Tuesday, December 30, 2003
Anyways, he hits the nail right on the head by pointing out how unspectacular a third baseman Tony Batista really is. In fact, the Expos might have well just re-signed Todd Ziele, who I'm sure would have been cheaper (probably the major league minimum) and can play 1st base, as their numbers are darn near identical. (Batista: .235/.270/.393 vs. Ziele: .227/.308/.385)
The zany thing is despite what Omar has done to the Expos minor league system during his tenure the Expos have a pretty decent third baseman waiting in the minors by the name of Scott Hodges. By my rough calculations Scott had a line of .288/.349/.419 in 482 ABs in AAA last year. That's not great, but it's more than acceptable and it's certainly an upgrade over Tony Batista. Since Scott is a lefty they could have platooned him with the right-handed Ziele, who hits lefties for power (.510 SLG), allowing them to break Hodges in a little slower and using the cash they save to help them address their bullpen and starting staff needs. Who knows, maybe they intend to do that with Hodges and Batista but I'm guessing an idea as radical as a third base platoon hasn't crossed the Expos minds. (Although it's not always a good idea.) Vive la Batista!
Another recent signing that I hoped wouldn't occur was the NY Yankees signing of Kenny Lofton. No doubt the Yankees need somebody other than the aging Bernie Williams to man CF but is an aging Kenny Lofton the answer? I think this is really a blown opportunity by the Yankees to install a great CF in Bernie's place to man the Yankees OF for years to come. Yeah, I'm talking about Mike Cameron. What's 6.5 million a year to the Yankees especially when you are handing out 6.2 million over two years to Kenny Lofton? Why did the Yankees give Kenny two years anyways? For the last few seasons he has been living off of one year deals and there was nothing to indicate this would have changed this off-season.
If Bernie would have come into spring training and seen the sight of Mike Cameron taking doubles and triples away from hitters I'm sure he would have said to himself, "Where do I DH?". Now with Lofton in CF, not much better defensively than Bernie, I wouldn't blame him if he was a little hesitant at the idea of letting someone else take his CF spot. The ironic thing is that the guy in LF, Matsui, can play CF better than both of these guys at this point.
I guess at the very least Lofton will allow them to move Soriano out of the leadoff spot and into situations where they can make better use of his power. However, Derek Jeter is a significantly better leadoff man (.310/.375/.552) than Lofton is. (.297/.354/.452) There's no question in my mind that Derek Jeter would be one of the great, if not the best, leadoff hitters in the game if given the chance. I'd take him over Ichiro (.314/.352/.438) anyday.
The Yankees are an outstanding team but it drives me a little bonkers to see their awesome talent never used correctly. The price of ego I guess.
I blame Gleeman.