Rearranging The Line-Up

Dave · May 9, 2011 at 9:25 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

With the team tossing Milton Bradley overboard yesterday (because they’re Mariners – get it? That will be my last sailor related pun of the year, I’d bet), one thing is for sure – the batting order is going to have to change. Despite Eric Wedge’s insistance that Justin Smoak was going to remain in the #5 spot, that seems to be unlikely, as there’s no more veteran presence to point to who has experience in that role. Now, the team will actually have to use talent to determine who hits where.

So, let’s give it a shot. We’ll start with the line-up against righties, since that’s going to be the one that gets used more often. This is my suggestion for what the line-up should look like, not necessarily what Eric Wedge will go with.

1. Ichiro (L), RF
2. Figgins (S), 3B
3. Cust (L), DH
4. Smoak (S), 1B
5. Rodriguez (S), 2B
6. Olivo (R), C
7. Saunders (L), CF
8. Wilson (R), LF
9. Ryan (R), SS

Bench: Gimenez (R), Kennedy (L), Wilson (R), Peguero (L)

My call for Luis Rodriguez to take over as the starting second baseman only gains momentum now that the team is showing that they’re willing to shift away from veterans who have no future here. Give Rodriguez a few hundred at-bats to see what he can do. I know hitting a utility infielder fifth isn’t ideal, but he’s actually got some pop, and as an extreme flyball guy who makes good contact, he might just collect a good amount of sac flies behind the teams OBP group.

Wilson gets the starts in left by default, even though I’d imagine Peguero will probably get some playing time as well. I’m not a big Mike Wilson fan, but he has fewer holes in his swing than Peguero right now, and if you sandwich Saunders between two RHBs, you might be able to limit the times that an opposing manager will go use an LHP against him in tough situations. Since you can’t really pinch hit for Saunders with this roster, that’s kind of important.

Against southpaws, I’d go something like this.

1. Ichiro (L), RF
2. Figgins (S), 3B
3. Olivo (R), C
4. Smoak (S), 1B
5. Wilson (R), LF
6. Cust (L), DH
7. Rodriguez (S), 2B
8. Ryan (R), SS
9. Saunders (L), CF

For all the talk of getting the team another right-handed bat, swapping out Bradley and Langerhans for Peguero and Wilson didn’t actually do that. The team still only has one RH bat to share time at LF/DH, so either Peguero or Cust will have to play against southpaws. Not ideal, but it is what it is.

Is it a good line-up? No, of course not. It’s probably not even any better than the one that the team ran out over the weekend. But, until Dustin Ackley arrives, Franklin Gutierrez returns, and they import another MLB-caliber hitter or two, this is probably the best they can do.

Comments

68 Responses to “Rearranging The Line-Up”

  1. Chipanese on May 9th, 2011 9:37 pm

    Wedge must be feeling a little bit silly after just mentioning a couple days ago that he wouldn’t move Smoak from the #5 spot.

  2. dirk on May 9th, 2011 9:48 pm

    Ok, since I’ve had a few Workhorse IPA’s here ya go:

    .vs RHP
    1. Figgins (S), 3B
    2. Rodriguez (S), 2B
    3. Ichiro (L), RF
    4. Smoak (S), 1B
    5. Cust (L), DH
    6. Olivo (R), C
    7. Saunders (L), CF
    8. Peguero (L), LF
    9. Ryan (R), SS

    vs. LHP
    1. Figgins (S), 3B
    2. Rodriguez (S), 2B
    3. Ichiro (L), RF
    4. Smoak (S), 1B
    5. Olivo (R), C
    6. Cust (L), DH
    7. Wilson (R), LF
    8. Saunders (L), CF
    9. Ryan (R), SS

  3. themedia on May 9th, 2011 9:55 pm

    I don’t completely get why Wilson couldn’t pinch hit against a lefty for Saunders (besides the obvious answer that he’s not that much better). I guess you’re saying that it’s not worth the hit we’d take on defense for a moderate offensive improvement, yeah? Although, just to play devil’s advocate, we could move Ichiro to CF and stick Peguero in RF. A lot of moves for a moderate improvement at the plate, for sure.

    EDIT: I got my Wilsons confused. For some reason I thought you meant JACK Wilson would start in LF. I was so confused. I get it now, lol.

