Is Chris Shelton ready for the big leagues again?

Sports Illustrated had an article subtitled “Seven trades that need to happen before the deadline” where they suggested a trade the Tigers need to make to fill the hole left by the slumping Sean Casey. This was also noted over at mlive.com but the article suggests that Detroit trade for Troy Glaus or Todd Helton:

5. Troy Glaus to the Tigers
Helton would also be a natural fit for Detroit, which isn’t getting much from first base, where the beloved Sean Casey (winner of SI’s poll for Friendliest Player) has struggled. Helton might be a better fit as a left-handed hitter and natural first baseman, but Glaus (eight homers, 21 RBIs, .307) would help, as well.

Both good players but with hefty contracts. Troy Glaus’s contract with runs through 2008 making $10.75M in ’07 and $12.75M in ’08 with a 2009 player option for $11.25M. He also has a full no-trade clause in the contract so this is likely not realistic anyway but for the sake of argument let’s look at if this is a smart move anyway.

  AVG R HR RBI OBP SLG VORP
Troy Glaus PECOTA .261 74 30 83 .363 .542 25.8
Troy Glaus 2007 .307 20 8 21 .419 .614 N/A

With Glaus currently well above the PECOTA prediction and well above his normal stats it just doesn’t seem like a good idea. Sean Casey is also well below his .282 PECOTA AVG and should, and currently is, bringing his average more in-line with this prediction.

Glaus’s best season was 2000 with the Angels where he batted .284/.404/.604. Since then he has yet to get a batting average above .258 (in 2005). This combined with him being right handed and not having played first base I’m a bit surprised by this pick.

Todd Helton makes a bit more sense as a player. He’s a lefty. He’s played first base. His lifetime stats are very impressive and projections nice as well.

  AVG R HR RBI OBP SLG VORP
Todd Helton PECOTA .303 98 20 90 .396 .501 24.5
Todd Helton 2007 .355 22 5 26 .473 .526 N/A

This also makes him quite a bit more pricey as well. Helton is signed up though 2011 with a club option in 2012. This has him making $16.6M a year through 2010 and $19.1M in 2011. The club option is for $23M. This is pretty much unrealistic for Detroit and simply not worth it.

Now let us take a look at reality and what Detroit has waiting in the wings for much cheaper. Chris Shelton has started this year off with Detroit’s Class AAA club Toledo. He started off the year pretty hot but has since faded pretty quickly though recently he’s started to turn things around again. Below is a look at his batting average through this year so far and you’ll see that it is starting to trend upward again.

Chris Shelton Batting Average

Though Chris started slumping late last year, which lead to the acquisition of Sean Casey from Pittsburgh before the trade deadline, he showed tremendous power and ability before that time. He certainly has a bit more to prove before he comes back up from Toledo but he isn’t far off. I don’t think that will happen soon or this year even but a big name, large salary first baseman is unnecessary.

Until then the duo of Casey and Thames will provide the Tigers with the power and defense needed. You can also expect that Sean Casey will step up and not have another month like April.

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3 Responses to Is Chris Shelton ready for the big leagues again?

  1. Kurt says:

    Shelton has an OBP of around .400 right? I’d take that. Who wouldn’t? Even if it’s only .350 in the majors. I’d rather see the redheaded kid back.

  2. Eric Jackson says:

    Yes, .403. I think the issue/question is whether Leyland is ready to pull the plug on Sean Casey. From a conversation with Jason Beck on 1270 the other day it doesn’t sound like that is in their plans, at least that they are saying publicly, for now.

    If not, I would rather see Shelton getting regular at-bats in Toledo than picking up Marcus’s already low number of AB’s.

  3. Pingback: Bunt Singles: May 24 » Mack Avenue Tigers : A Detroit Tigers Blog

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