Friday, January 19, 2007

LaRoche deal finalized.

The deal that brought Adam LaRoche to Pittsburgh in return for Mike Gonzalez was finalized today. The Pirates send Gonzalez and minor league SS prospect Brent Lillibridge to the Braves for Adam LaRoche and 21 year old OF prospect Jamie Romak. Calling Romak, or Lillibridge for that matter, a prospect may be a stretch. Lillibridge had quite a fine season last year in A-ball, however he was playing against fellows 2-4 years his junior. Lillibridge, some say, has the talent to be a decent major league SS, however his age(23) and position at AA put him at a slight disadvantage. He went to college yet hasn't made it out of A ball yet. Romak is the same story, but plays in the OF.

Since this deal was announced a few days ago, the main talk surrounding the deal has been the Pirates lineup to start the '07 season. A few days ago I posted our projected lineup without any outside influence. After that I read that Jim Tracy asked Jason Bay if he would mind leaving the cleanup spot to make way for LaRoche. Bay, being the gentleman he is, replied that he is just happy to have a spot and will hit anywhere in the lineup. Today I will give you my revised lineup against what Tracy believes it should be.

My Lineup
1.(L) Duffy CF
2.(R) Sanchez 2B
3.(R) Bay LF
4.(L) LaRoche 1B
5.(R) Nady RF
6.(R) Paulino C
7.(R) Bautista 3B
8.(R) Wilson SS

Tracy's Lineup
1.(L) Duffy CF
2.(R) Wilson SS
3.(R) Sanchez 3B
4.(L) LaRoche 1B
5.(R) Bay LF
6.(R) Nady RF
7.(R) Paulino C
8.(R) Castillo 2B

I don't know if anyone else catches the problem I see with Tracy's lineup - that by moving Bay, The Pirates best hitter, to the 5th spot he will lose many precious at-bats season to Jack Wilson and Chris Duffy over the course of a season, which is no good. Bay, Sanchez and LaRoche need to get more at bats than Duffy and Wilson, however Duffy, with his speed, will hit lead-off no matter what.

Traditional baseball tells you that your best hitter should hit in the 3 spot, behind two hitters who have high OBP's. With Wilson and Duffy hitting 1 and 2 respectively the Pirates will have two of their lowest OBP's batting in front of Sanchez, who has a fairly respectable OBP. By sending Jack down to the 8 hole, it creates the opportunity for more men to be on base in front of LaRoche and Bay. Duffy will have to lead off no matter with our lineup, so by placing Freddy, who had a .378 OBP last season, and then Bay(.396 OBP) the Pirates will have two batters with over .375 OBP in front of LaRoche who can then hit a homerun(I wish it was that easy). In any case I believe Tracy would be making a huge mistake by dropping Bay to 5th. Moreover, in the past few years we have heard nothing but talk from the management about finding a bat to protect Bay, and now that we have it we're gonna use Bay to protect him. I think that the lineup I offered will produce more runs than Tracy's, but hey- I'm not the manager....he is.
Jim "Ron Howard" Tracy as a young man.

No comments: