Now that the deadline’s come and gone and the team has added a couple of new parts, there is some question as to how they’re all going to fit together. Here are some helpful suggestions:
Even though he’s now a Padre, Miguel Tejada is no longer a shortstop. He hasn’t played the position all year, in large part because no one would give him a job. Tejada’s never been a good shortstop, costing his teams -30.2 runs on his career. From 2007-09, the last three years he spent at short, he cost the O’s and Astros 6.3 runs defensively. And Tejada’s not hitting enough to offset his poor defense. This season, he’s posted a wRC+ of 80, with a road split of 60. While he has been good in the near past, his raw numbers were inflated by Camden Yards and Minute Maid Park. From 2007-09, his overall OPS was .773 but his road split was only .713. Moving to Petco Park will likely only make things worse.
With Tejada out, we’re left with Everth Cabrera and Scott Hairston as options in the middle infield. So far, they’ve split the duties pretty evenly with Hairston logging only 72 more innings than his counterpart. They’ve both been good defensively but Hairston’s UZR/150 of 10.9 bests Cabrera’s 5.7. From a defensive standpoint, either will do. From an offensive standpoint, they’re both bad but Everth has been terrible. His walk rates are down from last year, his strike out rates are up, and he’s left with a wRC+ of 51. As a reminder, 100 is average. Everth has been the victim of an incredibly low BABIP, but the middle of the pennant race is not the time to hope that it balances out.
Hairston, despite his 86 wRC+ gets the job.
The newly acquired Ryan Ludwick is a right fielder so the job becomes his, right? I’d be surprised if this wasn’t the case, but I’m hoping it isn’t. Ludwick is actually a strong fielder, with a career UZR of 19.2 in right (7.6 UZR/150) in over 3,200 innings. In the spacious new Busch Stadium, Ludwick’s range was worth a below-average -0.3 runs. His arm is above average (+9.5 runs) but I worry about he’ll handle the even bigger right field in Petco. Will Venable, on the other hand, has handled the confines in right quite well. In his short career (just over 1,000 innings in right), Venable has been worth +12.2 runs (+16.1 UZR/150), thanks in large part to his great range (+11.8 runs).
Leave Will in right. Let Ludwick and his twenty bombs take left.