Our 2012 player reviews continue today with our first bench player: Ty Wigginton.
Wigginton was traded to the Phillies from the Rockies on Nov. 20, 2011 for a player to be named later or cash. Colorado needed to shed some salary, and they eventually signed Michael Cuddyer to be a rich man’s Wigginton.
In Wigginton, the Phils acquired a righthanded bench bat who could play first base, third base and left field. He was due $4 million in 2012, but the Rockies paid half.
On the surface it was a shrewd move. Platoon Wigginton with a lefthanded hitting first baseman and you might get decent enough production to offset some of the loss of Ryan Howard for the first half of the season.
Things didn’t work out. And, at 35, Wigginton’s career may be a year or so away from completion.
He started 44 games for the Phillies at first base and 13 at third base. The 11-year vet didn’t give them as much offense as either side would have wanted — he hit .235/.314/.375 with 11 HR and 43 RBI.
Much of that offense came in four games against the Mets, in which Wigginton had four homers and 13 RBI.
He was a butcher at third base. Not that errors always tell the story, but Wigginton had eight in 48 innings at the hot corner. According to Fangraphs, he cost the Phillies 11.2 runs on defense. That was the primary determinant of a -0.7 WAR.
When Howard returned, Wigginton did little as a pinch-hitter. He was 9-for-44 with two extra-base hits and 13 strikeouts off the bench.
His hits weren’t too timely. With runners in scoring position, Wigginton hit .192.
Wigginton finished with a .689 OPS. Just a bit higher than 2007 Wes Helms (.665).
The move can’t really be criticized because the Phillies only paid $2 million for Wigginton’s services. Ruben Amaro Jr. could have further fortified his bench, but when he essentially purchased Wigginton, he didn’t know Chase Utley would miss 76 games to start the season. Had Amaro known that he’d be without his No. 3 and No.4 hitters , maybe he would have gone after a better backup corner infielder.
Ty Wigginton’s 2012 grade: D+