It was announced earlier today that outfielder Michael Saunders has been recalled from his rehab stint and will return to the lineup in the leadoff spot. Saunders injured his shoulder back on April 6th after colliding with the outfield wall whilst attempting to catch a flyball. “The Condor” played 3 games for the Rainiers, and went 2-11 with a double, a triple and three walks.
Prior to the injury, Saunders had looked very good at the plate, and really overall. In the 9 games he played in, he had posted a .348 wOBA and 126 wRC+. He had also already accumulated 0.8 WAR, but that highly driven by his slightly inflated 4.7 UZR. Nonetheless, most people had high hopes for the rest of the year, and hoped to see him build on a breakout 2012 season in which he had a .320 wOBA and 108 wRC+.
Obviously, those hopes had to be put on hold for about 20 days while Michael recovered, and we were forced to suffer through outfield featuring some mix of Jason Bay, Endy Chavez, Raul Ibanez, Carlos Peguero, Franklin Gutierrez and Michael Morse, the latter two of whom also suffered injuries of their own. You know, just in case Raul isn’t bad enough by himself, Morse and Guti had to miss time so he could be joined by a couple of mid-thirties bench players and a guy with a 38% K rate.
We do not know this for sure, but I think it is safe to postulate that had Saunders and the others been healthy rather than not, the M’s would be in a better position than they are in now. The outfield of Chavez, Bay and Raul would be (statistically backed) the worst outfield in the history of history over a full year. So, yeah, there’s that. We can’t know how much better, but I don’t think I am going out on much of a limb with that one. But that is all in the past. Guti is still out, but Saunders is back, and Morse looks like he is returning to form somewhat.
In response to Michael’s return, a player had to be done away with to clear a spot on the roster. Unfortunately, despite repeated cries of desperation by many in the blogosphere, that person is not Raul Ibanez. Instead, Peguero has been sent back down to Triple-A. Let me just say that again because I am sure it confused you. I am disappointed that Carlos Peguero is no longer on the major league roster. There is a person in the world that I would prefer Carlos Peguero over. It takes a special kind of suck to accomplish that. So I guess, congrats Raul?
Now, the statement above has very little to do with Peguero. Before you assume that I am buying into Peguero’s 227 wRC+ in his two games or something, let me clarify. I still firmly believe that he is a bad baseball player who will never be able to sustain any success in the majors because of his inability to make any kind of contact. No, my wanting him to stay is a sentiment to the pile of dung that is Raul Ibanez. I kind of feel bad saying that because Raul is a good guy, and was once a very good player, and a former favorite of mine. But he is 40 years old. He isn’t the same anymore, and is probably one of the worst players in the league. I appreciate his want to return, but he just needs to hang it up. He is sporting a 47 wRC+ on the season, and probably leads the league in gif-able outfield plays.
Obviously, the team did not feel the same way. I do not want this to be about Wedge’s incompetence, but part of it is. His inability to judge a player’s performance is baffling-ly bad for someone in his position. He sits Brendan Ryan in favor of Robert Andino because of Ryan’s inability to hit, but continues to run out the insta-out/insta-error combo that is Raul Ibanez on a regular basis. Is Carlos Peguero much better? Probably not. But he is younger, has more power, and plays at least watchable defense. But does he have the clubhouse leadership, or Hawk Harrelson’s TWTW? (Hint: That was sarcasm.)
So there you go. Saunders up, Peguero down. The team should surely improve with Michael’s presence, both at the top of the lineup, and in the outfield. Do you think Peguero was the right choice?