Spring has sprung … for Roberto Petagine, anyway

Jeff · February 7, 2005 at 9:44 am · Filed Under Mariners 

It might be snowing in Bellingham, but it’s spring training somewhere. Ichiro has started taking batting practice with his old team, the Orix Blue Wave, on Miyako Island in Okinawa. Thankfully, he’s preparing to return to the Mariners, not to go back to the old stomping grounds.

One player who isn’t going back to Japanese baseball, either, is Roberto Petagine. A free agent whose two-year deal with Yomiuri just expired, USA Today’s Rod Beaton expects Petagine to sign with Boston.

You may remember Petagine as the guy who stunk for parts of five U.S. seasons (and just over 300 total at-bats). After his year 27 season, he departed to the Yakult Swallows and promptly became one of Japan’s top sluggers.

Petagine hasn’t had the best reputation in Japan lately, since he’s demanded (and received) special treatment for himself and his wife, 57 year-old Olga. The Yomiuri Giants and the Petagines have slung some mud back and forth, with Olga criticizing team management and Giants staff basically saying Petagine is a washed-up has been with bad knees.

[Yes, he’ll be 34 in June, and she’s 57. When I was in Okinawa last summer, I watched an entire 10-minute segment of a Japanese baseball show devoted to — no joke — making fun of Petagine for having an old wife. Now that’s television. The Petagines seemed to basically laugh it off, though, so good for them.]

Judging by Petagine’s 2004 season, there may be something to the Giants’ claims. After posting slugging percentages of .600 or better for five straight years, the lefty’s numbers fell a precipitous 122 points. That’s a lot of slugging.

Don’t feel sorry for Petagine, since he made enough money in Japan to buy the Japanese TV station that made fun of his wife and then have everyone there fired, but his prime years over there indicate he could’ve been a top-shelf player on this side of the pond as well. Compare his age 28 season to Hideki Matsui’s:

Matsui – .334/.461/.692
Petagine – .325/.479/.677

Matsui’s three years younger, much healthier and plays better defense, so I’m not at all saying that Petagine will be even close to the player Matsui is. There’s virtually no chance of that. This just gives you some idea of the kind of player he was.

So what will he give the Red Sox, if they indeed end up signing him? According to Beaton, Boston isn’t counting on him for anything more than to “be a left-handed bat in left field and and come off the bench as an ideal successor to the departed Doug Mienkiewicz. [sic]” That’s not at all too much to expect from an offensive production standpoint, and though he’s lead-legged in the field, Petagine could be a valuable reserve.

I really like this thinking on the part of the Red Sox. Considering the cheap, near risk-free deal Norihiro Nakamura just signed with the Dodgers, I can’t imagine it would take much to sign Petagine. This is the type of minimal risk option that solid teams pursue.

Looking over at the Big Board, too, one can’t help but notice the absence of any left-handed bench bat that you’d like to see … well, come to bat. Conversely, if Petagine ends up working out, he could be a counterpart to the right-handed Bucky Jacobsen.

The Red Sox are right to consider Petagine. I hope the Mariners also take a look at him.


47 Responses to “Spring has sprung … for Roberto Petagine, anyway”

  1. Jon Wells on February 7th, 2005 3:10 pm

    Thanks for the Petagine update, Jeff. Can you clarify one thing? When you say that Petagine made enough money in Japan to buy the TV station that made fun of his wife and fire everyone there, did he actually do this (or did he just have the money to have done it if he wanted to)? Just wondering…

  2. Tim on February 7th, 2005 3:13 pm

    What about Ray Lankford, Rusty Greer or Brad Fullmer? Are any of these guys as good a lefty benchman alternative as Petagine? Are there other low cost/low risk free agents out there that the M’s should be looking at?

  3. Jeff on February 7th, 2005 3:24 pm

    Hi Jon. No, it was just a joke — he seemed amused by the whole thing. Just a bit of hyperbole about the bank he made in Japan, which was a lot.

