You Don’t Want Denard Span
Look, Span can still handle the bat. The last two years were his best in terms of OBP. These past two years, he’s had two of his three best batting average and slugging percentage seasons. You know what else happened over the past two years:
- He got older;
- He’s become injury prone; and
- He can’t play CF anymore.
Over the past year, he’s had three surgeries. The last one was to fix a torn labrum in his hip. Span will require 4-6 months of rehab meaning he won’t be ready to resume baseball activities until March. He will be 32 going on 40 to begin the 2016 season. He’s predicted to receive a 3 year $36 million deal in free agency.
Putting his injuries aside, he’s not worth that. Span puts up good CF numbers offensively, but he can’t play CF anymore. In 2013, he had the best defensive year of his career with a UZR of 10.2. That is great range. After that, the aforementioned surgeries started, and he hasn’t been the same player in the field.
In 2014, his UZR was -4.7. In 2015, it dipped even lower to -4.9. Both numbers rate him as being a bad defensive CF. A down year is a blip. Two straight down years is a trend. Two straight down years with hip surgery is cause for alarm. Reality is Span WAS a good CF. Now, he’s not.
I keep hearing that Span is a good risk. Why? It’s not like you’re signing a player off a down year. You’re signing a player off two consecutive down defensive years, with three surgeries, and you get the privilege of paying him $12 million a year to find out if he can turn it around.
And note, Span has been an everyday player his entire career. He’s not coming to the Mets to platoon with Juan Lagares. The Mets are not giving a player $30+ million to platoon with Lagares. If you’re signing Span, it’s to be the everyday CF.
No thank you. I’d rather see if the Mets injured 27 year old incumbent CF can do the job. I’d rather let Juan Lagares get healthy and get a chance to re-establish himself. He’s got a Gold Glove. He’s got time to work with Kevin Long. He’s got promise.
Span? He’s done. At least as a CF. If I’m taking a risk on an injured player, I’m taking the risk on the player five years younger with a good hip. I’m going with the player who played his best baseball in the postseason.
It’s still might be possible to upgrade CF. Denard Span is not that upgrade.