Fred Lewis To Toronto

Late on Thursday, the Toronto Blue Jays agreed to acquire Fred Lewis for a washing machine.

Lewis had reached the end of a minor league rehab start, and as such the Giants needed to either open up a 25-man roster spot for him, place him on waivers, or trade him. The Giants will actually be receiving either cash considerations or a player to be named later.

Lewis is pretty clearly a Major League quality player. In 1,048 plate appearances in the major leagues since 2006, Lewis has recorded a .277/.355/.420 line, showcasing good plate discipline and slightly below average power. His 109 wRC+ suggests an above average player. 2009 was a down year for Lewis, however, as his ISO dropped from .158 to .132. As a result, his wOBA and wRC dropped to .327 and 98 respectively, the first year in which he has been below average in either statistic. The projection systems see him as slightly above average this year, and ZiPS in particular expects a return to 2008 levels.

Defensively, both UZR and +/- are fans of Lewis, despite his poor reputation among Giants fans in Tom Tango’s Fan Scouting Report. Both systems have Lewis between +9 and +11 over his 326 game career, which would still make him a below average position-neutral defender over 150 games.

Overall, not only does that make Lewis an MLBer, but it makes him nearly an average player. There is no way that Lewis is only the 6th best outfielder on the Giants roster. Aaron Rowand is projected to have a similar or worse year. Nate Schierholtz has similar projections. Andres Torres is 32 and projected to be well below average at the plate by both CHONE and ZiPS – Marcel’s projection is only operating on 181 ML plate appearances since 2007. Eugenio Velez has put up 201 games of replacement level baseball in his career so far, and the projections don’t see improvement in his future – only a data-starved Marcel projects a wRC+ greater than 90.

Still, it’s possible that the Giants know something that isn’t in these stats. Perhaps UZR and +/- are completely wrong on Lewis’s defense. Maybe he’s a clubhouse cancer, or maybe his injury troubles are worse than they seem on the surface. Even if all of those things are true, though, there’s no way the Giants found maximum value for Lewis’s talents. Hitters with a .355 career OBP and a walk rate over 10% don’t just grow on trees, and especially not those still drawing a pre-arbitration salary. Somebody must have at least had a grade B prospect they would have been willing to part with for Lewis, and if not, then there’s no reason to get rid of him when Torres and Velez are still on the team.

For the Blue Jays, this is an immediate upgrade over Jose Bautista, a player projected for a mid-90s wRC+ and poor defense in the corners – a combination that results in roughly replacement level production. The Jays have acquired a player who could potentially become an asset and a contributor for essentially no cost. The risk is minimal, and a potential reward is there. For the Blue Jays, this is a no-brainer, and for the Giants, it’s a head scratcher.

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80 Responses to “Fred Lewis To Toronto”

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  1. markdash says:

    The Giants’ brass has had it in for Lewis for quite some time. Believe me, it’s a source of huge frustration for those of us on the “lunatic fringe.”

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    • Larry Yocum says:

      My good buddy Mark,

      Lewis is a steaming pile. He had his shot last year and was horrible. So bad that a nobody in Andres Torres looked twice as capable as a replacement.

      Lewis’ baseball IQ is just not worthy of ever being an every day guy.

      I’m also in the lunatic fringe and I’m happy to see him gone.

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  2. Mark says:

    For what it’s worth AA and Cito have said Lewis is going to be a bench player. Cito’s in love with Bautista which is probably going to prevent Lewis from getting full time at bats. Sadly I think the only way Lewis gets a shot to start is if Snider is demoted. Or if someone gets injured.

    The obvious move is for Lewis to play in LF (at least vs RHP) and have Snider in RF, which is why it’s not going to happen.

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  3. another know it all says:

    It’s Lewis’ not, Lewis’s. I hate when people do that. :) Great stuff otherwise. Saw the trade last night and was looking for a valid breakdown on Lewis this morning. Found it. I just wonder how much PT he is going to get. Cito’s a good manager, but you never know. He could bat leadoff everyday or he could ride the bench in favor of, ehem, Bautista.

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    • I hate grammar nazis says:

      Who cares about a punctuation issue (which, depending on your style guide, is actually correct). Besides, you misplaced a comma.

