Monday, January 21, 2008

Seattle Interested in Tony Clark

posted by Jon

Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Mariners are among three teams vying for free agent first baseman Tony Clark.

If signed, Clark would likely get at bats at first base and DH, as well as pinch hitting late.

New BBT addition Dustin Shires had Seattle going after Clark over a month ago at his old blog, Mariner Nation. Here is a paragraph from his post dated December 16:
Clark is an imposing figure, standing 6'7" and weighing in at 245 pounds. The guy is a switch-hitting power bat who has more power success from the left side of the plate. A pull, power hitter is what Seattle has always lacked in Safeco. The fact that he's a switch hitter makes him all the more appealing because once Sexson hits the wall, Clark can fill in full time, hitting against both lefties and righties. When given playing time, Clark has been a successful power bat. Every year that he's played more than 130 games, he's hit more than 30 home runs. I won't lie, the guy strikes out quite a bit, about 1/4 of the time, but not like we haven't seen that in Sexson. Honestly, he can't do worse than Sexson did last year.

I happen to strongly disagree here. First of all, Richie Sexson will bounce back next season. There is no way he will repeat his numbers from last year, or post a .245/.330/.460 vital line (AVG/OBP/SLG) as U.S.S. Mariner predicts. He has a career vital of .263/.345/.514 and has managed to post a .248/.338/.488 since joining the Mariners, despite the horrifying .205/.295/.399 he produced last year. I predict he will post something closer to his 2006 numbers than his 2007 nightmare.

Besides my belief that Sexson will bounce back, he actually hits righties just as well as Tony Clark, posting a .264 career average against them compared to Clark's .263 while hitting left-handed. Sure, Sexson has slipped to the .240s in recent years, but I don't believe the drop is significant enough to warrant a platoon situation (especially since Clark has hit .213 and .254 against right-handers the past two seasons).

I would hate to see Clark taking up a roster spot on the bench. He can only realistically play first base, and he would be hurting Mike Morse's future with Seattle. The only reason I would be alright with a Tony Clark acquisition is if the Mariners front office is still planning on trading Sexson. I don't see that happening at this point, and even then it would just be a salary dump move, because I doubt Clark would outdo Sexson next season.

Tony Clark would simply replace Ben Broussard, a player who was traded because there was no room for him. Yay or nay on a Clark signing?


jp17 said...

Mike Morse isn't a reason not to sign anyone.

He's had decent numbers in very limited at-bats in the majors, and his minor league numbers don't suggest he'll hit well enough to be a legitimate option in positions that his glove can handle.

Morse is a poor middle infielder, below average 3B, and average at 1B and in the OF.

Of the remaining options left in the free agent market Tony Clark is one of the few that might be of use.

Also, all of our infield options (Beltre, Yuni, Lopez, Sexson, Bloomquist, Cairo, Morse) are right-handed. Gives the bench more flexibility and there has to be some left-handed bat on the bench that is a threat.

Rob T. said...

i think if they sign clark he and vidro will split time at DH and it will give clement more time in the minors. I also think morse will either be traded or put through waivers anyway because the mariners just dont seem to like him and hes out of options.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Mike Morse isn't the reason to stay away from signing Clark, but I believe he was at least a reason not to sign Cairo.

I also believe that if Mac has access to Clark he'll over-use him, playing him for players that are better.

I never said this move would hurt us, I just think that Bavasi's focus should be elsewhere.

canadian_rocket17 said...

We looking for another Ben Broussard? What about Miguel Cairo or Willie Bloomquuist playing a little first. Oh well, Bavasi needs to throw a couple million on someguy so he can keep up with his usual spending numbers.

Anonymous said...

We have too many first base/DH's already. If they want a lefty firstbase bat, try Ibanez, he has no business in the outfield anymore.

Dustin Shires said...

Morse has no future with the Mariners. He's a projected UTIL, or just a position player to take the load of an every day player. Clark can really help the team's power numbers when he gets playing time. If signed cheap, he'll be useful. Let's be honest -- Cairo was only signed so that Lopez will think twice about going into a slump. The dude has no value to us. Clark would have value, at 1st or DH.

jp17 said...

I don't think Morse was a reason not to sign Cairo. Cairo was brought here because he can play any infield position. Morse isn't an option in the middle infield.

That said, Cairo isn't needed, but not because of Morse's presence.

Bloomquist should be the only middle infield backup, but it seems they might want to use him as a basestealer earlier in the game.

I'd be fine with McLaren rotating Sexson, Clark, and Vidro at 1B and DH. They are all old and could use the day off and day at DH on a regular basis.

I'd like to move Ibanez to 1B as well, but we'd have another hole to fill and the team won't go with two rookies in the OF. It would also move Sexson or Vidro full time to the bench. Probably not going to happen with their salaries.

Anonymous said...

Clark's reputation as a FANTASTIC clubhouse guy and youth motivator wouldn't make him horrible to have around. Maybe I'll warm up to this if more rumors start flying around.

Rob T. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rob T. said...

This is from cairo's wikipedia pg. for the year 2004. Is there any better reason to get him then this.

Cairo’s led the league in percentage of productive outs that year for players with a minimum of 40 at bats. Cairo recorded 17 productive outs in 32 productive out situations, for a PO% of 0.531. Given the potent nature of the Yankee lineup, the importance of these stats can not be overstated.

In fact, Miguel Cairo has the highest winning percentage of team wins when he plays in a game of any player in the majors this year (for players with over 100 games played).

Scott said...

I don't like the way you just state your opinions as fact. At least back them up with something - why are you so sure Sexson bounces back to numbers? Why are you so sure he'll suddenly roar back up to the .260 mark after hitting around the Mendoza line all year long?

Tell us why. I don't believe you, and you don't even bother to give any statistical or historical evidence why he'll snap back. So when you say Besides the fact that Sexson will bounce back - that's what is holding this blog back from being a legitimate Mariners blog, no offense. You can't make speculations fact.

Anonymous said...

Scott: You are right on that one.. that was a poorly worded sentence that slipped through. Obviously that is not fact, and there is no way that you could call something like that fact.

Sexson's track record is the reason I believe he will bounce back. I don't see how anyone could fall off so quickly and not regain form the next year. He was injured for much of the second half, an injury that caused him to pop up about every ball he made contact with. He couldn't use his legs to drive the ball, it was all hands/arms.

Pair a historically slow starter with a second half injury that took him out of his game and you have one aweful season. He should be healthy and should be able to hit .260 and 30+ homers. Notice I'm not predicting Milwaukee numbers or something like that.

Thanks for pointing that out Scott. Maybe I should look into putting a full post together about why I believe Sexson will bounce back, because people with that view seem to be in the minority.

Scott said...

Awesome Jon, thanks for the explanation - would love to see that kind of stuff in the post. Thanks for taking my constructive criticism without flipping out, I'm just trying to help.

Anonymous said...

Scott: as you can see this is an upstart blog, just 2.5 months old. All constructive critism is welcome, because there is little improvement without it. I really do appreciate it.

A comment like yours would get someone kicked off of USSM. We don't want to build that kind of culture here.