  4. devil's advocate on February 7th, 2005 3:44 pm

    Well, Greer hasn’t played since 2002 and Ray Lankford is about 73 years old, and my hope is the M’s aren’t considering players of that nature. Turns out that Fullmer is indeed a lefty, might be interesting if we could get him on a contract for about $800K – I bet he could go .250/.350/.475.

  5. CecilFielderRules on February 7th, 2005 3:49 pm

    #2 – You hit the nail on the head with Brad Fullmer. The guy gets ignored every year, it seems. Last year I think he got a $1 million deal from Texas coming off of several solid years. He didn’t have good year last year, so I can’t imagine he could command too much money. Yes, he doesn’t have that outstanding of production for a corner/DH type. Yes, he plays very poor defense. But he seems well suited to be a pinch hitter. He makes above-average contact for a guy with decent power (good K/BB ratio), which usually isn’t terribly important but would be nice in a pinch-hit role. Plus he actually runs really well for 1b-type, so you don’t have to pinch run for him.

    If the M’s are looking for somebody in the Petagine-type role, I think Fullmer fits the bill nicely….

  6. Deanna on February 7th, 2005 4:01 pm

    Yeah, Petagine was easily the highest-paid player in Japan the last 2-3 years (the second highest being, ironically, everyone’s new favorite Dodger signee Norihiro Nakamura). I saw him play last time I was out at a Yomiuri game, and I’d been wondering what was going to happen to him this year, so this is cool.

    It’s sort of funny how the NPB seems to be ridding itself of the random overpaid foreign power-suketto players lately (not counting Tuffy Rhodes, who counts as a Japanese player, and may be the highest-paid player in Japan now). The Hanshin Tigers’s popular first baseman George Arias signed as an NRI with the Washington Nationals recently as well.

  7. Ralph Malph on February 7th, 2005 4:01 pm

    I thought Ben Grieve would have been worth a shot as a left-handed hitter off the bench. If you’re looking for a washed up left-handed slugger with bad knees and a bad attitude, wouldn’t Mo Vaughn make about as much sense as Petagine?

    At least he’s not as old as Petagine’s wife.

  8. devil's advocate on February 7th, 2005 4:10 pm

    I note that last off-season, while going apesh** over the Colbrunn-for-McCracken debacle, Dave noted that same $1M contract for Fullmer as a contrast to the “move” our FO was making. I note further that Fullmer has played less than half a season each of the last 2 years. His 3 year split shows this off well: 682 pre-ASB games played, 211 post-ASB games played.

    Can’t find much in the way of info on his knee injury. I think that being 3 or 4 years younger than Petagine, and having played over here instead of Japan for the last 5 years, makes him a better bet for the money IF you think he’ll be healthy; and if you can get him for $1M at the absolute maximum.

    I hope the M’s take a look at both of them, really. On the other hand, neither would really make much of a difference for us in ’05 unless they learned to throw a good curveball.

  9. Jeff on February 7th, 2005 4:18 pm

    A quick perusal of ESPN’s free agent tracker reveals the following unsigned players that swing left or switch-hit:

    Carlos Baerga
    Darren Bragg
    Robert Fick
    Brad Fullmer
    Tom Goodwin
    Rusty Greer
    Ray Lankford
    Brent Mayne
    John Olerud
    David Segui
    Mo Vaughn

    I guess Mark McLemore and Robin Ventura haven’t filed those retirement papers formally yet, since they’re both on there, too. You could call the pickings slim — except for Mo Vaughn, of course. (rimshot)

    Besides nostalgia value (like bringing back Bragg just so Jamie Moyer can rib him about the trade, for example), there is little to recommend many of these players. Nostalgia value has risks, too (I doubt Bill Bavasi cares to be reminded of Mo Vaughn’s last contract, and I don’t think you’ll find many people riding the “Bring Back Olerud/Segui” bandwagon). Most of these guys in 2004 were either 1. Awful, 2. Injured, or 3. Both of the Above.

