Padres bloggin' since 2007

Round and round it goes

January 15th, 2009 by Ray

Padres bolster infield with Eckstein

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:

Bill James .346 .346 .692 .314
CHONE .341 .359 .700 .316
Marcel .340 .366 .706 .316

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.

Posted in hot stove, players | 7 Comments »

7 Responses to “Round and round it goes”

  1. The only 2008 Padres with higher OBPs than Eckstein were Adrian Gonzalez, Brian Giles, and Jody Gerut.

    I don’t know if that says more about Eckstein or the 2008 Padres, but it’s something.

    • Ray Lankford says:

      He’d also be third on the Dodgers (behind Martin and Ethier), third on the D’Backs (Jackson and Hudson), sixth on the Rockies, and fourth on the Giants (Durham, Rowand, and Burris).

      I’m guessing it says as much Eckstein as it does the Padres.

  2. Mike says:

    What do you think about the Dave Eckstein signing? I’m all for it, a nice little one year deal!

  3. Geoff Young says:

    People don’t like Eckstein? He’s actually a pretty good player. And cheap. That’s a nice combination.

    • As I mentioned before, I love the OBP. But yeah, he’s kind of the internet’s favorite whipping boy mainly thanks to FireJoeMorgan and the traditional media’s obsession with his story.

  4. I think that the signing of Burke along with the signing of Eckstein pretty much signals the release of Edgar Gonzales.

    Egon hits decently, but his defense is awful. I don’t have access to his fielding stars right now, but I would bet he costs more runs defensively than he adds offensively.

    I would think that Burke and Denker fight it out for that last bench spot. Remember, Denker was picked up on waivers and would have to clear waivers again to send him down. That probably gives him a leg up on making the team as long as he has a good spring. Most people can’t figure out why the Giants exposed him to waivers in the first place since he is such a good prospect.

    • Ray’s got a pretty solid crush on Denker based on his projections, a feeling which I tend to share.

      As for Edgar, I surprised to learn just now that Fangraphs puts him at -1.1 wins with the bat, though that isn’t adjusted for position. FG gives him .9 wins with his glove, and yeah I do remember our previous conversation, defensive numbers are nowhere near a be and and end all for valuing defense. Including positional adjustments, FG gives Edgar 1.3 value wins.

      Who knows exactly how that fits into the team’s middle infield conundrum.

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