      +8 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Kevin S. says:

      And for singular words that end in ‘s,’ adding either an apostrophe or an apostrophe and an ‘s’ is acceptable. Grammar-nazi fail.

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    • you're wrong says:

      Actually you’re wrong. “Lewis’” implies that the plural form of Lewi is possessing something. “Lewis’s” means that a person named Lewis is possessing something. I hate when people think they know a rule but don’t know why it’s being applied.

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    • Lewis was the worst says:

      The grammar is not what what should be in question here. This “Another know it all” has obviously never seen Lewis drop any of those routine fly balls. I have seen it many times and he always liked to do it at the worst possible time. He had no confidence in himself and neither did anyone else (for good reason).

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  4. R.A. Wagman says:

    Bautista is projected to have poor defense in the outfield corners? I’m not buying it. He is actually a very good defensive corner outfielder (with a cannon for an arm) and can play third base in more than just a pinch as well.Offensively, he has power and a good batting eye, but poor contact ability.

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    • woodman says:

      Agreed. I think Bautista is at least decent on defense (thought Cito playing him as backup CF is just…*facepalm*) and he’s got some use on offense as he seems to have a good eye and with it he draws lots of walks.

      Of course a Lewis/Bautista platoon would be the best option, but Cito isn’t one to choose the best option.

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      • aweb says:

        Since Gaston is done at the end of the year, and is seemingly not suited to managing a team that needs to maximize it’s available resources to be competitive (as opposed to the championship Toronto teams where they were good enough at most positions to punt platooning), and is also seemingly not going to be fired during the year, this puts the next manager, assumably chosen by the current GM is a very good position.

        The Jays might be in a spot to improve by 3-4 games just by using their roster better. Currently they should be platooning at first and in the outfield, and aren’t doing either. Just making some obvious moves could show a huge benefit, and the new guy ends up looking like a genius.

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    • HipHipJose says:

      AGREED. Check out Bautista’s outfield assists, or actually watch a Jays game. Obvioulsy we would like to see some improvement in BA but OBP is creeping up. The only reason I would say to move him out of RF is to have him play full time 3B over Edwin (I am actually an E5 fan but every ground ball makes me nervous)

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  5. jponry says:

    Lewis, sadly, became a whipping boy for the fans and the team management itself, when he didn’t magically transform into a power-hitting third place hitter in 2009 just because the Giants said they wanted him to be one. A few dropped balls in the outfield, one short slump at the end of May 2009, and the unspeakable horror of taking too many called third strikes for fans’ tastes also contributed. He’s not an amazing player or anything, but he can get on base, his defense is solid despite the miscues and he can run. I’m disappointed as hell the Giants are giving him up for nothing.

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    • That’s not quite correct. Lewis said that he could do that as well, and resisted when Bochy wanted to move him back to leadoff and utilize his OBP, saying that he has the power to stay batting third. That is what got him in the doghouse with Bochy there.

      And it was not a short slump: from April 22 to June 9 he hit .224/.297/.366/.663, for 6 weeks out of 9, roughly.

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      • jponry says:

        Selective endpoints are fun, huh? From May 15-May 31, he hit for an .870 OPS!

        He was benched after a pretty bad stretch (I won’t deny that) near the end of May and beginning of June, but it’s worth noting that even at the time of his benching, he was hitting for around a .775 OPS, which was near the top of the team at the time. Yes, the first month of the year counts too!

        Players slump. It happens to nearly every player. Lewis, for whatever reason (low RBI total, mostly), wasn’t given a chance to come out of his slump and was buried for the rest of the year.

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      • marcello says:

        OGC, you are the reason people say statistics lie.

