DMZ · December 20, 2004 at 9:16 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Um, I want to make a really dumb argument. I think the M’s should look at just-released David Eckstein. He could be a decent (well, okay) stop-gap at short if they want to start grooming Lopez for second next year by getting him the reps at Tacoma. But even if you don’t… Eckstein’s a good 2b/SS guy who works his ass off. He’s funny. If you don’t think Boone’s going to be motivated by last season’s performance or having his head clear or this being his walk year, how about having a hyper-active hamster eager to outplay him every day? He makes Bloomquist look like a napping sloth when it comes to work ethics.

Plus, seriously, he just cracks me up. If we’re looking at 80 wins next year and Eckstein can make that 5% more amusing, that’s got to be worth something.


41 Responses to “Eckstein!”

  1. Jeff in Fremont on December 20th, 2004 9:23 pm

    X would be nice to have around. Would Lopez be better off starting as SS in Tacoma for ’05?

  2. Jeff Sullivan on December 20th, 2004 9:26 pm

    You could’ve made the argument that Eckstein gets on base a little bit.

    It’s more persuasive than “dude, he’s a midget!”, anyway.

  3. Bill Fugazi on December 20th, 2004 9:33 pm

    Strange– I just came over here to post the same pitch for Eckstein. What a perfect solution for the M’s, who need to deepen their bench, have an adequate SS with MLB experience. He even comes from Bavasi’s fatherland in Anaheim. It seems like a matter of time before this inevitibility accutally happens.

    Oh, and Eck made 2.1 last year, but was just cut. I think 650 sounds about right, no?

  4. Lester on December 20th, 2004 9:34 pm

    I vote for the hamster. Good idea.

  5. Jake Brake on December 20th, 2004 9:36 pm

    I’m in. If nothing else he could be a great sparkplug off the bench, assuming you could get him for a price that would make that reasonable. And you have to love his attitude. I know the sabermetrics crowd doesn’t believe in “chemistry,” but IMO having a straw to stir the drink is a good thing. Think David Bell, who numbers-wise was never a great player, but brought an intensity that I think was crucial to the 2001 team’s success.

  6. James T on December 20th, 2004 9:37 pm

    I’ve always preferred The Lawn Gnome as a nickname for Eckstein.

    Gee, now those fools in Anaheim will have to try and make their thunderstix spell out O.C. Good luck. Funny thing is it’s not hard to do if you cheer and clap with your HANDS!

  7. Deanna on December 20th, 2004 9:37 pm

    Dude! Eckstein would rock at SS. And for other dumb arguments, he’s a big community service guy too, meaning maybe we’d get a 3rd year in a row of a Mariner winning the Clemente award! Wheeee!

  8. Matto on December 20th, 2004 9:37 pm

    I just came over here to say the same thing too.. He instantly should make WFB scared. He’s the type of guy that SHOULD be signed by the M’s.

  9. Jim Thomsen on December 20th, 2004 9:39 pm

    Actually, he doesn’t get on base all that much, and he doesn’t have enough of an arm to play short … but, yeah, I like the guy anyway. Plus, chicks dig him. The thing is, what’s he going to cost? I imagine several teams will sniff around him and he’ll be able to extort a one-year deal between $1.5 and $2.5 million. I’m not saying that’s necessarily wrong … but ask yourselves: Is that a reasonable outlay for the M’s?

    And iif Eck ain’t available, there’s always Buddy Biancalana. Or Rich Aurilia.

  10. Tim on December 20th, 2004 9:40 pm

    Let’s keep Eckstein as far away as possible.

  11. Matt on December 20th, 2004 9:42 pm

    X would great for a lot of reasons.
    He would provide comic releif for the players and fans watching him warm up
    He brings experience to SS….(sorry folks but I think Lopez is at least a year away….I like the kid and think he will a GREAT SS/2B in the future…but not right now)
    Will come cheap…maybe not league minimum, but really close to it.
    So let’s see…X brings Experience, he comes Cheap, and adds comic releif……Plus, we also would have enough money left over to sign a Pitcher.

  12. DMZ on December 20th, 2004 9:44 pm

    If he doesn’t come cheap, I’m dusting my hands of the whole idea. But tonight, when I have no idea what he’d cost, I have to say… it’d be pretty funny. That’s not how good teams make decisions, of course.

  13. Josh B on December 20th, 2004 9:47 pm

    Would he really be that much better than Leone or Cabrera there next year?

  14. Deanna on December 20th, 2004 9:49 pm

    The obvious joke in reply to #13 is, “Which Cabrera?”

  15. Josh B on December 20th, 2004 9:50 pm

    Our Cabrera

  16. Digger on December 20th, 2004 10:00 pm

    Great–then we could have TWO Angel-castoff utility infielders. Does $3M/year for 3 years sound about right?

  17. matt on December 20th, 2004 10:01 pm

    Uggh. David Eckstein? The guy who needs a four-step running start to get the ball to first base? The guy who sprints to first after a walk like Pete Rose’s bookie on a coke-bender? No thanks. The M’s can get a similar player for less money without the World Series pixie dust.

