and if things went according to plan, he wouldn’t be. Unfortunately, things seldom do go according to plan where Major League pitchers are concerned. The number of injuries to pitchers this year has been record-setting, and the Mariners are just one of several teams to have suffered through this irksome trend. The reality is that Brandon Maurer was a stop-gap measure who is merely holding a spot for James Paxton’s return. If Paxton is anything remotely akin to what he was before he went down to injury earlier this year, this is a huge upgrade and therefore instance 1 of the Mariners having reason to expect positive regression.

Next up: Roenis Elias.

Elias was a no-name left more or less completely off any of the prospect lists headed into the 2014 season. A defector from Cuba having never pitched at a level higher than AA, Elias went into the season requiring major mechanical tweaks. He had previously thrown from about 30 arm angles. When asked why he was pitching like an idiot, his response was “I’m from Cuba.” Needless to say, this does not fit the profile of a guy from whom one could expect big things.

Until we all actually saw him pitch.

Elias has the look of a pitcher whose ceiling is even higher than what we have seen thus far. He does not fit the traditional profile of a lefty throwing junk and trying to fool everybody. Rather, he comes at guys with strikeout stuff—a great lefty fastball that he throws anywhere from 92-94 MPH and a big curve that generates plenty of whiffs and standing strikes as well. Watching him drop down from the left side to get Brett Gardner looking was one of the better pitches I have seen executed in awhile. Observe.

Roenis Elias is here to stay. Taijuan and Paxton are returning, but I do not see either of them unseating Elias. While Chris Young has performed well—Elias has the kind of stuff as a young pitcher that makes you salivate. A rotation of Felix-Kuma-Paxton-Walker-Elias would be one of the better staffs in baseball.

When you add Chris Young to the mix, that’s just gravy. But not just any gravy! This is gravy that is only gravy until it becomes necessary, congealing into meat in a matter of moments out of the saucer of long-relief, if any such gravy exists.

Back to normalcy! Let’s look at the final third of our injured starting pitcher replacement roundup: Chris “Unique Gravy” Young.

Watching Chris Young pitch is hilarious. If you ever get the chance, I suggest you seize it. Young has some of the most “whatever” looking stuff I have seen from a Major League starting pitcher. He goes up there and throws 84 MPH fastballs up in the zone that get crushed for warning track flies. It kind of makes you cringe sometimes, but in a good way. Sort of like the face that precedes male orgasm.

Young was a former all-star pitching in the spacious confines of San Diego’s Petco Park and has quickly seized upon the opportunity to pitch in Safeco’s delightfully offense-suppressing marine-layer. When Young is on, he is pitching up and down in the zone, inducing weak contact and suppressing runs-scored by simply making people hit the ball a wee-bit less hard than usual.

To provide some context- FIP is a stat used to measure expected runs allowed by a pitcher, taking into account only such events that are obviously in the pitcher’s control. For this reason, it emphasizes whiffs, strikeouts and walks. The flaw of the stat is revealed only when pitchers are good at controlling and limiting effective, strong contact without generating whiffs and strikeouts.  

Young appears to be one such outlier. His xFIP sits at a hilariously shitty 5.85 and yet his ERA is at a sparkling 3.30.

Since FIP is the statistic used to calculate fWAR (the most common stat used to measure a pitcher’s value in terms of wins), his fWAR is -.01. Yet we, having watched Young go out and limit teams to 2 or 3 runs over and over know his value to exceed that.

He is a player whose unique skills are so unconventional that they break the statistical system used to quantify them. “Chris Young is meta as fuck” your little sister might say, assuming she exists, reads at around a 7th grade level and has Pinterest as her MacBook Pro’s homepage. That being said, it is fascinating as a baseball fan to watch expectations unravel in the face of a unique set of skills. While not a particularly sexy player, (think Bob Saget on stilts) Chris Young has been a remarkably interesting player insofar as he breaks the mold of any I have seen before. While I would recommend moving Chris Young to long relief when Taijuan Walker is ready to play, I have no problem with him as our 5th starter.

The Mariners are average. The faces of this team are not the faces we expected when the year began. The names accompanying those faces have similarly changed. Rejoice in this fact because the Mariners have hung in there in the face of diversity—and help is on the way.

Now if only that Brad Miller guy could figure his shit out…

Mariners Drop 4 of 6 Against Twins, Rays

 

The Mariners just dropped 2 of 3 games to the Tampa Bay Rays and subsequently, the Minnesota Twins. If you had told me this statement prior to the season’s beginning, I would have been completely unsurprised. I would not have known, however, that the Mariners team in question was a winning team heading into the series. I would also not have known that the Rays were about 10 games south of .500 having no Matt Moore for the entire season and a version of David Price with a barely sub-5.00 ERA.

In the context of the 2014 season, Mariners-Rays was actually a series the Mariners stood a fair chance of winning. The Twins’ series seemed to be winnable as well. Obviously that did not happen. So what glaring deficiency did the Mariners’ most recent disappointment reveal?

