Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Eli Marrero

Maybe I've been living under a rock over the last couple of months, but I was completely unaware as to just how solid of a season Eli Marrero has been turning in. I knew that he stunk in April, then missed most of May with an injury. At that point, I simply stopped paying attention I guess.

Since those two months, however, Eli has put together an impressive summer, giving him season totals of .335/.394/.552, or a 946 OPS over 194 at-bats. Interestingly enough, though, he can't crack the starting lineup due to the fact that:

A. He hasn't caught a game this year
B. The Braves like their outfield
C. The Braves like their 1st basemen

Maybe - or, most likely - Marrero could not keep up his torrid OPS pace if he were in fact playing every day, but he has better numbers than other teammates that play his defensive positions.

Outfield

Chipper Jones 851
Charles Thomas 851
Andruw Jones 838

Catcher

Johny Estrada 876
Eddie Perez 598

1st Base

Franco 812
LaRoche 746

You would think that the Braves would at least consider allowing Marrero to catch over Perez in a back-up role, rather than giving him spot starts in the outfield and outfield only. Of course, I never understood why he didn't catch more in St. Louis, either. I know that defense is important, but it's not like Marrero was horrible behind the plate. And compared to Matheny, Marrero has Johnny Bench with the stick over their careers - let alone this year.

And this brings up another point - were the Cardinals ripped off in their trade with Atlanta? Looking at win shares through August 26th, we see the following totals.

Drew 25
Marrero 12
Total - 37

Marquis 12
King 5
Total - 17

That's a 20 win share advantage for the Braves, which translates to roughly 7 wins on the season. Of course, that doesn't factor in Adam Wainwright, and the fact that the Cardinals were able to free up almost $6 million in the trade. The players acquired with that cash - namely Reggie Sanders, Jeff Suppan, and Tony Womack - have made up the difference quite nicely. Combine that with the fact that the Cards probably would not have been able to lock up Drew after this season, and I think it was a great trade for both teams.

Of course, if the Cardinals could have found a way to have shipped Matheny in the trade instead of Marrero, the cost savings would have been $500,000 more. And could you imagine this offense with Marrero and his 946 OPS hitting 8th instead of Matheny and his 623?

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