  18. Jon Helfgott on December 20th, 2004 10:12 pm

    Maybe y’all are jaded by the rash of stupid signings this year, or maybe it was expected, but I’m surprised not to see some sort of comment expressing disbelief that somebody actually paid Orlando Cabrera 8 million a year for 4 years of his decline phase. Why on earth do you give up a SS with a .339 OBP for a “sparkplug” with a .306 OBP?

  19. Dave on December 20th, 2004 10:19 pm

    Yes, 4 years and $32 million is far too much for Orlando Cabrera.

    That said, he’s a lot better than the posts here insinuate. From 2001-2003, he established a consistent level of being worth about 5 wins above replacement with his bat. In two of those seasons, he was worth another win with his glove, and in what looks to be a fluke 2001 season, he was worth 3 wins with his glove. His established value, when healthy, is right around 5-6 wins above replacement.

    For comparison, Edgar Renteria’s established value is around 4 wins above replacement. He just got 4 years/$40 million.

    This is just another example of the middle class siphoning off money from the upper class. The Angels, for whatever reason, would rather spend $8 million on a league average center fielder and $7 million on a league average shortstop than $15 million on another superstar. It’s bad roster management, but it doesn’t make Cabrera a bad player.

    The contract is lousy, but Cabrera is better than Eckstein.

  20. Chickenhawk on December 20th, 2004 10:20 pm

    Interesting, I too came over here to put a plug in for Eckstein. No, he isn’t a long-term solution, but he can’t do worse defensively than Lopez this year (Lopez has 12 errors in winter ball already).
    Lopez should be in AAA preparing to play 2B. Lopez could be a .280, 20 HR, 75 RBI player in a couple years, but not if he can’t find a defensive position.

  21. Jon Helfgott on December 20th, 2004 10:38 pm

    I agree that he’s better than Eckstein, I’m just saying that they’re not necessarily getting much of an upgrade. Doesn’t 2004 do a bit to lower those expectations of his “established value” though? He rebounded with Boston to put up good numbers in a hitters’ park, but he was only worth 2.1 WARP with his bat this past year. PECOTA projected he’d be worth 2.0 wins this year, and projects steady decline, down to 1.0 by the last year of the contract. I’m not necessarily saying he’s “bad” right now, but I do think that when all is said and done this contract will rank among the worst given to a position player this offseason in terms of how much bang Anaheim will get for their buck.

  22. Jim Thomsen on December 20th, 2004 10:40 pm

    For marketing purposes, we should offer him a few extra hundred thousand if a) he’s willing to change his name to Tiger, Timmy, Tuffy or Pookie; and b) will star in a children’s adventure series on TV. “What’s that you say, Flipper? Davie’s trapped in an underwater cave and only has enough air left till the next commercial?”

  23. Jon Helfgott on December 20th, 2004 10:41 pm

    Quick question: is “Wins” in the PECOTA forcasts the same as WARP, or are they different stats? Sometimes I find BP’s stat descriptions less than fully explanitory to the layperson.

  24. moira on December 20th, 2004 10:58 pm

    Eckstein makes me feel icky, but he is hilarious to behold, I’ll give you that. I was thinking he should change his name to Skip or Neddy, but I like Jim’s idea of Tuffy too. I hope during post-game interviews he’s real gung-ho and says things like “golly!” or “and how!” and when he talks about his dad he refers to him as “Pop”. Also they should do a photo shoot with him wearing Aqua-Man jammies.

  25. NBarnes on December 20th, 2004 11:09 pm

    #16: You bite your tounge. 😛 😛 😛

  26. Arford on December 20th, 2004 11:33 pm

    Sure, sign him. But on two conditions:

    1) Willie F Bloomquist HAS to be the player DFA’d to make room for him

    2) He has to agree to put a propellor on his cap for all home games

  27. Matt Staples on December 21st, 2004 12:21 am

    I agree that it would be funny, and I might be for this if he was willing to come here for something like $1m. Still, two points: (1) What would the collective reaction here be if not one of the USSM guys, but “AK1984” had proposed the idea, and (2) can Leone play short? I’m not saying he can do it well, or should be there, but quite simply, is Leone capable of doing a replacement-level job there for the league minimum? If expenditures like this are the difference between us getting Odalis or Wade Miller or not, I’m all for sticking the $300k guy at short.

  28. DMZ on December 21st, 2004 12:34 am

    Leone’s better at short than I think people generally believe, but between him and Eckstein? That’s sort of a Ibanez-or-Jacobsen at first choice.

  29. planB on December 21st, 2004 1:48 am

    Please, no! Eckstein drives me crazy. I can’t even watch when he’s at bat.

  30. AK1984 on December 21st, 2004 1:49 am

    Yeah, what would the reaction be…? As it is, I’m sure you all can easily conclude that I’d rather see Lopez at shortstop earning a little over $300,00, instead of David at shortstop for approximately $1 or $2 million. Besides, why do the Mariners need another midget in the middle infield, since Bret Boone — who is not 5’10”, but more likely 5’8″ — is already playing second? …exactly, they don’t!

  31. Conor Glassey on December 21st, 2004 2:42 am

    If we do end up with X, I really want one of those life-size posters with the height chart (for kids to see how tall they are) of Eckstein standing next to Richie Sexson. Wouldn’t that be awesome?!