The Mariners can’t hit good pitching. Except when they do. Sometimes. But rarely. 

Last Monday against the Rays, the Mariners looked like the kind of team that could compete for a playoff spot. They spotted Felix Hernandez 9 runs early and looked to be basically incapable of getting out. They were hitting balls off the top of the fence every other at bat, and they were also benefiting from some very Mariners-like fielding by the opposition.

Then Tuesday happened. David Price went the complete game against the Mariners, allowing 6 hits to Ackley, Cano, Jones and Zunino, while completely wiping out the rest of the Mariners increasingly disappointing lineup. Despite the Mariners complete inability to get anything going against Price, they actually took a 1 run lead into the 9th inning. Hisashi Iwakuma continued to show that he is an ace pitching in Felix’ shadow by completely dominating the Rays through 8 innings.

Then Fernando Rodney happened. Most people will look to saddle the complete blame for that loss on Rodney. That is totally fair. Rodney does not appear to be a reliever worth paying 14 million dollars. That being said, the Mariners were only able to score one run all game against a starting pitcher who has been struggling. A very good starting pitcher who has been struggling, but nonetheless, you’re playing with fire when you can’t score more than a single run in a game. Many would argue that McClendon should have sent Iwakuma back out in the 9th. But Iwakuma has only been back pitching in the majors for 3 games and he had thrown 97 pitches. That, in conjunction with the fact that Iwakuma has been a bit fragile in the past make Lloyd’s decision a reasonable one. Game ready to be closed, put in the closer. I don’t chalk this loss up solely to Rodney’s meltdown.

Rodney has been really good at times this year. Rodney was even good during the first 2 outs of that inning. But Rodney is a volatile guy who doesn’t always know where the ball is going. That’s who the Mariners paid for. Rodney is hit or miss. On Tuesday, he missed.

But the fact remains the Mariners couldn’t touch Price. A lot has been said of the Mariners having issues against lefty starters but they have actually fared better against lefties on the year then they have against righties.

The Mariners issues do not boil down to unfavorable platoon matchups. The Mariners issues are more holistic and all-consuming than that. Think asteroid headed towards earth, rather than something more localized like a violent, volcanic eruption.

The Mariners have only 4 guys with a wRC+ over 100. Robinson Cano is not even one of those people. Of those 4, only Kyle Seager, Mike Zunino and Dustin Ackley have had enough ABs for this to even be meaningful. The top guy on the list is that James Jones fellow and, while I would like to believe his incredibly hot start is sustainable- it almost certainly isn’t.

It is very hard as a Mariners’ fan to get excited over prospects. It is harder still to get excited over hitting prospects. It is basically impossible to get excited about outfield prospects. The best outfield prospect the Mariners have had in recent memory was stabbed to death in the Netherlands. Clearly shit just doesn’t seem to work out very well. That being said, I love Jones’ approach at the plate and would love nothing more than to see him see sustained success in the majors. Plus, the guy actually plays good defense in Centerfield. This is rare. Rare and cool.

None of this changes the fact that the Mariners are getting nothing out of Brad Miller, Justin Smoak, Stefen Romero, etc. Remember Michael Saunders’ glorious rebirth from the ashes of condor-incineration? Yeah, that turned out to be bullshit like everything else condor has ever done. That being said, one losing series isn’t the end of the world- though the manner of these losses has seemed a bit too familiar

But let’s not get carried away.

Similar to a herpes outbreak, things are never as good as they seem when the going’s good, and things are never as bad as they seem when the going’s bad. It is probably best to take this most recent disappointment with a grain of salt, the good kind of salt. After all, a series with the Rangers begins tonight! Kyle Seager party! Their pitching has been mediocre! THE BATS COME ALIVE.

Iwakuma takes the mound tonight against our old friend Colby Lewis. Lewis is sporting a barely sub-5 ERA. Iwakuma, by contrast, is well below 2.00 and has looked dominant in all but his first start where he still had a bit of a noodle arm a la Peyton Manning.

In the words of Mr. McClendon Himself: “He’s [Iwakuma] better than I thought. I knew sitting in the other dugout that he was good. He’s better than good.”

Let’s get back over .500 boys. Go Mariners.

 

James Jones, Michael Saunders, Abraham Almonte and the Mariners changing up the outfield situation

The Mariners went ahead and blissfully released their fans from the Sisyphean self-flagellation brought on by having to watch Abraham Almonte handle leadoff responsibilities for the month of April. Almonte struggled in spring training but had caught the eye of Manager Lloyd McClendon for reasons that seemed somewhat unknown but in light of recent events are actually probably a little more known.

Almonte is a player who is too unrefined at this point in his career to figure things out at the Major League level. That being said, Lloyd McClendon has been around the game a long time, and despite what ivory tower-bound writers immersed in statistics and data may want to believe, there is some value in experience and the old-fashioned eye test. This is a game played by humans. Other humans have to look at said humans and make decisions based on a number of factors including past statistical performance as well as potential room for growth and improvement. Almonte was a player who had not been great in the Minor Leagues for long, but he had played well there for a while. He was also a player with whom it could be easy to fall in love with as a Manager like McClendon presented with a roster otherwise devoid of any traditional center fielders.

