The First Base Problem

Dave · June 2, 2010 at 6:34 am · Filed Under Mariners 

With a limited budget, the Mariners took a chance on the hope of Casey Kotchman‘s untapped potential. A good hitter in the minors (and in the majors in 2007, his first year of regular playing time), the M’s hoped to buy low on a guy who could be more than he had been previously. In a lot of ways, Kotchman was this year’s Franklin Gutierrez.

Unlike with Death To Flying Things, it hasn’t worked out so well. The M’s talked of tweaking Kotchman’s swing and how he could take advantage of Safeco Field, but 175 plate appearances into the experiment, and Kotchman’s been almost exactly the same guy he was last year (even if the results don’t show it). A quick comparison:

2009: 9% BB%, 11% K%, .114 ISO, 51% GB%, 7% HR/FB
2010: 9% BB%, 12% K%, .123 ISO, 53% GB%, 8% HR/FB

His atrocious batting average is driven by a .201 batting average on balls in play, well below the .283 mark he posted last year, and has taken a decent player and made him useless so far. That will change – he’s not nearly as bad as his overall batting line would indicate.

But, regression to last year’s number isn’t what the M’s were hoping for. He wasn’t supposed to be the same guy as last year. The M’s were betting on improvement, and so far, there hasn’t been any. He’s still pounding the ball into the ground, limiting his ability to hit for power. He doesn’t have an extra base hit since May 5th, despite playing first base almost every day. The defense is nice, but even with a solid glove, he was just a +1 win player in 430 plate appearances last year, and he ended up as a reserve on a contending team.

It’s June, and it’s getting close to the time where the M’s may have to admit that Kotchman isn’t going to be Gutierrez 2.0. They’ve given him a chance to get back to what he was in 2007, and he hasn’t done it. He’s been the exact same disappointing player of the last few years, only with worse luck. And that’s just not going to cut it, no matter what direction the team decides to go in.

If they want to try to contend, they probably need to upgrade at first base. If they want to rebuild, well, Kotchman’s not part of the future here. He’s arbitration eligible at the end of the year, and I don’t think anyone wants to pay him roughly $4 to $5 million to try again next year. He’s a non-tender guy, so barring a monster second half, his Mariner career probably ends with 2010. So, you’re not building for the future by running him out there either.

No matter which way they go, the direction probably shouldn’t include Casey Kotchman, starting first baseman. They either need to upgrade the position or give the playing time to someone who might actually be around in 2011.

Comments

82 Responses to “The First Base Problem”

  1. lesch2k on June 2nd, 2010 7:06 am

    The same logic applies at (non-Bradley) dh right? Although i guess this site wouldn’t be as interesting if Dave Made the same arguments each day.

  2. Dave on June 2nd, 2010 7:08 am

    The DH answer is pretty easy – Milton plays there nearly every day, and they let Saunders/Langerhans share left field. You’d get enough usefulness and future value out of that arrangement to justify not making a move for a guy outside the organization.

  3. clandon on June 2nd, 2010 7:12 am

    here here

  4. Tek Jansen on June 2nd, 2010 7:17 am

    Mike Carp is the obvious in-house candidate to replace Kotchman. Carp would play regularly, resting occaisonally against lefties. It is doubtful that he would perform worse than Kotchman has.

    However, since replacing Kotchman with Carp is little better than a lateral move, I don’t think that such a move would come until late June or July, when the M’s would most likely see themselves as clearly out of a pennant race. They can then justify letting Carp play half a summer in the bigs.

  5. diderot on June 2nd, 2010 7:30 am

    How many players combine Kotchman’s high line drive rate with his ridiculously low BABIP?
    It’s far too soon to pull the plug on him…particularly for a team going nowhere…and with no one blocked by his presence.

