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December 7, 2010

Wigginton won't return to O's, agrees to terms with Colorado Rockies

Infielder Ty Wigginton, the Orioles' lone All-Star last season, will not be returning to Baltimore.

He has agreed to terms with the Colorado Rockies on a two-year deal worth $7.5 million. The deal includes a club option for 2013.

Wigginton, 33, hit .248 with 22 homers and 76 RBIs in 154 games for the Orioles in 2010. The 76 RBIs led the Orioles and he finished third on the team with 52 extra-base hits and 241 total bases.

The Orioles had interest in bringing the versatile Wigginton back, but that became unlikely with the acquisition of third baseman Mark Reynolds from the Arizona Diamondbacks yesterday.

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Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 8:55 AM | | Comments (45)


Who plays 1b????????????
Does anyone else think we are seeing the beginnings of a major roster overhaul????

Are you kidding me ??!!!
This guy is a gamer and did all and more than he was expected to do !!
Not a good move Andy !!!

What this tells me is that the Orioles are are getting a first baseman. I believe that the Orioles offer will turn out to be significant to Konerko, even though he will turn it down to return to the White Sox. I bet it is 3 years with an option for a 4th at $15-$16MM per year. I bet if accounts are true Konerko is being offered 3yrs at $12.5MM per year from the Sox. He has no intention of leaving the Sox, even though he would probably like to see them match the O's offer, he will settle and they know it. So that leaves the Orioles in on the Carlos Pena and Adam LaRoche derbies. Hey I would love for Konerko to call the White Sox bluff and have him head to Baltimore, but I wouldn't wait around for him to make a decission. He has the offer but right now he is just using it as leverage against the White Sox.

see ya wiggy it's been nice

So we let Wigginton go to seek the greener pastures of Colorado at $7.5 million for 2 years, which would've drained the O's meager resources.

We "replace" him with Mark Reynolds, whose 2009 numbers - OPS, SLG, OBA - are only slighter better than Wigginton's, and whose strikeout numbers are a whole lot worse. Did I mention we traded David Hernandez AND Kam Mickolio for Reynolds?

What was that saying about arms and bats?

I think this really sucks.
Ty is a hard-nosed player, a throwback if you will, who is one of the handiest and most versatile players ever to wear the Oriole uniform.
His attitude is contageous and his example invaluable on a young team.

Why in the hell we dragged our feet on him just boggles my mind.
I mean we give up a hot young right-hander (Hernandez) to get a guy who hit 35 homers and then don't bring back a guy who hit 22 and drove in 76 we could have without giving up anyone.
35-22= 13. Brilliant, MacPhail.

MacPhail you better get busy and sign someone to play first base or the O's will be SOL.

Bye bye Wiggy was another Millar. Neither our worth having past their primes. Wait they never really had primes Even though Wiggy had a "Carear year". The not good enough for what we need to win.

Really people.? lamenting this loss?

thankfully he's off the board. Horribly defensively, and check his stats the last 4 months of the season.

He's got value but not as an everyday player

This is unbelieveable, seriously. This is a shot in the chest to the fans of the Baltimore Orioles. It clearly states to these fans that they do not care about what kind of players they present to the fans on the field. I am so over the Andy McFAIL regime, it's time to make a change Mr. Angelos. Seriously, as much criticisim you recieve, I will stand behind you 100% if you relieve Mr. McPhail asap!


Thanks for all your efforts Wiggy! You were fun to watch this past year and we wish you the best of luck in the Mile High city. $7.5M is a pretty nice deal for you.

How much of Wiggy's stats were achieved in the 1st half of the season? If I remember correctly after the All Star Game he didn't do a whole lot with the bat. If the O's get a 1st baseman he wouldn't have been a starter in 2011 anyway. He did not like being a bench player.

Good luck Wiggy!. Hopefully you will find more starting time with the Rockies than you would have with the O's.

Wiggington was your first baseman, should have been signed. His value as a utility guy would have been worth it even if they get a big bat 1B. All we have done so far is add many more strikeouts.

both konerko&pena said they will not come to baltimore

They've added Reynolds for 3B and lost Wigginton.

You can debate who has more offensive value, Reynolds or Wigginton. If you go by last year, Wigginton had a 96 OPS+, Reynolds 98.

Then...Wigginton ended up signing for less than what Reynolds will cost the Orioles. And in losing Wigginton, the braintrust got absolutely NOTHING back.

Throw in that the O's also had to give up David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio in these exchanges.

Also, if you add the 2011 salaries of the two relievers to what Wigginton will earn next year, it STILL doesn't amount to the total they'll have to pay Mark Reynolds.

I don't know, but these don't exactly sound to me like moves by a front office that's going to turn things around.

