From the Boston-Cleveland game, June 22nd ...Mark McLemore: Alex Cora is a very valuable player. Any manager would love a guy they can just plug in at short or second, and they know he's not going to boot too many balls out there. A plus defender.
No matter how brilliant Alex Cora is defensively, can you really say he's a very
valuable player? That's just hard to justify.
He has a .660 career OPS. He had one outstanding year, 2002, when he had an OPS+ of 120, which is very good for a middle infielder.
But Jesus, he's an enormous hole in the lineup. Sure, he might not "boot too many balls out there," but he's hitting .222 with a .568 OPS this year.
Why do former ballplayer analysts glorify defense and intangibles time and time again? I have a convoluted theory that doesn't make any sense. Former players want to point things out that viewers can attribute to some secret inside knowledge that only ballplayers have. Any knucklehead can say, wow, A-Rod is a good player. It takes Mark McLemore to reveal that Alex Cora -- Alex Cora! -- is actually quite valuable. Hey, you Joe Fans out there might not be attuned to notice it, but these guys who do the little things -- your David Ecksteins, your Chone Figginses -- they're the real MVPs.
Actually, this theory doesn't even have to be limited to retired players. All analysts need to justify their own existences by revealing new insights that the average person wouldn't pick up on. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these insights tend to fall in the boring, often completely wrong category of conventional baseball wisdom.
In conclusion, I hate Joe Morgan.
Labels: alex cora, mark mclemore