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Free Agent: Pass or Play 2013

Trade Pass or Play: J.P. Arencibia

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, December 02, 2013 06:33 PM Comments: 23

http://l1.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/Wa9oaHX.9sDLaFcs9YJ_TA--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NTt3PTYwMA--/http://media.zenfs.com/en/person/Ysports/jp-arencibia-baseball-headshot-photo.jpgWe are now beyond the start of Free Agency at 12:01 AM November 5. We at Phillies Nation will take a look at a players, namely outfielders, catchers, starting pitchers, and relievers, who the Phillies may target this offseason. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with our first “Trade Pass or Play” candidate, right-handed catcher J.P. Arencibia. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.

Performance
Arencibia, 28 for Opening Day 2014, has been among the Majors’ best power hitting catchers over the last three seasons, averaging over 20 homers a season. That’s about where the compliments end.

Arencibia was worth an astounding negative 25.2 runs offensively according to FanGraphs last season, posting career lows in every triple-slash category (.194/.227/.365). Of players with 400+ PA, Arencibia ranked 200th out of 204 offensively, beating out only Starlin Castro, Darwin Barney, Alcides Escobar, and Adeiny Hechavarria. Arencibia’s relative youth and raw power are very enticing, however, his inability to reach base (55th out of 57 catchers with at least 400 PA from 2011 to 2013) and hit singles (53rd out of 57 in batting average) wreck what should be a monster slugging percentage (just 24th out of 57 with the fourth most homers).

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Free Agent Pass or Play: Brian McCann

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, November 10, 2013 05:14 PM Comments: 0

Is the fiery McCann a fit for the Phillies?

It’s time – we are now beyond the start of Free Agency at 12:01 AM November 5. We at Phillies Nation will take a look at a players, namely outfielders, catchers, starting pitchers, and relievers, who the Phillies may target this offseason. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with left-handed catcher Brian McCann. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.

Performance

McCann, 30 on Opening Day 2014, has hit .252/.329/.441 since 2011, placing him tenth among free agent catchers in batting average, third in on-base percentage, fourth in slugging percentage, and third and on-base plus slugging. Of this free agent class, he ranks among the most durable catchers, trailing only A.J. Pierzynski in plate appearances since 2011 among free agent catchers.

McCann has been an All-Star in seven of the last eight seasons but his stats tell the story of a rapidly aging player. Through 2010, McCann had a career triple-slash line of .289/.360/.489 compared to a line of .252/.329/.441 since. McCann has maintained his power but has lost some selectiveness at the plate, attributing to a decline of 30-40 points in each of his triple-slash categories.

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Free Agent Pass or Play: Mike Morse

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sat, November 09, 2013 09:47 AM Comments: 34

Could Morse bring his right-handed power to Philadelphia?

It’s time – we are now beyond the start of Free Agency at 12:01 AM November 5. We at Phillies Nation will take a look at a players, namely outfielders, catchers, starting pitchers, and relievers, who the Phillies may target this offseason. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with right-handed outfielder/first baseman Mike Morse. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.

Performance

From 2010 through 2012, Morse was a corner outfielder and part-time first baseman for the Washington Nationals, hitting .296/.345/.516  with 64 homers in that time span. Among players with at least 1,000 at-bats from ’10-’12, Morse ranked 28th in batting average, 82nd in OBP, 18th in slugging, and 23rd in OPS.

So what the heck happened last year?

Well, his year started pretty well: four homers in his first four games and nine homers in his first 30. After those 30 games, however, Morse hit just .199/.254/.30 with only four homers. Morse was plagued by nagging injuries, including a right hamstring.

Morse is a right-handed hitting power threat, though, with career splits of .284/.340/.479 against lefties versus a very similar .280/.332/.470 against righties.
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Free Agent Pass or Play: Kevin Gregg

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Thu, November 07, 2013 02:00 PM Comments: 0

http://blogs.suntimes.com/sportsprose/PX122_754C_9.JPG

Could Gregg be in Phillies pinstripes in 2014? Is he still a Major League-caliber pitcher?

It’s time – we are now beyond the start of Free Agency at 12:01 AM November 5. We at Phillies Nation will take a look at a players, mostly outfielders, catchers, starting pitchers, and relievers, who the Phillies may target this offseason. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with right-handed reliever Kevin Gregg. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.

