Wigginton a Cheaper Alternative to Cuddyer
On Sunday night, Ruben Amaro and the Phillies struck again by trading for a player of need, Ty Wigginton. The utility infielder comes over from the Colorado Rockies for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Wigginton will only cost the Phillies $2 million in 2012, as they will split the cost with the Rockies. According to the Denver Post, the Rockies can also get $100,000 more in return should the Phillies exercise a team option on Wigginton for 2013. So, at most, the Phillies will pay $6 million for two seasons of a decent all-around contributor. If they decide not to bring him back next season, the Phillies will have paid just $2.5 million for an entire season. Not bad - pennies in the grand scheme.
If you recall, the Phillies courted Wigginton before the 2009 season. Instead of going to the Phillies as an all-around guy - one that would not be used as a starter - he opted to take a two-year deal with Baltimore for the opportunity to play everyday. He then signed a deal to join Colorado prior to the 2011 season.
Back in '09, Wigginton played every infield position and a little bit in left field. Last year in Colorado, he played 68 games at third base, 36 at first base, 21 games in left field, and six in right field. His defense isn't strong at any one position, but he is capable of filling in when need be. At this point, if you're the Phillies, you'll take the versatility and powerful bat, and give up a little bit of defense.
Over his last three seasons, Wigginton's average has dipped from .272 to .248 to .242 last season; although his OPS has actually gone up in each of the last three years (.714, .727, .731). Where he'll definitely help the Phillies is with his power. Wigginton is now 34, so the team isn't exactly getting younger as they'd hoped, but he has hit at least 15 home runs in six of the last eight years.
In summation, he won't wow you with the glove, but he can be adequate at several different positions. He won't bowl you over with the stick, either; but he can provide a little bit of power and give the team much needed depth.
With the Wigginton trade, you can say goodbye to Michael Cuddyer. The former Twin is seeking multiple years at more than $10 million per season, which is seemingly too rich for the Phillies blood. Wigginton is certainly a lesser player than Cuddyer, but look at the numbers - of the contract. Cuddyer is the better player, but the Phillies will pay Wigginton at least $8 million less than they would Cuddyer for 2012, and won't be locked into a deal for multiple years beyond that.
It isn't the glamorous move - clearly that would have been the Cuddyer signing. However, it fills an immediate need for the team; a super-utility man for a cheap price that keeps some more options open for the Phillies this offseason.
The Phillies will now have roughly $18 million to spend and to fill 2-3 roster positions. Shortstop is clearly the most pressing need at this time. Will the Phillies finally turn their attention to bringing Jimmy Rollins back? If J-Roll ever comes down from his five-year contract demands, something could get done quickly.
Tomorrow, I'll have an update roster and payroll breakdown for the 2012 Phillies.