The keystone corner is not the most exciting position in the NL West. We are going to trot out Freddy Sanchez--no, wait, I mean Juan Uribe. Now Uribe had a great season for us last year, he was very valuable despite his hack-meister approach. There's nothing in his career line (.257/.298/.430) though, that suggests he's a 111 OPS+ player, and he projects at 89-90 wRC+. He's a great guy to have around because he can play all the infield positions. Clearly he was acquired as FSanchez/Renteria insurance. I think our Brian Trust knows that old guys break down and they plan the team accordingly. A healthy FSanchez (.299/.334/.417, 97 OPS+) would be damn useful. Bill James and CHONE project him at 93-94 wRC+. CHONE says that's worth 1.1 WAR, but he's been a 3+ WAR player in the past (4.8 in 2006 when he hit .344). We'll see--I'll admit I'm not expecting much.
The Dodgers face an interesting conundrum with their youngster Blake DeWitt. He's a 1st-round draft pick (2004, #28), and was mostly a third baseman in an impressive rookie season (2008) where he had a .344 OBP (45 walks!) in 117 games. He has no pop (.384 SLG), and is better suited to second (especially with Casey Blake on the team). Orlando Hudson somehow played his way off the team despite a fine season (109 OPS+), and Torre got enamored with grizzled vet Ron Belliard instead. Ned Colletti learned at the feet of the Master, after all, and I hope the Dodgers stick with RonnieB instead of giving Mr. Upside (CHONE says DeWitt is good for a 94 wRC+) a chance to develop. They also got rid of infield prospect Tony Abreu, now a Diamondback. Speaking of Arizona, they decided to sign Kelly Johnson when he was non-tendered by the Braves. This guy was excellent in 2007 (116 OPS+) and 2008 (109 OPS+), but crashed in 2009 (.692 OPS. 83 OPS+). He's an interesting pick-up, turning 28 next month with a .264/.346/.430 career line. The projections are bullish (115 wRC+ and 3 WAR), so he seems a good risk for the Snakes (and they have Abreu in the wings). The Rockies will stick with Clint Barmes, who hits home runs. Last year at age 30 he got his first full-time gig, and his .245/.294/.440 line with 23 HRs was good for an 84 OPS+. Very Juan Uribe, wouldn't you say? He projects at 85-87 wRC+ and 1.9 WAR. We close our look at second base with the Padres David Eckstein. Mr. Intangible is so scrappy, and has so much grit and hustle that his career numbers and projections are irrelevant. He makes everyone around him better, and that's something the Padres can take to the bank.