The Hidden Value Of Bill Hall
While the focus on Hall since his acquisition has been his struggles with the bat the last few years, the largest part of his likely value to the team will come through his defensive flexibility. This isn’t something that we’ve talked about too much on the blog because it’s a minor detail that only comes into play when you’re expecting to field a winning team, and we haven’t had many of those to write about, but having a couple of guys who can play almost everywhere is a pretty valuable thing.
With Langerhans, Hannahan, and now Hall on board, the Mariners have two backups at every single position on the field other than catcher. Langerhans and Hall can both cover all three outfield spots, while Hannahan and Hall can both cover 3B/SS/2B, and Hannahan and Langerhans can both cover 1B. With just those three players, the Mariners now have a left-handed and right-handed backup option at every single non-catcher position on the field.
The flexibility offered by those three allows the M’s to do a bunch of things with the roster. They could platoon at DH again if they wanted (though I don’t think they’ll want to), as they have the ability to carry two guys with no defensive value. They could get a no-glove switch-hitter whose just around to pinch-hit. They could carry an extra pitcher when the bullpen gets a little worn down.
Hall, Hannahan, and Langerhans all signify that the Mariners are looking to build a roster in 2010, rather than just a big collection of talent. They fit together in a way that gives Wak an incredible amount of flexibility in how he uses his bench. By covering all the back-up jobs with just three players, the M’s have given themselves an extra roster spot to play with.