By September of last season, the Orioles looked absolutely worn out. The O’s finished the year by going 15-18 in their final 33 games of 2013. Chris Davis hit just .217/.304/.451 in September, while Adam Jones hit .233/.292/.447 and Manny Machado hit .194/.225/.306 (prior to his season-ending knee injury).
Basically, September sucked.
I firmly believe that the overuse of Davis, Jones and Machado is what led to this crazy dip in their statistics in the final month of the season. Davis played 1,377.2 innings at his position last season, the most of any American league first baseman. Adam Jones led all of baseball in innings at center field (1,394), while Machado finished second among third baseman with 1,390 innings.
Similarly, J.J. Hardy played 1,417 innings at shortstop last season (most in AL) and Matt Wieters was behind the plate for a Major League leading 1,201 innings. (Both of those guys played well in September though, so they don’t help to illustrate my point about being worn out down the stretch.)
In order to avoid the late season dip and prevent the fatigue caused by overuse, manager Buck Showalter is going to have to be award more off days to his star players throughout the season. Adam Jones doesn’t need to play 160 games again this season, it’s much more important that he hits above .233 in September instead.
Showalter addressed this concern in recent comments to CSNBaltimore.com’s Rich Dubroff:
“I want to be able to get some of these guys off the field,” Showalter said. “I’m not going to continue to just assume that they’re going to play 150, 160 games out there. You look at everybody else in baseball. That’s a break from the norm, so you’re stupid if you’re not preparing for life without them now and then.
“They’re not going to like it. Having Nicky and Jonesy in the dugout for nine innings is not a whole lot of fun. I think it’s going to make them better.”
With some flexibility at left field with David Lough and Nelson Cruz, options at second base (Ryan Flaherty, Jemile Weeks and possibly Jonathan Schoop) and in the infield (Flash can play anywhere), there’s no reason that Davis, Jones, Machado, Hardy and Wieters shouldn’t see a bit more time off this season. Even if that time off is as the DH.
At $18M a year, that is $110k a game, hmmmm, rest?
They are off from October to Feb, hmmm, rest?
For a 7pm game, they report at 3pm and play until 10 pm, rest?
That is a 7 hr work day, 7 months a year at $18M, rest?
Rest is not what they need. They need to be better prepared for a full season. 129 players hit over .300 in Sept players hit. 48 of them hit over .320.
Hell, Cal Ripken played every inning of every game for how many games? How many extra inning games? Double headers? I don’t even like the guy. They need to follow his work ethic. Wait a minute, I must be on drugs to say anthing good about Mr Selfish.
Yeah it does seem pretty ludicrous to say they need rest especially when you break it down the way you did. Professional athletes should be conditioned in such a way that they should not need rest, I get that. The reality though is that there’s much more to the equation you fail to include. Have you ever played a sport, any sport, at the frequency that these athletes do? While traveling at all hours of the night on such a consistent basis that your body isn’t able to to rejuvenate itself due to lack of a consistent schedule for rest? Baseball by no means is the most grueling sport physically but they asked to play 162 games, sometimes thru injury, which is hands down more than any other sport. Football players have a 16 game season, on average, and make similar money. Taking a few days off to freshen your body and kind isn’t totally out of line despite the absurd amount of money they make. That being said I can completely understand why it seems foolish from a glancing perspective but the
author doesn’t implied that they need multiple days off a week or anything.
Just out of curiosity…what is your basis behind your dislike behind Cal Ripken? You’re the same guy who got all bent out of shape at the mere mention of Ray Lewis being involved in murder. Is it just a generally dislike for baseball/players or do you just feel he distracted the attention from his teammates during the Streak? Would be interested to hear, it’s not often anyone, even out of our sports market, has any dislike for him.
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