Rob Johnson Fined For Describing His Promotion As “Double Bagging”

Mere hours after being promoted to back up St. Louis Cardinals backup catcher Tony Cruz, the team levied an undisclosed fine against veteran Rob Johnson for inappropriate remarks made to the press about his role on the Major League club.

When asked how much playing time he expected to get, and why he believed that the Cardinals thought they should carry three catchers on the roster, Johnson compared the added protection of an extra backstop to the practice of wearing two condoms at once, colloquially known as “double bagging.”

“Baseball is just like ****ing on Craigslist,” Johnson said just after exiting the plane from Memphis. “You don’t just plow some **** you never met without a condom, and you don’t go into a game without a second catcher.  If you’re not safe, some bad **** is gonna happen at home plate.  And what do you do when the only piece of *** who responded to your 2:30 casual encounters post looks extra nasty, but you gotta be at the park by 4:00? You don’t just kick her out of the back of your half-ton like you’re some kinda royalty. You go, but you go extra safe.  You wrap your **** up twice, just to be sure.  Looks to me like the NL Central just got extra nasty, so the Cards decided if they’re gonna **** it, they gotta double bag it.”

The team immediately issued a response to Johnson’s statement, noting that his remarks were “not in the spirit of the St. Louis Cardinals organization” and “an affront not only to fans, but to his teammates.”

Manager Mike Matheny echoed the team’s condemnation of the veteran catcher.  “I don’t know who he thinks he is,” Matheny said.  “I won’t have behavior like that in my clubhouse.  He should head right back to Memphis if he thinks that this team supports casual sex, profanity, or any form of birth control other than the will of the Lord.”

Jake Westbrook was similarly disgusted by his new teammate, noting that he would be a bad influence on all the young pitchers, especially Kevin Siegrist, who Westbrook believes has not reached puberty.

“Craigslist?  The only Craigslist I need is Allen Craig’s list,” said Cardinal first baseman Allen Craig, pulling out a well-worm piece of paper.  He then proceeded to muse wistfully about how he hadn’t “seen Amber since the night of the fire.”

Other teammates weren’t so quick to criticize.  “I think he sounds cool,” said reliever Seth Maness. “Like that guy from my high school who owned a van. Well, I think he went to my high school. I never saw him in classes. But he definitely had a van.”

When asked just how “nasty” he thought the NL Central race was getting, Johnson became agitated. “It’s like a warm can of Keystone Ice left open on the bar,” he told reporters.  “You don’t wanna  drink it because, ****, it’s not even full.  So you know someone else put their mouth on it. But the bartender is in the back taking a **** or something and you’re pretty sure you’ll smell any cigarette butts floatin’ on the top before you taste anything, so you risk it.

“That’s how nasty the NL Central is.”

Even outside of baseball, Johnson’s comments have caused controversy. The American Medical Association issued a statement, clarifying that the use of two condoms did not protect any better against pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease.  Noting that it is superfluous and reduces the overall effectiveness of the protective method, the AMA likened using multiple condoms to wasting a MLB roster spot on a third string catcher.

Jake Westbrook Shocked to Return to Team Full of Children

This week, Jake Westbrook rejoined the St. Louis Cardinals in New York and was stunned to discover that the pitching staff was now full of what the veteran righthander called “small children”.

“I don’t know what to think anymore,” Westbrook told reporters.  “When I left the team, it was a seasoned squad of hard-nosed ballplayers.  These were guys who had been places, seen things, and had a history of taking the ball every five days and giving 110%.  But when I got back, everything was upside down. I told them it looked like the set of Captain Kangaroo. They didn’t even know who that was. They thought I was talking about the Jerry O’Connell/Anthony Anderson buddy film. Why the hell would I ever talk about that?”

The experienced sinkerballer, who had been on a rehabilitation assignment in the minor leagues, spent the afternoon trying to understand his new teammates. “They are all listening to this thing called ‘dub step’,” he said. “I don’t think you can even call this music.  It sounds like a VHS tape being rewound.”

Rookie Keith Butler overheard this comment and spent the afternoon trying to find an active torrent for A VHS Tape Being Rewound, which he believed to be the name of a band.

Westbrook almost missed out on his first day with the team.  Upon arriving at Shea Stadium, he turned around and headed back to the airport, believing that he had accidentally stumbled onto a little league field. He only realized his mistake when he saw the area surrounding Shea, and came to the conclusion that no sane person would build a little league field there.

“Do these kids’ parents know that they are here?” Westbrook wondered aloud as he drove around Queens. “This can’t be right.” He then returned to Shea and reportedly forced reliever Seth Maness to call his mother to pick him up at the stadium.

Maness reluctantly discussed the encounter with reporters. “My mom isn’t even in the state,” he said. “So the whole thing was really awkward. Jake kept yelling about why I was allowed to travel alone. He was talking about going to visit social services to report my family. Then he offered me candy and scolded me when I took it.”

Even after coming to grips with the fact that he was at the right stadium, and that the children around him were now Major League baseball players, Westbrook wasn’t comfortable. “These kids just aren’t ready,” he stated. “Have you tried to talk to the youngest? I don’t even think he’s speaking in full sentences yet.”

When reached for comment, Michael Wacha was reluctant to respond to Westbrook’s allegations. “wtf,” he said. “idk.”

One rookie, Tyler Lyons, hasn’t taken the veteran’s return well. “He kept saying that I’m not old enough to date girls,” the lefthander said. “I thought it was a joke.  You know, harmless hazing. But I brought my girlfriend to a bar after the game and Jake just attacked her.  Straight up tackled her and called the police. Accused her of being a pedophile right there in front of everyone.”

