Saturday, December 15, 2007

David Ech-Stein

So J.P Ricciardi is obviously feeling as uneasy as I am about the prospects of starting next season with the same line up as the previous year so he signed David Eckstein to a one year, 4.5 million dollar deal. I think he missed the mark. Looking positive, J.P deserves credit for going out and getting guys who are proven winners, after all it was diminutive Eckstein out there collecting the World Series MVP award back with St. Louis and if there's one word every one uses to describe the 5'7" lead-off man, it's scrappy.

But there's another word a lot of people use to describe the lil guy, and that's "over rated". The Jays already have a regular shortstop, John MacDonald, yeah, the guy they call the Human Highlight Reel, and if you are going to go out and sign somebody to take that position from him, why do you go out and sign an aging small man with all the range and mobility of a rotting tree stump? Eckstein is a defensive liability to such a degree that any advantage gained by having him lead-off the order will be lost in ground balls through his feet. The Jays' rotation have come to rely on having the solid wall between second and third that Johnny Mac represents and then we go 180 degrees around and suddenly next season giving up ground balls will be a liability.

Essentially now the Jays have pitched out 4.5 million dollars for a utility infielder because even if Eckstein starts the season at short you have to imagine that by September that somebody will have become frustrated enough to put MacDonald back where he belongs. MacDonald can't hit, yeah, we know that, but he makes up for it by catching everything hit his way. Eckstein can't reliably catch anything but while he does hit better Macdonald (that's not saying much, most of the Jays' bat boys probably hit better than the Mac Attack) he does not do it well enough to justify putting him on the field every night. If Troy Glaus wasn't comfortably entrenched at third (hey remember that time they had him play short stop? Pretty sure Glaus is better there than Eckstein) they could conceivably shift Eckstein over to where his defensive misadventures would not be such a problem but the point is moot. This was a bad deal, I think and I can only be glad that it only runs one year because I can't see the Jays finding themselves needing to renew this contract.

What's with this team and committing to under appreciated fan favourites like MacDonald and Greg Zaun and then going out and desperately trying to replace them? Poor Zaun. Remember when J.P said hey you're our number one guy congrats you really finally earned it, and then he signed Bengie Molina? And then just a week ago J.P was after Paul Lo Duca and you have to wonder how any player could ever develop any loyalty to this club. And if we're talking loyalty and Blue Jays I can't leave out the way the Jays ran Carlos Delgado out of town.

I am so ready for another General Manager not named J.P Ricciardi to have a crack at this team. I just want to look at my baseball team and feel reassured that there is a plan in place, a plan to improve and get better and compete and, hey now whatever happened to Russ Adams? Remember it was going to be Adam Hill at short and Russ Adams at second and now Hill is at second and there is huge road jam at short and this is exactly what I'm talking about. There is no plan around this team, just a series of ad hoc moves designed to make it look like we are keeping up with the Joneses in New York and Boston. Frank Thomas and Tomo Ohka and Victor Zambrano and Matt Stairs and where does it all lead?

Right back at third in the American League East


Exhibit F in the David Eckstein is overrated case:

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