This shortstop situation is getting to be more and more frustrating. The only “real” shortstop in the organization that is currently big league ready is Ramon Santiago. Hearing his name does send my heart racing. However, none of the possible alternatives are all that exciting either.
We have heard over and over that the Tigers are looking at trading for either Julio Lugo or Jack Wilson. Lugo is being run out of Boston due to his bad play and Wilson is expendable in Pittsburgh because he’s paid way more than he should. Sounds like some great alternatives, huh?
Let’s look at how these three guys compare and see if it’s even worth the trouble of making a trade.
On Base Percentage
Ramon Santiago: .411 in 2008 and .310 for his career.
Jack Wilson: .312 in 2008 and .312 for his career.
Julio Lugo: .355 in 2008 and .335 for his career.
OPS+ (100 is league average)
- Ramon Santiago: 129 in 2008 and 72 for his career.
- Jack Wilson: 77 in 2008 and 78 for his career.
- Julio Lugo: 78 in 2008 and 88 for his career.
- Ramon Santiago: .282 in 2008 and .238 for his career.
- Jack Wilson: .272 in 2008 and .269 for his career.
- Julio Lugo: .268 in 2008 and .271 for his career.
(measures the number of wins a player added relative to the league average hitter)
- Ramon Santiago: 0.6 in 2008 and -3.6 for his career.
- Jack Wilson: -0.9 in 2008 and -12.9 for his career.
- Julio Lugo: -0.7 in 2008 and -7.0 for his career.
Range Factor (at SS only)
- Ramon Santiago: 3.48 in 2008 and 3.95 for his career.
- Jack Wilson: 4.91 in 2008 and 4.68 for his career.
- Julio Lugo: 3.41 in 2008 and 4.25 for his career.
Fielding +/- (Fancy Bill James stat)
- Ramon Santiago: -8 in 2008 and +2 over the last three years.
- Jack Wilson: +16 in 2008 and +26 over the last three years.
- Julio Lugo: -2 in 2008 and -11 over the past three years.
I think it’s important to pay special attention to the fielding stats here. After getting burned by Edgar Renteria (-9 in 2008) and Carlos Guillen (-12 in 2007) the past two seasons, the Tigers are looking for defense at the position for 2009. The only problem with fielding stats is that they are relatively new and we can’t be quite sure that they are a 100% accurate reading of a players talent.
However, one thing that comes across as true here is that Jack Wilson is truly the superior defensive shortstop of this group. If the Tigers are looking for offense from anyone in this group, that would be a huge mistake. Huge. We are looking at well below average bats in every case here.
Looking over the numbers here, it’s hard to see much upside with Lugo. He’s owed $18M over the next two years and isn’t a league average hitter or fielder. Consider this my official pass on Lugo. I’m washing my hands of him. I would rather just ride it out with Dontrelle Willis or Nate Robertson.
Wilson isn’t a great hitter, but he’s probably a better hitter than Santiago. It’s also pretty clear that Wilson is the best fielder of the group and it doesn’t appear to be close. Wilson is owed $7.25 in 2009. That still seems a bit pricey for his skill set, but it’s way better than what the Tigers would get with Lugo.
That brings us to Santiago. Santiago was paid only $575,000 last year and wouldn’t make much more in 2009. He’s clearly the best move if you’re cutting costs. However, he is the worst hitter of the group and doesn’t hold a candle to Wilson defensively.
Summation: If the Tigers can get Jack Wilson without giving up any top notch prospects, they should make the move. He would not provide much offense, but the Tigers don’t need offense. He would toughen up the middle of the infield and would save the Tigers pitchers some serious stress over the course of the season.