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  6. Greg says:

    I agree that Lewis is a MLB-quality player, but phrases like, “…there’s no way the Giants found maximum value for Lewis’s talents.” and “…for the Giants, it’s a head scratcher.” are another instance of FanGraphs overstating the value of a defensive-minded corner outfielder. If you were to look up the 2009 left field WAR leaders, you would find Lewis thirty-second on the list ranking ahead of some players with much higher upsides like Kyle Blanks, Matt LaPorta, Lastings Milledge, Nolan Reimold, and Travis Snider. Keeping in mind that there are only thirty teams and that GMs prefer to play these high-upside, young players, that leaves only a couple of teams where Lewis could be a starter. He might be an upgrade over Scott Podsednick or Delmon Young but the Twins seem committed to investigating Young’s potential and who knows what the Royals are doing? So, if Lewis can’t start in left for any major league teams except the Royals, that leaves him as a 29-year-old fourth outfielder without minor league options or much power who can’t really handle center. I’m not surprised that there was no market for him just as I wasn’t surprised to see other FanGrpahs darlings like Ryan Church, Jeff Fiorentino, Ryan Langerhans, Matt Murton, and get non-tendered, DFA’ed, or shipped to Japan as the case may be.

    2009 Left-fielder WAR:

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    • Zeisenbe says:

      Is that really a fair way of judging a player? The reason why his WAR was so low is because he only got 330 ABs. He was still a 1.1 WAR player; extrapolate that value to a whole year and he would have been a 2 WAR player, slightly down from the 2.4 WAR player he was the previous year.

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    • jwb says:

      “I wasn’t surprised to see other FanGrpahs darlings like Ryan Church, Jeff Fiorentino, Ryan Langerhans, Matt Murton, and get non-tendered, DFA’ed, or shipped to Japan”

      Shed no tears for Murton or Fiorentino. Each will make about 6x as much in Japan this season as they did last season.

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  7. Impossibles says:

    Anthopolous’ pickups have been much more exciting than Ricciardi’s the past few years.

    Lewis/McCoy/A Gonzalez >> Mench/Wilkerson/Dellucci

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  8. Ashraf D. says:

    The Giant’s didn’t exactly have a lot of leverage in trade negotiations, I don’t think that they could have received a “B prospect” from anyone.

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  9. DrBGiantsfan says:

    What’s really amazing is how polarized Giants fans have been of Fred Lewis. If you go to and look on the message board, he absolutely can do nothing right and good riddance. On the other hand, the fans who tend to post on have been accused of all being Fred’s family members! They love him over there! Just an example of how different cultures on different message boards can produce widely divergent group opinions.

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    • J.Sun says:

      That’s exactly how it is. You either love him or hate him. He’s loved by more stat-oriented fans for his OBP, patience and above average defensive numbers. He’s hated by the more casual (as far as stats go) fans for looking like he’s LF on ice skates and striking out a lot.

      The Giants brass is certainly more observation-oriented, and values good soldierism and gritty gamerness above the witchcraft of advanced defensive metrics and patience at the plate.

      Bowker’s huge spring is what really did Lewis in. It would have been my preference to put DeRosa at 3B or 1B and have a lineup with Lewis/DeRosa/Bowker at the top, but I’m not high on Aubrey Huff.

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  10. Nate says:

    I’m pretty sure a big reason for it was that he was not happy about batting leadoff last year, even though he was probably the best fit on the team for it. He didn’t do well there, and gave the strong impression that he didn’t want to try and make it work.

    The Giants would have been able to live with his defense if he’d been more eager-to-please, but he wasn’t, so he’s gone. Similar situation with Frandsen (although Lewis is definitely the better player.)

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    • ElJimador says:

      I’m skeptical of this “Lewis didn’t want to bad leadoff” story. I never saw it reported until months later, after Lewis was already banished to the bench but raking as a pinch hitter and Velez was rapidly falling back to earth after his hot start. Just seemed to me like an after the fact justification right at the time a lot of fans would be wondering why Lewis wasn’t playing more. Besides, even if he expressed in April or May that he was more comfortable hitting 3rd than leading off, so what? He never refused it and I’m sure he never said that he’d rather ride the bench than leadoff. Did anyone try asking him again in August when those were his choices?

      BTW, Lewis has 450+ career PAs batting first — more than 3x as many as any other spot in the lineup — with a triple slash almost right at his career line, and his career split when leading off an inning is even better. So if he is uncomfortable hitting leadoff it certainly doesn’t show in his numbers.

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      • chris says:

        The only thing that really matters about Fred Lewis is that he has not proven himself at all to say where he wants to be in the lineup. There are a lot of other players that would love to play in any spot in the lineup.

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  11. Yes, after two season’s worth of MLB data, that outweighs the bulk of his minor league results, the MLEs of which showed him to be a poor player at best. And his defensive stats were up and dooown in the minors, according to Minor League Splits.

