Saturday, April 04, 2009

Trying to Rationalize The Mets Signing Sheffield

So it looks like the Mets have struck a deal with Gary Sheffield. The Fan's first reaction was, "Huh?" The second reaction was, "Why?" and the third reaction was, "Okay, let's see if this makes sense." Got to tell you that the first inclination is to think that it doesn't. But let's take a fair look.

Okay, if we look at the Met's roster, they will probably go with eleven pitchers. They currently have thirteen on their roster, but Wagner and Redding will be on the Disabled List. They have two catchers. That's thirteen. They have five infielders, that's eighteen. In the outfield, Beltran, Church and Murphy should be safe bets, that's twenty-one. You should also include Tatis, the comeback player of the decade who has also had a really good spring. That's twenty-two.

So that leaves three spots. There is Marlon Anderson, 34 years old with his lifetime OBP of .314 and OPS of .705. There is Angel Pagan, 28 years old, with a lifetime OBP of .316 (we're getting a pattern here) and an OPS of .712. Then there is Nick Evans, 22 years old, who only has 109 ML at bats and in a small sample size, has a lifetime OBP of .303 and an OPS of .707. The last one to list is Jeremy Reed, 28 years old, who has a lifetime OBP of .314. Hmm... and an OPS of .679.

Not a very savory group to choose from. Maybe we're onto something here. Can they at least field their positions?

2008 stats from FanGraphs:
  • Jeremy Reed - LF: -0.6; RF: -2.9; CF: -0.8 Not very good there.
  • Nick Evans - LF: 1.8; 1B: 0.1 That's better.
  • Angel Pagan - LF: 0.3; CF: 0.5; RF: -0.2 Well, at least he is above average on two of them, but both were the first above average recordings of his career.
  • Marlon Anderson - LF: 1.8; CF: -0.2; RF: -0.6 Left field is okay. Anderson started as an infielder and can still play second or first occasionally.

In addition, Reed, Pagan and Anderson all have minus arms. Evans' arm is rated above average.

All projections for Gary Sheffield point to him (the Fan is sure the projectionists thought he was going to DH for Detroit) batting anywhere from .236 to .250 with an OBP of .334 to .356 and an OPS of .734 to .818. All those figures should beat the OBP and OPS of any of a collection of Reed, Evans, Pagan and Anderson. Sheffield played 46 innings in LF last year and believe it or not, had a positive number for a UZR (with a minus arm).

As weird as it is to admit, it seems that Sheffield is a better player, even at his age, than any of the four listed with the possible exception of Nick Evans, who is young and unproven. If Sheffield has a league average year at the plate, he could help the Mets. Hard to believe, but this might make sense after all. Of course, the big "IF" is whether he can get out there in the field and "IF" he can hit even a little bit at this stage of his career and "IF" he can be content with a part time role.

1 comment:

Josh Borenstein said...

I look at it as one of those low risk-high reward signings. His numbers were definitely inflated, though. If you catch my drift.