Jul
19

Scouting The Trade Market: Nate Schierholtz

By

There’s a decent chance the Yankees will be without Brett Gardner for the rest of the season, but that’s not the only reason they should be keeping an eye on the outfield trade market. Nick Swisher will be a free agent after the season and Curtis Granderson will be after next season, right before the 2014 payroll plan takes effect. Add in Robinson Cano‘s impending free agency (after 2013), and suddenly a cheap outfielder looks like something that should be near the top of the priority list.

On the other end of the baseball world — seriously, NL West baseball is like an alternate universe compared to the AL East — a young and cheap outfielder expressed some displeasure with his reduced role. Nate Schierholtz, 28, of the Giants has been relegated to spot start and pinch-hitting duties this season because the starting trio of Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan, and Gregor Blanco have been so good. Manager Bruce Bochy simply can’t take them out of the lineup. As you’d expect, Schierholtz would prefer to be somewhere with more opportunity.

“There’s not one thing I can’t say I love about this place,” he said yesterday, “but I think I’ve come to the realization that maybe I’m not their guy. I’m not in the cards having a future here … I came in with the expectation to play maybe a little bit more than we’ve seen. A week-long slump kept me back on the bench for a couple more months … It’s a tough hole to dig myself out of and leaves me wondering if they don’t have a future for me here.”

Schierholtz has not and contractually can not request a trade, so he’s just voicing his frustrating. The Giants have no obligation to move him and there’s no indication that they’re even open to the idea, but usually when a player goes public about wanting to play somewhere with more opportunity, it’s only a matter of time before he winds up in a different uniform. That’s where the Yankees potentially fit in. Here’s a breakdown of the San Francisco outfielder…

The Pros

  • A left-handed swinger, Schierholtz has tagged right-handers for a .287/.358/.454 batting line (122 wRC+) this year and .268/.330/.434 (107 wRC+) since the start of 2010. His .166 ISO against righties during that time would surely be better if AT&T Park didn’t have one of the biggest right fields in baseball (89 HR Park Factor for LHB per FanGraphs, 82 per StatCorner).
  • Schierholtz puts the ball in play, striking out in a below-average 16.8% of his career plate appearances. Over the last three seasons it’s 15.9% against righties. As you can see from his spray chart, he does quite a bit of damage back up the middle and into the gap the other way.
  • Pick any defensive metric — UZR (+17.2), DRS (+7), Total Zone (+1), FRAA (+1.2), or ADR (+11) — and it’ll say Schierholtz is at least an average defender in the corner outfield if not better. He’s a true right fielder with a strong and very accurate arm, one of the better outfield arms in the game.
  • He’s cheap and still under team control for a while. Schierholtz will earn $1.3M total this season before being arbitration-eligible for the second time this offseason and the third time next offseason. He’ll be eligible for free agency after 2014.

The Cons

  • Schierholtz is a platoon player. His career .292/.326/.408 line (95 wRC+) against southpaws doesn’t look awful, but it’s a .125/.167/.219 line (-4 wRC+) this year and .231/.275/.286 (52 wRC+) since the start of 2010. He did most of his damage against lefties years ago.
  • If he doesn’t get a hit, he’s probably not going to reach base. Schierholtz’s career walk rate is a miniscule 5.9% and he’s swung at 35.8% of the pitches he’s seen out of the strike zone. That’s astronomical. He’s lucky he can make contact well.
  • You’re not getting much speed. He’s only 19-for-33 in stolen base attempts in his big league career, a 58% success rate. Down in the minors it was a 68% success rate in twice the attempts. It’s just not his game.
  • Schierholtz has been on the DL twice in the last four years, the first time for a groin strain in 2009. Last summer he fouled a ball off his right foot and suffered a hairline fracture, missing a month. I have a hard time counting a fluke injury like that against him, however.
  • Schierholtz is out of minor league options, meaning he can’t be sent to Triple-A without first passing through waivers. He also hasn’t played an inning in center field in his professional career. That really limits flexibility.

If the Yankees do let Swisher walk after the season, one of the most cost effective ways to replace him would be with a platoon. I don’t love the idea of using two roster spots to fill one position, but platoons can be very productive as we’ve seen this season in left field following Gardner’s injury. Andruw Jones is an obvious fit for the right-handed half of the Swisher-replacing platoon and a guy like Schierholtz makes an awful lot of sense for the left-handed half. Young-ish, cheap-ish, can hit righties and play strong defense. Lots to like.

At same time, the Yankees are a club that places a lot of value on power and patience. Perhaps the short right field porch would help get Schierholtz over the 20-homer plateau, but he’s not a guy who will work the count and draw walks. It’s just not who he is. He’s going to go up to the plate and swing the bat whether he gets a pitch to hit or not. Robinson Cano is the same way and it works for him, but Schierholtz isn’t that caliber of hitter. The limitations against southpaws and the lack of plate discipline are real knocks against him.

