Earlier today, Corey Brock posted a piece over at Padres.com highlighting some players who may benefit from a late surge in 2014. While Tommy Medica seems destined to maintain at least a bench role, and Everth Cabrera might well see himself given another shot beyond 2014, it’s probably time to give Yonder Alonso a thank you, hand shake, and a pen set as a parting gift.
Over the last three seasons (including his oft-referenced 2012 season), there have been few first baseman worse with the bat than Yonder Alonso. Whether it’s OPS (.704), OPS+ (101), wRC+ (98), wOBA (.307), Alonso finds himself keeping company with the likes of Justin Smoak and Ryan Howard at the bottom of the list amongst qualified first basemen. Living in Seattle now, I see the glimmer of hope Smoak provides fans – 15, 19, 20 home runs over each of the last three seasons are hard to ignore, even when a player is otherwise an offensive black hole. There aren’t those numbers to keep pulling you back in with Alonso. They don’t seem to be enough for Smoak advocates anymore, either.
Fair is fair, and you have to look at Alonso’s injuries as having affected his offensive output. Looking at that 2012 season, you still have a player who ranked 18th in OPS+, 18th in wRC+, 20th in wOBA, and 15th in fWAR in what has been regarded as his bellwether season. The Padres should be aiming higher than hovering between slightly below-average to slightly above-average at a position where offensive output is arguably emphasized more than any position outside of designated hitter. One also needs to consider his seeming inability to stay healthy over the past few seasons. Staying healthy is a skill, and like current/former teammates Carlos Quentin, Andrew Cashner, Chase Headley, and Cameron Maybin, it’s looking like it’s not a skill he possesses.
He’s obviously worked hard (look at how his physique has changed), and it’s okay to appreciate that. He also is a great guy with fans, by all accounts. Unless we see an historic run through August and September, however, the next Padres GM would likely do well to thank Yonder for his service and move on. And without the attachment Byrnes had to making it work, we may very well see that happen.
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