Wigginton a Philadelphia-Type Player

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Yes, his versatility is mitigated by his lack of range.

No, he doesn’t get on base.

But Ty Wigginton is a great fit for the Phillies.

The Phillies acquired Wigginton from the Rockies for a player to be named later or cash.

Exemplifying Philadelphia’s self-image of “fighting”, Wigginton will hit his 12-18 homers if he’s given 350-400 at bats, slide hard into bases and play with an intensity all teams have to have; the Phillies are old and need a player who can at least stand near third, second and first base and catch the balls that are hit in his general vicinity; he’s far cheaper than Michael Cuddyer‘s going to be and his acquisition makes clear that the Phillies aren’t going to be players for anyone else’s big name free agents like Jose Reyes.

Jimmy Rollins doesn’t have anywhere to go to make the money the Phillies will pay him for time-served and past glories; they don’t have any other shortstops to meaningfully pursue.

It’s not simply that Rollins is the leader of the Phillies clubhouse nor the aforementioned financial and logistical issues affecting both sides that make will keep the duo together; it’s that a big personality like Rollins isn’t easily transferred. There are the quiet leader-types you can pick up and stick in any clubhouse and they’ll sort of naturally dominate the room—like Wigginton—and no one will mind; then there are the louder voices who get away with the things they get away with, in part, because they’re known to their teammates, the media and fans; that the same teammates know when to zone out with a head shake and eye roll on whatever a Rollins is spouting.

Rollins is in the same sphere as A.J. Pierzynski. He’s an acquired taste that works in some places and not in others. Pierzynski was acquired by the Giants after the 2003 season in what was meant to be a “final piece” trade and it turned out to be a disaster as the Giants gave up Francisco Liriano and Joe Nathan, then reviled Pierzynski to the point that they released him after the 2004 season. He restarted his career with the White Sox under Ozzie Guillen, a manager who’s as polarizing as Pierzynski.

Cuddyer is a better player than Wigginton, but would’ve cost three times as much financially and for a commitment of about four years.

Wigginton will help them at an affordable price.

He’s a Philadelphia-type player.


Hot Stove Loo-zers—2010

Hot Stove
  • They don’t have plans and schemes…

…and they don’t have hopes and dreams.

Or maybe they do have hopes and dreams.

Maybe that’s the problem.

Let’s have a look at the hot stove losers…so far.

New York Yankees:

Desperately in need of pitching, they had their sights set on Cliff Lee as far back as a year ago and they didn’t get him.

Andy Pettitte is still undecided as to what he’s doing—-I’m not prepared to sign off on the idea that he’s “leaning” toward retirement; I think the closer it gets to spring training without a decision, the better it is for the prospect of him pitching.

Having not been helped by a weak/unsuitable market, they’re biding their time and hoping to stay within striking distance of a playoff spot to make a bold maneuver at mid-season 2011. But that doesn’t diminish the horrible winter they’ve had.

They kept Derek Jeter after a contentious and embarrassing negotiation for both sides; they retained Mariano Rivera.

On the surface, signing Russell Martin to take over behind the plate may solve the issue of Jorge Posada‘s declining defense, but Martin’s not exactly Charlie O’Brien and his offense has declined on an annual basis for the past three years with injuries a concern. In 2007, Martin appeared to be developing into a Mike Piazza-lite with speed; now he looks more like Paul Lo Duca.

And don’t think for a second that Posada’s going to put on a happy face about DH relegation.

Pedro Feliciano will be a boost to the bullpen; Mark Prior probably won’t even pitch.

The Yankees are accustomed to buying whatever they want; that hasn’t worked and they’re scrambling with nowhere to go.

Minnesota Twins:

One of the keys to the Twins being the Twins over the past ten years has been their liberal use of their bullpen. That bullpen has lost Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier—-two workhorses—-and is now relying on Joe Nathan‘s successful return from Tommy John surgery and a cast of thousands to replace the valuable innings eaten by Crain and Guerrier.

