30 July 2014

Second Base: Many Options, Little Movement

As we wind down with the deadline, one area where the Orioles are screaming for a need of improvement is second base.  Jonathan Schoop and Ryan Flaherty are both defensively competent, even maybe above average, at the position, but their offense has been dreadful.  The club, in fact, has the third worst production from the position is all of baseball or, if you prefer, the worst production in the American League.

Rk I
1 SDP as 2B 105 22.4 397 9 2 7 .172 .228 .267 .495 44
2 SFG as 2B 107 26.8 416 14 1 7 .177 .259 .278 .537 57
3 BAL as 2B 104 29.5 406 7 1 9 .225 .264 .319 .583 69
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/30/2014.

Moving forward, the performance of Schoop and Flaherty is roughly replacement level or a couple tenths of a run above if you are confidant in their defensive play.  This presents the Orioles with an opportunity to greatly improve this part of the club.  Below is a list of starting caliber 2B and their projected remaining fWAR according to ZiPS.

ZiPS remaining WAR pr 2014 Future
Daniel Murphy 0.8 1.9 MM Arb-3
Ben Zobrist 1.7 2.3 MM 7.5 MM option
Aaron Hill 0.6 3.5 MM 2yr 24MM
Martin Prado 1.0 3.5 MM 2yr 22MM
Gordon Beckham 0.3 1.6 MM Arb-3
Nick Franklin 0.5 0.15 MM Control
Danny Espinosa 0.4 0.17 MM Arb-1
Chase Utley 1.3 5 MM 1yr 10 MM, 3 vested options
Luis Valbuena 0.7 0.8 MM Arb-2

What makes this list especially exciting is that every single player is under team control beyond this season.  That also makes this list somewhat disappointing because these players will likely cost a good bit more because of that fact.

Still, this club would be significantly improved this year and in the future if they would be able to pry away someone like Ben Zobrist, Martin Prado, or Chase Utley.  These are the kind of guys who you give up a Dylan Bundy or Hunter Harvey.  They are the kind of guys that can help cement the Orioles lead and better ensure them of a place in the realm of meaningful October baseball.  All of these players could also fit well into the team's plans next year.  It would allow Machado to shift to shortstop and have Schoop move over to third where I still think he belongs.  It would also give the club a strong lineup for a 2015 run.

As such, this will be difficult.  The Rays are looking for very good value on Zobrist.  Maybe Bundy does that.  Maybe more needs to be added.  The Diamondbacks have been politely saying no to inquiries on Prado.  The Phillies are doing things that the Phillies are known to do, so that will be a difficult nut to crack.

That leads us back to Daniel Murphy whom the Orioles could have had in Spring Training for Dylan Bundy.  That price is steep for someone who I think may be performing over his head.  That said, if I could package Eduardo Rodriguez and Parker Bridwell for him then I would complete that deal in an instant.  The club is in a great position right now, but it could use some more offense to shore itself up as a first division contender.


Anonymous said...

Unrelated...but should Young be playing more in the lineup? He seems to heating up lately. I'd like to see him in more games at this point.

Anonymous said...

You'd give up Bundy or Harvey for Zobrist or Prado? Maybe Utley but not those two.