Benji Gil

DMZ · January 15, 2005 at 4:25 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

The Mariners signed veteran UT Benji Gil to a minor league contract with the NRI tag, which means he’ll be headed to spring training with everyone else, but won’t be on the 40-man for now. Gil’s a lot like Bloomquist, actually, except older — he’ll be 32 this season, doesn’t hit much at all, can play the infield positions decently. He’s not a good glove, though, so you’re giving up offense and defense for versatility.

Last year he spent a little time in the minors, started the year with the rockies, got released, signed with Chicago to play in Iowa (AAA) and then ended in July the Cubs released him and he played a little with Toledo (also AAA). He didn’t hit in either of those places either.

While a strong spring training might win him the veteran UT spot on the team, even I’m going to say they’re likely to be better off with Bloomquist. I’d say it’d be worth it to end the Bloomquist fixation, but with the ex-Angel former World Series champion aura, I’m afraid Gil addiction would be even worse for the team.


50 Responses to “Benji Gil”

  1. Marty Lighthizer on January 15th, 2005 7:23 pm

    Agreed. The hate-fest for W. Bloomquist (can we leave the F. out of his name?) may have been justified when Melvin put him in the lineup so often, but I too think he’d be a better alternative as utility infielder than Gil. Let’s see how things pan out in spring…

  2. Evan on January 15th, 2005 7:38 pm

    The animosity shown for Bloomquist is usually a function of his being overused Willie’s value is highest when he doesn’t get used.

    But, as the 25th guy on your roster, you could do worse than Bloomquist. Benji Gil is a great example.

  3. Shoeless Jose on January 15th, 2005 7:56 pm

    I realize he doesn’t cost them a roster spot or much in the way of payroll, but what’s the point of such a signing, exactly? To motivate everybody else? As a throw-in during a trade? Charity?

  4. aesop rock on January 15th, 2005 8:19 pm

    Does Benji have any history with Bavasi from their days in Anaheim? Could this be like his bringing in Carbrera last year, because it is just one of those guys that he likes? could we be looking forward to Bavasi signing someone as a favor every year, or is this this something entirely different, becasue otherwise i don’t see the rationale behind this decision.

  5. Cool Papa Bell on January 15th, 2005 8:29 pm

    I’m betting that Bavasi was looking over the possible options for backup middle infielder when he saw Gil, a former Angel, was available and said to himself “Why not?”. I really doubt Bavasi actually plans to have Gil compete for a bench spot. More likely, he just grabbed him as insurance incase he can’t find a good backup and Bloomquist (or Reese) gets hurt. So I guess you could call it ‘charity’. I really don’t see anything to be upset about. The difference between 150 at bats from Bloomquist and 150 at bats from Gil is tiny. Of course, if both Bloomquist and Gil made the opening day roster, then I would get pretty angry.

  6. Chief on January 15th, 2005 8:54 pm

    We have to just wait and see. If Gil opens the season in Tacoma and is available to be called up as an emergency replacement due to an injury I guess it is okay. If he starts the season on the big club I would be disappointed and would wonder what he has on Bavasi. Time will tell.

  7. J on January 15th, 2005 9:17 pm

    Gil was acquired during the Stoneman era, not the Bavasi one.

  8. Jim Thomsen on January 15th, 2005 9:36 pm

    He’s another Wiki-Wacky.

    As I said in another thread, he’s just another Alex Arias, Eric Owens or Terry Mulholland … a ringer brought in to whip the “bubble people” into shape. Which probably isn’t necessary, because, whatever Bloomquist’s shortcomings, working hard and staying in shape aren’t among them.

    That being said, Cool Papa Bell’s belief that Gil is cheap, handy injury insurance sounds about right. For spring training, anyway … most teams don’t set out at the start of the season to fill their triple-A rosters with 32-year-old filler, so I would hope the organization doesn’t waste a Rainiers roster spot on him after camp breaks. The first few months of Triple-A should be for the kids. At least until the inevitable string of injuries, non-baseball weirdness and performance wipeouts.

  9. fiction on January 15th, 2005 9:54 pm

    Derek..It was a great comment abit back mentioning Anchor Steam. Bonus yesterday grocerry store I shop marked down 6 packs $ 4.99. Thankyou for the reminder of great beverage.

    Which reminds me that this signing is just abit dull.