  6. z24lax on June 2nd, 2010 7:50 am

    See ya casey kotchman, there is no time soon enough. By the way russ branyan hit his 7th homer last night despite missing a quarter of the season, I guess you get what you pay for,

  7. wetzelcoatl on June 2nd, 2010 8:01 am

    The problem here is that there doesn’t seem to be anyone in house to replace Kotchman. Mike Carp has been hitting for some power this year but he hasn’t exactly been killing the ball in Tacoma, and none of the organization’s other 1B prospects appear to be major league ready either, leaving them all firmly in the call up to get experience once the season is a lost cause category. That would mean in order to get an immediate upgrade we would need to trade for it and I don’t really think it is worth trading away prospects in order to improve a team that is still 11 games below .500.

  8. Mike Snow on June 2nd, 2010 8:06 am

    Well, so far they’ve been treating it as if the alternative is Matt Tuiasosopo, starting first baseman. That doesn’t work either.

  9. Refuse2Lose20666 on June 2nd, 2010 8:15 am

    Prince Fielder! hahahaha

  10. Chris_From_Bothell on June 2nd, 2010 8:20 am

    Who do you suggest?

  11. luckyscrubs on June 2nd, 2010 8:26 am

    It appears Jack Z also sees 1B as a problem. According to ESPN Boston he contacted the Red Sox about Mike Lowell.

  12. joealb1 on June 2nd, 2010 8:30 am

    Brad Nelson?

  13. lalo on June 2nd, 2010 8:33 am

    Mike Lowell maybe, is a upgrade to Kotch

  14. nikmarinersfan on June 2nd, 2010 9:05 am

    Anybody heard of Ryan Strieby from the tigers minor league system? He is sitting behind MC and never going to make it to the big club while he is there. Although his numbers are down right now because he was on the DL to start the year, he is a beast.

    Any other AAA 1st baseman stuck behind somebody that we might be able to get for cheap?

  15. wetzelcoatl on June 2nd, 2010 9:06 am

    I could see trying to deal for Lowell if we were 3 or 4 games back in the division, but at 7 back I’m not super excited about the possibility of trading for a 36 year old 1B.

  16. RaoulDuke37 on June 2nd, 2010 9:18 am

    Miguel Cairo

  17. Ralph_Malph on June 2nd, 2010 9:25 am

    I’ve got just the guy. He’s a switch hitter, batting 313/382/443 with an independent league club, he can play 1st or 3rd or, in a pinch, 2nd. Has some big league experience, played on a couple of championship teams.

    And he has a really cool tattoo.

  18. luckyscrubs on June 2nd, 2010 9:26 am

    Wetzelcoatl, I agree 100%, 7 games is a huge deficit so they may as well stick with Kotchman, but then again I would’ve said stick with Texeira over White for the same reason. Clearly, the FO still thinks there is a chance.

  19. erikec on June 2nd, 2010 9:37 am

    I don’t hate Kotchman, but I just don’t see the potential there. I don’t think he will ever hit for average or power, and he has no speed. Why not platoon Carp and Everidge at 1st? At least for now. I think having Langerhans and Saunders is redundant. Why not let Mike Wilson platoon with Saunders? Why are Rowland-Smith and Snell Mariners and French (6-2, 1.93 era) not. And why does Wak think he can sit a young player (Saunders) for a week and not think it would affect him?

  20. Marinersdude83 on June 2nd, 2010 9:43 am

    A 1B who can play the field and hit?

  21. ima-zeliever on June 2nd, 2010 9:59 am

    Hey Dave,

    Didn’t the Bill Hall mistake play a role in the Kotchman situation?

  22. bookbook on June 2nd, 2010 10:10 am

    It turns out Nick Johnson wouldn’t have been any better, though he was a better (but more expensive) gamble.

    Like DH, 1B shouldn’t prove impossible to fill.

  23. msb on June 2nd, 2010 10:12 am

    It appears Jack Z also sees 1B as a problem. According to ESPN Boston he contacted the Red Sox about Mike Lowell.

    I think we can safely assume that Zduriencik has contacted most everyone about most everybody.

  24. Westside guy on June 2nd, 2010 10:25 am

    If there was some obvious waiting-to-be-picked first baseman out there, Dave almost certainly would’ve listed him – and therein lies the problem.