Orlando Hudson, Jim Thome and J.J. Hardy have been jettisoned with only Hardy’s departure a positive.

Alexi Casilla will take over at second base after he lost the job with lackluster play in 2009. Tsuyoshi Nishioka was imported from Japan. Do you know what they’re going to get from either? Because I don’t know what they’re going to get from either.

Nor do the Twins.

The starting rotation isn’t impressive and they’re trying very hard to keep Carl Pavano.


Los Angeles Angels:

The Angels made what they thought was a competitive offer for Carl Crawford; it turned out to not be a competitive offer for Carl Crawford.

They were in on Cliff Lee and had no chance whatsoever of getting him. They wanted pitching and a bat and have gotten nothing. Rafael Soriano and Adrian Beltre may still be on their radar, but so far all they’ve done is sign Scott Downs and Hisanori Takahashi.

Their starting pitching is still deep, but there’s something profoundly off with the Angels; something that’s hard to pinpoint.

With the Rangers still solid and the Athletics drastically improved, these fault lines in Anaheim are a portent of dark times in 2011.

Seattle Mariners:

Eric Wedge is a good hire to manage the team, but they traded for Brendan Ryan; re-signed Erik Bedard (if something’s working, why mess with it?); and signed Jack Cust.

These moves alone should catapult them from 61 wins to at least 67.

GM Jack Zduriencik must be a genius judging from the fact that he’s still employed.

New York Mets:

New GM Sandy Alderson is using an Indiana Jones-style machete to slash through the tangled vines left by years of mismanagement, disorganization, warring fiefdoms and short-sightedness.

Because of this, the Mets have done almost nothing and are preaching patience to a disgusted fan base; it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Washington Nationals:

If you check the Nats official website, you’ll see they have a picture of Rick Ankiel‘s dramatic homer in San Francisco in the NLDS while playing for the Braves—-link.

He won’t have to worry about dramatic playoff homers while playing for the Nats.

They overpaid for Jayson Werth; they traded Josh Willingham for the “future”; they have no pitching and no plan.

The team slogan should be “Waiting for Strasburg—-Again”.

St. Louis Cardinals:

Signing Lance Berkman to play right field might do as much harm defensively as it promises to help the lineup—-and I believe Berkman will thrive at the plate.

They acquired the mediocre Ryan Theriot to play shortstop and surrendered the useful Blake Hawksworth to get him; they re-signed Jake Westbrook; their bullpen is still a question mark at best.

I also have to wonder how the Albert Pujols contract situation and that Chris Carpenter is due for an injury (as is his history) will affect them as the season moves along.

San Diego Padres:

Suffice it to say that this team is not going to win 90 games again.

They traded Adrian Gonzalez for the future and got some high-end prospects—-none of the offense-generating variety—-that won’t help them in 2011; they acquired Jason Bartlett who isn’t any great shakes; they signed Orlando Hudson who’s becoming the Kurt Bevacqua of the new millenium. They’re looking at Derrek Lee. Big deal.

Does anyone know what they’re going to get out of Cameron Maybin?

They signed Aaron Harang who, if he was the “Aaron Harang” from 2007 would not only have had his option exercised by the Reds; as a free agent, he’d be looking at a $90 million deal.

  • What about everyone else?!?

Don’t think that I’ve forgotten or am ignoring the rest of the clubs in baseball; I’ll have some things to say about them and not in a “Gilligan’s Island” off-handed “and the rest” variety in adding the Professor and Mary Ann at the conclusion of the credits in the black and white version of the show.

I’ll have some stuff to say. Plenty of stuff. Tomorrow.

I’m considering changing the format of my postings; rather than one long deal published once, I may start stretching them out intermittently. Instead of bulletpoints, there will be separate postings.

It’s under consideration.

I’ll keep you informed; don’t panic.

I was on a week ago Wednesday with Sal at SportsFan Buzz talking about the winter thus far. Click here to go to his site and get it from I-Tunes and here—-The SportsFan Buzz: December 15, 2010—to get it directly.