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MartyFan
01-25-2007, 12:38 PM
http://www.examiner.com/articlePDF.cfm?articleID=527826



Saarloos a quiet role model
Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban

Mychael Urban, The Examiner
Jan 25, 2007 3:00 AM (6 hrs ago)
Current rank: # 22 of 15,836 articles
SAN FRANCISCO - Kirk Saarloos’ departure from the Bay Area sports scene was much like his existence here: Few noticed and fewer really cared.

In fact, a lot of you are probably asking, “Who the heck is Kirk Saarloos? Did he turn down the Raiders’ job, too?”

Saarloos, for those of you who don’t know, is the 27-year-old pitcher traded by the A’s on Tuesday to the Cincinnati Reds. And if you didn’t know who he is before now, that’s a shame — especially if you have a youngster who looks up to big-league ballplayers. Because Saarloos is exactly the kind of player you want as that youngster’s role model.

Granted, kids typically gravitate to players who put up big numbers and appear nightly on highlight shows, and Saarloos — rhymes with Carlos — does neither. So anonymous is he that even if you wanted to pick up a No. 31 jersey at McAfee Coliseum last year, you’d have been out of luck.

But the fact that he’s so anonymous is a sad commentary. This is a young man who embodies everything right and good about sports, yet he’s continually overshadowed by the criminals, cheats and look-at-me athletes who pollute our daily sports sections.

Saarloos was an accomplished collegian, a first-team All-American. But he’s barely 6 feet tall, well under 200 pounds, right-handed and rarely tops 90 on the radar gun, so after being drafted by the Houston Astros, he essentially dropped off the baseball map.

Even when Saarloos made big-league history in 2003, it was in a manner that only the most devoted seamhead would remember. He was one of six Astros pitchers who combined on a no-hitter at Yankee Stadium, chipping in with 1¹/³ innings of work.

If you knew that, you’re probably Howie Schwab from ESPN’s regrettable “Stump the Schwab.”

And you probably know that the Astros traded Saarloos to the A’s in 2004. But you might not know why Saarloos deserves universal respect.

We want our role-model athletes to overcome adversity, right? With his mother battling breast cancer during spring training 2005, Saarloos took his heavy heart to the mound — hiding a cancer-awareness bracelet in his back pocket — and won a spot in Oakland’s starting rotation.

We want our role-model athletes to carry themselves with class, too, right? Saarloos bounced between the bullpen and rotation so often in 2006 that he had never had the luxury of routine. Not only did he not complain, he picked up a save and a win (as a starter) in one memorable six-day span.

And we want our role-model athletes to be humble. Asked if he was going to contribute to Barry Zito’s Strikeouts for Troops program by donating $100 for every strikeout he records, the soft-tossing Saarloos said, “I think it’d be better for the soldiers if I gave them $100 for every batter I hit.”

So what if he doesn’t light up “SportsCenter”? He does his job well, stays out of trouble and keeps everything in perspective. So find out what number Saarloos is wearing with the Reds, order a custom jersey and give it to your kid.

While you’re at it, burn that No. 18 Raiders jersey of his.

Mychael Urban is the author of “Aces: The Last Season On The Mound With The Oakland A’s Big Three — Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito” and a writer for MLB.com.

MartyFan
01-25-2007, 12:44 PM
I also saw this...


Baseball: Chunichi acquire former Reds pitcher Valentine
(Kyodo) _ The Chunichi Dragons have acquired former Cincinnati Reds right-hander Joe Valentine, the Central League club said Thursday.

Valentine picked up a signing fee of 6 million yen on a one-year deal worth 30 million yen. He will wear the No. 4 jersey.

The 29-year-old Valentine played in the major leagues with the Reds for three seasons from 2003 and has a 2-4 record with four saves and a 6.70 ERA in 42 mound appearances.

Anybody know what 6 million yen or 30 million yen equals in US dollars?

FutureRedsGM
01-25-2007, 01:35 PM
1 dollar = 121 Yen so . . . .

6 million Yen = roughly $50,000 signing bonus

30 million Yen = roughly a quarter of a million per year.

