Great opening game for a returning and very well-liked player! But ... one game does not a season make.
Thus far ... Zobrist has driven in the tying run in one game; Pena has driven in the winning run in one game. Damon did the former ten times last season; Damon did the latter eight times last season. Will see if either Scott and/or Pena end up duplicating that ... individually or collectively.
And ... no matter how you cut it ... last season ... Kotchman had 42 more hits than Pena ... 100 fewer strikeouts ... and a batting average 81 points higher ... and that's certainly not anything to belittle.
I like Pena. I hate his batting average and his strikeouts. And time will tell if he hurts the team more with his batting average and strikeouts ... or whether he helps the team more with his HRs and RBIs. 161 games to go.
Three guys had to get on base BEFORE Pena could get three of his four RBIs on his grand slam ... and at least one or two guys had to get on base before his walk-off single ... so ... without those five guys getting on base somehow ... including by hitting "singles" ... Pena ends up with ONE RBI instead of five ... and has no significant diect effect on the outcome of the game!
To minimize the value of a .306 batting average and a higher OBP because the guy is hitting singles and doubles instead of homeruns is just silly. In and of itself ... a homerun is worth ONE RBI.
Pena will win games ... but if he strikes out 165 times and only gets a hit every five or six times at bat ... manybe one hit every other game ... he could contribute to losing games, too. In the end ... his ultimate value will be based on his NET effect. And ... the higher his batting average and the fewer his strikeouts ... the better!
I am so tired of hearing about Kotchman and his .306 batting average....Whoop De Doo!!! The simple fact is Kotchman is not, and never will be, a power hitter....K's aside, he had one third the homers Pena had, half the RBI's Pena had, Less walks than Pena had, less run scored than Pena had.......If we had Carlos last year instead of Kotchman with Carlos numbers the playoffs NEVER come down to game 162....To top it all off Kotchman is S-L-O-W and rarely went from first to third on single......I will take the K's from Carlos because of what he gives the Rays in the lineup, in the field and in the clubhouse.....Welcome back Carlos.....
There is NO debate....The Rays are far better with Pena than Kotchman..............period!
And while I'm at it regarding the "great" Damon, who still has no job and likely won't get one.....From what I was told from inside, things were not as they seemed with the Rays, especially towards the end of the season....What we saw on the field with him being "Mr. Team", "Mr. True Ray" was a great acting job, behind the scenes it was totally different and a main reason the Rays said "buh bye" and why other teams shied away........Never judge a book by it's cover!!
Personally, I would have signed them both since we do play in the AL with the DH.
Pena's prediliction for being a whiff king is easy to fix, just fine him $50K for every K. :)
Seriously, he just needs to cut down on his swing a bit, hit the ball where it's pitched andstop trying to hit homeruns. Just hit the ball. The homeruns will take care of themselves.
What also really works at any level of play ... If you consistently whiff twice or more in one game and you do not get any hits or drive in any runs in that game, you collect splinters for the next game. You'd be surprised how not playing focuses the mind on putting the ball in play more.
I like Kotchman because he is a disciplined, consistent hitter that his hard to pitch around. Hittingin the 6 hole he really helps your 4 and 5 hitters see better pitches to hit, because he is not an easy out. He plays good defense too. So depending on who is starting pitchers or how the opposition pitches it relief, having both of them gives your team a plus advantage in just about every situation I can think of in any game.
The show game is about how you do what to whom. If you can FORCE the other guys to play your game and not have them do that to you, you can win extra games ... and it does not take winning much more than 10 to 15 extra games to put you in the playoff if you are just an average or slightly better than team.
Let's play a game.
Who of the 2, Pena or Kotchman, is at a .063 avg?
Answer: Kotchman, that is quite a bit of a regression.
No HR will drive in four runs unless three guys have managed to get on base first ... and I value the guys with ability to most consistently hit and get on base than I do the guy who hits 25 homeruns but has a .215 average and is among the league leaders in strikeouts.
If Pena hits 26 HRs, drives in 80 RBIs, hits at least .250 or better ... and cuts his strikeouts in half ... then he's the man!
If he hits .200 and stikes out 175 times ... then ... in my opinion ... he's ultimately probably hurting the team more than helping it.
Either way ... we'll see. He's certainly off to a very good start.
The proof is in the pudding. Beyond that ... everything is just opinion ... and EVERYBODY has exactly the same chance of being right ... or being wrong. I hope Friedman's faith in Pena ... especially since he cost $4.35 million more than Kotchman ... turns out to be deserved!
Geez! You don't mind playing "the God role" even on Easter!?!?!
You and your Almighty "proclamations"!
"There is NO debate....The Rays are far better with Pena than Kotchman..............period!"
Among reasonable and intelligent people ... there is ALWAYS "debate". NOTHING IS CERTAIN ... as they say ... except for death and taxes.
If you don't mind .200 hitters with 165 strikeouts ... but with 25 HRs and 80 RBIs ... fine. That's your prerogative. I would prefer a guy with a 100 point better batting average ... and a higher OBP ... with 42 more hits ... and a 100 fewer strikeouts. End of case. Period.
Hopefully, Friedman's assessment and the extra $4.35 million it cost him will be vindicated. Pena has certainly had a good start. If he can maintain it season-long ... great.
Of course, there's no guarantee Kotchman will duplicate his last season this season ... and there's no guarantee that should Pena end up with a .200 average and 175 stikeouts ... that it won't have hurt the team more than his 25 HRs and 80 RBIs helped.
Geez! Great idea! I never thought of it!
Keeping Kotchman at first and Pena at DH ... with Pena being the back-up at first ... sounds like a winner ... as long as both perform similarly to last season.
I like Kotchman for exactly the reasons you enumerate ... and, apart from the necessary financial considerations, I could never dump a guy after a season in which he hit in the mid-300s for most of the season and finished at .306. H*ll ... Upton hit .300 in '07 ... and they've been keeping him and his typical .235 batting average around ever since!
Anyway ... in these three games ... Pena has seemingly made the adjustment to his swing and to his approach that you suggest ... with very good results! And ... even Scott ... though somewhat limited in appearances ... has had a very good start. And ... as I've said before ... I think Keppinger will turn out to be an important ingredient in a successful season. So far, so good! (And ... for me ... better than expected after a pretty awful ST and an opening set against the Yanks. We'll see! Excellent start!)
You just said it yourself, Kotchman was mid 300s most of the year. He then fell off the cliff and ended at .306. He showed what type of hitter he was. He can't draw walks and in clutch moments he isn't as good as Pena.
You even said Upton hit .300 once. Kotchman's .300 season was a fluke (just like Upton) and he is proving that to everyone now.
Pana's best year was .280+ BA, 46 homers and around 120 rbis. If you really want to compare career years then compare Kotchman with 2007 Pena. 2011 Kotchman does not even come close to 2011 Pena with your average argument because Pena is only 10-15 points lower when it comes to OBP. And obp and avg does not matter when comparing Kotchman to Pena because the only thing Kotchman did was hit singles.
Kotchman is a 7 hole hitter at best. Period