MOTO's at the DP position
If James Woods took Bane juice...


Q.  Is that guy holding the bat by the wrong end?

A.  You should see their gloves.  They used them at home for taking muffins out of the oven.


Q.  Why are you shuffling baseball cards around the table top as if the M's owned Hanley Ramirez?  Obviously the chances of a Seattle press conference are well below 50%.

A.  We're noodling around, wondering why the M's stampeded like 18th-century buffalo after Hanley Ramirez.  So sue us.  You could spend your time doing actual work, if that were more fun.  :: shrug ::

SSI axed.  When was the last time? a ballclub had:

  • Their consistent, stable 3-4 hitters in the lineup
  • One right and one left
  • SS and 2B

We meant it on three levels, at least two of which were addressed by Jonezie and Plawsible.

First, loosely speaking:  what are the big-hitting DP combos recently?  How epic :- ) would Cano and Ramirez be?  Not very epic, or pretty much epic, or totally epic, or ... maybe it would be fantastic.  Or maybe it would just be massive.  Or maybe just considerable.  Or just significant.  Or maybe everybody knows the Chiefs are going to kick the stuffing out of the the team that "owns the NFL."

Second, loosely speaking:  is it common for a team to be able to build around its two best players at SS and 2B?  How uncommon is it?

Third:  style points.  One hits left, one right, and Cano-Hanley would hit 3 and 4 every game.  Normally, at the very least.  The M's have not had set lineups.  (For REAL style, include Kyle Seager, and consider that your MOTO would go around the "skill infield" counterclockwise, alternating hands!  SSI gets an "Adopt-a-Shtick" on this counterclockwise infield if the M's sign Ramirez.)

Fourth:  how good might this team become if it got serious about offense.  Four?  As you know, we live to serve.


Q.  Who are the big-hitting DP combos lately?

A.  Jonezie looked up some of the SS's and checked whether star 2B's played next to them.  He got:

  • 2002-2004 were Tejada SS and Chavez 3B - good one!  
  • 2007-2010 were Hanley SS and Dan Uggla 2B.  A true DP.  Uggla was about a 120 OPS+.

He mentioned ARod SS and Michael Young 2B.  Two big names, but checking it again, Young wasn't a star until ARod left (2004); they kind of overlapped.  Man, this is sounding like Bill James lite, ain't it?  .... Aurilia and Kent for SF, guys who had one big year like Aurilia wasn't really where I was going with it.


In spirit, I was really kind of asking about two stars, with RBI, turning double plays.  :: shrug ::  Great, great call on the Giambi-Chavez-Tejada A's.  Makes you drool to think of it in Seattle, neh?

Plawsible asked whether I would count Hanley and Uggla -- in any of the 4 senses above?

The 2007-10 Marlins were disappointing.  Their talent pyramid was tall and thin, like the Griffey-ARod Mariners.  Also, Uggla wasn't like an MVP candidate or anything.  He was an All-Star only once when playing with Hanley.  I would lean against comparing them to Hanley and Cano, because I would compare Hanley to Hanley, which leaves Uggla taking on Robinson Cano.  That's a little like jemanji taking on Bill James.

Like Plawsible said, Cano doesn't hit #6 half the time.  You compare Ken Griffey Jr. to HOF'ers, not to fringe All-Stars, and there's no compensation to be had in Hanley vs Hanley...


Looking at this, of course there must have been dozens of ballclubs in the 20th century with big-hitting DP combos.


Q.  Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, sez Plawsible?

A.  Most definitely.  In terms of two big names turning the DP together.

Still ... Rollins had an OPS+ over 104 guess how many times?  Once.  We're guessing there would be plenty of star leadoff hitters playing the middle infield.

The year that Rollins won the MVP, his freakish season in 2007, that was the year Utley had a 146 OPS+ too. 


Q.  How good was that 2007 Fils team?

A.  That's the guts of our question.  How much of a head start does a Tejada-Chavez give you, in assembling an elite team?

Lots of a head start.  Like ... you ever see arena football?  The flanker can -- and does -- "go in motion" TOWARDS the line of scrimmage, at a full run, from 15 yards back.  They hike the ball as he blows through the line at 20 MPH.  You might fail to move the ball under those circumstances, but that's on you, babe.

The 2007 Phillies won the AL East despite a below-average team ERA.  We don't expect the 2015 Mariners to replicate that experiment.  The 97 ERA+ experiment to win the division, that is.


Q.  Where did Honus Wagner hit in the order?

A.  Wherever he liked ... James once said "there is nobody in baseball history I'd be more anxious to have on my baseball team."  I think that was Wagner he was writing about.  Certainly he's the James Woods grandpa in the pic above.  Dr. D feels a little bit that way about a 3-4-5 MOTO counterclockwise :- )

Where did a player bat in the order, a hundred years ago?  Does Dr. D look like Bill James to you? ... he (James) once said when he mows his lawn, when he's on row 16, column 13 he goes "that was Pat Sajak in 1961, 16 wins and 13 losses."  Bobby Fischer random access memory.

Let's see, though ... in 1909, when Wagner was age 35 and had an OPS+ of 173 at shortstop, I see there are World Series box scores that are easy to find.  First game we looked up, Wagner went 3-for-5 as the Pirates scored five in the first inning and went on to win, 8-6.  In case you're assuming, the 1901-1909 era was not known for 8-6 scores.

A left fielder hit #3 in that game, but Dots Miller batted #5, played second base, and had a good year, but that was his first year as a Pirate.  The next season, he batted .227/.284/.309.  Better get him in there for Brad Miller.

Whoever the second basemen were, Honus Wagner was two star middle infielders by himself.  Isn't that where we came in?  The Pirates of 1901-1909 weren't too shabby.


