I’ll happily confess to laughing off the idea at first. Teahen has played 256 games in his career at third base, 229 games in right field, 31 in left, and 23 at first base. These positions all have something in common – they tend towards the bottom of the defensive spectrum. Teahen’s athleticism has helped him to carve out a nice role as a four-corners utility player even though he has only one above-average season with the stick on his resume. But playing the four corners – or even center field, which Teahen has done six times – is one thing. Playing the middle infield is quite another.
Bill Simmons has argued that sports teams would benefit greatly if they created a job for a “Vice President of Common Sense”, someone whose job it was to keep the front office from clearly self-destructive decisions. A VPoCS would have kept the Royals from trading Jermaine Dye for Neifi Perez, and would have earned the Mets a pair of division titles in 2007-08 by blocking the trade of Scott Kazmir for Victor Zambrano.
You’d have to think that a VPoCS would veto this idea, on the simple grounds that second base isn’t a position you can learn at the major league level. I love outside-the-box thinking as much as anyone, but moving a 27-year-old player to a position he hasn’t played since his freshman year of high school isn’t outside-the-box, it’s outside the boundaries of common sense. Especially when that position is second base, which after catcher is the most dangerous position on the field.
So no, when Sam Mellinger first reported this, I didn’t take it seriously at all.
But the Royals apparently are. Trey Hillman is serious about it: “We are definitely going to take a look at it.” Weeks before the news was made official, Mark Teahen was game: “[I]t’s something that I’d be willing to try, definitely if it assures me of being in the lineup every day.” Even Joe Posnanski thinks it’s a winning idea: “I think this is precisely the sort of risk-reward thinking the Royals should be doing right about now.”
And having looked into the idea a little more, I’ll admit that there’s some genuine merit to it. Dave Cameron wrote an interesting series of articles back in December that argued, in essence, that there is no evidence to suggest that second base is any more difficult to play defensively than third base, and that players who switch from one position to the other generally handle either position equally well.
Moreover, Cameron makes the point – one I agree with – that teams seem to separate players into “second basemen” and “third basemen” based as much on body type (specifically height) as on the skills needed to play the position. If you’re 6’3”, you’re a third baseman; if you’re 5’10”, you’re a second baseman. And because height correlates with power, this explains to a large degree why third basemen are better hitters than second baseman overall, even though the defensive demands at the two positions are similar.
A lot has been made of the fact that Teahen, at 6’3”, 210, would be one of the tallest second basemen in history. That’s certainly true, but I don’t think that you can take the leap and assume that Teahen is too tall to play the position. Teahen would be an unconventional second baseman, but “unconventional” does not equate to “bad”. Cal Ripken (6’4”) was an unconventional shortstop, but was so far removed from “bad” that he helped establish a new convention at the position – a convention that paved the way for Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and Hanley Ramirez (all 6’3”) to play shortstop as well. I see no reason why a 6’3” player can handle shortstop but is too tall to play second base, so the fact that 6’3” second basemen are so rare strikes me as more of an historic anomaly as anything else.
Okay, I can see one potential reason why height might be more of a concern for a second baseman than for a shortstop. It’s the same reason why second basemen tend to develop more poorly than shortstops – what we call Brent Gates Syndrome. Second basemen turn the double-play pivot with their backs to the runner, which makes them susceptible to injuries, and in theory may also make them susceptible to minor but repeated leg traumas that over time may sap a player of his abilities. (I suspect this is what happened to Carlos Febles, for instance.)
Would a tall player be more susceptible to leg injuries? Possibly. There’s a good deal of evidence that catchers beyond a certain height – 6’1” or 6’2” – are more susceptible to injuries and tend to move out from behind the plate at a young age, probably because the constant squatting and standing is not good on the knees, and that stress on the knees is accentuated in tall players. (The original study for this was done by Bill James in, if memory serves, the 1987 Baseball Abstract. Since then, Mike Piazza showed no ill effects from being 6’3”, and Joe Mauer has raised the bar all the way to 6’5”. On the other hand, Mauer is 25 and has already dealt with knee injuries for years.)