    The only players I would be intrigued enough to really investigate would be Greer (who hasn’t played in a long time, and who rumor has it will return to Texas since the Rangers didn’t sign Magglio Ordonez), Fullmer (who suffered from knee and back ailments all year) and maybe Lankford (who Florida Today says is the best position player yet unsigned, for what that’s worth).

    Of these, I think only Fullmer would be in a good position to offer value for investment. He just turned 30, while Lankford will turn 38 this year. I would want to be sure he was healthy, though, before committing.

    Keep in mind, these are just major league free agents, so I’m sure there are some intriguing possibilities from the minors that I’m missing.

  10. devil's advocate on February 7th, 2005 4:52 pm

    Chris Snelling also happens to bat lefty.

    Just thought I’d throw that out there.

  11. Steve on February 7th, 2005 5:04 pm

    I was at the game in Anaheim where Fullmer blew out his knee running to first base. I was about ten rows up, just above the edge of the OF grass on the 3rd base side – across the diamond from Fullmer.

    Even from that distance I cringed as it happened. I knew it was bad almost the instant he hit the ground.

  12. David J Corcoran on February 7th, 2005 5:12 pm

    What about inquiring into the trade market? It wouldn’t take much to pry Orlando Palmeiro from the Stros (I’m thinking a low-level, low-future pitching “prospect”, i.e. Jon Huber), or Eric Crozier from the Jays (may take Greg Dobbs, but it’d be worth it)

  13. devil's advocate on February 7th, 2005 5:22 pm

    The more I consider it, the more I hope that the M’s won’t do what Jeff is suggesting. If we need a lefty off the bench, make it Snelling or Choo or Dobbs. Petagine? See what comes of it and add the notes to your book on acquiring NPB free agents. Any money that’s left right now, today, for use on 2005 acquisitions, keep it for next offseason when you plan to spend it on an ’06 playoff run; or for the remote chance that they’re in the hunt at the trading deadline this season.

    This is a transitional year for the M’s. The team has done enough to make that transition without spending more in 2005.

  14. eponymous coward on February 7th, 2005 5:26 pm

    Uh, if the M’s needed a lefty bench bat, why not bring back Dave Hansen? And exactly how many 1B/corner OF’ers/DH’s do the M’s need, anyway? If you count Reed as a CF and go “nanananana, I can’t hear you” when someone points out he’s more of an ragarm corner OF, we have:


    If you’re counting, that’s 6 players to fill a grand total of 3 lineup positions (LF/1B/DH), leaving you 3 bench players on a bench that will have, at most, 5 players on it (probably 4 in April, when teams usually carry 12 pitchers/13 position players because pitchers aren’t stretched out yet), one of whom will be the backup C.

    Consider that they right now have a light-hitting SS with an injury history a mile long and a 36 year old 2B who’s already showing signs he may be ready for the fork to be put in him, and the idea that they need to stock up on more corner position players is sort of bizarre. If anything, they need alternatives at middle infielder who can spell Pokey for the 45 games he’ll spend on the DL or who can fill in for Boone and give him days off without being a total out machine (coughnotBloomquistcough). My kingdom for Desi Relaford…

    Also, note that Hargrove is making noises about not wanting a full-time DH (it sounds like more of the Sparky Anderson approach of rotating players through it to give them semi-days off) AND not being sure what the hell he’s going to do with Bucky anyway…and adding a platoon partner for a player who’s likely to not get the playing time he deserves in the first place doesn’t make sense, really.

    Also, note that Spiezio’s a switch-hitter (meaning, lefty bat). AND can play 3B. Yeah, he might not slug like Petaigne- but it’s not unreasonable to see if he can be a bench bat instead of signing someone else and eating his contract.

