Dayton Moore is becoming a master at making excuses and deflecting blame. He once defended former manager Trey Hillman‘s performance by criticizing Billy Butler‘s inability to execute the 3-6-3 double play. I thought that was bad, but now, courtesy of Jeffrey Flanagan, I find he’s taken his skills to the next level.
“We have the largest ballpark in terms of square footage of any ballpark in baseball,” Moore says. “When pitchers come here, they have the mindset to use that park — put the ball in play, throw strikes, attack the zone. There isn’t the same fear factor of getting beat deep that you might have elsewhere.
It’s the ballpark. Sure. Unless The K traded for Mike Jacobs, acquired Yuniesky Betancourt twice, and signed and then extended Jeff Francoeur, I’m going to say no, it’s not the ballpark. Moore has long favored hitters who swing first and check to see if the pitch is in strike zone later. Hitters aren’t walking because it’s not a skill they are encouraged to develop. Moore claims to understand the importance of on-base percentage but his actions as GM suggest otherwise. When he falls in love with a player you can be sure that how often that player gets on base really doesn’t matter. The continued presence of Francoeur and Chris Getz on the 25 man roster is proof of that.
“Plate discipline and patience are certainly qualities you scout. No question,” Moore says. “When we were in Atlanta, we very much believed in walks and on-base percentage. It was an area we looked at when drafting guys. We took guys like Brian McCann and Adam LaRoche and Rafael Furcal — all very good on-base guys.
“We also took Jeff Francoeur, who had a different approach that worked for him. It’s more of an individual thing than anything else.”
It may have worked for Francoeur as an amateur, but as a pro, it only worked for 70 games his rookie year (.300/.336/.549). He’s had one good year since. I don’t think he’s the go-to guy when talking about a different approach working.
If Moore wants us to believe that he cares about on-base percentage then the first, and most important, step would be to acquire players who possess the ability to get on base. Quit placing trust in small sample sizes or what a player accomplished eight years ago.
And, oh yeah, quit blaming The K.