Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Under the Hard Cap
If we want to stockpile a collection of aging and/or mediocre second basemen on the roster, then management might want to think about Rich Aurilia. He declined Cincy's arbitration offer, and with Ryan Freel and Tony Womack, they likely don't need him anyway. If they want to stick to the theme of picking up second basemen in the autumn of their careers, Aurilia, 34, would fit the bill nicely. In the middle part of his career, he put up solid numbers, even hitting 37 home runs for the Giants in 2001 (flax seed oil, cough, cough). He wound up relegated to utility duties by 2004, starting the season with the Mariners and being acquired by the Padres as a veteran fill-in for Sean Burroughs. Last year, he started the season in Cincy in the back up role, but got pressed into full time duties as injuries befell their infield. When he started playing full time, his numbers soared and fans caught a glimpse of the Ghost of Aurilia's Past. 2005 post All-Star: .315/.377/.481/.858 Career: .276/.330/.436/.766 Those really aren't bad numbers for a second baseman. His numbers against righties and lefties were quite similar, with his slugging taking the only noticeable drop. His numbers are also better than Aaron Miles' numbers, who posts a career sub-.700 OPS. So his age, skill set, and circumstances seem to fit the Cards' m.o. for second base, but the biggest requirement would likely be salary. Aurilia made $500K last year, and turned down an arbitration offer that likely would have made him a little richer. My spot analysis says that he would definitely fit into the $2 million "hard cap" handcuffs given to Walt for filling the keystone bag. Aurilia makes a nice option, nothing to get excited about, but he certainly seems like a solid pick given the restrictions put on filling that position.