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If you don't undestand that Buck likes Izzy at SS...


wildcard

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Here is what you need to know about Cesar Izturis, above anything else:

Cesar Izturis is dead last in MLB of all regulars in terms of OPS (on base plus slugging percentage). Not last in the AL, but DEAD LAST in all of baseball. Not only is he dead last, he is dead last by almost forty points. This means that he has now power, at all, and he does not get on base. Therefore, he does not drive in any runs, nor does he create any.

He has absolutely no offensive value, making anything he does on defense borderline irrelevant save for him being Mark Belanger out there. He is not Mark Belanger defensively.

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I don't have the time to identify every SS who might be attainable, who plays good enough defense to meet the threshold, and who hits substantially better than Izturis. But here are some. In parentheses I put batting runs, UZR, and WAR. For context, Izturis' numbers are (-26.6, 1.4, -0.4).

1. Alex Gonzalez (4.4, 4.7, 3.6) is a free agent after this season.

2. Rafael Furcal (16.1, 6.8, 4.1) may be available due to Dodgers fiscal problems.

3. Jose Reyes (5.8, -4.2, 2.6) may be available due to Mets fiscal problems.

4. Stephen Drew (8.2, 5.4, 4.0) may be available due to Diamondbacks fiscal problems.

5. Either J.J. Hardy (-1.2, 8.4, 2.3) or Nick Punto (-6.1, 13.2, 1.8) may be available from the Twins.

6. Orlando Cabrera (-10.0, 5.6, 1.7) is likely available from the Reds.

7. Reid Brignac (-4.7, 1.6, 0.9) or Jason Bartlett (-8.7, -4.9, 0.8) may be available from the Rays.

8. Clint Barmes (-17.1, 3.7, 0.4) may be available from the Rockies.

9. Edgar Renteria (-2.2, 0.8, 1.0) is likely available from the Giants.

Now, I don't watch these guys play every day. There might be some I would rule out if I did. There might be others on this list are won't be made available. But I'm pretty confident there are some others not on this list who are available, and who meet my criteria of playing solid shortstop defense while being a significantly better hitter than Izzy.

Thanks for the list. Great job as always.

Here are some comments.

1) The Braves have an option on Alex Gonzalez. I would think since they traded Escobar to get him they would pick it up.

2) Furcal -$12m for a high risk with extended period on the DL is a huge concern.

3) Reyes -Free Agent after this year and he will cost a lot to get. Also has had health issues.

4) Drew's an option. I wonder what it will cost in trade. Don't the D'back need a SS in return?

5) Hardy if he is non tendered is an option. He is a free agent after 2011, so trading might be tricky. I don't think of Punto as a starting SS. Maybe I am wrong.

6) OCab will be 36 next year and is on the decline. Reds have a mutual option with him. I don't know were that is going.

7) I can't see the Rays trade either SS inside the division.

8) Barmes was brought up in this thread and is worth considering.

9) Renteria - 35, has been on the decline for several years. Expensive club option that will be probably be declined. I'd take Izzy over him.

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Bringing back Izzy isn't the end of the world IF we upgrade pretty drastically at 1B and 3B.

I am talking Carlos Pena/Adrian Beltre drastic...

I would sacrifice basically all offensive production from SS if it meant we had some actual good players at the corners.

This line keeps getting repeated over and over again, and all I can ask is why? Why is this acceptable? Why are we content with settling with Izturis at short, under the condition we upgrade the corner spots?

There's no reason we can't try to upgrade all three. Why can we not go out and get a Carlos Pena and somebody, anybody to replace Izturis at short? I don't support getting Beltre, but if we did and we got Pena, why not complete the process and get a shortstop that actually has a clue about how to hit major league pitching. Even if it's only JJ Hardy, I'm perfectly fine with that.

We shouldn't have to settle, under any circumstance, in any way shape or form, with Cesar Izturis at shortstop in 2011.

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Cesar Izturis is dead last in MLB of all regulars in terms of OPS (on base plus slugging percentage). Not last in the AL, but DEAD LAST in all of baseball. Not only is he dead last, he is dead last by almost forty points. This means that he has now power, at all, and he does not get on base. Therefore, he does not drive in any runs, nor does he create any.

Expanding on this point by repeating a post of mine from earlier in the thread:

He's the worst hitter in the sport. That's not hyperbole. He's got the worst OPS of any qualified hitter in either league in the last 10 years.
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Really? They have a pretty low payroll, with some money coming off the books.

He's been injured for 2 of the last 3 years. Before that, he played at least 138 games for the past 6 years. Why do you ignore that bit of history?

