Hello, Mr. Matsui. Goodbye, Mr. Burke.
I can't help but think what a shame it is that Burke, the heir apparent to succeed Biggio at second base, is now all but out the door. Anyone remember his 18th-inning homer to beat the Braves in the 2005 NLDS? I remember thinking how awesome it'll be to have this guy for the next five years.
Oh well. I guess you can say that Burke had his shot, though his stint as as our starting centerfielder last year lasted an entire month before Pence came storming onto the scene. I'd like to think that Burke can still produce for the Astros, but everyone (including Burke himself) thinks he'll be somewhere else, probably before the end of the week.
When I interned for a paper in South Carolina in the winter of 2004, I worked with a guy who went to Tennessee. He told me how excited I should be about this Burke fellow, who had been drafted the previous year. My co-worker (a sportswriter) said Burke was absolutely the hardest-working player he'd ever covered, and that whatever his deficiencies, Burke had the will and the heart and the passion to overcome and succeed.
I suppose I've always held Burke in high regard, but ultimately, he hasn't produced. Sure, you can say we haven't seen him in a full year, but with a sub-.700 OPS in over 1000 career ABs, how can you justify giving him a starting job?
Luckily, we're replacing him with a guy with a .712 career OPS in 1400 ABs. Sure, Matsui has had success. And yes, he seemed to spark the Rockies during their amazing run to end the 2007 season. But a career .325 OBP scares me.
No, what really scares me is that our "exciting" "speedster" "catalysts" that we've inserted at the top of the lineup are by no stretch of the imagination sure things. What are the best stats can Bourn and Matsui put up? If they have simply amazing years, what's the best they can do? I'd say:
And that's the best we can hope for. Both are candidates to hit .240.
Luke Scott's a whole different story. Unlike Burke, he's actually had prolonged success in the majors. But he seems destined for a trade, too. By the time I get around to blogging about him, he'll likely be a Padre.