The Mythical Replacement Level Player: Not So Mythical

There are people all over the place who love to mock the whole replacement level concept. Fortunately there are people like Jack Zduriencik who love to prove them wrong.

The Mariners have added two infielders to the system: Chris Woodward and Callix Crabbe. You might be more familiar with Woodward because of his 1600 Major League at bats, but he's a 32 year old pile of crap, and Crabbe is the interesting one. I know, I know, it's a crazy name. There's more to him than Scrabble, though. Crabbe's another player we've poached from the Brewers, and I'd be lying if I said he doesn't have an intriguing track record. For the last three years between AA/AAA he's demonstrated an ability to hit for a decent average, draw a walk, and play some defense, and at 26 next February, he's on the verge of hitting the prime of his career. Now's a good time to bring him in for zero commitment and see what happens.

It's not that Crabbe's anything special. He doesn't have any power and he only really draws walks because he tries not to swing. But that's not the point. The point is that he, like Tuglett, could probably come up and wOBA .300-.310 while playing average defense at second base, and in so doing be a real-life, living, breathing replacement level infielder. The sort of guy who's a win or two worse than Lopez and barely worse than Yuni. The sort of guy whose very existence makes it unforgivably retarded to give Luis Castillo a four-year contract.

The concept may be a little difficult to understand at first, and the mathematics may be somewhat theoretical, but the players themselves are very, very real, and stockpiling them as free insurance is never a bad idea. May we never have to suffer through a debacle like we had at DH and 1B last year ever again.

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Also, I might as well take this opportunity to point out that LL hero Brandon Fahey is a minor league free agent just looking for work. My favorite thing about Brandon Fahey is that he could be either guy in this picture.

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