As I said, there is no indication that the Giants are looking to move Schierholtz right now even though he’s unhappy with his role. They’re reportedly looking for a right-handed outfield bat and (like everyone else) bullpen help leading up to the trade deadline, two things the Yankees really don’t have to offer. Since the two clubs don’t match up well in a trade — and the fact that replacing Dewayne Wise with Schierholtz would leave the Yankees without a real backup center fielder — this would probably be a deal best explored in the offseason. I do like him as a player though and think there’s a chance he’ll be surprisingly productive in the friendlier offensive environment.

Categories : Trade Deadline

70 Comments»

  1. JohnC says:

    A’s aren’t going anywhere. What would they want for Reddick?

  2. yooboo says:

    Left handed hitter as a platoon is not as bad as a right handed hitter.

    I think it is a wrong time to get/pick him up. During this off season, I am open to that idea.

    To make a potential trade target productive, we need to discuss about any player who can play CF.

  3. jayd808 says:

    Shouldn’t your outfielder-to-trade-for be at least better on paper than Chris Dickerson? By the time I finished with your pro/cons, that question came to mind. It also indicates that if you’re going to make a move, make it for someone who will replace Gardner, namely speed on the basepaths and in the outfield. Outside of Shane Victorino, who could we be talking about? Not this guy, that’s for sure.

  4. not that mike says:

    hes not going to get traded….they cannot/will not resign Melky

  5. Undertaker's Dong says:

    I actually slept with Nate Schierholtz gf in college. Me and him do not see eye to I. Therefore I do no want this A-hole in a Yanks uni.

  6. Darren says:

    Hey Mike,

    Can you amplify on what you mean that he contractually cannot request a trade?

    Do you mean that there are some players who have the right to demand a trade, but he’s not one of them? (I never heard that a player could contractually require their team to trade them.)

    Or do you mean that there’s something in his contract that specifically prohibits him from even requesting a trade? (I never heard of this.)

    Thanks.

    • yooboo says:

      Agreed.

      I think it is quite an exaggeration but He is still under control for next few years so Giants may not move him in hurry unless they get a good return for him.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      There’s a rule in the CBA allowing a player who signs a multi-year contract as a free agent and gets traded within a year of signing the deal (I think, might be two years) can request a trade after one year with his new team. Javy Vazquez used it to get out of Arizona following the RJ deal.

  7. yooboo says:

    Cody Ross? He can play all outfield and bats righty. It is not easy to find righty with speed in place of Gardner but Ross offers some good power to play everyday at LF.

    • jjyank says:

      And the Red Sox would trade him to the Yankees…why?

      • yooboo says:

        Like it never happened before. Try it and see what happen.

        • jjyank says:

          What? The Red Sox are not selling, and most especially they are not selling to the Yankees. Find a new trade target.

          • yooboo says:

            Right now, Red Sox are looking for an immediate player but I am not sure if they can deal. If no pick up then Red Sox will try to trade Crawford’s contract.

            What is the odds that a team will take Crawford’s contract?

            Cody Ross is heading to FA after this season. He has no value for 12.5 to make sense. Better have something than lose for nothing philosophy.

            Frankie Gutrierrez(sp?) is another option but he is freaking expensive. I think he is on DL right now.

            Rest of 13 and 14 potential FA are either aging and lefty.

            I guess I will have to look through AAA to find better option than Melky Mesa.

            • jjyank says:

              Yeah, I guess they’d rather trade Ross than risk getting nothing, but you’re forgetting some very important things:

              1. The Sox are more likely to make a run at the Wild Card than sell.

              2. If they do sell, Cherington will be able to find someone outside of the division to take Ross.

              In other words, it ain’t happenin’

            • Get Phelps Up says:

              OK, so if they trade him then do they hope that Daniel Nava keeps hitting all year? Just because someone’s an impending FA doesn’t mean he has to be traded. His 2nd half numbers could very well be more valuable than whatever he’d return in a trade.

              • yooboo says:

                I don’t know and I dont care.

                I just filter down the options. Cody Ross is only OF that makes sense to Yankees.

                That means if Ross is no go then we won’t have any good option other than Shane Victorino and his 4.5m left on contract to replace Gardner/Wise for playoff.

                • jjyank says:

                  Ross is a “no go”. And I for one am fine with Wise/Ibanez/Jones/maybe Dickerson.

                  • Cris Pengiucci says:

                    While I like WIJ, I do get concerned that Ibanez will wear down or get injured. Not so concerned about Jones, since he doesn’t play the filed nearly as frequently. Guess if there’s an injury, Dickerson is the obvious replacement, but that’s probably a down grade offensively.

                    If there’s no one that’s a clear upgrade over Wise (someone that can also play CF from time to time),then there really is no need to do anything.

        • Get Phelps Up says:

          The Red Sox are more likely to trade Crawford and his entire contract for Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Mike Stanton and Josh Johnson than trade Ross to the Yankees.

          • jjyank says:

            This. And for further reference:

            http://www.baseball-reference......h_ID_2=BOS

            This hasn’t happened in awhile, and for good reason.

            • Darren says:

              Holy shit it’s been 15 years since the Mike Stanley trade! The trade that enabled the Sox to get Pedro, if I’m not mistaken.

              And didn’t Mecir have a good screwball? I seem to remember him striking out some orioles with it.

