Early Middle Infield Struggles

The three players that comprise the middle infield for the Padres–Everth Cabrera, Jerry Hairston, and David Eckstein–have gotten off to terrible starts.

I mentioned some problems with Cabrera entering the year, and thus far, he’s struggled to adapt, batting .226/.226/.355 with no walks and ten strikeouts.

Hairston is at an even worse .158/.158/.158, with no walks and five strikeouts.

Eckstein is at .200/.231/.280.

Combined, they’re 15-for-76 with just one walk and fifteen strikeouts.

Ouch.

My Oscar Salazar idea isn’t looking bad now, is it?

I mean, Cabrera needs to play. There’s no reason he shouldn’t play; the Padres aren’t really competing for the division title, and Cabrera needs to get as much experience as possible.

However, Eckstein and Hairston are two veterans who have had major scuffles at the plate in recent years. If they can’t break their slumps, there’s no incentive to play them, and the Padres shouldn’t waste their time. They’re better off taking a flyer on Salazar at second, horrific defense or not, or bring up Matt Antonelli, Lance Zawadzki, Logan Forsythe, or someone with upside.

Of course, the struggles come with a small-sample-size warning label; Hairston isn’t going to hold a .316 OPS for long. Still, Hairston has had three poor seasons in his last four, and Eckstein had a horrible 2008, so it’s not like their struggles are breaking news. Keeping them around in hopes they could at least put up .650-.700 OPSes was a defensible, if bad, idea. Keeping them around and taking playing time away from players with upside is just an exercise in futility.

If one or the other can’t get it together in the next few weeks, I’m all for getting them out of San Diego and getting some fresh blood at the keystone.

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Tags: David Eckstein Everth Cabrera Jerry Hairston Oscar Salazar San Diego Padres

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