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  1. The Jays already signed Encarnacion. Why would they need two?

    Comment by Kongos — December 28, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

  2. Damon could certainly still play a corner outfield slot, no?

    Comment by Brett W — December 28, 2010 @ 1:08 pm

  3. Johnson & Branyan @ 1B as well.

    Comment by Scout Finch — December 28, 2010 @ 1:28 pm

  4. Just another good argument for getting rid of the DH. It’s an employment program for aging sluggers, and we don’t need more offense in baseball. We’re close to the end of the other bad ideas of the 60s and 70s – big multi-use stadiums and artificial turf, let’s end this failed experiment already..

    Comment by fergie348 — December 28, 2010 @ 1:36 pm

  5. While I get the concept of there being more bat-only players than there are DH spots, I think that doesnt really sap the value out of the listed players (or the value of signing one of them now).

    First and most obvious is that there is a huge difference in talent here between Vlad and Nick Johnson. I dont think there are many AL teams that can imagine making a playoff run this year with Johnson as their DH.

    I think that Vlad and Manny are really the only middle of the order threats of the group although Thome is certainly one against righties (and to a lessor extent Branyan is too). Frankly, I think that a team like the Rangers really is limited to Manny or Vlad for what they are trying to do (although Branyan might not be a bad idea to keep competition at 1B). They expect to compete and losing a player like Vlad and expecting the rest of your lineup to progress and maintain is a recipe for a disappointing offense (see the 2010 Angels).

    Also there is a big difference in “bat-only” among these players. Branyan’s numbers at 1B the last two years are solidly in positive according to URZ. He might not be a lot of teams first choice as a 1B but I think that is largely due to the limited upside to his bat. His market should extend well beyond the boundries of the AL.

    Lastly, and also notably here is that Manny is the only RH hitter of the bunch mentioned. I am sure there are teams looking to RH power that he can provide. While his OF defense is clearly bad, his career .418 wOBA (!!??!!) will cause a number of GMs to overlook that. There are more than just the 14 AL teams looking at him.

    Comment by Socrates — December 28, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

  6. Those would all be good point if it were not for the fact that watching pitchers hit is stupid and pathetic.

    Comment by Baron Samedi — December 28, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

  7. How is this post an argument to get rid of the DH?

    Comment by DREW — December 28, 2010 @ 1:50 pm

  8. You going to call for an end to free agency next?

    Comment by Socrates — December 28, 2010 @ 1:51 pm

  9. Vlad is RH, too.

    Comment by jordan — December 28, 2010 @ 2:00 pm

  10. I think Branyan is largely looked at as a DH only more as a consequence of his back and health issues than his ability to field the position while healthy.

    Comment by IMFink'sPa — December 28, 2010 @ 2:09 pm

  11. Re: Socrates: Vlad’s right handed also.
    But to the larger picture, I think that player age and injury history are a bigger reason that these players are looking at short-term incentive-laden contracts more than the fact their strengths are limited to hitting.

    Comment by goyo70 — December 28, 2010 @ 2:10 pm

  12. Pretty much.

    Comment by Not David — December 28, 2010 @ 2:12 pm

  13. The Twins already have three guys who should be everyday DHs (at best): Kubel, Cuddyer and Young. Plus, Mauer should DH most days he’s not catching. There’s no reason for them to blow more money on one of the guys listed in this post.

    Comment by Matt — December 28, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

  14. One question though. Let’s assume the highest paid one-year DH deal this offseason gets less than 8MM (Cust and Matsui got 2.5MM and 4.5MM respectively). Does this make the Adam Dunn deal look bad/like a massive overpay, since he’s pretty much full time DH, even though he’s easily younger, more durable, and a better hitter than all these guys?

    Comment by BX — December 28, 2010 @ 2:30 pm

  15. Or perhaps an end to middle relievers. After all, middle relief is just an employment program for pitchers that aren’t good enough to start.

    Comment by Brett — December 28, 2010 @ 2:32 pm

  16. Manny Ramirez would look really good in Phillies uniform.

    Comment by Dave — December 28, 2010 @ 2:38 pm

  17. but they’ll be paying Ibanez $11.5 mill to play LF.

    sigh.

    Comment by Dave — December 28, 2010 @ 2:44 pm

  18. Maybe but Manny wouldn’t look too good in the outfield. Manny and Ibanez in the same outfield? That would be awesome.