  10. The Ancient Mariner on January 15th, 2005 10:30 pm

    Hey, Tacoma needs a utility infielder, too, and I’d as soon have a veteran in that role as stick a kid there who’d be better off playing regularly in San Antonio.

  11. Jim Thomsen on January 15th, 2005 10:33 pm

    We have one, and his name is Mickey Lopez.

  12. eponymous coward on January 15th, 2005 11:42 pm

    Yeah, he’s this year’s Manny Alexander- AAA insurance for Reese getting injured and Lopez going backwards.

  13. dw on January 15th, 2005 11:54 pm

    I remember when Texas was bringing him up as a can’t-miss first rounder. I always remembered his problem being that he couldn’t field, but upon review of his baseball-reference entry I realize that can’t be right, and I was probably confusing him with someone else on the late 80s/early 90s Tulsa Drillers (maybe Dean Palmer?)

    Gil _should_ be a better player than Bloomquist by numbers, but oddly, his career OPS is lower (.641 vs. .665) due to his craptacular 1995 (147 K’s in 130 games). One thing he can do that Bloomquist can’t is hit the long ball. I think it’s a pipe dream to hope that Gil can push Bloomquist, though it’d be nice. Gil does have a better glove.

  14. Jerry on January 16th, 2005 12:29 am

    I don’t see Gil as a guy who will play a significant role for the M’s. Perhaps they just needed to bring some people in to play and fill up space.

    How the bench comes together will be interesting. Bavasi hinted at bringing in a SS before spring training, but I doubt that Gil was what he had in mind. I would also imagine that they would be looking for a 4th OFer as well, although there is very little left on the free agent market. As it stands now, I think that Wilson and Spiezio are the only real locks for the bench. If Winn stays with the team, Bucky will probably be on the bench as well. I would think that Leone and Bloomquist would be in the mix for utility spots, and Chris Snelling and Jamal Strong for the OF spot.

    Assuming that Winn is traded, the M’s will have to fill the DH spot and an extra spot on the bench. If Snelling is healthy, he could steal the DH spot from Bucky, form a nice L/R platoon with him, and/or be the 4th OFer. Strong would also be a decent option as the 4th OFer and pinch runner. I really hope that the M’s take a long look at Leone in the offseason. If they did have Strong or someone else speedy on the roster, it would allow the M’s to go with Leone over Spiezio if it came down to a decision between the two. Bloomquist is the better fielder, but Leone can fill in at 3B, SS, 2B, and perhaps in the OF. Having his bat on the bench would be nice. If Spiezio returns to something similar to his past levels of performance, Leone and he would give the M’s two guys with a little pop.

    If the M’s do not add any significant bench players before spring training, this would be a pretty solid bench:
    -Wilson C
    -Spiezio 1B, 3B, PH
    -Bucky/Snelling DH/PH platoon, with Snelling as an additional OFer
    -Leone 2B, SS, 3B
    -Bloomquist utility, PR

    The problem with this bench is that it lacks a defensive OFer and SS. Bloomquist could fill in at SS in a pinch, and Lopez is always available in the even of an injury to Reese. But really, this would be a bench with three utility guys (Spiezio, Leone, and Bloomquist), none of which are really exceptional. Leone could be a surprise in that role, but his inability to get on base might keep him from being a regular contributor. However, if the M’s did bring in someone who can play SS, especially in a trade for someone like Alex Cintron or Julio Lugo, they could probably afford to ditch Bloomquist for Leone. Leone could be a nice bat off the bench, and would be a far better long-term solution in the event of an injury than Bloomquist, who has adequately demonstrated his inabilty to hit ML pitching.

    It will be interesting to see how this all works out. Regardless, I don’t think that the bench will be a team strength unless some guys are brought in from outside the organization.

  15. Brian on January 16th, 2005 2:26 am

    I think a 32-year-old Gil will be roughly equivalent to a 27-year-old WFB. However, it’s worth noting that Gil, in his peak years, actually did have some pop, as “dw” notes, and hit for a decent average as well. In ’01, he hit a respectable .296/.330/.477 in 260 at-bats, though that represents just one of two seasons in his career (with a decent number of ABs) when his on-base was above .300, and even in ’01 that slugging percentage was mostly the result of doubles and triples. In any case, I don’t think anyone other than Willie’s momma honestly believes that Bloomquist will ever put up numbers like that.

    Does this mean that the organization is trying to make sure Jose Lopez spends most of ’05 in Tacoma? I think it might, and I think that’s good news.

