Monday, August 03, 2009

Feeling for Melvin Mora

Melvin Mora is 37 years old and it was in the space earlier in the spring where it was predicted that a marked decline would be noticed in this solid player and unfortunately, it has come to pass. The guy has made millions, so it is hard to feel that badly for him, but he hasn't come to grips with the fact that he just isn't the player he used to be. That disbelief led to him exploding all over his manager in the press since being benched recently. It has to be hard coming to grips with the end of productivity.

Mora has a lifetime 108 OPS+. That's a good and solid career. Along the way, he had one fantastic year (2004) where his line was an incredible: .340/.419/.578. He led the American League in OBP that year. He even had a good year last year with 23 homers and 104 RsBI. But this year, due in some part to nagging injuries, he has put up a line (after 316 plate appearances) of .256/.321/.330. His OPS+ is sitting at 70. To show that another way, he is 70% the player of the league average. That's not going to cut it and his manager had to make a move.

But Mora felt disrespected. His manager, Trembley, responded politely by stating that he was saddened by that reaction. But there is no way a manager can pull the plug on a long time major league player without that player feeling that way. It's as impossible a situation as a manager can be in.

An established, long-time veteran has a lot of pride in his ability and accomplishment. Through the years of struggle, the player always feels that they are a game away from breaking out of a slump and getting back to the player they have always been. But what happens when the player is too old to bounce back? When that player can no longer bounce back from little injuries like in the past, it is difficult for that player to admit that they have lost a step or bat speed.

You have to feel for Melvin Mora. He's been a pro. But his manager made the right decision and it is hoped here that Mora finds some grace in the situation and takes an honest look in the mirror.

1 comment:

eyebleaf said...

I can't blame Mora. It can't be easy to deal with the fact that the game is slowly, but surely, passing you by.

The end of an athlete's career can be very, very cruel.

Mora's a gamer. I honestly liked his passion.