Ty Wigginton Rumors

MacPhail Discusses Orioles’ Offseason Goals

We heard a few Orioles-related tidbits earlier today, and now MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli provides another handful. Ghiroli discussed the Orioles' offseason with president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, and MacPhail shared some thoughts on how the O's intend to approach free agency and trades this winter.

  • The team's primary goal will be obtaining a middle-of-the-order hitter, with no specific position in mind. MacPhail suggests that adding an impact bat would benefit the rest of the lineup, by taking some pressure off the Orioles' current hitters.
  • MacPhail sounds skeptical about acquiring pitching through free agency or trades, calling that approach "fragile and expensive" compared to developing young arms. However, he acknowledged that the club could once again look into acquiring a Kevin Millwood-esque veteran: "You want to have an innings eater because you never know what to expect from the youngsters. So someone like that would certainly be attractive to us."
  • When approaching the free agent market for hitters, the Orioles would rather not take a flier on a Garrett Atkins type again. They are hoping to add players who are less risky than Atkins was, though MacPhail concedes that sometimes the way the market develops makes it necessary to take a gamble.
  • Ghiroli speculates that, while the O's may not be able to attract the very best free agents like Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford, they will likely look hard at the group of players in the tier or two below: Victor Martinez, Paul Konerko, Derrek Lee, Jon Garland, and Brandon Webb, to name a few.
  • Ghiroli predicts that the Orioles will stay in contact with most of their impending free agents, especially Ty Wigginton, Cesar Izturis, and Koji Uehara.
  • The O's also made a minor roster move today, adding reliever Jim Hoey to their 40-man roster, reports Ghiroli.

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.

Orioles Rumors: Wigginton, Uehara, Izturis

You might see Ty Wigginton in an Orioles uniform next season, but it’s less likely that the club re-signs Kevin Millwood or Julio Lugo. Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that he has preliminary interest in re-signing some of Baltimore’s free agents, though final decisions are months away. Here are the details:

  • Ty Wigginton: The Orioles have interest in re-signing Wigginton, and the infielder told Connolly that he would consider returning in 2011. "I enjoy getting to go out and compete and put on a Baltimore Orioles uniform,” Wigginton said. “I think I can definitely be a good fit; we'll just have to see how everything works out."
  • Koji Uehara: The reliever said he’s not thinking about next year, but confirmed that he wanted to pitch for an MLB team. Uehara, who projects as a Type B free agent under the Elias Rankings, would do well to sign for a couple million, as Tim Dierkes explained today.
  • Cesar Izturis: The shortstop says he’d like to spend the rest of his career in Baltimore, and the O’s have’t ruled out bringing him back.
  • Corey Patterson: Connolly points out that if Patterson re-signs, the sides will likely reach a deal late in the offseason.
  • Kevin Millwood: Millwood may seek out a pitcher-friendly environment after years of pitching in Baltimore and Texas. An arbitration offer seems unlikely for the projected Type B free agent.
  • Mark Hendrickson: The Orioles have a $1.2MM option for the lefty’s services in 2011, so he could return.


Orioles Will Not Trade Wigginton Or Scott

Ty Wigginton and Luke Scott will not be traded this season. Both players were claimed when the Orioles placed them on waivers earlier this month, according to Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. The Orioles pulled Wigginton and Scott back, so a trade is no longer possible. Technically, the Orioles could re-expose the players to waivers, but they would no longer have the option of pulling them back.

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail could not confirm which players have been claimed, but he told the Sun that it’s “highly unlikely” that the Orioles make any trades in August. The Braves and Cardinals, two teams that appear to be monitoring the market for infielders, can cross Wigginton off of their respective lists. 

Wigginton hits free agency this winter, but the Orioles have ample time to consider offers for Scott, who has 22 home runs and a .932 OPS. The 32-year-old is under team control through the 2012 season.

Orioles May Be Done Dealing

The Orioles shipped Miguel Tejada out of town yesterday, and they might be done dealing according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.  Connolly doesn't anticipate more trades, but he ranks the Orioles most likely to go: Ty Wigginton, Will Ohman, and Luke Scott.

The Orioles lost a suitor for Wigginton when the Rangers acquired Jorge Cantu, and they like Wiggy's instruction of young players.  Connolly says to forget about starter Jeremy Guthrie being dealt – he's been told it's a near impossibility and that the O's would have to be blown away.

Odds & Ends: Cardinals, Abreu, Mets, Edmonds

A few assorted links, as the trading finally picks up

Asking Price For Scott Downs

8:02pm: The Blue Jays are asking the Mets for a top prospect in exchange for Downs according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (via Twitter). The Twins have assigned a scout to watch the Blue Jays' relievers, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.