              • yooboo says:

                Yes on Mecir part.

              • Robinson Tilapia says:

                I’d forgotten Stanley’s second Yankee go-around completely. Wow.

                How times change. I remember not even batting an eyelash as a kid over the Baylor/Easler trade. Something like that happening now would shock the hell out of every Yankee and Sox fan out there.

              • The Ghost of Joe Dugan says:

                I remember being PISSED when I heard about that trade. I remember Armas was the extra arm the Yanks couldn’t match in a deal for Pedro. Can you imagine the 1998 Yankees WITH Pedro!!

  8. YankeesJunkie says:

    If the Yankees are not planning on resigning Granderson, it makes sense to try to get Swisher on a 4/60 deal as his position and skill set will age better than say a Gardner. However, that is most likely a pipe dream and some team will splash down five or six years possibly which is bad news considering most the OF depth is still in High A and at least two years away.

    • viridiana says:

      I have also been arguing for re-signing Swish over Grandy since it gives kids one more year to develop. Grandy is now the more valuable player but he will be older when he goes into FA and skill-set may not age well.
      Absent Swish, I do agree with Mike that a platoon might be the way to go. Yanks may have internal options there, including Mustelier, Almontes and Mesa. Both Almontes have pretty radical (and near identical) splits, last time I looked.
      Nate S. looks like a pretty interesting possibility– if he can be landed. The reality is nobody wants to help Yanks and it’s just tough to make good deals. But the system is deep. What does SF need/want?

      • MattG says:

        I think you guys have it backwards. Granderson, as the more athletic person, will age better than Swisher.

  9. dc1874 says:

    One word …Rick Ankiel….

  10. Sterling says:

    Sign Melky.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Depends on price, and it’s not looking good. If the price was right, I wouldn’t be opposed. It won’t be.

  11. Robinson Tilapia says:

    He did a great job running the Braves for a while. Oh wait…

    Potentially a go-cheap option for 2013. Lateral bench move for the stretch run. Not someone I’m jumping up and down about.

  12. dc1874 says:

    The Nationals recently asked a Mets person if they’d have interest in Rick Ankiel, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports (on Twitter). The Nationals believe the recently-designated Ankiel is a Major League caliber player and they expect him to be picked up by another club, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). Peter Gammons of MLB Network suggests on Twitter that Ankiel would be a “great fit” for the Yankees.

  13. CUYanks says:

    Alfonso Soriano just hit his 18th hr. It seems like someone (not yankees) would be interested in him if the Cubs pick up a chunk of his hefty salary.

  14. CUYanks says:

    What about Carlos Lee?

  15. TopChuckie says:

    With the promotion of Gose, the Blue Jays seem to have completely lost interest in Travis Snider. I’d see if I could get him cheap enough, give him a good amount of PT in LF down the stretch and see if he’s ready for full-time in RF next year.

  16. Cuso says:

    John Vander Wal Part 2 it would seem

  17. AC says:

    Why not Ankiel then. Can play all 3 OF spots and was just DFA by the Nats. Replaces Wise and is an upgrade I think.

  18. Sarah says:

    It’s always interesting to consider whether Kevin Long could work his magic with another hitter, turning Nate into more of an everyday player. Would be an interesting option, but the price has to be right, and by right, I mean “low.”

    If Chad Qualls would stop sucking maybe Cashman could sucker Sabean into that trade. /wishful thinking

  19. LiterallyFigurative says:

    I have a proposal, although it wouldn’t be a possibility until the offseason:

    1)At season’s end, we try and sign Melky OR Josh Hamilton. Melky is younger than Swisher or Hamilton. Hamilton is better than Granderson, and if the AAV is big enough, I think 5 years would be good enough. Something in the $120mil range. Besides, Grandy would cost you close to $100mil for the same period of time, so why not get the better player? Melky would be the most cost effective (given age and injury history) in my opinion, but won’t give you the power.

    2)Pick up Grandy’s option, and trade him to the Braves (along with maybe an Eduardo Nunez who they like) in exchange for Jason Heyward and maybe a young pitcher (major or minor leaguer). The Braves are losing Chipper Jones, and Michael Bourn is a free agent. They’ll have the money and the need for offense. We take back Heyward, and hope for a Granderson/Swisher like bounce back from him when he puts on the interlocking NY. Working with KLong and having the porch to aim for might be just what Heyward needs to blossom. He’s a few years from Free Agency.

    The OF would be:
    LF Melky/Hamilton
    CF Gardner
    RF Heyward

    which would be younger, more athletic and less expensive (even with Hamilton) as opposed to a Gardner/Grandy/Swisher trio. Even if you resigned Swisher and kept Grandy, they’ll cost in the $30 mil range together in 2013, and you STILL have to decide whether to keep Granderson (and pay him 18-21 mil per).

    Thoughts?

  20. Hall and Nokes says:

    Is upgrading over Wise (and I’ll accept that Wise is due for a regression so that won’t take much) really the goal here? The only thing that makes much sense to me is upgrading over Ibanez and keeping Wise as the 25th man.

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