jump to navigation

New 3B? Thursday, May 27, 2010

Posted by jkcmason in Mariners.
1 comment so far

This post is not based off of any reports or rumors. It is simply a thought that has been bouncing through my mind that I wanted get peoples opinions about.

I love trying to predict what players have the potential to break out and finding undervalued guys around the league. Players that could potentially help the Mariners. I enjoy rooting for a comeback player and the thought that just a simple change of scenery can completely revamp a player.

This is why when I look at Alex Gordon I wonder how our front office isn’t drooling. I want Alex Gordon in a Mariners uniform. I will give my left pinky toe if they can work out a deal today, and then I will go out tomorrow and buy and Alex Gordon Mariner’s uniform.

If there were ever two players that needed a change of scenery they are Alex Gordon and Jose Lopez.

The Kansas City Royals have lost faith in Gordon and have shipped him back to the minors where he is learning to play left field. With his limited look in the minors Gordon is destroying the ball. He currently has a 1.203 OPS in his 77 at bats in Omaha.

Jose Lopez had a very solid year in 2009. He hit 25 home runs with 96 RBIs and an OPS of .766 and surprisingly average defense at second base. How do the fans and front office reward one of the only above average bats in the lineup? The fans basically abandoned him and asked for him to be traded because he doesn’t play a Zduriencik style of baseball. The front office promptly signed a new second baseman and made Lopez change positions to increase his trade value. It is kinda easy to understand that the guy is suddenly hitting .213 with 1 home run and a .505 OPS. I sure wouldn’t be incredibly motivated to play here.

What do I like about Gordon?

1- He has potential

in 2005 he was named the No. 1 college draft prospect by Baseball America as well as the 2nd-best overall prospect, best pure collegiate hitter, the 2nd-best collegiate 5-tool talent, 2nd-best collegiate power hitter, best collegiate strike-zone judgment and 2nd-closest to the Majors among collegiate players.

In 2007 and 2008 he put up decent numbers between the ages of 23 and 24. In 2009 and 2010 he did not played to potential, but he is still only 26 years old.

2- He has a more patient left handed bat that could fit well in Safeco field and the Mariner’s lineup.

3- He is a new face that could help the team wake up. Players like Figgins, Bradley and Kotchman need something to change.

4- If the Royals have lost faith in him then he likely will not be incredibly expensive to acquire.

5- His defense is nothing spectacular, but is solid.

It would likely take two separate trades or a three way deal to bring Gordon to Seattle. The Royals will not be excited about Lopez because they currently have Alberto Callaspo to play second base and Mike Moustakas is deemed to be their 3B of the future and he is playing extremely well in AA Northwest Arkansas.

I can see how some people might not agree with me on this post. as there is potential for Gordon to block a player like Ackley. In my opinion it is never a bad idea to improve the team that you put on the field.

Advertisements

And the Scapegoat for the slow start is… Ken Griffey Jr! Thursday, May 20, 2010

Posted by jkcmason in Mariners.
2 comments

Last year the new look Mariners under Jack Zduriencik and Don Wakamatsu brought entertainment back to Seattle baseball.  The Mariners went from a team that was struggling in most aspects of the game to group of guys that won in an unconventional way.  Baseball was once again a hot topic in Seattle.  After an offseason that brought in key players like Cliff Lee and Chone Figgins this year the Mariners have gotten out to a slow start.  The team is underperforming and fans are starting to ask for change and point fingers at certain individuals within the team.  Sounds like a bad time to fall asleep in the clubhouse. 

The first person that fans are pointing their fingers at is Ken Griffey Jr.  Case and point for this track of thought is one of the more recent posts from Dave Cameron:

http://www.ussmariner.com/2010/05/19/respect/

Dave Cameron is a very smart baseball mind with great analytical skills, but I hate this post, and I disagree with anyone who thinks that the team should force him to retire.

I want to make it clear that this article is not a defense of Griffey’s abilities or numbers.  I do not expect Ken Griffey Jr. to blow up and come through for the Mariners.  The most I can hope for from a healthy Griffey this year is a .220 batting average, and 5 or 6 homeruns.  Ken Griffey Jr is a lefty bat off the bench that gives fans a reason to smile.

There are a couple questions that I want to ask every single person who is asking for Griffey to retire.

– Why is Griffey in this position?

