Eckstein to Cards

DMZ · December 23, 2004 at 7:50 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

So I thought Eckstein would be a cool pickup for the M’s, more for intangible and amusing-me reasons. Jason agreed. We both felt if he was cheap enough, you could use him at short, or SS/2B, keep Lopez in Tacoma converting to 2B to take over for Boone… so like 1y, $1m. Maybe $1.5 or something?

Eckstein signed in St. Louis for $10m over 3 years. Word is he’ll be an everyday shortstop and lead off. This off-season continues to get weirder and weirder.


35 Responses to “Eckstein to Cards”

  1. Jim Thomsen on December 23rd, 2004 7:59 pm

    I wonder if the Cards jacked up the price because they though they were in fierce competition with somebody for Eckstein’s services? In case they forgot, I’d like to remind them that they already had David Eckstein in the organization available for a league-minimum salary … under the alias Bo Hart.

  2. Jeremy on December 23rd, 2004 7:59 pm

    Oh boy, I get to watch Eckstein 150 times a year down here in Arkansas.

    Merry freaking Christmas to me.

  3. Jamie on December 23rd, 2004 8:04 pm

    Low- and Mid-level middle infielders are getting so much money lately, it makes one realize that Renteria and Kent may have really been great signings.

  4. Jim Thomsen on December 23rd, 2004 8:05 pm

    “He addresses two of our needs, that of a shortstop and leadoff hitter,” general manager Walt Jocketty said. “David also has a style of hard-nosed play that we feel will fit in well in St. Louis.”

    With that quote, Walt Jocketty single-handedly destroyed his reputation.

  5. Jim Thomsen on December 23rd, 2004 8:09 pm

    How strange an offseason has it been, you ask?

    “Doug Strange was hired Thursday as assistant general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates.”

    THAT Strange.

    (Stranger yet because he, today, at age 40, would probably be as good a shortstop as Eckstein.)

    We still love you, though, Doug. You were one of the heroes of Game Six in ’95, after all.

  6. Dr. Jeff on December 23rd, 2004 8:10 pm

    Jocketty says, “David also has a style of hard-nose play that we feel will fit in well in St. Louis.”

    This makes me wonder… how often do teams cripple themselves by being overly-conscious of getting a guy who fits “Our Style Of Play?”

    And, from Eckstein: “Mr. La Russa said just to play my game, be a pest at the plate and play solid defense,” Eckstein said during a telephone interview.

    Wally! Beav! The Cards got a new shortstop! You have to think that Eck will sell really well with a certain segment of the Midwest sports faithful. I say they’ll make their money back with Eckstein shirts in the first year.

  7. Jim on December 23rd, 2004 8:20 pm

    UZR has him at +15 runs 2000-2003 and he should be good for at least 10 runs above replacement. Assuming replacement SS is average defensively, he should be ~20-30 RAP/season. Given a solid going rate of 2 million per marginal win, this looks like a good deal to me.

  8. Jim Thomsen on December 23rd, 2004 8:23 pm

    Jim, take those numbers and adjust them for a) park factors; and b) the regression in performance shown by his comparables between the ages of 29 and 30. I think you’ll find the numbers you cited will take a pretty substantial hit.

  9. Jim on December 23rd, 2004 8:30 pm

    Umm, VORP and UZR are park adjusted. He has regressed very far from 2001 and 2002, so he shouldn’t necessarily fall any further over this contract. His top 10 BBRef comparables aren’t very useful, most played in the deadball era, and Rizzuto came back to the MLB at age 29. How these players faired would not matter really for projections though.

  10. Josh on December 23rd, 2004 8:37 pm

    Its really only the length of the contract that bothers me. A one year deal at 3.33mill for Eck would be fine, but there would be better options for the Cards in the up coming years. Of course they probably couldn’t get the deal done without going higher than 3.33 if they only wanted a one year deal. This is not a Russ Ortiz disaster.

  11. Colm on December 23rd, 2004 8:53 pm

    I still can’t get over that Wade Miller deal… Where did that come from in this market?

    Damn, even if his arm falls completely off, and he never throws a pitch at Fenway, I STILL think that’s a good deal.

    This, on the other hand, seems like a great deal of money for Eckstein. Mind you, think of what Omar Vizquel got.

