Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The First Base Situation

Now, I realize people are going to go bonkers at the chance to sign Mark Teixera this offseason. While he is a great player in all respects, there are other options that need to be explored before you commit to a guy for the 6 or 7 years and the hundreds of millions of dollars it will take to sign him.

While it might not sound as sexy, I suggest the idea Shelley Duncan/Juan Miranda platoon. Now, I know Miranda is a relative unknown, but his ability to hit right handed pitching is well documented. His September call up also showed he wasn't overwhelmed by Major League pitching. I realize it was only 10 ABs, and he isn't going to bat .400 for the entire season, but thats not what we need him to do. If he gets on base as is his strong suit, he can get close to the production that is leaving with Giambi from the left side of the plate.

For the righty portion of our platoon, we have Bam-Bam Duncan. Given that our outfield situation is relatively set in a Damon/Nady/Gardner mix, Shelley is left without a real spot (at least early in the season, until we see if Gardner is legit). Putting him at first base to face lefties would be a good use for a guy with power like his. Even with the poor season he had last year, his career OPS in 84 PA is .817.

This combo isn't going to replicate Teixera or his .400 OBP, not to mention his gold-glove caliber defense. But it's not the worst thing that could happen to us. Teixera isn't going to turn the team around, and I am always going to be wary of a 7-year deal. Yes, Teixera should age well, but who knows? Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, we could get by with a Miranda/Duncan for a year or two until a trade option opens up or possibly an internal replacement (Jesus Montero, if they have to move him off C). This smells an awful lot like six years ago when a relatively young 1B coming off a great season got a huge contract (hi, Jason Giambi!). We've been riding this one out for the last three years. Yes, Teixera is no Giambi and isn't likely to fall the way the Giambino has, but do you think the last 2-3 years of his contract are going to be worth it?

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