Trivia time: Can anyone name the 2008 Orioles starting shortstop?
Give up? Well, the answer is a somewhat confusing one.
If you want to go by who opened the season as their starting short stop, the answer would then be Luis Hernandez, who hit a measly .241 in 79 ABs. Needless to say, he lost the starting job quickly.
If you want to go by who got the most ABs, the answer would then be Juan Castro, who only hit .205 in 151 ABs. The defensive specialist is nothing more than that, a defensive specialist, and should never again be used as a starter.
The shortstop position became a revolving door for the Orioles in 2008. Winning is very difficult to do when there is no consistency, especially at a premium position like shortstop.
The Orioles finally addressed their revolving door at shortstop by signing Cesar Izturis to a 2 year contract. Izturis is known for his tremendous defense, but like past Orioles shortstops, he cannot hit. Izturis struggles to get on base and has virtually no power (1 HR last year), which definitely makes him a liability at the plate.
Sure IztuirIs has speed and can steal bases, but he offers the Orioles little to nothing more with the bat.
But you know what, I still think that acquiring Izturis was a good move for this team. The Orioles will probably not compete for anything in 2009 or 2010, but their main focus should remain to develop their young pitchers. Having a phenomenal defensive shortstop like Izturis can only help these young pitchers get outs and gain confidence that plays will be made behind them.
I'm not fond of the two year commitment to Izturis, but anything is better at this point than the Hernandez-Cintron-Bynum-Fahey-Castro merry-go-round that the Oriole experienced last year, right?