The Detroit Tigers turned to Jacque Jones this offseason to add a much needed lefty to their lineup. Nobody thought he'd come in and turn heads, but his numbers from the Cubs were pretty good. Obviously Jacque wasn't needed as a bat to add power to an already stacked lineup that is now underperforming. Jacque was needed, however, to pose a different look for opposing pitchers and move runners who most certainly could and are getting on base.
Jacque Jones is failing miserably at the plate.
I'm not that upset at his .185 batting average or miserable .244 OBP. Everyone can have a slump and the season is still relatively young. Jacque hasn't shown any signs of improvement, but having a lefty in the lineup never hurts does it?
Jacque Jones hurts the Detroit Tigers.
With runners in scoring position Jacque is hitting just .063! When runners are in scoring position Jacque is only getting on base 1 in 10 at bats and therefore not moving runners either. In fact, with 16 chances so far this season where runners have been in scoring position Jacque has managed a single hit. He has struck out 6 times and ground into 1 double play. Add to this that Jacque has yet to get a single hit against 3 of the 4 other AL Central clubs and he's an absolute disaster for the Tigers.
So who should replace him?
I think it's time to call up Brent Clevlen from Toledo. He is a right handed hitter, but I think the Tigers need more offense rather than different looks. I'd send Ryan Raburn back down to Toledo to make room for Clevlen who saw some action in September last year as a defensive sub for the Tigers. The thing I like most about Clevlen is that he has an adequate bat for the needs of the Tigers. More importantly, he can help capitalize on those runners that are in scoring position. This season Clevlen is .375 with runners in scoring position and .280 with runners on base.
If Leyland wants to shake up the lineup a bit I think it would be valuable to show fans and the team that he's willing to make some bigger moves. Getting Cabrera into that 3rd slot is a good first step. The next weakness that needs to be addressed is how Detroit is consistently failing to take advantage of runners in scoring position. They are leaving an incredible number of runners on the basepaths and it has cost them every close game this year. Jacque Jones is hurting the Detroit Tigers and Clevlen is deserving of an opportunity to show his stripes.