"The Orioles made a curious decision this summer in not trading Wigginton, as he was certain to finish the year as an unranked free agent. Rather than acquire some minor league depth or salary relief, they will instead receive no compensation for his departure."

This is not a small point. Andy should have been aware of Ty Wigginton's contractual status. He could have traded Wigginton at the deadline and gotten back, at the very least, a pretty good draft pick.

Stockpiling draft choices is a major way in which smart GMs are able to build good teams. The Red Sox are obsessively concerned with finding ways to pick up draft choices, and in fact have mastered the system. Sandwich picks, supplemental picks, whatever....they scoop 'em up. They're fanatical about it.

Just two days ago, they traded three kids for Adrian Gonzalez--who by any yardstick is one of the best hitters around. So who did Boston give up?

RHP Casey Kelly is projected to be a middle-to-top of the rotation guy. But last year he disappointed, with a 5.31 ERA and 1.61 WHIP in AA ball.

Anthony Rizzo, a 1B and former 6th round pick who hit 25 HRs in a season split between A and AA. Rizzo is highly thought of, but the fact that he hit just .260 (.334 OBP) and fanned 132 times in the mid-to-high minors was a bit of a concern.

Reymond Fuentes, a kid OF who hit just 5 HRs (.328 OBP, .377 SLG) but stole 42 bases...way down in A ball.

This is the package with which the Red Sox were able to pry Adrian Gonzalez from the Padres, and he will play 1B for Boston well into the foreseeable future.

In these days of free agents routinely drawing nine-figure contracts, a team has to find other ways to build a roster. You have to protect, and augment, your draft picks. Just another thing for a GM to be aware of.

Take note, you congratulate yourself on your shrewd maneuvering in landing Mark Reynolds.

I would warn people about overvaluing Wigginton. It seems that once the league's pitching got wise to his approach that Wigginton wasn't particularly good offensively. He is best suited as a utility man and role player, and the fact that he had to start most of last season is more indicative of the poor perforance of the Orioles offense than his exceptional quality. The guy was definitely useful and I never remember him leaving anything on the field, and I would have prefered the Orioles retain him, but this is not a devastating loss for the Os.

Come on, Al - let's at least get your facts straight. I'll assume you mean 2010 and not 2009 when you are talking comparitive numbers, because the 2009 numbers are not even close, and strongly are in Reynolds' favor. Reynolds' numbers across the board are higher than Wigginton's for OBP/SLG/OPS, both in 2010 and in his career. Also, Reynolds is six years younger than Wigginton. You don't like his strikeouts, fine. You don't like his .198 BA last year, fine. I don't much care for those things either. But let's not make out like Wigginton was Eddie Murray or even Doug DeCinces.

I'd have been happy to have Wiggy back as a super utility guy, but he's not someone I want to hand a starting spot to before spring training.

Sorry to lose Wiggy. He was a gamer, though had some flaws to his game. Hope you knock em dead in Colorado Wiggy

hey AL EAST you drinking? hernandez was ok but he wasnt a savior and mickolio wasnt really that good...they can be replaced..reynolds is an upgrade no matter what you think his average will go up....i do hope losing wiggy wont be that big of deal and we do get a better 1st baseman

The only reason I can see signing a .200 hitter with mediocre defensive skills is that he is only 27 years old and has a chance to improve.

At least this time the O's didn't go after someone over the hill as they have in the past.

Joey, You said:
"Stockpiling draft choices is a major way in which smart GMs are able to build good teams. The Red Sox are obsessively concerned with finding ways to pick up draft choices, and in fact have mastered the system. Sandwich picks, supplemental picks, whatever....they scoop 'em up. They're fanatical about it."

You cannot trade draft picks in MLB. You have no idea what you are talkng about.

Wiggy was a good roster piece, but letting his brittle over 30 self go is not a big deal at all! Please don't think of him as an All-Star, the process is flawed and he got in by default. That being said he's a solid player with no upside and limited skill as far as contact. There is no reason to not wish him well, but I'll take a 27-yr old slugging for a contract over a relatively washed up guy vying for one last deal. Wiggy is a part of nobody's future, just a hard truth, and toughness doesn't win you games, it just keeps you in a handful of them. O's fans will like Reynolds' grit just as much

This is disappointing. Wigginton is a great utility guy, a pinch hitter for the late innings and can fill in anywhere in the infield to help your day to day avoid injuries or help the team work through them. A player should be able to get 100 games in that capacity. We’ve got no shortstop or first baseman, now we don’t even have someone who could fill in. Not to mention he was such an intense and dedicated player, he brings something to a team that goes beyond stats. Sure his “career year,” was little more than average for most players, but you don’t need a utility guy to win the World Series, you need a utility guy to pick up a bat and a glove on occasion and often go unnoticed. Wigginton filled that role great for the team. MacPhail needs to know that his job is very much on the line here.

