Corey Koskie

Dave · September 17, 2004 at 10:13 am · Filed Under Mariners 

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

Home: .292/.401/.486
Road: .265/.348/.443

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.


30 Responses to “Corey Koskie”

  1. U.S.S. Mariner » Free Agent Writeups on November 16th, 2004 4:23 pm
    […] ’ve completed to date: Matt Clement Carl Pavano Brad Radke Richie Sexson Troy Glaus Corey Koskie Carlos Delgado Adrian Beltre Hopefully, I’ll knock out Edgar Renteria, J.D. Drew, Nom […]

  2. U.S.S. Mariner » Koskie to Jays on December 13th, 2004 5:27 pm
    […] 7;t understand this, either – the Jays are a reasonably smart team, but I agree with Dave’s write-up on Koskie. On a shorter deal, I still think he’d be okay as a fill-in if he ca […]

  3. Troy Sowden on September 17th, 2004 10:16 am

    Thanks Dave. I’ve been saying no to Koskie since I first heard his name brought up. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

  4. Dash on September 17th, 2004 10:27 am

    Everytime I hear Koskie’s name mentioned I wince. Just thinking of his gimpy back makes him too much of a risk to sign.

  5. stan on September 17th, 2004 10:33 am

    I agree. Jose Lopez for third base in 2005.

  6. matthew on September 17th, 2004 10:55 am

    Sounds like the perfect player for the M’s front office. Who can we release that’s any good so that we can sign him for an Ibanez-like contract?

  7. Jim Thomsen on September 17th, 2004 10:56 am

    A Sean Burroughs deal was almost made. Could it be resurrected? Burroughs strikes me as the player Koskie was when he just started getting good. Or are the M’s going to get hung up on the old-school saw about how Burroughs lacks power at a “power position”?

    I see Koskie drifting along till late in the offseason, being disappointed with the offers he gets … and then signing for one year and $1.5 million with Tampa Bay, since Geoff Blum stinks, B.J. Upton is out of place there and apparently the Devil Rays no longer see merit in Jared Sandberg (who, by the way, I would love to see manning the hot corner for the Tacoma Rainiers in 2005).

    There’s not a lot of talk about Leone here. What do we think — did he flunk his trial? Does he deserve more time? Is he the best solution if no other solution presents itself? Could/should he be part of a time-share arrangement with Spiezio, Bloomquist, Russ Davis, Ted Cox, Jamie Allen and Dave Edler?

  8. Evan on September 17th, 2004 10:59 am

    Given Dave’s analysis of Koskie, he sounds like exactly the sort of guy Bavasi likes.

  9. Michael Kubecka on September 17th, 2004 11:15 am

    Koskie sounds like a perfect catch for the Mariners front office – declining skills, nice guy, and they can overpay him without any serious bidders getting in the way.

    Has anyone ever heard the real story of how Kazuhiro Sasaki got injured? It can’t really have been a suitcase? I’d like to know.

  10. chris w on September 17th, 2004 11:16 am

    I agree with everything Dave says except I don’t think it means the Ms shouldn’t sign Koskie. If Beltre is overpriced, and they can get Koskie on a 1-year deal, for $2-3M, that might be OK. The 3B FA crop isn’t good this year, with Beltre being the only stud, so maybe you wait a year before trying to address that position long-term.

  11. Troy Sowden on September 17th, 2004 11:29 am

    chris w, I’m not sure who you’re expecting to hit FA in 06, but I doubt there will be more desirable FA’s at 3rd than there are this year. Besides Beltre you have Aramis Ramirez, another young, toolsy 3B who’s just coming into his potential. I don’t like him as much as Beltre (not as much glove for one thing), but I’d surely settle for him. Plus you’ve got Koskie and Glaus. I don’t like either of them much at all, but I’ll bet they’re as good as anything that will be available in 06. Personally, I think we should go all out for Beltre, and if that fails pick up Ramirez in a heartbeat.

