The Sanchez Shakeout

Aside from the on-the-field benefits of Sanchez being released (less caught stealings, more direct routes to fly-balls, etc.) we also got to hear about some of the thought processes from the front office – and I like what they’re thinking.

Jason Beck of had two articles with two pretty intersting quotes from Dombrowski. The first:

“The walks didn’t bother me as much as the lack of runs scored,” president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. “So what does that mean? Maybe you’re making too many outs on the basepaths, stealing, not running as well as you should, not having the instincts at times that you would like to have. I know we’re in an era of on-base percentage, and I love it too, but runs scored to me is an even bigger stat than that. We wanted to improve upon that.”

Dombrowski is talking about efficiency. Yes, Sanchez’s 7 walks were miserable, but due to his batting average he managed a .335 OBA. While it’s not good enough for the leadoff position he was cast in, it wasn’t awful for a centerfielder making $350,000 last year. And Dombrowski is right, scoring runs is more important than OBA. I don’t think he’s talking about Sanchez’s personal “Runs” total, but what it meant for the team. Indirectly, I think he is referencing the on-base percentage as well because if you’re not on-base you can’t score.

And the second:

“His speed might not allow him to catch a couple balls that somebody else may,” Dombrowski said of Monroe, “but he’ll fundamentally play well. And if all of a sudden, you say there are a half-dozen balls that fall during the season that somebody else may have gotten, I will grant you that.

“But then you also may say, what other center fielder might hit 25 home runs and knock in 90 [runs], and does that justify those six balls being caught? Well, in my estimation, the answer is yes, because it’s a situation where you win more games that way.

Again, I like that Dombrowski is looking at the total run impact. While measuring Monroe’s offensive impact in terms of RBI may not be the best way, I’m confident that the Tigers probably used something a little more sophisticated in making their decision. Also, I’m not sure how Dombrowski quantified the run value of the balls that Monroe might miss, or more importantly figure how many balls he might not get to.

I don’t know the research that Dombrowski, Trammell and the front office employed. However I do appreciate the thought process.

2 thoughts on “The Sanchez Shakeout”

  1. I think this makes sense for this year for a lot of reasons. It was clear to everyone Sanchez was not the long term answer, that appears to be Granderson and is slatted for next season. The Tigers also appear to be sold, as am I, on Monroe as the LF of the future. They needed somewhere, with the outfield logjam, to get Monroe a full season worth of AB’s this year to make sure, but there was really no way in hell – until now. He is an adequate CF (can’t be worse than Sanchez, right?) and I like Dombrowski’s thinking – sacraficing a couple “bloop” hits a speedy CF might get to for a guy who looks ready to break out for a 20/30 HR season with 80/90 RBI’s. With Higgy of the books next year, as well as White, this is also an audition year for Monroe? Can he earn it this year? Does he deserve it next year? Even out of position in CF, he will at least get a fairly nice amount of AB’s and get that look to determine this. If he succeeds then next years OF could be a Monroe – Granderson – Maggs combo, with you spares on the bench in Logan and Thames.

    I hope they don’t make any stupid moves, to me Urbina for Cameron is a rip off for the Tigers. I say let Monroe have a go, get him a full season, and use Nook Logan if a situation presents itself where you need that “speed” guy in CF, say like a late inning defensive replacement.

    Well, the novel is done. All in all a smart move that had to be made and, to me, really all but cleared the OF logjam up and set the roster for opening day in stone. Still pulling for Deano to squeeze on as well, but we shall see.

  2. I agree – its nice to hear the GM understand when the positives outweigh the negatives, even when it appears he’s forcing a square peg into a round hole. Monroe is really not a centerfielder, but his bat will cover for him and offer much more value than the alternatives on hand.

    Its dangerous thinking to invest too much of the future in Craig Monroe, though. This move makes sense for *this* season, but unless Monroe grows some plate discipline and/or snags some on-base skills out of thin air he’s not likely to exceed or even maintain these peak levels of production for very long. He’ll probably have a nice year this year, then start a pretty rapid decline.

    Monroe is exactly the type of player that you get the most value from when he’s cheap and in his peak years. As well, he is exactly the type of player you do *not* reward with a fat contract when he turns 30.

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