  15. David J Corcoran on February 7th, 2005 5:30 pm

    Re #14: Uh, if the M’s needed a lefty bench bat, why not bring back Dave Hansen?

    Because lefty bench bats who hit .150 off the bench are a waste of a bench spot. Plus, he signed a deal with the Cubbies.

    And like it or not, Reed will play CF. I agree though, that a guy like Jamal Strong needs to be on the bench.

  16. John in L.A. on February 7th, 2005 5:37 pm

    #14 – How many Ibanez’s do we have on this team, anyway?

  17. IceX on February 7th, 2005 5:41 pm

    Jeff’s got a good point, but it’s not just MLB batters who washed up on the other shore coming back. Otsuka Akinori and Takatsu Shingo were both major bargains for their respective teams. The Red Sox signed Denny Tomori as well, so with the M’s Pac Rim scouting, they need to corner the cheap market before it goes Moneyball.

  18. Ralph Malph on February 7th, 2005 5:50 pm

    Hansen just signed a minor league deal with the Cubs.

    As the roster is shaping up, they’re going to be hurting for a LH pinch hitter for Reese or the catchers against right-handed closers. I’d hate to see one of them coming up with the game on the line against, say, K-Rod, and the best you can do for a left-handed pinch-hitter is Spiezio.

    Still, I’d rather see them give Snelling a shot than sign one of these bums.

  19. RealRhino on February 7th, 2005 5:59 pm

    FWIW, Fullmer’s numbers against RHP for 2002 and 2003 when he wasn’t injured were 301/377/560 and 313/398/517. Pretty good. If you wanted a full-time DH platoon, he would seem to be a great guy to go along with a righty like Bucky.

  20. Ralph Malph on February 7th, 2005 6:31 pm

    I think they have a DH platoon already — Bucky from the right and Ibanez from the left (with one of Reed, Winn or Ibanez sitting against LHP).

  21. eponymous coward on February 7th, 2005 7:45 pm

    Ouch. OK, fair enough.

    I think they have a DH platoon already – Bucky from the right and Ibanez from the left

    I would expect he’ll rotate players through the DH slot, with Spiezio, the backup IF and the backup C getting primary spot duty. There isn’t going to be a prominent spot for Bucky under this scenario, barring an injury to Sexson or Ibanez. Hansen got something like 90 PA’s as a Mariner through his trade- that’s probably about the kind of work Bucky would get in this cicrumstance.

    Look, I think Hargrove’s going to try something like this:


    With Spiezio in the Kevin Seitzer role (and ??? in the Julio Franco role- unfortunately, I think it could be Willie B.)…which is going to mean Bucky will get about 100 AB’s or so after he gets promoted back from Tacoma when they ditch the 12th pitcher. If he’s lucky. Hargrove just doesn’t seem to use his bench outside of pinch-hitting and a couple of guys to spell regulars, from what I can tell, unless one of the players is a total disaster. Bucky or Petaigne can’t do that, since they are basically 1B/DH types.

  22. nathaniel on February 7th, 2005 8:07 pm

    Has everyone forgot that we have Greg Jacobs?

    Let’s see– left-handed bat, good hitter, can’t play much defense, dirt cheap (316,000).

  23. Phil knows Jeff on February 7th, 2005 8:18 pm

    Hey Jeff,
    Sportsline.com says pirates asking about Huff from TB.

    We give one moderate priced guy like spezio, one of our many 35 yr old guys with some bigs experience(from our housecleaning trades last year), and a young pitching prospect. We get Huff at 2.5 mil.

    They can’t afford to resign him. We can. If we restructure him to 5 mil a year for 4 years, we have a young stud LF/1b/DH option who is not as mediocre as some guys. Even if he comes back to earth and hits less homers at safeco than in the juice dome.

