In Friday’s Union-Tribune, Towers said he is hoping to lock up Khalil.
“He’s one of our better players, and we’d like him to be here for some time,” General Manager Kevin Towers said yesterday.
He goes on to say that he hasn’t actually talked to Khalil’s agent, or even if talks are coming up, just that he wants to.
Towers’ desire to sign Khalil is understandable. A season in which he hit 27 home runs and drove in almost 100 RBI is going to look mighty fine to an arbitrator. The $2.25M Khalil made last year will probably be doubled or tripled. Looking at it that way, it makes sense to get Khalil at a price we can all be happy with and that we can all see coming.
But Khalil is a shortstop wrapped up in an enigma. On the one hand, he’s coming off a season in which he was second on the team in home runs and RBI behind Adrian Gonzalez, who already has his contract despite just finishing his second season in San Diego. For shortstops, he’s in the top 6 for HR, SLG and IsoP. Needless to say, he can mash. Coming from a position where power is a premium, and on a team where power isn’t prevalent, only makes it sweeter. Too good to be true, even.
Yeah, too good to be true.
Khalil’s RC27 of 4.69 is good for sixth amongst the seven positions the team consistently fielded. That’s behind Gonzalez at 6.41 (team leader if you don’t include Milton, who finished at 8.86), B. Giles, Kouzmanoff, Cameron, and Bard. Yes, the same Bard and Giles put up a combined SLG of .411.
I’m getting ahead of myself.
RC27 is, simply, the rate stat version of runs created. And runs created is, in essence, a calculation of how many runs a player contributed on the season. But since I’m not a fan of flat stats, we’ll just stick with RC27.
As you can see, Khalil didn’t contribute as many runs as his fellow starters did. That seems strange, considering that Khalil either touched home plate himself or drove someone else to do so 159 times all year. The Bash Brothers, B. Giles and J. Bard, did as much 110 and 88 times, respectively. How can this be?
Because Khalil’s OBP was .291. Period.
So what? Who cares? Khalil isn’t paid to walk. He’s paid to hit home runs and impress the girlies.
Everyone has to walk. The argument about whether OBP or SLG is more important is far too large to be a throw-in here, but I’ll just say that everyone has to walk like everyone has to hit for some power. If your SLG is under .400, sit down, and if your OBP is under .300, sit down.
To put things in perspective, Khalil’s RC27 of 4.69 was good for 130th in the league. The five players in front of him were David DeJesus, Mark Teahen, Jose Bautista, Gary Matthews Jr and Jason Bartlett. The highest SLG in that group was Matthew’s .419. Both DeJesus and Bartlett failed to break .400, putting up marks of .372 and .361, respectively. Khalil’s SLG is almost 100 points higher than two of the three, and yet his inability to get on-base puts him behind them
It’s not that Khalil is a bad player. He hits well on the road (wink wink other general managers) and plays solid, although not great, defense. It’s just that he’s overrated. His 27 home runs blind people to the fact that he’s just not that productive because of his inability to get on base. And this is the reason Towers should look into moving Khalil now.