Meet Mike Jacobs: The Newest Royal
Kansas City, you have a new power source. No, not for lighting up your home, but rather for lighting up the gargantuan Crown Vision at Kauffman Stadium!
Slugging first baseman Mike Jacobs, who coincidentally turned 28 today (Happy Birthday, Mike!), was acquired this morning from the Florida Marlins in exchange for reliever Leo Nunez. The left-handed hitting and right-handed throwing Jacobs hit 32 home runs last season with the Marlins and the Royals expect him to do more of the same in 2009 at Kauffman Stadium.
Jacobs power numbers stack up against nearly every other hitter in the Majors. He homered every 14.9 at bats in 2008, which ranked 10th in the Majors and third behind preeminent sluggers Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols among first basemen. Jacobs played half his games at Dolphin Stadium, which is 345 down the right field line and 385 to the alley and plays extremely tough for left-handed power hitters, as evidenced by the Marlins home run record for a left-handed batter standing at 33 by Carlos Delgado. Jacobs fell just 1 shy of that last season.
Royals General Manager Dayton Moore addressed the media just about an hour and a half ago on a conference call and here are some notes from that meeting:
– The Royals like Jacobs a lot. He has power to the middle of the field and is a leader in the clubhouse. He’s a player that others looks up to. He’s a legitimate power threat.
– It will be up to Manager Trey Hillman where he hits, but we expect him to be in the middle of the order between the cleanup spot and the sixth slot.
– If you look up our numbers from 2008, the Royals had a Major League-best 36 wins against left-handed starters (also a franchise record), but struggled with a 39-63 mark against right handers. Certainly, Jacobs’ big left-handed bat will help us in that regard.
– Royals brass (Moore, Hillman, new hitting coach Kevin Seitzer) looked at a lot of tape of Jacobs and they feel he will improve his on-base percentage. Just a note here, Jacobs posted a .378 on-base percentage in July this past season and a solid .335 pct. from July on.
– Dayton said we played a lot of close games last year when Greinke or Meche matched up against the opponents’ 3, 4 or 5 starter. He feels that Guillen and Jacobs, among others, will help widen that scoring gap and put up numbers against those types of starters the way good Major League hitters should take advantage of those hurlers.
– As a defensive first baseman, he can make the great play. The Royals feel at 28 years old, he can and will continue to get better in this regard.
– As a final note, Dayton said Leo Nunez will be tough to replace in the bullpen. He was a power right-hander who took the ball and we’re going to have to work hard to replace him. (On a personal note, we here at ATH wish “Noonie” nothing but the best as well as he starts this new chapter his career).
Immediately following Dayton’s conference call, the Royals were pleased to be joined by the
birthday boy himself via the phone from his hometown of San Diego. Here are some highlights from Jacobs’ teleconference with the media:
– Jacobs first was wished a Happy Birthday by several members of the Royals media.
– Jacobs thought he had a good chance of being traded this offseason, he just didn’t know where that would be. He had an inkling it was going to be to an A.L. team and he is extremely excited to now be a member of the Royals.
– He said he just left a good, young team in Florida and is now coming to a good, young team in Kansas City, so he is looking forward to that.
– Asked about his on-base percentage, he said he’d like to get it up and he is confident he will record more hits next season, raising his average higher than his 2008 mark and also his on-base percentage to at least the .325 to .335 range, similar to what he accomplished the latter half of 2008.
– He mentioned the renovations currently going on at Kauffman Stadium and how he’s talked to some people today and they all tell him it’s going to be great there once it’s done. That certainly excites him (as it does all of us at ATH and should all of you as well).
– Finally, he was asked about catcher Miguel Olivo. He said he played with Miguel Olivo in Florida and is close with him, but hasn’t talked to him yet. He mentioned, as we all experienced in 2008, Miguel’s infectious smile. Just to keep you updated, Olivo and the Royals have a mutual option for next season.