HOUSTON, TX: Ty Wigginton #21 of the Colorado Rockies argues with home plate umpire Dab Bellino after a called third strike to end the Rockies' half of the 11th inning at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Eric Christian Smith/Getty Images)
Despite seemingly being up against their budget ceiling, the Philadelphia Phillies have been sniffing around some moderate names so far this offseason, with free agent Michael Cuddyer getting a lot of attention. But you can go ahead and pour your Cuddyer-to-the-Phillies rumors down the drain, because on Sunday the team opted to go in a different direction. From Jon Morosi:
Troy Renck provides a lot more details. Wigginton is under contract for $4 million in 2012. The Rockies and Phillies will split that cost, and if the Phillies pick up Wigginton's $4 million 2013 option, the Rockies can choose between receiving $100,000 or a presumably mediocre player to be named later. If the Phillies decline the option, the Rockies will have to pay some portion of Wigginton's buyout.
This is an easy move to understand from Colorado's perspective. Wigginton no longer had much of a place to play, with the team wanting to give more time to Jordan Pacheco, so the Rockies dealt Wigginton in a salary dump. This move saves them $2 million.
This is also an easy move to understand from Philadelphia's perspective - or at least, the idea behind it is easy to understand. The idea behind it is that the Phillies wanted someone who could help out at third base, and who could help out at first base while Ryan Howard is out. Wigginton has played a number of different positions, even including shortstop, which I find impossible to believe, knowing what Ty Wigginton looks like.
But the thing about Ty Wigginton is that, while he has experience at different positions, he is not a good defender at any of them. And though he seems like the sort to make up for that with his bat, he's posted a 91 OPS+ over the last three years, and he's 34 years old. Ty Wigginton isn't getting any better, and Ty Wigginton hasn't been good since 2008.
So it kind of seems to me like the Phillies are throwing away $1.5 million. Wigginton isn't terrible or anything, but he looks like a replacement-level bench bat, and replacement-level bench bats should get replacement-level salaries.
I guess lots of crazy things can happen over small sample sizes, though, so maybe Wigginton ends up a hero. Congratulations, you've now read 400 words about Sunday's Ty Wigginton trade.