They've got some good discussion over at Viva El Birdos about our old pal, and it's really interesting to look at fans that aren't as familiar as we are with Ponson discuss him. On the one hand, I'm sitting here thinking, "Oh man, they're probably never going to know what the REAL Ponson years were like, and might think we're crazies for hating him so much." On the other hand, it's just fascinating to see other people care about Sidney Ponson and, in a way, kind of prepare themselves for him like he's an atom bomb or something.
I'd love to just let him be their problem, buuuuut I feel compelled to add an update whenever I have a thought or two on whatever, so I'm going to talk about Sidney Ponson some more, one of my favorite hobbies to be sure. I'll keep it brief since it has little to do with us.
I've said this before, I'll say it again - I wish Ponson happiness and whatever else in his personal life. I don't think he's necessarily a bad person or anything. But as a baseball player, and more specifically a Baltimore Oriole, Ponson was a significant waste of time and resources, not to mention a complete malcontent and overall pain in the ass. If he's cleaned up, in something resembling good shape, and has gotten himself on track, that's great. The "willing to fill any role for any team" statement is the ultimate way of giving the impression that he's humbled by the mistakes he's made and willing to start fresh and prove himself.
And therein could lie the biggest problem for the Sidney Ponson Comeback Tour - he's not a good pitcher, and I don't think it has anything to do with his personal problems. His arm was shot this year. Plain and simple, he could not pitch. His velocity was down to the high 80s most nights, occasionally getting up to 90-91 on his fastball. Ponson used to throw 95 with regularity. He's never struck anyone out, and that's because his offspeed stuff is garbage, which has pretty much always been true and was never more true than 2005. He was lobbing meatballs up there with his secondary pitches.
St. Louis is not taking any risk on Ponson. If he can fill their fifth starter spot or be an arm out of the pen and not do damage to their record too frequently, good for them. If he sucks, they can just tell him thanks and good luck in his future endeavors. But it's not fun to discuss anything with the reminder that it's not going to hurt the team even if he stinks.
If you make the question, plain and simple, "Is Sidney Ponson going to be a good pitcher, in whatever role, in 2006?" my answer would immediately be "No," and it's really just due to the fact that he's a shitty pitcher above all else. Ponson could still have a good year or two sometime, sure. I would never count on it, though. I would never sign Ponson expecting him to be of any real help, since it's such a shot in the dark hope that he might be.
Ponson has been quite probably the single worst regular starting pitcher in the majors the last two seasons. I can't see him turning around that quickly to become even league average.
But, hey, whatever. He's not my problem anymore. I still don't wish him good luck as a baseball player.