Dear Ozzie Guillen, Your courageous selection of Mark Redman last week was one of the bravest decisions of the millenium. Where lesser men would have caved to public opinion, you selected your guys, even if it meant leaving both the best hitter and starting pitcher in the league at home. If Cleveland and Minnesota fans don't like it, they can go back in time and win the pennant can't they?
Your selection of Mark Redman was so brilliant, so cunning, so inspired that many people couldn't understand it at first. Sorta like Wagner or Einstein, Wordsworth, Whitman, or Radiohead, I suppose. Some things make no sense when they first come out, then the next thing you know, you can't imagine the world without them. Thats what naming Mark to the team was like. As Emerson said, "Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist," and we both know you are a true man. 100%.
Sadly, Canseco wasn't available for the Ozzie All-Star Patronage.
It took me awhile to realize that Redman was the only Royal with both solid White Sox/Marlins ties and some passable "baseball card stats". He proved he was a winner back with the 2003 Marlins, just like you did as a bench coach. Ozzie, I say this from the heart: the children of Kansas City thank you. Thousands of lovable little scamps are running around town in Mark Redman jerseys now, waiting in eager anticipation til their hero takes the field during the All-Star Game. Not only is the game for the fans (well, White Sox fans and New York and Boston fans mainly) but its about the children. You've just insured a generation of Mark Redman fans across the Midwest!
Ozzie, I write because its time to extend your genius further, its time to remember, in the immortal words of FOX TV, "this time it counts". You've got a chance to make the World Series again this year, and its in your best interest to win this game. We both know what you must do:
Name Mark Redman the AL Starter
Last night Redman dazzled nearly 20,00 fans in Kansas City as he dealt on the hapless Blue Jays to the tune of 8.0 IP and 2 runs allowed. Can you believe that? He even struck out two Blue Jays. Two! They gone!
I know you manage from your heart, from your gut, from anything not connected to thought. But this is the All-Star game, which will probably be at least the 7th most watched TV program that night. Thousands of season-ticket holders in Pittsburgh and thousands more corporate lackeys will be watching the game. And did I mention the children? It will truly be a magical night. This is about establishing your legacy. That is why I need you to consider these numbers:
(Note: Because Redman hasn't pitched enough yet to qualify for the leaderboards, I've included all AL pitchers with 82 innings pitched in these calculations.)
VORP (Value Over Replacement Player): Redman- 7.2 (38th in AL). Over 82 innings, Redman's been 7.2 runs better than a AAA scrub! I have a sneaking suspicion you peeked at the VORP totals of the Royals, Ozzie. 'Cause Redman just eeks out the team's other appopriately old starter, Scott Elarton (6.4, 39th) here. 46 American League pitchers have thrown 82 innings, and Redman is better than 8 of them in this all-encompassing category. Including Randy Johnson (5.2) and Brad Radke (6.0). Sure, Redman's a little behind Johan Santana at 43.5, but Johan wasn't on the 2003 Marlins, now was he? Plus, I kinda see him more as a late-innings guy, don't you?
ERA: Redman- 5.27 (41st). You don't argue with results like this. Starting Mark Redman gives you the best chance to win. Plus, unlike some, ummm "Mariotti-esque" pitchers, Redman's runs are all earned. Thats right, he hasn't allowed an unearned run yet this season. He's all about accountability. Think about how much you like Jon Garland, then think about this: Redman's ERA is 0.03 lower than his.
Strikeouts Per 9 Innings: Redman- 3.51/9 (45th). Wow, do you know what this means? Lemme spell it out for you: once every time through the lineup, Redman strikes someone out! Wouldn't it send a great message if Redman struck someone out in innings 1-3? Well, he's basicall guaranteed to do so. Don't throw this chance away. You still hate the Yankees, right? Well Chien-ming Wang has the most pathetic K-rate in the world, at 3.06. Seriously, how can someone be successful at that level? He's dead last (46th). He's no Redman (45th). Not close.
