Wig Wit: Phillies Trade for Ty Wigginton

Wig Wit: Phillies Trade for Ty Wigginton

In search of a utility man this off-season, Ruben Amaro Jr and the Phillies have traded for Ty Wigginton, according to Jim Salisbury and others. Terms of the deal haven't been specified, but the Phillies will send either a player to be named later or cash to the Rockies for Wigginton's services. A look at Wigginton and where he fits in with the Phillies below.

Linked to the Phillies at trade deadlines and off-seasons past, Wigginton is owed $4 million in 2012, with either a $4 million option in 2013 or a $500,000 buyout. In other words, less money and fewer years than free agent Michael Cuddyer will likely command. He plays both first and third base, as well as both corner outfield spots, and can pitch in at second if need be. In 2011, Wigginton posted a .242 avg, .315 OBP, and .416 SLG, with a .731 OPS in 446 plate appearances.

He had 97 hits, 21 doubles, 15 homers, and 47 RBIs in 401 AB. He also posted 84 strikeouts. Over the past three seasons, his average hasn't varied much between righties and lefties (.248 vs LHP, .256 vs RHP), but his OBP is 30 points higher against lefties and his OPS is 30 points lower against the same guys. In 2011, he fared better against lefties across the board, particularly in OBP (.091 higher). Wigginton also got a boost from Coors Field, where his numbers were considerably better. Hopefully he'll enjoy a CBP effect as well.

Rotoworld aptly terms him a "poor man's Michael Cuddyer for a fraction of the price," and that might be just what the Phillies needed. They have more pieces to sign at shortstop and possibly with a Cole Hamels extension, so his salary isn't unmanageable. Wigginton can give them some flexibility at multiple positions, including first base, where Ryan Howard will open the season hurt, and third, where Placido Polanco is at a stage in his career that DL time needs to be accounted for as increasingly likely. Doesn't hurt that he can stay fresh in the outfield and be a valuable righthanded pinch-hitter to complement the lefty Jim Thome either.

Matt Gelb of the Inquirer says the Phillies will only pay half of Wigginton's 2012 $4 million salary (which other outlets have at $3.5 million fwiw), and that the move doesn't preclude the Amaro from re-signing Jimmy Rollins and another bat (presumably a LH OF).

What are your thoughts on Wigginton?

Topps cover man Claude Giroux answers U.S.-Canada questions

Topps cover man Claude Giroux answers U.S.-Canada questions

Claude Giroux spent Friday signing virtual autographs as the cover athlete for Topps NHL Skate 2017, a new onilne digital trading card game. Remember when trading cards came in a bubble gum pack? 

After the event, Giroux sat down with CSN's Michael Barkann on Philly Sports Talk for a game of “Who Does It Better: Canada or the United States?”

The game started off with a few easy softball questions, with Giroux picking the NFL over the Candian Football League. Then it got a little tougher, as Giroux chose Canadian hockey over U.S. hockey.

Despite talents like Drake and Shania Twain, Giroux went with the U.S. over Canada in music, and also chose American bacon over Canadian bacon.

Eventually, Barkann asked Giroux which beer he preffered.

“I don’t drink beer," Giroux responded.

Really? What Canadian doesn't like beer?

As he started to get up out of his seat after the interview, Giroux showed his true colors. “I love beer. I love beer,” he said.

Check out the video above to see the full game. 

Wayne Gretzky defends Connor McDavid's outburst over Brandon Manning

Wayne Gretzky defends Connor McDavid's outburst over Brandon Manning

PALM BEACH, Fla. — As the primary target of opponents over his Hall of Fame career, Wayne Gretzky can certainly empathize with the frustration of Oilers star Connor McDavid.

McDavid and Flyers defenseman Brandon Manning jostled all evening long in a 6-5 Edmonton loss. McDavid denounced the tactics of his opponent after the game, claiming Manning intentionally injured him last season; McDavid missed 37 games with a broken collarbone.

"I guess we can put the whole 'if he did it' thing to rest because what he said out there kind of confirmed that," said McDavid, who taunted Manning after scoring the second goal in the Oilers' loss.

"I think anybody who knows me or who has played with or against me along the road here, knows that I am not that kind of player," Manning said, according to a statement released by the Flyers. "I am not out there intentionally trying to hurt people. I'm a guy who plays the game hard and I take pride in that."

Gretzky didn't mind seeing that fire in McDavid, saying competitiveness is part of what makes the great ones great. And he said the targeting comes with the territory of being a superstar. It was something he and Mario Lemieux dealt with, too.

"And Connor, he's going to get tested every night, but this is not new for him," Gretzky said Friday at the NHL board of governors meetings. "He's been tested since he was a kid and then playing junior hockey and now in the NHL and he's always responded and done his part."