Wednesday, May 12, 2004
David at USS mariner asks the question:
Regardless of how much better you could expect some players to perform, does anyone see any kind of acquisition enabling this team to play like a 104 win team for the next four and a half months?Yeah, I do.
Let's get a real center fielder again. Carlos Beltran. How many extra bases have been taken this year already on Randy Winn's weak arm? How many balls in the gap have been just out of either Winn's or Ibanez's reach? The biggest change in the M's performance this season over last (besides veterans hitting below expectations) has been the huge jump in balls in play falling for hits. If the M's get themselves a great center fielder again, I think we'll see that number fall back down where it belongs. Let's look at the two pitchers struggling the most:
|Pitcher||IP||K||Outs In Play||H||HR||Hits In Play||AVG on Balls In Play|
.358 and .333 are really above last year's numbers. I don't know exactly how much is due to downgrading center field, but it's pretty clear that a lot is. Sure, Rich Aurilia is killing us too, but there really isn't a great shortstop available right now. Adding Beltran (for Winn or Ibanez and some minor league talent?) would improve the pitching and defense greatly, and if you consider the expected improvement in Boone's, Edgar's, Ichiro's, Aurilia's, etc. offensive performance, they could be as good enough to contend in the west.