  4. Nate on May 9th, 2011 9:57 pm

    Yeah, I doubt Ichiro is gonna bat third. Not that he shouldn’t… it just ain’t gonna happen.

    Plus, I’m not convinced wedge can avoid the superstition (causation?) of moving Olivo out of 4th. Remember how we won all those games the last 10-12 days with him there? I’m betting Cust bats 3, Olivo bats 4 and Smoak bats 5.

    I’d love to see Smoak hit 4th, and take the challenge and run with it.

  5. Carson on May 9th, 2011 10:04 pm

    We’ve been on this carrousel before, but one more time for good measure: Ichiro batting third isn’t a good idea.

    His infield hits would turn into fielders choices. Leading off is the best spot for his skills.

  6. lalo on May 9th, 2011 10:15 pm

    I really like your lineup Dave, but i would DFA Cust and trade for a decent DH, he´s not very good, i´d love Vladi in that place, maybe we can trade for him, or for Branyan at least…

    Ichi
    Ackley
    Vladi
    Smoak
    Guti
    Olivo
    Condor
    Mike/Peguero/Halman/ 1000 K´s
    Ryan

    In July of course…

  7. The_Waco_Kid on May 9th, 2011 10:26 pm

    I like Branyan but he is too old and injury-prone.

  8. Chipanese on May 9th, 2011 10:28 pm

    I think Ackley would bat in the bottom third of the order when he comes up. No reason to put pressure on him by trying to move Ichiro up.

  9. Dave on May 9th, 2011 10:29 pm

    Jack Cust is actually hitting better than Vlad this year. Stop overreacting to one bad month.

  10. Typical Idiot Fan on May 9th, 2011 10:41 pm

    Dave,

    I gotta admit by this point that I’m getting worried about Cust’s hitting. That ground ball rate he’s sporting is ridiculous. I’ve seen quite a bit of uplifting evidence that says he’ll get out of this rut, but still. You’d think he’d have LUCKED into a home run by this point.

    The sharp doubles the opposite way are encouraging, but also troubling. Cust isn’t much of an opposite field hitter. Wouldn’t this indicate he’s behind on fastballs still?

  11. Chris_From_Bothell on May 9th, 2011 10:42 pm

    Ichiro batting third isn’t a good idea.
    His infield hits would turn into fielders choices.

    Citation? His BA w/RISP is nearly identical to his average without, and I don’t think his rate of hitting into FC goes up with men on.

  12. MrZDevotee on May 9th, 2011 10:52 pm

    This is the lineup I hope to see soon, and it doesn’t feel too awful…

    Ichy
    Figgins
    Guty
    Smoak
    Cust
    M.Wilson/Peguero
    Olivo
    Ryan
    J.Wilson

    Interesting thing about the Bradley/Langerhans moves is they make it feel a little like we might be “players” in the July sell-offs, rather than JUST sellers. We really need an upgrade for Cust in the above lineup, who can bat 4th, and that’s probably not gonna be a prospect. Especially if Smoak is doing as well as he is and Wedge still doesn’t want to bat him in the 4 hole. If we can trade for even a modestly productive, ball-in-play guy with a little pop, then Smoak can go back to 5th and the lineup could really start to fall in place:

    Ichy
    Figgy
    Guty
    (DH we trade Aardsma & Wright for?)
    Smoak
    M.Wilson/Peguero
    Olivo
    Ryan
    J.Wilson

    And if Jack and Wedge wanna pitch a “practical” option to the ownership, it might be a better play to get in on the mid season trade market for a non-superstar solid type player, then say, wait and try to sign an expectedly higher priced free agent bat in the more competitive offseason. (A preemptive strike AGAINST signing Fielder for the ridiculous dollars he’s gonna command next fall…)

  13. Ibuprofen on May 9th, 2011 10:56 pm

    U.S.S. Mariner Public Service Announcement:

    Let’s not all forgot to start labeling our different Wilsons again. If we don’t, I’ll be needing a lot of myself by the end of each thread.

    I really hope L-Rod becomes an everyday starting player. He’s showing a lot of potential that may be completely squandered by making him ride the bench all season.

  14. Westside guy on May 9th, 2011 10:58 pm

    I’m going to disagree.

