Jim Edmonds for Chris Dickerson

The Cincinnati Reds attempted to strengthen their postseason chances by acquiring OF Jim Edmonds from the Brewers today for OF Chris Dickerson. Edmonds was apparently a decently hot commodity on the waiver wire with the lack of big bats available at the trade deadline, but the first place Reds were able to snag away a potential future Hall of Famer (*fingers crossed*) in hopes to bolster their outfield.

Cincinnati has an eclectic mix of outfielders that makes the addition of Edmonds all the more interesting. Jonny Gomes actually has a wOBA of .335, but his below average defense (-10.0 UZR, -10 DRS, generally poor scouting reports) and inability to play centerfield hurts his value tremendously. Second in wOBA is Laynce Nix, who, at .328 (100 wRC+), will probably see time reduced due to this trade. Last is Jay Bruce, whom R.J. Anderson wrote about at length a few weeks ago. Bruce is just at a .322 wOBA, and has never cracked the .330 wOBA mark throughout his three-year major league career. The best Reds outfielder this season has been rookie Chris Heisey, who has put up a .397 wIBA (147 wRC+) while playing solid defense. His bat is real, and hopefully Edmonds doesn’t cut into his playing time significantly. Drew Stubbs has played a bunch of centerfield this season, but his modest .316 wOBA doesn’t impress ZiPS; it projects him for .302 from here on out.

Meanwhile, Jim Edmonds is having a fantastic year all around. He’s played great defense in both center and right field, as well as shown his ability to play first base (although I doubt Joey Votto has anything to worry about). His .369 wOBA is generated by a .286/.350/.493 slash line, his highest slugging since 2005. However, he is walking at just 8.5%, but this may be due to pitchers being reluctant to pitch around him early on given that he missed the entire 2009 season. His walk rate has steadied around ~9.7% over the past two months, which is closer (but still significantly far away) from his career average of 12.5%. Edmonds is hitting right-handed pitchers this year to the tune of a .373 wOBA, but his peripherals all show an ability to hit lefties extremely well; most of the difference in production between facing righties and lefties has been due to an inflated BABIP versus righties. His .344 overall BABIP is well above his career average, especially his last few seasons. However, his LD rate is at an absurdly high 28.5%, a number that may be due slightly to scoring bias, but either way will probably regress. Still, even a regressed/adjusted LD rate will be generally favorable. Either way, the ZiPS projection likes Edmonds for a .340 wOBA going forward.

Going to Milwaukee in the deal is outfielder Chris Dickerson, who is a real nice grab for the Brewers for a few months of Jim Edmonds. Dickerson put up 3.2 WAR in 128 games from 2008-09, playing good defense in centerfield with an ability to play the corners well also. However, after a .339 wOBA last year, Dickerson struggled mightily in 2010 with a .205/.222/.273 line. Since being sent to Triple-A Louisville, Dickerson has raked; he’s hitting .442/.528/.767 in fifty-five plate appearances. Dickerson has MLB-ready talent both at the plate and in the field. He’ll have opportunities to teach his old team a lesson in the NL Central. ZiPS thinks he’s good for a .322 wOBA for the rest of the season, and at twenty-eight years old could be close to his offensive peak.

Overall, this wasn’t that poor of a trade for either team, although Cincinnati may have slightly overpaid for an outfielder who could see serious regression while giving up a much younger outfielder who could be useful in the future, maybe even now. They’re clearly going all out in the NL Central race, which they should, but I wonder if this move was necessary for them, or if the asking price for Edmonds was really as high as Dickerson. Milwaukee comes away with a big plus, acquiring a solid outfielder just because they offered a Spring Training invite to an older outfielder who hadn’t played pro ball in over a year.

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Pat Andriola is an Analyst at Bloomberg Sports who formerly worked in Major League Baseball's Labor Relations Department. You can contact him at Patrick.Andriola@tufts.edu or follow him on Twitter @tuftspat

23 Responses to “Jim Edmonds for Chris Dickerson”

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  1. Kirsh says:

    Edmonds is obviously a nice pickup, but I’m curious about who they’re going to push out now? I think their best alignment would be Gomes-Heisey-Edmonds with Bruce and Stubbs on the bench, but I doubt that actually happens. It’s a good problem to have, but tough to figure. They can’t really be rotating much while trying to hold off St. Louis. Two guys are going to be unhappy.

