It's Black Friday, so you know what that means! Well, besides eating leftovers upon leftovers and watching football. Black Friday means bargains! Awesome deals! Patrick already looked at a few players the Tigers could grab on the cheap, but I wanted to tackle a couple in detail. First up: outfielder Nate Schierholtz, who has spent his entire career in the National League. Could a move to the AL be in the offing?
*2015 Steamer projection
Who is he?
Schierholtz is 30 year old outfielder who was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the second round of the 2003 draft. A left-handed batter, Schierholtz made his MLB debut in 2007, when he hit .304/.316/.402 in 117 plate appearances for the Giants. He spent five and a half seasons in San Francisco before becoming somewhat of a journeyman. He played for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2012, the Chicago Cubs in 2013, and the Cubs and Washington Nationals in 2014. Coming off a dismal 2014 campaign, Schierholtz could be a value pickup if he bounces back in 2015.
Why should we care?
Schierholtz was bad in 2014, but has been a decent contributor in part-time action throughout his career. He only has one season with more than 400 plate appearances, but has compiled more than 1 WAR on three separate occasions. The lone season he played full time was in 2013, when he hit .251/.301/.470 with 21 home runs in 503 plate appearances. He has been a consistent performer against both righties and lefties, hitting just above .250 with an on-base percentage north of .300. His power is almost all against righties, though. Of Schierholtz's 52 career home runs, 48 have come against right-handed pitchers.
Schierholtz is also a pretty good defender. He has spent most of his career in right field, where he has compiled a 21.4 UZR and 19 defensive runs saved in nearly 4500 innings. His arm rates as slightly below average per Fangraphs' advanced metrics, but he has thrown out nine baserunners on three separate occasions in his career.
Why should we stay away?
If you want a full-time starter to take over one of the corner outfield spots, Schierholtz probably isn't your guy. He's a good fourth outfielder or a borderline starter at best, and would probably be more productive in a platoon situation. With the Tigers already (ideally) platooning Rajai Davis and Anthony Gose in center, they would need to add another outfielder opposite Schierholtz to get the most out of their situation. Schierholtz's career .720 OPS is solid given his above average defense, but the club would probably like to get more out of that spot offensively.
Schierholtz's age and experience are also a factor. He will be 31 years old on Opening Day next year, and has never played in the American League. We have seen better players struggle when making the transition to the Junior Circuit, and with Schierholtz coming off an abysmal 2014 season offensively, there is no guarantee that he would bounce back against better competition.
Will he end up in Detroit?
Despite Dave Dombrowski hinting that the Tigers were set in the outfield, rumors of them looking to improve upon their current situation have been flying around. The team has presumably discussed a trade for Yoenis Cespedes with the Boston Red Sox, and there was reported interest in Melky Cabrera earlier this offseason as well. Schierholtz is an obvious step down from both of those players, but he could provide some value if everything clicks. It wouldn't be ideal, but it's another option for the Tigers.