  16. The Ancient Mariner on January 16th, 2005 7:08 am

    Jim, I thought Mickey was a minor-league FA; are we sure he’ll be back with Tacoma next season? In any case, I’d also think that Gil would be an upgrade talent-wise.

  17. David J Corcoran on January 16th, 2005 8:36 am

    Re #11: I’d hope Mickey Lopez gets as much as a shot to get the big league UT job as Gil. Lopez can hit for a little more average, a little more power, is more comfortable at 3rd base, and is faster.

  18. David J Corcoran on January 16th, 2005 9:07 am

    Re 16:

    He re-signed.

  19. AK1984 on January 16th, 2005 9:48 am

    For what it’s worth, Benji Gil is no Brien Taylor.

  20. Jim Thomsen on January 16th, 2005 9:57 am

    #15 — Let’s not go wishcasting back to a player’s 2001 outlier season … after all, that’s the kind of thinking that resulted in last season’s Rich Aurilia fiasco.

    Benji Gil can’t play anymore. Look at his comparables: Rob Picciolo, Kurt Abbott, Craig Shipley, Craig Paquette, Archi Cianfrocco. Billy Ripken, for flip’s sake. None of those players were worth a damn after age 30 … and, with rare and scattered exception, none was any good to begin with.

    It’s amazing how images overtake reality, even here: Most baseball players can’t sustain their peak performance levels in their thirties. Benji Gil wasn’t all that good even when he was good — a busted mega-prospect with a little more good fortune than, say, Shawn Abner — and nothing in his record since indicates that he’s gotten anything but worse in the meantime.

    Choose to see him all you want as a proven veteran with an established record of performance. The numbers see a player who can’t play anymore. If we absolutely insist on having on the roster a player who can’t play, I’ll stick with Willie Dynamite.

  21. David J Corcoran on January 16th, 2005 1:15 pm

    Bloomquist is more versatile than Gil, so I’d give him the nod.

    I hope they are signing Gil as the 26th man, to fill the Chad Meyers/Ramon Santiago role. He is useful in that role, but only that role.

  22. Brian on January 16th, 2005 1:30 pm

    Re#20: I’m not wishcasting, and I certainly understand the dangers of the Aurilia syndrome. I said that Gil, at his age, would be roughly equivalent to Bloomquist…in other words, not worth a damn, as you put it. I was just noticing that Gil may have had more potential than Bloomquist, but unfortunately, he has already reached it and is now solidly in the decline phase.

  23. Melvin Bob on January 16th, 2005 5:55 pm

    I think the Mariners should make an offer to Tadahito Iguchi. If the rumors are true and he is asking for more than Kaz Matsui then back off. Yet, he’d be a great addition to the Mariners. Iguchi played shortstop in Japan prior to his shoulder surgery but is considered to have better tools than Kaz Matsui (faster, better fielder, etc). Have Iguchi come in and battle Pokey and Jose Lopez for the shortstop position this spring. Plus, if Boone leaves next year and Lopez’s fielding improves, shift Iguchi to secondbase.

    As of January 15, Iguchi is in America hoping to get a contract from either the BoSox or the Yanks. The article is in Japanese….

    With Love,
    Melvin Bob, official manager of the Phoenix Diamondbacks of Arizona

  24. John on January 16th, 2005 7:35 pm

    FWIW, ROTOWORLD’s take on the Benji Gil signing is that the Ms are still in the market for a utility infielder.
    This discusion reminds me of the CARLOS HERNANDEZ signing back in 2000. Although the take on him (Mariner Newsgroup and Stats Mariner Discussion Group)was as a Seattle Mariner, the FO had planned to play him in Tacoma. (He appeared in two Mariner games.)
    I’ve a feeling that the FO has similar plans for Benji Gil.

  25. eponymous coward on January 16th, 2005 9:38 pm

    If Snelling is healthy

    …in spring training, he’s going to Tacoma. The guy’s played in about 100 games the last THREE years. There aren’t a lot of players who can come back from that amount of injury history in a snap, and Snelling’s 0-6 in staying off the DL during his 6 pro seasons. Snelling’s a funny guy and a great story, but other than being better at injuring himself, he’s shown no ability to do anything better than Jeremy Reed- so why should he go ahead of him on the depth chart based on 40 AB’s in Spring Training?

