Rafael Soriano looked astounding tonight from the stands. I’m so impressed with Rafael Soriano I’ve decided to give him my full endorsement, though I don’t have an official title yet. If they dump Freddy and his problems on someone else (and they should), plug Soriano into the rotation. Or right now, swap roles with the rapidly deteriorating Meche and give Gil some work in long relief and mop-up.
I’m worried about Sanchez. I can babble about tools and their uses all I want, but if Box isn’t going to put Sanchez in tonight, or find someway to work him into the lineup, what’s the point? Why buy a scroll saw for someone who won’t stop playing Madden on the PS2? Not to go after Weaver too much, but Weaver sat around thinking “man, if McLemore was up last inning, and we’re up by 5, I can put Sanchez out there and make this go a little quicker, and if Sanchez has to bet, no big deal.”
The A’s just picked up Jose Guillen for Aaron Harang, Joe Valentine, and a PTBNL. Your move, Pat.
Mariners attendance is off this year by 10%. While this will be used as at some point as an excuse by the team for why they can’t afford to take on payroll, I would like to offer some pre-emptive responses to this.
- The team did not take on payroll when attendence was higher anyway
- The drop is due in part to the team’s failure to make a deal last year
- The drop is due in part to the team’s public comments about not being interested in winning a World Series
- The drop is also due in part to the disappointment of seeing the team come up just short at the end of the year after seeing the team fail to make a move and putting up with those comments
Therefore, I propose that that team needs to make the big deal not only because the team needs it, but because they’re going to continue to see their fan base stay home if they feel the team doesn’t care about winning pennants and titles.
The logic here just doesn’t fit. Because Mark McLemore sucks and Rey Sanchez sucks, we’re just throwing them into the same offensive pool of crap and not recognizing that they are on entirely different levels of suckness.
If the Mariners trade for J.D. Drew and install him in left field, everyone will rejoice about how we’ve upgraded the offense. The difference between Drew and Winn over the rest of the season should be approximately 10 outs.
The difference between McLemore and Sanchez the rest of the year? Approximately 9 outs.
You can argue that Sanchez’s combination of offense/defense at shortstop is more valuable than McLemore’s, and I won’t disagree with you. I’ve said repeatedly that McLemore should never be allowed to play the infield again. I just don’t understand why we categorize all lousy ballplayers into one big group and not recognize that Rey Sanchez is going to hurt this offense every bit as much as J.D. Drew would help it. For a team already having problems scoring runs, that is an issue.
I like the Sanchez pickup. Dude can pick it with the glove, and I think if you’re going to punt offense anyway at short, you might as well not punt defense as well. Sanchez has been a stellar defender in the past, and while age certainly erodes speed and defense the most, I see him as a big defensive upgrade over McLemore, who he’ll replace in Guillen-injury duty.
w/r/t Ugueto v Sanchez at the plate: Ugueto in his minor league career, spent almost entirely in the Gulf Coast League and Florida Something League, hit .246/.280/.306 in 3,066 ABs. Translated to what he might have hit in the majors, that’s, uh, .000/.000/.000. There’s really no evidence at all that he’s capable of hitting a baseball consistently. Now Sanchez sucks, don’t get me wrong, but his career MLB line through 2002 was .273/.309/.334, which is much better than what Ugueto was putting up against low-level competition in the minors.
Here’s another way to look at this, though — the bench consists of tools. The Mariners didn’t have anyone on the bench who was a good defensive replacement at shortstop (or really, at second, either). Sanchez can’t hit, but if nothing else, with Guillen out they can put McLemore-Bloomquist at short with the fly-ball starters and then sub Sanchez in later if you’ve got a ground-ball reliever coming in (though with Box Melvin’s constant reliever swapping, this is less effective than it could be). Or, if you’re Earl Weaver, you start Sanchez for the defense and if you need the slightly-stronger bats in, you can pinch-hit them and punt defense later.
By comparison, Ugueto’s been the team’s backup pinch-runner, and hasn’t offered the team anything they don’t get out of Bloomquist.
Luis Ugueto, 2002: .217/.280/.348
Rey Sanchez, 2003: .207/.240/.236
Calling Sanchez a worse hitter than Ugueto is “insane”?
Honestly, trying to find a worse hitter than Sanchez is nearly impossible. If you only played Jeff Cirillo at home against right-handers and made him bunt on every play, he’d still manage to be a better hitter than Sanchez.
Did we need a backup shortstop? Yes. I’ve been saying that since last winter. Am I glad that Mark McLemore won’t be playing shortstop anymore? Absolutely. And I obviously agree that Kenny Kelly is worthless, and we gave up nothing of value. But I see no reason to believe that Sanchez is better at anything than Luis Ugueto, except be old and veteran-like.