    Which shows the great conundrum of Fred Lewis, the ballplayer: his inconsistencies as a player all through his career.

    Do you believe in his 2008 batting line of .282/.351/.440/.791 (BABIP .365) or do you believe in his 2009 batting line of .258/.348/.390/.738 (BABIP .344), which was boosted by 5 HBP whereas he had zero in 2008? His MiLB career BABIP of .339 suggests that 2009 is more of his future than the shiny .365.

    The thing is, you can’t really tell what type of player you got after two seasons, particularly when he has basically a good first year and a bad second year. I think Jeff Francoeur hitting is a pretty good example of that. However, when you start to mix in what he did in the minors, then it becomes clearer which is the mirror and which is the mirage.

    And people often forget to account for age when looking at what a player does in AAA. I’ll bet many will look at his great stats right now in AAA and think how stupid the Giants are, but the fact is that at age 29, he’s a man among boys in terms of experience, he better be beating up on them.

    Given all that, I would still prefer to see how he works out than Velez, particularly if Velez still has an option. However, the SF Chronicle noted that Lewis holds a grudge against Bochy for how he was handled in 2009 and the Giants fear that he would be a poison on the bench that would ruin the chemistry that they have now. So while I would have preferred him around, I’m not going to shed any tears either, it is not like he’s that good a ballplayer.

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    • Aaron B. says:

      Wow OGC. So Fred’s 2006 and 2007 seasons don’t count whatsoever. Pies or tarts with all those cherries you pick?

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  12. mescal bean says:

    Lewis is one of those players for whom statistics have never told the story. After a year in low A ball, Lewis had put up a decent OBP and Baseball America quoted a scout as saying “he walks a lot by accident” – for those of us who have seen him from San Jose to SF, this is a meaningful statement, I have never seen a player strike out looking as often as Lewis. Lewis has good range, but he had balls clank off his mitt during the beginning of last season at inopportune times. I think the mental side of the game, in terms of confidence at least, has limited his performance, particularly in the clutch, and has produced hollow stats. I hope the change of scenery helps.

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  13. couldashouldawoulda says:

    There are 3 primary reasons Lewis is gone…1) Sabean 2) Bochy 3) fans. Lewis is just another example of how poorly the Giants develop position players. Granted we have been successful with pitchers and the occassional fielder like Sandoval. The fans got on Lewis for his few mistakes. But those fans are unrealistic and burried players like Ishikawa, Lewis and Frandsen. But the main reason is Bochy and Sabean. They had to build a farm system, but they don’t like it. They would rather sign 30+ somethings on the downside of their careers and hope they return to the glory days. We have great players in our system but they won’t get a fair chance unless the stars align just perfectly. Ask Sandoval. Lewis is an awesome athelete and I hope he gets a chance with Toronto to show how good he really is. Another loss for Giants. Nothing will change until Sabean and Bochy are gone.

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    • DrBGiantsfan says:

      The Idea that Sabean and Bochy hate the young players and don’t give them a chance is just not supported by the facts. Fred Lewis, Travis Ishikawa, Eugenio Velez, Nate Schierholtz, John Bowker, Kevin Frandsen and Emmanuel Burriss have all been given substantial playing opportunities. All showed flashes of potential, but none were able to sustain success. Go ahead and criticize the Giants for not producing more and better position players over the years, but it’s more of a problem that these players just aren’t all that good than a problem with them not getting opportunities.

      With greater emphasis on scouting and drafting position players in the last 2-3 years under John Barr, I believe we will see more success stories in the near future.

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      • Bhaakon says:

        All have had varying amounts of playing time (some more substantial than others), and the only one that has come closest, by far, to sustained success just got traded for peanuts, with the effect that the Velez gets to keep his roster spot. That’s the real head scratcher for me. People can legitimately discuss on whether Lewis is average or overrated, but I don’t understand how anyone with half a brain can think that Velez is preferable.

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  14. gabriel says:

    worst article i read all day this guy dosent watch giants baseball otherwise he would why hes leaving hes just looking at the numbers what a douch

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    • Your Friend, the period says:


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    • Jason B says:

      ee cummings apparently thinks that was just an awful article about a miserable player. Who knew he was a giants fan!