    We then have lots of play at LF/1b/DH/PH. We actually use those guys we have no room for on our 40 man to improve the team, istead of signing 25 more .265 10 hr guys with mediocre defense. This move does not stop us from signing help up the middle (like Larkin) to a minor league deal either. Just avoids the Bavasi crap collection system.

  24. Joshua Buergel on February 7th, 2005 8:24 pm

    My kingdom for Desi Relaford…

    I think it’ll take considerably less than a Kingdom to get Desi these days. With him turning in EQAs of .236 and .205 the last two years, he’s not the answer to any question I hope we’re asking these days.

    As for grabbing another corner guy, I don’t think that’s the suggestion. Instead, people want to see a LH batter who will be used as a pinch hitter. A guy who will hit for Pokey and the catchers late in games, and that’s it. Right now, it’s Sandfrog, and we can do better for that role on the cheap. Yes, we have an excess corner guy right now, and yes, it’s Bucky that’s going to get screwed. But this isn’t a hope to bring in another guy to try and screw Bucky, it’s just scrounging up a threatening lefty.

    As for saving our dough for next year, the Mariners have already indicated that that isn’t the way they run the budget. So, why not drop $750K or whatever to scare up a better bench stick. I’d hate to see a younger player rotting in that role right now.

  25. JMB on February 7th, 2005 9:12 pm

    Greg Jacobs might not be a bad idea — he’s done nothing but hit since joining the organization two years ago. After hitting a ridiculous .380/.447/.641 in an Indy league in 2002, he hit .310/.370/.503 at San Antonio last year, then moved up to Tacoma and was even better at .320/.388/.523.


  26. John Delahanty on February 7th, 2005 11:12 pm

    Here’s some stuff from the Red Sox newsgroup on this:

    Subject: Re: Hot Stove: JUST IN – Sox Interested in Petagine
    From: bismo@ix.netcom.com (Dave Bismo)
    Date: 2/7/05 11:59 PM EST
    Message-id: <420843b2.1072578@news.east.earthlink.net>

    On Mon, 07 Feb 2005 21:28:12 -0500, Griffin Spencer

    >According to the USA Today’s Rod Beaton, the Red Sox could sign former
    >Yomiuri Giant Roberto Petagine as a reserve first baseman and left fielder.
    >Petagine would have been a terrific signing for a U.S. team a couple of
    >years ago, but he’s now 33 and coming off his worst season since heading
    >to Japan in 1999. He’d still be a nice pickup if he comes cheap, but the
    >Red Sox already have three players with hardly anything in the way of
    >defensive value. It might be hard to carry a fourth. Feb. 7 – 9:17 pm et
    >Source: USA Today
    >Bismo… what do you think?

    Petagine is one of the most interesting “what if” players of this
    generation. He was a great minor league player who never really got a
    shot at a major league job. Critics said that his big league numbers
    were too poor; defenders (including most statheads) felt that he was
    the victim of circumstance (being stuck behind Bagwell or in
    pinch-hitting roles) and never got a fair shot to play regularly.

    Then the guy went to Japan and put up spectacular numbers. Statheads
    have clamored for their favorite teams to lure him back to the U.S.,
    but it’s never happened. He turns 34 in June, and might well be on
    the downside (though RotoWorld is being unfair about his 2004 season,
    which was quite good).

    So in other words, I don’t really know what to expect from Petagine,
    and wish he were a few years younger. But I do think he’d be a really
    cool signing, and I’d love to see how he’d do in the majors. Sounds
    like a typical Theo Epstein no risk/high reward move, so I’d be all
    for it.

    Here are Petagine’s Japanese numbers, which are remarkable in any

    2004 .290/.409/.561 29 HR 84 RBI 134 G
    2003 .323/.457/.683 34 HR 81 RBI 136 G
    2002 .322/.438/.649 41 HR 94 RBI 138 G
    2001 .322/.466/.633 39 HR 127 RBI 131 G
    2000 .315/.432/.601 36 HR 96 RBI 103 G
    1999 .325/.469/.677 44 HR 112 RBI 117 G
    Totals .317/.446/.633 223 HR 594 RBI 756 G

    With stats like that, I find it hard to believe that he couldn’t be a
    useful big league role player.


