Thoughts of a Dry Brain in Cold Season (Bat571)

The above picture is of the Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 "Big Boy" locomotive, one of the largest and most powerful locomotives ever built. The M's now have their own "Big Boy" in Dae Ho Lee.

I really like the signing. McGrath's take on it at TNT ( is well worth the read. Summary: He's a good guy who has real talent. He's going to be fun to watch.

There is some question as to whether the Ms will give Montero a shot at the platoon spot in Spring Training and to start the season and put Lee in Tacoma to get acclimated. My guess is that Montero would have to set Arizona on fire, because I think Lee is going to come in and diddly-bop his way with the pitchers he sees until his worth is established.

We may in fact see him become the dominant member of a 1B platoon early on, instead of Lind, since his platoon split is reputedly fairly small (does IcebreakerX have any good data from Japanese sites? - b-ref doesn't have it). Does an .800+ OPS out of the 1B platoon sound good to anyone else?

And expecting his NPB numbers (OPS .858) to carry over might be a stretch, but Adam Lind has averaged an OPS of .845 over the past 3 years, so going with the hot hand against RH and hitting Lee against LH should give some decent results. I'd take an .820 without regret.

Seeing him rifle doubles off the wall and moon shot the 'Pen is going to put butts in seats as the word gets around. This looks like one of those cases where the "good night at the ballpark" bias of the M's FO might work to build a winner as well. If he's got himself in somewhat better shape than the video shows, his ability to last the season will be enhanced (although the NPB season is almost as long, the travel is much less of an issue). But he also sounds like a great interview and an endearing character - an XXXL Munenori Kawasaki?

Churchill at PI laments the loss of bench flexibility with either Lee or Montero being rostered. With the AAA club at Tacoma being staffed with some interesting talent, part of DiPoto's emphasis on depth, I just don't get this. Now if Lee AND Montero are complete busts, that's one thing. But Lee's track record is stronger than just about any NPB slugger since Hideki Matsui - do people really, truly, expect him to bust here?

Finally, in a division with Cole Hamels, Derek Holland, Martin Perez, Dallas Keuchel, C.J. Wilson, and Hector Santiago to start against us (the M's will likely see Hamels and Holland in 2 of their first 3 games), and Sipp, Diekman, Doolittle, Rzepcynski, Alvarez, et al, in the AL West bullpens, signing Lee looks like another coup for DiPoto, rather than a move to be lamented because of a loss of flexibility.





As you bring up those cringe-inducing names on the LHP list ... pinch-hitting can be a bit tough at C.  And in RF, Gutierrez' energy is up one day and down the next, so he might or might not be freely available.  But what reason would there be not to use Lee off the bench for Lind or any LH bat?  

Same is true with Montero, natch.  But Lee would be quite the fan-friendly image on TV, coming into the game from the on-deck circle ...


I'd love to see him do a Sumo wrestler high step warm up as he steps from the on-deck circle to the plate with men on late in the game. As long as he has that 1000 watt smile on his face, would a pitcher deck him, knowing he also has taken a few HBPs - 10 per season average - in his day? (I guess if Pierzynski was catching, he'd call it - but he's also about the only catcher now that Mauer has moved to 1B that is close to Lee's size).


How happy can you be with 1 or 2 of Lind, Cruz and Lee on your bench most days (maybe 2 sitting only happens 3 times or so,all 3 starting might happen more than that).  That is seeming pretty likely the 3 that will be there and there's problems with that.

2 of them are Free Agents at the years end.   The other is a guy who could decline at any point.  I'm not saying he will or even hoping he will. 

Jesus Montero hit that point where his talent alone wasn't enough to keep him on top.   His initial reaction to that may not have been ideal but he has now been putting in the work and even put up numbers in AAA least year.  He's 26.  He's got club control years ahead of him and nobody thinks he's got much of a market.  If he were on another team there would have probably been people here saying the Mariners should go after him early in the offseason.   But now we are thinking they should sell low and keep 1 year vets.

Unless DJ gets in gear this year there's not much left here that looks like they can hit well enough for corner IF.  Maybe Lee signs a longer contract next offseason or even during the season.  Lind re-signing?  I don't know if that's the right move, forcing yourself in to a 1b platoon again when you have fewer options for the partner in house.  It might have to do then, after Lee signs elsewhere. 

Looking quickly at next year's FA 1bmen...Smoak, Morrison, Trumbo and Morse, oh my.   Encarnacion is enticing.  To many teams and one will surely pay big.  Not many good 1bmen out there, are there?  It's good to feel blessed for 1 year at least. 


morrison, morse and trumbo! That's crazy! And scary...


I'd keep Montero over Lee. Lee is on a minor league contract, he doesn't have to hit The Show early in the season. I still think Montero can hit in the bigs and he's the best option for the next few seasons. 


Lind on a one year deal...and Montero's gone if Lee gets the job.  

Which leaves us with a 34-year-old lamppost on defense as our full time first baseman next year.  


I think that Lee can void his deal if he's not on the 25-man when they break camp. So DiPoto knows that he's going to lose one of them, it's just a matter of who. Montero is going to have to earn it, as it should be. 

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