      But what’s a “douch”? Sounds like something Homer Simpson says when he touches a hot frying pan…

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  15. 22gigantes says:

    Would have preferred to see Torres go. I don’t understand this move. Giants announcer Dave Flemming calls out Lewis on the air and next thing you know, he’s done in SF.

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    • Lefty Malo says:

      The Power of Flemm!

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    • Larry Yocum says:


      You serious with this?

      First off, it shows how low you are in the organization when Flemming calls you out. He is the equivalent of the broadcasting waterboy for Miller, Kruk and Kuip. IF he calls you out, it means you suck. Amy G wanted a piece of Lewis as well, but then he gave her a hug and everything was all right.

      I wish Lewis the best, but it was time for him to go.

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  16. Who cares?? says:

    Fred Lewis sucks!! I don’t care what fangraphs says…


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  17. Bob Slack says:

    Couldashouldawoulda – you left out a couple reasons why Lewis was traded (and btw, they wanted him gone enough to leave an open spot on the 40 man roster). He was a defensive liability. He struck out looking in very visible situations (reminded me of Chili Davis at the end of his career without breaking the bat over his head). He was a bad combination of age for his mlb inexperience. He mouthed off. None of those things on their own may be enough to give a guy away. It is hard when a guy is long listed with great potential, goes into funks )physically and mentally) and then asks to be traded. The Giants have been trying to trade him since at least last season. I am happy for him that he has a job in mlb. I hope it works out for him and that he can stay in the game for a couple years, but seriously doubt if you will see him at the ml level even in 2011.

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    • Zeisenbe says:

      “He was a defensive liability”

      This statement is made by a lot by opponents of Lewis. It’s true to an extent, he’s not as good as he should be given his athleticism. He drops balls, takes poor routes, etc., but in reality he is still an above average left fielder defensively. How you say? It’s because his athleticism gives him a much larger range than most left fielders in this league (Manny, Dunn, etc.). Though the sample size may not be large enough to determine his true defensive value, the only evidence we have that he’s a poor fielder is “I saw him drop a ball once”. It’s my belief that Lewis is no closer to being a defensive liability at LF then Torri Hunter is to being the greatest defensive CF of our generation.

      “He struck out a lot in very visible situations”

      A lot of very valuable players in this league strike out a lot. They are able to maintain their OBP (the most valuable skill for an offensive player) by walking a lot, something Lewis is pretty good at. This is important for two reasons 1) even though he strikes out a lot, he actually makes outs less then most players and 2) he forces the pitcher to throw more pitches (not captured by WAR). Now in fairness to you, you say he strikes out in the context of visible situations. Well of course hes going to strike out in visible situations, he strikes out a lot in general; the question is is he less productive in certain situations, is he not “clutch”. Many studies have determined that the idea that certain players are “clutch” or “unclutch” does not hold much water statistically. Though a player may seem “clutch” over a given year and it may be backed up statistically by a high BA, this is generally an aberation due to variance not skill. And if you want to point to Lewis’ low rbi totals as a reason why he is unclutch I would tell you that is more a product of the circumstances he was placed in then a measure of his offensive value.

      “He was a bad combination of age for his mlb inexperience”

      And Andres Torres isn’t? He’s three years older and has over 500 less AB’s then Lewis. Still, there are many players who break into the league later in their careers and prove very valuable. Recent examples include Nelson Cruz, Ryan Ludwick, and Casey McGehee. Generally these are players who showed promise but did not “perform” in the small window of time they were in the majors and were relegated to the bench or the minors. Then when given another chance they perform. I think Lewis is already an average to above-average player, I’m afraid that he with more consistency he could become even more.

      “He mouthed off”

      When? I don’t remember this. From the times I’ve heard him speak he was a very respectable young man with a subdued personality, not the type of person who causes a lot of problems or talks back to people.

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      • Zeisenbe says:

        Now I’m not trying to attack you nor am I saying you don’t like Lewis (you never said that), it’s just that you summed up pretty well the reasons why many Giants fans don’t like Freddy.

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  18. ofMontreal says:

    If Lewis was in any way a starter, we wouldn’t have all these posts! Not that it isn’t a colorful set.

