*Note to Jed Hoyer - can you PLEASE make these types of moves known on Thursday morning instead of Friday morning? Help a poor lonely Podcast host out. Throw me a bone, man.
Most of the reporting on this trade has highlighted Hudson's defensive ability. That, coupled with the trade for Jason Bartlett (agreed to during the winter meetings last week but only finalized yesterday), and the acquisition of Cameron Maybin earlier this off-season, make the Padres a better defensive team up the middle than in 2010.
Or does it? I've already looked at Maybin vs Tony Gwynn Jr. Let's look at the new players in comparison to who they're replacing.
For this evaluation I'm only going use Dewan Plus/Minus. Ultimate Zone Rating is also a good defensive metric, and can be found on Fangraphs. In 2010 Hudson was one of the best second basemen in the league, saving 17 runs. His plus/minus ratings are staggering:
- Ground balls: +5 to his right, +3 straight on, +10 to his left for a total of +18.
- Pop-ups/Fly Balls: +4.
- Eckstein: Ground balls -1/+3/-3, Pop-ups/Fly Balls +5.
- Hairston Jr: Ground Balls +3/+4/-4, Pop-ups/Fly Balls -1.
Jason Bartlett played for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010 By Dewan, he saved 5 runs over the course of the season. Here's his plus/minus numbers.
- Ground balls: -7 right, -5 straight on, +12 left. Dewan made him +1 on ground balls.
- Pop-ups/Fly Balls: +5
- Hairston: Ground balls +2/+1/+3; Pop-ups/Fly Balls -3.
- Cabrera: +2/+1/-8; +2.
- Tejada: +2/+1/+1; -2.
The Padres have improved defensively at second base. Their new shortstop is about on par with the duo that played most of the innings last year, and their center fielder is a bit worse defensively than Tony Gwynn Jr was. I am not poo-poohing these moves by any means; but I don't think they improve the defense around here as much as some would lead you to believe.