We at the Gazette are nothing if not thorough in our dissection of minutia and insignificant details. So while we laud good moves when we see them, it's time to call someone out for a new award: the Worst Keeper of the Year. We're going to retroactively give the 2007 version of this award to Chris Ianetta, who was last seen washing cars in Fort Collins, Colorado.
A few qualifiers before we delve into the nominees:
1. The player's keeper status counts. There's nothing wrong with keeping someone like Eric Byrnes off last year if he costs you one slot. If he costs you three slots, you're getting called out.
2. Whether or not someone got kept does not have to be indicative of their expected performance in the upcoming season. For this reason, guys like Clay Buchholz, Philip Hughes and Joba Chamberlain are exempt, because they'd obviously be very high picks for this season, even if their performance may suck in '08.
3. Your team's roster construction counts. If you kept three 2B's even if they're all very good, you fucked up.
On to the nominees, in alphabetical order....
Jacoby Ellsbury, Frank the Tank
Why doesn't he get the same treatment as Hughes and Buchholz? Simple: he's starting the year in AAA and isn't on the prospect list. There's no indication if and when he'll be up and if he'll even get 400 PAs this year. Presumably he was kept as trade bait. Query who will bite.
Matt Garza, 54' 40" or Fight!
Almost indisputably the worst starting pitcher kept, he lacks the hype or upside of a Joba.
Torii Hunter, Evil Empire
A fringe outfielder on the decline takes his place in a new park, despite his speed and power being on the wane. Have to think there are two dozen OFs that will produce similar numbers this year.
Francisco Liriano, The Fighting Isaiahs
Last we saw this guy, he was grimacing in pain in August 2006 and Frank Jobe was running after him with a drawn needle. That's a tough way to use up a slot.
John Maine, grundleman's bond
Even Met fans don't get excited about him, and he's been fairly solid. He's a modern day Rick Reed, minus the picket-line crossing and hatred from Bobby Valentine. Actually scratch the last part: Bobby V hates everyone.
Jhonny Peralta, grundleman's bond
Waiver wire bait to trade bait to keeper material, off a bad season. He's an interesting bounce-back candidate. He's a hideous shortstop keeper.
Rickie Weeks, Presidential Timber
A phenom at 2B that everyone was high on last year, he spent a third of the season in the minors. For a position that's surprisingly deep if uninteresting, this may define stretch, especially as he becomes +1 expensive in 2009.
Chris Young (SP), Wu Tang Financial
We save for the last one the Princeton Pitcher, who automatically gets a thumbs down in my eye because he's a Tiger, but the real reason for his inclusion here is that he takes up two spots. He's not a bad pitcher, and he's arguably more useful than either Zambrano or Vazquez in Petco Park. But for two spots? A bit steep.
So, I encourage you to vote on the poll at the right and to comment below. Results are final on next Saturday night.