I like Derrick Turnbow. It's hard not to. I want him to succeed, and as long as he can maintain a reasonable level of competence on the mound, I'd like him to stick around in Milwaukee.
But right now, I like him a good bit less. Tom H has the scoop:
Brewers reliever Derrick Turnbow is so upset over being relegated to what he calls a "mop-up" role in the bullpen that he asked his agent to contact general manager Doug Melvin to see what the plans are for the beleaguered right-hander.
Funny how these things work. You pitch poorly, and you move down a rung (or four) in the pecking order. Oh, but wait--there must be a reason why he's so upset. Surely he didn't deserve the demotion, right?
One of the major league leaders with 33 "holds" last year in a set-up role in front of departed closer Francisco Cordero, Turnbow has pitched in four games this season, all with the Brewers behind in the score. His latest outing came Tuesday night against St. Louis, when he entered in the eighth inning with the Brewers behind, 4-1, and surrendered two runs on four hits.
Ah, he got 33 holds. Fortunately, hold numbers aren't as easy to track down as saves, but I seem to recall a whole lot of those came in the first half. In the second half last year, D-Bow had an ERA over 6, and came perilously close to walking a batter per inning.
Turnbow might have a case if:
- he had been good in recent memory.
- he had dominated in his mop-up appearances this year.
- Ned had clearly selected a set-up man.
- he were arguably one of the best two or three relievers in the pen.
None of those are true. Not one.
I don't really know how to take this, though, because aside from requesting the meeting, Derrick is saying the right things:
"That's the way the game is. You've got to earn your right every day you're here to be in that set-up role. I've got to go out there and prove I'm worthy of doing it."
"I've just got to go out there and show them I can throw strikes, and things will change. That's the whole key. If I keep throwing strikes and the results come, maybe I'll get the opportunity to pitch in some close games. It's a long season and a lot of time left, so we'll see what happens."
Yep, key phrase there: "if the results come." We haven't seen results from Derrick for a long time, and there are plenty of options on the depth chart ahead of him.
Talking to Melvin, whining to the media, you can do whatever you want, but the only thing that's going to get Turnbow high-leverage innings is performance. (Okay, with Ned, it's a little more complicated than that, but that's the basic idea.) He seems to get it...except for the very thing that makes this a story: having his agent talk to the GM about a role he has all but said he doesn't deserve right now.
Offhand, I can think of 3.2 million reasons why D-Bow ought to accept his role and keep his (and his agent's) mouth shut.