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As in low-hanging fruit.

Chances are Matt Holliday is not anymore interested in playing for the New York Mets as Jason Bay is, so I think the Cardinals still have to be heavy favorites to win this prolonged staring contest with the Boras Corporation. Mark DeRosa was part of Plan B, but he’s now a San Francisco Giant, meaning the Cardinals need to find a new backup plan, if they haven’t already.

Xavier Nady and Jermaine Dye are no better than Allen Craig, so I cannot figure out for the life of me why we continue to hear their names bandied about by the fine P-D scribes. I hope it’s just speculation and that there’s no real interest. They’re better known names, but not better players. But since we keep hearing their names, let’s run them both through the WAR gambit to see how the project out.

I’m taking educated guesses on their wOBA, playing time and using mostly Steve’s fielding projections.

Nady

Batting Wins Above Average (.340 wOBA, league wOBA .332): +.5 wins
Defensive Wins Above Average: -.5 wins
LF Positional Adjustment: -.75 wins
Replacement Level: +2 wins
—————————————–
= 1.25 wins * .64 (or about 400 PA’s for PT) = +.8 WAR

I feel like I’m being fairly generous with Nady’s projected wOBA and plate appearances. Nady stinks. Let’s move on to Jermaine Dye.

Dye

Batting Wins Above Average (.340 wOBA, league wOBA .332): +.5 wins
Defensive Wins Above Average: -1.5 wins
LF Positional Adjustment: -.75 wins
Replacement Level: +2 wins
—————————————–
= .25 wins * .88 (or about 550 PA’s for PT) = +.2 WAR

Ewww. Dye’s defense is so bad, he’s actually better off as a DH. I’m using Steve’s UZR projections, which have been adjusted to the Fan’s Scouting Report, in case you’re wondering.  CHONE projects Dye to be at a more tolerable -7, so that would put him at a projected .9 WAR, still not good. Can you understand why Dye is a terrible idea now?

I have a zany idea, and one that probably would not receive the “thumbs up” from the pitching coach due to the fan’s treatment of his other son. But how about a Shelley Duncan/Gabe Gross platoon? No, really. Duncan hit .277/.370/.546 for the Triple-A Scranton Fun Run for the Cure Yankees last season. Against lefties, for what it might be worth, he hit .296/.392/.552. CHONE projects a .252/.336/.486 line next season. Maybe that’s a tad optimistic, but let’s run him through the process here.

Duncan, the other bruthah

Batting Wins Above Average (.345 wOBA, league wOBA .332): +.8 wins
Defensive Wins Above Average: -.2 wins
LF Positional Adjustment: -.75 wins
Replacement Level: +2 wins
—————————————–
= 1.85 wins * .8 (or about 500 PA’s for PT) = +1.5 WAR

Duncan the younger is not graceful with the Glove, but he’s not his brother and he sure is not Jermaine Dye. Now for Gross. Before I get into Gross, let me just throw out a few more reasons why I like him. First, he fits in a need in that the Cardinals could use a LH bat off of the bench. They’ve gone on record saying so.  They could also use a super-utility outfielder, someone who can play all three outfield positions. That is Gabe Gross. His UZR/150 is +22 in the corners, +2.5 in center field. He is a freaky-defensive-whiz, the new market efficiency.  He’s not much with the bat, but if used correctly (as in never put him in against a LHP), he isn’t terrible.

Gabe, not the Babe, but the Gross

Batting Wins Above Average (.321 wOBA, league wOBA .332): -.7 wins
Defensive Wins Above Average: +.9 wins
LF Positional Adjustment: -.75 wins
Replacement Level: +2 wins
—————————————–
= 1.45 wins * .61 (or about 380 PA’s for PT) = +0.9 WAR.

I gave him a few more PA’s then you might expect, given that he can spell Ludwick and the Razzle.  Combined, a Duncagross(?) platoon could be worth about 2.4 WAR, a little over a $10 million value on the free agent market, and they could have it for well, basically free. Should Duncan live up to his Quad-A reputation, they could always give the playing time to Allen Craig and maybe hope to find another LF on the trade market down the line. And with the savings, they sign Bedard or Smoltz, or whoever, plus they could sign another reliever for Franklin insurance, like say …I don’t know, Kevin Gregg or Octavio Dotel.

This is all probably moot anyway, as I’m still fully expecting Holliday to sign with the Cardinals. Some team looking to fill a hole in LF should consider this. Hey Omar, this would beat the heck out of signing Jason Bay for $64M, and face it, he doesn’t want to play for your Mets, anyway.

Erik Manning

Erik became addicted to Cardinals baseball as a young lad growing up on the mean streets of O'Fallon, MO. He moved away to Tulsa to attend Bible College, where he met his wife, who talked him into moving to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also known as the Bermuda triangle of baseball. His dream is to see the MLB.tv blackouts end, and his other interests are theology and philosophy of religion. He is the parent of two young boys.

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