Postgame Spread
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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The more things change...    

Guess what? Here's everyone's favorite bit (from the official website):

As the old adage says: If it ain't broke, don't' fix it.

"We know when we need [Jones], he's going to be there, and he's going to be ready," McLaren said. "In the meantime, the mix we've got going now is playing well, and that's how we look at it."

In the meantime, Ibañez, Guillen and Ichiro have held their own in the outfield. Combined, they have a .294 batting average. Ibañez is second on the team with 24 two-out RBIs, Ichiro is third (22) and Guillen is fifth (16).

Their combined average? Their two-out RBIs? Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhh! How about you look at, say, Ibañez combined average with himself, as opposed to giving him credit for Ichiro's hitting?

Allow me to remind everyone:

Ibañez, July: .184, .241, .262, for a .503 OPS
Ibañez v LHP, 2007: .245, .263, .300, for a .563 OPS
Ibañez v LHP, 2006: .243, .301, .362, for a .663 OPS

There's no indication he could possibly do a good job against lefties for the rest of the year (or ever again), and he's in a complete tailspin overall. Moreover, he might just be the worst defensive left fielder in baseball. Outside of the Pirates, is there another team that would let this continue?

I have to let this go. It has become a daily frustration that is has me in a bad mood way more than it should. But. It. Is. Just. So. Maddening. This team barely has a shot at the playoffs as it is, and its few valuable resources continue to be woefully mismanaged. With Reitsma out and no overvalued veteran available to step into his place, the bullpen issues should sort themselves out just fine. And the team has so far done a pretty good job of getting pretty good value out of a pretty bad rotation. So it's mostly down to the lineup.

And it's really not that hard to fix. There are no adequate replacements for Lopez or Betancourt, so we just have to suffer through their lack of production, same for Johjima if he doesn't break out of his slump. Beltre and Ichiro are on a tear and should be playing every day, and Jones should be playing virtually every day, for his defense if nothing else.

Against LHP

Ibañez and Broussard should both sit. That means Jones, Sexson, Guillén, and Vidro should all have positions. Finding at-bats for Bloomquist at 2B isn't even a bad idea against LHP, because Lopez has been so bad and Bloomquist actually hits lefties ok.

Against RHP

Broussard should start at least 9 out of every 10 games in which we face a RH starter. Sexson doesn't have a particularly strong platoon split, but he is really bad, so that could be at 1B every time, as far as I'm concerned. They used to be comparably bad defensively, but Richie has gotten bad enough that Ben is almost certainly better. Guillén has a sizeable platoon split this year, but he's still hitting righties better than Ibañez lately and had no real split earlier in his career, so I still think he should be starting most of the time. Ibañez can take turns spelling Jones and Guillén in the OF from time to time, but should probably get most of his at-bats at DH. That relegates Sexson and Vidro to the bench, but they can spot start from time to time, since neither of them hit righties significantly worse than lefties.

That's it. That's all it would take to give this team a fighting chance at the playoffs. And if you pulled a softer version of that same plan, you could even probably keep Ibañez and Sexson in the lineup often enough that they would look almost like every day players. If you really wanted, that is. Let Jones spell Ichiro in center every once in a while, and it's even easier. Or if Vidro stays hot, make up an injury to Ibañez or something so he can save a little face, then there are even less things to think about.

This desperately needs to go down. Given how concerned they are about chemistry and keeping the veterans happy and the like, I think the soft platooning is a good idea. Let the announcement be all about how Jones is coming up to give our overworked veterans a few days off, whatever. Let him "spell" one of Ibañez, Guillén, Ichiro, and Vidro (with Ibañez actually being the one at DH) every day. Make up an injury to Ellison or go with a 6 man bullpen to make it happen. But make it happen.

3 Comments:

  • P.S. I forgot to say thank you for not making any stupid trades. I do really appreciate that.

    By Blogger Jesse, at 3:53 PM  

  • Ibanez hit well last night. Therefore you are completely wrong. (Kidding, of course.)

    What's probably happening is a personal thing, not a baseball thing. I bet Ibanez is either a great guy that everyone's privately pulling for, or an Ugueth Urbina type that everyone's privately terrified by. They're obviously not looking at the "outfield average" and resting on their laurels... even the guy who traded for Horacio Ramirez can't possibly rationalize it that way.

    There could also be contractual issues. Maybe Jones would reach an arbitration level sooner if he's given X number of service days. I have no idea, but I do recall Mo Vaughn's service time being fucked with, quite deliberately, by the Sox front office back in the 90's.

    Still, it's surprising that the Seattle front office can watch guys like Butler and Braun make an immediate impact on their teams at positions of weakness, see themselves only a few games behind a severely vulnerable division leader, and not think to give Jones so much as a cup of coffee.

    Also, shouldn't they be considering playoff eligibility in their decision-making process as well? Would Jones be eligible if they wait until September? I don't think so. (Nice to think about those sorts of things though, eh?)

    By Blogger Jeff, at 12:42 PM  

  • Quickly, before I post about this weekend, I would just like to say that arbitration etc. had nothing to do with this decision after June 1, before which it wouldn't have been that reasonable to do anything. He was not about to amass more service time, contractually speaking, for the rest of this year.

    Also, it may not seem like it but I like Ibanez a lot. I am pulling for him. I hope he is a fucking fantastic platoon DH for the rest of the year. That is all he can do now, kthnx.

    By Blogger Jesse, at 4:22 AM  

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