Should the Tigers want Koskie?

With the Toronto Blue Jays acquiring Troy Glaus and Lyle Overbay, they now have enough corner infielders to defense a pentagon. Corey Koskie is one of the most likely corner infielders to be traded. It’s been thought that the Tigers need to improve third base and get a left handed bat. Koskie would serve both of those roles, but is it a good idea?

To illustrate, let’s go to the good old fashioned Player A versus Player B

             Player A                       Player B

Age        AVG   OBP    SLG          AVG   OBP    SLG

30         300    377    538          292    393    452
31         277    367    445          251    342    495
32         282    345    417          249    337    398

Player B is Corey Koskie and Player A is Detroit Tiger legend and scapegoat, Bobby Higginson. While the numbers don’t match up exactly, both players appear to suffer a decline in average at age 32/33. While Higginson’s numbers declined more rapidly, the pattern appears to be farily similar. I chose Higginson because he was familiar to Tiger fans, but there are other more telling cases.

Using Baseball Reference, here are the 10 most similar players to Koskie

958  Chris Sabo
949  Melvin Mora
947  Whitey Kurowski
937  Aaron Boone
934  Torii Hunter 
934  Hank Thompson
932  Dave Hollins
932  Jeffrey Hammonds
927  Ellis Valentine
926  Mike Lowell

While Melvin Mora was definitely a late bloomer who has continued to perform well, the rest of the list isn’t too promising. The combined statistics from Age 33 on for that group are 259/321/417. That isn’t too bad, until you realize that over half of the at-bats accumulated by the group were from Melvin Mora last year. Very few of the group played at all, yet alone significantly after they turned 33. Granted, Torii Hunter, Aaron Boone, and Mike Lowell haven’t reached age 33 yet, but Lowell and Boone have already experienced serious decline.Now none of this means that Koskie won’t be a productive player in the future. He would still provide solid defense, and can still work the count. It’s also likely his thumb injury from last year hampered his offensive performance. If he comes back healthy he could regain his old form. But then again, aren’t Tiger fans already saying that about a couple key contributors?

(Special Thanks to Chris who wrote and raised the question).

detroit tigers,baseball

6 Comments

  1. Chris

    December 31, 2005 at 1:08 am

    Some good points, but I’d take the chance. He is under contract for only 2 more years ( $5.5 / year )and the Tigers could likely get him without giving up much. I think Inge is better suited as a Utility player ( Chone Figgins ) 400 ab’s numerous positions. I’m somewhat bias being Canadian, I’d like to see the Tigers with some Canadian flavour. Or as you’d write Flavor.

    Later

  2. hawk

    December 31, 2005 at 8:42 am

    Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn’t Toronto also have Hinske and Hillenbrand under contract? I would think Hinske has fallen out of favor a bit but is young enough to turn his career around. I haven’t taken the time to check this out, so am not entirely sure of his stats- but think finding a solid 3b, freeing up Inge for super sub duties would be wise. That would include catching 1-2 days a week and perhaps doing away with carrying another catcher.

  3. Steve

    December 31, 2005 at 11:06 am

    Interesting idea. It would give us some options we currently do not have. If we can get him with out giving up too much, I would go for it.
    We have a large park and a need for a big bat.

    Happy New year to all …………..

  4. Dave

    December 31, 2005 at 4:26 pm

    Chris raises a great question. Acquisitions of Overbay and Glaus make Koskie, Hinske and Hillenbrand expendable. Only Koskie bats left and should not demand great trade value. Hinske and Hillenbrand are younger but both bat right and Hillenbrand, although arbitration eligible, would require too much in trade. My concern is that Koskie may be on the decline and he strikes out even more frequently than Inge, greater than once every 4 ab’s. Platooning him with Inge is an interesting thought, but I don’t view him as an upgrade.

  5. Tim D

    December 31, 2005 at 8:05 pm

    Koskie’s career OPS is .825. Inge’s best year was .793. I have to think the injuries took their toll on Koskie last year. He would be a definite plus. But paying him $5.5 mil is not a bargain. If Toronto wants to dump him fine, but giving up anything of value would likely end up being counterproductive.

    The Tigers could move Monroe, but I’d want more than just Koskie because Monroe is both good and cheap. Toronto could use an OF. Thames could take Monroe’s job given the ABs. You put 2004 and 2005 at Toledo together and you have numbers that would make Hank Greenberg proud. Not to say Thames would do that in the AL but the guy has really hit a ton.

    BTW, Hinske hits left also. He’s not as good as Koskie defensively and he’s making $3 mil himself, but he would likely outhit Inge, he’s 28 instead of 32, and he would come cheaper.

  6. Casimir

    January 4, 2006 at 6:32 pm

    I like the idea of going after Hinske — a guy that might have a bit of upside left and would be a good platoon partner vs rightes at 3B.