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  19. Rusty Priske says:

    The Jays should not play Lewis instead of Bautista.

    They should play Lewis instead of Encarnacion.

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  20. wtr3 says:

    Lewis’ defensive problems are hard to capture with statistics. I’ve gone to several Giants games and saw Lewis struggle to catch a lazy fly ball. He catches most of them, so his stats look fine, but he struggles to make even the simplest of plays. There have been a number of occasions where he couldn’t make a decent throw due to his struggle to make to the catch, thus allowing the runners to score or advance. I can’t quantify these claims, but I’ve seen it consistently over Lewis’ career. These are the types of problems that drive major league managers and GMs crazy, and unless the player hits like Manny Ramirez, he’s going to get sent down or dropped.

    Since Lewis is out of options and is now healthy, Sabean had absolutely no leverage. Taking the PTBNL or cash was his only option other than releasing him.

    Torres and Schierholtz are both superior defenders and base runners than Lewis, and thus more valuable to the team. Ditto for Velez.

    The most frustrating part as a Giants fan is that Rowand is likely to have similar offense numbers to Lewis and is costing the team a fortune in salary. Could the Giants get a PTBNL for Rowand? Please?

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  21. Larry Yocum says:

    Lewis is horrible.

    Any metric that says he is a plus defender is broken. I’ve been watching him for several years now and he can’t judge balls well at all and has misplayed singles into doubles on several occasions.

    He strikes out far too often and took a step back last season.

    He isn’t an average major leaguer or anything close to that. He was given a shot last season and was a huge liability both in the field and at the plate. It’s little things like the inability to play a ball correctly or move a runner over, or bunt that were his undoing. It was time for him to go.

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    • J.T. says:

      “Any metric that says he is a plus defender is broken. I’ve been watching him for several years now and he can’t judge balls well at all and has misplayed singles into doubles on several occasions.”

      The earth is flat. I know this because no matter how far I run or how long I drive, it never curves.

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  22. Baron Samedi says:

    Evidence suggests that Lewis/Bautista would make an above average platoon:

    Fred Lewis Career Split vs. RHP: 297G 838PA 15HR .286/.362/.443 .349wOBA

    Jose Bautista Career Split vs. LHP: 265G 632PA 26HR .265/.362/.479 .360wOBA

    Unfortunately, evidence also suggests that this scenario is far too complex for the likes of Cito Gaston.

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    • Kelekin says:

      This is exactly what I was going to post and say. The one benefit is that Lewis would get more play-time than Bautista, who can’t even cut it as a #9 hitter vs Righties. Lewis also has a bit of speed, enough to make him better suited for a lead-off spot over Bautista.

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  23. Hineez says:

    Lewis was horribly unclutch last year. He had 1 RBI in the first month, and only 6 after two months, as the regular left fielder! In that same timer period, he had 11 multi strikeout games and 1 multi walk game. It didn’t get much better as the year went on. Plus, as a gazelle, he couldn’t steal a base. I hope he can help the Jays, the Giants ran out of room and patience.

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  24. marklar says:

    Defensive metrics are not capable of a true definitive analysis. There is some value in them, but they still fall short. Just because Lewis’ overall UZR was plus does not mean he was a good defender. It’s interesting that, according to UZR, Lewis was a plus defender. But he was plus defender only in LF and a minus defender in CF and RF. If you are a decent MLB outfielder, you should have plus numbers in all three positions with some variance, based on the difficulty of the different positions. But if you run reasonable routes, can catch the ball within the zone, and basically make the routine play, there is no reason to have minus numbers unless you just aren’t a good defender. Still, I trust what I have seen since I watch most every Giants game, more than what UZR says. He didn’t run good routes, he occasionally dropped routine fly balls, and generally looked uncomfortable playing defense.

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  25. Joe B says:

    An average hitter, low OPB, average speed who strikes out way too much for someone with little power and a whiner.

    Giants were wrong how?

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  26. Baron Samedi says:

    .362 career OBP vs. RHP is not low.

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  27. giantsrainman says:

    I question the conclusion that the Giants didn’t get a B level prospect in return. When do not know which Blue Jay’s non 40 man roster minor leaguers the Giants get to choose from as the PTBNL. We don’t know that one or more of these are not B level prospects.

