Three Post-Waiver Trade Targets: Hitters

Alfonso Soriano

Soriano’s power remains alive in his age-36 season. The sixth-year Cub owns a .499 slugging percentage thanks to 19 home runs and 22 doubles in 359 at-bats for a .226 ISO. This year, the hits are falling in as well, giving him a solid .272/.322/.499 line, enough for a 113 wRC+. Although his 2.9 WAR is inflated by an extremely iffy +12 UZR, he’s having a productive year for the second time in three seasons.

But it’s still not an $18 million season, and although Soriano is worth playing and even worth paying a moderate sum for, the Cubs want nothing to do with his $36 million owed over the next two seasons. If they can get a team to eat any sort of significant chunk of that contract, we might see Soriano man a corner for a playoff-contending team. The Tigers were connected in rumors as well, as the Giants, but the Hunter Pence acquisition likely closes that door.

Michael Cuddyer

Cuddyer is showing the kind of power boost expected from a player moving to Coors Field from Target Field. His ISO has inflated from .176 to a solid .226, with just five fewer home runs (15) in nearly 200 fewer plate appearances.

However, the increase in his quality of contact has been mitigated by an inability to actually make contact. His 19.5% strikeout rate is his highest since 2007, lowering his batting average and OBP to .260 and .317 respectively. The result is a mere 104 wRC+ out of a 33-year-old with $21 million remaining over two seasons on his contract. Again, useful, and a potential improvement for some teams, but not worth the money.

So nobody would claim him, one would think, except Jeff Passan noted at least one general manager would “love to overpay Cuddyer.” Either way, the Rockies get a chance to work out a deal with a claiming team or Cuddyer passes through and the entire market is available – if, of course, Dan O’Dowd and crew are willing to deal.

Jeff Francoeur

Francoeur is in the midst of his worst year ever, hitting .238/.275/.366 (66 wRC+), with his .128 ISO his lowest since his disastrous 2008 season (.239/.294/.359, 70 wRC+). That season was the beginning of the end in Atlanta, even though he got 324 more pitiful (65 wRC+) plate appearances in 2009 with Atlanta before his traded to the Mets.

And so his path as a Royal becomes extremely similar to his tenures with Atlanta and New York. Start out hot – 117 wRC+ in debut year with Kansas City, 126 with Atlanta, 115 with New York – follow up with a big fizzle, and finish with a disappointing trade for a non-asset.

Francoeur’s clubhouse presence has convinced teams to add him despite similarly horrible seasons to his 2012 to date – he had a 65 wRC+ and a 76 wRC+ prior to his last two trades respectively. And he does have two marketable and easily-leveraged skills: a bat that typically crushes left-handers (.292/.339/.484 career line, although just .226/.268/.396 this year) and an arm that haunts opposing baserunners.

Teams won’t eat much of Francoeur’s $9.5 million remaining price tag, but the Royals shouldn’t require much to trade him – Wil Myers is ready and waiting to take his spot, and he won’t be up just to sit on the bench.




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39 Responses to “Three Post-Waiver Trade Targets: Hitters”

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  1. Spike says:

    I’d be giddy if the Mets had Cuddyer instead of Jason Bay.

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  2. nik says:

    Oh god, I hope RAJ doesn’t jump on Cuddyer with the Pence money.

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  3. Drew says:

    I’d still be a Met fan if they’d never acquired Francoeur.

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  4. Jack says:

    My guess is the White Sox claim Francoeur. Just seems like a Kenny Williams sort of thing to do. But the Royals won’t just dump him onto the White Sox, and instead retract him from the minors. Because that is a Dayton Moore kind of thing to do.

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  5. Tim says:

    “In the mist” joke.

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  6. walt526 says:

    FYI: there was a report a day or two before the trade deadline that Soriano would not approve a trade to the Giants.

    https://twitter.com/JimBowdenESPNxm/status/230141535767916545

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  7. Hmm says:

    Poor Cuddyer only an 85wRC+ on the road this year, must definitely be decline
    2011
    Home .287/.360/.470 132wRC+
    Road .280/.333/.450 117wRC+
    2012
    Home .269/.343/.511 120wRC+
    Road .250/.287/.457 85wRC+

    I wonder if something changed

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  8. d_i says:

    I think Morneau might also be somewhat interesting.

