Friday, April 29, 2005

The 25th Man

There's been a debate raging over at the Desipio message board over the uselessness of Jose Macias. Some feel Jose should be given a one way ticket back to Montreal (which conveniently lacks a baseball team, thus sparing fans everywhere), while others feel that such treatment is too harsh, and that Jose is actually a fairly competent utility man. I can't really agree with either of those assessments. Jose is a bad player, yes, but he's not the worst player in the majors (I reserve the right to retract this statement). He made this team essentially as the 25th man on the roster (and might not have if he didn't have a guaranteed contract) but the problem is, Dusty Baker doesn't use him like the 25th man.

Let me elaborate on how I think the 25th man should be used. He is always the worst player on the team, and it's very likely that he's not as good as the top 3 or 4 players at AAA. You don't want a top prospect as your 25th man, because he's going to rot on the bench. You see, the 25th man's playing time should be as limited as possible. Ideally, you want this player to be somewhat like Macias, in that he's versatile (Macias switch hits, and can play any position defensively-although neither his hitting or fielding are very good), but you have no interest in his development as a player, so it doesn't matter if he gets rusty. You see, it's my feeling that this player isn't so much a weapon, as a last line of defense. He should only play under drastic circumstances: an injury, an ejection or an extra inning game. He can start every 10 days or so, but shouldn't get more time than that. He's the 2nd to the last pinch hitter you use (in front of the backup catcher) and he's probably not good enough to be used as a defensive replacement. The 25th man has no real chance for advancement. Any minor league callups should be placed in front of him on the depth chart. Which is where I take issue with Macias, and by extension Dusty Baker. You see, Dusty is loyal to his guys, and Macias is now one of them. As a result, when Nomar was injured, Neifi became the shortstop, and Jose became the utility man. That's okay for two games, or so, but once Cedeno came up from the minors, HE should have taken Neifi's old spot in the pecking order, with Macias going back to being the 25th man. And Macias should NEVER be used to pinch hit instead of Jason DuBois or Cedeno.

So I guess my conclusion is that I wouldn't mind having Jose on the team, if I knew he was going to be used in the manner I described above. However, knowing Dusty's penchant for trying to get all of his players into games every week, and his seemingly bizarre attachment to useless veteran players, Jim Hendry should have known better than to bring Jose back this year. It almost seems to me that the best thing to do with a manager like Baker is to purge the bench players every year. That way Dusty has no attachment to them, and they'll be forced to win jobs on merit.


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▪ Teddy Roosevelt was the sitting president
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▪ Germany was not yet a country.
▪ Ronald Reagan hadn't been born yet.
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