Come Back, Nate Schierholtz

Outfielder Nate Schierholtz was a throw-in when the Phillies traded Hunter Pence to the San Francisco Giants last July. Catching prospect Tommy Joseph and pitching prospect Seth Rosin were the real prizes. Schierholtz’s 73 plate appearances with the Phillies in August and September were underwhelming as well, reinforcing the indifference, as the lefty posted a .273/.319/.379 line with one home run while missing a few weeks with a broken toe.

During the off-season, the Phillies were given the choice of keeping Schierholtz around in his second year of arbitration eligibility, in which he would receive a raise on his 2012 salary of $1.3 million, or non-tender Schierholtz to save themselves the money. Despite Schierholtz’s relative cheapness (his 2013 salary of $2.25 million represents 1.4 percent of the Phillies’ Opening Day payroll) and diverse skill set (great defense and works well in a platoon), the Phillies chose the second option, letting Schierholtz go, only to be picked up by the Cubs. The Phillies ended up signing Delmon Young to play right field at $750,000 even though he was injured and required weight loss incentives in his contract.

As of this writing, the Phillies have received the second-worst OPS from their outfielders in the National League with a .669 OPS. Young is only part of the problem, as Ben Revere, Laynce Nix, and John Mayberry have all left something to be desired when they’ve been in the outfield. Schierholtz, meanwhile, is thriving in Chicago with a .288/.320/.496 line having taken 88.5 percent of his plate appearances against right-handed pitching. Among Cubs with at least 60 PA, Schierholtz’s .209 isolated power is second only to Anthony Rizzo. His ISO would trail only Domonic Brown if he were still a Phillie (assuming equivalent production).

There has never been an explanation as to why the Phillies didn’t want to keep Schierholtz around, especially at his price. Nor is it really clear what the Phillies saw in Young. Maybe his gaudy RBI total and small sample success in the post-season. At any rate, it is just another example, in a big pile of them, of the Phillies missing the mark when it comes to talent evaluation.

I am great at graphic design.

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29 comments

  1. sixerfan1220

    May 28, 2013 02:48 PM

    i wonder if the phillies poll everyone in the front office and just do the opposite cause i find it hard to believe some of things they do or RAJ’s ego is so big he gets these ideas in his head and runs with them no matter what

  2. Jonny5

    May 28, 2013 02:55 PM

    This HAS to be “Give acid indigestion to Phillies fans” Day. I’ve been waiting for this post. The image is blocked at work. PLEASE tell me it’s a proper steaming pile of text..

  3. hk

    May 28, 2013 02:55 PM

    To make matters worse, the second paragraph is misleading in that it makes it seem like Nate would have cost 3x what Delmon costs. However, Nate only got $2.25M because the Phils made him a free agent and multiple teams were rumored to be bidding for him. mlbtraderumors.com, which generally does a good job of estimating the salary of players who are eligible for arbitration, predicted Nate would get $1.5M or $1.6M in arbitration or in a pre-arb settlement. Further, while Delmon was only guaranteed $750K, he “earned” another $250K in his first day on the 25 man roster and he can earn up to $3M this year if he stays on the roster. The sad fact of the matter is that, unless the Phils cut Delmon soon, they’ll probably pay him more than they would have paid Nate had they kept him.

  4. blub

    May 28, 2013 02:56 PM

    I wonder if a single outfielder will have a +800 OPS. If Brown starts thinking about taking walks again it should be easy peasy. I can’t think he’s lost the ability.

  5. LTG

    May 28, 2013 03:04 PM

    I read the title and laughed because abysses.

  6. Jason Cohen

    May 28, 2013 03:05 PM

    I’m not sure it should really be about Young but rather, NIx. The Phillies saw themselves paying Schierholtz PLUS eating Nix’s deal. They still would have signed Young, IMO. And Schierholtz would probably be languishing on the bench instead of platooning with Young.

  7. LTG

    May 28, 2013 03:10 PM

    I’d love to read something about where Brown might be headed, especially w.r.t. BB%. Here are two thoughts I have had:

    1) If he keeps hitting for power, pitchers will throw him fewer strikes, increasing both his walks and his BABIP (better hitter counts).

    2) Since the Phillies are not much of an offensive threat, 1) only holds if the Phillies are not already losing, which is not often enough.

    These are speculative and in need of evidence that they are even reasonable hypotheses.

  8. VoteForDelmon

    May 28, 2013 03:21 PM

    I see nothing in this post that should preclude anyone from voting for already-on-the-ballot-because-he-earned-his-starting-job Delmon Young for the all star game.

  9. JRFarmer

    May 28, 2013 03:51 PM

    BB,

    “Schierholtz, meanwhile, is thriving in Chicago with a .228/.320/.496 line”

    That BA should be .288, no?

  10. JRFarmer

    May 28, 2013 03:54 PM

    BB,

    But is Nate Schierholtz a Baseball Player? If Scott Proefrock hasn’t said so yet, I don’t believe it to be true.

    Don’t be biased, you must add it to your graphic.