  27. NBarnes on February 8th, 2005 2:05 am

    #22: Huff will never accept 5 a year as a free agent. He may be a well-kept secret, but he’s not that well-kept.

  28. Ralph Malph on February 8th, 2005 9:28 am

    Surely Hargrove isn’t stupid enough to give RH DH at-bats to Bloomquist, Spiezio, or Wilson instead of Bucky? Is he??

  29. Joshua Buergel on February 8th, 2005 10:03 am

    He’s not stupid no matter what he does with Bucky. Bucky is going to start the year in Tacoma to make sure that he’s playing on two legs. It sounds like he’s still rehabbing. Once he’s healthy and mashing again, we’ll see what happens with the major league roster.

  30. Ralph Malph on February 8th, 2005 10:30 am

    I hadn’t heard that about Bucky. Here’s the story:


  31. msb on February 8th, 2005 10:32 am

    #23,27– “The Devil Rays have asked for a top young starter and young infielder.” and “[LaMar] has stated repeatedly that he will not part with Huff unless he is overwhelmed by an offer. A source in Tampa Bay said the Devil Rays would seek a return for Huff of an everyday player, preferably a pitcher, and two top-notch prospects.”

  32. Phil knows Jeff on February 8th, 2005 10:50 am

    Okay… your point?
    I contend that the fossum trade and neagle signing mean that they are looking to replace Cruz now. I think we have spezio or winn, a number of 25 year old guys that would be starting position players(at least platooning) and a ton of “young prospects accumulated via trades and draft. Amazing how few of our pitching prospects have really made the big impact in the last 3 years. I know it was mostly injuries, but we have lost a lot of that capital that Gillick never used.
    As far as Huff resigning, if you bumped him up 2.5 million this year and gave him an escalating 5-10 for the following 3 years, he might take it, knowing he would be secure and in his prime when he became a free agent in 4 years. Maybe I am wrong on his asking price, i guess it depends on his agent. I just think it is a good move to make, even if it costs us a 40 man guy and two “prospects.”

  33. Troy on February 8th, 2005 11:17 am

    The point is we don’t have anything that Tampa would take. Huff is a great bat, but he won’t be becoming a Mariner anytime soon.

  34. Graham on February 8th, 2005 11:19 am

    Huff is a good player, but I don’t see why the Mariners would give up prospects and a 25-man player to get him. Where would he play? The outfield is overflowing with players right now, and the corners are manned by two players you may have heard of: Beltre and Sexson. A trade for Huff does suprisingly little for the team, especially if it costs prospects.

    At best, you’re essentially adding 10 home runs and about 20 points of batting average (difference between a normal Raul Ibanez year and a normal Huff year). The kind of prospects the D’Rays will want from the Mariners far exceed that gain.

    The Mariners need to improve the pitching, not to be adding an extra bat, as nice as Aubrey Huff would be.

    Although if we’re talking extra left handed bats for the bench, I think Greg Jacobs is probably a good option, and I wouldn’t complain if a healthy Chris Snelling filled that role either.

  35. msb on February 8th, 2005 11:37 am

    #32- that Tampa is asking so much for Huff that the Orioles bailed, and Pittsburgh is now looking to get Byrnes instead from the A’s…

  36. Justin on February 8th, 2005 11:45 am

    Did anyone else bust out laughing when they read “Spring had sprung” thanks to Mr. Show? Or am I the big nerd at the table?

  37. Jim Thomsen on February 8th, 2005 12:57 pm

    Future post I’d like to see:

    A ranking (and attendant commentary) of each team’s dumpster-diving and NRI quality. To wit … which organizations are showing so far the best eye for free and replacement-level talent?

