Padres bloggin' since 2007

Hey hermano

January 19th, 2010 by Ray

In case you aren’t following us on Facebook, you may not have noticed that the team signed Jerry Hairston, Jr. to a one-year deal worth $2.125 million.

Along with giving Mark Grant more opportunities to say “BroBI,” JJ (as he will henceforth be referred) will fill the team’s utility role. On his career, JJ has logged 400 innings at every defensive position other than first and catcher, and he’ll be the most versatile Padre since Damian Jackson in 2005. But his natural position is second base. You see where this is going.

David Eckstein is a horrible baseball player. I don’t doubt that he is a fantastic presence in the clubhouse, but he’s a very poor one on the field. Last year, he was worth 0.7 wins, worse than every starting second basemen in the league not named Kaz Matsui. Amazingly, CHONE projects Eckstein to be even worse this year, with 0.3 wins. So let’s start JJ, right?

Right. But indulge me, and allow me to explain why.

Eckstein is not a good hitter. At all. Last year, he ended the season with a wRC+ of 87, and Bill James and CHONE both project him to fall down near 80 this year. Unfortunately, JJ’s not much better. With the exception of 2008, when he exceeded his career BABIP by 75 points, he’s never been an above-average hitter and he’s not projected to be one this year. For all intents and purposes, he’s not a large step up offensively. Just defensively.

While Eckstein is not a good fielder, he’s not terribly experienced, with only a season’s worth of second base under his belt. The results haven’t been good, but we don’t have enough evidence to be conclusive. JJ, on the other hand, is a very good fielder. In over 4500 innings, Hairston has been worth +5.6 runs a year at second. But JJ’s not bad at most of the positions he’s played. What about his valuable versatility? In today’s Union-Tribune, Hoyer was quoted as saying “Jerry is one of the most versatile players in baseball and a great fit for our club. He will see action at nearly every position on the field.” If he was brought in to give the team options at every position, is it for the best to cement him in just one?

Yes. It is.

(Before I go on, let me just say that if the team is looking at JJ to take a lot of the load off of Blanks and Venable, then it might not be for the best. And if JJ isn’t built to last a whole season [he’s only played 130 games twice], then it might not be for the best. But let’s act like everything’s copacetic, and move on.)

I don’t know how practical this is. Eckstein is a respected veteran, and he’s one of the most popular players on the team, both inside the clubhouse and up in the stands. He’s very good at the things I can’t plug into my calculator. But he’s also very bad at the things I can. At this point, as a member of 2010 Padres, Eckstein’s value is as the backup second basemen, who can fill in for JJ when he’s needed elsewhere on the diamond.

Posted in hot stove, players, statistics | 6 Comments »

6 Responses to “Hey hermano”

  1. Matthew says:

    I agree with you. I like the signing but the Padres would be best to use JJ at second. I think this would be a huge mistake if this takes playing time away from Blanks and/or Venable as they are valuable pieces to the future (and who fans like me tune in to see).

    All I know is I wish my brother played for the Padres so I’d have a hook up. That seems to be the way in the door!

    Just started reading your blog and I enjoy it!

  2. Melvin says:

    Put me in the Oscar Salazar at second camp.

  3. william says:

    I think this city will be just fine once Eckstein is gone. The sooner it happens, the better IMO.

    I’ll take you one farther.
    Lets trade Eck for some pancake mix and powdered eggs, then let Antonelli be the 2B off the bench when JJ has to do his outfield relief thing .. (which i hope is never)

  4. SDPads1 says:

    But then who would do the Padres “Up coming games” TV commercials if Eck was gone?!?!

  5. […] Hey hermano (Sacrifice Bunt). I think it’s safe to say that Ray is not a David Eckstein fan. [h/t Gaslamp Ball] […]

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