Gone is the Big Red Machine analogue of April. And I miss it.
Wasn't it The Bard who penned, "O Robbie-o! Wherefore art thou Robbie-o?"
OK, we have a 5-game WC lead on the Orcs and 9.5 on TBR. There is some breathing room. But, in case you missed it, we've a dinged up pitching staff (hopefully no worse than that for Zeus) and we have some offensive issues, sort of.
OK, sure, Segura (.326/.820), Haniger (18 HR's/.853), Cruz (Ageless Male/22 HR's/.901) and Span (I was wrong about him/.310/.843 since coming over) are raking and packing our water. Plus, Healy (18 HR's/.726/99 OPS+), Seager (16 HR's/.717/98 OPS) and Gamel (.297/.370 vR) are chipping in. In fact, you could say two guys on pace for 26-30 HR's and another hitting .300 vR are doing WAY more than chipping in. Did the Big Red Machine have three "secondary" guys do that?
With Cano coming back soon-ish and with the guys above, we've sort of got a critical offensive mass that makes prolonged slumps mostly impossible. More on Robbie later.
Our "sort of" offensive issues? Well, our lead-off guy has an OBP of .305, has EXACTLY as many Caught Stealings as he does Walks (6, really), is on pace for a whole 29 SB's, and at .78.4% isn't THAT great of a basestealer, anyway. Our everyday CF is spiraling toward the ground and his history of batting issues in August/September doesn't bode well (despite the recent 2 double game we all squealed about). Finally, our Catcher better be able to steal some strikes (as recently indicated) because he's striking out in 39% of his AB's. Admittedly, those guys do (Zunino/Gordon) or may (Heredia) bring some defensive value......but they better, as their bats mostly aren't helping. They aren't exactly black holes, considering our bashing ability elsewhere, but they have particular issues, all the same.
So that brings us to Cano and where do you play him? 1B or back to 2B?
I can't believe we're moving him to 1B right now, considering he's never played a professional game there. His career dates back to 2001, I remind you. OK, 1B isn't defensive brain surgery, but unless we see him get some AAA time there before he's rostered again, we know that isn't happening. And you would bench a 30 HR guy, anyway. I'm not quite buying that. So that leaves 2B for Robbie, and then Gordon's defensive value is removed. So then you move Gordon back to CF and you lose there, too, even if Heredia may be iffy in center. Doesn't one of the age-old baseball idioms refer to being strong defensively up the middle? Hmmmmmmm? All the same, you add .287-.385-.441 to the lineup and you can stand for a bit of defensive gaffe. And that goes doubly if Zeus is dinged up...of even if he and Marco get reduced loads for the rest of the season.
So Gordon is going to the OF; I think that is the very safe bet. To tell you the truth, his '18 .629 OPS vR (despite a .317 BABIP) really indicates that a better solution is to platoon him with Gamel.....but THAT solution thinks WAY too much out of the box for even Dipoto to buy in. And if Gordon goes to the OF then Heredia (likely) is out of a job, which doesn't bother me very dang much. However, even that creates a problem, because you have to give Gordon some 2B reps because he becomes out everyday 2B as soon as the WC game gets her (or the playoffs, if we can reel in the Astros).
Admittedly, there are worse problems to have than figuring out how to best use Robbie Cano.
BTW, I find this very interesting: Kyle Seager is a career .267-.342-.458 hitter vR with a .287 BABIP. The modern shift is really killing him. He's at .214-.263-.416 vR this season. the BABIP is .229. Seager's on pace to bring more than a Win of defensive performance to the M's AND he gong to hit his 25-26 HR's again...so he's a still worth a lot but I'm going to enjoy watching if his shift solution is to try to pull and elevate MORE or go the other way now and again. He's hit 8 GB's to the left side of the infield all season, 6 of them have resulted in hits. https://www.fangraphs.com/spraycharts.aspx?playerid=9785&position=3B&typ...
As always, your mileage may vary. Go team!
Sometimes for unexpected reasons, as mistakes have a way of biting you in the rear when you least expect it.
I am speaking, of course, of the Reds trading Bernie Carbo. Almost cost them a World Series.
...does this remove the possibility of his being named a replacement All-Star, as he would then immediately need to be replaced himself? Or does that actually happen - next most deserving guy can't go, but is named anyway?
Cano to 2B on a regular basis ignores the fact that Robby can't play in the playoffs. You have to let Gordon play 2B enough to stay sharp. DiPoto said this plainly, and he's right.
Mariners hobbling towards the All-Star Break, getting blown out again tonight by The Continental Divides. Imperative the M's start well after the ASB.
Even mentioned it above. But the alternative is benching a 30 HR guy and that is likely worse. Giving Gordon enough 2B reps to stY prepared isn’t a difficult deal. Either way, if Cano gets a bunch of 1B reps during a rehab assignment, then we will have a clue.
BTW Gordon has shown he can get thrown into 2B and not miss a beat fwiw