  12. Eric on September 17th, 2004 11:32 am

    I think if we can’t sign Beltre we just live with Leone for a year and then look for a long term answer next off season.

    Would Koskie or another marginal veteren really bring much more than Leone?

    I view next year as the set-up for real contention in ’06, lets give Lopez a year to see how he handles short, if he needs to move positions in ’06 having the flexibility to move him to 2nd or 3rd is nice when looking for a FA, if we can get Beltre now by all means do it and then only consider Lopez at 2B, but don’t tie up 3B with an average player.

  13. Evan on September 17th, 2004 11:34 am

    Ensberg would be a decent alternative. Isn’t he a FA this offseason?

  14. Dave on September 17th, 2004 11:36 am

    Ensberg is on the fringe of being arbitration eligible for the first time. He’s 3 years from free agency. He will, however, be available, as the Astros have no plans on giving him the 3rd base job back. Personally, I think he’d be a fantastic addition, regardless of whether the M’s get a better 3B or not. If they miss out on Beltre, he’s your third baseman. If they get Adrian, Ensberg plays first. He’s got very similar upside to Delgado or Sexson at a fraction of the cost.

  15. eponymous coward on September 17th, 2004 12:01 pm

    If Koskie got more than 1 million in 2005 for a one year deal…well, I could maybe live with it, depending on who else gets signed, and the “hey, maybe we get one last good year out of him” theory. (Of course, that also means we’re likely to resign the guy after the “last good year…” if we win- but if it’s July and Koskie is hitting well and we’re 10 games out, boom, instant trade value to a contender.)

    But I sure wouldn’t pick him as my first candidate to strengthen the IF, over guys like Beltre, Glaus, Renteria, Nomar, Sexson. Even Delgado on a one or two year deal would be my pick for spending $ before I went to Koskie.

  16. eponymous coward on September 17th, 2004 12:08 pm

    Um, Dave, looked at those home/road splits for Ensberg in 2003 yet?

    Can you say “product of Ten-Run Field”? Talk about a Cirillo clone- the guy’s lifetime OPS outside of Houston’s under .700. No thanks.

  17. Tom on September 17th, 2004 12:32 pm

    Ensberg is definitely not a good hitter away from Houston’s home field. Also, check out his hit chart for homers – all dead pull to that short left field – an indication that he would hit almost no homers at Safeco.

  18. Dave on September 17th, 2004 12:43 pm

    Sample size. 258 at-bats is certainly not a good enough sample to pull from and make any kind of difinitive analysis about a players overall abilities.

    Ensberg’s minor league performance also contradicts these sentiments. Playing in New Orleans, one of the best pitcher’s parks in all of baseball (far more than Safeco), he hit .310/.394/.592 in 2001 and .288/.401/.421 in 2002.

    His minor league performance predicted above average power. Certainly, his overall performance in the majors has been helped by the Juice Box, but there is no reason to write him off as a product of his environment.

  19. Tom on September 17th, 2004 1:04 pm

    Where did you get 258 at bats for Ensberg. I see:

    2004 Home AB 185 .297/.356/.492 Away AB 187 .251/.304/.321
    2003 Home AB 188 .351/.448/.665 Away AB 197 .234/.304/.401
    2002 Home AB 071 .268/.388/.437 Away AB 061 .213/.294/.344

    His minor league numbers look great, but based on 444 major league home at bats and 445 major league away at bats, I just don’t think he’s a good match for the Mariners.

  20. eponymous coward on September 17th, 2004 1:10 pm

    Ensberg has a total minor league OPS of .860.

    Bucky’s is over .900.

    They both have monster years in tough AAA ballparks- but Bucky’s record is better overall. Please explain to me why Ensberg would project better than Bucky if you’re comparing Ensberg to Sexson or Delgado- and consider than Sexson is a grand total of 8 months older than both of them (Ensberg and Jacobsen were born in August 1975, Sexson was born in December 1974), and already has two 40+ HR years in the majors AND has a higher major league OPS than Ensberg’s, and almost higher than Bucky’s minor league OPS.