Johnny Footstool
01-25-2007, 02:54 PM
It's good to hear Saarloos is a nice guy and a true professional. I just wish he was a better pitcher. Maybe he'll find some magic in Cincinnati.

lollipopcurve
01-25-2007, 03:36 PM
It's good to hear Saarloos is a nice guy and a true professional. I just wish he was a better pitcher.

Agreed on point one. On the second point, I'll take him any day for a prospect who seems redundant with 2 or 3 other mid- to low-ceiling prospects of about the same age in the system (Shafer = Salmon = Medlock = Guevara). Sure, we'd all love a rotation of 5 above-average guys, but the only ways you get that are to spend huge dollars (Castellini's domain) or empty the farm system (stupid).

Eric_Davis
01-25-2007, 03:39 PM
Nice article.

He should end up being better than half of the current pitching staff. Any upgrade is a good upgrade.

bounty37h
01-25-2007, 03:51 PM
I have talked to 2 of my A's friends, and they both feel its a good pick up for us, said he may not blow us away, and he will occasionally make a boneheaded pitch to pi$$ off every Reds fan, but if he makes the rotation and gets the consistency back of not bouncing back and forth, said he will be a very nice and needed addition to our staff. I welcome him, and wish him the best!!!

Johnny Footstool
01-25-2007, 04:52 PM
Agreed on point one. On the second point, I'll take him any day for a prospect who seems redundant with 2 or 3 other mid- to low-ceiling prospects of about the same age in the system (Shafer = Salmon = Medlock = Guevara). Sure, we'd all love a rotation of 5 above-average guys, but the only ways you get that are to spend huge dollars (Castellini's domain) or empty the farm system (stupid).

I'm not saying I'm angry with the trade. It was a low-risk maneuver that didn't hurt the Reds system. Unfortunately, it's probably a low-reward maneuver, too.

lollipopcurve
01-25-2007, 05:07 PM
Unfortunately, it's probably a low-reward maneuver, too.

As others have noted, any reward is better than no reward.

Johnny Footstool
01-25-2007, 05:42 PM
As others have noted, any reward is better than no reward.

It seems like that's the tune the Reds have been playing for the past decade or so.

TRF
01-25-2007, 05:50 PM
To me Saarloos is just a case of adding a Keppinger to replace a Harris who in essence replaced Olmedo when in fact all three guys are the same guy.

More of the same. Actually less of the same as he isn't even as good as EZ, Belisle or Santos. Don't get me wrong... I want him to be Cy Young for the Reds, I really do. But the truth is in the numbers, and as a major leaguer his numbers kinda suck.

Dunner44
01-25-2007, 07:28 PM
Can we trade him to the Bengals? Sigh....

Cedric
01-25-2007, 07:33 PM
To me Saarloos is just a case of adding a Keppinger to replace a Harris who in essence replaced Olmedo when in fact all three guys are the same guy.

More of the same. Actually less of the same as he isn't even as good as EZ, Belisle or Santos. Don't get me wrong... I want him to be Cy Young for the Reds, I really do. But the truth is in the numbers, and as a major leaguer his numbers kinda suck.
If Saarloos numbers "suck" I don't even want to know what you would call EZ's?

He's got worse periphreals, nothing stuff, and a questionable drive. Not even mentioning his terrible numbers at this level.
I think I'll stick with Saarloos.

redsmetz
01-25-2007, 08:14 PM
To me Saarloos is just a case of adding a Keppinger to replace a Harris who in essence replaced Olmedo when in fact all three guys are the same guy.

More of the same. Actually less of the same as he isn't even as good as EZ, Belisle or Santos. Don't get me wrong... I want him to be Cy Young for the Reds, I really do. But the truth is in the numbers, and as a major leaguer his numbers kinda suck.