Some of these comments are ridiculous. Wiggington looked good because he played for the Orioles. Sorry to see him go but its not a huge loss. He got a 2 year deal from the Rockies. Good for him. Moving on....

Oh no, we lost a benchwarmer. How sad is that, the best offensive player on the O's in 2010 is actually a benchwarmer on any other team. We didn't need to keep him. He is replaceable. Who cares if he is a "gamer". We need to compete with Boston and New York, not Pittsburgh.

See ya wiggi, won't miss you. You are a "token" all-star and wouldn't have been one for any other team.

I think the frustration over years of losing has addled some of you guys' brains...

When your "career" year is .248/22/76, and when most of those numbers are stockpiled over a 2 month period, with little to show for the rest of the season, and when those numbers are achieved at age 33, well, let's just say that even though I like Wiggy as a (utility) player, his loss is nothing to pine over...unless of course, you are a devoted Kool Aid spitter who will get up in arms over any and everything concerning the Orioles...

That's right Peter, go cheap and let the good players go elsewhere. The O's are destined to be a under .500 club until you part with some of your money to keep the players the O's need and to buy the other ones that are needed by the team.

No loss whatsoever. If it wasn't for his torrid April and May last season, he would have been lucky to bat .200. The Orioles are far better off with Reynolds, simply for his power numbers. This changes nothing in the O's approach, and it shouldn't.

A note on Reynolds: his career OBP is .334. Strikeouts don't count for more than any other kind of out. Now, as for his fielding...

Wiggy stunk. Not a loss.

"hey AL EAST you drinking?"


I'm NOT drinking orange kool-aid, john. I'm painfully sober in looking at the actions of the O's front office as they resort to their usual low-ball, bargain-bin tactics and fail to tap into the MASN piggy-bank to "buy bats".

I can only hope that Reynolds is an upgrade, and that his 2010 numbers are not a harbinger for 2011 (a la Atkins).

On many other clubs losing Wiggy would not be that big of a deal, but he was the lone O's All-Star in 2010, which says more about the lack of quality play from the other O's prior to the All-Star break than it does about Wiggy's talent. Besides he was signed for a pretty low price by Colorado, which the O's could've easily matched, and I am not optimistic that the O's will sign a legitimate 1st baseman in his absence.

"hernandez was ok but he wasnt a savior and mickolio wasnt really that good...they can be replaced."

Mickolio didn't seem to be working out, but Hernandez was more than "ok". Maybe he CAN be replaced, maybe not, but WILL he be? We haven't even resigned or replaced Koji yet.

Plus, Hernandez was a "grown" arm. MacPhail has traded away 2 arms and bought 0 bats thus far. Did he leave the checkbook at home?

We don't buy the V-Mart, A-Dunn bats, we let Wiggy - mediocre though he may be - walk away for a few dollars, but we trade away 2 pitchers, one with a promising future (yes, that would be Hernandez), for a "bat?" (question mark to be removed only after significant improvement in 2011 is seen over his 2010 season).

Are you optimistic we are going to buy any bats this off-season, or that we will replenish the bullpen, or that we will sign a veteran starter who not give up as many home runs as Mark Reynolds will hit this year (a la Millwood)?

I wish I were drinking.

Wiggy in his 1st year was awful! He complained about his playing time and said if he more ABs, he would hit X number of HRs. He lost weight in his final year of the deal and was awesome for 2 months, but did zip after that. Nothing against Wiggy, but I am glad he's gone!

Good for him! The Rockies are a legit playoff contender and the O's are on the slow track to another last place finish.

Losing Ty Wigginton is not a huge loss unless you don't replace him with someone as good or better. Will the Orioles do that? We'll see.

That's the problem. This club's FO has been so bad that we fans have to cling to mediocre/hasbeen journeymen, as that is all we have been fed these past few years.

Wiggy, post-"B12" Miggy, Kevin Millar, Kevin Millwood, Steve Trachsel, Aubrey Huff, Garrett Atkins, etc.

Now we're supposed to get excited about trading for a 3rd baseman whose less-than-stellar offensive numbers in 2010 we fans are supposed to regard as an aberration. Okaaaay, deja vu all over again.

The upside in all of this is the hiring of Buck Showalter and in the potential of the farm-raised pitchers, but if we start trading them away - as we have already with Hernandez and Mickolio - then we may end up back to square one.

We were told that trading away George Sherrill was no huge loss, yet we certainly had trouble finding a closer last year. Then we finally found one in Koji, but now his return is uncertain.

You might want to hold off on that "We won't miss you, Wiggy" party until you find out how well this FO does in replacing him and the other "replaceable" guys the O's lose this off-season.