This is a long stretch of an analogy to make, but I want to present both sides of the story here. In any case, I’m not really worried about the injury risk at second base for Teahen, both because he has shown himself to be a durable player throughout his career, and – not to be heartless – the fact is, he’s not so valuable that an injury would be all that crippling to the Royals.
Third base to second base transitions have worked in the past, most recently last year, when Akinori Iwamura moved from third to second to accommodate Evan Longoria. Iwamura handled second base surprisingly well – he was probably better there than at third – and the defensive upgrade at two positions was a big part of the Rays’ historic improvement defensively. As best as I can tell, Iwamura had never before played second base regularly as a pro, either in the
Among the players that Cameron points out as playing both third base and second base last year, a pair of
Baker’s teammate, Ian Stewart (6’3”, 205) was also tried at second base last season, after coming up through the minors exclusively as a third baseman. Stewart was a rookie and just 23, so he’s not directly comparable to Teahen, but the fact is that his body size did not dissuade the
So I guess this can work, but pardon me for remaining skeptical. It’s true that third basemen can adjust to second base more easily than is commonly recognized, and it’s true that getting a third baseman’s bat at second base is an upgrade. The problem is that it’s not clear how this pertains to Teahen, because Teahen really isn’t a third baseman any more. He hasn’t played third base regularly since 2006, and his only time spent there over the last two years came when he filled in for 19 games when Alex Gordon went on the DL. In those 19 games Teahen’s work only served to remind us why he had been the one to move to the outfield in the first place: he’s not a very good defensive player at third. Moving Teahen to second base is less reminiscent of Akinori Iwamura than it is of Gregg Jefferies, who was a butcher at both positions but slightly less destructive at the hot corner.
Even if Teahen manages to handle second base with some level of adequacy, it’s not clear whether his bat justifies the defensive hit. We’re talking about a player who has one above-average offensive season in his four-year career, a guy who hit .255/.313/.402 last year. Alberto Callaspo, the incumbent at the position, hit .305/.361/.371 last year. The fact that the Royals are even talking about moving Teahen to second tells you how confident they are that Callaspo can repeat those numbers.
I share those concerns – Callaspo has neither power nor speed, and his entire skill set revolves around his uncanny ability to make contact. (Callaspo has struck out just 34 times in 399 career at-bats.) You can hit .300 with that kind of contact ability, but Callaspo has to hit .300 to justify a starting job, because he’s not contributing in any other way. And without the speed to leg out an infield single a couple times a month, it’s going to be hard to sustain that average. The difference between a player like this with speed and a player like this without speed is the difference between Luis Castillo five years ago and Luis Castillo today.
Throw in the DUI and domestic violence issues with
Castillo Callaspo, and it’s good that the Royals are looking for a Plan B that’s more threatening than The Spork. At the same time, I think Callaspo has earned the right to play every day and prove that last year isn’t a fluke. Power, speed, and defense aside, he did hit .305 last year, he will take a walk, he switch-hits, and he’s still just 25. Having definitively proved last year that he can’t play shortstop, he has negligible value as a bench player, so if he’s not playing every day he’s useless. Callaspo has too much potential for the Royals to bury him without giving him the opportunity to play himself out of a job.
So that’s one problem I have with this idea – as low as the odds are that Teahen learns to play a passable second base, the odds are even lower that the mix of offense and defense that he brings to the position proves more valuable than what the Royals can already get from Callaspo.
If the Royals were a Strat-o-matic team and the players were cards that could be swapped in and out whimsically, there would be a way to get everyone some playing time. Teahen starts in good home run parks and when Greinke is on the mound. Bloomquist starts occasionally against left-handers or when Hochevar pitches; Callaspo gets the rest of the playing time. Teahen supplements his at-bats by starting a couple times a month at third, left, right, and first base, and is the first left-handed pinch-hitter off the bench.