  38. eponymous coward on February 8th, 2005 1:00 pm

    He’s not stupid no matter what he does with Bucky. Bucky is going to start the year in Tacoma to make sure that he’s playing on two legs. It sounds like he’s still rehabbing. Once he’s healthy and mashing again, we’ll see what happens with the major league roster.

    No, it sounds like the M’s have a roster crunch and they are going to hold Bucky back as a way around the roster crunch and make cluck-cluck noises about “injury concerns”. If he’s taking BP and saying “hey, the knee’s fine”, and he played 1B and DH on one knee for 3 years, somehow I don’t think a little over a month from now in mid-March, he’s not going to AT LEAST be able to face live pitching as a DH. You don’t really NEED 4 weeks to get ready for the season (see: 1995’s short spring training, or Barry Bonds this year).

    The logical place to bring Bucky back is in late April- usually these days, major league pitching staffs carry 12 pitchers out of spring training so they have an extra bullpen guy, but they cut back to 11 once arms stretch out to 120 pitches. So somebody like Putz/Baek/fill in the blank will get sent to Tacoma for Bucky.

    That being said, Bucky STILL won’t get playing time unless some OF comes off the roster, or one of the OF’ers gets demoted to the bench (maybe they’d do that to Reed against lefties, but it doesn’t sound like it, and if Reed starts out well, he’ll likely play every day), because Spiezio will get some AB’s at 1B (and some at 3B) if they use him, and the AL leader last year in PH PA’s was Chicago- at 109, meaning there’s less than one PH appearance per game. There simply aren’t THAT many opportunities to PH in the AL, and the two players who you’d most likely PH for on the roster (Reese and maybe Wilson) cause the most “problems” if you do that (you lose a decent amount of defense in Reese if you sub in Willie B., and you’re down to an emergency C if you PH for Wilson and Olivo gets injured. These aren’t the best arguments, but they are the ones “traditional” managers use as guides for in-game moves).

    I just don’t see that having a bunch of hitters with no real defensive position off the bench WORKS for this roster as it’s constructed in February 2005. Perhaps in an “ideal” world where we signed Matt Clement and a bunch of lowcost hitting fodder like Grieve and Petaigne instead of Richie Sexson and lowcost pitching fodder like Sele and Nellie it would make sense- especially since I think the market for minor league hitters who can play the left end of the defensive spectrum (1B/LF/DH) is undervalued as opposed to marginal major league starters and relievers- the Bucky Jacobsens, Greg Jacobses and Roberto Petaignes of the world are FAR more likely to be cheap and good than the Seles/Nellies of the world…but the front office didn’t see it that way this offseason.

  39. Evan on February 8th, 2005 1:24 pm

    But it’s idiotic to give Spiezio plate appearances that could go to Bucky. A strict platoon of Ibanez and Bucky at DH would be the best use of their talents; I’d be overjoyed if Spiezio never starts a game all season.

  40. eponymous coward on February 8th, 2005 2:11 pm

    A strict platoon of Ibanez and Bucky at DH would be the best use of their talents


    – Ibanez is already grumbling about being a DH. Being a PLATOON DH (even if he’s the high end of the platoon) isn’t going to make him happier- plus his high batting average last year is likely to make the team overvalue his potential contribution (“Hey, he’s a .300 hitter! We can’t bench him!”). So it’s unlikely the team would do this, and…

    – It’s also arguable that the best use of these two players would be playing Bucky every day. PECOTA projects Bucky as more likely to have a better year than Ibanez, and that’s factoring in lefty/righty. Reed, Bucky and Winn all have estimated VORPs around 22- Ibanez’s is significantly lower.

    – Spiezio can play 3B. Who do you want at 3B if Beltre sits? Willie B. or Spiezio?

