Free Agent Pass or Play: Nate McLouth – Phillies Nation

Free Agent Pass or Play: Nate McLouth day until free agency begins, we at Phillies Nation will take a look at a player who will become a free agent five days after the World Series’ conclusion. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with outfielder Nate McLouthAnd a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink above.


When I think of Nate McLouth, he will forever be linked to his wonderful breakout 2007 campaign which led me to a fantasy baseball title, hitting 13 HR and stealing 22 bases. 2008 brought improvements to all three triple-slash categories (.276/.356/.497) with 26 HR and 23 steals. Midway through the 2009 campaign, McLouth was traded to the Braves. Through injuries and the emergence of Jason Heyward, McLouth was reduced to the playing time of a part-time player. McLouth hit just .229/.335/.364 as a Brave before becoming a free agent after the 2011 season.

McLouth signed a one-year pact to return to the Pirates for 2012. McLouth would get off to a rough start, hitting just .140/.210/.175 before being traded to the in-contention Baltimore Orioles. McLouth would flourish in Baltimore, hitting 7 homers and stealing 12 bags in 236 PA after the trade. McLouth would re-up with the Orioles for 2013 on a one-year, $2 million deal, one of the better bargains of the offseason, and hit .258/.329/.399 with 12 HR and 30 steals in 37 chances. Throughout his career, McLouth has been a negative defender, ranking 459 out of 494 outfielders in UZR from 2007 through 2013.


McLouth hits lefty and succeeds, like most lefties, against righties. 81 out of his 100 career homers are against righties and his platoon split is about 40 points in both batting average and on-base percentage. Because of his lack of success against lefties, he would compound the lefty-heavy batting order the Phillies currently have. For the right price, he would be an excellent pinch-hitting, pinch-running bench option.


According to the awesome FanGraphs crowd-sourcing project, McLouth is likely in line for somewhere between $5-6 million per year for between two and three years.


McLouth would absolutely fit into the Phillies budget for 2014 and will likely be a value play for whichever team does sign him. According to FanGraphs, McLouth’s play was worth about $12.6 million last year and, on a $5 million AAV deal, he would only need to be worth about one win to be worth a team’s while to sign.

Verdict: Pass

This verdict may surprise you. I love McLouth as a value pick up at $5 or even $6 million a year, however, I just don’t see how he improves the Phillies long term. $5 million to McLouth paired with a savings by avoiding another moderately paid free agent could get you a better overall player which can help long term.



  1. Bart Shart

    October 24, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    PASS. McLouth is injury and slump prone. Plus he is not a good defensive outfielder and he is no spring chicken. In a nutshell, he is not worth the money, unless you are talking about $2 million or less. And then, just a “maybe.”

  2. George

    October 24, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    Phils’ current biggest problem areas: bad outfield defense, can’t hit lefties. McLouth’s biggest problem areas: outfield defense, can’t hit lefties.

    Adding him would be like buying a spare flat tire or replacing a burned out lightbuld with another burned out lightbulb.

    • Ryne Duren

      October 26, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      George that was a perfect analogy. And made me smile too!

      • Ryne Duren

        October 26, 2013 at 12:26 pm

        Oh yea, I forgot. PASS

  3. Lefty

    October 24, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    I’ll never forgive McLouth for that walk off in 2010. I guess it’s Jose Contreras I should be mad at. But one way or the other- Pass

  4. Hogey's Role

    October 24, 2013 at 10:38 pm


  5. Brooks

    October 25, 2013 at 6:29 am

    Definite yes.
    I dont think it will take more than 3 million to sign him. He is not a power hitter yet can hit doubles. He is only 31 and still has some speed.
    Yes, his defense is right up there with Pat the Bat and might be close to Raul but who else do the Phils have on the bench right now that might be a suitable fill in?
    We don’t have a complete season from any of our supposed starters yet – Revere, Brown or Ruf – I’d keep Ceasar (I liked what I saw) and sign McClouth.
    Bonus for 4 mill and under.
    This guy was an AS in 08 and a GG winner (now that is not saying much, we watched as Bobby Abreau won a GG in right field…)
    Has some post season exposure as a plus.

    • Ryne Duren

      October 26, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      Brooks please. you’re right he WAS an all star. 8 years ago for crying out loud. If you liked what you saw in Hernandez then why would you sign this guy? Ceasar will most likely give you better ops and his defense will improve also with experience. Hell he’s already a better outfielder than McClouth. And has hardly any experience out there.

  6. captscully

    October 25, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    I’d take my chances with Ruf first. Just what we need, another iffy hitting, bad fielding, injury prone OF. Don’t we already have our quota for this decade? PASS

    • Ryne Duren

      October 26, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      There ya go captscully! Couldn’t have said it better myself!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Phillies Nation has been bringing Phillies fans together since 2004 with non-stop news, analysis, trade rumors, trips, t-shirts, and other fun stuff!

Browse the Archives

Browse by Category

Copyright Phillies Nation, LLC 2004-2016
Not Affiliated with Major League Baseball or the Philadelphia Phillies

To Top