MMO Mailbag: Upgrading Shortstop?

ruben-tejada

Vic asks…

Hey Metsmerized, I was wondering if you could give me your thoughts on the following: I know everybody is looking for the Mets to do something, but I’m bothered some sites suggesting going after Jean Segura or Jimmy Rollins. I really don’t see them as upgrades defensively over Ruben Tejada. What do you think? I don’t think they will provide that much of an upgrade on offense either. I would appreciate your opinion.

XtreemIcon says…

Thanks for the question, Vic. First I should offer the caveat that the following is of course my own opinion and not any other writer’s or Joe’s.

The short answer is, I agree with you. This, of course, saves the Tejada haters and the “DO SOMETHING, SANDY!” people several minutes of their lives. They can just go straight to the comments and make their peace.

When Alderson said the trade market was narrow, he was in agreement with several other GMs who told Buster Olney the same thing, as he revealed on last Sunday’s Cubs vs. Cardinals national broadcast. So if these are the best two options, the best move is the one Sandy doesn’t make

Segura_JumpingOverRunner_BennySieuBoth Segura and Rollins are not signed for next year, so there’s no long-term commitment to either.

However, Segura is only 25 and still under team control through the 2018 season. Rollins is also due roughly another $6 million as of this writing. Either the Mets would limit the prospects but significantly overpay in dollars, or they can give the Dodgers significant prospects to eat the cost. Either way, it’s an overpay for the Mets

“But Sandy said he’d overpay!” Fair enough, so let’s continue with the comparison

We’re talking about the shortstop position, so the first thing to consider is defense. Defensive metrics aren’t very reliable, but we know enough to discount fielding percentage and the number of errors, as well as using a multi-year sample of UZR/150 as a better (but still not great) gauge. Well, Segura stinks. His UZR/150 is -5.0 for his entire career, and he’s trending downward with a -1.1 in 2013, -4.0 last season and a -6.8 thus far in 2015. He rates as a poor arm with poor range.

Rollins is better, but not good. Yes, he once was a very good defensive shortstop. But it’d be disingenuous to declare him “good” based on his career 4.1 UZR/150 when he was putting up excellent numbers in his mid-twenties. He’s not that guy anymore.

Since Segura has only had two full seasons before this one, we should use the same timeframe for Rollins to be fair. His last three seasons, including this one, is -2.7, 3.6 and -3.3. So he’s been, and is, better than Segura defensively, but still doesn’t help the infield defense this season. Point for neither.

Offensively, it’s also a wash. Segura had a breakout 2013, his first full season. He hit .294/.329/.423 while slugging 12 home runs and 44 stolen bases at an excellent 77% success rate. But the league adjusted to him and he hasn’t yet adjusted back. Since then, he’s sporting a dreadful .250/.289/.332 slash line. Rollins, similarly, can’t hit. Last season he sported a .243/.323/.394 slash, but that slugging percentage was aided by 17 home runs in Philadelphia’s sardine can of a stadium. I doubt he’d show the same power stroke in Citi Field. This season is his worst offensively. He’s slashing .211/.265/.333 to go with his poor defense.

So what we’re looking at are two players at very different points in their careers, but both can’t hit or field. Rollins costs a lot, but there’s a lot of inherent value in Segura’s team control. Neither player would be cheap and would offer very little production.

Tejada, as comparison, is hitting better than both Segura and Rollins. He’s also plays significantly better defense. There’s also no evidence that either of them is as versatile as Tejada, either.

Ruben’s already proven he can play a good second base and third base. He’s the same age as, and under team control for only one fewer year than, Segura is. He’s a much better option than both of them.

Is Tejada the answer? Likely not. No doubt the Mets should consider upgrading at shortstop, but not with Jean Segura or Jimmy Rollins. That’s just making a move for the sake of making a move, and that’s never gotten anyone anywhere.

About XtreemIcon 74 Articles

Born in Queens and raised in the Bronx, Xtreem grew up in a family of Mets fans with a father who worked for the New York Parks Department and had a box at Shea. Thus, it begun. With a degree in Broadcast Journalism and bylines in publications from the New Haven Register to the Key West Citizen, Xtreem has experience in a variety of formats and topics. He is thrilled to be given the chance to lend his name to MMO.