In Defense of Richie Sexson

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The folks at the wildly popular sports blog U.S.S. Mariner have been sweeping up the souls of the eternally damned for the past few weeks as their beloved M's have taken up residence in the AL basement. Cheery, right?

Their latest victim of fingerpointing is Mr. Richie Sexson, who changed his batting stance to be more open last month. Former hitting coach Jeff Pentland was the one to make the suggestion that Sexson open his stance up, so don't go attacking Lee Elia for this one:

Sexson, up to May 26th: .200/.277/.413

Sexson, open-stanced since: .282/.384/.296
Or, if you're into OPS, that's .690 vs .680

Sexson actually tater-totted last night in a 7-6 win over the Blue Jays, but before that shot, he hadn't hit one out since May 24. In fact, he only had one extra base hit during that span, a double on June 24. Sexson had a total of 5 RBI during June and can no longer be considered a power hitter with a slugging percentage under .390 and fewer extra base hits than Yuniesky Betancourt.

Still, he's got value. He's a high OBP, good fielding first baseman. If Seattle were to DFA him like all the rumors have been pointing to, his ginormous salary would still be on the Mariners' books. There are many teams who would take a high OBP, good fielding first baseman as a bench player, especially at the prorated league minimum. Heck, the Yankees have no defensive replacement for late innings at first base. Giambi is the best fielding first baseman on the team, and I'd rather have minimum-salary-Sexson coming off the bench than the porous defense of Wilson Betemit.

Plus with the much-maligned Sexson on the much-hated Yankee team, bloggers heads might explode. That's a win-win.

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This is utterly reasonable, well researched and a fine example of baseball blogging.

What the hell is it doing on this site?

Sexon's OPS is flat since the stance adjustment, yes. He now hits for almost no power, and from a position that teams reasonably expect power to come from.

I don't really agree with "good fielding". To the extent that he reaches more errant throws, due to his 7'9" height, then yes, he has some limited value. Range-wise, unless it's within the area where he can fall down and stretch, he has major limitations.

I do think he might be the sort of player who could get a limited-time second wind with a new team. But all measures, including peripherals, indicate strongly that he is in significant decline and probably done as a major league regular. That said, the M's would be stupid to not dangle him out there again (reportedly, the Indians claimed him last summer, but Seattle, seeing Cleveland as a primary competitor for the AL wild card, pulled him back).

"changed his dating stance to be more open last month."

/Mike Myers is reportedly interested

Okay I'm back...I've been puking up Richie Sexson for two days and now I'm ready for some Adrian Beltre.

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