Friday, December 11, 2009

The Market for Mike Jacobs

The Royals released Mike Jacobs yesterday, but judging by his comments, he was not taken aback by the decision:
"It's baseball," Jacobs said from San Diego. "After the year I had, I figured they weren't going to tender me anyway. It probably would've been hard to to trade me because other clubs knew I was going to be non-tendered as well. Why are they going to give up prospects or whatever when I'm going to be a free agent and they wouldn't have to give up anything?"

Jacobs felt his numbers would have been better if he would have gotten more than his 434 at-bats.

"With another 200 or 150 at-bats, you're looking at maybe 25 homers and maybe 80 RBIs," he said. "With power hitters, you've got to have the ABs to put up the numbers."

So now Jacobs will start looking for a new club.

"I'm sure it's going to be a situation where I'm going to take a pay cut," he said. "Hopefully, somebody will be willing to take a chance on me and remember what I did in '08 and give me the opportunity to get back to those numbers."
The problem with Jacobs is that even though he hits for a ton of power, he cannot play first base adequately (hello, American League), can't hit lefties, and he has a tough time getting on base consistently. The benefit in signing Jacobs now is that the cost will be so low that there will be very little risk involved unless they expect Jacobs to come in and start hitting like Albert Pujols.

With that said I'm sure that some team out there will take a chance on Jacobs and hope that he reverts back to his 2008 form and that he suddenly learns plate discipline. Let's take a look at some of the possible suitors for Jacobs:

Orioles: Right now, the Orioles two first baseman are Michael Aubrey and Ty Wigginton. Like Jacobs, Aubrey is a left handed hitter with power, but he does not have the track record that Jacobs has at the major league level. Jacobs could provide a cheap upgrade for the Orioles at first base and play in a productive platoon with Ty Wigginton. However, I'm not sure if the Orioles are ready to watch Mike Jacobs play first base 100 times in 2010. That could get ugly.

The Tigers don't have much money to spend and they have just traded away one of the premier left handed sluggers in baseball. Jacobs could become the Tigers' primary DH and provide some balance and left handed slugging to a lineup that desperately needs both.

Given Jacobs's low OBP totals over the past few seasons, I know that he doesn't really fit what the Mariners are looking to do. But when Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Carp are your starting DH and 1B respectively, you need to explore all options. Jacobs would bring some cheap power to a team that desperately needs it, but again, his lack of patience at the plate will probably prevent the Mariners from making a run at him.

Braves: Jacobs's defensive problems makes this scenario very difficult to imagine, but the Braves are searching for a power hitting first baseman to fill the void left by Adam LaRoche.

****Where do you think Jacobs will end up?****

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