I think this is anything but "more of the same". I think the Reds believe they've identified a pitcher who could be had for a minor leaguer and has an upside. In all the history of baseball, has there never been any pitcher who three or four years into their career put it together and performed above their previous numbers? To hear it here on Redszone, you would think that's never occurred and especially not for any Cincinnati Red.

jmac
01-25-2007, 08:41 PM
I agree with you totally.
Yes....i said i would like to see Westbrook or Leiber but the fact is .....Saarloos is probably about the same and at lesser price.
Do you want us to trade Dunn for "Chick like prospects" or freel/deno for a ML ready starter with a 4.50 era ?
The way I see it, we got a decent pitcher and kept Dunn etc in process.
Still need improving ?? Yes.
Am i giving KS a chance ? Yep on that one too !

IslandRed
01-25-2007, 09:13 PM
More of the same. Actually less of the same as he isn't even as good as EZ, Belisle or Santos.

When I look ahead to the rotation this season, the best thing we could do would be land a legit #3 or better. Hasn't been forthcoming. May not be possible at this point without spending more than we should (and with free agency all but done, what we'll have to spend now is talent, not money).

The next best thing we can do is to minimize how bad the worst pitcher in the rotation is. Harvey Penick said that in golf, the important thing isn't how good your good shots are, it's how good your bad shots are. I remember the open wound that was our #5 spot last year and the parade of characters that went through it. If we'd just been able to give those starts to someone who wasn't terrible, even if he wasn't exactly good, that would have been worth some wins.

It's also not like the 3-4 spots are sure things. Is Lohse going to be consistent? Does anyone expect Milton be healthy and effective all year? The odds are just as good he'll be landing on DFA Island by the All-Star break. So we have not one spot that needs filling from the pool of #5 candidates, but at times two or possibly even three. Maybe EZ pitches well enough to hold a job, maybe Belisle can, maybe Santos can. But all at the same time? And if not them, who? (Well, I guess Bailey is the obvious answer, but I don't think they want to call him up out of desperation.)

That's the main value of Saarloos as I see it. He's one more viable option standing in the way of handing the ball to the Joe Mayses or Chris Michalaks of the world. If not at the beginning of the season, at some point during it, he'll be needed. And he'll go to the bullpen gripe-free in the meantime if that's what we want him to do.

TRF
01-25-2007, 09:34 PM
If Saarloos numbers "suck" I don't even want to know what you would call EZ's?

He's got worse periphreals, nothing stuff, and a questionable drive. Not even mentioning his terrible numbers at this level.
I think I'll stick with Saarloos.

I'd call EZ's better. better K rate. certainly more room to develop as he's 4 years younger. better BB/9. better control.

Ramirez is a better pitcher at a younger age. period.

TDHND
01-26-2007, 12:10 AM
It's good to hear he's a good guy. I wish him luck. Maybe he'll do better being back in the NL.

TRF
01-26-2007, 09:33 AM
When I look ahead to the rotation this season, the best thing we could do would be land a legit #3 or better. Hasn't been forthcoming. May not be possible at this point without spending more than we should (and with free agency all but done, what we'll have to spend now is talent, not money).

The next best thing we can do is to minimize how bad the worst pitcher in the rotation is. Harvey Penick said that in golf, the important thing isn't how good your good shots are, it's how good your bad shots are. I remember the open wound that was our #5 spot last year and the parade of characters that went through it. If we'd just been able to give those starts to someone who wasn't terrible, even if he wasn't exactly good, that would have been worth some wins.

It's also not like the 3-4 spots are sure things. Is Lohse going to be consistent? Does anyone expect Milton be healthy and effective all year? The odds are just as good he'll be landing on DFA Island by the All-Star break. So we have not one spot that needs filling from the pool of #5 candidates, but at times two or possibly even three. Maybe EZ pitches well enough to hold a job, maybe Belisle can, maybe Santos can. But all at the same time? And if not them, who? (Well, I guess Bailey is the obvious answer, but I don't think they want to call him up out of desperation.)

That's the main value of Saarloos as I see it. He's one more viable option standing in the way of handing the ball to the Joe Mayses or Chris Michalaks of the world. If not at the beginning of the season, at some point during it, he'll be needed. And he'll go to the bullpen gripe-free in the meantime if that's what we want him to do.