Players are not Strat-o-matic cards, but it’s a good exercise for a manager to think of his players purely in terms of their skill sets, their strengths and weaknesses, before figuring out how to deploy them. When he was hired, one of Trey Hillman’s strengths was supposed to be his willingness to use his entire roster in just such a fashion. We saw glimpses of that last season, but if Teahen handles his second base audition well enough, Hillman has the opportunity to prove his chops by the way he apportions out playing time at second base.
But my biggest issue with Teahen at second base is simply that I think the Royals are floating this idea out there for all the wrong reasons. I don’t think the Royals want to try Teahen at second base because they’ve suddenly become willing to sacrifice defense for offense, or that think he could be the second coming of Jeff Kent over there. I think the Royals want to try Teahen at second base because they don’t have any idea what to do with Teahen. Well, they did have an idea – they wanted to trade him, and don’t believe
You could argue that the Royals should just cut Teahen rather than pay him the salary he’s going to make in arbitration. If Teahen hits like he did last year, he’s not worth $3 million. The argument for keeping him isn’t simply that he might approach his 2006 form again, but that if he does, you then get to keep him at below-market value for 2010 and 2011 as well.
But he can’t justify his salary if he’s not getting at-bats. I suppose this is one way of getting Teahen those at-bats. I think it’s worth a try, and I credit the Royals for entertaining the idea. I also think that come Opening Day, we’ll have already long forgotten the idea that the Royals ever thought Mark Teahen could play second base.
Accuracy police: I think the DUI/domestic violence problems were Callaspo's, not Castillo's.
Other than that nice work. I always forget about Callaspo when thinking about this team next season...
Maybe you can clear something up for me Rany, I've heard both that Teahen is very bad and very good defensively as a third basemen? Which is it? I can't remember the sources, but I don't think it was so simple as a statistical vs anecdotal source.
Good post, you've convinced me it's worth a shot. I would be far happier though if we would sign Orlando Hudson or trade for legitimate young second basemen. Don't we have an increasing amount of "currency" in the minors yet? Maybe it will still happen.
I kinda like the idea and I fully expect Teahen to be better at the plate this season. However I have a hard time believing he will play there everyday.
Its worth looking into just because there is no reason not to.
Rany- Spot on.
Regarding second base, it seems that Callaspo will play second and hit second in the line up. But since KC questions his make-up, at least one contingency was in order... Bloomquist. Although I know you don;t like the Bloomquist deal on a $ basis, his versatility does allow him the ability to mitigate injury at nearly any position outside the battery, which is an onbious advantage over a less expensive middle IF signee such as Eckstein. And if the spork reproduces his .370 OBP from last season, then he certainly will be valuable, if not cost effective.
So where does that leave Teahen and what is there to make of the Teahen-to-the keystone idea? I suspect this idea literally emerged in Hillman's back yard a few months ago when all of KC's caucasian infielders gathered in Texas. The expected starting middle IF was absent of course, since both are latinos currently playing winter ball. So for the sake of a few infield drills to keep the guys loose in February, who would you put at SS and 2b? Well, the spork is the backup SS so he could play to the right of the bag... then - "Hey! Teahen's a good athlete. Let him play second." Everyone had a great time and a few yuks an after a couple brews and maybe an hour in the hot tub, Teahen at second was starting to sound like a pretty good idea.
Obviously I agree with you that it will be a non-issue by opening day. More likely, Teahen and one of the first basemen will be packaged and sent elsewhere before the season starts. How about Teahen and Butler to SF for Matt Cain?
The real problem with Teahen is that he is the only remaining piece of the Beltran trade for which the Royals still hope. Wood is gone, Buck is settled in as Slow John, a catcher whose weak offense is balanced by his lousy bat, and Teahen is a perfectly average to below average player who has, however, given the Royals half of an All Star season in 2006. In Royalsworld, that equals "hope." And it's that hope that has kept Teahen on the roster until all possible trade value is gone. Of course, logic tells us that lousy is as lousy does, and if Teahen hasn't gotten "it" by now, he won't - but Dayton's not quite ready to give up yet. Look for Teahen to bounce around the field this year and hit .250, then be non-tendered next year.
