The Pros and Cons of Rich Aurilia

Open Thread: Win $1,000,000 (not from us)
The myth of replacing a player's production

As the Yankees sit around twiddling their thumbs while running out the clock on the offseason, the only thing left for them to do is fill out the edges of their roster with fringy players on minor league contracts. One such player let it be known that he’d like to secure one of those contracts, as Rich Aurilia announced to the world that he’d like to keep his career alive with either the Mets or Yankees. He grew up in Brooklyn, had his number retired by my old little league, and starred at St. John’s before turning pro, so it only makes sense that the 38-year-old wants to ride into the sunset while playing near home. Unfortunately for Aurilia, he makes no sense for the Bombers.

Essentially a league average player for most of his career, Aurilia enjoyed a great … um … career year back in 2001, whacking a career high 37 homers with a career high 146 OPS+. His next highest totals are 23 and 115, respectively, so make of it what you will. HowEVA, over the last three years, during which the Giants paid him a grand total of $9M, Aurilia compiled a .261-.310-.376 batting line with a .308 wOBA in close to 1,000 plate appearances. Ramiro Pena hit .287-.317-.383 with a .312 wOBA for the Yanks last year, which puts Aurilia’s sucktitude in perspective. He was so bad in 2009 (.213-.256-.279) that the team had to make up injuries to get him on the disabled list and off the roster. “Regardless of what the transactions said, I was healthy,” said Aurilia, who hit the DL twice in the second half for vaguely described foot issues.

As if it’s bad enough that he can’t hit anymore, Aurilia doesn’t even provide much versatility these days either. Once a legit utility infielder, he’s been relegated to mostly first and some third base in the last few years. The last time Aurilia played either middle infield spot was 2008 (three whole innings at second), and the last time he played either with any regularity was 2006. Jeff Zimmerman’s age-adjusted UZR projections are kind, projecting Aurilia to post exactly league average UZR’s at the three non-shortstop infield spots in 2010. Regardless, there’s no way you could count on Aurilia to be anything more than below average anywhere on the field. And do I even need to bring up his atrocious baserunning skills (-3.2 EqBRR since 2007)? Eh, I guess I just did.

If Aurilia is really looking for an opportunity to make a big league team for that one last chance at a ring, then he’s (oddly) better off going to the Mets given their unsettled bench and perpetual risk for a spot opening up by a catastrophic and hilarious injury. Either way, we’d all just be waiting for the inevitable “Rich Aurilia To Retire” post at the end of March. If Aurilia wants to stay in the game and near home next year, the best thing he could do is accept a coaching position with either Double-A Trenton or Short Season Staten Island. Other than that … you’re out of luck Richie.

Photo Credit: Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP

Open Thread: Win $1,000,000 (not from us)
The myth of replacing a player's production
  • Drew

    I’d rather see Russo, Ramiro and Reegie get work with the Yanks if we need a fill-in.

  • Johan Iz My Brohan

    The Mets should look at him for a starting job at 1st…

    • aj

      Lmao, that cheered me up.

    • JMK aka The Overshare’s Garden Apartment Complex

      Think he can be a capable #5 starter?

      • JGS

        Think he can be a capable #5 #2 starter?


        • Drew

          Think he can be a capable #5 #2 starter? bat cleanup in front of Angel Berroa come July?

          I got you dog.

          • JMK aka The Overshare’s Garden Apartment Complex

            See, that’s just unfair. They have Reyes, Beltran, Wright, and Bay. If healthy, they could be good offensively.

            What’s worse: Beltran and one of Wright/Bay are lost to season-ending injuries OR Santana’s shoulder falls off in his first start?

            Could you imagine the hilarity of the #1 starter being Perez and the clean-up guy being Jeff Francoer?

            Meet the Mets.

            Bold prediction: Jermaine Dye is signed to be their 1B.

            • Drew

              Heh, they had a good offense last year too. Mishandling of injuries and some bad luck led to their embarrassing season.

              As per your question:

              Tough call. The easy answer is Santana.