    If the team’s best option is to bring up Carp, it probably would make just as much sense to continue the Kotchman experiment. Someone’s probably going to bring up Sweeney at some point – but his back can’t even handle regular DH duties, let alone actually playing a position (and ignoring all the other reasons many of us would think it’s a terrible idea).

  25. djw on June 2nd, 2010 10:26 am

    By the way russ branyan hit his 7th homer last night despite missing a quarter of the season, I guess you get what you pay for,

    I think I agree with the sentiment that right now, what with 20-20 hindsight and all, a gamble on Branyan’s health looks like a better option than a gamble on Kotchman’s potential. But I’m not sure what you mean by “get what you pay for” as Branyan is cheaper than Kotchman in terms of 2010 contracts. (We got rid of our residual Bill Hall obligations in the trade, so Kotchman may have been slightly cheaper to the M’s, but it’s a very marginal distinction).

  26. PBS on June 2nd, 2010 10:36 am

    I’m assuming the this post/thread is the first in a 25-part series.

  27. littlelinny6 on June 2nd, 2010 10:38 am

    Call Drayton Moore and ask about Kila. The guy has a .503 OBP in AAA and they can’t find a roster spot for him. Offer Tui for him and go from there…sounds crazy but we got them to take Yuni.

  28. Mike Snow on June 2nd, 2010 10:42 am

    Didn’t the Bill Hall mistake play a role in the Kotchman situation?

    What Bill Hall mistake do you mean? Yes, we traded Hall for Kotchman, but other than that, I don’t see why it would affect our evaluation of the situation.

  29. littlelinny6 on June 2nd, 2010 10:46 am

    If we’re talking to KC, I’d ask about Alex Gordon too. The fact that the Royals can’t find a roster spot for Kila or Gordon speaks volumes of their organization.

  30. mike on June 2nd, 2010 10:53 am

    Free Brad Nelson!

  31. mlathrop3 on June 2nd, 2010 10:53 am

    I’m assuming the this post/thread is the first in a 25-part series.

    Nice! (although I would limit it to a 20 part series at this point)

  32. ima-zeliever on June 2nd, 2010 10:54 am

    Mike, We were able to unload Bill Hall in exchange for Kotchman. The fact that we had a useless piece of furniture (Hall) for a better piece with greater upside was a plus.

    If we didn’t have the problem of Hall on our roster (and payroll) would we have gone out and pursued Kotchman? There is a greater probability that Z would have looked for other options unless we believe that Kotchman was at the top of his list.

    To what degree you can divorce the Hall mistake from the Kotchman acquisition…. is still a question. However, I don’t think it is irrelevant to the conversation.

  33. Mathball on June 2nd, 2010 10:59 am

    It is time to get creative. Last year the FO could do that, time to do it again.

    I’d suggest Milton Bradley playing 1b if he wasn’t Milton Bradley.

    Can we find a 3b and switch Lopez over? Can Langerhans play first at all? I’m sure 1st base is harder than it looks, but Sweeney can “play” first with a bad back. So who is out there that can hit or at least have meaningful at bats?

  34. greentunic on June 2nd, 2010 11:10 am

    Lowell seems unhappy and unappreciated in Boston. We could probably get him for a small ransom. He is hitting for low average which is perfect becasue it will decrease his value at trade and he will improve us EVEN AT his low average.

  35. GoldenGutz on June 2nd, 2010 11:16 am

    Maybe we are hoping to get a 1B when we deal Lee? Maybe Logan Morrison or Freddie Freeman? Not many options I can see out there.

  36. beadyeyes123 on June 2nd, 2010 11:18 am

    Can we find a 3b and switch Lopez over? Can Langerhans play first at all? I’m sure 1st base is harder than it looks, but Sweeney can “play” first with a bad back. So who is out there that can hit or at least have meaningful at bats?

    Lopez doesn’t want to play 1B and he’s been a good glove at third so no sense moving what works defensively.

