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
If going from .350 down to .306 is "falling off a cliff" ... what would you call going from .280 down to .195?
How would you distinguish between two guys with the same number of at bats ... but one has 100 fewer strikeouts and 42 more hits than the other?
And ... you can ramble on and on all you want ... BUT ... in consideration of their respective stats from last season ... MY simple point is ... I would rather have the guy with the 85 points higher batting average ... the 42 extra hits ... and the 100 fewer strikeouts. Period.
However, if Pena hits 25 HRs with 85 RBIs ... hits at .250 or better ... and reduces his strikeouts from 165 or so to 85 or 90 or so ... then he will have vidicated Friedman's choice ... and ... if the Rays win those same 91 games or more ... and get back to the playoffs ... maybe Pena even justifies the extra $4.35 million he's being paid over what Kotchman would have been getting.
The reality here is that Scott and Pena combined need to surpass the contributions made by Damon and Kotchman, combined, last season, in order to justify the extra millions being paid to them. My initial impression ... and personal opinion ... coming expressly from what I saw during spring training ... is that the combo of Scott and Pena probably wouldn't match in 2012 what Damon and Kotchman accomplished and contributed in 2011. Obviously, Friedman and his people felt differently ... as do you ... and time will tell. Period.
Both Pena and Scott had very good starts. I hope they're able to keep it up.
(And ... on a seasonal basis ... whatever ANY player did in the first three games ... proves absolutely NOTHING. It's a 162 game marathon.)
As my Screenname would indicate I have not posted on here in quite a few years, but the fact that this is a debate and that people are defending Casey Kotchman, a journeyman of one decent offensive season over a guy who I'll be shocked if he doesn't drive in 100 runs and hit around 30 HRs this year is absurd.
Fact is you aren't comparing a .306 BA to a .198 BA and calling it a day. Thats just ridiculous. .306 is not at all an accurate indication of Kotchman's offensive prowess. Jason Bartlett hit .320 for us in 2009 for crying out loud, are we are saying that he is a great offensive SS? The Rays FO (which is smarter than all of us here btw) knows Kotchman will never hit that well again, he had a lot of bloop singles that fell in for him and even with all that good mojo had 46 RBI and an OPS of 800. Care to guess what Carlos's OPS was last year? .820. Better than Kotch's.
And it only took one day to prove why the move makes sense. Kotchman's not hitting a GS off Sabathia. He's not putting quick runs up on the board. Truth of the matter is that with this pitching staff, all you need is a power guy to run into one on a given night and you have yourself a W. Pena will drive in runs, which is what we need. We can't hope for rallys to come by stringing base hits together everynight, thats just not feasable. At some point you have to get guys who drive home the runs. I don't want my 1B to be a table setter batting in the 6th hole.
Oh BTW.....Pena not only DRIVES IN more runs that Kotchman, but he SCORED, by my quick math 28 more times than the singles table setting Kotchman last year. So if our offense was bad last year, and you want to improve, I'd say getting a 1B who will score more runs, drive in more runs, hit more HRs, and be able to carry an offense for spurts throughout the year, while sacrificing NOTHING on defense, is a no brainer.
You are making it sound like a strikeout is 2 outs. It is no different than a regular out, except with the strikeout you force the pitcher to throw more in most cases. Last year Pena had a OBP very similar to Kotchman's. Meaning he was getting on base just as much as Kotchman. However, Pena was also driving in the runs and hitting the bombs that Kotchman couldn't.
Also, you are making the .195 year Pena had with us sound bad. He still had an OBP of .325, only 30 points short of Kotchman's fluke career year. His avg is probably around 30 points higher if he does not have the shift on him.
Go back to baseball 101 son.
No, not being "God"....just a fact, there is NO debate between Kotchman and Pena........
The two most decieving stats in baseball are Batting Average and Earned Run Average, always have been, always will be......Go 1 for 10 you bat .100, that's terrible, go 3 for 10 you bat .300, that's terrific.....Batting averages NEVER tell the whole story.....
According to your theory of having Kotchman type players you would have never had Reggie Jackson or Mike Schmidt play on your team because they struck out a ton, and except for one season each, never batted .300......Ask the Mets why they passed on Jackson as the #1 pick in '65, the answer was "He strikes out too much and won't put up power numbers in the ML."...............Oooops!!!.....K's and all, if we'd had Carlos last year and his numbers instead of Kotchman and his "great" numbers, we would have never had to go to the last game of the season to make the post season!!
As for ERA, let's take JP Howell, and set aside he came back way too soon....After his first two appearances last year his ERA was 19. but through the rest of the season he must have had some good outings because he ended the season with an ERA just above 6, quite an improvement........Again very decieving when you look at the overall numbers.
