Injuries have limited the shortstop to 240 games over his last two seasons, and he doesn't have the body or playing style of someone who will last.
But nobody can argue this: When Eckstein plays, he produces.
I can argue that. I can easily argue that. You want me to argue that? I will argue that.
The man's career OPS+ is 89. That is below average for baseball players. His career high OPS+ is 101. That is one percent better than the average baseball player. He has never had more than 26 doubles in a season. He has never had a slugging percentage in the .400s. He is a terrible hitter.
His batting average in each of his last three seasons is .294, .292 and .309, and he made a couple of All-Star teams.
Oh my God. If Buster Olney were a GM, he would stock his teams with Ecksteins and Juan Pierres and Christian Guzmans and they would go 20-142.
He has been a shortstop and the Cardinals need a shortstop, and Eckstein may end up returning to St. Louis. But Eckstein could also be, for a big-market contending club, a very interesting buy as a super utility player, because he can play second base, and perhaps even third base, along with some shortstop.
David Eckstein playing third base would be amazing. I would love to see that. If Jacoby Ellsbury hit a ball down the line to David Eckstein and Eck had to backhand it and throw from foul territory, by the time the ball landed in the first baseman's glove Ellsbury would be sitting on the bench after his inside-the-park little-league HR and Kevin Youkilis would be at the plate with a count of 2-0.
You could move him around, give him days off when he had a nagging injury, and always inject energy into your team -- like a sixth man in basketball.
This is a reason to sign him?
GM: So, tell me why we should sign your client.
Eckstein's Agent: Tons of reasons. First of all, he's a winner. Second, he can inject energy into your team. Third, when we gets injured -- and he will definitely get injured -- you can give him days off!
GM: (has long since left room)
Pay him well on a two-year deal and promise him 400 plate appearances, and he could help you get to October.Pay him well on a two-year deal, and he will certainly collect his paychecks while not helping your team at all. And if your team makes it to October despite his mediocre/bad play, he will totally help you win in October, with his career .278/.333/.335 line in the postseason.
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