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1/11/2006

WHY DON'T THEY LIKE TODD WALKER?

It makes no sense to me. Todd Walker is a left-handed hitting middle infielder with some pop in his bat and he hits for average and gets on-base. Look around. Tell me how many of those you find. But the Cubs consider him to be more of a flea than an asset to a club that struggled to score runs last year.

Says GM Jim Hendry: "Right now we have three second basemen. And if that's the way we go to camp, it's up to the three of them to compete for playing time."

What? For starters that doesn't exactly increase his trade value. 3 options besides Walker. Cedeno, Hairston and Perez. Cedeno is a shortstop. I've no idea why they would move him there. More likely it would be the human out-machine, Neifi Perez. Or Hairston, of whom I'm a fan and it is his natural position.

How's about a novel idea: defensive replacement in the later innings. Or when he doesn't start you have Walker's bat off the bench. Now all of the sudden they like Hairston? And do I have to reiterate that Neifi ended up with an OBP of less than .300 last year?

Are the Cubs just spitballin' or am I missing something? If they were to get something of value for him I'd be all for it. But I don't see that happening.

4 comments:

BigD said...

It's like you are reading my mind. He's a career .290 hitter that will get you 10 - 15 hrs a season. He handles the bat well and would be a great #2 hitter if left alone.

Defensive liability? He may not be Ryno, but he's no Bump Wills either. He was 10th out of 20 2nd basemen with 97+ games played.

Health? Maybe. He averaged 120 games the last 2 years but 150 the 3 previous years.

I can't decide if the bigger question is "Why not Walker" or "Why Perez"?

Schmidty said...

Range. He was 10th in fielding %, but Sullivan says 16th in range. I agree the Cubs are ass-backward with this situation. Why exercise the option if you don't want the guy, but then why talk about your surplus of second-basemen if you want to get something of value for him in return? All this is going to result in is a pissed off Walker.
As for my opinion, as a former baseball "coach", I want defense up the middle. Walker's .290 average is all well and good, but he's not really that fast and 15 homers a season isn't all that much of an accomplishment in today's game. Walker might be good on a different team, but a team like the Cubs that has very little speed other than Pierre and "bashers" like Lee, Ramirez, and Jones, he's not a great fit here. It just confounds me that the Cubs are going about this situation in such an odd manner. It's like Jim Hendry has secretly been replaced by Ed Lynch?!?!

The Zoner said...

The flip of that is that with so many power pitchers I think their D is a tad less important than other clubs.

You have a gold glover at 1st and a solid SS, a very good RF and an excellent CF. You can't have it all. If you replace Walker with Neifi I don't think it evens out.

BigD said...

When you don't have a right fielder hitting 50 dingers, you have to get what you can from wherever you can find it. 15 is still more than 5. More than homers, though, it's about producing runs. Last year, Walker was 30 points higher in AVG, 60 points higher in OBP, and nearly 100 points higher in SLG. This team is going to need offense from anywhere it can get it.