Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Free Agent Face Off

When I browsed through the June schedule and realized the Mariners would face the Florida Marlins for the first time ever, two words came to mind. Strangely, they weren’t “Oh, crap” or “starting pitching” or “Wazzup Dontrelle?” They were “Carlos Delgado.” Yes, the newest fish in the school was the first thing that popped to mind.

I spent much of the off-season tooting my Delgado horn all over the blogosphere, hoping against hope the M’s could land that ever-elusive sweet left-handed power stroke. My words fell upon deaf ears, and the Marlins struck a deal with the former Jay, similar to the one the M’s gave Sexson. Two months into the season, both deals seem to have worked out, at least for the time being. Delgado has knocked around NL pitchers to the tune of 11 HR, 37 RBI, and averages of .315, .406 OB, and .565 SLG. Meanwhile, Sexson has swatted 13 HR and driven in 44, with a .505 SLG. However, I feel the M’s will one day regret their choice in first baseman.

Beltre has struggled shifting leagues, but in the end, I believe Beltre’s right-handed bat is the best of the three free agents, and will prove to be a bargain for the $64 million the M’s invested. Sexson has been good, but I would have preferred a Delgado-Beltre coupling, for several reasons.

If I had my druthers, I would have at least one left-handed bat on the infield, especially on a team that has to play at Safeco Field. On the infield, it’s rare that you’ll find a non-switch-hitting lefty anywhere but first base, so if things stay true to form, the Mariners won’t have a lefty on the infield for at least four more years. Assuming Adrian Beltre sticks at third, Jose Lopez takes over at second, and one of the young shortstop prospects comes through, the Mariners will have righties across the diamond. That leaves five slots in the batting order to fill in lefties who can reach the seats in right field. That wouldn’t be much of a problem if we didn’t have a slap hitter in right field (Ichiro) and another singles and doubles type in center (Reed). Ibanez isn’t a bad DH, but he’s far you’re your typical homerun hitter. That leaves left field and catcher as spots for lefty power. Hopefully, Jeff Clement foots the bill behind the plate…but are you catching my point?

The M’s currently have pretty much zero left-handed power, and not much to speak of on its way from the minors. Snelling and Choo won’t hit any more out than Raul. Ideally, the M’s would have three left-handed boppers with that reachable right field porch. This is why locking in first base with a righty was a mistake. It doesn’t give them many options. They have lefties, but not much power. Delgado would have solved that problem. He would have allowed them to alternate right-lefty in the middle of the order like the in the 90’s rather than clogging it with Beltre-Sexson-Boone.

We’ll see how it all pans out, but sandwiching Delgado, who makes much better contact than Sexson, between Beltre and Boone would have given those dominant AL right-handed pitchers more to think about when trying to plow through the middle of the order.

Let’s see how Bavasi can create some more flexibility.

6 comments:

  1. P Whizzle you make excellent points. But wasn't the biggest Delgado issue his hemming and hawing about the contract? I also remember him not wanting to play on the West Coast. We should scour the media reports from back then.

    The Mariners-Marlins matchup should be played at sea on a floating baseball field ship.

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  2. Haha! I like that idea. Who would play the Johnny Depp Pirate character? Eddie Guardado perhaps?

    As far as Delgado, I think he probably would have signed with the M's if the timing would have been right. The contract was fine, but Delgado wanted to wait it out until the end to see if he could get better, while the M's wanted Sexson or Delgado right away. I know he preferred the East Coast, but I think he would have come around had the M's waited around until the end.

    I'm not knocking how it went down as much as I'm knocking the M's for not waiting to see if something could be worked out. ...Might have lost Sexson that way though.

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  3. Yeah it's a tough call. Did we get Beltre because of Sexson? Or would that have happened anyway? If that's the case, then waiting for Delgado would have been the way to do.

    Delgado killing the M's. Sweet.

    Gil is throwing way too many pitches again. The "stuff" is there, but, argh, it's frustrating.

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  4. Man oh man, 5 RBI's. At least Richie was able to muster that long fly...it really chaps my hide that it the top of the wall...that run would have been mighty useful. Two more innings. Rally time!

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  5. Neddy Ballgame9:29 PM

    Well we don't/won't have DelGAdo.,Mikey wants to trade Guardado(Moneyball rules !) --I do like the thought process to beef up our pitching for the run in 2006 and forward; however ,have you seen the attendance at the Safe--teh front office has to be concerned --may not even reach their already lowered forecast--"Sam" shows promise--bonehaed play tonight ,but oh well--and could help put fammies in the seats--neeed Ichiro to get in mid-season form as well --statue nights don;t attract much more thant the min of 25,00 to get one--jsut a thought to be considered in any action suggeste--the suits want /need higher atendance and winning certtainly will help get it but I hpe they don;t panic and do somehting stupid

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  6. I sent the Mariners a letter with an idea for a floating stadium back when they were talking about tearing down the Kingdome and building a new ballpark. I never heard from them... heh...

    I figured it could be taken out into Puget Sound, and it could be turned so that when the opposing team was at bat the sun would be in their eyes, and then it could be turned so that when the M's were up to bat, the wind would always be blowing out! Talk about a great home field advantage.

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