Eckstein to the Padres

For 850k, it’s hard to argue with. David Eckstein figures to be the full-time second baseman, a position he showed more promise at than shortstop last year with the Diamondbacks. The Padres have to figure this signing will work out better than the Tadahito Iguchi signing last off-season.

2008 was hardly a banner year for Eckstein, but it wasn’t all based on skill decline. Eckstein’s BABIP was a bit lower than you’d expect for him or for a player with his line drive rate. Along with increased walk and strikeout rates, Eckstein also produced his highest ISO since 2005. CHONE has Eckstein at -4.8 wRAA next season and Marcels at -6.1. We’ll call it -5 and assume his defense is a bit below average.

~15 runs for replacement
~5 runs positional
~ ~5 runs defense
~ -5 runs offense

10 runs, or a win. If that happens, Eckstein is making the Padres a few million in profit, which isn’t a bad return. Throw in the potential for a mid-season trade – even if it is a Chad Beck type – and this is a low risk low reward move. Of course, this also makes the Pads projected middle infield stand just over 11 feet combined, which is going to create some interesting photo ops, especially with the taller players in the division.

The Padres also claimed Jae Kuk Ryu (pronounced like “You”) off of waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays. Ryu missed most of last season thanks to elbow surgery, but he’s got the potential to be a decent grab for San Diego. Ryu has an average repertoire freaturing a high-80’s fastball and change/curve. Ryu was bumped off the Rays 40-man by Gabe Kapler.

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