    Okay, not really – because Dave actually used the phrase “… what the line-up should look like, not necessarily what Eric Wedge will go with”. However people don’t seem to be reading carefully enough to notice that.

    Anyway, I expect Wedge is going to leave Smoak in the #5 hole. I’m not saying it’s RIGHT… just that I bet he does exactly that. On the days Kennedy is playing, Kennedy will bat third (he’s already been at cleanup, remember). When Kennedy’s not playing, #3 and #4 will be Cust-Olivo.

    I don’t think it’ll matter much to Wedge whether the veterans that get plugged into the #3 and #4 holes have experience hitting in those roles – it only matters to him that they are veterans.

  15. MrZDevotee on May 9th, 2011 11:06 pm

    (I forgot to replace Jack Wilson with Dustin Ackley in the “new” 2nd lineup above)

  16. msfanmike on May 9th, 2011 11:07 pm

    Is it a good line-up? No, of course not. It’s probably not even any better than the one that the team ran out over the weekend

    No argument here, but there will certainly be fewer players to complain about. And, some of those players will actually have a semblance of an “upside” to aspire to.

    Here’s to hoping that the addition by subtraction rule is in effect!

    Now that the lineup and the face of the team moves onward, Z’s paraphrased comments in the press release regarding Bradley become even more intriguing: “He is not part of our future and we determined he is not part of our present”

    I am wondering why an organization would put itself and its fans through the Bradley term for such a long stretch of time prior to this epiphany. Maybe they tried to negotiate a buy-out behind the scenes (in order to save some money), but Bradley wasn’t biting. Maybe not. Regardless, this is a re-letter day! and whatever lineup they want to throw out there for the next few days will be fine with me

  17. G-Man on May 9th, 2011 11:31 pm

    I see no good reason in trading to upgrade this lineup. We are not going to win this division, no matter how close to the top we are right now. We need to save our resources for a year there’s a chance.

  18. Brzeczyszczykiewicza on May 9th, 2011 11:33 pm

    I like these lineups a lot better than Wedge’s! Even though batting orders supposedly don’t matter much, they still make a greater than zero difference, and every little bit helps when you’re struggling to score runs as much as the M’s. That’s why Wedge’s lineups are so frustrating: they don’t get the full potential out of this team.

  19. greentunic on May 9th, 2011 11:44 pm

    The sharp doubles the opposite way are encouraging, but also troubling. Cust isn’t much of an opposite field hitter. Wouldn’t this indicate he’s behind on fastballs still?

    Actually I believe USS Mariner had an article saying Cust wasn’t a good fit at Safeco BECAUSE he was an opposite field hitter with fly balls. He pulls on the ground, but hits many of his homers to center and left center, if I am not mistaken.

    So I see the oppo field doubles as a very good thing.

  20. KaminaAyato on May 10th, 2011 12:15 am

    I’m going to toot my own horn here (which I don’t normally do), but that lineup against R looks a lot like (but not quite exactly) what I suggested back in game 33! Whee!

  21. The_Waco_Kid on May 10th, 2011 12:26 am

    His BA w/RISP is nearly identical to his average without, and I don’t think his rate of hitting into FC goes up with men on.

    I thought his RISP would be a smaller sample size since he leads off, but strangely it’s not. Still, you’d have to look at career numbers (assuming you weren’t). This season is young. There are many other factors. It’s hard to steal with Ichiro up cuz he’s not as patient. It’s easier for Ichiro to steal when Figgins is up (or Cust after that maybe). There are arguments for and against, but ultimately, Ichiro and Smoak are the two pieces of this offense that are truly working, so I’m all for keeping them 1st and 5th. Olivo, on the other hand, has awful RISP stats, despite having a couple very clutch hits. He should not hit cleanup.

  22. samregens on May 10th, 2011 12:59 am

    Someone posted a line-up summary a few days ago (http://www.ussmariner.com/2011/05/06/game-33-white-sox-at-mariners/ 6th post from the bottom) which I thought was OK.

    In a way the manager’s job is a little easy because you can just fill in any reasonable line-up first off with

    1. Ichiro

    Anyway, similar to the post above, I think Wedge will stick with Smoak at No. 5. Figgins/Rodriguez is No. 2.