  21. Der Komminsk-sar on September 17th, 2004 5:21 pm

    Of course, Bucky’s best position is DH, whereas Ensberg plays third… and Ensberg has played in tougher environments (majors count, right?), on the whole.
    If you’re looking for a stopgap at third (no real need, with Leone around), you could do worse than Ensberg – a Sean Berry type player. I’m not convinced that Ensberg is an ideal long run solution, however – I don’t think he’ll age well.

  22. Bill on September 17th, 2004 5:33 pm

    As a Koskie supporter, I will offer my rationale:
    Signing Corey Koskie to a 1-year deal with an option for a second year or to a 2-year deal for relatively little $$ is a fine long-term decision because it’s NOT a long-term issue. On the flipside, signing Adrian Beltre for $13-15M/year for 6 years (the minimum he would probably take in terms of years) could have serious long-term ramifications if it does not pan out. Koskie may hit his decline next year, but he sure as hell won’t be hurting the 2007 Mariners. Koskie is not as good as Beltre, that much is abundantly clear, BUT a one-year gamble that he will be significantly better than The Spiez is one worth taking (in my opinion). The reason he might be worth targeting is exactly because he probably won’t command more than a one-year deal. As long as he’s cheap and not impeding anyone (and I really don’t think Leone is a legit option or that Lopez is ready), go for it.

  23. johnb on September 17th, 2004 10:23 pm

    I have one word….Koskierillo!

  24. Rob McMillin on September 18th, 2004 7:07 pm

    There is no way the Dodgers don’t re-sign Beltre. None.

  25. Bela Txadux on September 18th, 2004 11:39 pm

    I’m with you completely, Dave, on Koskie, both that he’s been underrated and is through. Two-three years ago he would have been a viable, even valuable pick-up for third with a decent platoon back-up (McLemore). Now, he is just soo-oo-o _not_ the player this team needs that the only way he should get an invitation into Safeco is to sit in the press box when he visits after retirement.

    Beltre: Look, guys, there is just NO WAY that he is coming to this team next year; it’s not even worth fantasizing about. Change leagues to play for a 100-game loser with _multiple, major_ holes to fill, manager change impending, and confused, flailing front office? When the Dodgers will top any offer he gets? And SF comes out of nowhere to sign him to be the MAN (’cause Barry is going very, very soon)? He is not coming here, fuggeddabouddit. Besides which the prospect of getting in the auction at Tejada numbers for a guy with ONE great season, and that his contract year, just makes my filings ache knowing they’ll be yanked to pay for this kind of folly. Yeah, Beltre is probably better than that, and his D will hold up regardless, but he is a terribly high risk/probable reward sign.

    Nor will Beltran be coming here. Again, why go to a lumpy loser when the Yankees big needs this offseason are two stud starters . . . and a centerfielder: Big George will top any offer on years and price so pencil in Mr. Beltran, but not here. Dream sweet dreams, but let’s follow in Dave’s footsteps and _talk_ viable probabilities.

    Dave, do me a favor and tell me why Glaus is a bad idea for this team. Personally, I like him more at first base, but he believes that he is a third base man, and I feel certain will only sign to play there. It just doesn’t seem in the cards for the Halos to sign him; they’ve paid his doctors for two years to minimal return, have other tres cheap options at 3B, have a lot of money committed to veterans, and need another starter still. But Glaus’s injuries are sure to hold down his market, so any team that is committed to signing him _and_ promises him 3B will get him for an offer of solid money. Glaus crushes the ball, especially after the second LASIK (which was my previous concern, that he had _vision_ issues not arm problems). The Ms sign him for third, if he doesn’t cut it, they move him to first, no problem.

