January 20, 2005

Pinch me! Phils nab AL-best PH

Switch-hitting veteran Jose Offerman agreed to a minor league contract with the Phillies yesterday. His .414 BA as a PH lead the American League last season.

Offerman was used primarily as a DH and PH with Minnesota, hitting .256 with a .363 OBP and .395 SLG. and is expected to compete for a bench job.

The Phillies have officially gone nuts-o with bench players this winter, resigning Placido Polanco and already having Tomas Perez in place for next season.

The Phils also signed utility infielder Chris Gomez in the Rule 5 draft, but in kindness, sold him back to the Orioles for even money. Shane Victorino is on the big league roster, also from Rule 5, and will be in camp to compete for a bench spot. The center fielder has to stay with Philadelphia all season or be offered back to Los Angeles. And Danny Sandoval, an infielder who signed as a minor league free agent in November, will also be in camp come spring. Sandoval can hit for average, batting .318 with 8 HR with Tulsa last season and has hit well in Venezuela this winter. And there are others ...

BPF Take
So what does this mean, other than Ed Wade suddenly has a hard-on for bench players?

Offerman hasn't been a shortstop since 1996. He's seen limited action at first, second, and outfield since then, and very little lately. For all intents and purposes, he's a pinch hitter.

His presence will mean less pinch-hit opportunities for other players, namely Tomas Perez, should he win a spot. Perez didn't get on base enough last year, and he wasn't effective as a pinch hitter (.179 BA; .207 OBP; .286 SLG) Plus, he's not hitting well in Venezuelan winter ball. I like Tomas Perez because of his odds-defying rise to the majors, but I think he's about out of gas to stay effective at this level. Plus, Polanco is now the team's $4.6 million utility numero uno and may also pinch hit.

Jason Michaels, the leading pinch hitter behind Ricky Ledee last season, will be starting more games in CF with a part-time job in left. In pinch opportunities, Michaels had a line of .265 BA, .359 OBP, .265 SLG.

Right off, I'd take Offerman's plate discipline over Perez. I threw Jason Michaels into the mix. These are season stats:

Michaels: .274 BA .364 OBP .415 SLG
Perez: .216 BA .257 OBP .415 SLG
Offerman: .256 BA .363 OBP .395 SLG

Michaels: .268 GPA / .140 ISO / 46 RC
Perez: .218 GPA / .199 ISO / 21 RC
Offerman: .262 GPA / .140 ISO / 24 RC

I don't put much stock into pinch stats, but that's how Offerman will be best used. I'd look for Offerman to stay on and get his cuts.

And that, my friends, is a hell of a lot of digital ink for Jose Offerman.

Around the World Wide Web
A Google search for "gross productive average" brings up Michael Berquist's "A Citizen's Blog" at the top of the list. Right below it, a report on Russia's gross domestic product.


At 10:14 AM, Blogger el123chico said...

i think you wrote more about jose (christo) offerman than you did on ryan howard.

jose could always hit, but this is the NL where your pinch hitters have to double as utility players. tomas can play (at least) 3 infield positions, michaels can play anywhere in the outfield. where are you going to trust jose offerman?

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Jason Weitzel said...

I don't necessarily believe pinch hitters should also be expected to be versatile utility players. Lenny Harris has been in the National League since 1988 and hasn't had a regular position his entire career.

Polanco and Perez offer plenty of infield flexibility as it is, and if Offerman would play anywhere, he'd play first, but that's not going to happen.

And with that, I'm not writing another word about minor league free agent Jose Offerman.

At 8:42 PM, Blogger mark said...

"His .414 BA as a PH lead the American League last season."

Yeah, but that .414 BA was in a mere 29 AB. Small sample size, anyone?

At 7:25 AM, Blogger Jason Weitzel said...

Thanks for the note, Mark. We all read the same AP story, and I was aware it was only 29 AB. He's not Barry Bonds or anything, just a guy they brought in to bulster the bench. He took advantage of his limited chances is really the only thing you can say about it ...


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