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!)
I agree with a lot of what you've said ... AND ... Pena DID have a 3-2 count prior to most of his hits in the first three games ... and he DID punch the ball twice towards center and left center ... so it's entirely possible, with some increasing experience and maturity, that, as a hitter, he has been learning ... and MAYBE he will ultimately trend towards that .250 mark ... and maybe he will reduce his strikeouts ... thereby DRASTICALLY enhancing his value to the team. (?)
(In most of his at bats over the weekend ... he definitely looked better at the plate than he did much of the time in the past.)
My ONLY objections to Pena are pitiful average and extreme number of strikeouts ... and his high-cost in terms of uncertain ROI ... and my only objections to Scott are that he had a serious injuriy and surgery that no one could be certain he would have no permanent aftereffects from ... that he admittedly cannot throw ... and, therefore, he does NOT have the felxibility to effectively play in the field ... and, as with Pena, his high-cost in terms of uncertain ROI. Over the past weekend's games ... both clearly met the apparent expectations of Friedman and his player selection people!
If Longoria, Zobrist, Joyce and Keppinger all hit they way they're capable of and have shown they can in the past ... any ultimate offensive shortcomings of Pena and Scott will very likely be minimized.
Okay so my 75% was ouit of line, but I would say better than 50% of the time........
Look no matter how anyone slices it, tries to show the numbers, the benefits, regardless of the BA, you are not a fan of Pena and Scott and will continue to pine for Damon and Kotchman as still being the better option for the Rays........As I said earlier, when all is said and done, come October it will be "Johnny who, Casey who?"......Resaign yourself to the fact, like it or not, that pena and Scott are a part of the 2012 Rays, Kotchman will bomb out in Cleveland after his "career" year and Damon is back at his Windmere mansion with his career more than likely over........
Oh and in your comment "If Zobrist, Longoria, Keppinger and Joyce can hit the way they are capable of....." you forgot, on purpose I am sure, one other name that is very important to the Rays lineup and winning, BJ!
I don't have to "resign myself" to anything!
I HOPE Pena and Scott turn out as you (and Friedman and his people) expect ... and IF they do ... I'll be very happy! If both directly contribute to winning ... as "money-players" ... as Damon did ... I'll be ecstatic ... AND ... if Longoria, Zobrist, Joyce and Keppinger perform in accordance with their abilities and expectations ... IF ... well ... MAYBE this team can win 91 or more games ... maybe even the 95 you've predicted. (?)
All I've said ... given their performances of last season ... I, ME, MYSELF ... I would probably have chosen to give Damon and Kotchman another chance ... rather than trying somebody new (for a few millions dollars more, no less) ... ESPECIALLY trying a seriously injured guy with definite permanent limitations and a .215 hitter averaging 165 strikeouts per season. Pretty simple choice. You say "tamaytoe" ... I say "toemotto". All one has to do is compare the situational stats at the end of this season to determine which pronunciation is more correct.
And, I've stated this in previous years on this forum: Zobrist and Pena have been my favorite players on this team since each first arrived on the scene ... and I've also stated that I thought Pena, as a person, seemed to be one of the most enlightened and classiest guys in all of baseball. A genuinely good guy ... as I believe Zobrist is, too!
I have no reason to be a fan of Scott at this time ... and I'm going in not being particularly enamoured by his big mouth and some of his previous absurd pronouncements (which is similar to how I sometimes feel about you and some of your equally absurd pronouncements) ... and ... obviously ... I've often repeated that I do not think Upton's presence has been, is, or will be necessary to this team's success. (And, as I've also said many times ... what you've seen is all you're going to get from Upton. So ... I don't have any additional expectations there.)
(And, of course, Bush and Lueke are two guys I don't think the Rays should have ever invovled themselves with.)
All I'm saying is that if I'm doing the player selection in December ... I probably stay with the first baseman I had who hit .306 (and well up into the .300s for most of the season) ... rather than replacing him with a guy who hit .225 with 161 strikeouts ... especially given my already anemic .244 team average ... and in consideration of the fact that I'm also already overloaded with strikeouts (Upton, 161; Zobrist, 128; Joyce, 106; Longoria, 93, etc. ... plus ... the .306 guy that did a very commendable job for me last season will cost me $4.35 million LESS.
There are two sides to every coin; flip it ... and half of the time it comes up heads ... the other half of the time it comes up tails. (???)
