Free Agent Stock Watch: Ty Wigginton

Coming off an .876 OPS season with Houston in 2008, Ty Wigginton signed a two-year, $6MM deal with the Orioles.   He had a .258/.313/.409 line in 1085 plate appearances for Baltimore and was named to the AL All-Star Team after a superb April and May last season.  Let's see what a team will get by signing the 33-year-old this winter…

The Pros

  • Wigginton appeared in 98 games at first, 40 games at second and 22 games at third last season.  A lot of clubs could use a utility infielder able to cover three positions, plus he also has corner outfield experience.
  • As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted last week, the free agent market for third basemen is very thin once you get past Adrian Beltre.
  • Wigginton is coming off a 22-homer season, though just nine of those home runs came after May 23.  He has always had some pop in his bat, compiling a .446 slugging percentage in his career.

The Cons

  • Wigginton may be versatile, but he has a below-average UZR/150 at all three of his infield positions, especially at second and third.  He does have a 9.5 UZR/150 in the outfield, however.
  • The right-handed hitter has a career .816 OPS against left-handed pitching (and a .755 OPS against righties), but his numbers against southpaws have dipped considerably over the last two seasons.  Wigginton posted a .650 OPS and a .679 OPS against southpaws in 2009 and 2010, respectively. 

The Verdict

Wigginton is probably in line for a one-year contract worth no more than $2-$2.5MM.  It's unlikely he'd be used in anything but a platoon or bench role, though his declining numbers against lefties will concern teams looking for a veteran right-handed bat.

Since Wigginton can play all over the diamond, any number of teams could see him as a useful bench option.  He could return to Baltimore at a lower price since there appears to be mutual interest between he and the Orioles, plus the O's would prefer a known quantity to fill in should Josh Bell not be able handle the everyday third base job.   MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli notes that Wigginton will be looking for a multi-year commitment, which Baltimore isn't keen to offer (Twitter link).

Wherever Wigginton plays in 2011, expect him to draw interest at the trade deadline as he did last July.  Wigginton's versatility makes him a candidate for any team looking to fill a hole created by a midseason injury.


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13 Comments on "Free Agent Stock Watch: Ty Wigginton"


Ian_Smell
4 years 10 months ago

Someone needs to find out where Wigginton was hiding after the All Star break. That clearly was not him who was playing so terribly.

Dave_Gershman
4 years 10 months ago

Rockies.

4 years 10 months ago

Starter on a bad team, supersub on a good team. It’ll be his choice.

stovin
4 years 10 months ago

The Orioles should offer Pie and Tillman to the DBacks for Reynolds instead of Wiggy. Then offer Dunn 4 years 60 million and offer the Astros Egan, Snyder and Andino for Wandy Rodriguez. And sign Hiroyuki Nakajima and Corey Patterson.Rotation 1: Wandy 2: Guthrie 3: Matusz 4: Bergy 5: Arrieta. Lineup 1: Roberts 2B 2: Markakis RF 3: Scott DH 4: Dunn 1B 5: Reynolds 3B 6: Jones CF 7: Wieters C 8: Patterson LF 9: Nakajima SS

Dave_Gershman
4 years 10 months ago

I agree with signing Nakjima but the other stuff seems a bit unrealistic. Although I would love to see the Orioles get Wandy but no point of trading someone lik Egan when they simply can’t compete next season.

crashcameron
4 years 10 months ago

i haven’t followed him so i’m not sure if Tillman is dropping, but always beware of trading young arm for some home runs (although i’m sure Reynolds would deliver a few in a place like Camden)

ugen64
4 years 10 months ago

moving from the NL West to the AL East could be a problem. just look at the difference going the other direction made for Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell. then there’s the issue of defense. somehow Reynolds posted a positive UZR last season, but over his career he has a UZR/150 of -5.9 at 3B. yeah, compared to Wigginton he’s practically a Gold Glover, but in general that’s another weakness of his. and finally Reynolds’s career trend is worrying. his line drive rate has been going down every year. also, teams are pitching around him more and more (in 2007 he saw 51.8% of pitches in the zone; last season only 44.2%), but he’s not changing his approach. so his walk rate has improved, and his HR rate is still the same (because he can still crush a mistake), but everything else (line drive percentage, strikeout rate, OBP, SLG) has gotten worse.

I’m not saying the Orioles shouldn’t go after him, but to trade any sort of real prospect like Tillman would be a bad idea. in this case we’d only get 2 relatively expensive years of Reynolds, compared to 5 years of Tillman (2 of them at the league minimum salary)

4 years 10 months ago

I wouldn’t mind seeing him sign a 1yr deal with the braves. Provide depth all around the field. Would probably get plenty of at bats spelling chipper at 3rd, freeman at 1st, prado at 2nd. wiggy & infante could really be useful together to fill some holes in case of injuries in the infield or outfield.

3mil is no small chunk of change, but he’d prolly get enough at bats to make it worth it. wouldn’t have to use brooks conrad (as much as some fans support him) as much as we were forced to this year.

Depends if we get a big bat in left field, and a reliever, and if there’s enough $ left to go after wiggy as a superutility

Eric
4 years 10 months ago

Hopefully The Orioles re-sign this guy.

He wont have the year he did last year.

But like the article says he is very versatile

johnsilver
4 years 10 months ago

He’s better than Willie Bloomquist and Bill Hall, but about all can say. He’s not good enough on defense end at any position to stick as recall from his days as a Ray, actually pretty brutal everywhere and didn’t he come up through the minors as a 3B?

Sign on a good team as a supersub and try to hang on for a long career that way, maybe a NL team for years longer even pinch hitting if he can handle it.

$1742854
4 years 10 months ago

Perfect back-up 1B/3B/DH against lefties (platoon with Kubel) for Twins? Hits .275/.351/.465 against Lefties versus Kubel’s .236/.313/.352. Also a good power bat off the bench, something the Twins always lack. Good insurance in case Morneau has issues, keeps Cuddy in right, waaaaay better than other potential 1B/3B backups (read: Brendan Harris).

Beaned1
4 years 10 months ago

The Orioles should invest their money in starters at 1B and 3B, not backups. I hope they don’t re-sign him for his ‘veteran presence’, because its time to get some real players at the corners here. I don’t even want him as a backup – time for him to go away, we got our moneys worth already. The above-mentioned Dunn at 1B and Reynolds at 3B makes a lot of sense for this O’s team – I hope it happens.

Pie and Tillman may never have higher trade value- better get rid of them soon. Pie will never learn to run the bases – sure he’s got all those tools, but they are worthless with an empty brain. Face it, he’s not a thinking man’s baseball player. Tillman could be the next Liz, remember him? Liz once had trade value, but then we held onto him and he didn’t improve…and we got nuthin in return for him. Wah wawwwww.

Lanidrac
4 years 10 months ago

If he can also play shortstop, he looks like a very good target for the Cardinals, especially with his numbers against lefties.