I'm sure you've all seen this FanGraphs post from Jeff Sullivan about the worst position on a contending team, but if you haven't, go read it.
First, thank you Jeff for calling the Blue Jays a contending team. I'm not sure I'd make that judgement, but I'm all for optimism. And, thank you for the projected WAR (0.3) from Ryan Goins and Maicer Izturis, which also seems fairly optimistic. Maicer was a -2.1 and, though I'd expect some bounce back from that, if he gets up to replacement level, it would be a minor miracle or perfect just a lot of sitting on the bench.
FanGraphs rates Ryan Goins at a 0.4 WAR last year, all on the strength of a 33.1 UZR/150, which isn't going to happen again. Among regular 2013 second basemen, the top UZR/150 was Darwin Barney, from the Cubs, with a 15.5. I don't think Goins is twice as good as the best in the game. His glove is good, but not out of this world good. His bat? If all goes well, he might hit about as well as John McDonald did.
People say a reason to watch baseball is that you might see something that you haven't seen before. I'm finding that one of my reasons to watch ball is that I see patterns that I have seen before. When I was younger, oh so much younger than today (yeah Tom, put in references that no one younger than you will get), my Expos put together teams with great strengths, with players like Gary Carter, Andre Dawson, Tim Raines, Tim Wallach, Steve Rogers, and others. But they wouldn't win their division, because they would punt one or two positions.
Like, for example, second base, where for most of 5 seasons they ran Rodney Scott out to waste a spot in the batting order. As an Expo, Rodney hit .226/.313/.283 and, here is the amazing part, he played 421 games for Montreal. Better yet, he generally hit second in the order. Can you imagine?
Defensively? He was damn near average (on a good day), though he made far more errors that you'd like to see from you second baseman. Oh, he'd steal a bunch of bases but that didn't make up for his many faults.
Here we had a team with several very good players (including 2 Hall of Famers and 1 should-be Hall of Famer), but they were willing to piss away wins by playing someone for whom baseball should have been a spectator sport.
I'm still thinking that Alex is just teasing us with this idea that Goins and Izturis playing second this year, but if he's not kidding us, we could be following that same road my Expos went down. I mean, a lot of things would have to go right for us to contend, but if those things did go right and we miss out on the playoffs for the want of a major league second baseman? What's the line about those that fail history are doomed to repeat it?
Oh, and by major league second baseman, I don't mean Yuniesky Betancourt. That's a joke that I wouldn't be able to laugh off.