Schierholtz Addition Redundant – Phillies Nation

Schierholtz Addition Redundant

Schierholtz is a fine trade throw-in but the Phillies already have two other lefty, platoon caliber outfielders. Photo: AP

At age 28, Nate Schierholtz is about as complete of a Major League player as he will likely become. Very few players in the post-PED era improve by much into their thirties and the skill sets that do improve are power and plate discipline. Schierholtz has average plate discipline (6.1% career walk rate v. 16.7% career strikeout rate) but his 6’1″, 205 lbs frame may provide as much power as it can for his swing at this point. Schierholtz, right now, is by no means a bad player but is not quite the throw-in Ben Francisco was in the Cliff Lee trade and may not even possess the level of potential Francisco had. Add to this that Dom Brown is left-handed, four years younger, and that Laynce Nix is a similar power with less plate discipline but significantly more power, and Schierholtz enters a team where he is the fifth outfield option.

If cost control or cost certainty is a factor, the Phillies won big in the Pence trade. In addition to the prospects they received, Schierholtz is only making $1.3 million this year according to Baseball Reference and has two years of arbitration eligibility. And comparing Schierholtz and Pence’s production for 2012 (0.7 WAR v. 1.1 WAR), it is surprisingly close, especially considering the $9.1 million difference. In this regard, it was a shrewd move. Yet, Schierholtz is not a player that projects or has been on a pattern of continual improvement that could address a corner outfield solution. His role likely will be that of a platoon outfielder, platooning with some combination of Michael Martinez and John Mayberry Jr., a role that was being filled admirably by Juan Pierre and could be filled by Nix. Because of this, I would have taken my chances on a prospect because the Phillies are not winning this year and Schierholtz, barring a major improvement for 2013, is not a starting Major League outfielder.

Is it fair we judge the Schierholtz addition against the existence of Nix and Pierre? Is a mistake of not trading Nix or Pierre, or an overpay in years for Nix perhaps, a fair reason to deny a shot for Schierholtz to develop any more that he may? At 28, Schierholtz seems to have at least three more years to grow to produce what Nix currently produces, but in a straight platoon, it is arguable that Nix would be able to out-produce Schierholtz. Schierholtz actually has a pretty even split in roughly 1/5 of the ABs as a lefty v. lefties (.285/.318/.398 as lefty v. lefties, .266/.320/.416 as lefty v. righties) and is under control for two more years, versus Nix’s horrible line against lefties (.183/.236/.277) and the fact that he is only on the team for one more year at roughly the same price. Schierholtz is by far the more valuable piece to have on the team, but did the Phillies make the right move including him in the trade when they already have a pair of capable lefty platoon outfielders in Nix and Pierre and a third lefty they want to have every day at bats?

At the time of the first Lee trade, Francisco already had a 15 HR, 1.7 WAR season under his belt and was insurance for an injured Raul Ibanez. Francisco was not projected to become a big star, but filled a role for three playoff teams. In a team currently full of lefty platoon bats, and with the playoffs nowhere in sight, the addition of Schierholtz is particularly confusing. Schierholtz has not had a season as productive as Francisco’s 2008, but has had two seasons as good as Francisco’s next best season 2009. I would have liked this trade a lot more if the Phillies had found a taker for Nix or Pierre, but because they did not, the Phillies now have four lefty outfielders, and none definitively a starter at either corner because of current ability. Schierholtz is a nice piece on a contending team’s bench, but I would have taken a risk on a prospect instead of including a redundancy.

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  1. psujoe

    August 4, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Schierholtz is OF #4. Not doing well this year against lefties, but he’s a lifetime .285 hitter whith a .318 OBP. I think they need to give Schierholts a chance because he’s really good in the field. Of course they need a big righty bat and that supercedes everything.

  2. Kale

    August 4, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    One could make a similar argument about Chooch–before 2012!
    That he reached his peak… but he surprised everyone.

    Let’s remember that Chooch is 33 years old.

    Jayson Werth also came into his own later in his career.

    One thing I like about Schierholtz: he’s got fire within.

  3. Bruce

    August 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    Mr. Riccaboni, I get the distinct impression from you that Schierholtz will received limited playing time for the remainder of the season. However, the manager must have a different idea about that (chuckles).

    He has used him as pinch hitter and in the field in every game since he arrived. He obviously has value as a defensive fielder and has contributed some offense. With Victorino and Pence gone, Charlie Manuel has to juggle players for OF positions and created an opening for playing time (platoon) with Schierholtz. If he gets a hot bat, you can bet Schierholtz will receive additional time in the field.

  4. TheDipsy

    August 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Well, Pierre will be gone next year, or any day, so perhaps not so much.

    The Dipsy

  5. Chuck A.

    August 4, 2012 at 5:37 pm


  6. Jeff Dowder

    August 4, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    What’s the magic number, anyway?

  7. Chuck A.

    August 4, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Phillies have 2 teams right above them in the Wild Card…MIA and MIL (1.5 GB). Would love for them to pass them and then NYM (4.5 GB). Let’s at least make this somewhat respectable.

  8. bacardipr

    August 4, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Pierre will be gone next year and Mayberry is still questionable. I do agree he is most likely 4th OF;er material. But Rube likes to gives these guys chances in hope they’ll turn into something bigger. No one really knows perhaps Rube did seek a prospect but was turned down.

  9. Brooks

    August 4, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    Here, I saw it first hand and wanted to report to everybody (since it is news to me) – Down Town D Brown had a 2 out base hit with a runner in scoring position tonight. Fabulous!

  10. George

    August 5, 2012 at 8:44 am

    This article is really a pretty silly complaint. If you trade two outfielders, it’s pretty much a given that you’ll need to try various combinations to decide who is best qualified to fill those positions. That can’t be done without multiple options. Also, it’s not exactly redundant when one of your candidates (Pierre) has no contract beyond this season, and others are questionable. If Schierholtz proves effective, then some other player will be the redundant one. If Nix gets re-injured or Brown needs more time to develop, it’s also not a redundancy. If a player gets traded, it’s not a redundancy; in fact, a major league player such as Schierholtz might be worth more to another team than the prospect you haven’t even been able to name.

  11. Ian Riccaboni

    August 5, 2012 at 8:52 am

    @Bacardi – fair point indeed, we don’t know if he sought a prospect. If I were him, I would have undoubtedly pressed harder though. The Giants seemed to be in a position of vulnerability with Victorino and Ramirez headed to LA. I think they might have been able to get, within reason, their choice of a number of players. I would have liked to see them attempt to get Peguero who is 24 and just about Major League ready. Projects as a fourth outfielder as well but he’s is the kind of guy I’d rather chance playing time to in hopes that he develops into something.

  12. Andrew from Waldorf

    August 5, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    How great is it to leave for a week?
    And come back here to read endless columns about Wilson Valdez, Joe Blanton, Jamie Moyer?

    But without Ryan Howard ????????????

    You couldnt even field a team.

    Whatever put them 20 games out.
    It certainly wasnt him

    Maybe he can re-injure himself so we can all sit here like Donald M. Wheeler and wait for a return.

    25,000,000.00$ till 2016?

    Its not like teams pitch around to him in late innings.
    Wait they do.

    At least after the fire sale he is still here.
    Extend him and Rollins if possible.

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