I think your take on this is about right. Only qualm I have is that Callaspo hit .300 in 213 ABs between arrests. I don't think that's especially wonderful performance. "Let Callaspo prove last year wasn't a fluke" would be a lot more persuasive if he'd had a good 2008.
If Teahen doesn't work out at 2B, and we can't trade for somebody better, let Callaso take a shot. But if Teahen can hack it, I don't see why Callaspo shouldn't prove himself in Omaha instead of KC. Teahen can move back to a super utility role, or be traded, if Callaso earns playing time. But I like that he has to earn the job, instead of having it handed to him out of desparation.
Jeff Kent played a lot of third base early in his career.
3B -> 2B transition ---the one that jumps to mind is Edgardo Alfonzo, after the Mets signed Robin Ventura to man 3B.
The fact that Hillman is even thinking about this just proves that he isn't prepared to manage on the major league level.
The guy is a joke as a manager, and the only thing worse than him in the dugout is Moore refusing to admit he can make a mistake and not getting rid of him.
Care to explain why you think this is such a horrible idea?
Forget Jeff Kent, I'd take a Ryne Sandberg transition. 6'2" 180.
I know it's a huge stretch, but a guy can dream a little before spring training starts.
3 years ago I would have been all over this, but the fact is, as players age, they get bigger and slower. Teahan could probably play 2B adequately, but haven't we had enough of the stop-gap measures in KC.
It's time to get serious and develop players, not just retread others rejects, or try something just for the sake of trying it.
This thinking is along the same lines as moving Gordon to 1B so Moutsakas(?) can play 3rd. The guy is still in A ball. Lets wait til he gets to the bigs.
Teahan is a good serviceable player, and would be a terrific super-sub. In that sense, getting him some work at 2B is a good idea. Thinking he can be a starter is insane.
The reason everyone talks about him moving to 2B is because he doesn't have the bat to play anywhere else regularly. So what do you want to do? Hide his bat at 2B? If he could do it defensively, maybe. But at best he will play an adequate, not good, 2B. So now we're hiding his bat and his glove?
Put him on bench, let him start 3 times a week to give someone a break, pinchhit, pinchrun, defensive replacement, whatever.
But people need to get over it and realize Teahan is never going to be a star. At any posiiton.
I doubt the Teahen thing sees the light of day. If they had thought for a minute Teahen could play the position why in the world would they sign Bloomquist??
This whole off-season had been screwy. How can it be getting close to pitchers & catchers reporting and Pena, Gload, and German are all still on the major league roster??
"But people need to get over it and realize Teahan is never going to be a star. At any posiiton."
AMEN, brotha! I've been thinking this for two full seasons now.
I don't really care that the Royals are trying him at 2B. My view is that if he's going to be on our roster, make him as versatile as possible.
My first choice is that he not be on our roster at all. Unfortunately, all the other GMs in MLB agree with me except Dayton Moore.
Rany, agree with your assessment that Callaspo needs to hit 300 to have value.
Wanted to point out that perhaps last season was not a fluke at all. Callaspo's line drive % on balls in play was RIDICULOUSLY good, small sample size caveats aside. Combine that with his excellent contact skills, and a 300 avg with a 370 OBP seems doable to me.
GMDM has been very vocal that MT is valuable to the team. But let's face it, can the R's pay 3+million to MT roaming the bench? NO. So GMDM and Hillman, who have made 1b look like a line at worlds of fun on a hot summer day, are doing the same to 2b. Oh yes, options, options, options. I'm really tired of it. It's this options argument that caused the Gloady debacle of mega PA's while slugging Shealy floundered in AAA. Leave MT alone, he IS valuable....as a utility outfielder. And yes, you may have to pay him 3+million. The organization has shown their willingness to overpay players (e.g $2+million to Buck OMG!!!) so continue this squandering with MT.
Please, put a second baseman at 2b and not someone who can play 2b!!!
