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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Molina: Gone Next Year?

The Register has a piece up about Benjie Molina and the possibility of him leaving the team next year. Aside from the usual silly comments about chemistry, it does raise the point that brother Jose is not an offensive force.

Jeff Mathis remains untested at the major league level, despite busting out of his early season slump at AAA, but his .287/.355/.508 line in the hitter-friendly PCL doesn't make me feel any better that he's really ready to be promoted. Molina's disposition will be the toughest decision Bill Stoneman makes in this offseason.

Update: more on this at Chronicles.

I'm ok with giving Jose the job out of spring and waiting for Mathis. If Jose is really that bad or Mathis is still a long way off (or both), catcher is a relatively easy position to stopgap.
The much bigger question, IMO, is Washburn, considering that we have only three SPs under contract (4, if you count Santana). I doubt Byrd will accept another one-year deal, and depending on Santana-Weaver in 2006, with Bootcheck as your backstop, seems dangerous. I'd sign Wash, let Byrd walk, keep Santana, give Weaver another year ... and let someone else overpay for a fat, injury-prone catcher whose physical defense has utterly collapsed.

Then use the freed-up money to A) sign a pitcher (Washburn), and B) a CF, though I don't know if any good ones are coming on the market.
Washburn and Boros are going to be looking for a LARGE contract - a contract that Wash has been worth exactly twice. 2002 and 2005.

The decision doesn't have to be made now, but if all goes well for the rest of the season re: Weaver and Santana - I say:

Let him walk, promote Weaver and let Santana and Saunders battle for the 5th spot in the rotation. If that is too risky - and it might be - sign another one year stopgap like Byrd for 2006 while the kids mature.

However, re-signing Washburn could prove to be a waste of money if this change in performance is not legit. But, he is throwing more changeups and sliders this year and keeping batters off balance in a way he never did before. Maybe his new level of performance is for real, but I wouldn't want to bank on it.

As for Bengie and Mathis - Without question, let B-Mo walk away for some other team and he'll bring his declining defense with him. Give the gig to Mathis and see what happens. 3 years and $12 million isn't reasonable for Molina. Shoot, it's too much for all three of them combined...
Christamighty damn, let's let Weaver show us he's ready for the show, first. Tonight will be a big indicator.
Rob -

That's why I prefaced what I said with "if all goes well for the rest of the season re: Weaver and Santana".

Obviously, if those two flame out at AA and the majors then resigning Washburn becomes more of a possibility.

But, if they throw well and Weaver ends the season in AAA and Santana in the bigs with another 7 or 8 good starts Stoneman better not throw $30 million at Washburn because he is a known commodity and has that veteran mojo. That is the problem with the OC signing.

I was at the game on Sunday and so excited that I didn't have to sit through 3 hours of OC coming up to the plate and looking overmatched. Izturis is every bit as good a player as OC, but is blocked by a bad signing and that doesn't even account for Brandon Wood or the other middle infielders.

I just don't want to make the same mistake again with Molina and Washburn.
I believe Jose and bengie are free agents at the end of this year. If you let Bengie walk where are you going to get the offense fr/ the right hand side? Outside of Vlad, Rivera has been inconsistent at best. The angels have struggled mightily against lefties this year. Unless you sign a Piazza, Soriano, {both free agents this off-season}, etc. you have to keep Bengie.
Remember our power hitters (next year) are Anderson, MacPherson, Finley, Kotchman, Erstad. All lefties.
In regard to Washburn, he is going to want 10-13 million a year. Do you really feel comfortable with not one starting pitcher a lefty, and not one reliable pitcher in the pen a lefty. Woods is still 1-2 years away fr/ consistency. Any team stacked in lefty hitters would be extremely difficult to get by in October...

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