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  2. BookieBob says:

    How does this trade impact playing time for Chris Heisey OF CIN? Or how about Lorenzo Cain OF MIL?

    I know Dusty loves his veteran leadership, but Heisey should be playing everyday until (if) he cools off.

    MIL should be looking at their future, and let Cain play.

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  3. John says:

    Since we’re passed the trading deadline, does this mean that Dickerson was put on waivers and every team passed on him?

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  4. Kirsh says:

    I think that’s correct. You’re right. Dickerson only had to go through the NL teams worse than Milwaukee, which isn’t many. Pittsburgh, Arizona, the Cubs, and Houston were the only teams that had a shot before the Brewers.

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  5. Rick says:

    I’m hoping we see Edmonds primarily as a platoon partner for Gomes. Heisey is making the case to play everyday and can slide over to RF for Stubbs against lefties to give Bruce a seat. Gomes LF defense has been quite poor and the bat tends to be all or nothing.

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  6. E Dub says:

    I don’t think that those among Reds fans who favor the anecdotal (or even the dreaded intangibles) will miss Dickerson much, especially as we traded from an area of strength in the organization. I do wonder if Edmonds will end up playing RF when opposing teams start LHPs. At worst, Walt is stocking the clubhouse with reliable, familiar vets whom he trusts. The trade seems like a push. What I’m wondering is whose spot does Edmonds take prior to rosters expanding? I suppose this could be bad news for Nix.

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    • mgarner543 says:

      Travis Wood was optioned to AAA to make room. The Reds are only going to carry 4 starters for the next week or so because of off days on the 12th and 16th. Wood down is only temporary and he will be back as soon as they need a fifth starter. It’ll be interesting to see who gets the axe when Wood comes back up.

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      • E Dub says:

        Yeah, I knew that was coming, and was thinking more about what happens when Wood returns. The obvious guy, whom I’d forgotten, is Juan Francisco.

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  7. Anna says:

    If I was a GM and Walt Jockety called, I wouldn’t answer the phone. He has a way of getting exactly what he wants and needs with little disadvantage to his own team.

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    • 198d says:

      The Rolen trade was amicable for both parties, wasn’t it?

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    • Bando says:

      What do you mean? This was an excellent pickup for the Brewers.

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    • Craig says:

      He did get exactly what he wants and needs with little disadvantage to his own team in this trade, but there was no disadvantage to the Brewers either. This was very much a win-win trade. The Brewers took a chance on Edmonds during the offseason and managed to get a player with plenty of service time left out of it. The Brewers got something in the future for what was going to be nothing. Also, Doug Melvin had to answer the phone as the Reds claimed Edmonds off of waivers.

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  8. Dann M says:

    I think Stubbs might end up being the odd man out. No team needs six OF. *Bruce is obviously safe as an organizational favorite.
    *Gomes has been an offensive (right handed) strength this year.
    *Heisey has earned more playing time than he’s getting.
    *Nix is 10-37 as a PH and .270/.340/.380 overall.
    *Edmonds is obviously not going to be a late-inning replacement.

    Stubbs has some speed, but poor on-base abilities at the MLB level right now. He has a break-even UZR on the year. And if you take away his 11 games against the Cubs this year, look what happens to his numbers:

    Stubbs overall: .234/.300/.405 (.705 OPS)
    Stubbs against CHC: (46 PA) .311/.326/.733 (1.059 OPS)
    Stubbs against all others: (346 PA) .222/.297/.356 (.653 OPS)

    He has 36% of his HR and 17% of his total hits, as well as 16 of 35 RBI (46%), in 10 starts and 1 additional AB against the Cubs. It’s arguable that, were it not for his GS off Caridad in the season’s opening week that his leash wouldn’t have been quite so long.

    Sure, he brings some team speed. But if he has to be a pinch runner, then he won’t be particularly useful until the rosters expand on 9/1. I wonder if he’ll turn up with a case of “turf toe.”

