Worry or concern?
My late father always used to correct me when I would accuse him of being worried about something.
“I’m not worried son,” he would say. “I’m concerned. There’s a difference.”
I was thinking about that on the drive up to Phoenix from Tucson this morning while pondering the performance of the Arizona bullpen this spring. Should we be worried or concerned?
The truth is, I don’t know for sure and neither does anyone else. Look, there’s no getting around the fact that the numbers are ugly. Do they matter? Well, no in the sense that Spring Training numbers don’t count (this is the old “they don’t put Spring Training numbers on the back of your baseball card” deal). And there have been plenty of instances where a player has had a bad spring and then been terrific during the regular season.
So it’s certainly possible that Jon Rauch is working on a new pitch and when the bell rings he will be fine. But it’s also fair to be slightly concerned at some of these numbers that are being put up right now.
GM Josh Byrnes told me yesterday that he is not concerned about the competition for the final three spots in the bullpen at this point because each of the seven players battling for it have had some manner of success this spring. Again, that’s true and could be a very fair way of looking at it.
And the team is always quick to point out that it likes to focus on “track records” of players rather than the small sample of spring games. Of course then that does not necessarily hold when part of the rationale for optimism about Travis Blackley is how he pitched against Cuba in the WBC or how Juan Gutierrez pitched over the winter (as opposed to all last summer in Triple-A).
So to be fair let’s not be worried about the Arizona bullpen right now. Concern on the other hand, yeah we can have plenty of that.