Don’t worry, sports fans. Together, we can fix our lowly Mariners. I’ve come up with three unique ideas that should provide an immediate lift. Enjoy.
Step One: Put Brandon League on a raft and send him out to sea
League originally hails from Hawaii. If Mother Nature is just, the Mariners’ 27-year-old setup man will at some point arrive back in his homeland. But if not, who cares.
All that really matters is that somebody put a stop to this man with the bad haircut.
League is the most ineffective effective reliever since Bobby Ayala. By ineffective effective, I mean a guy whose numbers suggest he’s not horrible, but whose performances would indicate otherwise.
Every time League enters a close game, I get that jittery feeling I used to only get with Ayala (and Heathcliff Slocumb, on occasion). You just know in those nail-biting situations that League will blow it. He tends to inflate his numbers in games that are already won or lost, making him a hell of a guy to go to in low-pressure situations.
Statisticians and sabermetric connoisseurs would probably lead you to believe that League isn’t all that bad. And on paper he isn’t. But there’s something to be said for reality, as opposed to paper. Keep in mind that on paper, former NBA All-Star Antoine Walker had millions upon millions of dollars, while in reality he was making a beeline for bankruptcy. League might be an above-average pitcher in the world of Strat-O-Matic baseball, but in the three-dimensional world we call earth, he sucks. Plain and simple.
Step Two: Bat Chone Figgins ninth
I’m not going to look up Figgins’ current batting average because it will disgust me. It’s less than .200, and might as well be negative for all I care. All I know is that the guy is absolute grossness right now and the fact that he’s still batting second in the lineup is an absolute embarrassment.
I’m tired of hearing about all the walks Figgins gets and all the damn pitches he takes. A no-armed man could stand up there and take pitches. A pitcher could stand up there and take pitches. My grandma could stand up there and take pitches. The Mariner Moose could stand up there and take some effing pitches. When you’re batting average is well beneath the Mendoza Line, it doesn’t matter how many pitches you take, you still suck.
Chone Figgins sucks right now. Just like Brandon League, he is sucky. He is the walking definition of suckdom. I actually get annoyed watching him bat now because I know what’s going through his mind. I already know his plan of attack. It’s either lay down a bunt, or try and work a walk. He’s like a boxer that only blocks punches, or a race car driver who likes to tap his brakes.
On top of that, it doesn’t help that Figgins always tries to sell calls on the umpire. Watching him sell ball calls (notice how he lifts his arms up and backs away every time a pitch is on the inner half of the plate) pisses me off. It ranks right up there with flopping in soccer for me. I don’t know why. I suppose if he was hitting .300 I wouldn’t care. But because our second baseman is so damn content to not hit, I get upset. He’ll do everything in his power to keep that bat on his shoulder.
Figgins barely deserves to be starting right now. But because he can play a little bit of defense, he has to remain a starter. (And I’m tired of hearing about his defense, too, by the way. We’re not paying him $8 million a year to be a designated fielder.) So for lack of a better option, he needs to be dropped in the lineup. All the way down to ninth. Where he can take all the pitches he wants and not hurt our performance as greatly as he has.
Until Figgins proves he can hit a baseball, there’s no sense batting him second, first, or anywhere above eighth. My apologies to all of you who invested in his replica jersey over the offseason.
Step Three: Either commit to Adam Moore full-time, or go find a new catcher
Rob Johnson can’t hit. I love the guy, but he will never be a major league hitter. He’s Dave Valle at best, and that’s hard for me to say. If he can kick around for 15 years as a backup, he’ll have a successful career and make lots of money. But he’s no starter. And his defense isn’t nearly as good as it needs to be to warrant a .200 batting average year after year.
Adam Moore, on the other hand, can actually hit a baseball. It doesn’t help my case that he’s batting only .193 on the season, or that he just went on the 15-day disabled list. But he’s the only backstop on the M’s roster right now that should be considered a potential starter for the long haul. And if in fact he’s not that guy, then the organization needs to find a catcher to be their long-term solution.
To break it down, what we need to come to grips with is that a) Rob Johnson is not the guy and b) Adam Moore could be the guy. Which means that Moore deserves every opportunity to be the full-time catcher for this team when he returns to health in a few weeks.
Barring some kind of offensive explosion from Johnson (not likely, considering his track record), Moore has that great-equalizer, potential, on his side. In four minor league seasons, Moore posted a cumulative batting average of .301 and belted 55 homers. In five minor league seasons, Johnson batted .270 with just 31 home runs. In this case, the numbers don’t lie.
The experts have told us that Johnson is a defensive whiz behind the dish, but his defense has fallen off significantly in 2010. The metrics may not support all of his inconsistencies, but suffice it to say that Johnson has allowed more balls past him this year than a friendly bouncer at a gay bar. That’s a lot of balls.
Look, I’m not trying to knock Rob Johnson, I just think it’s about time we start being realistic. Adam Moore can both hit and field, while Rob Johnson can kind of field. Moore is at least a two-tool player. Johnson is not.
The future at catcher? It might be Adam Moore, but it certainly won’t be Rob Johnson. Give Moore the PT, show Johnson to the pine. It’s time.