Trying Lopez out for 2009 first baseman

DMZ · September 13, 2008 at 5:16 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Over at the Times, the news that Lopez will play first tonight as the Mariners kick around the idea of playing him there next year.

Jose’s had an offensive bounce this year, hitting over his career average, and yet:

Jose this year: .292/.318/.431
AL first basement this year: .265/.345/.440

As a general comparison, he’d be a little worse offensively than Casey Kotchman. The average first baseman is… James Loney (90% of Loney?). He’d be better than throwing a total random cheap player out there, but not all that much. To get him up to being an average first baseman, Lopez would need to be ten runs better defensively than a Loney.

And that’s possible, but his play at second’s been bad this year (well, pick your metric). The difference between second to first gets him some of that back, but how much? Five runs? Ten?

The other issue is that it’s a lot easier to find a first baseman than a competent second baseman. If they move Lopez to first, where he’s average, that’s an improvement over what they had there this year, but then they’re either going to be paying for a free agent second baseman, trading for someone, or they’ll end up playing a scrub or organizational player like Tug — and if you’re lucky, we end up with an all-glove no-bat player, picked my an organization that’s done a really bad job over the last five years evaluating defense as a team much less for individuals.

If Lopez can play first, though, it certainly gives the team more options this off-season, and I’m all for that.


20 Responses to “Trying Lopez out for 2009 first baseman”

  1. juneau_fan on September 13th, 2008 5:28 pm

    I’d been wondering if this was a possible off season move, and here it is.

    I’m in terror of all the position players that are needed, and the FO’s record of filling those successfully. At least when you fill the hole internally, no money’s lost. (Until they go to fill that second baseman hole, as you said.)

    Example: I’ve been listening to Giants games, and during the Arizona series, I realized that the Grittiest of the Gritty, the Dirtiest Pants in MLB, David Eckstein, is out there…I quiver like a baby bird when I see all the possible pitfalls.

  2. Dave on September 13th, 2008 5:36 pm

    They’d be better off trying Lopez at third and moving Tui to first.

  3. Joe on September 13th, 2008 5:38 pm

    Well, there’s Valbuena, right? The M’s are well on their way to an all-glove-no-bat infield anyway…

    I’m not really in favor of big free agent signings, but having said that, what’s out there? Take a flier on a possibly-healed Orlando Hudson?

  4. Dave on September 13th, 2008 5:40 pm

    That would be endorsed free agent signing Orlando Hudson you’re referring to.

  5. Grizz on September 13th, 2008 6:04 pm

    Dave, do you have any idea what happened with Hudson’s defense this year? Plus/minus has him at -6 for the year.

    What do you think about Furcal as a replacement for Betancourt (assuming medical clearance)? He has been slightly above average with the glove, and while not as consistent as Hudson, his offensive production has not been much behind Hudson (after park adjustments).

  6. jlc on September 13th, 2008 6:32 pm

    That was a nice first baseman play.

  7. F-Rod on September 13th, 2008 6:32 pm

    Could Yuni play 2nd base? Maybe they see Lopez as a potential super sub. 1b,2b,3b he would be an upgrade over Willie I would Imagine. You could bring in a cheap lefty 1b and platoon Lopez some at 1st. Would Yuni go from a bad ss to an avg 2basemen? Then they could sign or trade for a 2b or SS.

  8. jlc on September 13th, 2008 6:42 pm

    Not such a nice first baseman play.

  9. mln on September 13th, 2008 6:47 pm

    One thing not discussed so far is this: if Lopez moves to 1st base, this does open up the possibility of resigning you-know-who and giving him the 2nd base job.

    Yes, I’m talking about … WFB, your starting 2009 second baseman.

  10. msb on September 13th, 2008 6:54 pm

    so, thus far our potential first basemen are Lopez and Morse?

  11. terry on September 13th, 2008 7:02 pm

    I’m physically ill.

  12. ManageWA on September 13th, 2008 7:08 pm

    There’s always the 2015 World Series…

    Maybe we can convince Mark Cuban to buy the team.

  13. gk91 on September 13th, 2008 7:42 pm

    Mln: I share your fears!

  14. tgf on September 13th, 2008 8:20 pm

    I hope Lopez can jump with some of those crazy throws coming in from Betancourt.

  15. galaxieboi on September 13th, 2008 9:09 pm

    That’s why we need a tall first baseman! A proven slugger! A…oh, wait. We tried that, huh? Dang.

  16. JMHawkins on September 13th, 2008 9:55 pm

    That’s why we need a tall first baseman!

    That’s right, because a tall firstbaseman will catch those wild throws. You know, those belt-high throws right at his glove.

    Well, it was Batista’s glove.

  17. jephdood on September 13th, 2008 10:06 pm

    Oy. We’re gonna win maybe 55 games next year.

  18. 300ZXNA on September 14th, 2008 1:00 am


  19. JMHawkins on September 14th, 2008 9:18 am

    After a good nights sleep, I’m against this move. I agree it would add flexibility, but going into next year, the easiest places for the M’s to find position upgrades are at 1B and DH. Lopez would probably be a +1.5 WAR 1B at best, below average. While that would be an improvement over what we’ve gotten, it’s short of what we need.

    If the don’t want Lopez at 2B any more, and don’t imagine him as the post-Beltre 3B, then they should just trade him.

  20. fermorules on September 14th, 2008 10:22 pm

    Whatever makes the least amount of sense, that’s what the Mariners will do.

    This is an organization that places virtually no emphasis on the way its players approach at-bats. It’s whay we see so many mediocre pitchers have five, six and seven-pitch innings against the M’s.

    This is an organization that had the nerve to run Cairo out to first base and still charge major league prices at its home games.

    I’d call this organization rudderless, but that would imply that the Mariners have a ship.

    They don’t! They have nothing! The 2008 Seattle Mariners are the worst club in the team’s sad-sack history. Mediocre players who mail it in night after night. And there is no reason to believe next year will be any better.

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