Mariners Trade Deadline: An Analytical Look at Seattle’s Trade Options
Jul 12, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs right fielder Justin Ruggiano (20) hits a double during the third inning against the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Ruggiano, OF, Chicago Cubs
This is a name that hasn’t been mentioned nearly as often as the others, but is most likely available. He is a free agent after the season, and the Cubs aren’t going anywhere this year. They should look to sell high on him while they can, considering they have a plethora of young players coming up soon, and don’t need to pay him to come back next year.
While Ruggiano has always looked to be a pretty capable player, he has been limited to part time and platoon roles for much of his career. He has a career 126 wRC+ against left-handers, so he makes for a good platoon bat. But his numbers against righties aren’t too shabby either, with a 97 wRC+.
With that in mind, I find it hard to believe he has never really been given a shot, or viewed as a valuable, every day guy. A career 107 wRC+ overall with roughly average defense at all three outfield spots would seem like a nice complementary piece for any team.
He has been used sparingly this year, due to both injury, and the Cubs going with other options. But in that short time, 187 plate appearances, he has posted a 124 wRC+ and 0.6 fWAR, having hit right handers just as well as south paws (which is due to regress back toward his career rates).
But even then, ZiPS has him posting a 108 wRC+ for the rest of the year, finishing with 1.1 WAR over 329 total plate appearances, or a pace of 2 WAR over 600 PA. That represents a reasonable upgrade over James Jones, Corey Hart and/or Logan Morrison, and likely at a lesser cost than some of the alternatives.
Last year, he was traded for AAAA outfielder Brian Bogusevic. So next to nothing. His value may be higher now, but it still shouldn’t take anything that will be difficult to part with. Maybe a reliever like Yoervis Medina, or a mid-lower prospect like Ketel Marte, or Patrick Kivlehan, and that may even be high.
He isn’t a star, but he is much better than the current alternatives, and won’t take away from the team’s future.