As I sat here watching Gameday and listening to Batista getting annihilated on the radio (you know the season is sunk when you don't even bother with a proxy for MLB.tv), it occurred to me that there isn't a single good, realistic reason for the Mariners to leave Miguel Batista in the rotation.
Not a single one. This isn't like the whole Ibanez/Vidro/AJ thing from a year ago. The Mariners didn't want to throw an unproven rookie into the middle of a pennant race, and Ibanez had been effective and consistent for years, and they wanted to keep as many lefty bats in the lineup as possible, and...whatever. There were reasons, is what I'm saying. There were perfectly legitimate reasons for handling that situation the way it was handled.
But not this one. No sir. When I say there's not a single good reason to leave Batista in the rotation, I mean there's not a single good reason to leave Batista in the rotation. It's every bit as inexplicable as...as batting Jose Vidro cleanup, really. Or for that matter, batting Jose Vidro anywhere. It is, for all intents and purposes, an unjustifiable decision.
What could possibly be the reason? That the Mariners are still trying to win as many games in 2008 as they can? Because Miguel's not helping. In case they haven't noticed, both his ERA and his tRA as a starter this year are over seven. The team is 5-11 in games that he starts. That's bad. Allowing Miguel Batista to remain in the rotation is actively costing this team wins, wins that Riggleman and the executives claim to value.
That the Mariners are playing for the future, and want to get Batista back on track before 2009? The Mariners know what Batista looks like when he's "back on track". He looks like Miguel Batista a year ago, a guy who can give you a high-4's/low-5's ERA and a bunch of 5/6 inning starts. What they don't know is what Dickey, RRS, or Morrow could provide in the same role. And finding that out is of far greater importance for the future of the organization. If the team were playing for the future, they'd put one or two of those guys in the rotation, find out what they have, and use that information to better assess the team's standing come October.
That Batista deserves every last opportunity because he's a veteran who's been around a while? No dice. Burke isn't getting much of an opportunity. Neither is Dickey. Neither did Wilkerson. Sexson got plenty of chances but got dumped during a relative hot streak. The veteran favoritism thing (1) isn't a good reason, and (2) doesn't really hold up when you look at the other decisions this team has made over the months.
That he deserves every last opportunity because of his contract? We've been over this before. It's a sunk cost. What you pay for something becomes of virtual irrelevance as soon as you get it. People have talked about how they don't want to trade Bedard for a lower price than the one we paid, but the price we paid doesn't mean anything anymore. And the same goes for Batista. The money is spent. There's no getting it back. So starting him just because he's due to make many millions of dollars doesn't make any sense.
That he's just trying to work his way through injuries? Funny thing about people who're injured - they don't tend to get better if they keep repeating the thing that got them hurt in the first place. Fixing Batista by letting him pitch would be like healing a wound by slapping a cobra.
That he simply wants to keep starting? Who the fuck cares? Willie's been whining his cracker ass off about playing time for as long as he's been a Mariner and hardly anyone ever pays him attention. Everybody wants to play more. Nobody works his way to the Major Leagues aspiring to be a role player or middle reliever. Everyone wants the glory of being a regular, and just because Batista wants to keep starting doesn't mean you should ignore everyone else who tells you the same thing.
That he's being showcased for a trade? One, showcasing almost never actually takes place. Two, this isn't helping. Showcasing only works in theory when the player you're showcasing isn't a giant pile of crap.
And so on and so forth. I could make up and debunk different possible reasons all night long, but there wouldn't be a point, because the response to every single reason would be some variant of "no, sorry, that's stupid." Every single one of them. Seriously. The only hypothetical good reason I could come up with for leaving Batista in the rotation is that the team is tanking for Strasburg, but as much as I'd like to believe that this is what they're actually doing, there's just a little too much evidence to the contrary. So all we're left with is:
Q: Why is Miguel Batista still in the starting rotation?
A: Because fuck you, that's why.
It's stupid. And it bothers me even more than the fact that Vidro's still on the roster getting regular playing time, because Vidro's gone come autumn and he isn't really blocking anyone important, whereas Miguel Batista being in the rotation directly prevents the team from finding out whether or not it already has a cheap, effective #5 starter on its hands for 2009. Considering the only purpose of the games at this point is to answer questions about the future, leaving Batista in the rotation just flies in the face of everything the team's supposed to be trying to do.
Make the official switch already, Jim. This has been going on long enough. It's time to let Dickey or RRS' dreams come true for a change.
It's the right thing to do.
Biggest Contribution: Jose Vidro, +9.6%
Biggest Suckfest: Miguel Batista, -44.8%
Most Important AB: Betancourt DP, -12.3%
Most Important Pitch: Choo homer, -17.1%
Total Contribution by Pitcher(s): -43.8%
Total Contribution by Lineup: -11.4%
Total Contribution by Opposition: +5.2%
(What is this chart?)