“I’ve seen every episode of ‘To Catch a Predator’,” Westbrook explained. “I know how to handle those perverts. Now, I’m sure that a smooth operator like Chris Hansen would have kept things a bit quieter. But what was I supposed to do? That sicko brought a little boy into a bar. I know what she was planning on doing to him by the end of the night.”

Lyons reportedly was also aware of what his date was planning on doing to him and will never forgive Westbrook for his actions.

As of time of publication, Jake Westbrook was considering whether to take his concerns about all the kids on the pitching staff to Cards GM John Mozeliak. He is not sure the GM will be able to adequately address the issue, as he believes that Mozeliak is actually two small boys dressed in a trench coat and scarf impersonating an adult man.

Jake Westbrook and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Trade

It’s been a while since I posted anything.  There are a few reasons for that.  First of all, I happened to write two lengthy fictional posts about starting pitchers for the Cardinals which ended with those two pitchers getting injured.  And then those two pitchers were actually injured.  And they are still injured.  I’m not a superstitious person, but this gave me some pause.  Second, I started working on a novel and that took precedence over blogging about the Cardinals.  Third, the Cardinals just got depressing.  Even though they’re still in the playoff hunt (and thus a lot less depressing than some other teams) they’ve been playing with a sort of listlessness that makes watching the games infuriating.  I started paying attention the MLB at-bat feed rather than the actual game because there’s only so many times you can see someone swing at a Bud Norris “pitch” and miss.

But now Kyle Lohse is back to pitching again.  I’m done with my novel.  The Cardinals are playing better baseball, though they still seem befuddled by certain pitchers.  It’s time I start this back up again.  And what a time to start up, because the Cardinals have made an excruciatingly bad trade.

I ask you this: is there anyone out there that really, truly thinks it was a good idea to trade Ryan Ludwick for Jake Westbrook?

Bernie Miklasz noted the following in his article discussing the trade:

Since the start of the 2008 season, Ludwick ranks second in RBIs, third in homers and fourth in slugging percentage among NL outfielders.
Let’s just let that sink in.  We traded this guy for Jake Westbrook.  Second in RBIS basically means nothing, Ludwick spent a lot of that time hitting behind Albert Pujols, who is on base all the time.  But third in HR?  Fourth in SLG?  An argument could be made that Ludwick is one of the top 10 outfielders in the NL.  And we traded him for Jake Westbrook.

A few Jake Westbrook facts:

Jake Westbrook has a 4.65 ERA.  This is not good. In offense-heavy years, this is hovering around average.  In 2010, this is definitely below average.  But of course, ERA doesn’t really show you the whole picture so…

Jake Westbrook has a 4.67 FIP and 4.41 xFIP.  Both of these stats take a varying amount of luck out of ERA and calculate it based on strikeout/walk/flyball/HR percentage.  While they don’t tell you how many runs a pitcher has given up over an average of 9 innings, they do a great job of telling you how many runs he will tend to give up over an average of 9 innings.  It also tells you that his ERA isn’t really predicated that much on luck or stadium effects.  He really is below average.

Jake Westbrook won’t pitch 9 innings anyway.  The few people who see a silver lining in this trade frame Westbrook as an innings-eater, a guy who the Cards needed because Garcia is going to pitch far more than he ever has, Carpenter is fragile, and the rotation needs stability.  But Westbrook is coming off Tommy John surgery, didn’t pitch last year, and probably has an innings ceiling just like Garcia.  He’s averaged only six innings a game.

Jake Westbrook isn’t signed for next year and won’t even be a Type B free agent.  In the last updated Elias rankings estimations by mlbtraderumors.com, Westbrook was nestled somewhere between Vin Mazzaro and Derek Holland.  He was far short of luminaries such as Brian Bannister and Josh Outman, who has not even pitched this year.  He gives the Cardinals nothing past this season.  Ryan Ludwick was under team control for 2011.

Basically the Cardinals traded an above average OF with one more year of arbitration for a 2 month rental of a below average starting pitcher.

In a vacuum I have no problem with either acquiring Westbrook or trading Ludwick.  Westbrook isn’t the prototypical Duncan project.  He already throws a sinker.  But he’s better than Jeff Suppan.  Ludwick was getting pushed out by Jay and was going to be expensive next year.  I get that.  But why this trade?  Certainly they could have gotten more value for Ludwick who, again, is third in the NL in home runs among OF over the last 2+ years.   Maybe they could have swung the prospects for a better pitcher.  Or a middle infielder.

And even more certainly, they could have acquired the obviously below-average and overpaid Westbrook without trading one of their best hitters.

The way the trade went down even proves the latter point.  The Cardinals sent Ludwick to San Diego, who sent Cory Kluber to the Indians.  Kluber is a 24 year old righthanded pitcher who is, like any decent 24 year old pitcher should, dominating AA batters.  He’s doing well but he’s old (24) for his level and he doesn’t have a great track record.  His career minor league ERA is 4.29 and his career minor league FIP is 4.00.  And he’s always been a little old for his league.

Did the Cards have anyone like this?  Of course they did.  Hell, PJ Walters is pretty close to Cory Kluber.  He’s a year older, but he’s followed almost exactly the same career path, succeeding in the minors as a slightly older prospect.  Walters’s career ERA/FIP are even better than Klubers  (3.66/3.75) in more innings.

Charles Fick in AA/AAA is the same age as Klubel and, again, has a similar career.  Who the hell is Charles Fick?  Yeah, I don’t really know either.  But that’s the point. Cleveland essentially took a nobody for Westbrook. A PJ Walters or Charles Fick. Why did we have to trade Ludwick?  We didn’t.  It was a stupid trade.  We could have and should have gotten Westbrook for a song.  Instead, we traded our starting RF.

That’s not a move that a contending team makes.