I’m hoping to knock out mini-columns on each player who seems like a good fit for the M’s in the offseason. We’ve done Beltre (thumbs up), Beltran (thumbs way up), and Delgado (thumbs down) so far. Since Corey Koskie is getting some love in the comments and even Derek’s throwing him support, this seems like a good time for me to bust out the “Corey Koskie as Jeff Cirillo” post. There’s just no way you could convince me to sign Koskie for more than 1 year at any price, and I’d be reluctant to give him more than $1 million for 2005. Obviously, he wouldn’t be signing with my team, which is fine with me.
And I say that as a huge Corey Koskie fan. For the past 4 years, he’s been a very underrated player, a solid contributor both offensively and defensively who does the things that don’t get noticed well enough to establish himself as a mini-star but gets none of the noteriety. Unfortunately, Koskie is on the verge of collapse, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was out of baseball in two years. Take a look at these 2001-2003 splits:
Vs Left: .239/.326/.388
Vs Right: .297/.396/.500
Good Koskie couldn’t hit lefties and was an average player away from the Metrodome. He was only a factor offensively in about 65 percent of the Twins games. Put a lefty on the mound or grass beneath his feet and Koskie, at his physical prime, was someone you don’t really want in the line-up every day. Even at his peak, he was only situationally valuable.
I’m of the belief that Good Koskie is gone forever, and precipitous decline is on its way. He is a career .280 hitter, hitting .292 last year. He’s hitting .249 this year, including monthly averages of .245, .241, and .209. Huge drops in batting average can be random, but they can also indicate a serious loss of bat speed. Players usually compensate for this by adopting “old-player skills”, taking more pitches and only swinging at the ones they can drive. This often provides upward spikes in walk and home run rate, while singles and doubles take a dive. Even if it provides a short value boost, it is often a sign of iminent decline.
His bat has noticably slowed and his chronic back problems have contributed to an adjustment in Koskie’s approach at the plate. He’s also missed the last several weeks with a severe ankle sprain. His body is wearing down and is just about ready to give out.
PECOTA projected a precipitous decline for Koskie even before he started his transformation to old-player skills this year. Based on his numbers through 2003, PECOTA projected Koskie from 3.7 wins in 2004 to 2.8 wins in 2005 down to 2.1 wins in 2006 and just 1.3 by 2007. Koskie undershot his 2004 projection and the system will almost certainly penalize him for that, so you can knock those projections down a notch.
Corey Koskie has been a good player, though one with limited uses, for several years. Unfortunately, he’s on the verge of collapse, and giving him a multiyear deal is setting yourself up for a trap. Koskie is firmly entrenched in the avoid category for the coming offseason.