Even if he doesn't project to play 150 games, it doesn't mean he won't be worth $12M. If he does enough in those 120 games to make him worth $12M then he is worth it. When you put Andino (or Izzy) in as his replacement then he will still be worth alot more than Izzy, even when their salaries are included in the calculation. Hell, he's been worth almost 5 wins more than Izzy this year, and he's only played in 87 games.

What player are we passing on that will be able to help us more than an improvement of 5 WAR? Even if you don't completely buy into WAR there is no denying that we won't find a more significant upgrade than Izzy to Furcal.

Of course it will suffer, but it will be so much better off with Furcal in it that he will more than make up for it. We may actually be better off with Andino than Izturis.

I apologize if I was rude, but you have completely ignored or spun every argument against you. You say you don't buy into WAR, but don't say why. All I can assume is that it is because it doesn't fit your preconceived notion. That is reminiscent of a certain poster on here who nobody respects, and it annoyed the crap out of me.

Tell me how it is calculated. I have not been able to figure out how to compute it. Until I do I am just taking someones word for it that I don't even know.

I am not trying to spin. Spin implies bias. I am expressing my opinion which I try to back up with facts.

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This line keeps getting repeated over and over again, and all I can ask is why? Why is this acceptable? Why are we content with settling with Izturis at short, under the condition we upgrade the corner spots?

There's no reason we can't try to upgrade all three. Why can we not go out and get a Carlos Pena and somebody, anybody to replace Izturis at short? I don't support getting Beltre, but if we did and we got Pena, why not complete the process and get a shortstop that actually has a clue about how to hit major league pitching. Even if it's only JJ Hardy, I'm perfectly fine with that.

We shouldn't have to settle, under any circumstance, in any way shape or form, with Cesar Izturis at shortstop in 2011.

Hence the words "it's not the end of the world". Obviously we should be looking to upgrade at all positions, but if we end up upgrading at 1B and 3B but are unable to sign or trade for a better SS, then bring Izzy back for his defense. He is helping these young pitchers with his defense.

Also, he is almost .070 off his career average for OPS. Maybe he is having a down year. Maybe he is done as even a .620 OPS hitter. Who knows.

But yeah...if we can get a better SS who is about as good defensively as Izturis is, get him by any means.

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I love it how Wildcard points out a guy getting older and on the decline yet he advocates the WORST EVERYDAY PLAYER, offensively, in all of MLB.

This has got to be one of the most inconsistent arguments I have ever seen on this site.

I think he's obviously anticipating Izturis playing more like he did in 2009 than he is this year. He wouldn't be an awful option if we could get the guy we had in 2009 for a full season.

However, I don't think it's very wise to be counting on a guy with the hopes that he can bounce back to be a good fielding guy with a .625 OPS. I don't think even wildcard would want Izturis back if he felt he was going to play as abysmally as he has this year, and I think its likely that he's closer to his 2010 performance than the 2009 performance in 2011.

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Tell me how it is calculated. I have not been able to figure out how to compute it. Until I do I am just taking someones word for it that I don't even know.

I am not trying to spin. Spin implies bias. I am expressing my opinion which I try to back up with facts.

http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/site/article/how_to_calculate_war/

You're also putting something down that you know nothing about.

I'd also like to know what facts you've offered. Everytime someone has offered something to you, you just ignore it. If there is no bias in your posts toward Izzy, then I'd hate to see you with a bias.

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Here's a quick and dirty way to look at Izturis.

Think of the way Fielding Bible tracks plays. Whether you agree with the application of the data and how they come up with an exact plus/minus number for everybody, I think most people agree that the idea is a sound one, and if there was high confidence in the numbers, it would be the exact way people judge defenders right now. So, make up your own numbers for Izturis, and use them. Do you think he's a +10 play guy? +20? Whatever you think he is, just go with that for this example.

Then, look at his OBP. Just the OBP, not worried about power or anything else. Izturis has a .280 OBP this year. He's at .296 for his career. The OBP of all MLB SS over the past 3 seasons has been .325. Over 600 PAs, the difference between a .325 OBP and a .296 OBP is 17.4 times on base. Its 27 times on base difference between .325 and .280 OBP.

Without even taking power into consideration, Izturis is already 17 to 27 times on base behind an "average" SS. So unless he's between +17 to +27 plays with the glove, he's below average, and I don't think anybody thinks he's that type of impact with the glove. I think even the people who are really high on his defense would put him in the +5 to +10 range, and I think most metrics have him right around average. As El Gordo told us he's +0 through Fielding Bible and his UZR/150 is 2.1 this year.

