One thing I never knew about Jermaine Dye’s woeful second half before tonight: Even while he was slumping terribly, he could still hit lefties.
- vs. RHP: .129/.254/.219
- vs. LHP: .316/.400/.509
- Total: .179/.293/.297
I came to this realization while digging around for an approach for the question Ken Rosenthal posed in his latest article:
In the article, Rosenthal presents the reasons to Dye and Dye’s agent, Bob Bry, who attempt to invalidate the chief concerns. It doesn’t work, because by the end, we see the root of the problem:
“It all boils down to once we got crowded in the outfield and I started playing every couple of days,” Dye said. “Before we got crowded, I was already in a couple-weeks slump. It was just a situation that built up.
“Having everyone rotate between the outfield and DH, doing all that, I think it made it that much tougher than being in the lineup every day, trying to work your way out of a slump. It just kind of piled up and piled up.”
Dye manages to push three falsehoods in two paragraphs here. Talk about piling up — he starts out with a minor misrepresentation and ends up destroying any semblance of a case.
No. 1: It was more than a couple weeks.
Prior to the acquisition of Alex Rios, Dye’s “couple-weeks slump” was 92 plate appearances, or three-plus weeks. He hit .167/.239/.321 over that stretch, while playing just about every day.
In and of itself, “couple” could merely be a wrong word choice. But here’s the thing — even after Rios crowded the outfield…
No. 2: Dye still played every day!
From Aug. 10 (Rios Day) to Sept. 27, Dye started 36 out of 43 possible games. The only time he missed consecutive games was a three-game stretch from Sept. 3-5 — and that was because he had a stiff back.
And on top of this…
No. 3: Dye hardly rotated!
Dye started 60 games in the second half. Guess how many times he DH’ed? Five.
Don’t mistake the exclamation points for glee, because this is more sad than anything. In defense of himself, he blows up his defense:
I struggle to hit with irregular playing time, and I also struggle to hit when having to play a position that’s not natural to me. If I can hit, it’s when I’m getting regular playing time at one position. If you’ll dig deeper, you’ll find that’s exactly what I received in the second half last year.
And I still didn’t hit.
This is the reason why the Fifth Amendment exists.
And this may also be the reason why Dye is unemployed. Apparently, he hasn’t marketed himself well — just last week, a scout forgot he was still around — and when he does, it’s against his core competencies.
He started off the season by ruling out a move to DH. That might have cost him a spot with the Texas Rangers, who had interest in him the last time around and were linked to him at the start of the winter, but instead opted for Vladimir Guerrero. Now Dye is trying to drum up interest by emphasizing his positional flexibility, while saying that playing different positions messed with him.
The thing is, Dye doesn’t need to be talking himself into a hole. He explained his terrible second half well enough while it was happening.
You could sense that he was threatened by the acqusition of Rios when it happened, because he responded by pondering his own future with the White Sox before Rios had even played a game.
And toward the end of September, he had a much more reasonable explanation — maybe there wasn’t one:
“I have no clue,” Dye said. “I put in the work and sometimes it doesn’t work out. There’s nothing wrong with the mechanics. When you struggle, the pitches you should hit you foul off. The pitches you take normally when you feel good they’re balls, they’re strikes now. When you struggle everything goes wrong. This second half it just didn’t happen.”
Even if it’s short on definite answers, this defense is much better, because at least he’s not making up stuff.
And hell, going back to the top of this post, he still hit lefties like he always did. He could point to that and say that the old Dye was still around — a slump just led to pressing, and he’s all the wiser for it. Any team that signs him could be getting a great bargain at best, and half of an effective platoon at worst. This worked well for the Angels with Bobby Abreu, and he’s a terrible right fielder, too.
(And it worked well for Abreu, who got a two-year contract worth more than Johnny Damon’s initial demands — and Damon wishes he could get back to those numbers.)
Problem is, Dye’s quotes to Rosenthal paint him into a corner. He’s basically telling teams, “I’m a huge risk to pile up negative value.”
This seems really, really foolish, because flawed, aging players with adamant negotiating stances haven’t fared well since the economy has gone downhill. Making your case even weaker doesn’t seem to be the right way out of it.