How many outfielders?

Lots of noodling in the Kotchman thread as to how the M's will handle their roster...


Q.  If the bench is Byrnes, C, Hannahan, and Garko, does that mean you need 11 pitchers and Ryan Langerhans?

A.  Decidedly not.

The bumper sticker ;- ) is "you can't have 4 OF's if one of them is Milton Bradley."  This (insightful) bumper sticker is pithy, clearly understandable, easy to process and is the diametric opposite of what Dr. D and Don Wakamatsu think about roster space.

It weaves the following three thoughts into a braid:

  • Bradley will have days -- not 15 in a row of them -- where his legs are barking.
  • What happens if, on one of these days, Yuniesky Betancourt picks off Franklin Gutierrez from the roof with a 30-ought-six.
  • Ken Griffey can't play the outfield, even a single game.

Ergo, you'd be left with Jose Lopez in left.  No can do. 


Q.  Right.  So, QED, yes?

A.  QED, no. 

Chone Figgins has played exactly 300 games in the outfield in the major leagues, Leonidas ... including 244 of them in center field.

Figgins' range factors in center field are slightly above average. 

He's a bit older, now, yeah, but still stealing bases, and I'd say that's more than enough defensive insurance if you're talking about a #5 outfielder.

So Bradley does this and Yuniesky does that and Junior does the other thing, Jack Hannahan comes into the game 3B and Figgins goes and covers the OF like Mark McLemore used to do.


Q.  Would an emergency OF situation happen often?

A.  In non-ulcer years, Ichiro had played 161+ games five years in a row.  Franklin Gutierrez played 153 last year and I'll bet you that Gutierrez plays 158 this year.  Maybe 162.

You've got Bradley, Byrnes and Griffey holding down the 162 games in left.  And for LF, we need yet another glove ?


Q.  Well, the point is the lineup vs LHP's, with Byrnes in LF and Bradley at DH.  To paraphrase T.J. Lambert, it is better to die at birth than to use your DH in the field for the last two innings.

A.  :shrug: Hannahan's into the game at 3B and Figgins plays left.

The Tacoma Rainiers are 24 hours away.  You're talking about in-game Yuniesky scenarios and 3 innings' worth of Junior, or a DH, in the field, and then a roster move for the very next game.

C'mon.  :- )


Q.  What if Figgins has it in his contract he doesn't have to own an OF's glove?

A.  That would be pretty weird, that 24 Mariners are going to do what is best for the club, are going to accept creative maneuvers to win games, like they did in 2009 -- but Figgins isn't.

But suppose that's true.  What is the big fat hairy deal, Junior playing the outfield for three innings some day after Eric Byrnes gets called out on strikes and drops his drawers in the batter's box?

Don Wakamatsu is much less concerned with Swiss Army Knives and cover-your-backside than most ML managers.  25 of the 30 current ML managers think like that -- that the goal is to make sure you don't have to get creative three times a year.  Wakamatsu is not one of them.


Q.  So Langerhans is gone?

A.  No - we're just saying that Langerhans is not a given.

Zduriencik alluded to 11 pitchers.  We presume he's talking about whether they go to spring training and decide they need an extra Swiss Army knife.  Granted, this team does have a lot of one-dimensional platoon players.  They'll be watching it.


Q. Should they keep Langerhans as a fifth benchie? 

A.  Personally I hope that they don't use an extra Swiss Army knife.  I'd rather just handle situations creatively -- as Wak did last year, putting Hannahan at SS, for example.

One-dimensional platoon players are good at something.  It's the Earl Weaver way.  The manager puts more pressure on himself to think 3 innings forward, and puts pressure on himself to fit this jigsaw pieces into a smooth puzzle, game after game.

But when he does it, he beats Pythag.  Earl used to beat Pythag, and Wak did last year.


Q.  Bottom line?

A.  This team ran 12 pitchers last year with Sweeney and Junior on the bench the whole year.  The Garko-Byrnes-Hannahan-C bench is more flexible than in 2009, not less.