Here's what to do with Teahen in a just world -- start him in right field. Every projection system has him hitting better than Guillen next year, and even if he's only average out there (and almost every good derfensive system [no, Rany, FRAA doesn't count. Not even close]), that's still about a win better than Guillen.
Of course, they need to play Guillen just in case he gets hot enough so that someone as stupid as Dayton Moore trades for him, but facts are facts -- Guillen is a lot more problematic on this team than, well, anyone else.
Let's give Kyle Farnsworth time, though.
If Teahen is 6'3", then I am 6'6". I am barely 6'2" and I TOWERED over Teahen when I met him last summer. My guess is that he is 5'11", at the most.
They have nothing to lose with this move. Its sad that the Beltran trade has equated this much garbage in return. This has to be right up there with the Dye trade as a franchise cripler as we've wasted 1,000 plus at bats on Buck and Teahen. They have to try him at 2nd because its the only position not either logjammed (not Jackie Treehorn) or all ready accounted for. I truly hope he earns it and hits like he did for the flash of '06 because we need the offense. But I'm excited to see how much excess fat gets trimmed by the end of March...Gload, German, Pena, and who knows..Buck and Teahen better come out like gangbusters. Great article once again Rany.
While we're on the topic of the Royals gambling on changing a player's position, why don't they try Tony Pena as a relief pitcher?
To minimize their "gamble", they could start him out by only playing in games where we're down 5 or more runs. Then, if he starts to hold his own and get the hang of it, they could start using him more often, in more important situations.
I also don't see why you couldn't occasionally use him as a backup shortstop still. Talk about some interesting double switches...
Most interestingly, what about putting Pena in as your shortstop on days that Grienke pitches and letting Grienke hit and have the DH hit for Pena. Sure, it'd be a little slap in the face of Pena, but he'd get some playing time that he wouldn't get otherwise. Plus, it'd improve your defense for your best pitcher AND let your pitcher, who desperately wants to be a hitter, hit.
What do they have to lose?!?!
I love the idea of letting Grienke hit for Pena, but I don't think that's allowed in the AL. Unfortunately, the DH may replace the pitcher only. That's actually why you don't see double switches, I guess.
They should change the rule, though. Moves like the one you're describing would make the game more enjoyable all around. And I'd really like to see what Grienke can do with a bat.
Of course, ladies and gentlemen, all of the reasons Rany just pointed out will lead to only one conclusion knowing Dayton Moore and Trey Hillman. Your 2009 starting second baseman is...Willie Bloomquist.
Its Ross Gload all over again.
Ron, you are a loon. At 27 he's gotten to "big and slow" to be second base? Please.
Oh, and is anyone still saying that Teahen is going to be a star? No. The pro-Teahen people merely recognize that he's an asset to the team, not a star. The anti-Teahen people need to get over their heartbreak that he didn't become a star and recognize that what he is has real value.
Watch Teahan run the bases. He's the best baserunner on the team.
He had good range and a good glove at third, it was the throws that got him into trouble. My only worry would be turning the double play.
His batting stats didn't fair well for a corner outfielder. They would look better for a second baseman.
I like the idea.
More than the fact that it isn't a bad idea to try him out in spring training at 2nd base, it shows that the Royals are thinking creatively and showing some flexibility. The organization isn't doing as much cookie-cutter group think as they used to and experimenting with a player that is more question marks than answers is exactly what is necessary to see if he'll stick or wash-up. Who wouldn't want Teahen's 2006 stick at 2b? Maybe it'll happen, maybe not -- but who will it hurt to try.
A couple of things: Dejesus has played more than 135 games once in his career. Crisp has played fewer than 120 games twice in the last three years. Jose Guillen is Jose Guillen...the likelihood that all three survive the season without a significant stretch on the DL is slim, in my book. Teahen is likely to get 400 at-bats in the outfield alone while these DL stints overlap each other. I think that, more than any other reason, prompted Moore's "That is a Lie!!" stance on the importance of keeping Teahen; he knows that his fourth outfielder this season has to be a solid major leaguer capable day-in, day-out plate appearances.