    We probably end up with something like:

    1. Ichiro
    2. Figgins/Rodriguez
    3. Cust
    4. Olivo
    5. Smoak
    6. M. Wilson/Peguero
    7. Saunders
    8. J. Wilson
    9. Ryan

    This looks worse than Dave’s line-up but it’s what I think we’ll end up with.

    After all, we’ve been lacking a No. 3 and No. 4 hitter since forever, so there’s not much you can do, but I have a feeling that Wedge won’t move Smoak out of the 5 hole, and then there’s really nobody.

    Cust goes to No. 3 because of his not bad OBP and Olivo is No. 4 because he’s hit there before and he has strong looking forearms.

    And although this is what I think we end up with and not necessarily exactly what I want, I like the idea of Jack Wilson and Ryan in front of Ichiro at No. 8 and No. 9 because I think their bats are coming around a little and they have moderate wheels. Well “coming around” being relatively speaking, basically meaning that they’re probably less of a blackhole than Saunders looks like being now.

  23. samregens on May 10th, 2011 1:20 am

    Sorry, I read the posts a little more carefully and realised that the post I referred to above was already “tooted”.

    And that Westy had the same prediction as to #3 and #4.

    When Kennedy’s not playing, #3 and #4 will be Cust-Olivo.

    It’s ugly, but if I was a betting man, I think I would bet that we will be “treated” to the line-up I post above (at least the first five batters will be so).

    Of course Dave’s line-up is better and the reasoning behind it great, but it’s hard to see Wedge fill it out so.
    Smoak in #4 would be the best.

  24. vj on May 10th, 2011 3:12 am

    Anyone suggesting that Ichiro or Smoak bats 3rd should check THE BOOK on batting order and importance of slots. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the 3d slot is of relatively low importance as it relatively often comes up with 2 outs and the bases empty.
    If I recall correctly, the order by importance of slots is 4,1,2,5,3,6,7,9,8 and you should roughly arrange your batters by quality in that order, taking into account strategic considerations like not stacking all your lefties in a row so that the opponent cannot make efficient use of their LOOGY.

  25. bookbook on May 10th, 2011 4:26 am

    Didn’t the Tigers used to bat Whitaker, Trammell 1, 2?

  26. runners25 on May 10th, 2011 6:39 am

    I was thinking about Smoak at 3 more than 4
    1. Ichiro
    2. Figgins
    3. Smoak
    4. Cust
    5. Olivo
    6. M. Wilson
    7. M. Saunders
    8. B. Ryan
    9. J. Wilson/A. Kennedy

  27. Leroy Stanton on May 10th, 2011 7:20 am

    His BA w/RISP is nearly identical to his average without, and I don’t think his rate of hitting into FC goes up with men on.

    Chris, there are few things we can say with certainty, but this is one of them: Ichiro’s FC rate is higher with men on base than with bases empty. Think about it. :)

  28. Carson on May 10th, 2011 7:33 am

    Citation? His BA w/RISP is nearly identical to his average without, and I don’t think his rate of hitting into FC goes up with men on.

    Where’s the facepalm emoticon?

    1) A runner on first base is not a RISP.
    2) See Leroy’s comment.

  29. Chris_From_Bothell on May 10th, 2011 7:37 am

    Leroy, of all the people who could call me out on that bit of nonsense, I’m glad it was you. :) Only noticed that after the timeout to be able to edit the post, and thought it better not to draw attention to it. Brain cramp. Argh.

    Perhaps Ichiro is so fast, he bends time and space, allowing him to hit into a FC yet still be safe on first by being both on first and in the batter’s box.

    Waco kid, I was looking at career numbers for the RISP numbers for Ichiro. He doesn’t just have to hit leadoff.

  30. Chris_From_Bothell on May 10th, 2011 7:42 am

    Carson – typing fingers were engaged before brain, I know. I still dont think hitting him third means his infield singles turn into FCs unless there’s some career stat that gives evidence of same.

  31. Westside guy on May 10th, 2011 7:48 am

    Ichiro’s FC rate is higher with men on base than with bases empty. Think about it.

    Hehe, almost by definition, one might claim! ;-)

  32. vj on May 10th, 2011 8:02 am

    Are we still discussing Ichiro batting 3rd?

