What does the Ty Wigginton trade suggest?

The more significant detail is what they are NOT paying, not what they’re getting.

Philadelphia sports fans greeted the recent news of the Phillies acquisition of Ty Wigginton with nothing more than a, “Oh that’s nice.” Even if it didn’t occur an hour or so before the potential death of the Eagle’s season, fans still would not have rushed out to buy Wigginton t-shirts.

The more significant part of the Phillies recent deal is not the player they acquired–a nice right-handed utility player, but the fact that the Phillies andRockieswill split Wigginton’s 2012 $4 million salary.

With the teams splitting the cost of Wigginton’s salary,Philadelphiaonly owes $2 million. Typically when teams split a player’s salary after trading, it means one of two things: One, the player’s salary is no longer “fair value” so the team acquiring him doesn’t want to pay that much, or two, the team acquiring him is fitting the player into their budget.

To figure out which of the two it is, we’ll look at the player itself in comparison to his market to test hypothesis one. Ty Wigginton was scheduled to make $4 million from theRockiesin more or less the same role he’ll play for Philly.

In past years, Juan Uribe and Mark DeRosa have played similar utility/right-handed bat roles for other National League teams. As a reserve infielder, Uribe made $3.3 million for the 2010 Giants. DeRosa made on average $4.3 million when he signed a 3 year deal to be a utility man for the Cubs. The three of them have similar career numbers.

Now, let’s look at each players’ numbers during the time period projected throughout a full-time 162 game schedule in which we are considering their salaries:

Player Seasons Avg. Ann. Salary AVG. HR/162 RBI/162
Wigginton 2006-11 $4MM 0.261 20 61
DeRosa 2007-09 $4.3MM 0.276 18 79
Uribe 2010 $3.3MM 0.265 20 70

Wigginton has made roughly $3.5 million, on average, during each of these seasons, is the only All-Star (in 2010) of the trio. So with after he and his peers established the market for this type of player to be considered “fair value” at $4 million or so, let’s go back to the split salary implications.

Clearly, when put up against the market, $4 million for Ty Wigginton is not farfetched, dismissing reason one. This means it must be reason number two, which Amaro has demonstrated several times such as in the Pence deal. It means he is trying to slide all the puzzle pieces into a budget.

That being the case, there is much confidence that Ty Wigginton is not the final piece in which he is trying to squeeze. If anything, the salary move is the indication that something else is coming. Why else would he have to ask for salary relief on a player they already can afford as is, and is at the market value?

Stay tuned, as this is not the storm itself, rather the forecast saying a “chance of another move.

In the mean time, consider their updated financial position given the additional slot filled. After getting Wiggy, figure the Phillies to be have roughly $150.23 million lined up in 2012 salaries, dedicating $25 million combined to their guaranteed tenders, Pence and Hamels. Note though that does not include arbitration eligible’s who are closer to the fence that the two such asValdez, Francisco and Kendrick. So, to fit everything in the luxary tax threshold, they have roughly $27.9 million in salaries to spend.

They’ll have to fill one or two bench spots, two to three bullpen arms (both depending if they go to a 11 or 12 man staff) and of course, shortstop. Do the math, and in total that’s, $27.9 million for 6 spots. There appears to be some flexibility, especially if they give some of the young arms such as De Fratus, Schwimmer, Savery or Aumont some of the bullpen spots.

So just like any other forecast as far as what the actual result may be, this too appears to be a flexible one.