Should the Mets Trade for Ty Wigginton?

NOTE: this post is written by MetsToday sabermetrician and minor league correspondent Matt Himelfarb. Direct your comments below to Matt.

The Orioles have a plethora of trade candidates this summer, including Ty Wiggington. Mets fans have always had a soft spot for David Wright’s predecessor, who has made a nice little career for himself as a utilityman.

There does not appear to be much room for Wiggington in Flushing. The Mets will have four equally capable outfielders when Carlos Beltran returns, Wright and Ike Davis supplanted in the corner infield positions, and Fernando Tatis and Chris Carter on the bench.

He would, however, likely represent an upgrade at second base going forward. For one, Luis Castillo has struggled mightily with the bat thus far (.241/.333/.277), his range continues to be a liability, his health is questionable, and while the Mets might be pressured to reap value out of his bloated contract, he would probably benefit from playing once-twice a week from this point on.

Both he and Wiggington are more or less equally destructive defensively. Offensively, though, fangraphs predicts Wiggington will hit .288/.341/.471 with a .356 wOBA in 308 plate appearances going forward. Castillo, meanwhile, is expected to hit .281/.364/.333 in 306 plate appearances. That is about average for a second baseman, but Wiggington still gives you about a 30 point edge in wOBA.

Assuming both provide equal fielding, Wiggington is worth about 3/4 more of a win going forward. That may not seem like much, but let’s remember the Mets lost the division by one game from 2007-2008, and are in a close division race right now. If Castillo’s injury bouts persist, the difference is augmented, with Alex Cora and Ruben Tejada your replacements. Not to mention, Wiggington can occasionally spot Ike Davis against a tough southpaw.

What will the Orioles demand for Wiggington? To determine that we must assess his value through WAR. Over an 150 game stretch at second, Wiggington is probably worth about -10-11 runs defensively, so he would probably cost around 6 runs going forward. Overall, though, when you factor in his bat, he is still worth about 1.6 wins the rest of the year. In monetary terms, that is worth about $6.75 million dollars. He is also owed the remainder of his contract- about $2.05 million. As a result, his “surplus value” is about $4.55 million.

However, there is more to Wiggington’s value. My guess is he will probably qualify as a type B free agent in the 2B/3B/SS group. Thus, if he were to decline arbitration and walk next year, the Mets would net a compensation pick next year, which on average is worth about $2.5 million. As a result, Wiggington’s surplus value is now $7.05 million.

The Mets must match $7.05 million in prospect value. Since it is difficult to predicts prospect’s future value, we can use Erik Manning’s table for projected value.

According to the table, Wiggington will likely cost either:

A) Grade B pitching prospect

B) Grade B hitter+ Grade C pitcher

I do not think anyone in the Mets system qualifies in scenario A. Jeurys Familia and Brad Holt have been too inconsistent to be a grade B, but they offer more potential than your prototypical C. Another smaller piece- perhaps a grade C hitter- would sweetween the deal sufficiently.

Trade Proposal A:

One of: Brad Holt/Jeurys Familia
One of: Lucas Duda/Eric Campbell/Stefan Welch/Sean Ratliff

Trade Proposal B:

One of: Reese Havens/Ruben Tejada
One of: Kyle Allen/Robert Carson/Darin Gorski/Mark Cohoon

I think both deals would be a net gain for the Mets. The only player I would avoid trading is Havens. Most people will probably ask, “Why trade six years of Ruben Tejada for a three-and-a-half month rental of Wiggington? Remember, the Mets also potentially gain a compensation pick in next year’s draft. After all, is Tejada or Holt really worth much more than Anthony Ranaudo or Bryce Brentz or Nick Castellanos?

The Orioles are well out of contention, and would acquire greater value if they started selling some pieces now. Castillo is due to return soon, and the Mets stand much more to gain but acquiring Wiggington as soon as possible.

Matt is a high school student in New Jersey and avid Mets fan. He occasionally updates his blog at:
  1. MikeTomaselli June 12, 2010 at 5:04 pm
    As I said in the links post: Ty looks like a man prepared to be traded. Based on your trade scenarios I would make Trade A with Holt and one of those 4. I would certainly not trade Havens (first round pick, when high upside and is a 2B, which is the position we are trying to upgrade) or Tejada because I feel he has Melvin Mora/Marco Scutaro all over him (former Mets that were only seen as utility guys but learned to be legit MLB players after they left the Mets). Holt to me is not a significant piece, although I understand his upside. I think too many things need to happen for him to be successful as an MLB starter. Plus right now he is bad. Familia falls into the category of young player with talent (just 20 years old) that is too young to really accurately project. But he is at an advanced level for his age (A+ St. Lucie) and some have scouted him and said he can be better than Mejia. Too much upside, regardless of bad results in A+, to be traded for a rental.
  2. acoustic567 June 12, 2010 at 6:39 pm
    Ty Wigginton has been in the major leagues for 8-9 years, and only once (2008, with an Astro team playing over their heads) in that time has he played for a decent team. Sure, he might be just as good or better with a better team, but if I'm going to give up even B prospects I'd be more inclined to get someone with postseason or pennant-race experience. I'm also interested in knowing why Wigginton has never been signed or acquired by a good team.
  3. isuzudude June 12, 2010 at 7:25 pm
    The thought of having Wigginton's power in the lineup at 2B is nice, but I think there are too many other things working in his disadvantage for the Mets to make a deal for him.

