Jeff Larish: Don’t Fight the Power


I’m doing that thing again where I weakly profile each of the announced non-roster invitees to Phillies Spring Training.  I’ve already compared Justin De Fratus to a fork and Pete Orr to Vlad Guerrero, so if you want to start being confused about whatever I say regarding Jeff Larish, now’s the time.

Scott Boras means trouble; they’ve changed the rules of baseball numerous times because of his actions.  I don’t even really know what he looks like, but his role is more of a “cackling devil,” with his hand on the shoulder of high paid baseball players all over the league.  When he’s the one whispering commands, chances are the end result will be a decision based on the self, rather than the team, which may or may not be entirely deserved.

So its always nice to see another member of your organization show up with his name on the Boras Corporation client list.

Welcome, Jeff Larish!

In the 1990s, Santo Domingo was pushing to host the 2003 Pan American Games–in which all countries from an “America” continent hold a private Olympics and indirectly tell the Western Hemisphere to go fuck itself, while the Western Hemisphere fails to realize what’s even going on.

The Dominican city got it, and by the year in question, the place was overrun with Americans.  The U.S., of course, pre-registered the most athletes with an overwhelming 713, who stampeded into the host nation, won 270 medals, and immediately left.  The closest runner-up was Cuba, who walked away with 152 medals.  Nothing was televised.

During these games, a young, randomly positioned (1B/3B/LF/DH) ex-Sun Devil named Jeff Larish was storming the base paths as the U.S. would leave the baseball competition with its finest record ever at the time, going 27-2.  The barbaric rampage on which the team had embarked was sliced in half by a vengeful batch of Cubans, who made sure the Americans would have to choke down a silver medal, making it pretty much not even worth the trip.  Rumors have it that the U.S. coach, disgusted, hurled the medal into traffic as they left the stadium, causing a massive pile-up and thousands of deaths (EDITOR’S NOTE: This certainly did not happen).

There was no reason to doubt Jeff’s power.  Doing so would be like seeing a bear rip a mailbox out of the ground and wield it like a sledge hammer, then swearing you’d seen such an instance before on a nature program.

In the 2005 College World Series, Jeff hit three home runs in a single game, gaining him godlike powers and a stadium full of apostles, all ravenous to bow before him and praise what seemed to be unquenchable power.  He hit .333 career at AS, with the second most dingers in school history (51), and easily waltzed onto their all-decade team (along with 2009 Phillies NRI Tuffy Gosewisch).

Jeff, however, scored the only run in the 3-1 loss to Cuba, bringing a small shred of joy to an otherwise disappointing contest.  His performance at the games, as well as prior at Arizona State, gained him the eye of the Dodgers, who drafted him in 2004 in the 15th round when nobody was paying attention, offering $660,000.

Because of the presence of a dollar sign, Scott Boras appeared materialized in a puff of red mist and the screams of the damned,  and waved off the advance.  Jeff wanted to finish college, he explained.  We’re not interested.  He hadn’t been interested three years prior, either, when the Cubs had tried to forcibly escort Jeff into Chitown in the 32nd round.

Fate pointed Jeff toward Toldeo, where he dwelled in the Tigers Triple-A sub basement until July 25, 1010, when destiny came back around and fractured Magglio Ordonez’s ankle.

Back in April, Carlos Guillen had popped a bum hamstring, and with the two of them on the Tigers DL, suddenly the door was open, and in came a guy named Jeff Larish, fresh out of the Mud Hens’ coop.

He appeared in three games, singled twice, and then Jhonny Peralta showed up in Detroit and Jeff was DFA’d five days later, leaving him naked in the breeze to be snatched up by a faltering A’s squad.

Now, he’s with us, on a minor league, quietly awaiting the arrival of Spring Training for a chance to crack open the Majors and make the mark he has utterly failed to make in the past.   “Larish has raw power,” John Parent explains, “but hasn’t been productive when given Major League opportunities.”

We all know how easy it is to be a Major League baseball player, so this is next to inexcusable.

It’s clear that there is a once inexhaustible power source lurking just under the surface.  Could Jeff have peaked in Tempe, possibly during the very CWS game that saw him punch the cover off the ball on three separate occasions?  His ML appearances to date seem to indicate it, but with the right amount of coercing, perhaps the Phillies will see a proud, resurgent reload of Jeff’s power; and then get to take advantage of it before Scott Boras comes in and starts eating dreams.