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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Blue Jays - Signed Eckstein
Toronto Blue Jays - Signed SS David Eckstein to a 1-year, $4.5 million contract.
I’m actually a little surprised by this. With plenty of money in play and plenty of remarkable players to throw said money at, I had figured that Eckstein would have attracted more attention. After all, he’s small and scrappyand white
, was an All-Star in 2005 and 2006, has two ringz, and a WS MVP to boot.
Eckstein may not be a star and he may occasionally be accosted by grocery store security guards that think he’s a lost child or captured by drunks thinking he will lead them to a pot of gold or marshmallow-shapes-and-oat-based cereal, but the Jays are a team that couldn’t even get a .600 OPS out of their shortstops in 2007 and sorely needed offensive help anywhere they could find it. John McDonald is a much better defensive shortstop than Eckstein, but Mac is also one of the lousiest hitters around. Eckstein is not really a bad defensive shortstop, just generally unimpressive thanks to a weak arm. Shortstops are as a group, excellent defenders and there’s only so much room to make up ground by crazily charging every grounder. Perhaps the Jays can heavily rotate in McDonald when Halladay or Litsch are pitching? They’re both groundballers and the expected runs needed are lower. For a brief period, between the time the ‘86 Mets realized for good that Kevin Mitchell wasn’t a SS and when they realized that George Foster was like their 7th-best outfielder, the Mets did something similar and used Kevin Mitchell in games that had lower run-scoring requirements or Sid Fernandez on the mound. Eckstein’s much better than Mitchell, don’t get me wrong.
Can’t complain about a 1-year contract for practically anyone player above replacement level, to be honest, and Eckstein is an upgrade.
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