  33. smb on May 10th, 2011 8:21 am

    What I see there are two lineups almost completely devoid of the gold mines of suck bestowed upon the franchise by the Bavasi regime, and that makes me happy. It’s still a very weak lineup, but no Sexson, Rich Aurilia, Scott Spiezio, Quentin McCracken, Pokey Reese, Jeremy Reed, or Mike Morse. Olivo’s there, but this is Migeul 2.o, the man with the golden thumper, and he was brought back without trading Ackley or Pineda straight up for him, so I’ll call that a win. Point being, we still have a crappy lineup, but at least it’s not Bavasi-level crappy!

  34. Chris_From_Bothell on May 10th, 2011 8:23 am

    vj – It’s easily dismissed because you don’t want to mess with one of the only working things, I get that. But I’d trade 20 points of obp (moving figgins to leadoff) to get Ichiro in a place to drive in runs (his average w bases empty, men on or men in scoing position are all within 10 points of each other).

  35. J-Dog on May 10th, 2011 8:33 am

    Re: Tango

    If I recall correctly, the order by importance of slots is 4,1,2,5,3,6,7,9,8 and you should roughly arrange your batters by quality in that order, taking into account strategic considerations like not stacking all your lefties in a row so that the opponent cannot make efficient use of their LOOGY.

    Tango argued that the most important positions in the order were 4th and 2nd. Of the two best hitters, the hitter with the higher OBP should hit second, while the hitter with the higher SLUG should hit 4th.

    Then, the next best OBP hitter should hit first. And the next two best hitters (the fourth and fifth best hitters in the lineup) should hit 3rd and 4th. Finally, the remainder of the lineup is filled with next best hitter until the 9th position.

    I believe Tango indicated that an optimized lineup would add an additional 5 runs over the course of a season.

  36. Earl of Tacoma on May 10th, 2011 8:38 am

    At least you didn’t say he was burried at sea.

    As the division is wide open and the attendence is down, I’d like to see productive vets retained, although whether we have any is debatable. Also, why not add one or two and try to stay in the race for awhile.

  37. bilbo27 on May 10th, 2011 8:45 am

    It would be nice to have someone on this team that can consistently hit a sac-fly. It seems like the Mariners have sucked at the whole “runner on third, less than two outs” thing for a few years now…

  38. Westside guy on May 10th, 2011 9:07 am

    The Mariners have sucked at that for the past few years simply because the bulk of the Mariners batters have sucked at hitting for the past few years. Batters have a very limited ability to customize their hitting, in spite of what the broadcasters say about “situational hitting”.

    Good hitters will hit more sac flies because they’re making better contact, period. A guy that hits .210 isn’t going to have some magical deep-pop-fly skillset that’s repeatable over the course of a season.

  39. Chris_From_Bothell on May 10th, 2011 9:23 am

    Since I need to learn this, found snippet from The Book online: Your best three hitters should bat somewhere in the #1, #2 and #4 slots. Your fourth- and fifth-best hitters should occupy the #3 and #5 slots. The #1 and #2 slots will have players with more walks than those in the #4 and #5 slots. From slots #6 thru #9, put the players in descending order of quality.

    If you go by wOBA to determine “best hitters”, I assume you need to wait until OBP stabilizes, which isn’t until 500 PAs… which means your 3 best hitters would be Cust (.361), Ichiro (.354) and … oops, Bradley (.351).

    To finish that exercise in whose career wOBA is best:

    wOBA Player Position
    0.361 Jack Cust DH
    0.354 Ichiro Suzuki RF
    0.351 Milton Bradley DFA
    0.331 Chone Figgins 3b
    0.324 Justin Smoak 1b
    0.316 Adam Kennedy 2b
    0.311 Ryan Langerhans DFA
    0.300 Miguel Olivo C
    0.295 Jack Wilson SS
    0.291 Brendan Ryan bench?
    0.287 Luis Rodriguez LF?
    0.270 Michael Saunders CF

    Most everyone else has less than 500 career PAs, on the DL, etc. And when Guti gets back (career wOBA .294) he’d displace Saunders but that’s about it. So, lineup of Ichiro-Figgins-Kennedy-Cust-Smoak-Olivo-Jack W-LRod-Saunders.

