Astros Trade for Ty Wigginton

They sent Dan Wheeler to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for utility player Ty Wigginton. I guess Tim Purpura didn’t learn his lesson after making basically the same deal last year for Aubrey Huff. At least that only cost us 2 middling minor-leaguers.

My initial reaction and the reaction around most of the websites was that it’s not a good trade for any of the following reasons: 1) Wheeler was likely one of our best bargaining chips. Getting only Wigginton in return seems
like Purpura didn’t maximize his value. 2) Wigginton is basically a right-handed Mike Lamb. He can play several positions on the infield and outfield, but his defense isn’t good enough at any one of them to really claim a spot. The Astros have announced that he will play at 3B. He really isn’t even that big an improvement over what Morgan Ensberg has produced this year and Ensberg is viewed as having the superior glove of the three. 3) Trying to read the minds of Purpura and McLane about where they think this team is based on this trade leads to troubling speculation. Granted, other moves between now and Tuesday, or even through the offseason could alter this perception, but it lends itself to the interpretation that this team is only a piece or two away from contention, and that it can afford a league-average hitter with below average defense at 3B. The Astros are actually scoring runs at a decent rate this year; their pitching has been sub-par. They have a significant need in the outfield (either CF or RF, depending on where Pence eventually settles in his career), at catcher and uncertainty at 2B. As long as they commit to Everett at SS, they will continue to have at least one far below average bat in the lineup.

Wigginton’s value can basically be boiled down to a couple of points. He has been a consistent high .700’s OPS hitter for the first few years of his career and reports about his attitude and work ethic indicate he will fit in well in the clubhouse. Also, he will be under club control for the next few years; he won’t be eligible for free agency until after 2009. Thus his salary will be predictable and likely reasonable for the immediate future. That is really his main asset over Mike Lamb and Morgan Ensberg.

On the infield, the Astros now have a number of guys with questions about what position they play and how strong their offense will be (Burke, Loretta, Bruntlett, Lamb, Ensberg). One of that group will need to be retained over the next couple of years to man 2B, unless we do something radical and try to fill in from our minor-league system. The rest of those guys and Jason Jennings are our available trading chips. It’s not clear how this move is anything other than treading water.

Wigginton’s Stats

Baseball Reference

Baseball Prospectus

FoxSports

Roundup of reaction from around the blogosphere.

Rotoworld

Chron: Astros’ Fan Blog

Chron: SportsJustice

MLB Trade Rumors

Baseball Musings

Crawfish Boxes

Baseball Digest

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