Saturday, July 5, 2008

What the Intelligence Community Calls "The Checkables"

So I'm just now getting around to this week-old article by Thom Loverro, mostly about how much better Guzman is since the Lasik.

The article is mostly pretty run-of-the-mill stuff. First we get the typical cherry-picked Guzman stats that make him seem better than he is: "shortstops who bat .315 and lead the league in hits are hard to come by." Nevermind the .309 OBP, which is exceedingly easy to come by.

Then we get the requisite self-serving, but actually-upon-close-inspection-still-dumb quote from JimBo: "A lot of times in Minnesota, he used the turf. We figured he was a .260 hitter out of the Metrodome, because a lot of his hits were bounce and run." Problem: Guzman hit .266 as a Twin overall and just .249 away from the dome.

But those weren't the things that really bugged me. No, it was this little tid-bit at the end:
Bowden said the organization places a high value on looking at players' depth perception.

"We have never drafted a player since I have been here in Washington that we didn't check for depth perception," he said. "We check all of our players."

If that's so, how did Guzman get a $16 million contract when he probably couldn't even see the line on the paper for his signature?

He hadn't been tested, it turns out.

"Guzman's signing did not include a depth perception test due to his performance with the Twins and the scouting reports that did not indicate that there was a potential problem or area of improvement," Bowden wrote in an e-mail.

Now, all players drafted and hitters signed as free agents take an eye test as part of a physical, and the depth perception of all players is tested when they report to spring training, Bowden said.

When I read this I thought maybe my vision was going. Really? We didn't check his vision? Isn't that pretty routine stuff for any player, much less one you're committing to for 4 years and $16m?

I don't want to make too much of it, but this is the kind of thing that is just inexcusable. Like I've said before projecting 19-year-olds into major leaguers is hard, but this sort of thing isn't. This is the kind of thing that just shouldn't even be possible.

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