    Comment by drew — December 28, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

  19. Domonic Brown in RF. Manny in LF… but won’t happen due to the foolish Ibanez contract.

    Comment by Dave — December 28, 2010 @ 2:56 pm

  20. I think the Jays continue to look to at the bargain bin for another bat. EE is best used as the short side of a platoon with Adam Lind and as a part of the committee at 3B (along with Bautista, McDonald and McCoy). Particularly if it adds another midseason trade/compensatory free agent asset.

    Comment by Jeff — December 28, 2010 @ 3:03 pm

  21. My bad on Vlad. Thanks for correcting.

    Comment by Socrates — December 28, 2010 @ 3:08 pm

  22. Manny and Ibanez in the same OF would be tragic. Frankly the ERA projections for Halladay, Lee, and company would have to go up. Not to mention that the defensive ratings of Victorino in CF are mixed.

    I imagine that they would need to trade Blanton before they were able to sign Manny and that is seemingly harder than some people predicted. I still dont get how trading Blanton is going to find them salary relief… I imagine anyone taking him on is going to make the Phillies eat a good portion of that contract.

    Comment by Socrates — December 28, 2010 @ 3:15 pm

  23. I obviously wasn’t clear enough… they’d have to get rid of Ibanez!

    No way you’d play Ibanez and Ramirez in OF simultaneously. Manny would need to play LF…. and the Phils can’t get rid of Ibanez with that albatross of a contract!

    and to make matters worse… the Phils have a very unbalanced LH-heavy lineup… Manny would fix that problem nicely.

    He’d be a very nice fit.

    Comment by Dave — December 28, 2010 @ 3:23 pm

  24. Its not so much that they have no value, because as you mention, they are all capable of production. Its a question of negotiating strength. None of these players are likely to be tremendous improvements over the others if they all perform as they are capable. Also, none of them are tremendously more risky than the others (Johnson as an exception perhaps) as they all have question marks over them.

    So either way, the team will end up with some decent value no matter which of them they get, with roughly the same amount of risk… this gives the teams the ability to underpay for that value by waiting.

    Comment by GTStD — December 28, 2010 @ 3:38 pm

  25. I would say it looks the Victor Martinez deal look a bit overpriced, but Dunn’s production will be a step up from that of Martinez and the bats listed in this article. Overpriced perhaps, but not by a lot.

    Comment by t ball — December 28, 2010 @ 4:14 pm

  26. Wasn’t it reported the Jays plan to use Encarnacion at first? That would still leave them with a DH slot.

    Comment by sourbob — December 28, 2010 @ 4:25 pm

  27. With the market hovering at around $5 million per WAR, Dunn’s bat needs to be worth 2.8 wins a year to be worth it, at that value (and inflation will make his break-even lower each year, actually). He’s been 3+ the last two years, even including massive hits to his total from poor fielding. It seems pretty likely he’ll do substantially better than that for the first year or three.

    I guess the moral of the story is, if your bat is THAT good, you still have value. But if you slip… see: Ramirez, Manny.

    Comment by sourbob — December 28, 2010 @ 4:34 pm

  28. The most notable result being that people would stop mocking the Twins corner outfield defense as much…

    Comment by Pat — December 28, 2010 @ 4:38 pm

  29. Delmon and Cuddeyer at least have lazer-guided Howitzers for arms, Kubel’s feet should never touch grass except for walking to the batter’s box.

    Comment by Pat — December 28, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

  30. Maybe ranking them in terms of who you would like to see in your lineup:
    1.Thome
    2.MRamirez (if you can swallow 12mil + incentives)
    3.Branyan
    4.Vlad/Damon depended on handedness

    No Johnson under any circumstances.

    Comment by ofMontreal — December 28, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

  31. The most exciting moments in baseball are when things happen that are very rare or that shouldn’t happen. Allowing pitchers to hit provides more opportunities for those moments. It also makes for more strategic decisions by the manager to affect the outcome of a ballgame.

    Comment by fergie348 — December 28, 2010 @ 5:04 pm

  32. Only if he takes on Matt Stairs old job.

    Comment by B N — December 28, 2010 @ 5:11 pm

  33. Sadly, no one should ever stop mocking that? Ugh… is Cuddyer done yet? Can we put Benson out there somewhere yet? Or Revere. Or Hicks. Or a bathtub. Anything to improve on that range.

    Comment by MorneauVP — December 28, 2010 @ 5:25 pm

  34. Lind and E3 will share time at first, with the other presumably DH’ing, with E3 something of a contingency if Lind can’t manage first on a full time basis.