    Langerhans has played first and has looked decent so I would go with that idea unless they can get somebody signed or make a trade that doesn’t hurt our depth.

  37. beadyeyes123 on June 2nd, 2010 11:20 am

    Maybe we are hoping to get a 1B when we deal Lee? Maybe Logan Morrison or Freddie Freeman? Not many options I can see out there.

    Would the Padres part with Kyle Blanks? With the season they are having I don’t see Adrian going anywhere and Blanks was demoted. He’s a 1B with pop.

  38. Mike Snow on June 2nd, 2010 11:22 am

    I still don’t see what “mistake” is involved with Hall. He was a guy they picked up for basically nothing to see if his bat could be salvaged back to a previous level of performance. It didn’t work, but that’s not a mistake. Instead of dumping Hall for nothing, they turned him into a second try at the same thing with Kotchman. But Hall wasn’t a roster or payroll problem in any sense, he could quite easily have been dumped if they hadn’t found a way to flip him for something else.

    Basically, Bill Hall was like Eric Byrnes. There’s nothing about giving Byrnes a try that was a mistake, it just didn’t work, so they moved on.

  39. beadyeyes123 on June 2nd, 2010 11:23 am

    Basically, Bill Hall was like Eric Byrnes. There’s nothing about giving Byrnes a try that was a mistake, it just didn’t work, so they moved on.

    That’s the beauty of no risk moves. We can always dump the player, with zero downside, if they aren’t getting it done.

  40. henryv on June 2nd, 2010 11:30 am

    I realize the M’s are always trying to “make the team better now, and in the future”, but I’m thinking that the now is pretty much shot, and any short-term solution is throwing good money after bad.

    Just cause you’re holding 16, and the dealers showing ace doesn’t mean you buy insurance. Play it out, and see what happens next hand.

    Free Brad Nelson, let him play some real games. He is 27 and not getting any younger.

    I would love to see a 1B and catcher come back for Cliff Lee, and perhaps get something for Bedard if he is still alive on July 31st.

  41. MrGenre on June 2nd, 2010 11:41 am

    Okay, so I’m still new to the world of stats, so go easy on me, and I’m not necessarily defending Kotch, but he’s one of only 4 (statistically relevant) Mariners with a BA RISP over .300 (.333). That may be meaningless, but with so many stranded Mariners in the past few months, it might be (maybe?) relevant. Or I’m way off.

    Also, in response to comparing Casey to Gutierrez, didn’t we all expect nothing from Guti offensively when he came on board? Would we be having this conversation if Guti had only reached expectations instead of surpassing them? Toss me some stats (seriously, I haven’t looked) about Kotch’s defense going downhill and we’ll talk.

  42. Hud67 on June 2nd, 2010 12:00 pm

    Trade Kotchman and Tui for Luke Scott.

  43. ima-zeliever on June 2nd, 2010 12:04 pm

    If we cut Hall, the Brewers were no longer on the hook to send us the money for Hall ($7 millionish?). That money got sent to Boston. Byrnes was almost free. Hall was more expensive (I think the Ms were paying 2M per season). We had to do something with Hall and that something resulted in our current 1Bman.

  44. The_Waco_Kid on June 2nd, 2010 12:10 pm

    Kotchman had good numbers very early, but in May his numbers were terrible. I’m glad he’s playing less. I like Sweeney at 1B for now. He’s hitting way better than Kotchman (despite Dave’s prediction that the hot streak is ending).

    Also, I don’t understand why they don’t platoon Langerhans at 1B with Sweeney, or maybe with Saunders in LF. Langerhans had a .895 OPS in May, with only 21 AB, but why not give him a little playing time? He seems to be just taking up space on the roster.

  45. bermanator on June 2nd, 2010 12:19 pm

    Trade Kotchman and Tui for Luke Scott.

    Why would Baltimore do that?

    Not that I think the price tag for Scott would be super high, but the Orioles don’t need a one-year rental at 1B, and Tui isn’t going to make anyone salivate.