Griffey is filling a hole in a lineup that was not filled during the offseason.  As I said earlier his position on this team should be an off the bench left handed bat who fills in occasionally at DH.  The Mariners sat back this offseason when players like Vladimir Guerrero and Hideki Matsui signed elsewhere.  Rather than being a little more aggressive and signing a true impact DH, the team waited for a bargain to fall through the cracks that they could sign at a discount.  When we got to the point in the offseason where bargains were available it seemed that the players were too old (Delgado & Thome), not built for Safeco Field (Glaus & Dye), or not as good as they appeared (Huff).  Everyone knew that Griffey wasn’t going to be a force to be reckoned with at the plate, but nobody else was a decent option.  When the Mariners didn’t act, Griffey was the player left to fill the spot.  The front office couldn’t have expected Griffey to hit well this year, based on his performance the past two years.

– If Griffey were to retire right now who would step into his roll and help this lineup?

The only players that come to mind are Milton Bradley, Mike Sweeney, and Mike Carp. 

Milton Bradley is the best hitter of this group, but you really aren’t replacing Griffey with Bradley in this scenario.  You are replacing Griffey with Saunders.  Milton Bradley was already our starting left fielder and the new addition to the lineup would be Michael Saunders.  I like Saunders a lot and he eventually has all of the tools to become an above average hitter, but he is still young and a below average bat.  There is a reason why the team bats him 8th or 9th

I can hear people saying it already “Mike Sweeney is a good hitter when he gets consistent playing time.  The guy was on a tear during that three game span.”  I hate to break your hearts, but Mike Sweeney is not going to be the type of bat that will suddenly turn this lineup around.  He does have a better bat than Junior, and I would encourage Wakamatsu to start him more than Griffey, but he will still be just another hitter in a weak lineup.

Mike Carp is the last of the in house options that I will cover and he did have an OPS of .878 at the end of last year.  Mike Carp does get on base, but he lacks the power.  Sweeney would be a better addition to the lineup than Carp.  The only real reason that Carp would be called up is as an injury replacement, or if the Mariners throw in the towel and look to give the young players some experience.

– Is Griffey really the main reason that this team is struggling?

The simple answer is no.  I agree that the DH position is currently a huge hole in the lineup, DH is the easiest position in the game to fill with an impact bat, and Griffey should not be a starting DH.  It is still only one spot in a lineup that consists of 9 players.  There are currently only two players that pitchers even recognize stepping up to the plate for the Mariners.  Let’s go player by player around the diamond:

DH – Ken Griffey Jr. – .183 Avg / .449 OPS

      Mike Sweeney – .220 Avg / .706 OPS

C – Rob Johnson – .180 Avg / .622 OPS

      Adam Moore – .193 Avg / .519 OPS

1B – Casey Kotchman – .197 Avg / .631 OPS

2B – Chone Figgins – .194 Avg / .573 OPS

SS – Jack Wilson – .253 Avg / .622 OPS

3B – Jose Lopez – .215 Avg / .511 OPS

LF – Milton Bradley – .230 Avg / .700 OPS

CF – Franklin Gutierrez – .294 Avg / .826 OPS

RF – Ichiro Suzuki – .349 Avg / .830 OPS

Thank god for Gutierrez and Ichiro, because aside from them nobody in this lineup is hitting well.

– How did you expect Griffey to hit this year?

Honestly, did you really think Griffey was going to suddenly revert back to his abilities from 5-10 years ago?  Be realistic.  We knew before the season started that he was going to be a bad hitter.  Even though the front office and everyone in Seattle knew Griffey was going to be a below average hitter, the front office sent him out there to fail and the city is now turning on him.  He is doing what everyone expected.  The only suprise is that the front office didn’t go out there and get someone better as a DH. 

Griffey is not to blame.  Personally, I believe Wak, GMZ and the rest of the front office should never have put him in this position.

I think that it might be time to switch things around a little bit.  My Suggestions:

  • Bat Figgins first and Ichiro second and at least see if that could snap Figgins out of his slump.
  • We need to look into getting a different catcher because neither of ours could even hit off of Bobby Ayala.  Chris Snyder and Bengie Molina could be available allowing for some salary relief.  It would be fun to see if Snyder would catch Cliff Lee.
  • Make a small move or two to bring in a player that might still have some potential at a lower cost. (cough cough Alex Gordon cough).
  • Please don’t sign Burrell.
  • Use Sweeney as the Primary DH and move Griffey to the roll he belongs in.

Why make Griffey retire when nobody on the team is hitting the ball.  Don’t run him out of Seattle, reduce his role to where it should be.  Getting rid of him will not make this team noticeably better.  We should be making some adjustments to wake up underperforming players like Figgins, Lopez, & Bradley.  Make a small move or two to bring in a player with upside at a low cost and go after a replacement DH when teams finally come down to earth on asking prices… if we are still in it at that point.