Friday, October 22, 2004

Bye Bye Batista?

Until now, most of the coverage of the Ex-Expos has been about the stadium and the move. Very little has been said about the roster. After back-to-back 83-win seasons, they finished with a dismal 67-95 record.

They finished 14th out of 16 teams in runs scored--just one run out of 15th. Their pitching fared much better, comparatively, but still finished 13th with a 4.33 ERA. (League Average was 4.30). When you have a slightly below average pitching staff, you better have a good offense. The Ex-Expos didn't, and it's not hard to see why they were do disappointing.

That's why it was distressing for me to read:

Before he hires a general manager, Tavares has assistant general manager Tony Siegle working on other baseball matters, including trying to re-sign third baseman Tony Batista, who hit .241 with 32 home runs and 110 RBI in his first season with the Expos, his best since a 41-homer, 114-RBI season with Toronto in 2000. Batista earned $1.5 million from a one-year deal last year. Players aren't allowed to file for free agency until after the World Series.

I hope this isn't foreshadowing the quality of the baseball writing we're going to get here in DC. Yes, Batista hit 32 home runs. But that does not make him a good player. He's far from it. Along with those 32 home runs came a .272 on-base percentage and 488 outs. Think about that--Batista made 54 games worth of outs!

Yes, he hit 32 home runs, but his slugging percentage was only .455. According to to, Batista was 12% worse offensively than an average player. He was useful a few years ago when he was batting .270 and playing shortstop, but now that he's over 30 and batting in the .230-.240 range, he's a drain on the team.

If this is an early indication of the direction of the team, we might be in for a long season. At least with all the hacking the games will be quick!