Tuesday, June 22, 2004

As has been oft-reported, Tim Salmon is disturbed about losing playing time to Jeff DaVanon. Yes, Timmy's off to his normal slow start and has been hurt, and DaVanon's been hot, but this is a completely understandable reaction.

Is Salmon right?

Here is DaVanon's OPS by month this season:

April -- 1028
May ----- 882
June ---- 704

The truth, of course, lies somewhere in between. DaVanon entered this season with a career 784 OPS, and I think he is better than that, probably in the low-to-mid 800s. A fine player.

Salmon, however, has a career OPS of 891, though he's on the backend of his career, putting up a 838 last year and an 883 the year before. So, as he's banged up and getting older, it seems reasonable to expect an OPS that's at least in ... the low-to-mid 800s.

Scioscia is in an incredibly difficult position. His veteran, practically the face of the team, got hurt at the wrong time and is in danger of being supplanted by the fresh up-and-comer with the hot bat. Salmon has every right to be upset and frustrated, though from media reports it seems that he is endeavoring to handle things in a professional manner.

I think that, for right now, Scioscia is right to split time between them. But I think Salmon will actually surge ahead in performance. DaVanon will still have earned a start or two per week, spelling Salmon and the other oufielders, and he will continue to perform well.

What's more, the presence of both these guys makes the decision not to give up the future of McPherson and Mathis for a Carlos Beltran, as mentioned in today's Times. Beltran's a fine player, but our outfield cup runneth over, and these kids have bright futures.

I just don't see a move for Beltran, especially given the existing logjam in the outfield. Comments to the contrary amount to Allard Baird (or Gammons) wishcasting in public.
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