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Musings on the Cards Moves

December 12, 2010

I haven’t really formed a powerful opinion of the Card’s off-season.  All of the moves have really been “eh” moves.  They’re fine on the face, but not likely to substantially improve the club.  I’ll take the two major moves in order.

Trading Blake Hawksworth for Ryan Theriot:

Giving away the Hawk doesn’t bother me too much.  He’s pretty much “just a guy”; an o.k. piece to have around, but replaceable in an instant.  This move boils down to whether you see Theriot as an improvement over Brendan Ryan or not.  Basically you’re taking playing time away from someone who is likely to be a +10 to 15 defender with -15 to -20 bat for someone that will be a -5 to -10 fielder and a -10 to -15 bat.  Seems to be to be a horizontal move at best, with a definite possibility to be a downgrade.

In order of preference, I think Theriot would best be deployed

  1. Starting ~20 games at 2nd and ~20 games at SS; and would be the guy to take over if either got injured (This assumes a competent 2nd baseman; which the Cards lack)
  2. Starting ~130 games at 2nd (this is actually the best for the Cards since they lack an actual 2nd baseman)
  3. Starting ~130 games at SS

So the Cards are going to pick the worst option (where they likely have the best player already in place).

Signing Lance Berkman:

At least Berkman brings something the Cards don’t have too much of; a high OBP bat.  Clearly the question here is can Berkman hit enough to overcome what will likely be large defensive shortcomings?  Assuming health (clearly a big assumption, but if not healthy then all that is lost is $8M)  I think we’re looking at something like a 0.375 wOBA with the error bars being ~0.015 to 0.020.  For him to be a 2 WAR guy with that kind of offense he’d need to be about a -10 defender.  Is that possible?  Probably.  Likely?  Don’t know, my guess would be no.

All in all it appears the Cards made two depth moves.  The problem is they are being spun as more than that.  The question is, “Will they need to be more than that?”.

  1. thoran85 permalink
    December 12, 2010 1:29 PM

    Do defensive measurements take into account the amount of plays the fielder makes throughout the season or are all players assumed to have fielded the same amount to normalize the numbers across different teams?

    I ask this only because it would seem that Berkman, although horrible in the OF, will have a lesser impact on the Cardinals since they are a ground ball pitching team, as opposed to a team with a majority of fly ball pitchers.

    • stevesommer05 permalink
      December 12, 2010 1:36 PM


      The raw defensive metrics (i.e. UZR, TZ etc) take chances into account. It’s basically how many runs above/below average is that player given the chances he has gotten. The rate stats (UZR/150) normalize to a standard number of chances.

      That said, you are correct in that his defense would have less of an impact on the Cardinals (a GB staff) than on a fly ball heavy team. Is it enough to offset the bad? Not really sure

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