As I have always said, batting average and ERA I don't pay all that much attention to because they are very decieving and can give an unfair picture of a hitter or pitcher and never tell the whole story.....Bottom line is that Pena is better than Kotchman and a much better fit for the Rays than Casey..............period!
For the umpteenth time ... if I'm picking the team ... and especially after their contributions during the 2011 season ... I'm staying with Damon and Kotchman. I simply don't like .195 batting averages and 165 strikeouts, as far as Pena goes ... and I would not have taken a chance on Scott because of his seriously injured shoulder and the fact that he cannot throw nor effectively play any position on the field whatsoever. Period. End of discussion.
At the end of this season, one can effectively measure the direct contributions to winning that Scott and Pena have made ... and then compare those contributions to the contributions of Damon and Kotchman made during the 2011 season ... and see how each pair stacks up against the other.
And ... just to add another perspective to your .195 homerun-hitter hang-up: Would you want Rod Carew on your team or not? He played 19 years ... with a lifetime average of .328 ... with 3,053 hits ... he was Rookie of the Year ... won a batting title WITHOUT ever hitting a single homerun over that particular season (only player ever to do that) ... was an All-Star for 18 of his 19 years ... BUT ... HE HIT ONLY 92 HRs over his entire 19 year career in the majors! Now ... Kotchman is certainly no Rod Carew ... and won't be ... but ... do you get the point yet? Consistent high-average singles hitters can certainly make direct contributions to winning ... as much ... OR MORE ... than .195 hitters with 28 HRs and 165 strikeouts. Consider Ernie Banks: he averaged 28 HRs per season over 18 seasons ... but his team never won a title or championship!
Maybe YOU should go back to Baseball 1a, Pops!
In the end ... it doesn't matter. For better or worse ... Damon and Kotchman are gone ... and Scott and Pena have taken their places. I hope Scott and Pena can contribute as much ... or more ... as Damon and Kotchman did.
At the end of the season ... we'll simply compare the situational stats of Damon and Kotchman in 2011 with the situational stats of Scott and Pena in 2012 ... and the numbers will tell which pair meant more, directly, to winning.
My simple position is that I think that Damon and Kotchman did a helluva job last season ... and with the money involved being equal or less ... if I was in charge ... I simply would have given them another shot instead of bringing in Scott and Pena. If Scott and Pena outperform Damon and Kotchman ... GREAT! If not ... too bad!
And ... even to an old-time homey with blinders on ... it should be abundantly clear that Carlos Pena is no Reggie Jackson nor Mike Schmidt.
In baseball, which is really a game of failure, EVERYTHING can be rationalized somehow ... so carry on with whatever rationalizations you wish. For my part, in terms of offensive baseball skill, I don't generally have a lot of respect for the supposedly "MLB-quality" player who consistently bats WELL BELOW .250 (.215 in Pena's case over the past two seasons) and is consistently among the league leaders in strikouts. (320 in Pena's case over the past two seasos.)
And ... there's probably more "debate" with regard to baseball than in any other endeavor ... maybe excepting 'modern art' and 'modern extremist politics' ... and ... there's no doubt whatsoever that a significant component of the lifeblood of baseball is ... SUBJECTIVITY!
Your "proclamations" about what is "fact" and what is NOT "fact" seriously undermine your credibility.
I totally agree about what Damon and Kotchman did for the Rays last year....no argument there, but would they repeat it in 2012, chances are they wouldn't....Fact is Kotchman is off to a terrible start, Damon doesn't have a job!....Pena and Scott are with the Rays and have contributed to the 3-0 start and at the end of the year will have given the Rays more than Damon and Kotchman might have......
Was Kotchman's 2011 a fluke? Probably. Was Damon's 2011 the best he could do at the end of a career? Probably.......Oh, I was not being a "homey with blinders on" saying that Pena was a Jackson or Schmidt, of course he isn't!....I was just going by your ridiculous theory that team with singles hitters is better than a team with power hitters who also happen to K a lot and used that as an example.....As for Carew, he was a rarity in the game, and a great ballplayer......
Despite that "fantastic" .306, Kotchman couldn't score runs simply because he is S-L-O-W and rarely made it from first to third on a single and many times didn't even score from second on a routine single, something that Pena CAN do!!!......If Kotchman had been here these first 3 games instead of Pena, we wouldn't be 3-0.........Face the real fact that Pena and Scott or more valuable to the Rays in 2012 than Kotchman or Damon "might" have been!