  11. Rei De Bastoni

    May 28, 2013 04:18 PM

    Jack Nicholson as president says, “Remind Phillies fans that Delmon Young has 1 out of 5 checkmarks, and 1 out of 5 ain’t bad!”

  12. MattWinks

    May 28, 2013 04:39 PM

    The answer is simple, Nate Schierholtz is LH.

    For some ridiculous reason (partially the albatross that is Howard against LHP) Amaro has decided that he must possess a RH power hitter in the OF. It is the idiocy that boomeranged Brown for Pence, that caused him to start Ben Fransisco, and lastly to let Schierholtz go for Delmon. It is extreme tunnel vision letting go of talent because of previous mistakes

  13. Matt

    May 28, 2013 04:48 PM

    LTG,

    I agree. Someone please tell me that Brown will walk once in June!!! I blame everyone and everything but Brown.

  14. Frank

    May 28, 2013 07:55 PM

    Any chance the Phillies brass will realize from talking to other GMs and baseball people this offseason how Ruben has turned this club into a laughingstock and then move to fire him?

  15. Jack Parkman

    May 28, 2013 11:17 PM

    Jason makes a good point. The comparison to D. Young isn’t really applicable. Nix vs. Nate is the real debate here.

    I’m not a big fan of the Young signing, and I’m even more disappointed with the fact that he’s being overused (starting Nix at 1B and giving Howard some days at DH would have been a better move than throwing Delmon out there against a RHP.

  16. amarosucks

    May 29, 2013 12:03 AM

    Delmon saw 5 total pitches in his 4 plate appearances tonight. You can’t make this stuff up.

    God Amaro sucks

  17. max

    May 29, 2013 08:51 AM

    @amarosucks

    agreed. mccarthy quoted manuel on the broadcast last night as saying that dom ‘would tell him when he’s ready to be moved up in the batting order’. by that manuel meant dom would show him at the plate. conversely, hasn’t delmon done enough at the plate to warrant dropping him in the order (.215/.281/.380)?

  18. Phillie697

    May 29, 2013 09:05 AM

    At least people are talking about Dom. I’m SUPER excited. The power is finally showing up. If this is the Dom we have been waiting for, this is gonna be VERY exciting :D

    That walk rate CANNOT be sustainable, right? If he sustains his power and the walk rate goes back up to the 9-10% range, this kid is the Justin Upton we missed out on this off-season… Which makes me even more infuriated that we didn’t go after Upton. We could have had TWO of them!!!

  19. Scott G

    May 29, 2013 09:55 AM

    5 pitches in 4 PA? That’s good considering Dempster has a very low BB%….. Aceves also isn’t known for walking players. Before last night he’d ONLY walked 12 batters… In 18.1 IP.

  20. Pencilfish

    May 29, 2013 01:02 PM

    Is Schierholtz’s .209 isolated power likely to regress or are you expecting him to keep that up for the rest of the season?

    Instead of talking wistfully about a long-gone, marginal player who would not make a difference for the 2013 Phillies, why hasn’t anyone posted anything about potential 1st-round draft picks next month? If people advocate gutting the roster, we should be talking about the future, not the past.

  21. Phillie697

    May 29, 2013 08:05 PM

    @Pencilfish,

    Because our future is STILL in the hands of the person who screwed up our recent past.

  22. Pencilfish

    May 29, 2013 11:25 PM

    Phillie697,

    And it will continue to be in his hands as long as the franchise is profitable. Every time you turn your TV to watch them, buy their merchandise or otherwise patronize the team, you are enabling him. RAJ manages a for-profit enterprise that we are all emotionally and financially invested in. Good luck getting rid of the goose that is laying the golden egg.

  23. Phillie697

    May 30, 2013 09:50 AM

    @Pencilfish,

    Hence why there is no future to speak of :)

  24. LTG

    May 30, 2013 10:14 AM

    Wait, what? Just because a franchise is profitable it won’t fire its GM? What?

    What?

  25. hk

    May 30, 2013 02:24 PM

    Amazingly, the six players that RAJ acquired in the off-season (Revere, the two Youngs, Lannan, Adams and Durbin) have combined to produce -0.4 WAR if you want to be charitable and use Fangraphs version or -1.0 WAR if you want to use the B-R version. I’ll use the average of the two and go with -0.7 WAR in two months. But, at least the GM oversees a profitable team. Well done, Rube, well done.

  26. Phillie697

    May 30, 2013 04:05 PM

    @hk,

    i.e. you could have been just as effective, if not more so (wouldn’t even take that much effort), this off-season as RAJ was when it comes to personnel decisions, and I suspect you would have done it with less money. A lot less money.

  27. Phillie697

    May 30, 2013 04:06 PM

    Like, you know, keeping Nate Schierholtz and do nothing else.

    That’s just for you, hk :)

  28. westcoastphilliesfan

    September 04, 2014 12:23 AM

    In 2013 and 2014 combined, Schierholtz has been paid a little over $7 million to produce an aggregate of 0.2 bWAR & 0.3 fWAR. Looks like the Phillies talent evaluators hit the mark on this one.

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