Add power into the equation and he falls behind even further. Izturis has a .325 SLG for his career and an anemic .280 SLG this season. The average 3-year SLG of all MLB SS is .387.

Izturis UZR/150 for 2008 was 8.6 and 2009 was 12.

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This line keeps getting repeated over and over again, and all I can ask is why? Why is this acceptable? Why are we content with settling with Izturis at short, under the condition we upgrade the corner spots?

There's no reason we can't try to upgrade all three. Why can we not go out and get a Carlos Pena and somebody, anybody to replace Izturis at short? I don't support getting Beltre, but if we did and we got Pena, why not complete the process and get a shortstop that actually has a clue about how to hit major league pitching. Even if it's only JJ Hardy, I'm perfectly fine with that.

We shouldn't have to settle, under any circumstance, in any way shape or form, with Cesar Izturis at shortstop in 2011.

I agree the O's can and should try to upgrade. There is not much on the free agent market that is an upgrade. Maybe Hardy is non tender but probably not. I wouldn't trade Tillman for any of these guys mentioned. If it took less then that then that is the deal the O's should be looking for IMO.

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I love it how Wildcard points out a guy getting older and on the decline yet he advocates the WORST EVERYDAY PLAYER, offensively, in all of MLB.

This has got to be one of the most inconsistent arguments I have ever seen on this site.

Decline means offense and Defense. We can probably get Miggi at SS but guys that are limited defensively are not where I think the O's are going.

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Thanks for the list. Great job as always.

Here are some comments.

1) The Braves have an option on Alex Gonzalez. I would think since they traded Escobar to get him they would pick it up.

2) Furcal -$12m for a high risk with extended period on the DL is a huge concern.

3) Reyes -Free Agent after this year and he will cost a lot to get. Also has had health issues.

4) Drew's an option. I wonder what it will cost in trade. Don't the D'back need a SS in return?

5) Hardy if he is non tendered is an option. He is a free agent after 2011, so trading might be tricky. I don't think of Punto as a starting SS. Maybe I am wrong.

6) OCab will be 36 next year and is on the decline. Reds have a mutual option with him. I don't know were that is going.

7) I can't see the Rays trade either SS inside the division.

8) Barmes was brought up in this thread and is worth considering.

9) Renteria - 35, has been on the decline for several years. Expensive club option that will be probably be declined. I'd take Izzy over him.

Silly me for not double-checking the Cots' list of free agent shortstops; they said AGon was a free agent. OK, scratch him off the list.

There are limitations and downsides on each other option I listed, and you've done a good job pointing them out. I'm just saying there's a lot worth exploring. On OCab, it appears he has been supplanted by a rookie SS, Paul Janisch, so I don't think he'll be back with the Reds. Yes he is a bit old but his D is still pretty good and his O is a lot better than Izzy's even though it is nothing to write home about.

I want to stress, again, that there are probably a lot of options not mentioned. I don't know all the good AAA shortstops who may be either blocked or pressing the starter out of a job. There are probably a few of those. With Izzy's offense being so bad, the threshold of finding a SS who can hit better is pretty easy to meet. It's really a matter of who can be a solid fielder, and stats (especially MiL stats) don't tell the whole story there.

I just want to finish this up by saying that I agree Izzy has been a stabilizing force on the defense, and that is very important. I was thinking about this last night, and we need to remember that stats can't measure certain things. For example, when the SS either makes a good play or a bad play, how does that affect the pitcher's confidence? I do think pitcher pitch differently and more condfidently when the defense behind them is good, and that can't be measured.

About a week ago, there was a game where Andino was the SS and there were runners on 1st and 3rd with one out. A possible DP ball came to him, a little towards the hole. Andino fielded it cleanly but his throw was just a tad towards the SS side of 2B and Roberts' timing on the pivot was slightly disrupted. He made a pretty good throw to 1B, but Snyder had to stretch towards the OF side of 1B, instead of direclty in the line with 2B, to catch it, and the runner was safe on a pretty close call, so the runner on 3rd scored. There were no errors on the play, not even a play you could call bad. But I found myself thinking, "if Izturis was the SS, that throw to Roberts would have been just a tad better, and we'd be out of this inning." Those things are hard to measure, too, but they are real.

So, even though I think it's important to look for someone who is an overall upgrade, please don't think that I underrate the importance of having a good defensive SS. It's important. Pretty much every Oriole team that has ever succeeded has had one.

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