Friday, April 16, 2010

FLew The Blue Jay

As has been reported by numerous channels (including his Facebook account and Twitter), Fred Lewis has been traded from the Giants to the Toronto Blue Jays for a PTBNL or cash.  (Schulman, Splash, Baggerly, ExtraBaggs, sfgiants.com).  He thanked his supporters and is happy to move on.

Giants Thoughts

Reading through all the accounts, it just sounds like it was time for Lewis to go, that he (and the Giants) would be better off if he were in another place.  Sometimes in life, you just need a change of scenery to change things for the positive.  Lewis has been asking for a trade since last year and it sounds like he would be a poison on the bench because he's unhappy with Bochy's handling of him.

I wanted the Giants to keep him, as he at least has had success at one time or another as a starter in LF, but if he's unwilling to bat lead-off when the manager wants to bat him there, what are you going to do?  I was hoping he could be adult about this and accept a backup role on our team, but the Chronicle account noted that Lewis "believed he would molder under a manager unwilling to let him play."  I still prefer him over Velez and Torres, though I'm OK with seeing Torres platoon with Bowker in RF, but I'm not shedding tears over it.

Still, there are many tear-jerkers out there complaining about this deal and they don't really get that his MLB stats is not the only evidence of his abilities, his minor league performance is too, and it was never pretty there nor particularly good when viewed by MLEs.  And his defense could be great one year and horrendous the next, he was very inconsistent.

Which shows the great conundrum of Fred Lewis, the ballplayer: his inconsistencies as a player all through his career.

Do you believe in his 2008 batting line of .282/.351/.440/.791 (BABIP .365) or do you believe in his 2009 batting line of .258/.348/.390/.738 (BABIP .344), which was boosted by 5 HBP whereas he had zero in 2008? His MiLB career BABIP of .339 suggests that 2009 is more of his future than the shiny .365.  And what good is that if he believes that he's a #3 hitter and not a leadoff hitter?

The thing is, you can't really tell what type of player you got after two seasons, particularly when he has basically a good first year and a bad second year. I think Jeff Francoeur hitting is a pretty good example of that. However, when you start to mix in what he did in the minors, then it becomes clearer which is the mirror and which is the mirage:  his 2009.

And people often forget to account for age when looking at what a player does in AAA. I'll bet many will look at his great stats right now in AAA and think how stupid the Giants are, but the fact is that at age 29, he's a man among boys in terms of experience, he better be beating up on them.

Bottom line, he's 29 years old and very inconsistent.  The story was that this was a result of him playing football, but he stated very clearly that he doesn't know how that story got put out there, but he's been playing baseball all his life and it is his first love.  Just chew on that thought while thinking about all the times he took the wrong route to the play or showed no instincts at all for playing the outfield.

Also, as a left-hander, he has to know about how badly AT&T Park affects his power, or what little of it he has displayed in his career.  The scary thing is that he has hit waaay better at home than on the road (a la Ishikawa), if he had been hitting what he hit on the road (career .245/.323/.378/.701 and that is a fluke of his 2007 season, the last two seasons, roughly .313 OBP and .670 OPS), nobody would be crying over losing him.

As a final note, this is what his new team GM, Alex Anthopoulos, thinks of him: "He's a pretty good athlete. He can run a little bit. He's really just a left fielder in our eyes, but he's someone who we think can be a good left-handed bat off the bench and a guy that, if he's ever thrust into more playing time, at least he's done it before and he's more familiar with that type of role." At least he's done it before, that is the best they can say about him. If he thinks that he's better off with them, great, but I think he's going to regret it by the end of the 2010 season.

Here's hoping we pick up another nice prospect pickup in the trade, I like the pitcher we got for Snyder, who we traded to the Rangers.  Much better than money.

3 comments:

  1. the thing I wish the Giants would have done is give him more of a chance last year, and a little more this year (instead of AAA). The bunion, like Kevin Frandsen's Achilles, got too much in the way.

    With John Bowker hitting, there isn't a strong competition there... but he'd be a good alternative to Aaron Rowand. And he's more potent and speedy than Nate Schierholtz, just not the defense. Fred Lewis has OBP and speed, which deserved a spot at least on this bench.

    I understand the need for the trade from Lewis's point-of-view. We'll see what the cash or PTBNL is.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Giants gave him to the middle of June, how much more time do you want to risk the season hoping he snaps out of it?

    He only played in AAA because of the DL, else the trade might have happened before the season started.

    Yeah, I agree, Lewis has a number of pluses that would have worked for us on the bench, but if he's going to poison the environment, then I think it's best he move on, and hope that we get some good young prospect for him, like we did with Snyder.

    But I would not want to see him in CF. What little stats I saw on him in CF suggests that he would be horrible defensively there, relative to everyone else, and he wouldn't hit well enough to make up for that.

    I think he's ultimately a AAAA player, like many that we have produced over the years, like Linden and Niekro, Minor, etc. But I was always hoping that he would prove us wrong, despite his poor stats in the minors previously.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What I would have liked is to have seen more, in terms of giving him more chances, is having him start LF last year when Rowand was out, instead of Randy Winn / Eugenio Velez. I've liked the progress Velez has made, but I also remember how good Fred Lewis was before his bunion sidelined him, when he had consistent playing time at the 6/7 spot and higher. Winn, especially, took too many starts away from Fred Lewis, whom the Giants should have tested more fully.

    side question - Have they given up on Bowker at first? I'm thinking about Ishikawa's role on this team.

    the clubhouse issue seals the deal, though

    ReplyDelete

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