    The only hole that they have is in the outfield, or at third, depending on where they play Bautista.

    Comment by Theo — December 28, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

  35. Obviously… first sentence in my reply wasn’t intended as a question. Whoops.

    Comment by MorneauVP — December 28, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

  36. Hicks and Revere aren’t ready, we’ll just have to deal with it for another year. Ideally, Cuddyer would make a nice right handed batter to spell Morneau at first…

    Comment by Pat — December 28, 2010 @ 5:52 pm

  37. The most exciting moments are those that are rare and exciting … but also the result of some skill.

    Watching a pitcher halfswing his way to a bloop hit is not an event or a moment.

    Nothing watching a pitcher bat with 2 outs and not take the bat off his shoulder so he doesn’t have to run the bases.

    I want to see pitchers bat as much as I want to see quarterbacks play linebacker.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — December 28, 2010 @ 6:47 pm

  38. They could platoon!

    If they shared the same position which one would be considered the late game defensive replacement? (or would Manuel turn to Oswalt?)

    Comment by Hank — December 28, 2010 @ 7:00 pm

  39. Johnson looks great in a lineup, he just can’t stay in one.

    He’s only one year removed from a .373 wOBA season (he’s a .370 hitter for his career). He’s also serviceable at 1B. I don’t ever think I took a close look at Johnson’s career before…he put up a .405 wOBA in 2006!

    Comment by Danmay — December 28, 2010 @ 7:40 pm

  40. Bad analogy – I’m not saying that the manager shouldn’t be allowed to use his bench players, just that the pitcher is part of the starting 9 and thus should play on both sides of the game.

    Comment by fergie348 — December 28, 2010 @ 8:08 pm

  41. I think you’re selling pitchers short. They’re athletes, and some of them handle the bat quite well. Turn it around – should we continue the logic and allow one more player on each team to not play defense? How about all of them?

    Maybe baseball should be like football. Expand the rosters and have dedicated defenders and dedicated hitters. That way everyone on the field does just what he’s good at. If football is your model, then that’s what you do, after all how many two-way players in pro football are there?

    Comment by fergie348 — December 28, 2010 @ 8:13 pm

  42. Besides, is it any worse to watch a pitcher hit than it is to watch, say Manny Ramirez play in the field? On the other hand, both scenarios are ripe for a cheap form of amusement..

    Comment by fergie348 — December 28, 2010 @ 8:42 pm

  43. Are you saying that Hideki Matsui is less useful than Vlad Guerrero, Johnny Damon, Russell Branyan or Nick Johnson? Are you serious? I can see how Thome and Ramirez could deliver more power or veteran leadership than Matsui but to say that the other four are more useful than Matsui tells me that you really have no idea what you are talking about. Matsui has more power than Branyan, Damon and Johnson and he can field alot better than Ramirez, Guerrero, Damon and maybe even Thome. Matsui can hit for average and some power and still play defense without hurting the team. You cannot say that about Vlad, Manny, Johnny or Nick. But if my team had not already signed Matsui I would love to see Thome hit in Oakland. Yes, as someone had already mentioned why do the Blue Jays need to DH’s. Are they planning to platoon?

    Comment by Jake — December 28, 2010 @ 9:54 pm

  44. No way Matsui has more power than Branyan.

    Comment by Brian — December 28, 2010 @ 11:20 pm

  45. @ferie – You’re assuming the skillset for hitting and pitching, or at least the athletisism involved, is the same. There is no proof for this. I would much rather watch someone who has the proven skillset for hitting hit, and someone with the proven skillset for pitching pitch. Yes, there are players who possess both skills to differing degrees (e.g. Rick Ankiel), but they are few and far between.

    Not only that, but I hate the idea of someone being paid to pitch getting injured either batting or running the bases (e.g. Wang). No matter if the risk of injury is high or not, having any extra risk on a multimillon dollar investment is counterproductive, in my opinion. It also takes away from time focusing on mechanics, which I would assume is more important for a pitcher’s wellbeing.

    Also, there is nothing about the DH rule that precludes a team from allowing their pitcher to hit, if he’s the best option. The fact that he never is should speak about the disparity itself.

    Let hitters hit and pitcher pitch.

    Comment by Marshall — December 28, 2010 @ 11:46 pm

  46. I’m not saying baseball should be like football, I’m just saying pitchers have been DH’d for through minor leagues and college (except for a rare few).