  46. JMHawkins on June 2nd, 2010 12:38 pm

    If there was some obvious waiting-to-be-picked first baseman out there, Dave almost certainly would’ve listed him – and therein lies the problem.

    Yep, there are no options that don’t come with one of three drawbacks – high risk, high cost, or low potential.

    I haven’t looked at the upcomming 1B FA class this winter, so I’m not sure how promising it would be to go the high cost route and spend cash (I’d rather not spend prospects, we have few enough as it is). 1B has been one of the more overpriced FA positions, though that may be turning around now. Even if that’s the route you take, it has it’s own risks in that you might not be able to sign your guy and then you’re stuck with a lousy fallback.

    Option 2 would be to just stick Carp at 1B and focus the time, energy and money on upgrading C, SS and the rotation (since we’re probably Cliff-less next year and odds are one of the pleasant rotation surprises this year will turn into a pumpkin at some point).

    Option 3 is my favorite – gamble on a bunch of high risk/high reward types. Because of the risk, they’re cheap and you can actually afford more than one roll of the dice. Problem is getting them playing time to evaluate the results, and starting NOW give you three or four extra months.

  47. Mike Snow on June 2nd, 2010 12:39 pm

    If we cut Hall, the Brewers were no longer on the hook to send us the money for Hall

    Where do you get that idea? As far as I know, the Brewers included money to pay all but a small fraction of Hall’s salary as part of the trade. That payment was committed up front, and we passed the money on to the Red Sox in the Kotchman trade. I don’t know of any provision that would have had the Mariners suddenly paying Hall’s salary after letting him go when they weren’t paying it while they had him.

  48. Dutch on June 2nd, 2010 12:52 pm

    Reading this after the post on large item pickup, one can’t help but think some spending will be done on first base.

  49. Westside guy on June 2nd, 2010 12:53 pm

    since we’re probably Cliff-less next year

    I’m surprised at how sad that phrase makes me…

  50. tmac9311 on June 2nd, 2010 12:55 pm

    I like the idea of trying to get Alex Gordon. Worst case scenario is he is Kotchman. Best case, he becomes a huge part of this team’s future, and maybe even pushes Ackley or Figgins to left field. The other guy in KC is a good option too. I think the way Kotchman has played this year, you HAVE to trade for the future, because regardless you upgrade the present too. Plus, it’s KC. We could probably talk them into Tui being the guy the fans and FO love, cause KC seems to jump ll over those guys for whatever reason. Plus Yuni is hitting good right now, they probably would think they are robbing us.

  51. Diehard on June 2nd, 2010 12:58 pm

    It isn’t hard to replace Kotchman’s offense. I mean Miguel Cairo or Vidro could probably do more than Kotchman has the last month. But his defense won’t be so easy to replace. But I am guessing if the M’s are in it come July, GMZ is gonna go big or go home.

  52. z24lax on June 2nd, 2010 1:00 pm

    So we could have had bill hall and russ branyan for around 4-6 million a season, and now we have casey kotchman and no bench player that can field on position, let alone multiple. Thats what the team gets for cheaping out.

  53. erikec on June 2nd, 2010 1:03 pm

    Kotchman sucks, Ackley is now tearing it up in AA. Ackley is a doubles hitter, with speed and a very high OBP. He played 1st base last year at NC. Why not play him at 1st base in Seattle for now?

  54. Bip on June 2nd, 2010 1:06 pm

    The mistake was made in the offseason when it was obvious we needed a first baseman with some offense and we opted for a F#@$%#$% terrible player in Kotchman. We deserved this. If we had simply offered Branyan his job back, we could be looking at a different situation with some upside. We needed offense and we stuck with our run saving metrics. Didn’t pay off. Should give Carp (and his 9 HR’s) some time in the majors as Kotchman is not helping us and is not in our future.

  55. jephdood on June 2nd, 2010 1:14 pm

    Ty Wigginton an option at first? How expensive might he be?

  56. Leroy Stanton on June 2nd, 2010 1:30 pm

    If we had simply offered Branyan his job back, we could be looking at a different situation with some upside.

