Just spoke to Ryan Langerhans down in southern Texas, where he’s off with some buddies on a white-tailed deer hunting trip. Langerhans joked that his hunting party included “some potential Mariners.”
One of them? Adam LaRoche.
I could hear LaRoche saying something to Langerhans in the background.
“He says we’re a package deal,” Langerhans said with a laugh.
Anyhow, LaRoche didn’t intervene to deny the Mariners are talking to him.
LaRoche makes sense for the Mariners to be looking at, since the lefty-swinging free agent first baseman posted an .843 OPS last season, along with 25 home runs. He had a .901 OPS versus righties and .701 against lefties, which is a much bigger split than Russell Branyan brought to the table — so there would be some concern there about full-time first base ability. But at age 30, he’s younger than Branyan and possibly more durable. And his three-year splits vs. lefties/righties are .856 to .756, so that’s more balanced if he can come closer to it.
His on-base percentage was .355, which follows the trend this M’s team is looking to establish for the lineup. The slugging rate isn’t abnormally high, but at .488 it’s getting up closer to the extra base power the team needs.
Anyhow, don’t take this to mean he’s going to sign tomorrow. We hear the Giants are serious about him. What I’d do is merely add his name to the list.
So, on to Langerhans, who was told yesterday that the Mariners would not be tendering him a contract.
“I’d spoke with my agent about this the past couple of days, so I knew it could be coming,” he said.
For now, he’ll call the agent tomorrow when he gets back from hunting and see whether there’s interest from other teams. I asked Langerhans whether he’d consider a minor league offer from the Mariners, or whether their recent acquisition of Corey Patterson makes that a remote possibility.
“Not at all,” he said. “I really enjoyed playing there. I had some good times with the players there, liked what the coaches were doing. There was a real good chemistry that I felt there in the clubhouse that I haven’t seen in other places. If they were to call and express an interest in me, it’s something I’d have to consider.”
We’ll see what happens. There may be other organizations with more roster flexibility ready to give Langerhans a better shot at the majors.
Speaking of roster flexibility, as enthusiastic as I was about Jonny Gomes yesterday, I probably overstated how likely it would be that the M’s would seriously consider him. As we reported on the blog last week, the Mariners are making it a priority to look at DH candidates who can also play a position.
We ruled out Jack Cust and should probably nix Gomes as well. You can throw Mike Sweeney’s name in the no-go department too, since he wasn’t used all that much in the field last season.
As one person told me last week: “We can’t carry two Griffeys.”
In other words, Ken Griffey Jr. is on the roster and won’t be playing the field. There’s a limt to how many of those types any team can carry without harming the roster. So, for the DH spot, I’d look more to the M’s using a bat that can be rotated in at first base, or used in an outfield spot. Think more along those lines.
I was reminded of what we’d written last week by reading this USS Mariner post this morning and it was correct in assuming Gomes and others won’t be the first choice this team will look to. Too many others out there who could fill dual DH/position roles first.