    Hitting is not something they work on, so why put so much importance on it by giving the about the same at bats per game as the 3-4 hitters?

    Okay so maybe pitchers only get 2 at bats and we see 2 pinch hitters. So, a DH might take the place of those 2 AB’s per game.

    Great. Watching batters pitch is entertaining from the novelty standpoint. It rarely hapens and once in a while you’ll get a very entertaining Mark Grace imitation of Fetters or whoever it was.

    But, watching pitchers do something they are incredibly uncomfortable with due to lack of practice or priority is not all that exciting.

    Watchng AL pitchers bat in the WS when they haven’t hit all year (save IL games at NL parks) is just as bad.

    We can say that pitchers have evolved into a specialty position, where hitting is viewed as such a small part of their importance that even they don’t really work at it.

    We can’t say the same thing about all the other position players.

    We can have an exception without being an all or nothng aspect that turns baseball into football where there are “specialty packages” where defensive specialists enter the game with RISP, etc.

    The rationale for NFL players not playing both ways has less to do with ability than it does the increased schedule and increased contact leading to mroe injuries.

    Simply put, if NFL players played both ways, the injuries would likely be so frequent, that theams would be without their best players at the end of the year. No one wants that either.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — December 29, 2010 @ 12:23 am

  47. If anything there should be more DH’s. We have more than one reliever don’t we? Id rather see Jim Thome or my fave DH ever, Paul Molitor doing what they’ll do until their body falls apart: hit.

    Pitchers hitting is what is making the leagues unfair, every NL team has at least 2 easy outs, and teams like the Yanks dont have any. Wouldnt that stand to reason that a pitcher who pitched average against beastly lineups absolutely destroy teams that have a sub 200 OPS hitter in almost every lineup? In addition to whatever sub-650 ones they may have?

    Comment by PL — December 29, 2010 @ 12:40 am

  48. “Matsui has more power than Branyan”

    buahahahahahahahaha

    Comment by dnc — December 29, 2010 @ 1:02 am

  49. Fergie, who cares who the starting 9 are anymore. How often does it happen where the pitcher pitches a complete game, and nobody is removed for defensive substitution, pinch hit for, or merely left due to cramps or other injury? the idea of “starting 9″ is getting obsolete.

    Comment by Cidron — December 29, 2010 @ 1:08 am

  50. You know what would be funny, or solve the whole DH issue? Have the WS played to the teams rules, not the leagues rules. Let the AL have a DH for all games, and the NL not have it, having the pitcher hit. The value of a good DH … might show late. I can see the leagues voting it.. you’d have a complete league split. NL-no, AL-yes.. whats wrong NL, dont think your game can beat the AL game?

    Comment by Cidron — December 29, 2010 @ 1:17 am

  51. too bad they built a new park then.

    Comment by shthar — December 29, 2010 @ 1:59 am

  52. I would say we could make it so the lineup would only be 8 deep and without a DH or pitcher hitting but with baseball being so dependent on stats, the extra AB’s would skew #’s too much I think.

    Comment by Jonathan — December 29, 2010 @ 2:45 am

  53. yea but branyon cant stay healthy to save his life…looks at his GP total the last few years

    Comment by Ton — December 29, 2010 @ 3:10 am

  54. I know you’re kidding, but it’s not like anyone is arguing that a pitcher is a better hitter than a DH. In your world, the NL can make it so it takes 4 strikes to strike someone out or 4 outs to an inning and win the WS every year.

    Comment by Adam — December 29, 2010 @ 6:11 am

  55. In the American League, it’s not a starting nine… it’s a starting 10. You don’t like that. That’s your problem. I like quality baseball, and your wishing it so won’t turn pitchers into hitters or remove the risk for injury, which not much reward in return.

    Comment by JamesDaBear — December 29, 2010 @ 7:33 am

  56. @Marshall: You are wrong. The DH rule explicitly states that the DH is for the pitcher only. You can’t DH your SS and let your pitcher hit as you seem to be implying. Check the rules.

    Comment by Heather — December 29, 2010 @ 9:46 am

  57. Johnny Damon’s probably a huge improvement in the OF over the DHs the Twins have running around in the OF.

    Comment by BX — December 29, 2010 @ 9:52 am

  58. I see 2 big problems with the pitcher hitting/DH situation:

    1. The AL teams spend millions on a DH, while the NL teams spend their money elsewhere. NL teams are at a huge disadvantage because the AL team has a better hitter when the DH is used, and an uber-pinch hitter when the pitcher bats.

