I’ve been advocating for the release of Matt Stairs for well over a month now, having posted in this space in May questioning the inclusion of Stairs on this roster. In the month since, Stairs has “improved” his average from 2-for-26 to 5-for-43. He is batting .116 and slugging .140 for the season. He has one extra base hit, and frankly looks his age.
On Friday, new interim temporary for-a-few-days manager John McLaren announced his first lineup. Against a right-handed hitter in an AL park (thus needing the DH) Laynce Nix is serving as the DH and NOT Matt Stairs. And it occurred to me this fact: Stairs almost certainly was Riggleman’s guy, and now that Riggleman is gone and Stairs continues to struggle mightily I wonder just how many days it will take before the team gives Stairs his outright release. For the rest of the 3-game series in the AL park, Stairs was not used at all, even in the 14 inning debacle friday night.
Fans have long since given up explaining why a defense-focused team contains a 43-yr old pinch hitting specialist who cannot run, cannot play the field and (apparently) can no longer hit. MLB beat writer Bill Ladson has addressed the question in his Q&A posts, as has Boswell. Both have intimated that Stairs is keeping his job because there’s no logical replacement in AAA to take his spot.
To which I say, I disagree. Right this second, any one of three or four guys on our AAA squad makes a ton more sense on this team than Stairs.
- Chris Marrero is on the 40-man, is hitting .290 with some power and can play 1st base (not that we need him with Morse out there, but we don’t really have a 1B backup fielder)
- Matt Antonelli is hitting .316 in AAA and could provide middle-infield cover.
- Michael Aubrey can play first base in a pinch, has MLB experience and has some power off the bench.
Prediction: Stairs sticks around until we are done with interleague play and need Designated Hitters, and then is released.