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Thursday, April 23, 2009
Do M's need a change at SS?


R.J. Anderson on a couple of champion swingers:
  Betancourt
Betancourt is not a terrible hitter, for a shorstop. He's got that solid lifetime batting average and he's got some pop, and his career OPS+ is 87; again, not bad for a shortstop.

The problem, as Anderson suggests, is that Betancourt is a bad shortstop, and he seems to be getting progressively worse. According to The Fielding Bible II, Betancourt was eight runs below average in 2007 and 14 runs below in 2008. Betancourt's UZR/150 in those two seasons were -1.4 and -12.7, and this season -- granted, it's only 15 games -- his numbers are off-the-charts horrible.

Would Ronny Cedeno be an upgrade? Cedeno's lifetime OPS+ is off-the-charts horrible: 62. He's been an everyday shortstop in just one season (2006) and didn't exactly distinguish himself with the glove. Is he better defensively than Betancourt? Maybe. Is he better enough to make up for his bat? Probably not.

The Mariners simply don't have a shortstop who won't cost them runs, and wins. If they'd been serious about winning this year, they'd have been smart to sign Orlando Cabrera. But they didn't do that, so now they'll just have to suffer for a while longer (and maybe a lot longer; the M's owe Betancourt $9 million through 2012).