Over here, we got Matt Sussman of the MLive.com Tigers blog.
Last week after my one-man John Belushi “Animal House”-style crusade against spring training, it was apparently received with deafening silence akin to Elaine Benes dancing at the company party.
Heh, [pop culture reference]. I actually agree that spring training is completely irrelevant to us fans and has been turned into a production gimmick by MLB to earn more money, but I definitely don’t know why he’s dropping references like he’s got a handful of ’em. (There’s more self-confidence issues coming, btw.)
… Johnny Damon is with the [Tigers, and] once he grows that neckbeard there will be even less room in the outfield, Ryan Raburn is the odd Tiger out. After all, once you reach sixth grade, you have to stop using four outfielders.
Yep, no argument there. You can argue that Raburn’s production at the second half of last season earned him a spot on the roster, but it was so obviously a small sample size and Damon’s 2009 was very good, you’d have to give it to Damon.
I have no idea what Sussman’s second sentence means there.
But all is not lost, Ryan Raburn groupies. I found a perfect spot for him, and it’s coincidentally where you’d let him go if given the chance: second base. And what better time than meaningless games to figure out if he can play the position?
Everything we’ve read has stated that second base is Scott Sizemore’s position to lose. But the rookie has not fully healed from that broken ankle last fall, and Raburn even saw a little action at second base* in their loss to the Phillies.
* – That’s what she said.
In the minor leagues, Raburn played more games at second than any other position. He was slowly converted to patrol the outfield once he finally graduated from Triple-A and last year hit 16 home runs as a big league left fielder. If one were to put that same production at the 4-position, suddenly Detroit would have one of the bigger boppers among his peers. And like forbidden wizardly, the Damon signing would instantly make a little more sense — an admitted upgrade from “not at all” — and the loss of Placido Polanco to free agency wouldn’t be such a chasmic void in the field and lineup (or in our hearts).
An interesting proposition, I really like it. Though he ignores that Raburn’s production at the end of last year wasn’t a significant sample size, he makes a great point about Sizemore being not fully healed and maybe two months at AAA would benefit Sizemore while Dombrowski figures out what to do with Raburn (trade him? start him at 3B over Inge?). Raburn wasn’t exactly a seasoned veteran at second base in the minors, but his batting from the end of last year should have earned him a chance to play more at the pro level and it might negate whatever negative impact he’d have on defense. Point being, he’s shown some skills and deserves a shot, so why not? You got Sizemore in your backpocket anyway.
They have a few weeks to beta test this formation. And even if he hits something ridiculous like .168, just remember: these games don’t count, and you can’t disprove my theory with meaningless stats.
Wait, what? Which meaningless stats? Spring training stats? This is the ultimate “and if I’m wrong, you can’t disprove me” gone wrong. No one’s gonna pay attention to Raburn’s bat in spring training–or at least, they shouldn’t–the problem is if he’s going to FIELD at second base.
This is more or less nitpicking, but if you’re gonna go out on a limb, you gotta protect yourself with information. Strangely, Sussman has and yet he’s still defensive by the end of it. Going on the defensive in any article opens you up for criticism because you’re already acknowledging people will think you’re wrong.
I also appreciate the attempt at humor, but some original material wouldn’t hurt …
So let’s all hop on the Ryan Raburn For Second Base caravan to the promised land. Who’s with me?