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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