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  9. Spike says:

    Cliff Lee

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  10. GoToWarMissAgnes says:

    I’d actually really like to see a fangraphs article on Soriano’s defense. While always much maligned, UZR suggests that has always been a pretty good left fielder. Granted his range in UZR over the last six years is huge, but he’s only had one year in the negatives (and only slightly at that) and is now working on his third double digit run season in that span. What gives?

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    • Joel says:

      I think this a case of always failing the “eye” test. Any third rate High School player (like me) sees his little hop and thinks “I would have been running laps for that”. Maybe he covers enough ground, but it just “feels” like he is lost out there.

      Wow, after writing that it looks like something pulled straight off ESPN. Sorry Fan Graphs.

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      • Steve-P says:

        I haven’t seen Soriano hop this year.

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      • zipperz says:

        …that, and he is deathly afraid of the wall. Irregardless of what the metrics say, he looks ugly/ inept out there. He does have a rifle arm, I’ll give him that.

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      • Ruggiano's Pizza says:

        So “feelings” are a statistic now, huh? Well, I “feel” that you’re a know-nothing blowhole who doesn’t know anything about baseball. You’re probably someone who saw Soriano in a clip on Sportscenter five years ago and “feels” that he’s seen enough of his defense to spout nonsensical tripe.

        Being a “third rate High School player” qualifies you as an “expert” on defense, huh?

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    • whatever says:

      I’m with you GoToWarMissAgnes.

      “Although his 2.9 WAR is inflated by an extremely iffy +12 UZR, he’s having a productive year for the second time in three seasons.

      But it’s still not an $18 million season”

      Actually it is an 18 million dollar year. You guys make your own WAR formula. Stand behind it or change it. Unless you can offer me a reason beyond the eye test such that makes UZR work for Everyone except Soriano then I don’y wanna hear it. Infact if we are gonna use fWAR to validate contracts which is what this site and their writers do then Soriano has been worth the Cubs contract to this point. Infact if you use 5 million per WAR over the course of the cotract and take into account that he is making 17 million per year over the course of his contract he has produced just about exactly what one would expect a free agent to produce. B-R WAR disagrees (alot) but this is Fangraphs. It’s your WAR formula, NO EXCUSES without a real reason.

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      • Why fWAR S*cks says:

        My thoughts exactly… Soriano is on pace for 4.1 fWAR, which is MORE than $18 million worth of production.

        You might want to consider using a yearly statistic that doesn’t require 3 years of aggregate data (as Fangraphs readily admits), just a thought. I would prefer you to just link your player pages to baseball-reference though.

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      • BrocNessMonster says:

        @zippers what does irregardless mean?

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  11. Chomp says:

    Francoeur May not be a bad player for the Phillies to explore. A platoon of Francoeur and Schierholtz in RF would be quite productive for a not so terrible price tag. Schierholtz is due 1.3 million next season.

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  12. Brett W says:

    From: Someone who’s watched more 2012 Cubs games as anyone should
    Re: Soriano

    He’s probably playing his best LF ever. He can still throw, his routes are much better, the hops are rarely seen, and he’s doing everything he can out there this year. It’s not amazing, but it’s fine. The eye test says he’s been working hard on his D, and it’s showing.

    All that said, who would claim him? I don’t think he’s an upgrade for the Dodgers, and who else would risk that salary being dumped on them?

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    • Boubucarow says:

      Agree completely. He is a much better fielder this year. He no longer hops and the bonehead plays have completely disappeared. The Cubs have had absolutely no reason to replace him defensively outside of when his leg was bothering him or they just want to get Johnson or Campana in the game.

      The big question for any team who trades for him is will the effort keep up. WIth Coach McKay Soriano obviously has worked harder than he has in years on all aspects of his game. Will the good power hitter with solid to even above average LF defense maintain that effort when he switches organizations?

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      • KDL says:

        Soriano may be an odd cookie, and this may not apple…but since we’re dealing in intanglibles like “effort”…isn’t the standard trope: players going from shitty teams to teams in the pennant race try harder/play better? Along the same line of thinking what team could possibly be a worse place to land for a 36 yr-old than the gutted Cubs…so the trope would say almost any trade would be good for Soriano’s scrappiness (or whatever scrappiness is called for non-white players).

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  13. asclassicugg says:

    ÎïÒµ6Ôª£¬300ƽ·½£¬2Ôª.µç»°18616850982

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