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Wanted: Middle Infielders, Please Contact Seattle if Interested

The best defensive outfield on land roams in Seattle most nights. Its claim to the crown grows more challenging asEndy Chavez will miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn ACL over the weekend in a collision with shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. It seems Wladimir Balentien will platoon in left alongside Ronny Cedeno and/or an additional promotion at some point. Expect some drop-off unless the M’s add a strong defender ath position.

Betancourt does little right nowadays. Even after he swallows sadness (amongst other items) he ranks as one of the worst overall players in the majors. Jose Lopez forms Seattle’s middle infield, and neither is especially good with his glove anymore. On a team with an otherwise solid defense, the Betancourt-Lopez connection sticks out like Cyrano’s nose. Here’s how the pair stack up:

Player INN DPR RngR ErrR UZR UZR/150
Betancourt 522 0.5 -0.68 -2.2 -8.6 -20.1
Lopez 538 0.5 0.2 -3.2 -2.5 -5.9

Betancourt’s defensive decline stems from a robust error rate. Even if Betancourt’s ball-handling skills have decayed, it seems unlikely that he became this poor, this quickly. The range runs and double-play rate are around expectations, reflecting Betancourt’s atrocious play while maintaining that his true talent level is better than the UZR/150 suggests, if only barely.

Lopez can ill afford to chuckle at his counterpart’s failures. The bright side for Lopez is that his error rate is uncharacteristic and remains the only component relatively different from years past. Lopez’ family issues and once again disappearing bat will open the door at second base, but the Mariners currently have little on the shelves. Chris Woodward and newcomer Josh Wilson are little more than replacement level infielders. Ronny Cedeno seems like a logical answer, yet his bat has gone wayward as well.

The Mariners have some parts to move in the next few weeks. When they make a deal, look for at least one middle infielder to head to Seattle. Who and for what remains to be seen.