I really want to see what I can do. I have an idea. I think it would maybe take some creativity for a team to accept it. But if it worked, it might create an entirely new position in baseball … a position that would give a team an extra player.
– Micah Owings.
Owings, who has been out since April with a strained forearm and is unlikely to pitch again this season, is heading to the Padres’ Triple-A team in Tuscon to focus on becoming a first baseman and left fielder.
If you gave me reasonable odds, I’d bet on Owings re-emerging as a valuable platoon bat at the very least. As a pitcher and pinch-hitter, he owns a career .283/.310/.503 line in 219 Major League plate appearances. The guy has an .813 OPS and he’s never had 70 plate appearances in a season at any level. With more reps and more emphasis on hitting, who knows what he can do?
Oddly, the righty-hitting Owings has done almost all his damage in the Majors against right-handed pitchers. Still, if he can prove a useful bat and a vaguely capable defender at first and left with the ability to mop up some innings in the bullpen, he’s a massively efficient use of a roster spot.
And the possibilities are thrilling. Owings has been effective against right-handed hitters as a pitcher. Maybe an enterprising team can regularly pull the Davey Johnson move, going lefty-righty in late innings with some LOOGY that could handle left field? Is that too outrageous?
Thanks to Stevie for the link. And thanks to all y’all who provided feedback on Friday and over the weekend. I appreciate it. I’ve got a doctor’s appointment this morning, but I hope to have something a little longer about the Mets this afternoon.