Jose Vidro signs with Red Sox
Today, the Boston Red Sox announced the signing of Sean Casey to a 1 year, $750,000 deal to fill a spot on their bench. He’s slotted in to be their backup first baseman and occassional pinch hitter. Barring an unforseen injury, he’ll probably get 150-200 at-bats this year.
In case you hadn’t noticed, Sean Casey and Jose Vidro are the exact same hitter. Here are their 2007 performances:
BA: Vidro, .314; Casey, .297
OBP: Vidro, .378; Casey, .354
SLG: Vidro, .394; Casey, .395
BB%: Vidro, 10.8%; Casey, 9.9%
K%: Vidro, 9.1%; Casey, 8.3%
GB%: Vidro, 51%; Casey, 49%
LD%: Vidro, 19%; Casey, 20%
The entire difference between Jose Vidro and Sean Casey’s 2007 performance could be chalked up to infield singles; Sean Casey got 6, while Jose Vidro got 15. There’s just no reason to believe that Vidro’s ridiculously high number of infield hits had anything to do with his skills. If you convert nine of Sean Casey’s outs into infield singles, he’d have hit .315/.371/.413. Eliminating infield singles from the big picture, Casey and Vidro had the exact same batting average last year. Vidro has the tiniest edge in walk rate, but Casey has an equally small edge in power.
You can’t find two more similar hitters alive right now. They were born a month apart in 1974. They both used to be very good players. They’ve both battled injury problems and now live off their ability to make contact and hit singles. The projections for 2008 are basically identical across the board, no matter what projection system you want to use. These guys are offensive twins.
There are, however, two differences. Sean Casey can still play defense (he’d be a significant upgrade with the glove over Richie Sexson) and everyone else in baseball realizes that this skillset isn’t good enough to lay claim to a starting job.
Every other team in baseball looked at this skillset and said “not interested”. The Red Sox looked at this skillset and said “useful bench player if he’ll play for nothing”. The Mariners looked at this skillset and said “Starting DH, $6 million salary, #2 hitter”.
Useful players that signed this winter for less than the $5 million difference in salary between Vidro and Casey: Milton Bradley, Adam Everett, Cliff Floyd, Jason Jennings, Jon Lieber, Jeremy Affeldt, Randy Wolf, Kerry Wood, LaTroy Hawkins, and Mark Hendrickson.
The lesson, as always – the Mariners continue to get destroyed by every other organization in baseball when it comes to building their roster.