FIRE JOE MORGAN: ARod-Eckstein Round-Up

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

 

ARod-Eckstein Round-Up

For those of you who are interested, there are several infielders available through free agency right now. Two of them are David Eckstein, an adorable 11 inch-tall translucent man who cannot play baseball very well, and Alex Rodriguez, who is better at hitting baseballs than every other person in the entire world.

Let's go to the journalistic/public opinion round-up. First, we have an ESPN.com poll, the final question of which is:

9. Which player would you rather have?

69.6% Alex Rodriguez

30.4% David Eckstein


Now, I suppose it is possible that some of the 150,000+ people who have voted in this poll were taking into consideration things like salary, or the current 3Bman on their favorite team, or something. But the question is, straight-up, who would you rather have?

And 30% say Eckstein. Thirty percent. Thir. Ty. Per. Ce. N. T.

That means that more than 45,000 people sat at their computers, and thought it over, and they said, you know, I don't want the guy who is 32 and had a .354 EqA+ last year with 54 HR. I want the 32 year-old who only played in 117 games last year (and 123 the year before) and hit 3 HR and had a .275 EqA+, and who needs a relay man to get the ball from short to first.

Who are you people? What is wrong with your brains?

Speaking of people whose brains are wrong, ESPN's Buster Olney has some things to say about Eckstein:

3. David Eckstein, SS

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.

Sign him!

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.

Finally, here is the voice of reason, in the form of Keith Law:

Quite possibly the most overrated player in baseball because people say "gritty" and "scrappy" and "smart" when they really just mean "short." Eckstein has had a nice run in the National League as a slap-and-run guy who does all of the little things and not many of the big things: He's got a short swing and isn't strong, so he hits for very little power, and he's never drawn many walks or worked the count. He's still an above-average runner, but not a burner and not worth much on the base paths; the speed is most valuable in helping him bunt for hits or leg out some ground balls. He's a bad defensive shortstop, and given his age he's likely to get worse, so it makes much more sense for someone to sign him as a second baseman.


Ahhhhhh. Soothing. Although how he is at #15 I will never know.

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posted by Ken Tremendous  # 5:20 PM
Comments:
Does anyone else think that ESPN was purposely baiting us with a poll question pitting our two favorite baseball players against each other?
 
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