Tuesday, February 09, 2010
Looking at Todd Wellemeyer, Jason Pridie, Mark Hendrickson and Willy Taveras (yes, things are slow)Posted by Evan Brunell
Four names have made waves (okay... more like ripples... in a puddle) in baseball recently. Let's take a quick peek at who they are and what value they bring.
Todd Wellemeyer is coming off an injury-marred season with the Cardinals where he posted a 5.89 ERA and 5.21 xFIP. The year prior, he was considered another one of Dave Duncan's success stories, but had been essentially the same pitcher (looking at FIP/xFIP) from 2006-2008. He's not someone who will ever hold down a permanent job, but his 90+ mph fastball will keep getting him looks despite his poor control. Any team that can sign him to a minor league contract will be getting a league-average pitcher who can start and relieve. As depth in Triple-A, you can have much worse pitchers.
Jason Pridie is a slap-stick hitter who doesn't even really carry a stick capable of slapping. He's a speedy, defensive outfielder who marked down a .306 wOBA in Triple-A for Minnesota. Upon the signing of Orlando Hudson, Pridie was designated for assignment at which point the Mets claimed him off waivers. Pridie isn't a complete waste of a 40-man roster spot, but shouldn't be looked at as anything more than a fifth outfielder. The Mets have some question marks in that area, so their acquisition of Pridie makes sense. It would still be a surprise to see him open up the season on the 25-man roster, but given these are the Mets...
Mark Hendrickson inked a one year, $1.4 million ($1.2 million in 2010, $200,000 buyout or $1.2 million team option for 2011) contract with the Orioles, returning as a swingman. The former pro basketball player has an even 5.00 ERA for his career, but xFIP shows that his true talent value is around a 4.50 ERA, and has been hurt by an above-average BABIP most of his career. He's struggled to establish himself as a starting pitcher but may have found his calling at age 35 as a relief pitcher. He posted a 3.44 ERA along with a 37/14 K/BB ratio out of the bullpen this past year. While his 4.37 ERA over 11 starts was also strong, his track record indicated that he wasn't cut out to start.
Willy Taveras was acquired last week by the Athletics along with infielder Adam Rosales in exchange for infielder Aaron Miles and a player to be named later. With the release, the Athletics have essentially "bought" Rosales for about $1 million, which I think is a master stroke. Players with 0-6 years of service time (and particularly 0-3 years) almost always provide a return on investment given their low base salary and talent strong enough to make the majors. Given the team saves so much money on these 0-3 players, I've always wondered why more teams don't just go and buy these players outright. Just make the money back on production on the field. In any event, Taveras will latch on somewhere as a backup outfielder. Don't be surprised if Rosales outproduces Taveras in 2010.
Evan Brunell is currently editor of Fire Brand of the American League, a Red Sox blog he began in 2003. He also scores games at Fenway Park for MLB. He was the co-founder and president of MVN, an independent sports media web site.