Al's Ramblings

Monday, March 30, 2009

(3/30/2009 08:19:00 PM) - Al

One of the common things many fans have been discussing is whether or not JJ Hardy should be offered a long-term extension, if he agrees to move to 2B or 3B. I have long said I'm a fan of JJ playing 2B (though, of course, I'm also a big fan of Rickie Weeks at 2B), as I think his weaknesses of lateral range would be minimized by his strong arm and ability to play deeper, and I think he'd be excellent at turning the pivot.

But mainly, I think the folks that want JJ to play 3B while making $10-12M per are missing the point. 3B is not that difficult a position to play, as range is just a fraction as important as it is at SS or 2B. Because of this, it's much easier to find a decent stopgap. As I have said before, I compare those who want to keep Hardy and trade Escobar to those who wanted to keep Overbay and trade Fielder...shortsighted and not fully on board with the understanding of how a small market's team economic outlook is...pre-arby players are necessary to balance out those in arby and beyond. Hence, I love JJ, but when you have a youngster as talented as Escobar, who will make $400K his first three years, about 4% of JJ, the idea of keeping JJ at SS is preposterous.

Also, let's take a look at what "average" is for 2B and 3B.

2008 2B--.338/.409
2008 3B--.336/.436

If you think the last two years are a reasonable expectation for JJ is probably a line of .335/.470. Just using simple runs created, which is just OXS x 600 AB's, that figures out to:

Ave 2B--83 runs
Ave 3B--88 runs
Hardy---94 runs

JJ is above average wherever he plays, but to play a guy $10-12M for a half a win (using the Rule of 10, which states 10 runs produced or prevented is worth one win over the course of a season) does not seem like the best use of the Brewers' resources. I hesitate to factor in defense at all, because none of us really know how good he'd be anywhere but SS. Add this in to the little nugget of truth that JJ has not shown any inkling to play anywhere but SS, I think it's rather apparent...Escobar will be at SS, and Hardy will be elsewhere, either in '10 or '11 (or, I suppose, later in '09).

Not only is the Overbay/Prince comparison commonsensical, I would also say the Lee/Hart one is even moreso, though JJ is not past his prime like Carlos was. Now, that behemoth of a contract burden holds down a division rival and not the Crew. I'm sure Doug and Mark are thankful every day Lee turned down the 4y/$48M offer, never mind the 6y/$100M Carlos ended up with.

3/30/2009 08:19:00 PM

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