With the death of College Basketball comes the birth of Pro Baseball. Kill me now.
ALL RIGHT! Enough complaining about the boring-ness of this year’s Spring Training! This season of Major League Baseball is going to come whether I like it or not!
The story of the day, undoubtedly, is the decision to put Jack Wilson at 2nd Base and keep Brendan Ryan at Short Stop. Honestly, Wedge’s moustache aside, this is the second most riveting story of the month of March. Instant reaction around the blogs are mixed + a collective shrug. Some find it a somewhat good idea: Ryan is our future, Wilson is not, so we might as well keep Ryan where he’s most comfortable; this should help keep Wilson healthy for longer, considering 2nd Base is a less-demanding position; Wilson’s mid-season trade value could go thru the roof if teams know they can play him at either position; plus, Ackley. Some find it a pointless endeavor: it won’t help his trade value if teams think he can no longer play short; Ryan actually has experience at 2nd Base, Wilson does not, so we’re creating a Figgins/Lopez Redux; will this interfere with Wilson’s head at the plate?
First of all, let’s go ahead and say right off that I like the move. I’m unwilling to blame last year’s position switch as the reason Figgins and Lopez struggled at the plate. But, okay, let’s say for the sake of argument that switching positions all of a sudden makes you a complete black hole with a bat in your hand: this is completely different! Last year, people were expecting 25 homers out of Lopez and a .300 average out of Figgins; this year, NOBODY is expecting ANYTHING out of Ryan or Wilson.
(and yes, I realize Wilson is hitting a ton in Spring Training. Let’s cool THAT talk, shall we? Spring Jack Wilson will turn into Regular Jack Wilson just as soon as the calendar flips to April, I guarantee it.)
I don’t know a thing about Ryan, but I have a feeling that Wilson is the slightly better bat of the two. That’s fine. Psychologically, something within me would rather a short stop struggle mightily at the plate than a 2nd Baseman (I dunno, maybe Bret Boone’s peak seasons spoiled me). But, I have no illusions about Wilson being SIGNIFICANTLY better than Ryan. The way I see it, Jack Wilson is best when he’s healthy and rested. Ergo, why not put him in a full time platoon at 2nd Base? Give him regular days off throughout the week, preserve what little bat he has, and maximize his overall output.
And as far as Wilson’s trade value is concerned, teams shouldn’t necessarily believe that he can no longer play the Short Stop position. They’ll look at us and see we have an even BETTER Short Stop who took the place of our already excellent Short Stop; they’ll see what’s most obvious, that we’re looking to move Wilson, so might as well not let him get too comfortable; they’ll have they knowledge that he CAN play both middle infield spots (an asset, I don’t care what anyone says to the contrary). And, let’s face it, if Jack Wilson in a Platoon = A Healthy Jack Wilson, isn’t that the most important component to actually GETTING a deal done?
Anyway, that’s THAT. In other news, a bunch of relievers were sent to minor league camps, Garrett Olson was picked up by the Pirates, and Nate Robertson will go under the knife (which means Michael Pineda has the inside track for the #5 spot in the rotation). I’ll have more on Pineda next week when we know more than insider knowledge via local beat writers. As a teaser, I’ll say this: I couldn’t BE more torn on a subject. Maybe by next week I’ll have a better idea of what I want for Pineda …