7:48am: Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has the best reliever available in Scott Downs, and he knows it.  Check out these asking prices for two months of Downs' services, courtesy of George A. King III of the New York Post: Joba Chamberlain or Jesus Montero from the Yankees, Casey Kelly or Jose Iglesias from the Red Sox (Montero link from SI's Jon Heyman via Twitter).  With almost 80 hours remaining until the trade deadline, it doesn't hurt to ask.

Other teams are also trying to buy low on Chamberlain, who sports a 5.95 ERA, 10.0 K/9, and 3.6 BB/9 in 42.3 relief innings this year.  The Diamondbacks also tried to get Chamberlain as part of a Dan Haren deal.  Joba is under team control through 2013 and arbitration-eligible for the first time after this season.

Regarding the Yankees' search for a bench bat, King says they've spoken to the Orioles about Ty Wigginton.  The O's are dangling Miguel Tejada, who's generated only lukewarm interest from the Yanks.  Tejada is said to be the Phillies' primary infield target.  As for a Yankees-Orioles deal, SI's Jon Heyman tweeted two days ago that O's owner Peter Angelos doesn't want to trade with his division rival.

Rangers After Cantu, Wigginton

SUNDAY, 9:04pm: The Rangers are in "ongoing conversations" with the Marlins regarding Cantu, tweets Rosenthal.  He adds that the Marlins are also talking to the Rockies and Giants about the infielder, while Texas remains interested in Wigginton.

2:56pm: Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Rangers are also very interested in Ty Wigginton. Texas sent three scouts to watch Wigginton on Friday night when the Orioles faced off against the Twins.

Like Cantu, Wigginton is a free agent after the season. He's earning $3.5MM in 2010, and has $1.35MM of that left coming to him. Wigginton's lower price tag, versatility, and superior production may make him a more attractive option than Cantu. His OPS checks in at .771 compared to Cantu's .721.

SATURDAY: The Rangers are making a strong push for Marlins infielder Jorge Cantu as the deadline approaches, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.  Texas is in search of a right-handed hitting backup first baseman and the 28-year-old is high on the team's list.

Cantu is set to earn $2MM over the final two months of the season, a price the Rangers can't afford.  However, the judge presiding over the club's bankruptcy case told the Rangers earlier this week that he has the power to have MLB extend their line of credit, which would make it possible for them to add payroll.

In recent weeks other teams have been said to have interest in Cantu, including the Giants, Rockies, and Angels.

Orioles Notes: Wigginton, Trade Market, Guthrie

MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli has some deadline-oriented quotes from Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail. Let's take a look:

  • MacPhail doesn't think that Ty Wigginton's recent three-game suspension for bumping an umpire in an argument will affect his trade value. Wigginton is currently appealing the suspension, which could reduce it by 1-2 games. He's been linked to several teams, most recently the Rangers.
  • MacPhail feels the market is a little slow because a lot of teams are completely focused on some of the big name pitchers out there (obviously referring to Dan Haren and Roy Oswalt).
  • Baltimore isn't looking to move Jeremy Guthrie, though he's available. His contract situation (controlled through 2012) means they'd have to get a "significant return" to move him. Guthrie has been linked to many teams and said he would enjoy pitching in San Diego, though he loves Baltimore.

Rosenthal On Fielder, Padres, Rockies

Let's see what Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports has for us in his latest installment of Full Count..

  • White Sox GM Ken Williams is said to be confident about landing either Prince Fielder or Adam Dunn.  Williams continues to talk to the Brewers about Fielder but there doesn't seem to be a match as they seek pitching in return.  Meanwhile, the Nats have told everyone that they'll need to be overwhelmed by an offer to move Dunn.  If the White Sox strike out on the two big-time left-handed sluggers, they're unlikely to reach for a player such as Russell Branyan or Brad Hawpe.  Instead, they'll look to go small and try to improve their bullpen and bench.
  • The Padres are now more focused on offense than pitching, but don't expect them to make a big splash.  The club expects pitchers such as Jake Westbrook to clear waivers rather easily in August.  Ultimately, they're likely to make two or three small acquisitions, bringing in guys that won't cost a lot but will help their squad contend.
  • The Rockies are looking for a right-handed hitting first baseman in Todd Helton's absence.  Jorge Cantu was a possibility but his price was high to begin with and now the Marlins appear to be back in contention.  Ty Wigginton also appears to be out of reach as the O's want a young shortstop in return.  Colorado made an inquiry on Jayson Werth but the Phillies are telling teams that they won't deal him unless they get a major league-ready starter.