Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Kiss My Tasch

Special Agent Jack Taschner may be close to turning over his gun and shield, as he's on the outs with the Giants and, by his own admission, probably won't be with the team come Opening Day. This begs the question: why the hell did the Giants even bother offering him arbitration in the first place? His spring has been a walk-infested nightmare and has he done anything good since 2005 anyway? Not really. All they get out of it now is the right to pay him $206K to go away.

Taschner came up in late '05 as part of that Bullpen Revolution that also included Scott Munter and Jeremy Accardo. Since that small stint, he's been just terrible, but when God graces you with a left arm that can pelt baseballs at 90 mph, you're bound to get several mulligans. Teams tend to be willing to put up with a lot of crap if there is even a hint that you can get the Ryan Howards and Carlos Delgados out in key situations on a consistent basis.

The only problem is that Taschner can't. Left-handed batters have hit .288/.349/.409 against him in his career. That's not terrible, per se, but if you're taking up a roster spot for the sole purpose of getting lefties out, you better be holding them to numbers threatening the Bocock line. So basically, Taschner just embodies that age-old conundrum: if you're a LOOGY who can't get lefties out, why are you even here? Why are you wasting our precious time?

He's about as pointless as early Joy Division. Expecting good music or something different, we're subjected to four guys who can't play their instruments worth a crap and Ian Curtis' uncontrollable screeching. With Agent Jack, we expect some left-handed one-out getting, but instead watch him walk the park before Bruce Bochy death marches out to retrieve him.

Of course, Joy Division eventually developed into a brilliant and enormously influential band. The chances of Taschner having a similar epiphany? Eh, not so much. He's 31 and still can't find the strike zone, and really not worth bothering with anymore (hell Curtis was 20 when his band broke through...he had room to grow!). The Giants added Jeremy Affeldt to the bullpen mix, and he's a guy who can pitch to lefties and stay in to face right-handers. Therefore, it just doesn't make much sense anymore to kowtow to dumb, super-specialized bullpen roles. The Giants just need to focus on getting good pitchers in the bullpen and worry about LOOGYs and whatnot later.

Taschner = not a good pitcher. The Special Agent will probably latch on somewhere. He has that sparkling left arm, after all! But really, folks, I never understood the fascination with the guy. Other than his cool name, that is.

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