    I also think Bucky on the bench and Reed in the everyday lineup is a poor move. Bucky’s clearly the better player right now, and I’m including defense as part of the evaluation- consider how much better Bucky was at AAA+majors than Reed at AAA+majors, bum knee and all. Clearly Bavasi has a ways to go before learning to take minor league stats seriously. Reed as the 4th OF with an OF of Ichiro/Winn/Ibanez and Bucky at DH is probably the best everyday lineup you could come up with, in my opinion- you could rotate Reed in regularly (50-70 games) with an eye to adding an extra lefty bat for platoon advantage, or giving Winn and Ibanez days off. If the team tanks, you can then trade Winn or Ibanez at the deadling and promote a kid (possibly Snelling or Choo). That would probably be what I would do, anyhow.

  26. Evan on January 17th, 2005 9:23 am

    I often wonder what Snelling would have done over the past couple of years if Dave Myers hadn’t destroyed his knee. We might not have signed Ibanez.

  27. Jerry on January 17th, 2005 10:00 am


    I disagree with your ideas about the best lineup. There really is no reason to hold on to Winn at this point. Reed is far to valuable a prospect to waste on the bench. Reed is at least as good as Winn right now, and will get a lot better. Also, holding on to Winn until the trade deadline is a bad idea because he is a notorious slow starter. He is coming off one of his best seasons, and a lot of teams are looking for help in CF (Oakland, Detriot, Baltimore, Arizona, Pittsburgh, and Houston). The crop of guys who are available at this point is Jeromy Burnitz, Mike Cameron, Eric Byrnes, and Winn. Any team that might be leaning toward a leadoff hitter/table-setter type of player will be more likely to go for Winn. If the Cameron for Byrnes trade goes down, you can expect a lot more interest in Winn. Pittxburgh and Baltimore might be a good fit, because both teams have some interesting young pitchers.

    The M’s are in a position to trade from an area of strength to address an area of weakness. They should do it. Reed has nothing left to prove in AAA, and is a far better long-term option than a guy we currently have on the roster who is making 10 times more. It is a no-brainer.

    Regarding Snelling, I don’t think that he will have as much trouble coming back as you suggest. His last injury was to his wrist, and I imagine that he would have been able to stay in shape during his time off. The M’s need a lefty hitter on the bench and in the lineup, and I think that he should be considered for the team if he has a good spring. Plus, Bucky struggles with right-handed pitchers, and destroys lefties. If that trend continues, Hargrove might switch around the lineup more than he typically does.

    If Snelling is healthy, it might work out well to have Snelling play LF and move Ibanez to DH against tough righty starters. Hargrove mentioned that he would like to use the DH spot to rest players, so we might see several guys getting playing time between DH and LF. Since the lineup is so dominated by righthanded hitters, it would make sense to get Snelling in there in some situations if he is up for it.

    Obviously, this is all contingent on him coming into the spring healthy and playing well. If he is rusty, which is quite likely, he could always go to Tacoma for a while to get his timing back. However, the M’s need a lefty bat and a 4th OFer for the bench, and Snelling could fill both roles nicely. And although he has been hurt consistently over the past few years, he is still only 23.

    Since the M’s have Snelling, Reed, and Choo on the way, plus Jamal Strong as a less appealing alternative, Winn is very tradable. His value will only go down, and the club has viable options waiting to get a chance to play.

  28. Colm on January 17th, 2005 11:41 am


    “Reed is at least as good as Winn right now” – based on what? He’s good, grant it, and I think the M’s would be better of doing what you propose, but I think you risk undermining your argument by overstating it.

  29. Digger on January 17th, 2005 11:43 am

    On the current 25 man roster, the Mariners have only 7 guys who hit above replacement level against RHP. So they’re not going to see many LHP this year. And it follows that those 7 will see a lot of playing time. Ichiro!, Winn, Beltre, Sexson. Ibanez, Boone, and Reed.

    So yes, Bucky is on the bench a lot unless he suddenly learns to hit RHP. And they can’t afford to trade Winn. And Reed plays unless he regresses badly.

    Still desparately needed by this team is a solid pinch hitter against RHP to bat for the catcher or SS when behind in the late innings. Ray Lankford?

  30. Jim Thomsen on January 17th, 2005 12:29 pm

    Dave Hansen? Greg Colbrunn?