  40. Westside guy on May 10th, 2011 9:39 am

    Thing is – only 5 runs over the course of a season? If that’s true, speaking objectively… we need to quit complaining about batting order.

    Which I don’t plan on doing anything soon, BTW. ;-)

  41. Leroy Stanton on May 10th, 2011 9:39 am

    oops, Bradley (.351).

    You can’t use Bradley’s career wOBA in any meaningful way.

  42. MrZDevotee on May 10th, 2011 10:24 am

    Sadly, as we start to make up our new and future lineups, I can’t help but reframe Figgins contract/signing as a somewhat Bavasi-esque move: a guy already at/past his prime, being paid the most he ever will, and predictably underperforming.

    It sure seems if having TWO leadoff hitters was a great strategy somebody else in the last 100+ years would have figured it out by now, yeah?

    Even if he WAS playing up to our high expectations, I’m still not sure the strategy would payoff (when you consider the money tied to him could have helped pay for someone who can drive in guys on base, instead of be another of those guys on base with nobody to hit them in).

    With Ackley set to join the middle infield soon, we’ll have TWO of his build/type, and paradoxically one will be more talented at the plate (presuming here) and one owed WAY more money…

    At that point, we’ll then have THREE potential leadoff hitters in the lineup, or at the very least 3 guys who should all be either #1 or #2…

    And by having 3 guys in that stalemate, we also lose the opportunity to fill the 3B spot with a more prototypical power hitting/middle of the order guy… (Personally, I’d rather have the dilemma of too many #3, #4, #5 hitters, than too many leadoff hitters– as the potential to score YOURSELF when you’re at the plate is always a nice attribute on a weak offense).

    So, for the next few years, we’re stuck with NOT being able to upgrade our offense in one critical position because we have too many of this same type of player.

    I like Figgins, personally, and with a crappy half-veterans/half-rookies lineup he gets to keep a valuable role in the batting order– but WITHOUT that type of team, I’m not sure where he fits amongst Ichiro and Dustin Ackley, plus Brendan Ryan too? (If I try to picture Figgins on a contending team, I’d assume they already HAVE a leadoff guy, and then can’t see Figgins anywhere but at the bottom of the order, a role he has too much pride to accept on our meager offense)…

    If Ichiro was close to retiring, it might be a different story (then we could replace Ichiro with a more traditional power corner OF)– but I don’t think Ichiro is as close to hitting the veteran wall as most guys his age would be (or would’ve been years ago).

    So, I don’t know– surprise us Mr. Z. We could definitely use another Cliff Lee type move to make things seem more plausible. I just hope we aren’t forced to roll the dice, and trade Dustin Ackley (while his prospect hype is still huge) for a different makeup of player/hitter, all because of being hogtied to Figgin’s contract.

    Anyone else imagine a solution to having Ichiro, Figgins, and Ackley all on the same roster, if Figgins refuses to bat lower in the order? (Let’s “pretend” trading Ichiro isn’t an option– because,… it’s plainly NOT).

  43. msfanmike on May 10th, 2011 10:26 am

    I wonder if there would be enough places for Wedge to hide if Jack Cust did end up hitting leadoff because wOBA suggested he should. Maybe he could also play him in CF until the 3 years of UZR statistics normalized.

    For the record, I do like and embrace wOBA. It’s an awesome stat. No doubt about it. Awesome!

    And, I am happy to report that I am over the UZR conundrum and its 78 zone ratings and 3 years of data compilation and its various conflicts/inconsistencies with the “Plus/Minus” Defense stat. As they say, it is what it is.

    I suppose it is better to have something than it is to have nothing.

  44. philosofool on May 10th, 2011 10:27 am

    Thing is – only 5 runs over the course of a season? If that’s true, speaking objectively… we need to quit complaining about batting order.

    Adding 5 runs to a team on the free agent market costs about two million dollar. This is not chump change.

  45. msfanmike on May 10th, 2011 10:34 am

    Anyone else imagine a solution to having Ichiro, Figgins, and Ackley all on the same roster,

    I have certainly imagined the possibility of it occurring (as have casts of thousands of others), but I have no solutions to proffer other than to trade Figgins, or eat a lot of his salary next year, or a combination of the two.