This has been seen in the past. Huff goes away and we have Adkins who did not produce. I have no problem with Reynolds but they should have kept Wigginton.

Ty, you did the right thing and leave. I don't blame you. I would hit the ground running if I had the chance too. The Orioles are losers and will remain losers until PA sells the team. Mac Failure is a joke and a discrase .I would have never given up a legitimate no3-4 starter in Hernandez and another player for what we got in Mark Reynolds. He reminds me of who we dumped after 60 games last year. Pathetic!!Playoffs? Playoffs! Playoffs?

Is there something in the Baltimore water supply causing mass depression? Taking a small-market cellar-dwelling franchise owned by a gillionaire who's personality has made him a pariah among his peers and turning it into a contender isn't a 2 or 3-year wand wave.

This is the first Gen. Mgr. with anything like the authority to do what's right for the franchise, and he has said from the get-go that it involves a restructing of the entire warehouse, not just 3rd base.

Wiggy was a good guy, a likeable guy, but the fact that his HR/RBI numbers were at the top of the team says more about how weak the team was than about how productive he was. God bless him, and best of luck in Colorado.

The changes that have been made so far are all in the right direction, including McFail and Showalter, and even the coaching turnover, but the one 800- pound gorilla in the room is Angelos' failure to develop even the shadow of a friendly relationship with ANYONE in the gillionaire's club of MLB owners.

So Peter, do something for Baltimore! Sell a majority interest to Cal's cadre and keep a small minority share if you must. Heaven knows you don't need to make a profit. You don't need the money, and the other owners will never buy you a drink. Find friends and sycophants somewhere else!

CSB Jack,

You're right; I meant their 2010 numbers. I'm not saying Wiggy was all that, but so far we've added only one player - Mark Reynolds, who has both pluses and minuses - and let several players go who may be replaceable but have yet to be replaced.

My comment had more to do with my lack of confidence that the O's FO will step up and make necessary, long-overdue deals to significantly improve the team than any enthusiasm I may have for Wiggy as anything other than a utility player.

Thanks Doug for calling "Joey" out on that, that was easily the most painful comment I read today (definitely not the most painful news unfortunately). As far as this off season is concerned I'd be happy with Webb, Bartlett and either Pena / LaRoche + bullpen. We're going to get hosed or dissapointed in any trade of significance McFail does, though I don't dislike the Reynolds trade. With that lineup we should at least scare some people on paper before leading the league in stranded runners.

Doug M said
You have no idea what you are talkng about.

Dear Doug M,

MacPhail, knowing Wigginton would be a free agent at season's end, could have traded him for a pretty good prospect around the July deadline. He didn't. He should have known that Wigginton would be a pretty good bet to be an unranked free agent (as opposed to a Type A or Type B) and as such would bring no draft picks if signed elsewhere. If a player is not tendered a contract offer by the tender deadline, the player becomes a non-tender free agent. Bottom line: MacPhail could have gotten something back for him. Instead he got nothing. As stated, smart teams stockpile draft choices by wise use of the system. I am sorry you misunderstood me. Have a nice day.

Interesting that Wiggy signed with the Rockies who just extended Melvin Mora's contract by 2 years.

Wonder where Ty will play if Mora's at 3rd.

Jeff Z's reply: Wigginton signed with the Rockies. Mora signed with the D'Backs after they traded Reynolds to O's.

Anybody got the underlying stats on Reynolds? If he's one of those guys you can consistently get out when you really need to then the stats are just fluff. Right now all I see is a bunch of strikeouts and some ugly batting averages which have been heading south.

I don't feel like looking Wiggys splits up but it seems to me he had a little over 2 good months and was very average the rest of the way.Wiggy grabbed a bird in the hand.understandable.

FWIW, Reynolds' average from 2008-2010:

35 HR, 95 RBI, 14 SB, 25 2B, 9 GIDP

Wigginton's average from 2008-2010:

19 HR, 58 RBI, 2 SB, 23 2B, 16 GIDP

You can't ground into a double play when you strike out.

Reynolds hit only .198 last year, but was bothered by a bunch of minor injuries that he played through anyway. He hit .239 in 2008, .260 in 2009 and .279 in 2007.

Over the last three years, Adam Dunn, who is a lousy 1B (Reynolds plays a decent 3B and a better 1B than Dunn), hit .243, .267 and .260, struck out almost as much as Reynolds, has no speed anymore (2 SB in 3 years) and averaged 4 HR more than Reynolds. Yes, we could have had Dunn for $ and still have Hernandez, but Dunn is also four years older. If for some reason, Josh Bell blossoms into a real player, Reynolds can move across the diamond, where Dunn wouldn't even DH. I like the trade...A LOT. Yes, there will be many days when Reynolds strikes out with men on base...and there will be 5-10 games during the course of the year he wins practically all by himself.


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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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