The internet’s least favorite player is officially a San Diego Padre.
It appears that David Eckstein will become the Padres fourth Opening Day second baseman since the departure of Mark Loretta, following in the depressing footsteps of Josh Barfield, Marcus Giles, and Tad Iguchi.
Eckstein’s spent the better part of the past eight seasons as a shortstop, although he moved to second after being acquired by Moorad’s old team in August. Eckstein’s defense at short has been steadily deteriorating and, according to Tangotiger’s fan scouting reports, his arm strength has been getting worse, bottoming out at 0 this year. Luckily for us, second base is closer to first than shortstop.
Offensively, Eckstein hasn’t done much. He posted a career high wOBA of .335 with the Cardinals in 2005. Never in his career has he posted a slugging percentage over .400 but he’s had some good on-base percentages. Over the past three seasons, his OBP has been .350, which is something the team hasn’t gotten from the middle infield since 2004.
For 2009, the projections for Eckstein look like:
Not good, but that OBP might be a silver lining. And he’ll be back making under $1 million, so we’ve got that going for us.
Something else interesting to come out of this is the appearance of solidity Eckstein gives in the 4 hole. Towers has spent the past couple of months collecting second baseman. Eckstein is the latest name on a list that includes Luis Rodriguez, Travis Denker, Chris Burke, Edgar Gonzalez, and Matt Antonelli. With Eckstein taking over at second, Rodriguez would seem to be the team’s shortstop going into the new season, and Antonelli will likely start the year in Portland. From there, Burke and Gonzalez are utility guys who can play all over the infield and in the outfield, with Burke owning 500 innings experience in centerfield. This leaves Denker, who projects to be a monster, left needing a big Spring Training.