With tonight’s 4-4, two-homer game, Ichiro is suddenly hitting a robust .347/.390/.474 and is on pace to hit 17 homers. For reference, he hit 16 homers combined in his first two seasons on this side of the Pacific. Strangely, though, that’s his only power number that’s up — his doubles are right in line with the past two years (if not down slightly), and his triples are actually down. Hmm.
Also, I just noticed that ESPN.com added Ichiro’s stats from Japan to his career stats page. Very cool. Funny, though, they didn’t do the same for Kazuhiro Sasaki or Shigetoshi Hasegawa…
As long as we’re talking about potential upgrades, I happen to disagree about LF. Winn doesn’t have a large contract — he’s only making $3.3M, and he’s only signed through this season. You could still go out an acquire a big-hitting LF guy, making Winn one of the better 4th outfielders in baseball (covers all three positions, runs well, can hit a little). Alternately, you might be able to sell some team who needs a CF on taking Winn off your hands, provided you’ve already worked out the “big-hitting LF guy” part of the equation (don’t move Winn if it means McLemore’s your regular LF starter, in other words). I don’t know who this team is, but there has to be a contending team out there who could use a solid CF to finish out the season.
The real point of this, however, is replacing Winn, who simply isn’t that good. Yeah, his .283 batting average looks pretty, but his .339 OBP and .386 SLG are just plain ugly. After taking 14 walks in April and getting us all excited, he drew a mere four in May and just one so far in June. And for all the talk of how moving him down to 7th in the batting order turned his season around, you might be surprised at the numbers. Hitting 2nd, he got on base at a .379 clip and posted a .743 OPS. Hitting 7th, he’s posted a .650 OPS with a .272 OBP, a number that would make even Brian Hunter (career OBP: .314) cringe.
It’s a beautiful day here in Seattle, I managed to sneak in a nice bike ride before work, and I’ve got tickets to tonight’s game. So I thought I’d write a happy, balanced piece on everyone’s favorite team’s hot start.
The offense: Boone and Edgar are playing very well, I’m pleased by Cameron and Ichiro, and we’ve gotten decent work out of Guillen (“my breakout season not endorsed by Derek and Jason”). On the flip side, Wilson’s been terrible, and McLemore not much better. If Cirillo keeps hitting, huzzah. Unfortunately, when you look for obvious upgrades, there aren’t many: the M’s have worked their way into a corner, sort of, with their large contracts at C/1b/LF. Only Guillen seems particularly discardable if the team comes across a star shortstop lying around (Alex!).
The pitching: Moyer-Meche have been huge, Franklin’s been pretty good too, Pineiro problematic and Garcia… well, unless this is your first time visiting (and looking at our stats, that’s unlikely), you know all about Garcia. Not a lot of room for upgrades here, either — again, if there’s a star, you’ve got to either give up on Garcia or bump Franklin to the bullpen, neither of which is a particularly good option. On the bullpen side, Carrara has got to go. Matt White is pointless. I’d like to see Soriano used in the Carrara situations, if Melvin insists on having someone fill the “behind by 1-3 runs and saving the other relievers” role, and Carrara given his walking papers. Could use another ace lefty if Melvin’s not going to get over his obsession with L/R matchups — hey, we tailored our bullpen to Piniella’s whims for years, we can indulge Platoon Bob.
– competent backup middle infielder
– competent backup outfielder
– Carrara, a good length of rope, sturdy tree trunk and some excuse to lure him to Ellensburg so we can tie him to the tree with the rope and force the Mariners to use better relievers
Other than that, I think this is not a team that’s going to make a deadline deal (you’re shocked, I know) unless someone goes down with a season-ending injury. But at the same time, this is a team that would benefit hugely from having someone like Ochoa to fill out the outfield instead of McLemore/Bloomquist, and could also use insurance for Guillen/Boone in the form of someone like… uh… no one comes to mind.
Minor League Highlights for Monday, June 16
Las Vegas 7, Tacoma 3. LHP Matt Thornton, up from San Antonio to make a spot start, retired the side in order in the first but was knocked around the park after that (5 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR) and took the loss in his AAA debut. The Rainiers pounded out 12 hits on the night but only managed three runs, stranding 11 runners on base. LF Jalal Leach led the way with three singles, while DH Adrian Myers, C Craig Kuzmic and SS Ruben Castillo each added a pair of hits, including two doubles for Myers.
San Antonio sort of had the day off, as the Texas League played its All-Star Game. I say “sort of” because the Missions sent nine players as well as their coaching staff to the game, so all in all they were still pretty busy. I have yet to find a boxscore for this game, but I do know the East beat the West 4-2.
Inland Empire 3, High Desert 1. LF Greg Jacobs went 3-3 with a double and a homer, leading the 66ers to victory behind the pitching of RHP Juan Done (5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K). Done, who picked up his first win of the year, has been getting progressively better and working deeper into games since coming off the disabled list last month. RHP Cha Seung Baek, activated a few weeks ago, picked up the non-traditional save with a stellar relief outing (4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K). RF Shin-soo Choo had a pair of triples, giving him ten on the year.
Wisconsin had the day off Monday, as the Midwest League plays their All-Star Game tonight at Fifth Third Ballpark (what kind of a wacky name is that?) in Comstock Park, Michigan.