  31. Brent Overman on January 17th, 2005 12:56 pm

    Here’s a list of guys I think would be worthy of a minor-league contract with a NRI:

    Steve Reed
    Andy Ashby
    Pedro Astacio
    Esteban Loaiza
    Jim Mecir
    Jeff Nelson
    Scott Williamson (2-year minor league deal while he recovers from TJ Surgery)
    Ben Grieve
    Travis Lee

    All of them should be available on a minor league deal and could make minimum wage or a slight bonus for making the big league club. None are spectacular, but you get what you pay for with minimum wage veterans.

  32. Jeff Nye on January 17th, 2005 12:56 pm


    What does Chris Snelling project as at this point? If anything?

    I remember hearing a lot of hype about him in the local media which quickly diminished once he started getting hurt a lot. Is he a viable starting outfielder at some position in the future, or is he going to be a 4th outfielder for someone at best?

    How’s his average/power/defense/speed? Anything exciting?

    I’d love to see the Mariners move Winn for the right deal that gets us some even mediocre pitching, if for no other reason than to clear up the logjam at the outfield/DH spots that looks to cost Bucky some playing time. I’m intrigued by his potential even though he’s obviously a one-trick pony, I’d love to see him get a chance to show what he can do in a full season. And it seems pretty clear at this point that moving Winn would get us more return than moving Ibanez, even if the FO was willing to move Ibanez which I doubt.

    (hijack over)

  33. Jim Thomsen on January 17th, 2005 1:46 pm

    Steve Reed: Effective still, but age makes him a replacement-level talent. He’s not going to sign for less than $750,000, and the M’s have guys who can essentially do what he does at the level at which he does it at the league minimum. PASS.

    Andy Ashby: Old and broken, fitfully effective when healthy. Fastball hits no higher than 85 MPH these days, and he puts a ton of balls in play. He’s 37, and I’d say he’s on the Paul Abbott play-his-way-out-of-the-league-via-the-Devil-Rays track. PASS.

    Pedro Astacio: Also old (35), also irretrievably broken. Stunk it up after coming back from torn-labrum surgery. I have silly affection for him because I actually covered his pro debut in 1990, with the Yakima Bears, for the Yakima paper. He threw a three-hit shutout on 72 pitches. PASS.

    Esteban Loaiza: The word is the league’s hitters know how to read the cut fastball that made him effective in ’03. He hasn’t made a counter-adjustment. Basically, he needs to learn a new pitch in order to come back and be effective. He’s unlikely to settle for a league-minumum salary and an NRI, having been a near-Cy Young pick not too long ago. PASS.

    Jim Mecir: Another old guy — 35 in May — who can pitch at slightly above replacement level. I’d put him about where Steve Reed is, effective but largely redundant, given that most teams, the Mariners included, have effective right-handed relievers in the organization. He made $3.3 million last year and is unlikely to take a 90 percent pay cut based on a season in which he had a 3.59 ERA and struck out more than one batter an inning. He’s be a good pickup for $1 million for a team that needs what he has to offer, but the M’s don’t. PASS

    Jeff Nelson: Not as long as Howard Lincoln draws breath from his body. I saw him ref a KIngCo boys’ basketball game last weekend. Another old, hurt guy anyway. He’ll continue his career somewhere. Somehow I suspect that Piniella will have him ride the Abbott-Halama Express into Florida this spring. PASS

    Scott Williamson: Why pay him not to play in 2005? PASS till 2006.

    Ben Grieve: There’s no reason he can’t be a good player, yet can’t ever seem to be with anyone. At some point you start to lose interest in why. Always gets hurt, or mopes, or something. Somehow I see him in camp with the Rangers or Diamondbacks. At 29, another replacement-level talent. Why pay him $1 million to find out what a hungry minor-league vet can do for a third of the price? PASS

    Travis Lee: I think the local kid will have a good season with somebody at some point. But there’s not much of an opportunity in Seattle, given its current roster composition. If he could live with the idea that he wouldn’t get more than 200 ABs, and if the Mariners’ complicated Winn-Sexson-Ibanez-Jacobsen three-position shuttle doesn’t pan out, it might be worth it. But we already have a Travis Lee, and his name is Raul Ibanez. PASS

  34. Adam T on January 17th, 2005 2:59 pm

    Re: #33 Williamson

    Two recent players to be paid while rehabbing are Chris Carpenter & Jon Leiber, who were both signed to multi-year contracts while rehabbing and had success last season. Ryan Dempster is another pitcher in this situation, although didn’t pitch the entire season last year.

    The upside is paying Williamson under “healthy” value for mulitple years in order to get a good price on him when/if he’s healthy in a season.

