Alternate Universes and Line-Up Optimization


The following coversation took place between me and myself during one of my long walks back from work yesterday morning/early afternoon. It’s kind of distrubing and it violates one of the things I recently said I wasn’t going to talk about but now I’m going too. Because I love the hate and I need more of it to get off this island, kind of like Doc Brown.


“Hey, Harrison.”

“Yes, Harrison?”

“I got a game I want to play.”

“Oh, I do enjoy games. Which one are we going to play this time?”

“Alternate universe. One in which the Mariners didn’t sign Chone Figgins, back in 2010.”

“Oh, that sounds like a fun game. But, I must ask some follow-up questions prior to starting. First, did Dennis Eckersly still throw that 2-2 back door slider rather that ruined the Oakland A’s change of a mini 80’s dynasty rather than than just continue to pound fastballs that Gibson obviously couldn’t keep up with.”

“No, he threw the fastball high and away and struck him out. A’s win series in 88, 89, still lose to the nasty boys. I’m sucker for Norm Charlton.”

“Thank God. So we’re talking, like, Charlotte Hornets kept Kobe and his 18 year old punk ass in Charolette and revitalized the Eastern Confrence, rather than leading to it’s distruction and furthermore helping the Hornets to winning at least one championship while still retaining Glen Rice?”

“They win 2. But, the Eastern Confrence was still crap and rather than going to the Wizards, MJ stay retired. Consequently this also prevented the multiple retirements of Brett Farv and Manny Ramirez…”

“Last question: Was Bryan Singer allowed to shoot one beloved comic franchise in the foot and then go on and rape/pillage another?”

“No, in this universe, Marvel’s X-men is a sophisticated and much beloved live action television program that follows the more traditional X-men comic. It got 6 wonderful and solid seasons, then was followed with a nice movie to wrap everything up and leave no unanswer questions.Singer was shot and killed during the first Zombie apocolypse. That apocolypes and was the sole reason for the 1994 MLB work stoppage. Don’t worry, Expos won the World Series in ’95”

“Really? Ok”

“What about the Mariners? How is their roster going into 2012?”

“Not important (besides the fact that they have Cliff Lee, Felix Hernandez and Michael Pineda in the same rotation), what is important is for this game is that the roster lacks any real third base options. They have Liddi, Seager and a non-discript vetearn at third base.”


“We are also in Janurary.”

“Is it cold there? Because it’s freakin’ hot right now.”

“Yes, it’s freezing… and snowing. You have hot choclate with marshmellows.”

“Using the 9 mellows to 1 packet ratio?”

“Of course, there aren’t diebetes in this universe.”

“Right on!”

“Figgins –rather signing with the Mariners back in 2010– signed a 2 year deal and produced the same exact numbers with the Phillies as he did with the Mariners during his last two years. He’s unwanted and without a job for 2012. Zduriencik picks him up on a minor league deal. Is this a good move?”

“Absolutely. There is no downside.”

“What’s the difference between that situation and that fact that he was a sunk coast last season and at this point is paid for.”

“We’re assuming and guaranteeing that no one is going to take any salary off his contract? Nothing?”


“Same rules apply there is no downside. You’re stuck with paying him and at this point he’s likely the best defensive third basemen you have on the roster. What are the chances that he figures things out at the plate and comes out to be a slightly below average offensive third basemen. If nothing else it buys you time to figure out what the next step is…right?”


“People are going to hate me.”
“They already do.”


Bottom line: I know you guys are already to cut bait with Figgins.That’s fine. He’s done nothing to earn the contract that he has and if I produced the way he does at work, I’d be kicked out of the military. And that’s hard to do folks.

But, when you look at the absloutely darth of available third base talent around the league, he presents an interesting option. So you have to at least ask yourself. Am I against Figgins, because I have a predisposition against him because I’ve sat through two years of his awfulness or do I legitimately think that there is no way someone of his stature, that was so talented, and was only two years ago one of the best third basemen in the league and now has no way of regaining any semblence of that.

If you honestly believe he’s done than that’s fine. But, I’m not convienced a guy his age (32), his speed and his athletic ability is just done. I just don’t believe that it cannot be fixed.

That said, I also have a major hang up with Figgins being placed at the top of the line-up. Much of what Bryant said, right here, holds 100% truth.I don’t buy into the fact that Figgins is just going to slide into the lead off hitter spot and be hunky-dory all while we think that Ichiro is done.

Ichiro is right now and most likely forever will be a better htiter than Chone Figgins. If Ichiro was 70 years old and Chone Figgins was back in his hey day with the Angels, I would still take Ichiro over Figgins.

Okay, that was a bit dramatic. I don’t have time machine so that’s just crazy…unless of course we’re dealing in Alternate Universes and Ichiro was sent back in time to play during the 70’s and Pete Rose and he schooled old Petey.

Enough with the alternate universes.

Much annoyance with Figgins right now isn’t over his selection at third base. I can live with it and give him a fair shot to be the starter right now. I have no problem with that because I know if he’s bad, the team’s done with him at this point.

The real problem I have with him is the line-up optimization. Okay, yes, this is all rather redudent because ultimately the difference between Chone Figgins in the #1 spot versus the #8 spot isn’t any more than a 1 win difference over 150 games…at least according to the experts.

The problem is that’s assuming that Chone Figgins is going to be league average or even replacement level. Chone Figgins has been neither his last two seasons.

Which concerns me and leads me to suspect that the impact could be greater than just 1 win. On a team such as the Mariners, a team that has been offensively deprived for the better part of two season, scoring runs is an imparative at this point. It’s got some potential but that potentially is locked into it’s five best hitters actually hitting in the top-5 spots.

1. Jesus Montero

2. Dustin Ackley

3. Ichiro

4. Justin Smoak

5. Mike Carp

You can debate with me all you want the order. The order isn’t the point. the point being, there isn’t another hitter that you could argue should be in this Top-5.

Franklin Gutierrez – Still has question marks, but is legitmately looking good. But, not better than Carp at this point. We can certainly re-evaluate that at the All-Star break.

Casper Wells – I would argue, and I think some of you may agree, that Wells is close to the same hitter Carp is. Just opposite handed. the only problem, I have is that if Carp, Montero and Ichiro are in the line-up, that doesn’t leave much room for Wells. We’ll see how Montero does behind the plate and then talk later.

Michael Saunders – Hahaha… just kidding, Keith. Put down the sniper rifle.

Miguel Olivo – Home runs /= good all the time.

Kyle Seager – He’s a hitter. Is he good? I think so but the jury’s still out and even with his given ceiling I don’t think there is anyway you could include him in the top-5.

Seriously, you can’t make a better top-5 with this group of guys. Because of that you need all five of them hitting at the top of the line-up. Moving Figgins in there bumps someone down and that’s only going to hurt this offense, that is full of holes anyways, further than what is nesscary.

I’ll now field your comments, screams of out right rage and name calling.