Miguel Olivo, Please Move On

Miguel Olivo stepped up to the plate in the fourth inning yesterday against the Detroit Tigers. Notorious for swinging at the first pitch, Olivo did not do anything to dispel the notoriety. He swung, I groaned…and lo and behold, he hit his first home run of the young season. I sat in my chair, flabbergasted.

We should throw a party! Confetti should be raining down in Seattle! The Mariners catcher finally did what he was signed to do: hit home runs from a position that traditionally has a dirth of power.

However this home run made me angry, not happy. Instead of confetti, I imagined dark, brooding thunderclouds; lightning flashed over the Puget Sound, and Pike Place market was closed up because of the inclement weather. This home run will give Eric Wedge an excuse to play Olivo more often. The Mariners need Olivo to play less often. Preferably, Olivo should not play at all if the Mariners want to have a successful season. Also, I want Pike Place market opened up, Miguel. NO MORE HOME RUNS FROM YOU! I NEED MY COFFEE AND MY FRESH SEAFOOD! Sorry, I got a little carried away. Let us continue.

What Should the M’s do with Olivo if He Does Not Play?

Miguel Olivo is making $3.5 million this year. Can you think of some better ways to spend $3.5 million? I am sure that we all can.

I may have a strange sports hate for Miguel Olivo, but I would like to justify this sentiment with cold, hard facts. I want the Mariners to put their best lineup on the field, and Olivo does not make that possible.

Believe it or not, there are still some Olivo supporters (although they are slowly dwindling). My job is to explain to these supporters why Olivo should not be in the lineup every day if the Mariners want any chance of improving.

There are two main reasons why Olivo should not play every day, and I will not even mention his receding hairline as one of the reasons:

1. John Jaso is a better player than Olivo

John Jaso cannot possibly better than Olivo, right? Wrong (WRONG!). Olivo’s career OBP of .277 is amazing, and not in a good way. Jaso has a career OBP of .340. Olivo strikes out at a clip of 26.3%, while Jaso strikes out at a career rate of 11.3%. Jaso also has a career walk rate that is an entire 8% better than Olivo (Olivo has a career walk rate of 4%. That is just barely above Jose Lopez status, and we all know how much we loved him in Seattle…). This also does not take into account the fact that Jaso is five years younger. You cannot even suggest that Olivo is a better defensive catcher, as I tweeted two days ago. Shouldn’t the Mariners play their best option at the Catching position?

2. Playing Olivo Goes Against the Team Rhetoric

What I mean by this is that Olivo does not fit into the future of the Mariners. This is the final year of his contract, and he will not be a member of the team five years down the road. Jesus Montero (also a catcher), Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager, Mike Carp, Michael Saunders and Alex Liddi all have a chance to be part of the Mariners future, something Jack Zduriencik has been promoting all season. Playing a guy like Olivo means benching one of the promising young players that I just mentioned. Take yesterday for example. Seager had to sit on the bench to allow Olivo to play. Seager is not only a better hitter (higher walk rate, lower strikeout rate, higher average, decent power), but he is a league average defender and also just 24 years old, meaning we still have at least three years before we see the true potential of Kyle Seager. The Mariners cannot afford to sit him for a guy who brought 0.1 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) to the team last year (ahem, Olivo). No, I did not stutter: 0.1 WAR. League average WAR is between 1 and 2 over a whole season; Olivo brought 0.1 to the table.

We all know that the Mariners will not make the playoffs this year. Jonah Keri from Grantland has repeatedly written about the depth of the American League. One of his main points has been the fact that one of the following teams cannot make the playoffs this year: Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Tigers, Rangers, Angels. Sure, the Angels are struggling and the Red Sox may be on the verge of implosion, but we can all agree that those teams have a lot more talent than the M’s. Sad, but true.

But this means that the Mariners have to back up their rhetoric in order to make the season a success. The Mariners have to give the fans the most exciting team on the field because the playoffs are not in reach. Unless they want to draw record low crowds throughout the summer, the Mariners have to put Jaso or Montero behind the dish and play their younger players every single day. Olivo’s home run yesterday was nice, but I worry that the Mariners will use it as an excuse to justify his playing time. I do not want to see confetti come down in the name of Olivo; I want to see confetti come down in the future with the young players who are currently on the roster and the ones on the way up (Nick Franklin, Taijuan Walker, James Paxton, Danny Hultzen, Francisco Martinez). I want the Mariners to finally do what is best for the team and for the city, and that is to remove Miguel Olivo from the lineup.

    • keith van court
    • April 27th, 2012

    I would take miguel olivo to a nice seafood dinner and then never call him again. This would not only bump his production, but also make him an allstar caliber player and here is why : 1) it is a well-known fact that mr. Olivo loves a good shrimp scampi. In his native latin american country you can always find Miguel with a large shrimp net, fishing for his precious prawns. 2) Miguel has not been treated in a long time. Making millions of dollars means that all your friends, family and groupies expect you to pay for their meals. This is wearing on Miguel and is the main culprit in his dastardly OPS. instantly play better for. theM’s. Miguel is an all star in 2013. Sorry, I typed this in anthro on my phone so punctuation and capitalizations are lacking.

  1. May 21st, 2012

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