This org is unencumbered by CYBackside roster paradigms.  It wants specialized weapons and it will cover the unpredictable in-game situations with, ahem, intelligence and anticipation.

Them's my boys,

Dr D



Completely agree with the overreaction to Junior in left and have pointed out Chone as an option to those who'd listen. 
Morosi also tells us today that the Ms are still in on Hudson.  If that happens then I could see Langerhans in Tacoma and the Ms to have 11 pitchers. Otherwise, they'd have the choice of 11 or 12 and I'd expect them to start with 12 and move to 11 when the pitchers are all stretched out. 


Would it then be a given that Lopez would be moved?
Or just possibly, considering their creativity, Lopez to 1B in some form or other?
The one thing I do like about the Hudson idea is that I'd like to find out what the Lopez return would be...

Hack's picture

I see the OF playing out with Bradley in left and Griffey DH'ing most days.  I think Langerhans comes in as a defensive replacement whenever possible.  Byrnes plays left against the tough lefties and Bradley gives Grif a day off while resting his legs. 
The only thing I'm sure of is, that will all change if the right player comes available at the right price. 


Hudson is the perfect example of a player who will die a horrible, young death in the game.
Spend your money on a third starter, Z.  Let's not buy an overrated Willie Bloomquist clone for 4 mil+/year and then trade Lopez for a pitcher...that's a double-downgrade from just signing Washburn, IMHO.


automatically being moved in that scenario, but that would be the natural assumption.  I do not want to see Lopez dumped as I am very bullish on him but I do trust Jack to make the decision of which is better between returns.  Lopez/Washburn (or similar) v. Hudson/Player X (via trade for Lopez).  If it makes sense, pull the trigger.
Hudson to me is a one year stop-gap player who probably gives you similar production to Lopez in Safeco in 2010.  It will be Ackley's job by ST 2011.


...then where does everyone play?  Do you make Hudson a super-DUPER-sub?  Is he our answer to McLemore?  And do we then go with 11 pitchers (which we could probably get away with if our 5th and 6th bullpen guys are converted starters like Hill and Fister)?
The sheer volume of flexible options we'd have with a team of:
C) Adam Moore (R)
C) Josh Bard (S)
1B) Casey Kotchman (L)
1B/C/LF) Ryan Garko (R)
1B/2B/3B) Jose Lopez (R)
2B) Orlando Hudson (L)
2B/SS/3B/OF) Chone Figgins (S)
3B/SS/2B) Jack Hannahan (L)
SS) Jack Wilson (R)
LF/DH) Milton Bradley (S)
OF) Eric Byrnes (R)
CF) Franklin Gutierrez (R)
RF/CF) Ichiro! (L)
DH) Ken Griffey Jr., (L)
SP1) "King" Felix Hernandez (R)
SP2) Cliff Lee (L)
SP3) Ryan Rowland-Smith (L)
SP4) Ian Snell (R)
SP5) Jarrod Washburn (L)
LR) Doug Fister (R)
MR) Nick Hill (L)
MR) Shawn Kelley (R)
MR) Mark Lowe (R)
SU) Brandon League (R)
CL) David Aardsma (R)
Boggles the mind.  Wakamatsu would have a very stressful, but potentially very rewarding job.

Anonymous's picture

The bumper sticker ;- ) is "you can't have 4 OF's if one of them is Milton Bradley."  This (insightful) bumper sticker is pithy, clearly understandable, easy to process and is the diametric opposite of what Dr. D and Don Wakamatsu think about roster space.

Your hubris is becoming unbearable Dr. D.  I used to appreciate the old days when your insights gave an opposite, yet cordial, view from the other blogs, but now its becoming overwhelmed with arrogance and snide remarks.   You may have a different and insightful opinion, but that does not make you correct as a matter of course.  