Q.  Who was that slugger whose career ended after being hit in the face?

A.  The kiddies might not know who Tony Conigliaro was.  Don't turn to this b-ref page.  The quiet little line in 1968 is kinda rough.

How bad did Kirby Puckett's injury affect him directly?

The Marlins got more guts than I do.  Stanton hasn't yet stepped back up to the plate between getting hit and getting the $300 mill, has he?  Nothing surprising about it, if a man has a catastrophe happen to him and then his spinal cord tells him that he may not go near the area in the future.

Be Afraid,

Dr D






misterjonez's picture

which was basically an admission that I couldn't remember ever seeing the phenomenon you're describing with the DP combo forming, for a significant period of time (3+ years), the middle of the order for a team.
I thought for certain A-Rod and Young would have overlapped, but nope. And Jeter/Soriano came to mind, but like you said above regarding Rollins/Utley, Jeter is actually a leadoff guy (while Hanley, during his Marlins prime, was a cleanup hitter batting first every game - oddly enough, so was Soriano for a chunk of his time if I remember correctly?).
It's a great question, Doc, and one that goes straight to one of your bread and butter tenets: crushers up the middle make the rest of the roster soooo much easier to build.
It is an enticing thought, even with Hanley's poor glove at SS, since it would well-and-truly free the team up to exploit the 9-to-make-5 aspect on the COF/1B/DH. It's a scary thought, to be sure, if they attacked it properly. I might actually start LOBBYING for Scott Van Slyke at that point, since we'd need a rotational righty to plug into the multiple platoons.


Doc,  Great (grey) minds think alike.  I nearly mentioned Tony C. (as a Stanton warning) in a post that I erased yesterday.  I remember the kid, a bit.
I don't know what to make of Fangraphs, guys, but they had Ramirez at -15.6 UZR/150 last year.  Taylor was 14.4 and Miller 2.0.
Sign Hanley if we must, but give him a 1B glove.  We need one of those guys, anyway.

tjm's picture

They didn't exactly hit in the middle of Murder's Row - usually batted 2 and 3 - but for consistent, high level offensive production from the middle infield they're probably unmatched in baseball history. And they could field. And those Tiger teams were pretty darned good in the late 80s, not so hot in the 90s.
I'm coming around on Hanley and would, also, much prefer him at 1B, but would take him at SS for a year. We need bats, boys, big uns.
And I think we're being overly optimistic to think the Dodgers will pick up 40 percent of Kemp's salary. They need Kemp. I'd expect them to pay maybe the Yankees or Texas to take away Ethier. Crawford is probably their easiest to trade commodity since he at least had a good year with the bat.

misterjonez's picture

then he'd be costing a whale of a load of prospects (LAD would start the conversation asking for Paxton+Walker+Deej, and would settle for 1-2 of them plus bullpen arms plus...). He's one of the top 5-10 RH bats in the game today and everybody knows it, plus they've spent so much money marketing him that he's an instant brand-changing acquisition.
So I basically agree regarding Kemp's unavailability, but I'm not interested in any other LAD OF...except Puig, but trading him makes even less sense for the Dodgers than does eating ~half of Kemp's salary and shipping him off for *only* a top 20 prospect.


I might be there, Matt.  But I think I would walk away at the end.
Jonez. I think you're a bit wrong here.  LA wants to shed salary.  They will bluster and bluff, but they will end up swapping out Kemp for a decent offer...if they move him.  They aren't getting the blockbust offer you suggest.


That's the cheerful Lookout Landing offseason proposal.  Dodgers pick up $80M of $107M if we'll relinquish Taylor for him, and we could get Van Slyke for one of our relievers... Dr. D is kidding around with LL, not scoffing at them.  :- )  For my part they're friends.
But that particular article, I went through several phases:  (1) thought it was mercilessly lampooning P-I forum types, (2) thought it was going for the laugh, (3) realized that it was basically analysis, with caveats "real life isn't this easy", and (4) realized that it also traded for Anibal Sanchez, yet added only 4, 5 WAR so 'we should be pretty good.'
Kinda depressing, the thought that you could make three blockbusters and still not get all that far.  :- (
Like we say, LL is great.  Couldn't resist smiling on that one, though :- )  Dr. D has plenty 'nuff of his own bad hair days ...


...unless we're willing to eat most of his salary that is. Wilhelmson or Medina or any of the relievers really along with Taylor and D.J. Peterson for Kemp and maybe 20 million over the next 3 years to ease the early blow to our payroll so we can add another shorter term piece...maybe they do that. They're not just looking to shed Kemp though, I guarantee that.

misterjonez's picture

Basically, he's the most talented of their ~albatross-contract-holding players (the others being Ethier and Crawford). If the issue for LAD is yearly payroll flexibility, the team is better off eating ~half of Ethier+Crawford's salaries (combined $39mil/year x 3 years) and shipping them off for a combined bucket of balls than it is by shipping off Kemp ($21.5mil/year x 5 years) for any package that doesn't include a talented package of players coming back.
A question for the mainframe: would you rather have Hanley at 6/$120 today or Kemp at $5/107.5 - assuming each one costs you, oh, something on the order of a 1st round draft pick? (sorry...I couldn't resist)
They've both proven themselves in hitters parks, they both have defensive problems, and they both provide vastly superior(right-handed) offensive production than anything we're likely to develop in-house over the next 2-3 years. Personally...I'd probably go Kemp, but there's a good argument for Hanley as well.


But if Jack could get him without giving up the farm and taking on a huge payroll bump, they should build him a statue. Still can't see why/how Friedman would let him go. They're suddenly worried about payroll?

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