Lopez to stick and start?

Jeff · March 18, 2005 at 12:40 am · Filed Under Mariners 

From Bob Finnigan’s roster construction story today spring a few intriguing matters, greatest of which is speculation that Jose Lopez may start at shortstop.

But a seismic shift appears to be happening at shortstop. With Pokey Reese’s spring affected by an ankle problem and, more lately, personal matters that took him out of camp for several days, Jose Lopez has used the opportunity and shown far better play at short than he did when he was called up for the last half of last season — in addition to hitting .308 this spring with some big late-game, run-producing hits.

Though this is “far from decided,” Finnigan reports that if Lopez stays in the majors, he’ll start.

Our thoughts on why this isn’t good for him or for the team have been repeated quite a bit. Even if you don’t buy those arguments, though, this would have a domino effect on big-league jobs.

Mike Hargrove appears adamant about starting the year with 12 pitchers, so if Lopez breaks camp with the big club, then there is no open spot on the bench — Pokey Reese would slide into a backup role. That leaves your reserves as Dan Wilson, Scott Spiezio, Willie Bloomquist and Pokey. If this happens, I guess we won’t be pinch-hitting a lot early in the season. At least, I hope not.

If Lopez starts the season in Tacoma, there will be an extra spot on the bench, which the article implies would be filled by Jamal Strong or (eek!) Greg Dobbs. Bucky Jacobsen would presumably get that spot if and when he is healthy.


55 Responses to “Lopez to stick and start?”

  1. stan on March 19th, 2005 7:13 pm

    If I was Bavasi I would be t

  2. stan on March 19th, 2005 7:19 pm

    try that again… If I was Bavasi I would be trying to move Franklin. I gather the Mets are going to spend big bucks for Iishi. It would seem to me Franklin would be a better and cheaper fit. If Trachsel returns in a few months, Franklin could be useful to the Mets in the bullpen. With Iishi’s struggle to throw strikes, I don’t see how he could pitch in the pen.

  3. eponymous coward on March 20th, 2005 1:47 pm

    Well, I wish there was an open thread to stick this in, but Finnigan’s latest has a quote from Bob Melvin that’s comedy gold:


    As ever, Melvin was quick, affable, yet guarded in his comments, which was smart and sensible.

    “You learn things in any job,” he said. “I’m not going to go into those things. I hadn’t managed before. There’s a lot of things I didn’t know then that I do now.”

    While Melvin never shied from his task with the Mariners, he had been thrown into a tougher situation than anyone realized, a rookie manager with a team largely comprised of experienced players.

    After acknowledging he prefers the National League game, he was specific in one area, recalling that in 2003 Seattle had put together a good bench.

    “In the National League you use those guys for substitutions, pinch-hitting. But we weren’t able to use it enough in the American League to keep them ready.”

    Anyone want to guess what Mariner pinch hitters in 2003 with that good bench?

    Try .154, with an OPS of .519. Yeah, awesome bench, alright.


    Oh, wait, you mean to tell me Greg Colbrunn would have been the only bench player on that team to have an OPS over .700 (and he spent most of the year on the DL)?

    And blaming the DH for not being able to get action for your bench is, well, just showing that when your strategy crutch is taken away (the option to PH for the pitcher) you don’t have the flexibility to think differently. I’ve never seen LaRussa, Anderson or Piniella say they couldn’t use their bench when they managed in the AL… but if you are a strictly by tne book sheep^H^H^H^H^H^Hmanager, I could understand why you’d be confused when part of the book is taken away.

  4. John D. on March 20th, 2005 5:34 pm

    As long as we’re straying off topic–to vent, I guess; let us not forget the double switch.
    Many a manager opposes the DH simply because it deprives them of the oppotunity to execute the double switch.
    These guys look at the double switch as some kind of exercise in rocket science, instead of the 3rd grade maneuver it is. (It really doesn’t take much to satisfy them.)

  5. David J Corcoran on March 20th, 2005 6:52 pm

    You can double switch in the AL anyway, just not with the pitcher… Anytime you pull your shortstop and your left fielder and put your new shortstop in the old left fielders spot and your new left fielder in the old shortstops spot, voila, a double switch…

    And if managers hate the DH so much, why don’t they forefit it everytime they get the chance? They just whine…