Trot vs. Wily Mo

Reading through some recent posts, it is inevitable that a Trot-Wily Mo controversy is going to develop about the second Coco comes off the disabled list.

But I’m pretty sure this debate will only take place in the media and on the streets, and not in manager Terry Francona’s office.

Personally, I think the combination of Pena and Trot is much more effective than asking either guy to be the everyday right fielder. Trot still hits with authority against right-handed pitching and I’m sure his power is going to increase as the weather warms up. Trot is also a very good right fielder, particularly in the vast playing territory at Fenway.

I’m not saying that Pena should only play against left-handed pitchers. By all means, give him a start  every week or two in center, let him play a game in left every now and again, and Manny can DH with David playing first. DH Wily Mo against the tougher lefties in the league and give David an occasional day off. I believe that Francona will be creative enough to get Pena 3 to 4 starts a week. It can be done, i think it will be done.

Nixon has been a class act and a sometimes overlooked performer throughout his time in Boston. This might be the last year for Trot in Boston, so let’s enjoy Trot and all he brings. Wily Mo will probably have right field all to himself next year, at which point he will have had a full year of absorbing lessons from Manny and David.

What does everyone else think about this? Does it make sense? By the end of the year, I’d look for Trot to have about 500 at-bats, with Wily Mo getting somewhere between 350 and 400. With those at-bats, I think the Red Sox will get some of the best RF production in baseball.

Give me your thoughts.

Thanks,

Ian.

19 Comments

It’s gonna be a sad day when Trot’s gone. Wily’s been impressive though, I can’t deny it! I like your interpretation of the situation; I hope it pans out as you’ve described.

I’m sending this link to everyone I know, Ian. You say so well what I’ve been trying to tell people.

I like Wily Mo’s play in the OF (although, not particularly in RF) but Trot is our right fielder (and rightfully so!).

http://redsoxchick.mlblogs.com

I think that while Wily Mo is playing really well right now, I don’t think he’s going to be able to keep up the production. In the long run, I doubt Pena will see as many At bats as you say. I love Trot and I hope we stay with him for years to come… That’s my take.

israel

Your suggestion seems to be fair. But our lineup gonna be unstable. Even though I like Trot, I believe Willy will be more productive. See his contact swing in the scoring position. I vote for more opportunity to Willy.

I think Ian’s approach has merit. To sit either one is going to put a damper on their production. I do wonder how tough it would be for Pena to try to juggle playing all three outfield positions; I really don’t know how tough that is. Perhaps an athlete at that level can make the necessary adjustments fairly easily.

Pena seems to be playing better defense in center than he did in right. That could be just because he’s getting better because he’s playing more often, but I’ve also heard some analysts say center field is easier to play than left or right. I don’t know how true that really is.

Sad as I am to say it, I think Ian is right that this may be Trot’s last year in a Sox uniform. Who knows though; remember Wakefield taking a pay cut to stay in Boston? Not that I think Nixon should have to do the same. I think he’s earned a lot of respect not only for his playing ability, but for his old school playing attitude as well. Confounding matters, what happens if Gabe Kapler is back to 100% next year? I’d hate to have to make that decision.

I agree with Ian’s approach, but also doubt that each will get that number of at-bats. Has anyone noticed that Hanley Ramirez is leading the National League in average?

But sometimes age and chronic injury are too nagging a concern to overlook. I appreciate everything Trot has done, BUT if Wily Mo is blossoming the way he seems to be (going to opposite field and occasionally walking), then the only thing I’d worry about as far as his place on the team is how terrible his defense has often been in right.

The problem, I think, is that this debate is premature. Wily Mo may just be on a great streak and might end up with his normal numbers which are impressive for homers, but not for BA (particularly against right-handers). I would say, however, that I am optimistic given that two of his tutors are among the best in the game and fellow countrymen, as well as how good his short season has been thus far.

Yes, he needs to be in the lineup at least…three times a week?

I have to say, the problem that the Sox have right now is a great one. Talented outfielders don’t grow on trees.
Unfortunately, I agree with Ian and think that this may be the last year we see Trot in a Sox uniform. The team has made a strong effort to get younger this past offseason and I don’t see that strategy changing, especially since they went to get Wily Mo, who’s still only 24. Trot is 32 years old, and would be entering the period of decline for typical baseball players during his next contract. Compounding the situation is the fact that Trot will no doubt command a decent offering on the free agent market. I think the Sox front office is going to let Trot go and slip Wily Mo into right field next year.

That said, it makes sense for Tito to try and get Wily Mo the most starts he can this year. It’s not as if Wily Mo has been a liability either. Over the last few weeks he has been taking the ball the other way at the plate, something that many players have trouble doing consistently. I like the progress that I’ve seen Wily Mo make in such short time playing regularly.

I think you are right that this is Trot’s last year in Boston, but I would be very surprised if Pena breaks 300 AB’s this year.

