David Freese, welcome. Thanks for coming in. I know your first day isn't until February, but we like to get this whole new hire orientation out of the way ahead of time so you can just hunker down and get to work right away. Now, before we get to far into it, you last name is pronounced like "freeze," right? Or is it more like "free see?" I just want to make sure. You wouldn't believe the trouble I had trying to say the last name of the guy you are actually replacing. "Bore jus" or "Burr jous" or whatever, Bour-just not going to work here anymore, am I right?
Anyway, I'm just going to go through a few things. What we expect from you in your role, ground rules for the workplace and then we'll just clear up a few issues I see here in your resumé. OK? OK, great.
As you know, your job title here is going to be Starting Third Baseman. I have to tell you, having someone like you filling that role is a real relief. We haven't had a third baseman that can hit around here in nearly a decade. And, between you and me, we've got pretty good reason to believe that guy may have had a little "pharmaceutical assistance," if you know what I mean. That's neither here nor there though.
What we really need from you is to give us what you gave your old employer back in 2012. We've made some other personnel decisions in other departments, and there is some concern that we might be a little short in the power department. Since your probably going to be batting fifth, there is going to be some pressure on you to deliver. Look, I don't expect you to crush 30 homers and I know that in 2012 you had a HR/FB of 20% and you aren't the kind of guy that can sustain that kind of ratio, especially with this marine layer thing we have here, but I don't think 15 homers and 25 double is too much to ask, right? I know your HR/FB ratio was right around 10% last year was pretty fluky too, so if you could just go ahead and try and meet us in the middle somewhere, that would be great.
I have to tell you, I didn't realize you were such a groundball hitter. Considering your lack of speed and the plodders that figure to hit in front of you, that 52.4% career groundball rate could create some problems. I tell you what I like that I think a lot of the people around here aren't giving you enough credit for, your on-base skills. That .356 OBP on your career is pretty impressive. And the fact that you still had a .340 OBP and more or less maintained your normal walk rate last year despite your health issues, well, that's just terrific. Boy, I tell you, our old five-hole hitter was as healthy as a horse last season and couldn't even see a .340 OBP from where he was. Don't get me wrong, he was a great guy, but, man, was he was he an out machine.
Speaking of problems, I'm just going to get this out of the way. I don't know if you've had a chance to read our employee conduct policy yet, but we have your background check and I just figure we just talk about the whole DUI thing. Now, I'm not here to judge, but you've got two DUIs on your record and another alcohol-related arrest too. That kind of thing is not going to be tolerated around here. Really, it shouldn't be tolerated anywhere, but we've got a history. There was thing young kid working for us, Nick Adenhart, a real up-and-comer, who was killed by a drunk driver a few years back. People are still pretty sensitive about that. Word on the street is that you've given up the sauce and that maybe there were some personal issue for you because you were working for a company in your old hometown, so hopefully starting fresh out here will help you put all of that behind you. Are we clear? Alright, terrific.
Before I let you go, I've got a few questions for you. Mainly, I want to talk about your back. Everyone I've talked to in the industry keeps telling me that your struggles last year were because you were playing with a bad back. Your .119 ISO would certainly indicate that is the case, but I did check your references and your old boss insists you were fully healthy. Obviously only you know whether it was your back or not, but I'm hoping your old boss was lying because the alternative is that you just lost bat speed and we've had a big enough problem with that little issue in a few of our more high profile talent acquisitions the last few years. Now, you didn't hear this from me, but if that turns out to be the case with you, our general manager is probably going to get the old heave-ho.
I'm not trying to put too much pressure on you, but that's just the way things are around here. I mean, I believe you. I'm looking at the rest of your resumé and everything seems to be in order. You aren't swinging more often, in fact your might be swinging even less. Your making more contact and swinging and missing less than ever, too. You weren't very productive against fastball last season, so maybe your bat has slowed a bit because of your back, but you certainly didn't alter your approach to compensate and that's great. It sure looks to me like you are in for a nice bounceback in 2014.
A lot of the same goes for your defense. I'm not going to sugarcoat it, you were just dreadful last year, but you know that. Even before your back started acting up, you weren't exactly going to win any awards for your glovework. People around here didn't like your predecessor much, but he could really flash the leather. Nobody expects you to replicate that, but you are going to have to step up your performance from last season.
Alrighty, that's all I've got. Again, welcome aboard. We're damned glad to have you. See you down at the Tempe offices in February, mmkay? Great.
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