Performance

Gregg, 35 on Opening Day 2014, was the Cubs’ closer for most of 2013, racking up 33 saves in 38 opportunities with a 3.48 ERA, his highest K/9 IP since 2010 and his lowest BB/9 IP since 2010 as well. Not coincidentally, 2010 was the last year FanGraphs rated Gregg as an above-replacement-level pitcher. While fWAR may not be one of the best tools to measure performance by a reliever, it is worth noting that Gregg, since 2011, Gregg was the 155th most valuable reliever out of 160, sitting firmly in-between Phillies fan favorite Chad Qualls (153) and another Phillies fan favorite Chad Durbin (160).

Among the 160 eligible relievers from 2011 to 2013, Gregg was the fourth most-likely to issue a walk, the 28th most likely to surrender a homer, had the 16th-worst ERA, the fourth-worst FIP, and fifth-worst xFIP. Gregg’s 39.9% groundball rate would play horribly in Citizens Bank Park and his 90 MPH fastball, down two MPH since 2010, is becoming increasingly easier to hit. Continue reading Free Agent Pass or Play: Kevin Gregg

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Free Agent Pass or Play: Pat Neshek

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Wed, November 06, 2013 10:30 AM Comments: 0

http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site569/2012/1004/20121004__Neshek,%20Pat-bw_300.jpgIt’s time – we are now beyond the start of Free Agency at 12:01 AM November 5. We at Phillies Nation will take a look at a players, mostly outfielders, catchers, starting pitchers, and relievers, who the Phillies may target this offseason. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with right-handed, side-arming reliever Pat Neshek. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.

Performance
If it seems like we’ve talked about Neshek before at Phillies Nation, it is because we have not too long ago. From two months ago:

Neshek, known for his side-armed delivery, has been absolutely dominant against right-handed hitters through his career, with a triple-slash-against line of .183/.256/.319, earning a strikeout against three out of every ten right-handed hitters he has faced. Neshek has also been successful against lefties, creating a career .203/.284/.361 line-against against all handed hitters, with a 1.134 WHIP and 9.1 K/9 IP.

Neshek was designated for assignment on August 26 and went unclaimed by every team. Were they on to something? Neshek’s peripheral and advanced stats, namely FIP (4.57, defined here), xFIP (4.66, defined here), and SIERA (4.18, defined here) indicate that his 2013 performance in 37 2/3 innings had been based mostly in luck. Neshek ranks 42 out of 374 relievers from 2006-2013 in WHIP (1.130), however, indicating that he has some skill in keeping runners off base.
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Free Agent Pass or Play: Joe Smith

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Tue, November 05, 2013 11:10 AM Comments: 0

Would you bring Smith’s hybrid side-arm/submarine pitching to Philadelphia?

It’s time – we are now beyond the start of Free Agency at 12:01 AM November 5. We at Phillies Nation will take a look at a players, mostly outfielders, catchers, starting pitchers, and relievers, who the Phillies may target this offseason. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with right-handed, side-arming reliever Joe Smith. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.

Performance

Smith, who turns 30 just before Opening Day 2014, has been one of Cleveland’s most reliable relievers over the last three-plus seasons, relying primarily on a sinker/slider combo to get hitters out. Smith averages less than a strikeout per inning but has a career groundball rate of 57% which would come in handy in the Major’s easiest park to hit homers in 2013. One of Smith’s biggest attributes is reliability and consistency: Smith pitched the 17th most innings in the Majors over the last three seasons, with the 18th best ERA, and the 23rd lowest HR/FB%.

Smith gets a lot of downward movement on his sinker that sits near 90 MPH and frequently fools hitters with arm movement that has been described as something between sidearm and submarine. Smith’s biggest red flag is his 3.15 BB/9 IP over the last three seasons but Smith excels in working around the free passes, posting just a 1.160 WHIP in that time frame, just a tick higher than Antonio Bastardo (1.140) in that time frame.

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Free Agent Pass or Play: Jacoby Ellsbury

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, November 04, 2013 11:59 PM Comments: 12

Jacoby Ellsbury

Fresh off a World Series win, could Ellsbury be in the Phillies offseason plans?

We are officially beyond CRUNCH TIME – we are literally two minutes (as of posting) away from the start of Free Agency at 12:01 AM November 5. We at Phillies Nation will take a look at a player who will be able to sign with any team at that time. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with left-handed center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.

