In 2009, according to Baseball Digest (Vol. 69, Number 1) there were 55 “regulars and 62 pitchers who were traded or changed teams.
How did these players do? Did a change of scenery help?
Rather than review all 117 players that changed teams, most of which are “journeymen,” aka those players “hanging on,” or traded for a particular need, especially relief pitchers, I will concentrate, at first, on the regular position players who changed teams during 2009. Let’s make the cut off point 502 at bats.
Orlando Cabrera played for both the Oakland Athletics and the Minnesota Twins. Overall he batted 656 times, had 186 hits (eighth in the AL), batted .284, scored 83 runs, had 77 RBI, 36 doubles, three triples, nine home runs and stole 13 bases. But, his on base percentage was only .316.
For the Athletics, Cabera played in 101 games, batted 414 times, hit 23 doubles, four home runs, stole 11 bases, and batted 280. With the Twins, Cabera played in 59 games, batted 242 times, hit 13 doubles, three triples, and five home runs and batted .289.
Cabera was consistent for both teams.
Mark DeRosa played for both the Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Cardinals in 2009. His total numbers for 2009 are 515 at bats, 23 doubles, 23 homers, 78 RBI, and batted .250. With Cleveland, DeRosa played in 71 games, batted 278 times, with 13 doubles, 13 home runs and 50 RBI. He batted .270. A change of scenery didn’t help De Rosa, who, with the Cards, played in 68 games and batted only .228.
Who says the American League is tougher than the National League?
Outfielder Jeff Francoeur split time between Atlanta and the New York Mets. Overall, Francoeur had 593 at bats, 166 hits, 32 doubles, four triples, 15 home runs, 76 RBIs, and batted .280. Francoeur virtually split his time between the Braves and the Mets. For Atlanta, he played 82 games, had 12 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 35 RBI, batting .250. Atlanta gave up on Francoeur, who was expected to be an all around better hitter. He had much better stats for the Mets, playing 75 games, 289 at bats, with 20 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs, 41 RBI and batted .311, which is 61 points higher than his average in Atlanta.
I guess a change of scenery helped Francoeur.
Matt Holliday played for both the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis in 2009. His total numbers were 581 at bats, 182 hits, 39 doubles, three triples, 24 home runs, 109 RBIs, a .313 batting average and a .515 slugging percentage. A good year. For Oakland, Holliday played in 93 games, had 346 at bats, 99 hits, 23 doubles, 11 home runs and batted .286 in a pitcher-friendly stadium. Holliday caught fire in St. Louis. In 63 games and 235 at bats, he had 83 hits for a whopping .353 average.
Maybe the American League is tougher then the National League.
Aubrey Huff split time between Baltimore and the Detroit Tigers. In total, Huff batted 536 times, had 129 hits, 30 doubles, 15 home runs, and batted .241. Huff played most of the 2009 season with the Orioles, appearing in 110 games, hitting 24 doubles, 14 home runs, and 72 RBI, and batting .253. With Detroit, Huff played in 40 games, had 106 at bats, but only 20 hits, for a “below the Mendoza line” .189 average.
I think Huff wants to drive out of the Motor City.
Adam “Suitcase” LaRoche played for three teams in 2009, the Pittsburgh Pirates, Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves. Overall, considering all the packing and unpacking, he had a good year, batting .277, with 38 doubles, 25 home runs, and 83 RBI. LaRoche did not begin the season well in the Steel City, batting only .247, but hitting 25 doubles and 12 home runs in 87 games in 324 at bats. LaRoche didn’t stick around long enough to have some clam chowder in Boston, playing in just six games, with 19 at bats and five hits. However, three of those five hits were for extra bases (two doubles, one home run). With the Braves, LaRoche played in 57 games, had 212 at bats, 69 hits, including 11 doubles and 12 home runs, and a .325 batting average.
Why doesn’t anyone want this guy? Or does everyone want him.
Felipe Lopez played for both the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Milwaukee Brewers. In total, he batted 604 times, had 187 hits, (good enough for fourth in the NL in that category), 38 doubles, and 88 runs scored. With the Diamondbacks, Lopez, played in 85 games, had 18 doubles, batted .301 and scored 44 runs. He batted .301, and had an on base percentage of .364. With the Brewers, Lopez played in 66 games, had 20 doubles, another 44 runs scored, and batted .320.
Victor Martinez went from the Cleveland Indians to the Boston Red Sox. Overall, he put up impressive figures, batting .303, with 33 doubles, 23 home runs, and 108 RBI. Martinez started the year with the Indians, playing 99 games, and racking up 21 doubles, 15 home runs, and 67 RBI, while batting .284. With Boston, a better team with a more powerful lineup, Martinez went crazy, hitting .336 in 56 games, hitting 12 doubles, eight home runs, and 41 RBI.
Nate McLouth’s trade to the Atlanta Braves from the Pittsburgh Pirates created a firestorm among Pirates’ fans in Pittsburgh, which seems to have become an AAA team that trades their best players as soon as possible. Well, in McLouth’s case, maybe the firestorm was a campfire.
In total, McLouth had 27 doubles and 20 home runs, with a mediocre 70 RBIs and as just a mediocre .256 average. That’s what McLouth’s average was in 45 games with the Pirates, which included seven doubles, one triple, nine home runs and 34 RBI. In Georgia, McLouth’s average was one point higher (.257), in 84 games, hitting 20 doubles, one triple, 11 home runs and 36 RBI.
For five years, Alex Rios patrolled center field for the Toronto Blue Jays, before being shipped to the Chicago White Sox. Rios was decent for the Jays, batting .264, with 25 doubles, two triples, 14 home runs and 19 steals with the Toronto club. Unfortunately, the White Sox were another story. In 41 games for the Chisox, Rios batted .199, and had an embarrassing on base percentage of .229.
Next up, pitchers who switched teams during the 2009 season.
Baseball Digest, Volume 69, Number One.