    Downside is you pay him under value to rehab and he has multiple setbacks or never regains his stuff, which is what we’ve done with Ryan Anderson for…I lose track of the years.

  35. AK1984 on January 17th, 2005 3:44 pm

    These players are worth an NRI:
    Robert Fick ($500,000)
    Ben Grieve ($500,000)
    Either Robert Fick or Ben Grieve would give the Mariners a left-handed hitter off of the bench, while filling a back-up spot in right field. That way, the bench would look like this:
    C Dan Wilson
    1B/3B Scott Spiezio
    2B/SS Willie Bloomquist or Benji Gil
    RF/DH Robert Fick or Ben Grieve
    CF/LF Jeremy Reed

    Also, while this is not going to happen, it would nonetheless be a smart move to trade both Randy Winn and Raul Ibanez to the New York Mets for Mike Cameron. Now, of course this won’t go down for multiple reasons, it would still benefit the Mariners, in that it would clear up the current logjam in the outfield, while adding much needed defense in center. Besides, it would make it so that both Jeremy and Bucky could have starting positions. Moreover, maybe it would make it so that the team would add an ol’ 95er in Darren Bragg; y’all got to love nostalgia…just kiddin’!

  36. Matt Staples on January 17th, 2005 4:42 pm

    I don’t like Fick. I do, however, not detest the idea of bringing Grieve in (although he strikes out too much for someone I’d want to bring in as a PH sometimes).

  37. David J Corcoran on January 17th, 2005 5:54 pm

    Giving a guy a non-guaranteed minor league contract is risk free. So I say, Fick, Grieve, anyone. We could even get a dollar bill for them at the end of ST if we play our cards right. Bring on the Scrubs!

  38. David J Corcoran on January 17th, 2005 6:43 pm

    Dave or DMZ:
    Is Willie losing favor with the organization? It just seems that way.

  39. eponymous coward on January 17th, 2005 8:18 pm

    Time for another offtopic screed…

    I love how Reed is assumed to be a better hitter right now than Bucky based on two smallish MLB samples totalling just over 250 PA’s (most of them being Bucky’s)… whereas Bucky’s monster year in AAA (which clearly outclasses Reed’s) that’s a LARGER sample size (while it’s clearly against inferior competition) isn’t important in evaluating their potential performance in 2005. (Yes, I know Reed’s a lot younger than Bucky, and that has implications for their potential performance BEYOND 2005. I’m sticking to the 2005 M’s only.)

    I like Reed. I think he’ll turn into a good player, and I think he has an outside chance of having a year like an average Randy Winn year this year if he does end up in the lineup- but I think he’s more likely to have a year more like Todd Hollandsworth’s average non-Rockies year (.265, not a ton of walks or power, some steals). I’d have no issue with playing him every day if we lost one of Bucky, Winn and Ibañez, since I’d rather use the money and talent Winn represents elsewhere on the roster where we have weaker links, and if we are going to win, it’s by taking outside chances…but Todd Hollandsworth IS the definition of a 4th OF for a good team and it doesn’t really kill players to have a year where they don’t play fulltime at age 24.

    I simply think Bucky’s the better hitter RIGHT NOW, and should play more than being an occasional PH or sub at 1B or DH- which is apparently where he’d get slotted if the roster was being rolled out for Opening Day today. So the question of “So, we need a 4th OF who hits lefty- who should it be?” is answered easily by “Jeremy Reed”. I’d spot him in against RHP, yeah, as well as giving guys days off…maybe even subbing for Bucky by rotating Raul to DH for a day. But Ibañez has made it clear he doesn’t want to be a fulltime DH, and I think you put your best players on the field as you can…and Bucky > Reed.

    I also don’t think we HAVE to trade Winn or Ibañez- it’s a “possibly nice to do if the right deal comes by” instead of “must do this”. I like a bench with decent players on it. I also don’t see the logic of using Snelling because he hasn’t proven he can stay healthy playing every day for his entire pro career (again, he has ZERO pro years without injuries/DL trips). Don’t we need to know that first? And isn’t the way to find that out by having him in Tacoma?

    And the same goes with any non-roster invitees- um, why? Are they going to be better bench players than Reed or Bucky? Probably not- but they won’t play for the minimum, probably for more like 750K-a million. Why waste the money?

