Monday, August 27, 2007
Put me in the minority camp that the Red Sox should not resign Mike Lowell. Statistically speaking, he is the same hitter as last year. All of Lowell’s core batting indicators strikeout, walk, extra base hits, line drive and ground ball percentages are similar to his past performance. He has not become a better hitter, although my untrained eyes tell me that he is hitting pitches on the outside half of the plate with more authority this season. Unfortunately, Lowell’s better overall numbers is fueled by two skills that are tough to repeat - his 340 batting average on balls in play, which is 40 points higher than his last three seasons, and clutch/RBI hits - making him a risky long-term investment.
With that in mind, the Olde Towne Team should look into acquiring the reportedly cleared waivers first baseman, Scott Hatteberg. First off, this year Hattie gives Tito a better option than Eric Hinske as a southpaw stick off the bench. This season he has hit 316/406/488 with 44 walks and only 27 strikeouts in 301 at-bats against righties. Hattie’s 2007 line is similar to his 2004-2006 prowess against his opposite side posting a 286/374/416 line. No one wants to see Drew or the aforementioned Hinske pinch hitting for Doug Mirabelli with men on base in October (knock on wood).
Hattie is cheap with little commitment. He has a $2 million option in 2008 and that’s it. Platooned with another former Red Sox and future free agent, who would probably accept a short-term deal - Mark Loretta, would likely produce well at first. Loretta also provides depth all over the infield, which should allow them to offer a two-year deal, as he could become Alex Cora in 2009. And most importantly the combo is short on years giving the Sox the flexibility to make a big score like Mark Teixeira to replace Manny or in the rotation - Johan Santana or C.C. Sabathia - after the 2008 season.
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