All right, so I've had a little time to think about it, and here's what it comes down to:
- No, we didn't rip anyone off
- No, Jack Hannahan isn't very good
- Yes, he's an upgrade over Chris Woodward
- No, this likely won't end our pursuit of another infielder
It's weird; Hannahan's offense is Oakland in a nutshell. He has a good eye. He swings at pitches like Griffey and Franklin Gutierrez, which is to say that he has a pretty good idea of the strike zone and doesn't go fishing very much. But pitch recognition doesn't mean very much if you don't make a lot of contact or hit for a lot of power, and that's precisely why we were just able to land him from a division rival for a geode and some Bubble Tape. The overall package of Jack Hannahan as a hitter is less than the sum of the parts. It seems like he should be better than he is, but he isn't, and at 29, he's not about to kick it up a notch.
And yet he's still better than Chris Woodward. ZiPS projections for the rest of the season put Hannahan at a .310 wOBA and Woodward at .275, and while I find that to be a pretty rosy view of Jack Hannahan, he's still the better bat, and he's left-handed for good measure. You can't always upgrade with quality. Sometimes you just have to go from really bad to bad, but the good news is that every little bit counts just the same. And besides, we didn't get Hannahan for his offense.
No - it turns out that what makes Hannahan a half-decent player is the fact that he plays a mean third base. UZR likes him. PMR likes him. Plus/minus likes him. RZR likes him. Woodward has made some good plays, but he's also made some bad ones, and Hannahan comes in with a track record of really being able to pick it. Over a full season, his defense is probably worth about a win on its own, and while that impact diminishes when you're left with a brief window of playing time before Beltre comes back, it is a step up. Hannahan is just the latest in a series of acquisitions like this. And given where the Mariners are in the standings, it would be a difficult series to criticize.
As for Justin Souza...don't worry about Justin Souza. He's not going to make us look stupid.
This isn't a sexy trade, but it's a helpful one that solidifies a team defense that, without Beltre, was dealt a significant blow. Take a look around the depth chart. Hannahan, Langerhans, Gutierrez, Ichiro - these are four starters with +10 - +20 ability in the field. Cedeno's looked good over his time. Branyan's been all right. The only guy who hasn't looked sharp is Lopez, and it's not like he's a disaster. He's just a little below average. The team defense as a whole, though, is still really, really good.
Hannahan's going to help. And apparently he's going to try to help as soon as tonight. It sucks for Woodward, but as we talked about yesterday with regard to Yuni, I care more about what's good for the team than what's good for the players, and Woodward will still get to hang out on a Major League bench for a bit while Josh Wilson gets granted the gift of dismissal. Meanwhile, the Mariners improve while doing little to impede themselves from still chasing another infielder. Make no mistake; Zduriencik doesn't intend for this to be his last move. We'll just have to see after the next two games whether the moves he still wants to make will be worth making.