It's about as hard to have an mlb-starting-caliber player as your fourth outfielder as it is to have an NFL-starting-caliber player as your backup QB. Teahen represents the perfect 4th outfielder in some ways, because he doesn't have the accomplished track record to earn him the right to be indignant (or to earn more than $3 million), yet he has the intriguing potential to be a starting-caliber player based on 316 at-bats of hitting .315/.380/.550 (approximately), in 2006.
The second base proposition merely addresses the auxiliary question of what to do with Teahen in the unlikely event that all three outfielders are healthy (this will at least be the case--maybe--when the team breaks camp to start the season).
The only problem I have with it is that Moore/Hillman are treating Teahen as if he IS a starter, and therefore feel awkward about leaving him on the bench. The only concern is what it says about their evaluation of players (but we already have worse examples upon which to base that concern), that they would feel that way at all about a guy who slugged .400 last year is worrisome.
But in the end, it will be a moot point once Dejesus/Crisp/Guillen takes his annual trip to the infirmary.
a situation yet to be mentioned...
the LA dodgers had a similar scenario last year.
In order to make room for an aquired Casey Blake the dodgers sent rookie 3rd baseman Blake Dewitt to the minors to learn how to play second. After a couple of months, he gets called up, plugged in and now he is a solid 2nd baseman.
Seems to me that Teahen spent some time in AAA and came back on a tear.
Send him down briefly to learn the trade, work on his hitting, and promote him once he is solid and mashing again.
sigh. this reminds me of so many sportsradio callers clamoring for alex gordon at SS or ryan shealy in the OF. i just don't see it.
As far as experiments go, I prefer this one: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=8472
Nice work, Rany!
I like the idea of being creative, and being open to new ideas is important. The idea I would put forward is to move Aviles to second, which would seem to be his natural position, and try Teahen and anyone else possible, sans Pena, at short. In my opinion putting Aviles at short only because there is no one else is short term thinking.
I know how much you dislike the acquistions of Bloomquist, Jacobs and Farnsworth. I agree with you numbers wise. Jacobs is really disturbing, because now it looks like for a little bit higher premium we could have Dunn. And Dunn actually has the OBP which Moore has professed he is trying to find.
I am not a big Bloomquist fan, and I can't stand Farnsworth. I think, though, what Moore is trying to do is get some attitude on this team. The Gordon, Buck, Teahen, Butler,DeJesus and Aviles models are those of solid players, but who are nice guys and no fire. If you look beyond the numbers these new guys all play with attitude which has been sorely lacking on this team for a long, long time. I think Moore is trying to change a culture which has been instilled that it is OK to show up and play hard, but don't get too fired up about it, because ultimately we will lose. It's a hard thing to change and it is even more difficult to do on a budget.
Also, if you read between the lines on some of Hillman's comments last year, I think he is perplexed that the losing seems to be accepted. His first year in Japan was difficult, but they wanted to win. I think Hillman found a team that accepted losing. Hillman and Moore are working together to change this. Some of it may backfire, but I trust these guys, much more than I have trusted any of the guys in the past.
It has been mentioned on here that Moore has jumped the gun in the offseason. I don't disagree. On Guillen we were bidding against ourselves, and some of the other moves probably would have looked better had he waited. But I would much rather have someone who is active and is aggressive in trying to do something. Moore's moves haven't been perfect, but he is willing to stick his neck out a bit and take some risks. I like that.
Which brings me full circle to Teahen. I can't understand why anyone would have fault with trying this. There is no downside. If Teahen is able to take over, that is huge, but more than anything, it gives Teahen more value, including trade value.
It is close to spring. I would rather drink the kool-aid. And by the way, we all know that the entire key to the offseason was signing Greinke. Job well done there.
Bryan in Brighton
Kelly Johnson had never played second base anywhere (he was a very bad high school/low minors shortstop turned high minors corner outfielder) when the Braves tried him there during the 2007 offseason. It worked out pretty well, and I'm guessing Moore was in on the discussions leading to that.
