Gross may not be the big sexy acquisition but hes the PERFECT fit. A good glove in a corner OF spot, he won't disrupt our OF defense and his hitting style is the one we're lacking most on this club.
Our biggest weakness with hitting is against RHPs with GB tendencies. We'll hit LHP well with a RH heavy lineup. We'll also do 'ok' against RHPs with flyball tendencies considering our lineup is also very GB heavy to fit the park.
Who does Gross hit best? RH pitchers with GB tendencies.
Vs RHB from '06-'08:
.261/.362/.462 with 27 HRs in 636 ABs.
Vs Groundball pitchers (both LH and RH):
2006: 833 OPS
2007: 883 OPS
2008: 799 OPS
The M's LAST year averaged a .683 OPS against groundball pitchers, and a .690 OPS against RHP (versus .750 vs LHP). Losing Ibanez isn't going to help those splits.
With Gross and Zobrist (spotting Betancourt, Lopez, and even Beltre regularly) you'd be adding guys that excel at a MAJOR weakness in your offense. They also fit your defensive plan without giving up too much talent in the process.
The nice thing with Gross is that hes not liable to cost much either and hes off to a slow start thankfully.
Asides from the OF vs GB RH pitching, we pretty don’t have anywhere else to plug a bat. What we COULD use is an upgrade at SS, but that may be difficult to fine.
A more realistic upgrade would be finding a backup LH middle infielder that can hit a little (I’m NOT sold on Cedeno being anything either than terrible with the bat).
Would presume that Gross would cost next to nothing. And he'd create 6.0 runs per 27 outs, or so, vs RHP in part-time play. He might reproduce a Nick Swisher bat, kinda, in spots. In any case, we'll be glad when Ichiro's back and we don't have any more Cedeno-Gutierrez-Chavez outfields trying to contend with actual major league lineups.
Tuesday night, the Mariners had in essence three #4 outfielders, and three glove-specialist #4 outfielders at that. They won, I know, but you aren't going to win many if you have 2 runs after nine innings -- and that against a PCL starter.
Would like more than Gross, but if he's the only option, I'd call and ask the price. Like Taro says, he's got (1) HR's, (2) BB's, and (3) LH'ness. Capt Jack used to call that the Prime Directive, so...
Good points about Wak’s disregarding platoon splits. In the early going, this is a bit of concern, and also the fact that he got Tui *zero* playing time. I understand Tui being the last man in, but a complete snub seems like a mistake. A lot of what I see in Wak I like, but these are two things that seem odd.
In fact, he seems to be ignoring platoon issues to a degree I’m not sure any manager has done, at least in a long time. Add to his disregard of it in creating lineups and offensive substitution the decision to break camp without a lefty in the pen.
We read in the paper that Balentien was dinged up, so yeah, the options have been a bit limited. But has Sweeney been pinch-hitting? Did Tui get up there against any lefties when Darren Oliver came in? Did Junior start in the OF on Opening Day, with Sweeney DH'ing rather than having all the #4 OF's starting at the same time? (I noticed no difficult plays in the outfield all night, by the way.)
We're not busting Wok's chops. Not at all. We're just suggesting that he could move the slider bar towards offense rather than defense, if the M's keep getting locked down.
Tui has evidently understood from the start that this coupla weeks is a reward for him, which is awesome on the M's part. He's become an org Golden Boy -- hey, maybe THE org Golden Boy.
... as it is, Sweeney, Wlad and others are being shorted AB's, so it's hard to get Tui in there.... you sub him in now, and he gets to see 3-4 pitches while super stale from the bench. So we sympathize.
Still and all: the bottom line is, if you're going to start three #4's in the outfield on Opening Day, be prepared to score two runs in regulation, against their number five.
M's should take their 6-2 and run, but be ready to bolster weaknesses.
"Big Crunch" math wiz SABRMatt lands a front punch to the solar plexus:
Doc…I know you acknowledge this:
Johjima: -3 OPS+, last year…a horrible season…64…other catching options close at hand…potentially better than that ... Cedeno: 23 OPS+, career closer to 80 ... [etc]
Let’s not fixate on the 74 team OPS+…they’re going to finish the year near 95 if they make ZERO changes other than swapping out guys like Sweeney if they don’t perform and de-emphasizing Cedeno and Chavez if Wlad hits when he gets ABs…and yes…if you put a 95 OPS+ offense with THIS pitching staff and THIS team defense…they’re competitive. And I don’t mean 85 wins competitive…I mean 2005 Chisox, 2008 Angels competitive.
But even if they don’t win in 2009, what Wakamatsu has accomplished erasing years of negative history and getting this team to focus on the positive…that’s a lot more important IMHO.
Yes I do acknowledge it. :daps: :- )
But after we project these guys back to career norms -- THEN we want to see that one extra notch of offense, because this team has a chance to challenge.
YOU don't mean anything by it, but that phrase "even if they don't win in 2009" contains (for other 'net rats, not you) the cop-out that D-O-V refuses to accept this season. They can win in 2009, and therefore they have the responsibility to win.
With Felix and Bedard breathing fire, and the whole ballclub playing to win, they need to (1) assess weaknesses and then (2) bolster weaknesses. That's a stud short reliever and a lefty bat.
Actually, Zobrist has been a lot better against RHB than LHB in his minor league career (916 career OPS vs RHs). Looks pretty ideal as as the main backup for Betancourt, Lopez, and Beltre (profiles better defensively at 2B/3B, but can play SS too)
What would it cost to get Gross and Zobrist from the Rays? I’m guessing a couple 2nd tier specs.
If you went after Zobrist with a piece the Rays honestly coveted -- let's say a minor league arm they were high on, Juan Ramirez or somesuch .-- then it would be a feasible MLB trade to throw them back Cedeno to cover the UT spot, and the arm is the incentive. That would be worth a call. Aaron Heilman would be a nice offer... :- )
Zobrist might very well turn out to be an ML starter in the infield, and as a switch-hitter with LH pop and speed, it's not hard to imagine him beating out Yuniesky Betancourt. Yes, I know Zobrist isn't a glove specialist at SS. Neither is Frenchy.
It wouldn't be a splash move, but accumulate a few of these ballpark-friendly offensive adaptations and it helps...
These 'net-noodlings on possible trades are just for fun, but hey, they were pretty quick to slam Jaka into RRS' spot. LOL.
Doc...Junior couldn't start the outfield...he was in the original line-up in RF but had tightness in his back and a pretty bad cold to boot so he DH'ed. It would not surprise me if he were out of the line-up tonight.
Ah. Good catch then. Thanks amigo.