Fred McGriff. Ryan Klesko. Andres Galarraga. Rico Brogna. Ken Caminiti. Robert Fick. That’s how the succession of the first baseman’s mitt went from the mid nineties to the early aughts. If that doesn’t make you appreciation Freddie Freeman, I don’t know what will. That brings us today’s Braves One Year Wanker, Robert Fick.
Braves One Year Wanker, Robert Fick
It’s seemingly an easy position to fill. There’s got to be someone out there who can give you a 110 OPS+ for a decent price and doesn’t embarrass you over there. With all due respect to Ron Washington, I think you could make it work with a non-first baseman too. But here we are. To be fair, Robert Fick wasn’t as bad as some of the other sad-sack first sackers. Caminiti, Brogna, Wally Joyner, Wes Smelms, etc. were much worse. But Robert Fick joined the 2003 Atlanta Braves which likely included a couple of steroid users but nonetheless included some huge bats. This was the team that set the Atlanta record of home runs in a season. This was the year Javy Lopez hit 43 home runs, easily a career high, and sported a 169 OPS+. All told, 4 guys had OPSes over .900. Even Rafael Furcal put 15 balls over the wall and had a better OPS than Fick.
So Fick stood out as the weak link in the lineup at the position where you should expect the most amount of production. It is, however, a defensible position to not throw any money at first baseman when you have Marcus Giles playing second, Lopez behind the plate, and an outfield consisting of Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones, and Gary Sheffield. Adam LaRoche was perceived to be a decent prospect at the time, so it was also fair to not block him and just give Fick a one-year deal. But he’s a wanker, so we shall discuss him.
Just Fickin’ Great…
Fick had a couple of really nice seasons in Detroit in a pitcher’s park with a big right field, so the thought was that he would hit righties and Julio Franco would hit lefties and everything would be great. Instead, his 95 OPS+ was the least amongst starters and he was widely perceived as a jerk. There are the anecdotal stories that the fella liked the sauce and didn’t like humans, but there’s the indisputable record of Fick attempting to knock the ball out of Eric Karros’ glove during the playoffs that year.
So while he’s on the cusp, the verdict is that he’s a wanker, not just for his lackluster play, but also because, well, he’s just a wanker.
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