Everyone loves to see great plays made in the field. Fans are transfixed by web gems and slick-fielding glovemasters. They even put guys that can’t hit in the Hall of Fame if they can flash some leather. There’s only one thing I enjoy more than a great defensive play, and that’s a really, really bad one. There are more than a few guys in the bigs that only wear a glove on one hand because it’s a rule of the game. Here’s my list of butchers that I love to watch bumble in the field. Be sure to check out the all-time team, too.
Catcher – Victor Martinez, Indians — While it’s truly amusing watching part-time catchers bumble behind the plate (Matt LeCroy), there aren’t many starting catchers that are flat-out terrible behind the dish. An exception, of course, is Victor Martinez. The Indians have been having him play first a few times a week this season and last to “keep him fresh.” Riiiiiight. Victor couldn’t throw out a crippled midget if he had a decent lead.
First Base — Dmitri Young, Nationals — There are a lot of unathletic fatasses that could have been appointed here that are safely tucked away in the AL as DHs (looking at you Big Papi!). That said, the Meathook has the grand misfortune of having to take the field every day for the Nats. For his career, he’s played more games in the outfield than at first, but putting him in either spot is an adventure. With the quickness of a battleship and the coordination of a cross-eyed goose, no manager puts Dmitri at first base if he can avoid it. Don’t laugh Brewer fans, Prince Fielder’s man-boobs aren’t far behind.
Second Base — B.J. Upton, Tampa Bay — I hate to pick on young players, but since most of the league’s truly awful two-baggers (Todd Walker, Jorge Cantu) have been moved out of the middle infield, Upton earns the nod. B.J. gets special points for being terrible at a whole pile of positions, bumbling aimlessly at 3B, SS, 2B, and the outfield. Like a true champ, Upton has notched 12 errors in 48 games so far this season.
Shortstop — Felipe Lopez, Nationals — The competition at shortstop was tight. There were fatasses that can’t move (Jhonny Peralta), guys that get stuffed at first in the playoffs (Carlos Guillen) and guys that can’t hit or field (Jason Bartlett). But the worst of them all is Felipe Lopez. Cursed with hands of stone, Felipe’s career fielding percentage of .958 might be excusable if he had exceptional range. The trouble is, Lopez covers less ground than most and with his unsure hands , getting to the ball is only half the battle. (It should be noted that I resisted the extreme temptation of naming Derek Jeter here to piss off legions of Yankees fans and correctly point out how grossly overrated he is.)
Third Base — Chone Figgins, Angels — The competition here was fierce also. If the Nationals ever played Tony Bautista, he’d be a lock here to complete the Nationals infield. Shea Hillenbrand’s a DH now and Chipper Jones only had 18 errors last season. The next natural choice is Chone Figgins. He’s finally settling into one position to be crappy at instead of sucking all over the diamond. After he fielded 3B at a sweet .878 clip last year, why wouldn’t the Angels put him there every day? After all, he can show off his laser-rocket arm he’s used to collect 8 outfield assists in the last 5 years. It should be noted that if Miguel Cabrera’s ass gets any larger he’s liable to pass Figgins on this list, as he might somehow post a negative range factor.
Outfield — Manny Ramirez, Red Sox — Manny being Manny means some of the worst defense you’ve ever seen. Besides having a knack for screwing up his own plays, Manny’s been known to cut off a throw or two that didn’t really need it. He occasionally graces the league’s leaderboard for assists, but that’s because even Sid Bream would take an extra base on Manny.
Chris Duncan, Cardinals — Poor Chris was born to be a DH, but ended up in the NL. Having a fielding percentage of .958 or .932 might be reasonable for a third baseman, but a corner outfielder? Playing LF in New Busch shouldn’t be that hard, but Duncan makes it look like doing the rubic’s cube blindfolded.
Matt Stairs, Blue Jays — The modern-day Pete Incaviglia doesn’t get to grace the field much these days, but when he does, it’s a sight to behold. Never a master of geometry, Stairs takes terrible angles on fly balls and if a ball would happen to ricochet off a wall, he might never find it. Stairs was used almost exclusively as a DH last season, but apparently the Blue Jays have the same sense of humor as we do.
Honorable Mention Outfield: Adam Dunn, Raul Ibanez, Carlos Lee
Pitcher – Detriot Tigers pitchers not named Kenny Rogers — If you watched the World Series I don’t have to explain this to you. You can say all you want about how they spent time on it in Spring Training or the funny hops. They couldn’t field then, and they can’t field now. It’s pretty sad when most batters can beat Fernando Rodney to first base after giving him a 50 foot head start.
Think there’s a worse butcher currently in the bigs? Drop a comment below! Be sure to check out the all-time lead glove team!