21 December 2009

Could the Rangers Use Luke Scott?

With Mike Lowell's need for surgery, the Rangers' plans on adding a power bat at the DH slot has been reset. Current options in the market would include players like Vlad Guerrero, Jim Thome, and Jermaine Dye (who they were attached to before the Ramirez-Lowell talks). All three of these players could look to see a one year contract at about 6 to 7MM with potential incentive clauses. None of them are competent in the field any longer and pose health risks.

Here is a tally of their play last year vs what Bill James thinks they are capable of this year:
Guerrero 295/334/460 vs 305/369/508
Dye 250/340/453 vs 261/333/480
Thome 249/366/481 vs 245/374/488

All three look to see around 450 plate appearances. That winds up being production around 1.5 WAR or ~6.5MM, which makes sense as to what they may be able to receive in free agency.

A potential alternative would be a player like Luke Scott. More on Scott being an option after the jump.

Scott is a capable left fielder, he managed to rate as average before being pushed out of the role by the plus defense of Felix Pie and then by the hope attached to Nolan Reimold's ability to learn how to play the outfield. This ability to play in the field gives Scott more flexibility than the other three options and allows for some roster juggling and giving some time off to guys in the field. As a left fielder his worth is around 2 WAR. As a DH, he is worth around 1.5 WAR. So he rates well in comparison to the other hitters.

Last Year vs James' Predictions for this year:
Scott 258/340/488 vs 259/342/486

The benefit of dealing for Scott is that the Rangers would not only own control of him for two more seasons, he will be paid somewhere between 4.5 and 5 MM. This is a savings of 1.5MM. More so if you include his ability to play the field.

What would be fair compensation?

I would imagine what would make most sense to the Rangers and the Orioles would be to deal Scott for Chris Davis. The Rangers are deep in potential 1B players and have a stud in Justin Smoak. Davis has little place on this team. He was having great difficulty swinging the bat last year and strikes out often. He is a high upside prospect who probably will not achieve his potential due to issues with contact rate. The fluctuation in his performance means that a second player should be added to the deal. This would most likely be two grade C+ prospects or three grade C guys.

Proposed trades:
Luke Scott for Chris Davis, Tim Murphy, and Kennil Gomez.

Why would the Orioles want to do this?
Chris Davis provides them with a young, cheap, controlled bat to play first and try to wring long term value there. It enables the Orioles to let Brandon Snyder put more time in at AAA and for the team to use the DH slot to get Pie and Reimold in the same lineup as well as provide a refuge for Matt Wieters to log at bats when he is not catching. Long term, it opens up the possibility for a lefty-righty platoon at first with Snyder and Davis as Snyder pushes his way up.

Tim Murphy adds another polished upper round draft pick arm to the organization. He was a third round pick in 2008 and has struggled in the relatively pitching friendly California league. A switch from the rotation to the pen may show up his ability to be a situational lefty. Kennil Gomez also struggled in the California league, but he shows a much higher potential. He averaged nearly a strikeout an inning, but also exhibited some wildness. Both are long shots at making any significant effect in the Majors.

Why do the Rangers do it?
They are stock with 1B and realy do not need Davis' bat nor are they interested in giving him at bats with the AL West tightening up. The two pitchers mentioned are pretty low in their organization. They have several of more interest to them. This should be a rather easy deal to pull off.


Nick J Faleris said...

I wonder if Texas still thinks Davis has a chance to play 3B?

Jon Shepherd said...

Maybe, I just think that might be more long term than they are thinking with Young there and the West race so tight. Maybe they are hoping someone else thinks he can play third.