    Figgins is clearly not what he once was and does not have a trade value commensurate with his salary, but after this season, he will be the only “bad contract” on the books … and it is not the worst contract that the team has had to navigate around. He still has some value, but not anything near his salary. I think it will take some “fast talking” or a serious injury of a leadoff hitter type from a contending team to drum up much interest in a trade for Figgins.

  46. Leroy Stanton on May 10th, 2011 10:39 am

    It sure seems if having TWO leadoff hitters was a great strategy somebody else in the last 100+ years would have figured it out by now, yeah?

    With all due respect, that’s not a very USSM way to look at things. Production is production and you get it where you can.

    Also, it’s not like there haven’t been teams with multiple players capable of leading off. For example, the World Champion 1985 Royals had two of them and they beat the Cardinals and their five potential leadoff hitters.

  47. msfanmike on May 10th, 2011 10:47 am

    For example, the World Champion 1985 Royals had two of them and they beat the Cardinals and their five potential leadoff hitters.

    I can’t recall for certain, but I remember the Cardinals led the NL in scoring that season with about 750 runs; with 85 ish home runs and as you mentioned (5 jack rabbits playing on artificial turf). I think they had 3 legitimate leadoff type of hitters on that team (Coleman, McGee, Ozzie Smith) … with Lonnie Smith certainly having the quicks to hit leadoff too.

  48. dnc on May 10th, 2011 10:48 am

    “Adding 5 runs to a team on the free agent market costs about two million dollar. This is not chump change.”

    Incidentally, that’s about how much a manager gets paid…

  49. Leroy Stanton on May 10th, 2011 10:58 am

    I think they had 3 legitimate leadoff type of hitters on that team (Coleman, McGee, Ozzie Smith) … with Lonnie Smith certainly having the quicks to hit leadoff too.

    Coleman, McGee, Ozzie, and Herr all had over 1000 PAs at the leadoff position in their careers. Andy Van Slyke never really hit leadoff, but he did have the speed and OBP skills to do it.

    Lonnie actually played for the Royals then, but he batted first more than any other position over his career.

  50. Paul B on May 10th, 2011 11:05 am

    Figgins is clearly not what he once was and does not have a trade value commensurate with his salary, but after this season, he will be the only “bad contract” on the books …

    I have hope. In the last two weeks (40 PA) he is hitting .343-.410-.400, for an sOPS+ of 136.

    I’ll take more of that, please.

  51. Paul B on May 10th, 2011 11:07 am

    Anyone else imagine a solution to having Ichiro, Figgins, and Ackley all on the same roster, if Figgins refuses to bat lower in the order?

    OBP = a good thing, no matter where in the order.

    If all three of those guys were getting on base, that would be a good thing. I’m not worried about where they would hit in the lineup as that isn’t as big a deal.

  52. Chris_From_Bothell on May 10th, 2011 11:31 am

    if Figgins refuses to bat lower in the order?

    I would like to think that if Figlet’s performance mandated it, Wedge would have the courage to move him in the order.

    If Figgins refuses to bat lower in the order, I would assume the order becomes 1. Ichiro, 2. Ackley and Figgins gets a spot on the bench.

  53. kenshabby on May 10th, 2011 11:33 am

    If Dave wrote a Pittsburgh Pirates blog (truly a sad notion, even for an M’s fan) he could employ lines such as, “With the team making [DFA'ed player] walk the plank” or “With the team sending [DFA'ed player] down to find Davy Jones’ locker”. Those would never get old!

  54. eternal on May 10th, 2011 11:52 am

    Man, I’m tired of watching Saunders bat. With Lopez and Betancourt gone, I was hoping to be alleviated from these types of experiences but watching Saunders flail around up there is just aggravating. I hope some other team sees something in him that isn’t there and gives us something interesting, maybe a catching prospect? I’m guessing the most we can hope for is a RP

  55. msfanmike on May 10th, 2011 12:13 pm

    Lonnie actually played for the Royals then, but he batted first more than any other position over his career.

    You’re right … that’s right! He crossed over and played for both teams in ’85, but he finished the season with KC. I had forgotten about that. I thought Pendleton might have been your #5 as I had forgotten about Herr entirely. Yes, that was a good team with almost zero power and a lot of wheels. Good production, no power … but good production! The game was played a little differently then. Maybe in the future de-juiced era, some of that will come back into vogue.

