They were cutting into the Padres-Rockies game last night with the Rockies up 3-2 in the 7th. The Padres had the bases loaded and one out. They had they little engine that could a.k.a David Eckstein coming up to the plate. Almost on cue, the commentators starting gushing about his clutch hitting "abilities" and about how he's the player you want up in a key spot. While he did manage to get a sac fly on this given time......if I was a fan of the Padres (or whoever is overspending on Eckstein at the given time) he would be one of the last guys I want up in that spot.
It also didn't help that they showed a graphic showing that Eckstein is a .218 career hitter with the bases loaded. He's somehow managed to hit 4 grand slams during that time but a .218 average isn't going to get you mistaken for Tony Gwynn. To make matters worse, his career OBP with the bases loaded is a ghastly .238. They start talking about how he's gonna help the Padres, they're bringing him back blah blah blah while forgetting to mention that he's hitting 18 percent below league average this year.
As bad as this was, they start talking about how they would not want up in that spot Mark Reynolds because he strikes out too much. While this obviously is not a good trait, he does have one little thing going for him. He happens to be a lot better at baseball than David Eckstein. He's gone yard 43 time this year (Eckstein has 33 in 1,187 career games). When it comes to walks, he's not Barry Bonds but he has drawn a respectable 74 walks. If he keeps improving, he could become the greatest 3TO (Three True Outcomes) player of this generation. There's also the little thing of Reynolds pretty much schooling Eckstein in OPS+ (131 to 82)
And back to the original claim that started the Eckstein love fest, Reynolds hitting with the bases loaded. I will concede this area needs lots of work (his career line is .150/.275/.250--small sample size (51 plate appearances) but he's capable of better regardless of the situation. If the games on the line and the bases are loaded i'd rather have the guy who's a consistent threat to go yard, can draw a walk and imposes fear into the opposing pitcher rather than a back of the lineup middle fielder who is known more for being 5'6'' and being gritty than for actually being a good hitter.
I know there's nothing original about calling David Eckstein mediocre but I can't listen to 5 minutes of hearing about how "great" he is without venting.