By Scott Barzilla

As we saw with the first basemen, what teams do with their trailers gives us a glimpse into their thinking as an organization. Sometimes it is a younger player that is still trying to establish himself. Sometimes, it is a veteran that simply has a disastrous season amongst a group of decent seasons. However, most of the time these guys are habitual offenders. They either move on or their team’s have no idea that they are as bad as they are. Let’s see what we have at second base.

30. Jemile Weeks– Oakland Athletics

Fielding: -9.0

Hitting: -9.5

Running: 0.6

TRI: -17.9

Weeks falls squarely in the first category of trailers. His presence gives Athletics’ fans hope in a roundabout way. Most people assume the Athletics were a once in a lifetime Cinderella story. He will be replaced by Scott Sizemore (who missed all of last season with an ACL tear). If Sizemore even produces average numbers, the Athletics will gain a couple of games in the standings. Of course, Weeks could continue to develop and produce better numbers as well.

When you see players of this magnitude on a winning team it gives you some hope that the winning can continue. When teams are successful you always have to assume a certain amount of serendipity. So, when you can improve a position by a considerable margin you can stave off the effects of serendipity.

29. Rickie Weeks– Milwaukee Brewers

Fielding: -19.4

Hitting: 2.0

Running: 1.3

TRI: -16.1

I suppose we might as well keep it in the family. Weeks ranked in the top dozen as a fantasy second baseman. In other words, he was that bad defensively. If we assume that a replacement level defender would finish one win behind an average defender then Weeks would still register nearly a win below replacement level. That is beyond awful.

To put that in perspective we need to consider how fielding interacts with pitching. Zack Greinke led the league in xFIP (a fielding independent pitching measure) for two consecutive years. The gap between that xFIP and his ERA was also among the largest in the league. Point the finger directly at Weeks (and others on the infield).

28. Robert Andino– Seattle Mariners

Fielding: -1.1

Hitting: -12.4

Running: 0.2

TRI: -13.3

Andino was the guy the Orioles turned to when Brian Roberts took a three season hiatus from the regular lineup. Every year was the year that Roberts was supposed to return healthy. After awhile, they simply gave up and had to prepare for the likelihood that he would not be healthy. Enter Alexi Casilla. Casilla may not be a gifted hitter, but he is better than Andino and he is a better fielder to boot.

If you recall what we said about Jemile Weeks then the same goes for the Orioles. They traded Andino and so they hope their new arrangement will yield better results. If it does then it will help offset the serious serendipity they enjoyed last season. If Brian Roberts finds the magic DeLorean then they could find themselves back in contention.

27. Ryan Theriot– Free Agent

Fielding: -9.2

Hitting: -5.2

Running: 1.4

TRI: -13.0

This is beginning to sound familiar. The Giants turned to Theriot when Freddy Sanchez spent a two year run on the disabled list. Now both are free agents and the Giants have turned to Marco Scutaro. Theriot is not a bad player overall, but he is a defensive liability wherever you put him. He was able to cover up for that by being a solid contact hitter, but when he is asked to play full time he is exposed.

So, we play the serendipity card again. Marco Scutaro might be as many as three runs better than Theriot and his compadres when all is added together. That might not account for all of the luck the Giants benefited from last season, but it could be enough to keep them in the game. Plus, the Giants have enough younger players that might grow so that they could become a mini-dynasty.

26. Gordon Beckham– Chicago White Sox

Fielding: -2.2

Hitting: -6.7

Running: -0.9

TRI: -9.8

It isn’t so much that the White Sox don’t know that he is bad, but they are too busy seeing what Beckham could be and not focusing on what he is. Paul Bear Bryant once said that “potential means they ain’t done nothing yet.” Beckham was a college baseball stud, but that potential just hasn’t translated at the big league level.

The question with guys like Beckham is how long you wait to see when or if the potential will ever be realized. If Beckham produces as he did in college then he will be a plus defender that produces 20 or more home runs and similar speed numbers. Currently, he shows flashes of all of those things while he struggles to get on base at an acceptable clip. So, how long do the White Sox wait?

 

Scott Barzilla

Scott Barzilla is the editor in chief at hardballchat.com. He is also the author of four books, including The Hall of Fame Index. The Hall of Fame Index was nominated for the Sporting News Award for statistical innovation in 2011.

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