  56. MrZDevotee on May 10th, 2011 12:15 pm

    Leroy, et.al–
    Thanks for pointing out those teams, it was interesting to check out their stats, and see the idea succeed. Although, they appear to be the exception to how folks have chosen to build rosters– and require something else the M’s don’t have: a group of OTHER players who perform too.

    One more really good bat could make a real difference in this lineup.

    We can dream (and hopefully next year it happens).

  57. MrZDevotee on May 10th, 2011 12:20 pm

    Eternal-
    Cross your fingers that Saunders and Peguero don’t bat next to each other in the order. Could be a painful couple of outs to watch.

    Although, I still have hope for both of them– neither appears quite ready for Major League pitching yet.

  58. HighBrie on May 10th, 2011 12:27 pm

    Smoak batting 3rd, Olivo 4th, Cust 5th today. Saunders 9, per Stone’s tweet. http://twitter.com/#!/StoneLarry/status/68028452867031040

  59. sexymarinersfan on May 10th, 2011 12:32 pm

    I LIKE IT!!!! Good move Wedge!

  60. Westside guy on May 10th, 2011 12:36 pm

    Olivo batting cleanup would seem to negate some of the advantage of having Ichiro, Figgins, and Smoak batting 1-3.

  61. auldguy on May 10th, 2011 12:37 pm

    Lots of interesting ideas here, with varying degrees of salience, but the one overriding opinion I feel is that if Rodriguez is to start, (and I have no problem with that,) it should be at third base not second. J Wilson is one of the few out-makers who occasionally has productive outs. And his D at second after an uneven start has been excellent. And that BTW is something that all M’s fans should embrace, because the reports on Ackley’s progress in the field are anything but encouraging. At this point (and it is admittedly still early,) some knowledgeable watchers suggest his peak may be at adequate. But the same ones also think he’s going to come out of his offensive slump soon and perhaps spectacularly.

  62. msfanmike on May 10th, 2011 12:43 pm

    Smoak batting 3rd, Olivo 4th, Cust 5th today

    Cool. I wonder if Wedge’s recent quote about not moving Smoak out of the 5 hole had anything to do with not wanting to showing the organizations “hand” in regard to the pending MB situation. He let the hand play out. Now he can tinker without having to worry about stepping on toes, perhaps?

  63. msfanmike on May 10th, 2011 12:47 pm

    And his D at second after an uneven start has been excellent. And that BTW is something that all M’s fans should embrace, because the reports on Ackley’s progress in the field are anything but encouraging.

    Your comment is spot-on. Some people were even borderline suggesting going in halvies on an outfield glove for Ackley if Guti doesn’t heal … for the very reason you point out. Defense means a lot to this team, because the offense is so bad. You gotta have guys that can catch it and spin it within the infield. Ackley may or may not end up being one of those guys … and yes, it is still too early to tell.

  64. Paul B on May 10th, 2011 12:47 pm

    Olivo batting cleanup would seem to negate some of the advantage of having Ichiro, Figgins, and Smoak batting 1-3.

    Especially against a RHP.

    If it was a LHP, Olivo would be a good choice to hit 4th (with the players the M’s have to choose from).

  65. Paul B on May 10th, 2011 12:51 pm

    J Wilson is one of the few out-makers who occasionally has productive outs.

    Lineup selection by color announcer?

    You may have a case with the fielding argument, but the hitting one needs a little work.

  66. Chipanese on May 10th, 2011 12:58 pm

    Wedge should have put Cust batting 4th instead of Olivo. Then switch it up against southpaws.

  67. gwangung on May 10th, 2011 1:56 pm

    But the same ones also think he’s going to come out of his offensive slump soon and perhaps spectacularly.

    Don’t look now, but Ackley’s been heating up the past week and got his season up to a .739 OPS. That’s not great by itself, but that’s a huge jump from how he started the season.

  68. auldguy on May 10th, 2011 7:06 pm

    Lineup selection by color announcer?

    You may have a case with the fielding argument, but the hitting one needs a little work.

    Color announcer has nothing to do with it. It’s easy to see who advances runners, who can bunt, who can get the ball to the right side when needed, who can take a few pitches . Apply any of those criteria to Figgins and you will see the difference.

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