  32. Evan on December 21st, 2004 10:39 am

    The question is, would the M’s tell the truth and list Eckstein’s real height in the media guide, or would they keep trying to convince everytone that he’s 5’9″?

  33. Ralph Malph on December 21st, 2004 10:52 am
  34. RealRhino on December 21st, 2004 11:11 am

    Can somebody explain what they mean when they say signing Eckstein would be “funny”? I guess I don’t quite understand why the discussion of him as a player needs to go beyond his performance on the field or the usual discussion re character issues. I’ve heard complaints about his arm, but every “advanced” defensive metric I’ve seen (UZR, FRAA, RF/ZR) rates him as a better defensive SS than EITHER Cabrera and Jose Lopez (from the little we saw of him). Ragging on his arm makes as much sense as complaining that Sexson doesn’t hit many doubles. On the whole, Eck’s arm isn’t poor enough to detract significantly from his defensive performance. He has no power, but gets on base at a decent clip and can certainly run the bases. He’s offensively about the same as our Cabrera, and at anything less than $2 million is a much better value than their Cabrera, unless O.C. suddenly reverts back to his best seasons from 2 years ago.

  35. Ralph Malph on December 21st, 2004 1:15 pm

    As I understand it if they offered Eckstein arbitration he could not get more than a 20% pay cut (2.1M – 20% = 1.68M). I would assume from this that the Angels think he’s worth less than $1.68M. If anyone else thought he was worth more than that, I assume the Angels would have worked a trade for him.

    Based on that, I would assume his market value is somewhat less than $1.68M.

    Is his .276/339/332 line better than Jolbert Cabrera’s .270/312/384? Maybe you prefer Bloomquist’s 264/319/345. Yuk.

    I find it interesting that Eckstein’s #1 comp is Phil Rizzuto.

  36. Jamie on December 21st, 2004 2:51 pm

    Baseball’s entertainment. Throw out all the stats you want (and I’d be interested in them, of course), but the difference next year between David Eckstein, Alex Cora, Jose Lopez, Jolbert Cabrera, and Justin Leone isn’t going to change the M’s postseason dreams. There’s maybe a one or two win difference if something huge happens (like a breakout or a huge decline).

    There are 3 possible differences this could make for the future of the M’s:

    1) Jose Lopez plays in the majors, adding a year of his service time (bad)

    2) They sign a player for too much money, taking away resources from other players (and Eckstein/Cora probably aren’t going to take much money)

    3) They get an exciting player that builds the fan base and makes all the kids and grandmas and me more likely to spend money on Mariners products. This strategy has obviously worked so far, with the M’s strangely having huge amounts of money in a town of 500,000 people, and Eckstein is the only really exciting option available. Alex Cora could possibly gain some interest because of Joey, but I doubt it.

  37. Shawn McLaughlin on December 21st, 2004 4:19 pm

    I’d be interested to know what folks thought about a trade for Alex Cintron. He seems expendable now that the D Backs have Clayton, Counsel and Kata unless they plan to play Cintron at 2nd and drop Kata. Last year kinda sucked and I wonder if outside factors contributed to that or if 2003 (.317 .359 .489) was just an outlier and last year was more indicative of his true ability. I haven’t seen him play much, but he seems to be solid defensively….Adequate range, good size, strong arm. He also is slugging over .600 in winter ball right now (I know….so what?)and is, I belive on the books for 335K for one more year. Oh….and he just turned 26 years old. Seems that Arizona is down on him so it might not take much to pry him away. Is he worth it?

  38. Shoeless Jose on December 21st, 2004 4:45 pm

    Uh, Seattle may only have a population of a half million, but if you only allowed people into Safeco who had Seatle zipcodes it would be a pretty empty place. Seattle’s population essentially has not changed since 1970, which is why we have no traffic problems, right?

    The Mariners sell tickets and merhandise to a much larger market than Seattle proper, and that market is somewhere between 3 and 13 million depending on how you want to figure it (and not counting Japan).

  39. moira on December 21st, 2004 5:51 pm

    Re #34- by funny I just mean downright entertaining to watch, like a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Granted I’d prefer to chuckle at players on other teams, but after last season I’ll take all the grins I can get. A debate on what should or should not factor into an opinion of a player is a pretty tricky thing, and for many fans, intangibles are what makes a player memorable. Take Dennis Rodman as a classic example. I may be overly optimistic about next season, but my guess is that Mariners fans are going to have to embrace their collective sense of humor for a while longer to stay sane.

  40. Deanna on December 21st, 2004 6:24 pm

    Plus, just imagine the commercials! I’m totally seeing a “You must be THIS TALL to enter the clubhouse” gag, with them setting it to Ichiro height or something and leaving poor Eckstein outside. What with them losing Edgar and a bunch of the other “familiar faces” this year, they could probably use some fresh gimmicks for the TV ads.

  41. Jim on December 21st, 2004 9:19 pm

    If Eckstein is cheap enough, what are the odds he’s the right guy to light a fire under Sandfrog’s behind – turn him into the usable pinch hitter he should be?