It’s no secret the Phils are going to need to add a right-handed outfielder to try and replace some of Jayson Werth’s production. The Phillies already have Ben Francisco, and this article from yesterday mentions as possible additions Jeff Francoeur, Matt Diaz, Scott Hairston, Juan Rivera and Josh Willingham. Matt Diaz won’t be with the Phils this year, cause he just signed with the Pirates, but Jeff Francoeur rumors abound and the same names keep on coming up.
Today’s point is that Josh Willingham is a lot better hitter than the rest of those guys.
Here’s the ’11 age, career numbers and OPS for each of the players mentioned above as well as what they’ve done in the last three years:
|’11 Age||Career||OPS||Last 3
It’s really not very close. Diaz is the only guy on the list who is really close to Willingham. And Diaz can’t hit right-handed pitching and is on the Pirates. Here’s what the career splits against righties and lefties look like for those guys:
|vs R||OPS||vs L||OPS|
Willingham has the best numbers of those six players against both righties and lefties. All of the other guys on the list have a career on-base percentage against righties that’s under .330. If the question is who is the player besides Willingham on that list who is better than Francisco, I think a reasonable answer is nobody. At least nobody is enough of an improvement to be worth investing in. Rivera has been better over his career, but I don’t think you would have enough confidence that he’s going to be significantly better in 2011 to put both of them on the team next year.
The problem of course, is that Willingham isn’t a free agent. The Phils would have to trade for him to get him from the Nationals and he is due to become a free agent after the end of the 2011 season. So, better or not, I am going to be surprised if Willingham winds up with the Phils.
Finally, the list of players the Phillies are considering is surely larger than the five (now four) non-Phillies listed above. A bunch of right-handed bats remain available, including Jose Guillen, Bill Hall, Andruw Jones, Austin Kearns and Magglio Ordonez. Some people think the Padres might be persuaded to trade Ryan Ludwick. This article suggests that Aaron Rowand has “become a strong consideration” off of three bad years in a row and a terrible 2010 in which he on-based .281. A lot of those guys bring some baggage with them, like being about to be suspended for a long time or having not been good since 2008, or just have a strong need to be unconsidered really soon, but they’re out there.
And that’s good news for the Phillies. Cause the guys people are speculating they might have interest in aren’t that exciting, except for the one they’re probably not going to be able to get.