My Take on "Sherrill's Peril"
Lots of talk today about George Sherrill's struggles in Spring Training, and how Hargrove has basically given him the ultimatum to step up or step down. Since DMZ at USSM has dubbed this talk "Sherrill's Peril" I figured it would be prudent for me to step in and jot down some notes on my thoughts on all this talk.
So, here's what Hargrove has said about George's situation (as quoted in the P-I link above):
"George needs to show us something," Hargrove said. "There is a certain amount of grace (allowed a veteran), but he needs to step up."
The fact that Hargrove considers George a 'veteran' now (and, yes, I know that the parenthetical clause is likely an inserted clarification by the article's author -- but that's been verified by others, too) is somewhat encouraging. But, let's face it, George has been given an opportunity to step up, with the Soriano trade, and with the Putz injury, and at least during spring training, he hasn't exactly grabbed the reins and ran with them. Then again, George never has done well in spring training (9.31 ERA through 2006, with a WHIP well over 2 and a K:BB barely over 1), and his 18.00 ERA this spring is only slightly worse than his 16.50 ERA last spring. And, yes, I know that ST stats are horrible measures, and ERA is a horrible measure, too.
The thing is, George has never had it easy. Never. He's had to fight for everything in his baseball career. He's had to decide to try the Independent Leagues when no MLB team took him in 50 rounds of drafting. He's had to fight patiently to be seen by scouts in the Independent Leagues for four and a half years. When he showed that AA was a breeze for him, and that he could handle AAA players pretty easily, too, he's had to fight to stay focused on getting to the big leagues, when other lesser-effective pitchers kept blowing their performances. He's put up with the pranks pulled on the rookies. Twice. He's understood his role on the team and has done everything his coaches have asked him to do.
George is a fighter. He'll push right on through this battle just like he has every other challenge he's stared in the face at in the past. He may be frustrated, sure, and not quite happy with not being able to get the feel for his stuff. But he's going to come out of this situation just fine.
And he'll have as much fun as he can in the process.
Don't worry, George, we're behind ya 'round here still!