  40. Steve on January 17th, 2005 8:52 pm

    re #29:

    I’m not sure what you mean about Jacobsen not hitting right handers. Jacobsen traditionally has hit right handers significantly better than left handers.

    For 2002-2003 here are his splits (minor league data I’ve seen don’t include OBA)

    vs RHP: 515 AB / 0.297 AVG / 0.551 SLG
    vs LHP: 204 AB / 0.255 AVG / 0.500 SLG

    splits for 2004 minor league are not available anywhere I am aware of, so all we have for Bucky for 2004 is his 160 ABs with the Mariners, which I presume is the basis for your belief:

    vs RHP: 110 AB / .245 AVG / .306 OBP / .436 SLG
    vs LHP: 50 AB / .340 AVG / .400 OBP / .640 SLG

    I think 719 AB in the minors is a much better from which to infer about his relative abilities against lefties vs righties. I can’t see that all of a sudden he lost his ability to hit against right handers when he made it to MLB. The record against LHP particularly looks like a small sample size issue, as you wouldn’t normally expect someone who was kind of mediocre againt lefties in the minors suddenly become a masher when faced with MLB talent.

    Also, when I look at the 2004 data, I wonder the extent to which Buckcy’s knee may have been affecting his numbers. He said he was having trouble getting around on fastball on the inner part of the plate, which would be a bigger issue against right handed pitching. The stat line above supports that inference.

  41. Paul on January 17th, 2005 9:29 pm

    I think the key thing to remember is that the top 15 players are way more important than who may be number 24 and 25. (Or 26)

    If Benji, Willie or Jolbert are our biggest worries we are in good shape or we are worrying about the wrong things.

  42. John on January 17th, 2005 9:57 pm

    Re # 40: I haven’t been able to find mlb LH-RH splits, either; but, fwiw, his mlb OBAs the last few years are none too shabby: .422, .388, .336, .360.
    [Go to WAYMORE SPORTS–a site given us by David Cameron–for a page of Bucky’s entire mlb & MLB career. (It won’t let me print a link.)]

  43. chris d on January 17th, 2005 10:20 pm

    I have heard that Hargrove likes to play regulars and substitute little. If the roster stays the as it is presently, a our manager would be able to recognize the talents of the players and utilize their skills over the course of a long season. Players need days off, injuries happen, substitutions need to be made, pinch hitting is required. It seems like a wise, creative manager can figure out a way to get both Ibanez and Bucky in the line-up regularly.Hopefully, Spezio can prove to be useful in one of these roles as well.

  44. Jerry on January 17th, 2005 11:03 pm

    I just don’t see any merit in the ‘keep Winn’ argument.

    I think that it is likely that Reed will be just as good as Winn was in 2004 next year. He is also a far more disciplined hitter, and will get on base more. The upside factor clearly is in favor of Reed. Then, if you consider the fact that Winn has 2 years and about 8-9 million left on his contract, it becomes an absolute no brainer.

    The only two reasons that I think Winn would be nice to have in LF (with Reed in CF) is his defense and that it might help Ibanez stay healthy if he is the DH. The first issue is mitigated by the extra runs that Bucky will drive in. The second issue is a valid one, but the M’s are a team that is improving, not contending. If the M’s were likely to be in a very tight race for the playoffs, an injury to Ibanez could be important. But I don’t see Winn in the team’s plans for 2006, so they might as well start seeing what they have now. Plus, if Ibanez does get injured late in the year, we could see Choo come in and take over in LF. Snelling is another lefty bat in LF that could be a viable option if Ibanez goes down. Given Winn’s salary, and what we might be able to get back in a trade (probably just a prospect or a role player), I don’t think that the possibility of an injury to Ibanez justifies keeping Winn.

    Winn’s value won’t get any higher than it is right now. The M’s should move him while they can.

    If the front office is really interested in an OFer with a lefty bat, they should trade Winn to the Nationals. They need a CFer and a leadoff hitter, and they have a glut of lefthanded outfielders.

  45. J on January 17th, 2005 11:25 pm

    re: 43

    I changed the URI on my log-in for this post to the Way More Sports link. You shoudl be able to click on it and it will pull up the Mariners roster. At least I think this is the link you’re referring to.