  41. eponymous coward on February 8th, 2005 2:14 pm

    A strict platoon of Ibanez and Bucky at DH would be the best use of their talents


    – Ibanez is already grumbling about being a DH. Being a PLATOON DH (even if he’s the high end of the platoon) isn’t going to make him happier- plus his high batting average last year is likely to make the team overvalue his potential contribution (“Hey, he’s a .300 hitter! We can’t bench him!”). So it’s unlikely the team would do this, and…

    – It’s also arguable that the best use of these two players would be playing Bucky every day. PECOTA projects Bucky as more likely to have a better year than Ibanez, and that’s factoring in lefty/righty. Reed, Bucky and Winn all have estimated VORPs around 22- Ibanez’s is significantly lower.

    – Spiezio can play 3B. Who do you want at 3B if Beltre sits? Willie B. or Spiezio?

  42. Adam S on February 8th, 2005 2:29 pm

    With the Mariners actively trying to trade Winn or Ibanez, doesn’t it make more sense to say Jacobsen is headed to AAA and they both will play every day. Conceding that Winn and Ibanez are part-time players for us would seem to hurt the Mariners bargining position, and perhaps both of their egos.

    If the season stated today, I believe Bucky would go to the minors to play every day. But the FO has nearly two months to make it work.

  43. Ralph Malph on February 8th, 2005 2:39 pm

    I wouldn’t have Ibanez as a platoon DH and sitting on the bench the rest of the time. I’d have him DH against RHP and share time in the OF with Reed and Winn against LHP. And occasionally play 1B when Sexson needs a day off or his arm falls off.

    That would put Ibanez in the lineup probably 90% of the time.

    Sure, Spiezio can play 3B if Beltre sits. But Beltre shouldn’t be sitting much.

    Here’s what I’d do with the roster and lineup:

    Against LHP:

    Winn (or Ibanez)
    Ibanez (or Reed)

    Reed/Ibanez/Winn [whichever one isn’t playing that day]
    Santiago/Gil/Bloomquist/Lopez (whichever one makes the team)
    Strong/Snelling (whichever one makes the team)

    Against RHP:




    And give Leone a shot to try to beat one of those guys out in ST.

  44. Joshua Buergel on February 8th, 2005 4:29 pm

    No, it sounds like the M’s have a roster crunch and they are going to hold Bucky back as a way around the roster crunch and make cluck-cluck noises about “injury concerns”.

    Players always say that their [shoulder/knee/elbow/back/hand/spleen] feels great at the start of spring training and that they have been [taking BP/throwing on the side/running marathons] just fine. It’s as much a part of the noise of spring training as the annual Prodigal Griffey stories. Maybe he’s totally healthy, maybe not, but I’m inclined to think that the restricted workouts aren’t total BS. And if he goes down and spend a month or two in Tacoma, how is that such a terrible thing? The M’s have some time to sort out the major league roster, and it makes as much sense to have Bucky mashing full-time keeping his skills sharp as it does to have him fight for playing time. If we’re at the end of July and the M’s are still goofing off about clearing out some surplus like some kind of Twins West, then maybe it’ll be time to get annoyed. But until then, Bucky/Ibanez/Winn/Reed looks like it’s pretty much a wash, with the really important question being “can Reed handle center”. Oh, and “can the M’s get value on the trade market”.

  45. Ralph Malph on February 8th, 2005 4:41 pm

    Not that this thread has anything to do with Petagine anymore, but he has now signed with Boston.

  46. eponymous coward on February 8th, 2005 4:43 pm

    Uh, Ibanez has a .716 OPS against lefties since 2002. He did better last year, but he still had a 64 point differential. Seeing as he had a career high in BA and he still K’ed over two times as often against lefties as righties, I’d expect him to come back to earth. So strictly speaking, a straight Bucky/Ibanez platoon at DH makes more sense than playing Ibanez against righties.

  47. Jeff on February 8th, 2005 8:16 pm

    Petagine, like Nakamura, got a minor-league deal. Could be a nice find for the Sox.