Saturday, March 21, 2009

No Situational Lefty for KC

I’m still a little stumped by the notion that the Royals believe they don’t need a situational lefty in the pen. Bob Dutton confirmed it again today in an article:

The decision this week to jettison veteran reliever Jimmy Gobble signals that the Royals believe their bullpen has sufficient depth and versatility that a left-handed specialist is an unneeded commodity.

This raises all sorts of questions in my mind:

Is Dayton Moore saying that he doesn’t think there’s anything to the lefty vs. lefty match up or is he saying that the guys we have in our pen are good enough to get lefties out? If he doesn’t think there’s anything to lefty vs. lefty match up, then why sign Horacio Ramirez with the intent of putting a lefty in the rotation? If he thinks our pen is good enough to get lefties out without a situational lefty—what is he basing that on? As Dutton pointed out, left-handed opponents posted a .257 OBP against Gobble last season; he was better against lefties than everybody else in the pen, including Joakim Soria (.261). Neither John Bale (.356) nor Ron Mahay (.327) were even close to being as effective.

I could be reading too much into all of this, but if Moore’s theory is that situational lefties are unnecessary—presumably because a good pitcher is a good pitcher, no matter what side he throws from—then will Trey Hillman stagger righties and lefties in our own batting order? If so, why?

The caveat here may be that since the Royals believe their bullpen is deep and versatile, then they don’t feel the need to carry a situational lefty—otherwise, they would. But if you look at the numbers, their argument just doesn’t make sense.

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