Jose Lopez battle royale!

Geoff Baker’s post from yesterday, regarding Jose Lopez as a non-Mariner in 2010.

Larry LaRue’s post from this morning, citing non-interest from other teams in Lopez.

In another corner and just for kicks, Dave Cameron’s post from last week pointing out Lopez’s lack of strike identification.

What does all of this mean? Absolutely nothing. I’m not slagging on any of the articles, I’m saying that until the roster is finalized, I’m not going to worry about it. I probably should worry about it, because Lopez’ lagging range at second really does bother me, and if he truly can’t ID strikes (a strategy that seems to have worked for him in the past, but likely won’t for very much longer), then we are in trouble at second for 2010. I am under the impression that 2010 is the year Jack Zduriencik and company attempt to get serious about contending, and I’m not 100% convinced that Lopez is in those plans, regardless of whether or not there are other teams interested in him.

At the same time, I’m a little bummed about the idea of losing him, because Lopez has a lot of heart. He’s had a touching story the last few years, with his 25 or so home runs, and his lengthy at-bats that more often than not resulted in some improbable hit, and the blows to his family, and the fact that he has still struggled on and just played the game. He’s played the game despite everything going on around him, despite the guy in Florida who wouldn’t give him back home run 25, despite taking a lot of criticism from fans regarding his performance, despite his inability to recognize strikes. He had to split his infield spot with Matt Tuiasosopo during the last month of the season, and I don’t remember hearing any complaining. If he is not in Mariner blue next year, I’ll understand, but I’ll also miss him a little.

I think this may get more difficult as the offseason wears on. On the practical side, we need to buckle down and get serious for 2010. We need offense in a bad way without sacrificing our defensive factors. But losing some of the 2009 team is going to sting a little because regardless of our third place standing, our one-run games, our falling contention during the last half of the season, the 2009 Mariners were something special, and the guys that made up that team were a combination we may never see again. I can only hope that the next combination is something far more special, though it might completely blow my mind if that happened. Perhaps I need to prepare for that eventuality?

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7 Responses to Jose Lopez battle royale!

  1. Dave says:

    Completely agree! I actually wrote up a Pro Lopez article earlier today. By pro i mean.. i would understand if he was traded, and admit the team may be better for it.. But Lopez was not a problem at all for the 2009 mariners.. nor would he be on the 2010 mariners.

    Bring in a true no. 3 and 4 hitter.. put lopez at 5 or 6 and his bat lines up great for that line up spot.

  2. section331 says:

    The hitting order has always been a bit of a perplexing aspect of the game for me. I mean, I understand it, and I get why certain guys are in such-and-such a slot, but for a lot of teams, it’s almost like they have a contingency plan for weakness. That’s a good idea and all, but it’d be nice to have a super-strong batting lineup just once in my future fandom, a lineup where I didn’t want to cover my eyes every time, say, Rob Johnson stepped up to the plate.

    Funny enough, though, I started 2009 by wanting to cover my eyes with Lopez, and that went away by about May or June. He’s still youngish – if they can work with him regarding the issue they already know is there in 2010, why not keep him? We’ll have a strong short position for the next two years, and good outfield just in case, so maybe that gap near 2nd isn’t such a huge deal…

    I always feel like I’m making excuses for things, depending on the player. haha!

  3. Dave says:

    I think moving Lopez from the 3rd hole to say the 5th or 6th wont necessarly make him a better hitter (unless its a mental thing for him, and he really likes “thinking” of himself as a No. 3 hitter) i just think a lot of people get down on Lopez’s batting numbers due to the fact that the mariners have a horribly weak offense. Sure Jose’s numbers dont look good when compared to other No. 3/4 hitters… Names that come to mind… Pujols/Holliday Fielder/Braun Utley/Howard/Werth, Tex/Arod etc.

    If we bring in a solid bat or two and griffey isn’t playing everyday in the 3 or 4 hole, all of a sudden the attention is not on Lopez.

    From an offensive stand point 25 HR’s 96 RBI’s are very respectable numbers. Considering the slump he started the year with due to personal issues, he could have gone over 100 RBI’s in my mind for sure. His .766 OPS could be higher for a middle of the order guy, but what if Lopez was a No. 6 hitter? (assuming we bring in bats that will produce at a higher level at the 3 and 4 spot) I would take those numbers any day.

    His defense is what it is. I feel the Mariner’s should not be looking to move their RBI leader unless it’s a part of a package that brings back something of value. If the reports are true and no GM’s want Lopez, i will keep him. His age and contract along with no real stand out replacement should make that a no brainer.

    Ackley’s progress at second base will obviously determine a lot in the coming months, but lets not put the cart before the horse and unload a quality young bat.

    You know i really like what i just wrote ha, im going to throw it up on my blog http://www.megamariner.com but i’ll definately link back here, hope you dont mind.

  4. Bart's Evil Twin says:

    From what I have seen Lopez has been a solid team member, has been through a lot of tough personal issues, and has decent (not great) offensive stats. However, Z seems to place a high value on good defense, which is hard to argue with given the improvement from 2008.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lopez traded, but would miss having him on the team.

  5. Slurve says:

    Goodness gracious great balls of fire! Analysis!?! Glad to see not all your articles are about bullpen shenanigans.

  6. section331 says:

    @ Slurve – You shush! LOL 😉

  7. section331 says:

    @Dave – No, I don’t mind. 🙂

    Oddly enough, I’d think that this has to be one of the more difficult aspects of planning a team, is making these kinds of decisions. I’ve negotiated contracts before, that doesn’t appeal to me as something that would be too difficult – either you arrive at an agreement or you don’t. But juggling the numbers and figuring out batting orders as opposed to defensive specialty must be an immense pain in the ass.

    That’s about as coherent as I get, after two hours of sleep last night. Ergh!

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