Irrelevant comment of the month:
Back in the heady year of Dos Carlos, I was a big fan of Carlos Febles. This was not based on astute statistical analysis. I simply liked the cut of his jib, at least as described to me, since my only contact was by radio then. I appreciate your having provided a theory on his rapid descent other than his not having been very good.
any thoughts on the validity of the cordero rumour? could it be that gmdm is considering switching a certain someone to the rotation?
Cordero would probably begin the season in extended spring training to get himself into shape. He may make it back to the majors for the second half. We're talking about a guy who had major arm surgery. There's no guarantee he'll ever come back to the pitcher he once was.
That said, it would leave that option out there for 2010 if he does come all the way back.
What is with the "1st" bullshit?
Do you want your Flintstones Vitamin now or after your 2:30pm nap?
Prior to the 2007 season, many of us on the ESPN board were making a pretty big argument for moving Teahen to second base. Of course, at the time he had just come off his career year and most of us thought he played an adequate third base. It should have been done then instead of resigning Grud. All of us felt that he was fully capable of playing 2B and were disappointed that the idea wasn't even being considered. We all thought that, coming off his career year, he would be a way above average bat at the position.
With that having been said, I feel that we now have a 2B in Callaspo. We need to give him an opportunity to prove himself at the position. The fact that he didn't do anything wrong on the field last year and is already being considered someone we need to replace is hard to understand. It's my guess that his good eye and ability to take walks is against the organization's philosophy.
DM feels the need to create a winner now (which hasn't been done or even resembled) and in the meantime is passing up the opportunity to take these types of chances to possibly discover a diamond in the rough.
Callaspo has no power, no speed, and no defensive range whatsoever. The only thing he offers is decent ability to put the ball in play and a discerning eye. Add in the off-the-field baggage, and I really don't mind them looking for alternatives at second base.
At best, he's Grudz without the defensive range.
"Callaspo has no power, no speed, and no defensive range whatsoever."
Whatsoever??? As in, he can't move at all???
My best guesses as a non-professional baseball person:
Power - Well below average at best.
Speed - Below Average probably.
Range - Average to Below Average depending on the source.
But there's more to a player than these three things...
Contact, Plate Discipline, Hands, Baserunning, Throwing Arm, Turning the double play, etc...
In those categories, I think we'd have to say he's well above average in a couple (contact, plate discipline) and average to below average in the others. I've never thought his arm looked suspect, or that he looked bad turning two... I don't know that I've formed an opinion of his baserunning or hands.
Clearly many would prefer an alternative to Callaspo, which is fine, but let's not pretend like he's just some guy off the street that hasn't made his way thru the minor leagues. By all means, let's get better at 2B (and elsewhere), but I don't think Callaspo is a terrible player.
Agreed that Callaspo isn't terrible, he's also neither talented nor reliable enough to make us want go into spring training without alternatives. What harm can possibly come of letting him compete with Teahen for the job?
This talk of letting intriguing, but flawed, prospects "prove themselves" with by handing them starting jobs in February just baffles me. What's so horrible about letting guys like Callaspo and Kila (for example) prove themselves in Omaha, then promoting them once we're sure they're ready? Isn't that what the minor leagues are for?
How is that college 2nd baseman they selected last year or the year before doing in the minors? Anyone know? He was from New Orleans Univ. (that hotbed of MLB talent!) Just curious.
This team isn't going anywhere whether or not Teahen or Callaspo or anyone else plays 2nd base. Don't trade away talent to acquire a serviceable player at 2nd for this year, what would be the point. Let Callaspo or Tahen or Bloomquist get the MAJORITY of the time, and fill in as needed. If it doesn't work out, then ditch it and star tover next winter, when they might actually contend.
I've had exactly the same thoughts about Callaspo. Why would the royals not even consider a guy that hit over .300 last year and is the only switch-hitter on the team? Maybe his plate performance last year was a fluke...but at least give him a chance to prove it wasn't.
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