    2. The main reason I’m reluctant to remove the DH is because pitchers don’t practice hitting. If pitchers simply tried to hit (i.e. not attempt to bunt with 2 strikes), I would be all for the change. The AL games are significantly longer (~30 min) than NL games because of the DH rule.

    Comment by Bascinator — December 29, 2010 @ 9:52 am

  59. Johnny Damon isn’t a defensive upgrade anywhere

    Comment by Pat — December 29, 2010 @ 11:03 am

  60. Manny Ramirez is NOT coming cheap, regardless of whether it’s an AL team or not.

    He’s made money, so the only reason to play now is for records and because he enjoys it.

    I guarantee he gets more than the other DH assortment we see every off-season.

    I have my doubts he’ll even sign to DH at all….

    Comment by DIVISION — December 29, 2010 @ 1:45 pm

  61. I think if you’re a baseball player, hitting is something you should be working on especially in amateur leagues. Not letting pitchers hit in high school and college is a mistake – It’s hard to say at that point in development if a good player will end up as a position player or as a pitcher, so players should work on all their baseball skills.

    I disagree strongly that pitchers should specialize in just throwing the ball. We ask them to work on defensive skills like fielding their position and holding runners on, so why not ask them to work on their hitting as well? I’m not saying that pitchers will be as proficient as other players at swinging the bat, but it’s an essential skill to be able to handle the bat for all baseball players. If you want specialized players on the field for every play, go watch yourself some football.

    Players are paid to play baseball. Pitchers can get hurt doing lots of things, and mostly get hurt while throwing the ball. I don’t buy the injury while running the bases argument. If you’re so concerned that your pitcher can’t do anything else, you should have him jog the bases and mostly keep the bat on his shoulders. Every team has pitchers who are decent hitters who work on it and expect to do well, and there are lots of pitchers who just work on bunting and don’t expect to hit much at all. So be it – some pitchers can’t hold runners on or field well because of a funky delivery. That’s all part of the wonder that is baseball. When we ask players to do less and less, some of the magic is lost.

    Comment by Fergie348 — December 29, 2010 @ 2:30 pm

  62. the bullpen exists for the health of the starter. if the starter had to pitch the whole game, regardless of quantity of pitches thrown, every pitcher would be injured. it is also there in case someone does get injured (same with the bench). they have specific roles. they can also be used to get a strategic advantage (lefty-righty match-ups, double switches, platoon splits, etc). these are subtleties of the game that the DH takes away from. just because you don’t get to see those types of plays on espn’s top 10 doesn’t mean they’re not interesting. just gotta know what you’re looking for. making the pitcher bat makes the manager strategize later in the game. what’s wrong with that? just because you don’t have the attention span to deal with that doesn’t mean that facet of the game is obsolete.

    Comment by BMH — December 29, 2010 @ 2:31 pm

  63. is thome really so bad against LHP? career 335 wOBA in 1500PAs. It’s not like he’s a liability against lefties, just not the monster he is vs. RHP. I think the As should have preferred him to matsui.

    Comment by brendan — December 29, 2010 @ 4:32 pm

  64. matsui is a statue in the outfield. he definitely does hurt the team. Not sure what you’d expect these days, maybe -20 UZR/150?

    Comment by brendan — December 29, 2010 @ 4:50 pm

  65. Well, they’ve both been around awhile.

    Career ISO: Matsui = .190, Branyan = .256. Advantage Branyan.
    Career SLG: Matsui = .479, Branyan = .490. Slight advantage, Branyan.

    Looks like Branyan’s got more pop. I still wouldn’t want to mess around with his career .384 k rate – feel the breeze!

    Comment by fergie348 — December 29, 2010 @ 7:30 pm

  66. Sorry but think NL baseball is far more fun to watch than AL baseball. Once an AL manager makes the lineup he can go take a nap for the rest of the day. In fact, anything he does probably makes his team worse. Meanwhile, the NL manager has to work around the weak hitting pitcher; That takes far more strategy and is far more interesting for me to watch.

    Comment by Nats fan — December 30, 2010 @ 2:31 am

  67. He shouldn’t be, but Damon is over the DH-o-matic that is the Twins’ corner outfield.

    Comment by BX — December 30, 2010 @ 1:43 pm

  68. maybe so, but i’d rather see the skill of the teams’ best players determine the outcome, not the manager. Specialization is good.

    Comment by mike — December 30, 2010 @ 8:27 pm

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