Now that the Angels have signed Raul Ibanez, they have almost shored up the position player side of their roster. Ibanez is a solid signing, but he'd be a much better signing if the Halos had someone to platoon him with, which they don't. Suggest C.J. Cron, who isn't ready, or Grant Green, who can't really hit that well, all you want, but the Angels are simply going to have to look outside for help one more time or just bite the bullet and let Ibanez play everyday, which is probably not a great idea seeing how Mike Trout was in kindergarten when Ibanez played in his first MLB game. The guy is old and liable to turn disintegrate into a puff of dust if used too much.
So, the great search begins to find a viable platoon partner for Raul. Already the internet has suggested Michael Young (gross), Kevin Youkilis (broken) and Mark Reynolds (not actually good at hitting lefties) ad nauseum. Rather than rehash why those three are poor options, let's take a look at a few other right-handed bats that could help prevent Ibanez from getting overexposed.
Over the last three season, Sanchez has had the 32nd highest wOBA in MLB against left-handed pitching at .383 (minimum 350 plate appearances). He adds good power (.195 ISO against lefties) with excellent on-base ability (.399 OBP and 13.3 BB%) to make him the ideal right-handed half of a platoon. He is also a competent first baseman who played third base in the minors, so he could be used their in a pinch. The problem is that he is such a perfect platoon guy that the Pirates may not be willing to trade him. They've been looking to find a quality full-time first baseman, but have thus far had no luck. If they do figure it out, the Angels should certainly give the Buccos a call. That seems unlikely at this late stage of the offseason though.
Right behind Sanchez at 38th is Denforia at .376 wOBA, which is weird because he isn't really known for his bat. Denorfia would give the Angels another dimension in their lineup since he isn't a power guy. He only has a .129 career ISO, though he has played most of his career in Petco, so he might have a little more pop than that. What Denorfia can do is bring a creer .308/.374/.459 slash line against lefties along with solid defense at all three outfield positions, a relatively low strikeout rate and the speed to swipe 10+ bags in part-time duty. Denorfia would give the Angels more flexibility in their lineup than a standard DH-type. He could play the field on his days, making it easier to cycle Hamilton and Pujols through the DH slot to get some rest without hurting the defense. As useful as Denorfia is, he is just a bench player for the Padres, at least he is when Carlos Quentin is healthy... which isn't often. Still, the Padres could be convinced to part ways with him since he is in his last year before free agency.
Dammit all! I wrote a whole chunk on Guzman only to see him get traded to the Astros. That stinks, because he was a pretty good "buy low" target. What's more is that San Diego trading him makes it less likely that they would part ways with Denorfia. That's probably a blessing in disguise though as it is saves me an entire year of struggling to properly type "Denorfia."
The one free agent on the market who really makes sense for the Angels is Baker. Dipoto has never been shy about signing former Rangers, so Baker might be the way to go. He has had a very up and down career as a part-time player, but he has always been able to thump lefties with a career slugging percentage of .522. It also helps that Baker has defensive flexibility with experience at first, second, third, left and right. He isn't any good at any of those positions, but as a DH and mid-game pinch-hitter, he can fake it well enough to give Scioscia options.
If I were GM, Mayberry would be who I would target. The Phillies should be charged with criminal neglect for how badly they have misused Mayberry. He has definitely has some OBP issues, but Mayberry absolutely pummels southpaws having compiled a .252 ISO and 17.7 HR/FB% over 452 career plate appearances against left-handed pitching. But for some reason the Phillies have opted to overexpose him to right-handed pitching. Oh, and they also have misused him defensively as well, giving him a lot of run in center, which he just can't handle. At best he is an average corner outfielder and first baseman. With their signing of Marlon Byrd, Mayberry now figures to be an end-of-bench player behind Darin Ruf. Many actually thought the Phillies might non-tender Mayberry, so he shouldn't cost much in a trade.
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Wait a minute...Grant Green doesn't hit well enough to be a platoon partner but he *does* hit well enough to be the everyday second baseman? Something is wrong with this picture.
@Rick K. The offensive bar between a DH and a 2B is much different since an ability to field the position is involved. More to the point though is there is nothing in Green's career that suggests he is especially better against LHP, so there isn't much of a platoon advantage bump in using Green in that manner.
@monkeywithahaloSmall 2013 sample size caveat, but...after looking over the stats, why did the Angels feel like they needed to sign Ibanez? Other than his cool guitar name. Green seems to have pummeled right-handed pitching even better than Ibanez did and had an awesome OBP against. No, he was not good against lefties but the guy will never do anything unless he sees them more often. Send him out there against both-handed pitching, time to fish or cut bait. I'm kind of hoping Ibanez (I keep picturing my old beach guitar when I see that name) has some minor injury so Green gets looks at everybody.
@monkeywithahalo@Rick K. But he's taking up a roster spot. Let him take some reps to a) keep his timing, and b) maybe he will improve against lefties and be a bigger asset (or an asset at all). How specialized can a limited quantity lineup be? And besides, what's Green's role in this specialized world if he's no sum gain with the bat?