    We did offer him his job back and he declined. There were rumors that he was looking for 3 years and a substantial amount of money. I’m pretty sure you’ll be thanking JackZ in a year or so.

  57. GripS on June 2nd, 2010 1:36 pm

    I think it would be a mistake to try and bring Ackley up this early. We all know what happens when top draft picks are brought up before their time.

  58. Idaho M on June 2nd, 2010 1:38 pm

    Would we be a better team right now if we had kept Beltre, Branyan and Morrow? I would say yes.
    But we wouldnt have been able to get Lee. So what we get in exchange for Lee is going to be huge for the future of Wak and JackZ.

  59. djw on June 2nd, 2010 1:44 pm

    Okay, so I’m still new to the world of stats, so go easy on me, and I’m not necessarily defending Kotch, but he’s one of only 4 (statistically relevant) Mariners with a BA RISP over .300 (.333). That may be meaningless, but with so many stranded Mariners in the past few months, it might be (maybe?) relevant. Or I’m way off.
    A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if there is any reason to believe a particular stat is a repeatable and consistent skill. We’ve got a pretty staggeringly overwhelming amount of data that RISP hitting, and clutch hitting more generally, are not. Only pay attention to outcomes where you have good reason to believe past performance is predictive of future performance. This is clearly not one of them, and the Mariners poor performance overall in this area doesn’t change this.

  60. eponymous coward on June 2nd, 2010 1:50 pm

    Also, in response to comparing Casey to Gutierrez, didn’t we all expect nothing from Guti offensively when he came on board? Would we be having this conversation if Guti had only reached expectations instead of surpassing them? Toss me some stats (seriously, I haven’t looked) about Kotch’s defense going downhill and we’ll talk.

    Kotchman’s been a bad player since his trade from LAAnaheim- net of less than one WAR in almost 800 PAs.

    To give you an idea of how bad Death to Flying Things would need to be to be THAT bad, Endy Chavez is almost a two WAR player for 2008-2009, and that’s quite a few less PAs (and no time in 2010). Gutierrez would be a 2 WAR player full time, as a slap hitter with his current defense- he’s just THAT good.

    Kotchman’s problem is good defense at 1B isn’t worth much- the money’s on having a decent bat. And at this point, he doesn’t have one.

  61. msfanmike on June 2nd, 2010 1:53 pm

    Ackley is nowhere near ready for the “jump.” He is just starting to figure out how to hit with the wood bat – and after 3 hits today his average is in the mid .230′s. He also does not hit for any power – and the M’s need to profile their power positions accordingly … since Ichiro resides comfortably outside the normal profile for a RF. Back to Branyan – I recall hearing over and over during the offseason that the FO “did their homework” on him. “We did our homework … we did our homework.” That sounded like code for “he is hurt and hurt pretty badly – and we are looking elsewhere.” In hindsight, not getting Branyan was a mistake. Branyan was a little greedy too in wanting a two year guarantee. He was insisting on it as a matter of fact. As his market continued to dwindlw, he ended up signing a 1 + 1 (team option). He also has a unique clause in his current year contract that does not allow him to be traded prior to June 15th without his permission. However, after June 15th, the Indians can trade him at their discretion. The Mariners could get him back if they really want him – which probably puts the FO into the unfortunate position of having to undo all their previous “homework” and bypass the opportunity to provide Carp with a legitimate opportunity. Back injuries are tricky and it could fire back up at any moment, so maybe the homework was solid and maybe they made a good decision long-term to not sign Branyan. I would love to see Branyan back as a part time DH/1B post Griffey exodus – with Niehause screaming about another majestic shot. That would make sense. Unfortunately, it probably makes more sense next year than this. Griffey is in the way. I doubt that Branyan will cost (on next years free agent market) the current $5M he is owed if the Indians exercise his year 2 option. Fortunately, Cleveland is plenty bad and will likely be looking to unload Branyan some time soon. He may be insisting on needing to provide permission to any pre-June 15th trade as leverage to get any intersted team into exercising the year #2 option in advance of this season expiring … which is, agreeably – nothing but pure speculation on my part.