    One, he'd be another right-handed bat in an already righty-heavy lineup (though, he has hit righties very well so far this season, so there doesn't seem to be much of an issue here). However, if he replaces Castillo in the lineup, then who hits #2? Consider Beltran should be back by mid to late July, and Angel Pagan is most likely to lose at bats when that happens. Do you bat Beltran #2? Do you bench Francoeur in favor of Pagan, and bat Angel #2? Bat Wright 2nd? These aren't horrible decisions to be faced with, but adding Wigginton definitely will have some type of altering effect on the makeup of the lineup.

    Two, Wiggy's defense is not good. And, in CitiField, defense is paramount. Though he may not be much worse than Castillo (though, I tend to think Castillo's glove work gets a bad rap), he's certainly much worse than Ruben Tejada, or several other options that will be available as the trade deadline approaches. The Mets could certainly do better here.

    And three, by acquiring Wiggy you're pretty much making Castillo dead wood. And I think Castillo proved last year he can still be very productive when he's healthy, and the reason he hasn't performed well this season is because he's hurt. Hopefully, when he returns from the DL, his legs will be recovered, and he'll return to the .300 hitting, on-base machine he was in '09. If that's the case, he needs to be your #2 hitter and starting 2B.

    For those reasons I don't think it's wise to trade any prospect even with only a slight chance of making something of himself in the majors for Wigginton. Ty would be an unnecessary addition for a team that really needs pitching and not offense. I'm not entirely against trading for him, and could certainly see the Mets working out a deal with the O's that also includes Kevin Millwood or Will Ohman, but I hope they don't mortgage the future to do so.

  4. John June 12, 2010 at 8:09 pm
    I really like Wiggington as a off the bench utility guy. But he is more of a nice to have that I would take if he didn't cost anything. in each scenario you are giving up legitimate prospects. Don't know if they will amount to anything but Familia has some value and this would possibly hurt another trade in the future by getting rid of some chips. Every name on that list (with maybe the exception of Ratcliff) has the potential to be much better than Wigginton.
    But the real question is would Wiggington be a substantial upgrade this year over Castillo? Offensively probably. But as compromised as Castillo is now he still knows how to play second base; can make the turn, positions himself well etc. Wiggington is a guy who can fill in for a few days and you hope the ball isn't hit to him to often.
    And whose place on the roster does he take? You already have to consider this with Beltran coming back. Tejada goes when Castillo comes back. Would you rather have Wiggington than Cora? Whose the backup shortstop then? Wiggington than Chris Carter? I don't think so. Tatis? Maybe but is it worth giving something up for what is essentially a push?
    Probably not.
  5. Andy June 13, 2010 at 3:53 am
    Meh. Wiggington is okay. I can see the arguments on both sides.

    But what do you think it would cost to get Brian Matusz? He seems to be quite good but suffering from poor defense, lack of run support, and a small park.

  6. MikeTomaselli June 13, 2010 at 4:25 am
    Likely Mejia.
  7. metstoday June 13, 2010 at 4:36 am
    Hmm … Wiggy or Tatis? I'll take Wiggy. But, if it's going to cost someone of value, I want MIllwood or Guthrie.

    If the O's trade 23-year-old Matusz, they may as well apply for contraction.

  8. metstoday June 13, 2010 at 12:36 am
    Hmm … Wiggy or Tatis? I'll take Wiggy. But, if it's going to cost someone of value, I want MIllwood or Guthrie as part of the deal as well.

    If the O's trade 23-year-old Matusz, they may as well apply for contraction.

  9. John June 13, 2010 at 11:57 am
    If Guthrie is included in the deal then I agree, look to make the trade. But straight up….you give up someone that could be used later to get that missing piece.
  10. isuzudude June 13, 2010 at 1:49 pm
    Why in the world would the re-building Orioles trade a highly-touted prospect like Matusz when he's under their control and cheap for the next 5-6 years? Makes NO sense.
  11. Andy June 13, 2010 at 4:37 pm
    You're right, but you can't fault me for hoping. The Mets could really use someone like that. I'm hope they don't cheap out on us when Yu Darvish gets posted . . .