I guess what I am saying is if you think you need to add a guy like Saarloos, then don't pay 1.2 mil for essentially the same MLB production you could get from Tom Shearn or Phil Dumatrait.

MLB seems to be the only sport that doesn't embrace rookies. The NBA does. The NFL does. But baseball will give chance after chance after chance to guys that prove they cannot get it done (Lima, Jose et al.)

I'd rather see Shearn take the ball every 5th day than Saarloos. I don't know what Shearn will do as a MLB player. I've seen Saarloos. and he's blech.

Johnny Footstool
01-26-2007, 10:25 AM
I think this is anything but "more of the same". I think the Reds believe they've identified a pitcher who could be had for a minor leaguer and has an upside. In all the history of baseball, has there never been any pitcher who three or four years into their career put it together and performed above their previous numbers? To hear it here on Redszone, you would think that's never occurred and especially not for any Cincinnati Red.

We've been down that road many, many times in the past 6 seasons. Jimmy Haynes. Joey Hamilton. Jimmy Anderson. Ryan Dempster. Brian Moehler. Ramon Ortiz. Paul Wilson. Todd Van Poppel. Seth Etherton. Cory Lidle.

You'll have to pardon me if I don't automatically assume the new Reds pitcher will suddenly put everything together and outperform his prior numbers. Harang and Arroyo are the exceptions, not the rule.

IslandRed
01-26-2007, 11:12 AM
I guess what I am saying is if you think you need to add a guy like Saarloos, then don't pay 1.2 mil for essentially the same MLB production you could get from Tom Shearn or Phil Dumatrait.

I guess that's where we have a fundamental disagreement. Not all levels of bad are equally bad; below average wins more games than replacement level. Furthermore, replacement level is a level of performance defined by the best of the potential replacements, not any potential replacement. You can't just fish any ol' pitcher out of Triple-A and assume he'll be replacement level or better. Lots of them will be worse.

In my opinion, Dumatrait (who's yet to succeed at AAA) and Shearn (a guy who hasn't even started regularly in the minors since 2000) are guys who, if placed in the Reds' 2007 rotation, would be lucky to do any better than the dreck we paraded through the #5 spot last year, including the king of the waiver wire, Joe Mays. I don't think Saarloos is all that good but I'm pretty sure he'll be better than that.

Jefferson24
01-26-2007, 11:33 AM
I think Saarloos is a big plus. Look at his numbers 7-7 4.75, then look at Milton 8-8 5.19, then look at how much they are paid. This is a good deal and money well spent. I think he's right there with our #3 or #4, while I wish our #3 or #4 were much better than that I know they're not so that make this a good pick up.

TRF
01-26-2007, 12:36 PM
I guess that's where we have a fundamental disagreement. Not all levels of bad are equally bad; below average wins more games than replacement level. Furthermore, replacement level is a level of performance defined by the best of the potential replacements, not any potential replacement. You can't just fish any ol' pitcher out of Triple-A and assume he'll be replacement level or better. Lots of them will be worse.

In my opinion, Dumatrait (who's yet to succeed at AAA) and Shearn (a guy who hasn't even started regularly in the minors since 2000) are guys who, if placed in the Reds' 2007 rotation, would be lucky to do any better than the dreck we paraded through the #5 spot last year, including the king of the waiver wire, Joe Mays. I don't think Saarloos is all that good but I'm pretty sure he'll be better than that.

And this is where we disagree. A pitcher with an ABYSMAL K/9 like Saarloos, a guy that walks just over 3.5 batters per 9 over the last 3 seasons, a guy that has trouble keeping the ball in the yard pitching half his games in OAKLAND could very well pitch as bad as Joe Freaking Mays.

I get there are degrees of bad, but this guy's ONLY skillset is he forces guys to hit the ball on the ground. Problem is he gives up too many BB's and hits for that to be a plus. And anyone want to bet that pitching most of his games in GAB, Wrigley, Minute Maid Park and St. Louis is going to help that HR rate?

He could very well be Joe Mays Lite. :laugh:

bucksfan2
01-26-2007, 04:53 PM
Didn't Joe Mays have some very productive years in the middle of his career??