Walks Per 9: Redman- 3.51 (41st). Honestly, Ozzie, I don't look strictly at the numbers. I dont' care what anyone thinks, or what any "stats nerds" say, Redman's one of the best 40 pitchers in the League in this category, and deserves to start the All Star Game. Plus, Redman's way ahead of Gil Meche, Casey Fossum, Scott Elarton, Barry Zito and Ted Lilly. Yes, that does mean that he has the same number of strikeouts as walks on the year. But Redman gets away with it because a) he's a winner b) he's a veteran and c) he's been there before.
Homers Per 9 Allowed: Redman- 1.21 HR/9 (29th). Have you ever heard of an All-Star game with only 1.21 homers allowed? I haven't either. Let Redman go 9, and see what happens. Sure, fellow low-k, high-walkers Wang & Zito aren't allowing near as many homers, nor are guys like Bonderman (0.49/9), Westbrook (0.54/9), Blanton (0.77/9) or Roy Halladay (0.81/9). Those guys just don't pass the gut-test though do they? They don't feel like All-Star starters.
Hits Per 9 Allowed: Redman- 9.55/9 (30th). Ozzie, I know this goes against all you believe in, but consider this simple fact: Your beloved Mark Buehrle is allowing 9.64 hits per 9 compared to Redman's 9.55. Plus, Buehrle has a much better defense behind him. Do I need to bring Emil Brown and Angel Berroa in to this? I didn't think so. I know Buehrle's your boy, but sometimes, you've got to look to the integrity of the game, which, as I've mentioned COUNTS!. You want another ring, you need another ring. Dump Buehrle, choose Redman. He won't let you down.
Ozzie, I could go on and on, but I know you're busy, with sensitivity training, managing the White Sox and all the rest. There's only one thing I have left to say:
Kenny Rogers is evil
Do you remember his attack on the cameraman? Do you remember his robotic, satanic press conference when he "apologized" so unsincerely for his actions? Do you remember when, two weeks later, he taunted the local media again? Sounds like a delightful guy.
Ozzie, please do the right thing.
Don't let him start the All-Star game. Anyone that is that afraid of a smaller guy carrying a 40-pound camera on his head can't handle the pressure.
Lets recap your pitching choices:
Mark Buehrle: Allows more hits than Redman, wasn't on 2003 Marlins. Needs to be rested for White Sox games.
Jose Contreras: Also wasn't on 2003 Marlins, when no one believed in you yet, and also needs to be rested for White Sox games.
Kenny Rogers: Likes attacking defenceless people doing their job. Redman has never done this.
Johan Santana: I don't think he's paid his dues, do you? I don't think he knows how to pitch. With all those strikeouts, its easy for him. Also, he wasn't on the 2003 Marlins. Isn't a winner.
Barry Zito: Curveball will encourage the children to try a pitch they can't throw yet. This will hurt their little elbows and shoulders. Loopy curveball may also cross up AJ, which could shame him. Redman's blah assortment of straight pitches won't do this. Plus, Zito isn't exactly "family-friendly", unless we're talking about sisters. Needless to say, he wasn't on the 2003 Marlins either.
Roy Halladay: Pitches for a Canadian team, hasn't proven he can win the big game. Superior ERA, K-rate, BB-rate and hits-allowed rate obscures the fact that he's named Roy. The last Blue Jay pitcher worth a damn was Jimmy Key. We both know this.
Scott Kazmir: Talk about not paying one's dues... This hothead has already lost 5 games. Need I remind you that Redman only has 4 losses. The only stat that matters is winning, thats why Tom Brady is divine matter, holier than all else. Kazmir doesn't... know... how... to win. Plus, he's a Devil Ray, and wasn't on the 2003 Marlins.
Ozzie, thank you for your time. Your selection of Mark Redman has rejuvenated baseball in Kansas City. You've offered great justifications for this selection ("I needed a pitcher") and have reminded us all what its like to feel like a kid again. David DeJesus hasn't earned his shot yet and Mark Grudzielanek used to be a Cub for goodness sakes. By any measure, Mark Redman is one of the best 45 pitchers in the American League and has earned this reward.
Win the game.