The Mariners have done 1 of the 2 things that many fans have been calling for. They have freed Michael Saunders from his concrete-bound aviary and allowed him to soar in an expanded role as a leadoff man. I have always liked Saunders (It is not hard to become infatuated with Saunders’ raw tools and potential) and many believed that his disastrous stretch during last year’s campaign was as much a result of a kamikaze condor-dive into an outfield fence than a sign of mediocrity or true regression from his 2012 campaign that saw him break out for a 2.5 WAR season that could have actually been closer to 4 WAR had his defense in centerfield not counted against him (although then he would have lost the weighted value WAR gives to players out in center field that is much lower in the corners, which is why Trout’s value this year is already so high despite the fact that his offensive numbers pace to be more or less the same and perhaps a tad worse. WAR as a catchall stat is weird like this because it is super convenient but the internal numbers are actually pretty fucking confusing).

Which brings us to our next point and the reason why Jones’ call-up was somewhat of an inevitability.

It is regarded by many (certainly defensive statistics indicate this) that Michael Saunders will never be more than a slightly below-average defender in centerfield. These same defensive metrics, however, consistently point to him being excellent in right. Looking at last year’s Rtot/yr (the number of runs above or below average a player is worth per 1200 innings), Saunders in centerfield sat at -18 runs, in left he was at -24 runs and in right he ditched that negative number bullshit and went straight up to 9 runs above average.

This means in pretty basic terms that, if we trust the way defensive metrics are taken over at baseballreference.com than we can assume that a year of condor-action over in right field is a 27 run defensive swing over a year of Saunders out in center (provided an at-least-adequate defensive replacement is taking over in center). Despite what many believe, the people who work in the Mariners’ organization are not idiots. Wealthy people do not like to hire idiots, and I can say with a fair degree of certainty that the people making these decisions are probably a hell of a lot more qualified than I am. If I can spot this, they have probably already spotted it, circled it in red and subsequently paid an intern sub-minimum-wage to make a fucking PowerPoint out of it to present at a conference.

So yeah, the same team that allowed Raul Ibanez, Michael Morse and Jason Bay to share outfield duties AT THE SAME FUCKING TIME, actually had a fairly decent reason to keep Saunders out of center. Almonte has one loud tool and that is his ridiculous speed. Speed profiles well in center and they felt for a time that Almonte’s offense as well as his defensive approach in the field could improve quickly enough in the Major Leagues to turn that speed into value out in the field and at the top of the order.

That didn’t happen.

Almonte’s struggles at the plate this season were catastrophic. He led the league in strikeouts with 39 in the month of April- this despite being a leadoff hitter whose sole purpose is to put the ball in play and use his aforementioned speed to get on base and subsequently be a chubby pain-in-the-ass running hither and thither to the detriment of non-Mariners nationwide. You can’t get on base if you strike out. You also can’t steal first base. This isn’t ‘nam, you can tell because of all the fucking rules.

This all leads one to believe that though the Mariners believe in Saunders at the top of the order, they may not also believe in him as a defensive centerfielder. The logic eventually leads us straight to James Jones who can absolutely fucking fly down the line and out in the field. In the few innings I have seen of him in Spring Training and in a few Rainiers’ games, he doesn’t take the same “Leonardo DiCaprio on Quaaludes” routes that made Almonte such an adventure out in center, either. It is true that Jones has actually logged more time in the corners than he has in center during his minor league career– but it is also true that he has more or less always been an outfielder. He looks like an outfielder. He quacks like an outfielder. The quacking will ensure that he and Ackley have a solid rapport in the field. Gone are the days of the all-second-base Mariners’ outfield. Two of our outfielders are outfielders now. Hooray for small miracles.

So basically what we have is a Frankenstein’s monster comprised of Condor’s bat sewed horrifically to the center-field-defense of James Jones, murmuring “kill me” as Lloyd cackles maniacally. Another way to put it is we have swapped in Jones to provide defense, allowed Saunders an expanded offensive roll and perhaps incidentally cut out some at-bats for Ackley and/or Romero. I don’t mind this horribly, as I still expect to see Condor patrolling Center every now and again. It isn’t his best position, but it is hardly a disaster and I think at this point even if Saunders does not continue to hit .400 as he has been doing the past couple of weeks, he has shown enough to warrant everyday inclusion in the lineup.

This also probably spells a bit of doom for Logan Morrison in the outfield. That shouldn’t bother anybody. If Morrison plays, he should be playing at DH or first base anyway. 2 cents provided.

Worst comes to worse, we have a shiny new fast player to care about for a couple of weeks until he develops Krohn’s disease, can’t hit, or swan dives down a flight of stairs into his wife’s face.

Welcome back to the squad, Mr. Jones.