  12. Snuffy on December 23rd, 2004 9:17 pm

    Eck seems to be getting very little appreciation here. His range is a bit below average at short and he has a weak arm… but he’s very surehanded – only 8 errors. He’s a smart baserunner, no-power but his OBP isn’t horrible. I wish the Mariners would have signed him, used him early on at short, and them moved him to 2b when Boone is traded. He’d make a very solid utility guy. I sure like his guts and attitude, even if it’s passé to say so.

  13. Garry on December 23rd, 2004 9:24 pm

    The sad thing about the Wade Miller deal? (other than BoSox of Course)…is that he won’t have enough service time to become a FA next offseason, so BoSox will control his contract now through 2006 by offering him arbitration!

    I have to say that the Wade Miller signing was one of the BEST this offseason regarding the risk/reward factors! And ONLY a $1.5M base in 2005…Jeeze!

  14. fiction on December 23rd, 2004 10:13 pm

    Reported Varitek resigned at 40 million for 4 years. Boston is on a very nice reload roll.

    Granted Miller appears to be low risk high return but how does one recouver from a shredded rotor cuff in this short amount of time. What does Houston know that kept them away when they need pitching? Strange.

  15. Jeff on December 23rd, 2004 10:35 pm

    “What does Houston know that kept them away when they need pitching?”

    Miller was paid $3.4m last year. Figuring in another year of service time (and he did have a 3.35 ERA in limited innings) and he could very well get at least $4.5m after arbitration (somewhat wild guess). With Pettite and Oswalt injury-prone as well and Clemens past 40, my guess is Houston wasn’t willing to tie up so much money on four guys that could break down at any moment. Miller happened to be the guy they could cut easiest. The Astros didn’t have the option of paying him $1.5m plus incentives, the Red Sox did.

  16. Bernard Aboba on December 23rd, 2004 10:41 pm

    “How does one recover from a shredded rotator cuff in this short amount of time.”

    Frankly, I’m quite skeptical that either Miller or Guardado will pitch at their former levels in 2005. Perhaps someone can come up with an example of a player who recovered fully from this injury without surgery. But the prognosis for rotator cuff injuries is much worse than Tommy John surgery at this point. Norm Charlton was discussing this a few months back (he had both injuries).

  17. James L. Crockett on December 23rd, 2004 10:51 pm

    well… They lost both of their starting middle infielders from last year, so they still need Bo Hart too.


    And $3 million per year utility guys are what got the Mariners in trouble in the first place.

  18. jack howland on December 23rd, 2004 11:50 pm

    Eckstein has absolutely zero range at SS and a weak arm. He is one of the worst defensive SSs in the majors. The only positive about him was that his OBP is a bit underrated because he get on by HBP so often. I’m not saying that overpaying Cabrera was the right answer, but I hand it to the Angels for realizing that a fan favorite wasn’t getting the job done. Now if only the M’s could figure that out about Dan “the man”.

  19. Josh on December 24th, 2004 1:16 am

    RE 18

    UZR has him at +15 which does not equal zero range at SS. Please tell me where you are getting the zero range from? What stats are you looking up, please prove your point.

  20. joebob on December 24th, 2004 2:14 am

    Ok, so let’s look at some shortstops, try to pick out the one that doesn’t look like the other:

    .287/.327/.401/3.7 warp3/4 years 40 million/29 years old
    .264/.306/.383/3.2 warp3/4 years 32 million/30 years old
    .276/.339/.332/4.2 warp3/3 years 10.25 million/31 years old

    I know which deal I’d feel most comfortable with

  21. AK1984 on December 24th, 2004 3:30 am

    Well joebob, I sure know that I don’t want a player whose slugging percentage is worse than his on-base percentage; especially, a player whose weak arm makes Randy Winn look manly.

  22. Jamie on December 24th, 2004 3:42 am

    Ichiro’s SLG has barely been above his OBP, but I think he should have been MVP last year.

  23. Manzell B on December 24th, 2004 8:22 am

    Maybe the guys should bring this up, but… Michael Vick just signed the biggest contract in NFL history – 10 years, $130 million dollars. $37 million of that amount are bonuses, meaning the most marketable young player in the league is bringing in 9.7 million of unguaranteed money…

  24. David J Corcoran on December 24th, 2004 9:04 am

    Well, they probly figgered Tony Womack worked ot alright last year, so why not Eck?

    Not that I support that. The Cards= Insane. They coulda just stuck with Hector Luna, Marlon Anderson, or Bo Freakin’ Hart.