I agree. And, for me, the actual comparison would be comparing what Kotchman and Damon combined accomplished for the team in 2011 with what Pena and Scott combined accomplish for the team this season. But ... the question is really moot. Kotcham and Damon are gone and the ball is in Pena's and Scott's court ... and how their seasons compare in the end is just academic.
For me, I just happen to have higher regard for solid, disciplined, higher-average hitters who put the ball in play a lot and strike out very little. Currently, on that score, Keppinger is the man ... and I believe he'll be very important to whatever success this team has this season.
And, whether one goes for the high average/low strikout hitter ... or the homerun hitter ... NEITHER wins a multitude of games on what he alone does ... and neither, alone, insures a winning season! And ... Carew and Banks are good examples of that fact!
I like Keppinger AND Vogt ... and I'd be comfortable putting Keppinger in the DH slot if Scott is out a long time. I think Vogt has the potential to be a very good hitter AND a very good all-around utility player ... but I think it's going to take him some time to adjust to major league pitching.
Or ... if Scott is going to be more out than in over the rest of the season ... I'd certainly support the idea of bringing Damon back as the permanent DH ... and, once retired, I think he'd probably also be a good addition to the organization somewhere in the baseball end ... he's personable, the fans and players like him, he's been an accomplished player for a lot of years ... he's almost a homeboy ... and the corporate organization could use a "home-grown" connection. (?)
Kotchman came to the ballpark to play today, turning in a 1 of 5 performance, seeing 13 pitches, and raising his BA to .095. All this while hitting in the 7th hole. What an All Star he is for the Indians.
Generally, a lot of ex-Rays have not had the level of success with their new teams that they enjoyed while with the Rays. Kotchman could possibly be another of those.
However, that does not alter my general preference for a high-average/low-strikeout/put-the-ball-in-play sort of offensive player over a player averaging .215 with 165 strikeouts ... (but ... POSSIBLY ... MAYBE ... on the way to 25 HRs and 75 RBIs). I'll take the extra 40, 50, 60 hits and low strikeouts, instead.
And, in the particular case at hand, Upton, Zobrist, Joyce and Longoria totaled nearly 500 strikeouts last season ... and I would not be inclined to add another 165 from a single, front-line player. For me ... the general rule is ... above all else ... PUT THE BALL INTO PLAY!
(I believe Keppinger will be this season's star in that regard!)
And I will take the guy that is dangerous in a lineup and will work the count and get more walks even if it leads to more strikeouts instead of the guy that is content with putting the ball into play after 3 pitches only to groundout or flyout.
If Kotchman had a OBP of .400 with a .300 avg then your argument is valid, but an OBP comparable to Pena's and have a avg that 80 points higher is just pathetic and minor leaguesque.
Pena is a power hitter of sorts ... Kotchman is a line drive type hitter with good plate presence.Pena could get K'd by little leaguers. Different kind of hitters. Kotchman is a 6 hole, 7th hole hitter whose job would be to protect the 4,5,6 guys or the 3,4,5 guys by NOT being an easy out.
With Pena hitting 4, and Kotchman 6 ... Pena would hit better, because teams would not be inclined to pitch around him ... Most 4 and 5 hitters K more than they need to because they try to hit for power.
As a pitcher, I would pitch around the 4 and 5 guys if the 6 hole guy cannot hit very well. You can usually get one of them to K ... and if you don't make a mistake, the bad 6 hole hitter grounds into a DP if you walk one of the two.
Pena and Kotch would have different purposes ... if they were both playing in the same game. You find me any guy who can hit .286 plus with a .350 or so OBP to hit 6 and I will win more games than if I had a swinging gate hitting 6 and Pena hitting 3,4 or 5. Different places in the lineup have different jobs to do besides just hitting the ball which always helps if they can do that.
I will give you a tl;dr version of what you just said.
"I can't make a case for Kotchman. He is nothing more than singles hitter that can't work a count. He grounds into double plays."
Who in the lineup did Kotchman protect last year? No one. It is the reason the offense was horrid. Kotchman over the past 2 years has grounded into 28 double plays. That is not the guy I would want hitting behind my intentionally walked power hitters. You know how many Pena has grounded into during those 2 years? Only 8. Question what hurts more a double play (2 outs) or a strikeout (1 out)? Anyway you try to spin it Pena is the better option. He was more of a factor in his worse year with the Rays than Kotchman was in his career year with the Rays.