David Banks/Getty Images
Alejandro De Aza has been quite poor on the bases this season.
Alejandro De Aza is an enigma.
As evidenced by his 1.8 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), he does some things well, yet costs the White Sox time and again because of poor defense and terrible baserunning.
The latest example of his tendency to run the Sox into trouble occurred on Sunday against the Minnesota Twins. After hitting a double to lead off the inning, he inexplicably broke for third base on a ground ball off the bat of Gordon Beckham to his right. Throwing him out was as easy as a 35-foot toss to the shortstop's right.
Defensively, De Aza has committed six errors, which translates into a .988 fielding percentage and a -2.8 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), according to FanGraphs.com. His defense has been worse than the numbers, actually.
Even his hitting leaves fans wondering exactly what to make of the 29-year-old. He leads the White Sox in runs scored with 64, has a .338 batting average with runners in scoring position and is third on the team with a .755 On-Base Plus Slugging (OPS) Percentage, but strikes out 22.3 percent of the time and only has a .328 On-Base Percentage (OBP) entering play Tuesday.
The Sox will take the run-scoring and power numbers, but in an ideal baseball world, the first hitter in the lineup gets on base more often and strikes out considerably less.
In addition to everything else, De Aza is going to be too expensive in 2014. This season was the first in which he was eligible for arbitration and was awarded a one-year, $2.08 million contract. His salary figures to go up substantially if he were to be offered arbitration.
I would expect that De Aza, who is not scheduled to hit free agency until after the 2015 season, to be traded for some bullpen help during the offseason.
Did I mention he was an enigma? While I was researching his stats, De Aza hit a walk-off single in extra innings against the Detroit Tigers. Go figure.