Saturday, June 27, 2009

More Backe reaction

"It's extremely difficult just the way - I kind of hate to say it - just the way that I was treated," he said. "I was given a schedule of five starts in the minor leagues to get myself rehabbed and back in the rotation. Then they threw another (rehab start) on me at the end to go to Round Rock and pitch. Once that's over with they played the game, 'I don't know what's going on,' until the last minute.

"And then all of the sudden I'm in the bullpen. Mentally that's pretty frustrating. Then not only being in the bullpen but just getting, so to speak, 'scrap' work. It's difficult. I was thrown into something that was out of the norm and was expected to do well, apparently. And it was tough to just battle the mental demons inside of just being treated the way that I was."


Let's be honest here. This was on the wall a long time ago, but 2009 could have been avoided. Because Backe deserved better than this. As soon as I get a chance, we'll do a career retrospective, but there was a lot of whining on the part of Backe - some of it justified.

But the whole thing could have been avoided by simply not renewing his contract in December. Backe was moderately healthy, was coming off Tommy John surgery (from which he was rushed back too soon), and that should have been it. Instead he was put through a spring of fighting for SP5. A freak slip off the putching rubber, and it derailed his season, maybe his career.

He was mishandled for six months, and that rests squarely on Ed Wade. I wish him the best, and give him a cap tip. After all, if Cardinals fans hate him, he's alright with me.


Seth said...

Look... I love Brandon Backe. I'll never forget that start he made against the Cardinals... That is etched into my memory forever.

If you can have 25 major league ball players with his level of intensity, you would win a lot of games (and probably a lot of fights too).

But... Backe is and always has been a below average major league pitcher. He has always walked way too many and sometimes I think that intensity worked to his detriment. This has been a long time coming... and the Astros have definitely went about it the wrong way. They could have been up front about him landing a spot in the bullpen instead of jerking him around about being a starter. I wish it wouldn't have happened to him, although part of me is relieved that he is no longer an option to make a start.

I know this is a pipe dream at best... but I wish he could head to Round Rock and figure it out. People recovering from Tommy John sometimes just need a loooooong time to get the feeling and control back. Maybe by September... or Hell, even next year... he could be ready to go.

German Rodriguez said...

I agree with Backe on the way the Astros had him rehab. They were making him work long innings to stretch out his possible starts. Then when he is ready he gets thrown in the bullpen and gets called into the game in unfavorable situations. Backe to me seems like an emotional pitcher, if he is angry or upset he seems not to perform well. I am not a Major League pitcher but to me that would be a different mind set to be in that reliever role coming into games with men on base (possibly in scoring position). I cannot remember exactly what the rotation looked like when he was ready to join the Astros, but I do remember that there was a chance to make room for him. Would it have made a difference? Maybe. If they had made him a starter and he still performed the way he has been performing, then I would not have this excuse for him.