Mariners Analysis

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Great article from Derek in the PI

As I'm sure you've seen, Derek at the good ship U.S.S. Mariner has a new piece on the PI web site- link

Derek addresses what the M's might do with our fan favorite slugger Bucky, and seems to reach the same conclusion I have. Namely, it's hard to see why Bucky shouldn't be on the roster opening day. As I've said many times now on this site, Bucky deserves to get regular playing time this year. He's cheap, and he hits for power. You can't ignore that.

I believe there is a good chance Bucky would put up numbers better than Ibanez in a full season. Derek runs the PECOTA projections and verifies it. I also believe Bucky stands a good chance to roughly equal Sexson's numbers in a full season. Health is the big wild card with Sexson, who obviously has a major league track record but comes with a huge asterick.

The one area Derek didn't really address is the teams current thinking of having Bucky play in Tacoma to start the season due to his knee. Bavasi has stated several times he views the knee operation for Bucky as a serious issue. While I personally believe Bucky should be given every chance to be the full-time DH, there seems to be almost no chance of this happening. Instead Bucky faces two scenarios.

If he starts slowly in Spring Training, he goes to Tacoma. The M's will argue he belongs there due to his knee. The fact Ibanez or Sexson can have a bad spring and will make the club despite an injury filled '04 is purely a money issue.

The other scenario sees Bucky have a huge spring and he makes the club despite Bavasi's comments. In this case he is the part-time DH and pinch hitter who will only gain playing time if everyday players like Sexson or Ibanez struggle.

The M's have a very poor record of giving playing time to position players working up through the minors. Previous regimes have preferred veterans to the point it hurt the team. Let's hope Hargrove and Bavasi give Bucky a real shot to contribute to this club, and haven't already made up the roster based on contracts.