Death Match: Nick Green vs. Chin-Lung Hu

Okay, maybe “death match” is a bit strong when you’re talking about a battle between a 30+ never-was and a light-hitting glovesman for a backup infield job, but still. According to this pair of tweets from Ken Rosenthal, the Dodgers have signed Nick Green…

Source: IF Nick Green signs minor-league deal with Dodgers. Coming off back surgery

Jamey Carroll not a SS. Green would be primary backup to Furcal. Slightly behind schedule due to surgery.

We first heard about interest in Nick Green over a month ago, and even though it was just a rumor, I responded anyway, since the Hot Stove has been lukewarm at best. I was, to put it mildly, not impressed:

If you don’t know much about Green, that’s because you shouldn’t. This is a guy who is 31 and has played for five teams in parts of five seasons, almost entirely as a backup. In 2009, he was pressed into service as Boston’s starting shortstop for nearly half the season thanks to a multitude of injuries, and responded with a pretty bad .236/.303/.366 line. That’s not even a case of a guy being exposed due to too much playing time; that mirrors exactly his career line of .239/.307/.352. Even in over 3000 PA appearances in the minors, his OBP is just .324. “Getting on base” is clearly not Nick Green’s strength, no matter where he plays.

“But hey,” you might say. “He’s a shortstop, so if he really can’t hit, he must be a whiz with the glove, right?” You’d say that, and you’d be wrong. For his entire career, he’s a whopping 0.6 fielding runs above average. That’s not horrible, but nor is it an asset.

So please, enlighten me. When you’re trying to come up with backup infielders, paying Nick Green more than you’d have to pay Chin-Lung Hu to be 5 years older, a far inferior fielder, and a likely inferior batter (Hu at least has a .342 OBP in the minors, and at his age still has time to improve) makes sense in what way exactly?

I usually don’t paste so much from old posts, but every thing I said there still rings true today. But you know what makes it even better? That’s three paragraphs about how Nick Green is a lousy ballplayer and a bad idea, and that was before I heard that he had back surgery this offseason. Back surgery, which he is behind schedule in recovering from

Now I will grant that it’s a minor-league deal, so the money is negligible and the commitment is zero. But Rosenthal paints it as though he will be the backup shortstop, without even mentioning the possibility of Hu. So someone please explain this math problem to me:

Hu is a better fielder than Green.

Hu is younger than Green.

Hu is healthier than Green.

Hu is likely at least as good of a hitter, if not better, than Green.

Hu has at least a slight chance of upside, while Green has none.

Therefore, Green > Hu. Of course it does.

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  1. [...] Except… isn’t this exactly what Jamey Carroll was for? You know, a mediocre veteran who can play some 2nd and 3rd as needed? Because Belliard can’t play shortstop any more than Carroll can, and it was that “lack of a shortstop” issue that led to Nick Green getting a spring training invite. [...]

  2. [...] trying to talk ourselves into Alfredo Amezaga because he’s a lefty, or outright requesting Chin-Lung Hu, we’ve had no shortage of thoughts on [...]

  3. [...] backup shortstop. Who would you rather – the pitcher who has two shutouts under his belt, or the backup infielder who can’t hit or field, and isn’t better than minor leaguers you currently have? Sticking Stults in the bullpen for [...]

  4. [...] because A) I’d rather have held on to Eric Stults as the 12th pitcher for a few weeks and B) there’s nothing Green can do that Chin-Lung Hu can’t, but that decision seems to have been made. (Temporarily, at least, since the pitching staff will [...]

  5. [...] I’d like to say that this spot could have been used far better by protecting Eric Stults, keeping Chin-Lung Hu, or picking up Hank Blalock, I have to admit those ships had sailed (almost literally in [...]

  6. [...] when he was actually signed in January and it sounded like he’d make the club, I was still not all that happy about it: Now I will grant that it’s a minor-league deal, so the money is negligible and the commitment is [...]

  7. [...] To be honest, I wasn’t really sure why he was re-signed in the first place, and yes, I’m regretting bagging on Jamey Carroll‘s shortstop skills right now: Except… isn’t this exactly what Jamey Carroll was for? You know, a mediocre veteran who can play some 2nd and 3rd as needed? Because Belliard can’t play shortstop any more than Carroll can, and it was that “lack of a shortstop” issue that led to Nick Green getting a spring training invite. [...]

  8. [...] even turn 27 until February. But for the second year in a row – surely you remember the Dodgers choosing Nick Green over him last year, right? – rather than giving Hu a spot as a backup, they’ve brought in a clearly [...]