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Friday, March 14, 2008

Keep Jorge Julio in the Minors: day one of the movement

Posted By on Fri, Mar 14, 2008 at 8:51 AM

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Jorge Julio: Whatever happens, don't believe the hype.
Jorge Julio is one of those guys who’s made a career out of the modern dearth of big-league pitching. In the last three years, he’s been on five teams, and thoroughly disgusted them all. Now he’s in Winter Haven, Florida, fighting for a roster spot on the Indians. He won’t get one. But just wait until June, or even May, when Joe Borowski’s got a broken pinky toe and Rafael Betancourt and Masahide Kobayashi are splitting closing duties, and Aaron Fultz has a hyperextended left something, and Aaron Laffey’s dead. That’s when Julio, at that point putting up good numbers against 18-year-olds for the Buffalo Bisons (which, by the way, is kind of a redundant name when you think about it), starts appealing to Tribe coaches. And that’s when all hell breaks lose. ... I’m not one of those bitter fans who wishes ill upon players. If you’ve made it to the Bigs, you should be respected for your hard work and sweet andro connection. Even more so when you come from a third-world country (Julio’s Venezuelan). If you’ve managed to work your way from a rock with some twine wrapped around it to Major League Baseball, you deserve to make that much money for seven months’ work. But, according to Baseball-Reference.com, Julio’s made almost $10 million in his career. If he spends the rest of his playing days in towns that sound like their biggest business might be an RV dealership, his family will be just fine, and he’ll still be a hero in Caracas. And if you’re wondering why I’m so adamant about the guy staying in Buffalo, it’s because you haven’t seen him pitch. I was living in New York when Julio played for the Mets. He spent two-and-a-half months with the Mets before they traded him to the Orioles, finishing his NY stint with a glorious 1-2 record and a 5.06 ERA. Numbers can be forgiven; shit, Borowski had a 5.00 ERA last year. But where Borowski—no Dennis Eckersley himself—finagles out of really crappy scenarios he puts himself in, Julio has a knack for taking neat leads and smashing them gruesomely like Gallagher might a watermelon. In one of his last games, against the Yankees, he gave up yet another lead, and as he was yanked from the mound, the crowd started chanting “Foolio!” To be sure, Major League front offices rarely take into the account the antics of a crowd. But, come on—Foolio? The Mets brass had to have noticed—and he was gone after his next outing. The next year, he was given a chance at being the Marlins’ closer, and had one of the more disastrous months possible, going 0-3 in save opportunities and racking up a 12.54 ERA before being traded to Colorado. This guy’s a poor man’s Jose Mesa, and I believe that says it all. Plus, he looks damn good in Bison burgundy. – Gus Garcia-Roberts

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