Monday, June 2, 2008

Ensberg DFA'd

For the second time in less than a year, Morgan Ensberg has been designated for assignment.

There was loose talk in the comments last winter that putting Ensberg at 1B and allowing Giambi to DH was the best move in that it would provide a more reliable glove to back up the fragile, eggshell minds of the Yankees' young pitching trio. No amount of leather, however, was going to overcome .203/.263/.243 and Girardi has obviously had no interest in playing him since A-Rod came back.

It seems like 100 years ago now, but Ensberg posted a .283/.388/.557 in 2005 and was fourth in the MVP balloting. It's a long drop from age 29 to 32.

UPDATE: I hadn't seen it when I posted a few minutes ago, but reader Jacob alerted me to the fact that Posnanski went on an extended riff about early-30s decline in his Banny Blog post this morning. As an almost 35 year-old man nursing a sore back this afternoon, I hear him loud and clear.


Jacob said...

I'm sure you'd seen it but Posnanski wrote about the early-30s decline in his blog today. It seems like there are a lot of players whose performance has fallen off a cliff in the past couple of years.

Jacob said...

Er...I'm sure you've seen it.

Craig Calcaterra said...

Actually, I hadn't seen it. Thanks!

Osmodious said...

Not to hijack the thread back to an old topic, but I've been thinking about the whole 'young pitcher/pitch count' issue the past couple of days...and that seems to be a parallel discussion.

Athletes have changed a lot in the past 30something years...they are more 'finely tuned' than those of the past. There seems to be a lot more nagging injury than there was back it because of this 'tuning'? Does this also factor into the seemingly briefer careers (or, at least, period of peak effectiveness)? I think so, though I haven't done any kind of empirical analysis of the topic.

My godfather was a really big guy, at least as non-athlete 'mere mortals' go. He'd been a Green Beret in Vietnam and was a building contractor in later life. He could bench press small countries (so I guess you could call him 'country strong'...sorry). Anyway, I remember this musclebound jackass getting all up in my godfather's grille one day...this guy was pumped up with 'gym muscle', not what I call 'real muscle' (i.e. from using your muscles all the time, as opposed to designing a physique built on certain muscles with specific exercises). My godfather basically took this guy apart, piece by piece after the jackass threw an ill-advised punch that never landed.

The point is, like 60's/70's football players, my godfather had real muscle, not gym muscle. Maybe when you actually USE your muscles there is other supporting development in the body. I don't know.

As to pitchers, the specialization goes even further, to what kind of pitching they can do. Why are guys like Santana not able to get past the 7th inning? Is it because, as they tire and can no longer execute the very specialized mechanics that accompany their best pitches, they can't adapt and throw simpler pitches to specific locations? Guys like El Duque and David Cone made up pitches as they went, so they could actually just create a new one if their usual bread and butter was no longer working, due to fatigue or whatever.

One might say that the incredible amount of research and analysis done on athletes these days has led to optimal performance...but if it cannot be sustained the way less 'optimal' athletes were able to do, what good is it (from a long term team perspective)? Are we skirting the edge of designing athletes to the point where they are more like Top Fuel dragsters than Le Mans endurance cars?

Anonymous said...

to back up the fragile, eggshell minds of the Yankees' young pitching trio.

"This is the end, my only friend, the end."

Craig Calcaterra said...

Wrong! That's from Peace Frog!

But thanks for playing anyway.