Please let me get this out of the way right off the bat (pun intended). I LOVE TROT. He’s one of the true gentlemen in baseball. He goes out there every day and does what he’s paid to do, doesn’t complain, isn’t in the media for anything other than the consistantly good job he does, especially in right. While I do understand the fact that he’s getting up there,let’s see where he is at the end of this still very early season. I also love the fact that we got Wily. He’s been really exciting to watch. I think he covers center as well as Coco (whom I think covers it as well or better than our dearly departed). I think that Theo (Red Sox Boy Genius),along with Tito will know exactly what needs to be done and will do it. That’s the logical side of my Red Sox brain talking. Now let my heart say that I REALLY want Trot back in OUR right field next year. I know that baseball is a business but… my heart would love to see him back. but…… let’s wait and see who does what this year and just pray that everything happens to OUR advantage. I hope that Schilling has a really good night tonight not just for us but also for his confidence out there on the hill. GO SOX!!!!

maybe this thread should be titled “wily mo or coco” :-)

the FO is clearly sending a message to trot that he’s on his way out, and trot is pretty clearly responding by playing real hard — whether to try to keep his spot in boston, or whether to raise his free-agent value, or both, i can’t tell.

but wily mo could also be insurance in case manny has another mid-season trade demand. a scenario where he gets traded to baltimore for miguel tejada seems pretty reasonable now that we have wily mo to back him up in LF.

note btw that wily mo is the only red sox to play all three OF positions in a single game since 1960 or something.

the hartford courant gets it w/r/t Willy Mo: http://www.courant.com/sports/baseball/hc-redsoxnotes0516.artmay16,0,6464216.story?coll=hc-headlines-baseball

btw, i’m not implying they should bench coco when he comes back. all i’m saying (like Ian) is i hope they don’t bench willy.

it’s true that trot is a team player / true professional, but for this moneyballish FO i don’t think that matters. exhibit A: bronson arroyo.

that said, i’d rather win than have warm fuzzies :-) go theo!

//the FO is clearly sending a message to trot that he’s on his way out//

How so?

Yes, as Coco’s return draws nearer, it’s becoming clear that Terry Francona has more riches than he easily knows what to do with. Wouldn’t every manager love to have his dilemmas! Wily Mo is making progress, and heading in the right directions, in every aspect of his game, due in part, admittedly, to playing every day. It seems a shame to have to sit him down in the dugout again. I’ve never been a fan of any kind of platooning. (At least that’s what we used to call it.) We hear so much about Wily being obtained to platoon with Trot in right field against lefthanders. Wily Mo was obtained as a future Red Sox outfielder. People talk about Wily as if he were a particularly fragile case, a young player who has so far to go in honing his unpolished gifts and “tools” into polished “skills” that they will wither away if he doesn’t play in games. Nonsense. He’s still young. He’s a huge talent, an incredibly gifted athlete, with some of the best mentors in the business. We have a perfectly fine rightfielder, an outstanding one, in Trot. Wily Mo will be fine, and has great days in baseball ahead of him.

Ian, I love your idea. And to everyone who is down on platoons, here are the combined stats of the Indian 1B platoon (Perez & Broussard): .371 avg, 9 HR, 38 RBI.

1) Trot & Pena are far better hitters than Perez & Broussard.

2) Trot & Pena wouldn’t be a true platoon, since Pena would also be giving most of our regulars their days off (since Youk could play 3B, or Ortiz could play 1B). I think its very reasonable to assume Pena could get 350+ AB’s.

I think Ian’s idea is very reasonable, and I hope TF has the smarts to stick with something similar. Pena is going to be a great player over the years, but this year I think the semi-platoon would do wonders for our offense.

If there were something to be gained by one of them playing verses the other, than by all means play it that way. While saying that I believe that Trot has proved himself too many times. I say that experience has to count for something. Once again what a great problem to have. LETS GO RED SOX!

When coco returns, it makes a lot of sense to use both trot and weily mo in right: but the question is, from what weve seen, wily mo does a lot better offensively, when he gets to play a lot, at least with boston. If we play wily mo and trot sharing right, why not have coco and wily mo share center? pena can play center fine, and seems comfertable there. That way, he’ll get more at abts, so his production will stay up, and both coco and trot will get playing time, and days off, regularly.

I’m glad to see support for Trot in this blog. I am the biggest Trot fan that I know and I would absolutely hate to see him run out of town. Not to take anything away from Wily Mo, but Trot is a better all around baseball player. I predicted before the season began that Trot would have a career year. His hitting continues to improve (highest average on the Sox) and he can play right field at Fenway better than any player in baseball. People don’t give him enough credit for that. Taking the Bill James approach, Trot should have been a gold glover last year, and, frankly, it angers me that he is never considered. Trot defines “dirt dog” and I hope to see him, along with Tek and Wakefield, play with the Sox until he retires.

howard:

A friend of mine told me he had seen someone’s “scientific” system of rating outfielders, and Trot came out #1 in the majors. Wish I could have seen the actual factors used, but he’s right up there any way you look at it.

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