But you go ahead and put your singles team of .250 or better hitters up against a team with power hitters and K's like Pena, Scott, BJ and you'll get beat 75% of the time......Like I said, numbers don't always tell the whole story and that is why batting averages are very deceiving. Oh, there is nothing wrong with my credability at all, just being realistic and going by experience in all I have seen, been a part of, studied and accumulated with over 50 years in the game as a player, coach, front office, and broadcasting.
Art summed it up, and your ridiculous Carew comparison. It was like comparing Rickey Henderson to John Kruk.
Time to stop feeding the troll.
Thank you for hammering home the point I didn't fully make about the "runs scored" differential. Pena not only drives in more runs but scores more, because for a guy who isn't overly hefty, Kotchman is probably the slowest man I have ever seen in a baseball uniform. He was just what you don't need to see in a lineup full of athleticism....a slow guy clogging up the basepaths.
And the fact remains he will never hit .306 again. I mean he hit .217 in 2010 and has yet to hit the ball outve the infield starting 0-12 this year. So I also I agree that no, I don't pine for him and Damon, the guy who is such an offensive force he is unemployed currently, back on this team. Give me power and productivity. Give me Pena and Scott.
A couple things I would like to say.
One, I wouldn't have been that upset if Kotchman had been signed. He had a good season last year, and he gives great glove at 1B. I do think Pena is an upgrade, but not a huge upgrade. He does have his negatives, the striking out is chief among them. But overall, I do think he's a better guy for the Rays. They need sluggers, and so far the Pena signing is looking awesome. But I think we can all agree that there will be times when Carlos strikes out in a key situation, that we wish he would put the ball in play. However, did anyone notice in the opener when Carlos had 2 strikes on him and went the other way for a single, getting an RBI doing it? That was something everyone clamored for when he was here before.
On the other hand, I was never convinced that Johnny Damon was that great a player, and had that great a year. He had some clutch hits early on, but don't really remember all that much he did later in the season. His OPS for the season was average (.736), and below average for a DH. Decent production for what they signed him for, but meh otherwise. But again, I wouldn't have been too upset had they signed him again. My opinion is he'll get signed later in the season if a team has injuries and needs a left-handed bat (Yankees? They've got old guys, likely to get injured, and that short porch in right). But I think Luke Scott is an upgrade. He sure has a sweet swing, and so far (like Carlos) he's making the signing look good. The Rays have had good luck with signings of players coming off injuries, Grant Balfour comes to mind immediately.
Last thing, Luke Scott is making $6 million this year for the Rays, Carlos Pena is making $7.25 million, and those are staggering amounts of money. I don't care what anyone says, that's a pile of dough for guys they don't even expect to make the All-Star game.
My point was NOT that "a team of singles hitters is better than a team of power hitters".
And, I'm not talking "team" in terms of differentiating between Kotchman and Pena; I'm simply indicating a preference for one kind of "individual" player over another kind of "individual' player, one-up.
My point is that ALL teams NEED A PROPER MIX OF BOTH ... hitters for average AND hitters for power ... and when MY team has a team batting average of .240 ... and is also at the top of the league in team strikeouts ... MY first order of business would be to 1.) boost the team batting average; and, 2.) reduce the total number of team strikeouts. Considering that my team is also at the bottom of the league in runs scored ... someone with a DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE might elect to go for the guy who hits a few homeruns and accounts for some additional RBIs ... to boost the runs scored that way ... REGARDLESS of what the guy's average or propensity for stiking out is.
For me, in terms of my coaching philosophy, I would FIRST go for the higher average, the greater number of hits, and the fewer strikeouts ... because ... I truly believe those elements of an individual's game are more dependable, more consistent and more easily found, i.e., it's easier to find players who consistently hit well than it is to find power-hitting players who consistently rank at the top of the league in homeruns and RBIs.
And ... in pusuit of that PRIMARY goal ... I probably would have wanted to keep my ONLY .306 hitter BEFORE I would sign a guy who hit .215 over the past two seasons ... with 320 strikeouts. AND ... I would certainly realize that Kotchman might not duplicate his 2011 season ... and that adding Pena's .215 and 320 strikouts over the past two seasons might hurt way more than his potential homruns and RBIs might help.
And your statement ... "But you go ahead and put your singles team of .250 or better hitters up against a team with power hitters and K's like Pena, Scott, BJ and you'll get beat 75% of the time" ... is patently ridiculous. Losing "75% of the time" at the MLB level would mean losing 122 games per year ... and winning only 40. Just another one of your often assinine proclamations.
(ONCE in all of MLB history ... a team lost that many games ... in 1899 ... the National League's Cleveland Spiders ... and they were most certainly NOT a team made up entirely of .250+ hitters!)
(And ... the "broadcasting" appears to be the predominant of all your baseball experiences. You "broadcast" well!)