              When I really think about it, losing Beltran and Bay will render them in the same position as last year. Wright is stuck in this lineup that features no protection.
              Also, they can find innings eaters that can win a lot of games in the NL.. Maybe they could get by after losing Santana. I’m still perplexed that they didn’t sign Garland. He’s exactly what they need in their rotation that is uncertainty personifed.

              • bexarama

                Their lineups were comically bad last year after they’d lost Beltran, Reyes, Delgado, Sheffield, and I feel like 800 other guys, plus Wright just wasn’t what he usually is. But if they have a healthy Reyes, Beltran, and Bay, and Wright returns to form, they have a pretty good offense, especially for the NL. It’s just unfortunate that their main rivals right now have the best offense in the NL, heh.

                Losing Santana for the season would probably be the worst of all, though. The team barely seems to have five starters to begin with, and I don’t know the state of their pitching depth exactly, but I think it’s not a pretty place.

              • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

                I thought the major problem last year was a decided lack of pitching, hitting, and defense (the Mets had one of the worst defense I’ve ever seen. That was EMBARASSING.)

                If they improve on those three areas, they’ll be good.


            • Matt Imbrogno

              Honestly, to save some money and get some value, they may as well just do a strict RH/LH platoon at 1B with Catalanotto and Tatis. They both hit the opposite hand well and aren’t going to be Dunn-like in the field.

            • Bo

              I would question why they would bring in a RF to play 1b but they do have Murphy playing there. So anything is possible.

  • aj

    Just because he wants to play for the Yankees, doesn’t mean that he can. I am case in point.

  • Cecala

    He was so bad in 2009 (.213-.256-.279) that the team had to make up injuries to get him on the disabled list and off the roster.

    This made me giggle

    • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)


  • Johnny

    There is no way he should be on anybody’s major league roster.

    • JMK aka The Overshare’s Garden Apartment Complex

      He’s the 4th best hitter in Kansas City. Easily.

      • Tom Zig


        Then Aurilia?


        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          You left out the Royals STNRI who’s bound to make the roster as HE’S the fourth best hitter in Kansas City:

          That’s right. Wilson “Bedlam It” Betemit is a Royal. Catch the fever; ride the wave.

  • baravelli

    I swear it took me like a minute to figure out that “howEVA” wasn’t the name of an obscure stat I didn’t know.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      It’s USaSR.

      Ultimate Stephen A. Smith Rating.

      • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

        Just wanted to ask…I just speed-read the open thread, and you mentioned you had a blog. What’s the url?

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

          I literally haven’t done a thing with it since buying it last year… I suck. So, it’s technically not a “blog” as of yet, just a parked web entity.

          • Rocky Road Redemption (formerly RAB poster)

            Heh…all right, thanks. I’ll keep an eye on it, anyway.

  • Jammy Jammers

    “Rich Oh Really? YEAH!!!”

    • Matt Imbrogno


  • larryf

    37 HR’s in 2001. Did Bonds leave some extra syringes around????

    • rbizzler

      Toot toot, all aboard the BALCO Express!

  • Rose

    There are so many better options out there…even on the cheap. Reed Johnson just signed for $800K and the Yankees are going to settle for an entirely irrelevant Rich Aurilia because he grew up in the area?? What is this? Necessary Roughness?? Where’s Manu-Manu “The Slender?”

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Archimedes Torquemada

      Reed Johnson just signed for $800K and the Yankees are going to settle for an entirely irrelevant Rich Aurilia because he grew up in the area??

      I think the jist of the post is “No, we’re not fucking remotely going to settle for an entirely irrelevant Rich Aurilia because we know he’s entirely irrelevant and we have no use for him; this whole thing is just a pipe dream in desperate Rich Aurilia’s head”.

      • Rose

        Ned Ryerson? BING!

        • JohnC

          “NED RYERSON?” POW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Bo

    He should have no trouble making the Mets. But too bad they signed Cora for 2 mill.

  • JohnC

    Yanks should let Simon Cowell break the bad news to him.