Really, it's the entire left side of the infield for our beloved Orioles, which is hardly a new thing. Last year's shortstop crew set what seemed to be a daily new benchmark for incompetence, and while fielding has been improved this year with Cesar Izturis and Robby Andino, offense is still a total blackhole from position six.
Izturis is on the DL, and went there with an ugly line of .260/.293/.327, which isn't so amazingly far off from his high-end projections, but his high-end projections scrape somewhere around passable for a Gold Glove defender, and whether or not you think his glove is that good is a matter of opinion. He OPS'd just .628 last year for the Cardinals, so this (.620) isn't shocking, but he's lost 26 points of valuable OBP from his line and "made up for it" by raising his slugging a half a tick up the awful chart.
The younger Andino, nabbed in the Hayden Penn trade, is much the same animal. He's hitting .253/.292/.313, and he's not a gloveman on par with Izturis, nor can he match him on the basepaths. Izturis is 9-for-9 stealing bags, with Andino at 2-for-4.
I'm not trying to make any grand revelation here, merely pointing out that shortstop is still very much a "need" position for this club in the near future. A really big-hitting team can get away with a good season version of Izturis thanks to his glove and legs, which also still make him a big upgrade on last year's stooge crew. But if you can grab a slightly lesser fielder who can pull his weight in the lineup, it makes a big difference.
Actually, this is all an elaborate set-up so that I can whine about Melvin Mora and be an obnoxious, stereotypical blogger who shows no regard for being fair or nice. This has nothing to do with Melvin Mora: Father. Husband. Man., only to do with Melvin Mora: Baseball Player, and he is freaking terrible. Trembley's continued insistence on hitting Mora in the five hole is stupid. It is flat-out stupid. Why sugarcoat it? It's dumb and Mora has not earned that spot.
When you're a team like the Orioles, bunching your best hitters can make a really big difference, but nope, here comes slap hittin' Melvin all the time, sporting that groovy .672 OPS (.277/.333/.339 with two home runs). This is exactly what he did last year before he caught otherworldly fire late in the season. If he doesn't do that again -- and mark my words, he will not do that again -- he's going to be a hindrance to the team's play all season long. By August, if he isn't hitting any better, there comes a point where you have to start looking at what's best for the team, doesn't there? Even in a "lost," rebuilding season?
Being the impatient dummy that I am, I'd almost prefer they throw Brandon Snyder to the wolves, stick Aubrey Huff at third base, and let Melvin cheerlead and encourage good bunting and make Sad Melvin Faces on the bench. I mean, I'm sure there are all kinds of practical reasons to not do that, and I get it, but I don't care. It's damn hard to watch him play anymore.