  46. Joshua Buergel on January 18th, 2005 12:37 am

    It’s often said that Hargrove likes a set lineup, but is that really true? He platooned Jim Thome early on, and I seem to remember him doing the same. In fact, I know where some of my STATS Handbooks are, and they have managerial tendencies. So, let’s have a look:

    First, looking at the 1997 season (you’ll remember the ’97 Tribe as the one that blew the Series to the Marlins, a good team). Hargrove was middle of the pack for number of lineups used (tied for #7) with 109. Surprisingly, Bob “Boy Genius” Boone only used 61 lineups. Saint Lou Piniella used 84 that year. Man, Buddy Bell? Terry Bevington? Tony Muser? Wait, this was the year Boone got fired. Right. Hargrove was therefore tied for #8, counting that two headed KC pile of suck as one manager (yikes). For % of RH batters vs. LH starting pitching (a measure that attempts to capture how much platooning a manager does), he finished fifth, if I’m eyeballing this right. He finished ninth in % of LH batters vs. RH starters. What that says to me is that he had a lineup with a fair number of good left handed hitters. Sure enough, Thome, Giles and Justice were lefties, and Vizquel and Fernandez were switch hitters.

    I also dug out the 1999 handbook, which covers the ’98 season. Hargrove was tied for #9 in the league in number of lineups, #3 in % LHB vs RHSP, #11 in %RHB vs. LHSP.

    OK, that wasn’t very useful. What that told me is that he had a lot of left-handed hitting. The number of lineups he used were towards the low end of the middle of the pack, which is not surprising given the quality of the lineups. I eyeballed the number of ABs for his bench players, and they looked kind of low. I guess we’ll find out what he’ll do with this roster. Yay inconclusive posts!

  47. Steve on January 18th, 2005 12:45 am

    re #42: the player cards at include lefty-righty splits for the last three MLB seasons.

    I think I got the 2002 and 2003 data at I don’t think the the 2003 data are there any longer. 2004 situational data for the minor leagues never went up there. Otherwise, it would be interesting to know what Bucky’s splits were for the time he spent in Tacoma.

  48. eponymous coward on January 18th, 2005 1:07 am

    I think that it is likely that Reed will be just as good as Winn was in 2004 next year. He is also a far more disciplined hitter, and will get on base more. The upside factor clearly is in favor of Reed. Then, if you consider the fact that Winn has 2 years and about 8-9 million left on his contract, it becomes an absolute no brainer.

    Well, Reed’s MLE’s for EQA, according to Baseball Prospectus were:

    .231 for Charlotte
    .232 for Tacoma

    Randy Winn posted a .281 EqA for the M’s last year. Major league average EqA for LF is .277, BTW.

    Now, maybe Reed will pick up 50 points of EqA in a year- I don’t think it’s impossible. I think what’s MORE likely is he’ll pick up between 20-40. Which, surprise, surprise, would be your typical Todd Hollandsworth year (an EqA around .260-.270, close to his career batting average).

    Reed’s 50% PECOTA projections for LAST year had him doing Winn-style things. Thing is, his projected major league EqA (.231) for 2004 didn’t even hit his 25% projection (.252). So it’s a bit of a reach to project him to do it THIS year, no?

    Anyway, I’m not ATTACHED to Winn- if the right deal can be made (say, a decent back-rotation starter so we could put Franklin in the ‘pen, a power arm for the bullpen), sure, move him. But it’s not like he’s crap, either. (I also suspect a deal for Winn becomes more likely if the M’s are out of the race and it’s July, and Choo or Snelling are looking REAL good in AAA.)

  49. Matt Staples on January 18th, 2005 9:10 am

    Nice look at the situation, Enonymous C. … I’m a huge Reed fan, but I think — despite some of Dave’s efforts to inject realism into our expectations for him — there still is a lot of undue fascination surrounding Reed after he was listed so (or too) highly on various prospect lists, including BP’s.

    That said, assuming the goal is contention in 2006 rather than 2005, I don’t see the harm in trotting Reed out there full-time, as exposed to keeping him around as the 4th OF. I think it might in fact be beneficial, especially when you consider that now might be a very good time to move Winn … he’s likely reached his peak offensively, and I don’t see him improving on the average of his 2003/04 seasons except perhaps WRT counting stats. If he can get us a pitcher who will significantly help in 2006, or perhaps push Franklin to the pen this season, great.

  50. bayoumariner on January 19th, 2005 6:43 am

    when I lived in Dallas, Benji played SS for the Rangers. No one, not even opposing players were booed like Benji Gil. I usually felt sorry for the guy, but I am hoping he doesn’t make the M’s roster. If he does make the roster, don’t worry about booing him, he used to it.