Performance

Ellsbury, 30 on Opening Day in 2014, had the very definition of a bounce-back year in 2013, hitting .298/.355/.426 with nine homers and an AL-leading 52 steals after missing significant time in 2012 due to a partially separated shoulder. Ellsbury bookended his injury-shortened 2012 with an AL MVP runner-up performance in 2011 (.321/.376/.552, 32 HR, 39 SB).

Since becoming an everyday player in 2007, Ellsbury has become among the elite center fielders in baseball, ranking fourth in fWAR in that time among all center fielders. In the same period, Ellsbury has been the fifth most valuable center fielder on defense according to FanGraphs and trails only Michael Bourn and Rajai Davis in base running value in the same time period.

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Free Agent Pass or Play: Carlos Ruiz

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Mon, November 04, 2013 10:00 AM Comments: 23

Would you bring Chooch back for 2014?

We are officially beyond CRUNCH TIME – about 14 hours until the start of Free Agency at 12:01 AM November 5. We at Phillies Nation will take a look at a player who will be able to sign with any team at that time. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with right-handed catcher Carlos Ruiz. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.

Performance

Chooch, 35 on Opening Day 2014, has been among the Majors’ best kept secrets behind the plate for a number of years. Since 2010, only Yadier Molina, Buster Posey, and Joe Mauer have been more valuable according to FanGraphs version of WAR, with Ruiz ranking sixth among catchers in batting average, third in on-base percentage, and 14th in slugging. Ruiz has averaged 416 PA over the last four years, remaining relatively healthy and finding ways to get at-bats even despite his 50-game suspension in 2013. According to FanGraphs, Chooch has saved the Phillies 74.3 runs behind the plate over his career and ranks fifth in the Majors since 2010 in that category.

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Free Agency Pass or Play: Matt Garza

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, November 03, 2013 03:00 PM Comments: 0

We are officially in CRUNCH TIME – about 32 hours until the start of Free Agency at 12:01 AM November 5. We at Phillies Nation will take a look at a player who will be able to sign with any team at that time. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with right-handed hurler Matt Garza. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.

Performance

Since winning the 2008 ALCS MVP award, Garza has established himself as an above-average Major League pitcher and above-average may be the perfect descriptor. Since his debut in 2006, Garza ranks 66th out of 245 starting pitchers in ERA, 82nd in FIP, and 83rd in xFIP, while ranking 63rd in K/9 IP and 137th in BB/9 IP.

In the “What Have You Done For Me Lately” world, Garza has fared a little better, ranking 36th out of 125 in fWAR, 34th in ERA, and 25th in K/9 IP, but still 70th in BB/9 IP. The story of Garza seems to be that of a pitcher that has improved since his MLB debut, but at an Opening Day 2014-age of 30, may have maxed out his potential. If you’re OK with signing Garza knowing that he is a number two or a very good number three starter, you won’t be disappointed. If you are looking for an ace, you should focus your energy somewhere else.

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Free Agent Pass or Play: Mike Napoli

Posted by Ian Riccaboni, Sun, November 03, 2013 11:12 AM Comments: 16

We are officially in CRUNCH TIME – about 38 hours until the start of Free Agency at 12:01 AM November 5. We at Phillies Nation will take a look at a player who will be able to sign with any team at that time. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with right-handed first baseman Mike Napoli. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.

Performance

Napoli joined the Red Sox in 2013 as sort of a “buy-low” free agent on a one-year deal, coming off an All-Star season with Texas, an honor likely bestowed upon him for his breakout 2011 season instead of what he actually accomplished in 2012. Napoli inked a one-year, $13 million deal with Boston to become their first baseman, posting a .259/.360/.482 line with 23 HR, a line pretty comparable to his career line (.259/.357/.502). The Sox got the player they should have been expecting and the season concluded with a World Series win. And if last night was any indication, Napoli will be drinking for free in Boston for the rest of his life.

Fit

Napoli, now 32, started 72 games as a catcher for the Texas Rangers in 2012 but was Boston’s full-time first baseman in 2013, starting 131 games. With an AAV of $25 million headed to first base already in Ryan Howard, it would be unlikely that the Phils would consider bringing in Napoli to play first. At age 32, it is very unlikely that he will ever be put behind the plate again, especially when as recently as 2011, his net output was good in spite of horrible defense behind the plate. There is almost zero chance the Phillies could bring in Napoli as a catcher. Sorry, folks. Continue reading Free Agent Pass or Play: Mike Napoli

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