The Colorado Rockies have struck a deal that will send Ty Wigginton, his many gloves, and some cash to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for… well, salary relief.
Troy Renck tells us that the Rockies will split the $4M owed to Wigginton and can either get more cash back or a player to be named later, which will likely be a C-level prospect or organizational player. Renck also tells us that if the Phillies pick up Wigginton’s 2013 option the Rockies will receive either $100,000 in cash or another player to be named. later If the Phillies do not pick up the option then the Rockies will have to pay a portion of Wigginton’s $500K buyout.
The Rockies get instant salary relief in this deal. That is about it. The departing Wigginton’s role can be filled by a few players within their organization at a league minimum salary. Eric Young, Jr. and Jordan Pacheco are the most likely candidates to take over the duties Wigginton leaves behind.
But, in order to replace Wigginton, all you really need is someone close to a replacement level player because he is the shell of his former self.
Believe me, this was a tough pill for me to swallow. I love Wiggy. I loved him when he was with the Rays and was putting up decent numbers. Take a look at his 2006-2008 numbers:
As you can see, Wigginton was improving his strikeout rates, batting average, and on-base percentage yearly and topped out in a career year in 2008 in every category. Now, take a look at his 2009-2011 numbers:
Over the past three seasons Wigginton has not had a single season where he has hit at least league-average and his strikeout rates and batting average declined each year and he never once came close to any one season he had from 2006-2008. Over the past three years he has hit .254/.313/.411 with a wOBA of .317 and wRC+ of 89. Not exactly a bat you want playing in a corner spot. He also has a -3.5 Bsr over the past three seasons. No help on the base paths either.
While most teams would take a league-average hitter at $2M to play a skill position Wigginton cannot play a skill position and can barely play a decent corner position. He does not own a positive UZR at any position and did not own one at any single position in 2011. Let’s take a three year sample size of Wigginton’s defense.
Wigginton has an overall UZR of -26.6 over the past three seasons. Let that sink in for a minute. That is spread out over the many positions he plays, none at even average. His UZR at third is -11.3 over 1004 innings. His UZR at second is -3.6 over 345.1 innings. His UZR at first is -11.2 over 1311 innings. And his UZR in a small sample in left is -2.0 over 145 innings.
Not surprisingly, Wigginton has had a negative worth of 0.7 wins below replacement over the past three seasons. There is a reason the Rockies gave him away just to save $2M and open a roster spot.
I understand the Phillies need a right-handed bat that can play first and they need depth in case their is another injury to Chase Utley but it appears Wigginton doesn’t have much left to offer at the age of 34 and the Phillies may have been better off looking elsewhere because Wiggy is not the above-average hitter he was from 2005-2008 and has never been an above-average defender at any position.