Thursday, July 15, 2004
Barring a last-minute deal, Olerud will be released or designated for assignment with the Mariners owing him the remainder of the $7.7 million on his contract.
John Olerud would be a fantastic pickup for the Sox if he signs under the same terms as Leskanic – the Sox pay a prorated portion of the league minimum. J.O. (did I make you say J.Lo) at a minimum would take over for McCarty as the late inning defensive first base replacement. Let’s face it McCarty’s value on the Sox is his ability to scoop Nomar and company’s errant throws to first; the pitching thing is a farce. J.O. has gold gloves in his trophy case. Enough said.
J.O. is an upgrade over McCarty without even considering when the two have a bat. When they do, Olerud is a threat and McCarty is not – plain and simple. J.O. would be a low risk (financial) - high reward (with the bat) upgrade over McCarty.
Olerud is projected, according to BP’s PECOTA, to hit 277/379/427 while playing half of his games at spacious Safeco. He is currently at 245/354/360. PECOTA thought J.O. only had a 10% chance to hit so poorly. On the positive side, he continues to demonstrate his knowledge of the strike zone with an OBP of 354 while batting only 245. J.O. is striking out more frequently than in the past resulting in the lower average, but the most troubling trend is the lack of any power.
The Sox and Fenway Park could lessen the extent of Olerud’s glaring weakness. A strict platoon hitting against command/junk balling RHP would alleviate some of the lack of power, since Olerud historically slugs 100 points lower versus southpaws. J.O. would be a nice complement to Kevin Millar’s dead fastball hitting style. A “professional hitter” like J.O. that can spray the ball around the diamond using the Wall to his advantage. As we know, pop outs become doubles at Fenway. Mueller and Ortiz are the most recent examples of hitters that benefit from the Monster. J.O. can do well at Friendly Fenway and be an asset for the Sox.
If John Olerud is available, Theo has to get it done!