  62. eponymous coward on June 2nd, 2010 1:56 pm

    Why would we play a 2B at 1B, especially when we’re going to a great deal of trouble to make Ackley into a MLB 2B? That’s just silly. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, Jose Lopez is on a TEAM option in 2011, and Chone Figgins could easily be shifted back to 3B next year.

  63. luckyscrubs on June 2nd, 2010 2:18 pm

    Would we be a better team right now if we had kept Beltre, Branyan and Morrow? I would say yes.

    I don’t think it is quite that simple. Beltre didn’t want to come back and no amount of reasonable money would have changed that. Branyan was a huge gamble and as we’ve seen with Mark Lowe back injuries can be unpredictable. And Morrow is the same frustrating pitcher in Toronto as he was here.

    The 2010 Mariners are better than the 2009 Mariners, if that is what you are asking. But between bad luck and injuries it is easy to be down on the 2010 version.

  64. Jon S. on June 2nd, 2010 2:26 pm

    If we deal Lee, we could get someone like Yonder Alonso from the Reds. And considering that the Reds need a front line starter something awful if they are going to take the central from the Cards, we may be able to get someone else with star potential as well. Someone like Chapman perhaps?

  65. erikec on June 2nd, 2010 3:03 pm

    Ackley is hitting .317 the last 25 games and .385 the last 10 games. I think he has figured out how to use a wood bat. His OBP is .397, even while hitting .147 in April. He has more walks than strike outs. I don’t think he has anything more to learn in AA or AAA. Putting him at 1st base would be a temporary thing, a way of getting him in the line up and Kotchman out of it.

  66. MX on June 2nd, 2010 3:16 pm

    Can we get Adam LaRoche from D’Backs? They are not a contender.

  67. spankystout on June 2nd, 2010 3:30 pm

    I think Kotch has potential, but his hands are in a poor position to hit. What I mean is, he starts with his hands slighlty above his shoulders. When he steps to load up, his hands drop to below the logo on his chest. Occasionally he gets his hands up again and regains his leverage. I think he needs to try something similar to Alex Rios, maybe not as drastic, where you start with your hands low, then bring them up when he steps to load. It is difficult to hit a baseball with authority when your hands are that low.

  68. stuafoo on June 2nd, 2010 3:37 pm

    Longtime reader, although I’ve never posted before. Thought I’d throw another name out there–what about Chris Davis from Texas? He’s got lots of pop, plus it’s not unthinkable to see him hitting .250 or so. His value is also recently diminished because it appears as if the rangers are going to stick with Smoak for the foreseeable future. I know sometimes teams are hesitant to make inter-division trades, but it seems like something worth exploring. What do you think?

  69. eponymous coward on June 2nd, 2010 3:39 pm

    Putting him at 1st base would be a temporary thing, a way of getting him in the line up and Kotchman out of it.

    Aside from the fact of, hello, Mike Carp, it’s silly to yank a prospect like Ackley all over the diamond just so you can give your team a last gasp chance at winning games in 2010, especially when Ackley’s probably just going to have to go back to 2B in 2011. I see no reason to rush Ackley to the majors to play a different position. Let him REALLY show mastery in hitting in the minors, not just a couple weeks worth of it.

  70. pgreyy on June 2nd, 2010 3:48 pm

    I bought into the “defense & pitching” concept, so I want to defend Kotchman as being the best defensive option we have at 1B…and hope that his hitting can be improved.

    I want to.

    But then I remember that I’ve been told that 1B is one of those positions where you don’t gain as much value for a good fielder versus an average fielder.

    –Although, that seems somewhat counter-intuitive to me…since a good defensive 1B would make the rest of the infield better, right?

    Assuming that it IS true, that defensive value at 1B isn’t worth as much as other positions…and if Kotchman’s value is only defensive…and his hitting, evidently, can’t be fixed…then his time as a Mariner should be at an end. I mean, you wouldn’t keep putting a pitcher on the mound who got hammered every time up JUST because he fielded his position well…

    I certainly don’t think that Sweeney at 1B is the way to go. Maybe on a rare occasion–as I think that playing the field will wreck him, physically (hell, even playing DH regularly wrecked him.)