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  28. Berigan says:

    last year, 20 RBI’s in 336 AB’s hit .258….back in the olden days, those were considered sucky, Larry Bowa-ish numbers…only worthy of playing time for a defensive whiz at SS. But not in 2010!!! he walked 36 times! Wow! He’s really special! Not just anyone at AAA could replicate those wonderous numbers! ;)

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  29. Baron Samedi says:

    As crappy as Lewis may be, his career .805 OPS vs. RHP is 122 points higher than the current Jays starting RF Jose Bautista’s .683.

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  30. JS says:

    Bottom line… Fred Lewis had skills that the Giants’ brass do not value, particularly getting on base.

    They would much rather watch Eugenio Velez make the exact same mistakes but just more often.

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    • Bhaakon says:

      And with no redeeming qualities.

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    • nbgiant25 says:

      Spoken like someone who has never truly followed either player. Velez has been a solid stand-in since the end of last season, and has been doing well this season as well, and all Lewis ever did was choke in the clutch.

      This article is what is wrong with advanced statistical analysis of baseball. Numbers alone don’t show the whole picture, and the majority of Giants fans are happy to see Lewis gone. He’s a player with all the physical gifts you could ask for, but with no kind of baseball IQ to back them up.

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  31. J.T. says:

    I find the strikeout arguments very interesting. Thanks to LWTS we know that the marginal run value of a strikeout to be slightly worse than a regular batting out. Situationally speaking, of course, a strikeout prevents you from making a productive out (conversely, it prevents you from hitting into the double play as well). Obviously, there are times in which a strikeout is much worse than a batting out. There is no debating that.

    Lewis isn’t a middle of the lineup hitter; he’s a #1 or #2 hitter. Leadoff hitters see very few opportunities with men on base compared to other hitters- and, if you’ll look at the numbers (check B-Ref), despite Lewis’ below average rate of productive outs he has so few opportunities that he’s about -1 run below an average hitter in terms of productive outs. That’s it. We’re not looking at a guy with 90+ opportunities to move a guy over; we’re looking at about 35. So if he’s bad at moving runners over, it’s not going to make a huge impact due to the small amount of opportunities he’ll receive.

    And if you’re familiar with “The Book,” a strikeout for a #2 hitter is BETTER than a batting out in most circumstances. Considering that he’s decent at staying out of the double play when he’s not striking out, and his ability to get on base, he makes for a fine #1 or #2 hitter.

    Strikeouts are bad, yeah. But I think they’re being overstated, especially when applied to Lewis.

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    • nbgiant25 says:

      I agree with most of what you said, but you’ve stumbled on to another reason that Lewis isn’t fit to be a big league player, at least at this point in his career. He publicly stated multiple times that he doesn’t WANT to hit at the top of the order. He’s not willing to do what is asked of him by the club, making him all the more unnecessary.

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    • theguy17 says:

      Strikeouts are never good. Have you ever played the game? They’re especially not good for some one with plus speed and at the top of the order. And “a strikeout for a #2 hitter is BETTER than a batting out in most circumstances” is absolutley obsurd. A #2 hitter’s job is to get the lead off guy over. If he strikes out a lot you can’t hit and run ever. And considering his speed he wouldn’t hit into many double plays so at least put the ball in play and give your self a chance to get on base. A strikeout leaves you with no chance at all. Unless you’re banking on him striking out on dropped third’s and beating the throw to first, it’s obsurd to think a strikeout is “BETTER” than putting a ball in play in the 2 hole. Especially with Lewis’ speed. Lewis can’t put the ball in play, look good in the field, or bunt on a consistant level to save his life.

      And here is why he is not on the team and Velez and Torres are:

      I don’t think any of the three have anything left that they haven’t already shown. None are in their early 20′s.

      Velez is a switch hitter and can play all three out field positions and 2B. I admit, he plays all those positions poorly but he has looked way better at the plate than Fred has.

      Torres is by far way better in the field than Fred. And unlike Fred, Torres can actually put a bunt down. Which is a big thing for an NL without much pop in it’s lineup and will rely on small ball to score runs.

      Lewis is 29, has no options left, no upside, can’t put the ball in play, can’t get a runner over, is horrible in the field, and has a crap attitude.