You savor the LL and USSM back-and-forth as properly humble and tolerant.  (After all, your hair-trigger jealousy is on LL's behalf.)
The quote above was intended to be a friendly volley.  Perhaps it was the fact that it kicked up chalk that bothered you?  :- )
But a lurker who (no doubt) wallows in the often-unforgiving threads elsewhere?  ... finds that this innocuous little snippet completely violates his tolerance-standards.
You might sign your name if you want to debate, bro.  You wouldn't want to give the false impression that you were a coward.
Have to admit, I get tired of anonymous lurkers who (1) show hair-trigger sensibilities vs. SSI, (2) lob tomatoes of protest.... and then (3) scurry off to hobnob and ingratiate themselves with crowds that welcome individuals who are genuinely intolerant of that which they do not like.


It probably doesn't need to be re-stated yet again, but I think Sullivan is the best there is on the internet, a genuine candidate for baseball employment, all the way up to eventual GM.
His statement "You can't have 4 OF's when one is Bradley" *is* pithy, insightful, and is the consensus, as is stated above.
But cyber-Seattle consistently does forget about Don Wakamatsu's approach to handling roster crunches.  Roster analysis constantly overlooks Wakamatsu's unorthodox approaches in 2009, with Griffey and Sweeney and 12 pitchers on the roster.
The concept "you can't have 4 OF's when one is Bradley" would be true for 25 of 30 managers.  Wakamatsu is different. 
I'm sure that Sullivan himself, secure in his expertise, would take a lot less offense to a 'witty' dissension than his lurking fan, above, does.
You definitely can have 4 OF's on the 2010 roster, one being Bradley, if Figgins and Griffey and Shannahan are on the roster.
Some people get very angry when a mistake is pointed out; it strikes a chord, and they react emotionally.  Fortunately, Sullivan isn't one of these individuals, so his fans can afford lighten up a little bit.  With 10x SSI's audience, LL is going to be okay.  :- )

CA's picture

Its baffling to see denizens of LL or USSM cry about hubris.  Not surprising to see you 'forget' to include a username.  It's a statement of fact that Doc has strong opinions.  It's also a statement of fact that at no other location is the opposing view so strongly encouraged.  Get over yourself, as many cheap-shots that originate either from the authors or the comments sections of those sites, you would think that they possess a thicker skin.  And with a notable exception, I believe they do.  
Notice that you are a big fan of Sullivan, Doc.  I can see why, he's got some real potential.  I would counter that his potential in my mind has less to do with formal baseball than as an author of some kind.  What he has (that is sorely lacking in his group) is a sense of self-deprecation in his humor and ideas that gives the reader a sense of comfort with his style.  As for analysis, I'm not sure that he could get out of the way of the dogma associated with those whom he obviously respects.  That sort of leads him down tangents that aren't all that relative at times.  His local readership strikes me as a group with very little baseball knowledge that isn't directly associated with statistical analysis.  As such, he is able to impress them at times with some breakdowns of mechanics for example (though he is often correct) that are a bit simplistic.  In all, though, I would agree that his generally non-abrasive personality puts him several steps ahead of anyone at his site or his sister site.  
Anonymous, Doc has some unique perspectives and has a writing style that's all his own.  That in of itself should be cause to respect him.  You should remember that if he takes an occasional swipe at the other blogs, he has a long ways to go to even the score.  


Provocative thoughts.  And thanks for stepping up for what you think is right bro'.  All too easy to just skim by with a 'not my problem.'
It is interesting to what extent MLB (and ex-MLB) pro's value genuine tolerance of other points of view.  Zduriencik and Blengino are clearly sincere about wanting open discussion sans-ego, and to be honest, that mindset seems to be pretty typical inside MLB.
Understand 100% your point that even a chem major, ex-pitcher like Sully would have some comin'-up-to-speed to do once he got in with the pros.  Agree that for just about any blogger, *potential* is really the issue. 
My guess is that on an etiquette-and-decorum level, Sully himself would adapt to the corporate white-collar MLB environment pretty quickly.  But it's not like we're trying to write a resume for anybody :- )
Thanks again CA.  Owe you one :- )


The little quip about 4 OF's + Bradley wasn't intended as a swipe.  It became one only by virtue of Anonymous Lurker's furious reaction.
It was intended as a witticism.  But as usual with Dr. D, it  got only half way towards wit ...

Add comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><p><br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.


  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.