11 December 2008

How Low Can You Go? F-Lo

If the Dbacks wont pay Orlando Hudson to play 2B, they apparently spare little expense for his misunderstood, sporadically motivated groomsman. (Nothing personal, Felipe. If this was my wife, I'd be sporadically motivated too.)

The Diamondbacks bought high, outbidding all comers for Felipe Lopez - a Scott Boras client -who milked a strong month and a half under Tony LaRussa after an uninspiring career decline. When Lopez was 25, he had a terrific year at short for the Reds - quite similar to Stephen Drew's 25 year old season last year. Big bat, below average glove. But it's been all downhill since 2005, with annual OPS+ figures of 91, 75 and 92 since.

If Scott Boras is the most knowledgable advocate in the biz, one has to wonder what Arizona can count on from a Boras client worth only $3.5M. The good news, one hopes, is that it's only a one year deal. If Lopez is motivated by future payouts, as suggested by last September's flourish in St Louis, maybe he'll put up encouraging numbers at Chase Field. My bigger worry is whether Bob Melvin proves a sufficient catalyst for a veteran of reportedly questionable drive.

The other concern, of course, is naugahyde. Lopez isnt a very good second baseman, and this is not shaping up into a pretty infield defensively:

Reynolds - erratic arm, yips, below average range
Drew - worrisome range at most vital position
Lopez - below average range
Tracy - ave numbers but awkward, receives throws poorly

This group could hit, and maybe that's enough for a mid market franchise with small market dreams, but aside from Drew ( who may decline from a breakout year ), we're looking at a pair of 29 year olds who havent done a damn thing since 2005, and baseball history's seasonal leader in strikeouts. There's talent, upside here, to be sure, but plenty of reason for concern.

More predictable, I think, is the defense. Assuming infielders dont dramatically improve range with age, this infield should suck in a holistic way, which is disappointing given Arizona's young, athletic farm of not too long ago.


Song of the Day - Get Me To The Church on Time (Lerner & Loewe)

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