      I don’t the Giants could have got any more for him. He had to go. As far as I am concerned this is a good deal for the Giants. They got something in return, rather than nothing and losing him on the waiver wire.

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  32. says:

    One of the problems with Lewis on the 25-man was that the Giants had too many lefty hitting OF’s already. Torres is a better defensive player and though he’s no great hitter (despite his solid numbers in 2009), his RH bat is stronger than his LF bat. Bowker won the everyday job, so even with his option – he wasn’t an option. Velez really bugs me, often. But – he can play all 3 OF positions AND 2B. He’s also a switch hitter like Torres, and Lewis is definitely a platoon candidate as he doesnt hit lefties well. Other options? I guess Ishikawa, but with Huff’s glove – he’s a must. Face it – the Giants have a bunch of OF’s that leave a lot to be desired. Lewis may have been one of the better ones, sure, but then again I can’t even say that definitively. I think it may have had a lot to do with his demeanor – he clearly wanted out.

    Final point … Lewis was clearly worth more than a stale bag of cheetos, but i think the league KNEW the Giants were going to DFA him because of their lack of flexibility … so why give something away when he’d be free in a few days? I wish him well.

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  33. Peter says:

    UZR now shows Lewis to be a below average defender at all three OF positions. Did Lewis suddenly get a whole lot worse in 2010? I don’t think so – it’s just further evidence that UZR is not a reliable rating system. How useful is a system that requires three years worth of data to approach a true measure of talent? And can you really put much faith in a system with such wild year to year rating swings? Bottom line: experienced eyes captured Lewis’s true defensive talent level with a tenth of the data.

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    • What you and others are missing is that UZR only looks at how one player compares with his universe of comparisons.

      More importantly, it says nothing about how good looking a defender he is. It only covers how he handles fielding the ball relative to other LF. With his speed, he makes up for mistakes in routes that everybody sees by catching balls that slow-footed statues like Dunn and others can’t reach. Ironically, he says he’s loved and played baseball his whole life: if so, his fielding is baseball’s version of Seinfeld’s Elaine dancing.

      To your point about usefulness, BABIP is not statistically significant until 6-7 season’s worth of IP by a starter, and yet people find it of great use, nonetheless.

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  34. MattMoraga says:

    I’m with Peter,

    Any stat that say Fred Lewis is an above average anything is flawed by definition.

    Fred Lewis is the perfect example of why UZR can be a worthless stat. As someone said earlier. Fred has a baseball IQ of 0.

    He is absolutely brain dead on the bases and takes the worst routes to the ball I’ve ever seen and once he gets there forgets to close the stupid glove.

    Blue Jay fans have now seen his act and come to the same conclusion:


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    • Peter says:

      I’ll be glad when field f/x is online so that UZR will ceased to be misused. Any stat that needs 3+ years to approach reliability is essentially useless. it’s just too bad that so much time and effort has gone into creating it, and arguing for it’s questionable merits.

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  35. StatingTheObvious says:

    Not sure why this article has come up here, but clearly fangraphs was right on this one back in April. Did the Giants give up the next Ricky Henderson – a leadoff hitter who plays LF with speed and can dominate a game? Surely not. But they sure didn’t get much for him, and while the likes of Torres, Burrell and Huff have had some very good seasons, and there probably wouldn’t have been room for much playing time for Lewis with the big league club, you have to wonder ask whether they could have gotten more for him. In the Blue Jays’ uniform, (admittedly, a poor offensive team this season), Lewis has been an every day player with a +0.9 WAR. Considering the Jays’ cost to get him, I’d say AA won that one.

    Oh, and as for that Bautista guy, he seems to have turned out pretty well for them too. Funny how many commenters here in April really didn’t predict that, although then again, who did?

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    • Peter says:

      I’d say that the fact that the Blue Jays non-tendered Lewis is proof enough that the article was wrong from day one. Jays obviously see Lewis as a back-up with limited upside and aren’t willing to pay anything above league minimum.

      And the Giants were obviously better off without him – addition by subtraction.

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  36. Peter says:

    Two years since this dog of an article hit the interwebs. Is Jack Moore still writing about baseball? Because Fred Lewis ain’t playing baseball.

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