Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Offseason Acquisition Series: Phillies trade for Ty Wigginton

The Phillies gave up virtually nothing in this trade, as they surrendered only a Player To Be Named Later (who is expected to be inconsequential), while the Rockies are picking up two million of the four million dollars Wigginton is owed in 2012.

So, the financial investment is minimal, but there is another important investment that often gets ignored.  In short, the Phillies must invest one of their 25 roster spots in Wigginton.  Anybody who has followed a team throughout a whole season knows how valuable each roster spot is.

Perhaps you are wondering why Wigginton isn’t a good guy to give a bench spot to, considering he can play all four infield positions, as well as both corner outfield spots.  Isn’t this type of versatility that you look for in a bench position?

Yes.  You want someone who can play multiple positions.  The problem with Wigginton is that he is a significantly below average defender at every position he plays.  His UZR is negative for every position except right field, where he has only played 46.3 innings in the last four years (i.e. an insignificant sample size).  You want a versatile player to back up a bunch of positions, but you don't want someone like Wigginton who is likely a downgrade everywhere he plays.  In this case, Wigginton's versatility is highly overrated.

His bat is also lacking, as he has posted a wRC+ of 92 or less each of the last three seasons.  Add in his below replacement level base-running, and you are left with a guy who can “play” 6 positions, is a below average hitter, a below replacement runner, and just turned 34 years old.

Is this the sort of player the deep-pocketed World Series hopeful Phillies should have on their 25-man all year?

Forget the monetary investment, Wigginton isn’t even worth the investment of a roster spot.

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