Top Shelf Talent, Cheap Price: Reds' Jonny Gomes and Laynce Nix, Not For DeRosa

Tom DubberkeCorrespondent IMay 24, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - APRIL 28:  Mark DeRosa #7 of the San Francisco Giants bats against the Philadelphia Phillies during an MLB game at AT&T Park on April 28, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

I’m a big fan of the platoon option as a low cost, or at least lower cost, option to get major league offense out of a position where you don’t have a good every day option. 

Here’s a post by John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer about how the Reds are getting top-shelf offense so far out of their left field platoon of Jonny Gomes and Laynce Nix for the rock bottom price of only $1.4 million this year combined.

I wrote about Gomes extensively this past offseason, both because I thought he might have been a good low-cost power option for the Giants, and also because I was disgusted that he couldn’t get a major league contract after the fine year he gave the Reds in 2009. 

Looks like Gomes, and particularly the Reds who brought Gomes back on a minor league contact for less than $1 million, are having the last laugh.

The problem with trying to set up a platoon at the start of the season is that the guys, who make platoon players are not top-shelf talent and they tend to be inconsistent. 

Since you need both a right-handed hitter and a left-handed hitter who hit well with the platoon advantage that year, it’s often the case that only one-half of the platoon performs up to expectations.

On the other hand, there are usually numerous good platoon candidates floating around, and you bring in a bunch of them to spring training and load your AAA team with them, you can often find a couple that will stick, at least for that season. 

Also, these players generally don’t cost an arm and a leg, so they can be traded for in season when the need arises.

Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but it sure seems like the Giants elected the worst possible option by signing Mark DeRosa to play left field for two years and $12 million.

De Rosa never really hit enough to be a good leftfielder. 

Instead, his value was mainly as a guy who could play a lot of positions and fill a lot of holes on the diamond when players got hurt during the season. 

Once the Giants resigned Juan Uribe for a more lower price, the need to overpay for DeRosa made a lot less sense.

When you factor to in the fact that DeRosa would be 35 this year and was coming off wrist surgery, the move had all the hallmarks of a likely bust even before the ink on the contact was dry. 

You have exactly the same problems with the Giants’ decision to resign Freddy Sanchez, the only really significant difference being that Sanchez is at least three years younger than DeRosa.