    Because (please, God, tell me no) they don’t sign Delgado. Seriously, has anyone here heard the word ‘steroids?’ You know, the stuff you inject to have monster seasons like 50-and-150. This is the first year of the post-steroid era (testing, YES!), and have you noticed a few changes around the league?? On my list of MPUs (Most Probable Users) there were a number of guys at the top: Delgado, Sosa, Bonds, Palmiero, Sheffield, Boone (but I still love yah, Boonie), Kent, Aurilia, Luis Gonzo. Monster years??? Hm. Now most of these guys were very good hitters who, once juiced, were monster hitters, but dried out are now back to being very good but rapidly declining hitters—Sheffield, Bonds in his way—or washouts—Palmiero, Gonzo, [your choice here]. And getting back to Delgado, he’s a butcher at first base, there have always been issues with lackadaisacal play, his knees are trash (steroid use _does_ lead to tendon and hence joint problems, see Sheffield and his shoulders). I wouldn’t sign Delgado to play for free, but that’s my opinion. Even though he is a left-hander who could still have a 30-and-100 season in him, but that’s tops and thats _it_.

    Oh, and e-coward (funky handle, but), Sexson: do you really understand the nature of the injury he had this year?? Dislocation and labrum tear, _AND_ it was a full tear if I recal, front and back. This injury is maximally serious, and I don’t care if it _is_ his follow-through hand; it’s completely career threatening. Supposing that he makes it back, there is zero (0) chance that he is a Major League hitter next year. Ergo, no go.

    Best all.

    -Bela Txadux-

  26. DMZ on September 19th, 2004 12:19 am

    I have been convinced, and will mention Koskie as a decent short-term pickup no more.

  27. Bela Txadux on September 20th, 2004 5:17 am

    Two other MPUs: Jason Giambi, Rich Aurilia. How could I have skipped them. _And_ Jeff Cirillo, yes, I think he juiced for two years worth of line drives to get The Contract, than looked to his health and gave it up. He wasn’t a Coors inflatee: his puff-up came mostly in Milwaukee before he was traded. His bat speed was so incredibliy poor from his first day here that I cannot believe he ever legitimately knocked the ball the way he did for two years otherwise out of context for his career. I always wondered whether his ‘self-pressure’ regarding which we heard regularly was a function of knowing that de-juiced he could not possibly deliver on his contract, that he was living a lie in other words. I’m not in the man’s head, and don’t want to be, but this sure looked liked what _I_ saw of Jeff Cirillo.

    The point in mentioning steroids here is this: the FIRST assessment that must be made of any free agent sign or trade is ‘was he juiced?’ No one can say with complete certainty, and such assessments are highly subjective, and in the instance of some players, including perhaps even some I mention in these two posts, is less than wholly fair. Tough. The players didn’t do jack to get clean, and stonewalled until dragged to ‘contract rehab.’ Dozens (yes certainly dozens) of players frankly ripped off their ownerships for huge dollars by juicing, signing, than getting off the stuff: that’s called fraud in any other profession, and multi-million dollar fraud at that. If any player is _suspected_ of using, don’t sign him, period. Let him go to the independents and earn his way back like Sierra; I completely respect Rueben for doing this, and he’s somebody know I see as a positive for the game. But the MPUs? No way, Jose.

  28. DMZ on September 20th, 2004 9:52 am

    Can we please, please, please not get into the steroid issue? It’s the third rail of baseball discussion, and as important as I know some people think it is, I would really like to keep discussion civil and rational, two things I’ve never use to describe any steroid thread I’ve ever read.

  29. Adam S on September 20th, 2004 12:05 pm

    In listening to various discussions over the past few weeks about 2005, I find it mind boggling that fans are excited about Koskie. I guess it just shows how horrible Cirillo and Spiezio have been if we think Koskie is a big upgrade.

    I think the projection of him as Cirillo is a bit harsh — he’s hit .270 on the road this year — but clearly his offense is middle of the pack for 3B and would decline significantly moving from the Twins to Safeco.

    I can’t see that Dobbs/Leone would be worse than Koskie.

  30. Dave on September 20th, 2004 4:02 pm


    I’m going to do a piece on Glaus later this week. If I don’t answer any of your questions in that one, comment there. This post is almost off the main page anyways, and any lengthy response will probably get lost in the shuffle.