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    • amigo says:

      Hard to “take away games vs. the Cubs” considering the Reds do tend to play roughly 12% of their schedule against them.

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      • Dann M says:

        I wasn’t trying to say that those games are meaningless. I was merely pointing out that he’s had a particularly great success against one team. And since the Reds play 12% of their games against this specific opponent, the remaining 88% of games against the other opponents provide an entirely different outlook of his offensive value.

        A .316 wOBA hitter whose OPS drops 52 points (down into backup catcher territory, at that) based on his luck against one divisional opponent should raise a caution flag.

        His .297 BABIP alongside a 14% LD rate and 31% K rate on the year overall imply, if anything, a lucky .234 BA. The K’s should deflate his average, but so should the 39% fly balls he hits as a speedy guy with some pop. You can look at his pitch type values and see that he murders sliders, but is negative on everything else. That implies that Drew Stubbs feasts on cement mixers, the pitches that would be getting him out if they actually broke because he’d be swinging at (and through) them anyway. Heck, 18% of his hits are infield hits, relying on his speed; 35% are IFH + HR, quite the odd combination.

        His numbers are very odd, overall. And the Cubs-dominance is one anomalous facet of the puzzle. The Cubs staff is certainly a home-run susceptible, slider-reliant staff. I’ve witnessed that first-hand.

        It’s just as fair to say he went 1-17 against the Braves. But 2 of the 4 games featured starters w/o a slider (Kawakami and Medlen), 1 was started by Jurrjens (slider is a distant 3rd option, %age-wise), and the other was a slugfest where Chavez’s and Kimbrel’s heaters were a major part of his day.

        Looking at performance against a specific team can tell us a little about a guy. In the case of Stubbs, we see that the Cubs play into his strengths with a lot of pitchers throwing sliders and generally poor infield defense. The Braves, meanwhile, had enough non-slider heavy pitching to make their poor infield defense less of a factor.

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  9. Joe says:

    I’m extremely perplexed by the performance of Jay Bruce this year. The first few months he looked like he was turning the corner, but his traditional stats and peripherals have all actually declined this year. I can’t imagine the Reds sitting Heisey (especially against righties) given the way he’s performed, but I guess with Dusty Baker anything is possible (with young players). Gomes has hit, but he’s been a complete disaster in the field (as expected). I still think Dickerson could end up being pretty good, but I feel like their best offensive OF right now is Gomes, Stubbs, Heisey.

    Anyways, that said, I got curious about Edmonds…did anyone else realize how good this guy has been? Read this:


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  10. CircleChange11 says:

    Not only is Edmonds solid, but I also wonder if their is some “mind games” going on here. Jockety is the former Cardinals GM when Edmonds was there. Baker and LaRussa aren’t the best of friends.

    Mind Edmonds provide the team with some insight on how the Cardinals do things (signs, tendencies, etc)?

    Don’t get me wrong, they acquired him for his play firstly … but now they have Rolen and Edmonds … 2 players that desperately want to stick it to the Redbirds. Every little edge helps this time of year.

    Strange that Jockety would trade away both Rolen and Edmonds and then re-acquire them. Rolen was presumably traded away because LaRussa didn’t like how many games Rolen missed. Too bad Endy Chavez made that catch in the NLCS, robbing Rolen of his “playoff moment” (he certainly didn’t have any in the 04 WS).

    Interesting moves by Jockety.

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    • jirish says:

      Rolen wasn’t traded by Jocketty. Mozeliak traded Rolen. I’m not sure who traded Edmonds.

      I’m not so sure Rolen and Edmonds “want to stick it” to the Cardinals, but I have no doubt that Jocketty wants to.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        Rolen was NOT happy that Spezio got playing time in the NLCS and WS when Scottie said he was healthy. Rolen was traded that offseason and Glaus brought in. Rolen and TLR are not buddies.

        Mozeliak must have been around longer than I thought.

        TLR is a great manager, but he does have a knack for pissing people off. The only good thing about TLR’s retirement will be the return of the Wizard to organzational events.

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      • 198d says:

        Mozeliak also traded Edmonds. (to the Pads for Freese in Dec. 07)

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