Minor Moves: Podsednik to K.C., Greene to Texas

Kansas City Royals signed OF Scott Podsednik to a one-year, $1.75 million contract with an option for the 2011 season.

Score one for Dayton Moore in a game of one-upmanship (one-downmanship?) between the Royals GM and his N.L. doppelganger in Queens.

Thirty-four years old in March, Podsednik posted a combined 76 wRC+ between 2006 and 2008, missing significant time in both ’07 (groin, rib cage) and ’08 (fractured lefty pinky finger). Back with the White Sox in 2009 after a one-year stint with the Rockies, Podsednik stayed healthy and hit .304/.353/.412 with a 103 wRC+ in 587 plate appearances. The lefty batter swiped 30 bases to boot.

Sounds good, right? Well, there are several drawbacks. Scotty Pods’ line was fueled by a .342 BABIP, well north of his .324 expected batting average on balls in play (xBABIP) and his career .321 BABIP. If you take some air out of that batting average, Podsednik’s line loses its luster. CHONE projects him to bat .271/.333/.367 with an 89 wRC+ in 2010. ZiPS throws out a .279/.336/.384 triple-slash, and the fans are even more pessimistic (.270/.323/.345, 83 wRC+).

Also, those 30 steals don’t sound quite as impressive when you consider that Podsednik was caught red-handed 13 times. With a 70 percent success rate, Podsednik actually cost the White Sox a couple of runs. According to Baseball Prospectus’ Equivalent Stolen Base Runs metric, Podsednik’s stealing was worth -2.09 runs in 2009. He rated positively in 2008 (+0.93), but he was in the negatives in 2007 (-0.21) and 2006 (-1.9) as well. Those CS still matter in fantasy, as he’s costing you possible runs scored.

Overall, I’m just left wondering, “what’s the point?” The cash isn’t exorbitant and the in-house alternatives aren’t breath-taking, but Podsednik is not a clear upgrade on, say, Mitch Maier (projected by CHONE for .262/.326/.368 line and an 87 wRC+).

Why spend an additional two million bucks and not reap any reward from the expenditure? It’s like driving a Ford Pinto to a car dealership and then buying an AMC Pacer with the same features but a higher payment. You’re still going to get left in the dust. Now, it’s just going to cost more.

Texas Rangers signed INF Khalil Greene to a one-year, $750,000 contract.

From 2004 to 2007, Greene’s low on-base, high-slugging offensive profile made him a slightly above-average hitter. His wRC+ over that time period was 105. However, Greene’s production plummeted in 2008 (66 wRC+), as his power output dipped and his strikeout rate spiked. San Diego’s 2002 first-rounder broke his left hand in late July of ’08 after punching a wall, missing the rest of the season. The Padres traded him to the Cardinals for relievers Luke Gregerson and Mark Worrell that December.

Greene played sparsely for St. Louis, serving multiple DL stints while getting treatment for social anxiety disorder. In 193 PA, his wRC+ was 65. With Texas, the 30 year-old will serve as a utility man: Greene clearly won’t challenge Elvis Andrus or Ian Kinsler for up-the-middle playing time, and Michael Young is locked in at third base. It’s surprising that Greene chose a team that presents him with little opportunity for moving into a significant role. His fantasy value is basically zilch.




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A recent graduate of Duquesne University, David Golebiewski is a contributing writer for Fangraphs, The Pittsburgh Sports Report and Baseball Analytics. His work for Inside Edge Scouting Services has appeared on ESPN.com and Yahoo.com, and he was a fantasy baseball columnist for Rotoworld from 2009-2010. He recently contributed an article on Mike Stanton's slugging to The Hardball Times Annual 2012. Contact David at david.golebiewski@gmail.com and check out his work at Journalist For Hire.


2 Responses to “Minor Moves: Podsednik to K.C., Greene to Texas”

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  1. Andy S says:

    With all due respect, this is the fantasy column, but it seems like you just took this as an opportunity to be the umpteenth sabermetric blogger to complain about the KC deal.

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