Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Bench Option?

The Pirates - yes, the Pirates - sent Ben Grieve to AAA today.

Yahoo had this to say about it.

I especially like their assertion that "Grieve hasn't hit over .261 in the past five years so needless to say his skill set has declined to the point it is no longer serviceable." Sure...until you realize that his OBP has been .353 or better in each of those 5 seasons. So much for "Moneyball" at least having a minimal impact with the Fanball staff.

Rotoworld had this to say:

"Pirates reassigned OF Ben Grieve and RHP Mark Corey to minor league camp.

Hitting .355/.382/.452 this spring didn't earn Grieve a roster spot. He has yet to decide whether to begin the season at Triple-A Indianapolis or become a free agent. He's worthy of a spot on some team's bench."

Here's a guy that's only 29 years old, hits left handed, has a career OPS+ of 112, and is hitting .355 this spring....and can't catch on with the Pirates, who are at best a 3rd place team. Huh?

Over the last 3 years, Grieve has hit righties to the tune of .256/.365/.440. His OPS+ has only been below 102 one time over his 8 year career, when he had a 92 during the 2003 season for Tampa Bay. Granted, he never has been able to repeat his rookie of the year season, when he posted a 122 OPS+ while hitting 41 doubles and 18 home runs. But AAA at his age? I understand that his defense is more reminiscent of Lonnie Smith than Jim Edmonds, but the guy doesn't make outs (thus his career .367 OBP).

I would love to see him chose to become a free agent, and for the Cardinals to pick him up. Yes, I realize that they have a log-jam of outfielders on their roster. But how could you pass up on a guy that has a better track record of getting on base than your current leadoff hitter? Grieve could take the roster spot of Hector Luna, who is currently slated to make the team out of Spring training. This would give the Cardinals another genuine hitter to give Sanders and Walker days off, in the event that John Mabry can't repeat his career 2004 numbers. Furthermore, it would give the Cardinals a chance to move Roger Cedeno to some team in need of a.....guy that can't really field, can't really hit, and can't really run anymore.

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