  25. Colm on December 24th, 2004 10:59 am

    Re.22: Yeah, but Ichiro could trow a ping pong ball through a double pane window.

  26. Colm on December 24th, 2004 11:13 am

    And speaking of lousy deals… Buster Olney has a column today on ESPN on the Giants that sums up a lot of them.

    I know Olney’s reputation around here is lower than a frog’s arse, but every so often I read something from him that makes sense. This isn’t one of those articles. I think he must be like the broken clock that still tells the right time twice a day.

    This is the crux of his lunacy:
    “Alou has been one of the more consistent RBI men of his generation, with seven seasons of 91 or more. He hit 39 home runs for the Cubs last season, with 106 RBI, and his batting average with runners on base was 47 points higher than when the bases were empty; he is still extraordinary at anticipating what the pitcher intends to throw in moments of high pressure.”

    The rest of the article isn’t as laughable, but if any of you uber-sabergeeks want to amuse yourselves check out:

  27. robinred on December 24th, 2004 11:15 am

    Many people have said that Miller is not expected to pitch until June and may not be ready then; the Red Sox may be doing the same thing with him the Red Sox did with Lieber.

    I think Eckstein for one year actaully would have been smart for the Cardinals, but not for three. I would rather have him than Bo Hart.

    I think St. Louis will sign Larkin and Eckstein will wind up playing some 2B. I’m not saying that’s a good idea, but I think it may happen. That or Aurilia.

  28. Jeff in Fremont on December 24th, 2004 11:15 am

    On a side note, R.I.P. Johnny Oates.

  29. RealRhino on December 24th, 2004 12:38 pm

    #26. Ah, the magic of Buster Olney. You didn’t even touch on the most absurd of his comments to be found on ESPN today. In a roundtable discussion of HoF candidates (Olney, Caple, Crasnick, Kurkjian, et al.), Olney had this to say of Wade Boggs: “[Boggs] was a very, very good player, but never a dominant one.” This of the guy who from ’83-’91 put up 7 straight (and 8 of 9) seasons of MVP-quality 10+ WARP3 seasons. This of the guy who from ’83-’89 put up FIVE straight seasons equal to or better than Beltre’s 2004 season of 11.7 WARP3 (four consecuted seasons above that number). To paraphrase “The Princess Bride,” I’m not sure the word “dominant” means what Olney thinks it means.

  30. RealRhino on December 24th, 2004 12:52 pm

    And I’m not sure “consecuted” means anything. Oops. “Consecutive.” Could have added that in VORP, from ’83-’91 Boggs was ranked 3, 16, 3, 2, 2, 1, 5, 16 and 10 in MLB (not AL). That SEEMS dominant to me.

  31. Jack Howland on December 24th, 2004 1:01 pm

    #19 – He is last in the league in RF, and I used that to determine that Eckstein wasn’t very good. I admit that the ZR indicates that there is an argument that he is average or above average in range so I retract my earlier statement. Based on ZR Eckstein is better than Cabrera!!!

  32. Jim on December 24th, 2004 2:19 pm

    Based on value, too, Eckstein is better than Cabrera. The Cabrera signing was really a bad move by the Angels. They don’t really improve the team, give up a first round pick, and give a multiyear deal for much more money per year than Eckstein would get this year if he were tendered. Also, the 4 year deal blocks Wood/Abyar.

  33. Scraps on December 24th, 2004 2:29 pm

    Run scorers are never “dominant.” Only “RBI producers” get to be “dominant.”

    Buster Olney probably thinks Rickey Henderson was very, very good, but never dominant.

  34. James on December 24th, 2004 8:07 pm

    David… not that he would have “fixed” their shortstop problems anyway, but Marlon Anderson isn’t with the Cardinals anymore. He signed a minor-league deal with the Mets.

  35. Kyle S on December 26th, 2004 6:20 pm

    Don’t know if yall read Primer, but the word around the campfire there is that MGL (creator of UZR) works for the Cardinals. Thus, many there were unsurprised when the Cardinals signed Eckstein, hypothesizing that Mickey convinced his bosses that David’s defense is well worth the dinero. Not saying it’s true, as I’ve not ever seen him play much myself, but it certainly could be.

    All that said, I think it’s unfair to lump the Renteria contract into that group with just his last-year’s stats. The Red Sox undoubtedly hypothesize that Edgar has a good chance of putting up 6+ WARP, which would make his contract a good deal.