    I wish I knew that Kotchman was motivated to improve his hitting–that he was working with our new hitting coach, that he felt some urgency to make a compelling case for giving him more time to get where we need him to be, that his batting coach feels there is a plan for his getting things turned around…as I really don’t like any other option currently available to us.

    Like Fox Mulder, I want to believe…but I’ve run out of reasons to try to defend sending Kotch out there anymore…

  71. Diehard on June 2nd, 2010 3:48 pm

    If they aren’t going to call anyone up in the near future then I want to see more Langerhans out there!!
    If his elbow is fine now, then there is no reason he should be rotting on the bench. The guy draws walks and is a smart hitter. He may not be the best hitter or a big offensive guy but he has a great approach.

  72. Westside guy on June 2nd, 2010 3:57 pm

    He’re we’re discussing/arguing the best way to improve at first, yet tonight the M’s are running our supposed “best lineup against LHP” out tonight against a righty, Kevin Slowey.

    I think it’s pretty obvious there’s more to fix here than 1B.

  73. beadyeyes123 on June 2nd, 2010 4:09 pm

    Ackley is hitting .317 the last 25 games and .385 the last 10 games. I think he has figured out how to use a wood bat. His OBP is .397, even while hitting .147 in April. He has more walks than strike outs. I don’t think he has anything more to learn in AA or AAA. Putting him at 1st base would be a temporary thing, a way of getting him in the line up and Kotchman out of it.

    Don’t put the cart before the horse. There is no need to rush the kid when he should be playing second and not first. There are trades to be made so give Z some time to find us a replacement for Kotch without risking screwing up Ackley.

    Promote Dustin to AAA and let’s challenge him there. Rushing him to the ML is a big mistake.

  74. rick m on June 2nd, 2010 4:34 pm

    Kila Ka’aihue is probably not available – or I would guess would take a trade of someone like a Triunfel or Pineda (which I may be willing to do, personally), but here are a few AAA lifers going nowhere whom I’d rather see play first than Kotchman:

    Shelly Duncan
    Brad Nelson
    Dan Johnson
    Andy Marte

    Others who should be available but probably aren’t:
    Chris Davis
    Hank Blalock

    My guess is Z is aiming higher. But it’s times like these that teams find the next Carlos Pena, Kenny Phelps, or Russell Branyan for that matter.

  75. pgreyy on June 2nd, 2010 4:40 pm

    Karl Ravech, ESPN-Baseball Tonight has just teased that Junior is about to retire.

    …as in, right now.

  76. pgreyy on June 2nd, 2010 4:42 pm

    Never mind. I see there’s already a thread for this.

  77. SODOMOJO360 on June 2nd, 2010 4:44 pm

    Mike Carp is the obvious in-house candidate to replace Kotchman. Carp would play regularly, resting occaisonally against lefties. It is doubtful that he would perform worse than Kotchman has.

    Yes it is beyond time to bring up Carp.

  78. SODOMOJO360 on June 2nd, 2010 4:45 pm

    So long Griffey. We’ll miss you.

  79. dingla on June 2nd, 2010 4:57 pm

    Clone time. Gehrig, Pujols, and Olerude DNA combined. “The 6th Day” style so the M’s dont have to sit around waiting.

  80. ima-zeliever on June 2nd, 2010 5:18 pm

    Has anyone complied a list of “blocked” 1B prospects? I am guessing Z has one. :)

  81. ima-zeliever on June 2nd, 2010 6:08 pm

    Jose Ruiz?

  82. clandon on June 2nd, 2010 11:01 pm

    Would we be a better team right now if we had kept Beltre, Branyan and Morrow? I would say yes.
    But we wouldnt have been able to get Lee.

    Unless you are making some assumption about payroll, I don’t know how you get to the conclusion you drew.

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