Jason Bartlett – DL & Trade Possibilities?

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It’s beginning to look more apparent that Jason Bartlett is heading to the DL.  After a fantastic 2009 season, Bartlett has begun the 2010 season slumping in several categories. I thought a lot about Bartlett’s numbers and have begun to wonder if he is holding back somewhat this year.  Could it be he’s been having hamstring problems all year or could he just be holding back in order to be at full strength come September & October.  Either way he is a totally different player this year than he was last year.  I know this can be common in the MLB, but I never thought it would happen to Bartlett.  I sure would like to know why he’s not trying to steal bases.  Especially when he has 25 BB compared to 12BB last year at this time.  I know all his other numbers are down as well, but one would think a guy who is known for stealing bases, and walks 25 times in 2 months would have more than 3 steals.  What gives?

Bartlett insists his hamstring is getting better everyday, but Joe Madden seems to think otherwise.  Madden said Bartlett experienced some soreness Tuesday and is doubtful to return to the lineup Friday when the Rays open a three-game series at Texas. ”When Bartlett swung the bat he felt pretty good, actually,” Maddon said. “Hitting was fine. Just some of the lateral movements were bothering him a little bit, so we’re going to look into it a little more deeply right now. I would doubt he would be able to start (the first game) against the Rangers.”  If Bartlett can’t pick things up going forward could there be a possibility the Rays would trade him.  I agree w/ Cork Gaines (@RaysIndex) that if the trade happens the Rays could easily move Brignac to SS, Zobrist to 2B, and call up Jennings from AAA Durham to play RF.  Everyone forgets Brignac was supposed to be the Rays shortstop of the future until Bartlett got hot last year and took the job away from him.

I think it would be wise for the Rays to put Bartlett on the 15-day DL.  Sometimes the best thing for a slumping MLB player is a little time off to rethink things.  The DL stint would also allow Brignac to get regular playing time and let Rays management determine if he could handle the position full time.  All I know is if the Rays plan on contending come October they are going to have to get a lot better production from the shortstop position.  For Bartlett’s sake I hope he can shake off the slump and get back to putting up numbers like he did in 2009.

Below is a comparison of Bartlett’s numbers from Apr & May 2009 & 2010.

2009 Apr & May – 7 HR, 30 RBI, 32 R, 14 SB, 12 BB, .373 BA, .418 OBP, .596 SLG & 1.014 OPS.

2010 Apr & May – 1 HR, 22 RBI, 25 R, 3 SB, 25 BB, .231 BA, .327 OBP, .330 SLG, & .657 OPS.

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About Jason Collette

Writer/Analyst
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