Tigers get Sean Casey

The Tigers traded for Sean Casey from the Pittsburgh Pirates. They sent the Pirates minor league pitcher Brian Rogers. To make room for Casey, Chris Shelton was optioned to Toledo.

Rogers had 62 K’s and only 14 walks in 60 innings as a 24 year old for Erie. I’m not sure of Rogers ceiling, but his performance this year was definitely solid.

Casey brings in a 371 career OBP, and he’s at .377 this year. He doesn’t bring much power to the position with only a .408 slugging percentage. Defensively he’s below average at -4 fielding runs above average. But he does provide a left handed bat, and in an interview today on WXYT he sounded absolutely giddy. Casey is in the last year of his current contract and is making $8.5 million.

Chris Shelton of course has been struggling. His offensive numbers for the season are still better than Casey’s and he has 7 fielding runs above average.

So the Tigers made a move, and didn’t give up a ton, but I don’t think they appreciably improved themselves either. The infield defense which has been a huge strength of the team, and one of the chief reasons for the pitching staff’s success could be taking a hit with this move.

As for Shelton, I do think that some time at AAA with hitting coach Leon Durham will be beneficial. I’m just curious as to what happens if Shelton gets his swing back at Toledo and starts ripping the ball. Does he languish at Toledo or do the Tigers create another three headed first base/DH monster?

50 thoughts on “Tigers get Sean Casey”

  1. Looks like the Tigers were willing to accept his salary. I guess Leyland wanted to be less reliant on homers. Casey is a singles and doubles guy.

  2. I would think Casey would have to be the starter since they’re sending down Shelton. I would expect him to play every day at first with the occasional breather when there’s a left-hander on the mound.

  3. With Shelton down, Casey starts, possibly as part of a platoon with Dmitri.

    If Shelton rediscovers his power-hitting, he will be back as a starter. Good luck Bull and Chris…

  4. Since 4/18/06 Shelton is hitting .244/.318/.353, so the Tigers had to do something. But if they were down on him I don’t know why they didn’t send him down earlier and see if he could get his stroke back.

    It would have been nice if D.Y. could have gotten an opportunity to become the regular 1B.

  5. I think they’ll definitely bring Shelton back up if/when he fixes his swing. You’d have five guys than for three positions (1B/LF/DH). Against right-handers:

    1B: Casey
    LF: Monroe/Thames
    DH: Young

    Against left-handers:
    1B: Shelton
    LF: Monroe
    DH: Thames

  6. I feel really bad for Shelton, but what better signal toward the urgency and accountability that’s necessary for the rest of the season?

  7. I worry about the defensive downgrade, but think how many more runs we would have scored since April with a .300 average, instead of Shelton’s sub-par .244. We might have pulled out a couple more games. Shelton has been our least clutch player. What do you know about Casey in the clutch?

  8. Casey’s splits against left and right handers are pretty much even throughout the last three years, (vs. LHP: .321/ .376/ .456; vs. RHP .303 / .363/ .819) so I don’t see why everyone is so eager to platoon him. I would think that DY and Thames will split time at DH, with Thames occasionally spelling Monroe in left field. If Casey is and stays healthy this is an enormous offensive upgrade at first base.

    He is slightly worse defensively (from looking at Clay Davenport’s defensive metrics, he looks to be about 7 runs/100 games worse than Shelton, but only 4 runs/100 games worse than a league average first baseman.)

    All in all, I say this is a pretty good deal for the Tigers

  9. Any thoughts on the tigers making this trade to open up roster space to deal for Soriano?
    Trade DY and Thames for Soriano, bring Shelton back up to the majors. He is batting better than Inge, and playing good D.

  10. Look at it this way-now we have a Casey at the bat. 🙂 Let’s hope this turns out better for us than Mudville.

  11. Sorry for the double post, but I didn’t see the question about his clutch hitting before I posted the first time. Over the course of his career, Casey has walked about as often as he has struck out (BB: 411; SO: 489). Players, like Casey, with a good ratio of BB/SO tend to perform better in clutch situations (Shelton’s tendency to strike out is one reason why he seems less “clutch.”)

    For more concrete stats, over the last three years here are his “clutch” stats:

    In 401 AB with RISP: .309/.405/.461
    In 168 AB with RISP and 2 outs: .298/.410/.500
    In 250 AB, “close & late”: .328/.382/.456

  12. I feel sorry about Chris. He’s a good guy. As mentionede maybe Leon Durham will bring his swing back. He has the potential for a 30 HR 0.300 guy .

    As for Casey: Solid contact hitter with not so many power. But he could provide us with some more base hits and runs if he can make his regular number in Old English D , too.

    The press release remarks ” Casey has not committed an error in 491 total chances at first base this season. He has posted a .995 fielding percentage at first base during his career.”.

    Hopefully he doesn’t commit any for the rest of the season.

    Greetings from Germany

  13. I’m definitely down with the OBP improvement between Casey and Shelton. Chris needs to cut down on the strikeouts. Actually the whole team does, and this move helps.

    Casey will also be more capable of making productive outs.

    I feel bad for Shelton–as I would for anyone who gets pushed out due to roster changes. I’ve been pulling for these guys all year and I’ve been impressed with how hard they’ve all worked. It must really be heartbreaking to be forced out at this point in the season.

    Dave, I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that DY will be included in any deal for any player. And didn’t we just add a roster spot?

  14. Good points by Nate about the L/R splits, and he’s actually done worse vs. righties in the past two years. I’m sure we’re going to hear a ton in the media about “left handed bat” but it’s simply not an advantage in this situation. I don’t really see how this is an improvement over Shelton in any way except on base percentage. I think it’s a negative value move by the Tigers, but I guess we can all hope this somehow helps Shelton (as opposed to destroying his confidence).

  15. I’m very happy with the move. Depth is always a good thing and all it cost us was second tier prospect. This is a good way to take the pressure of Chris for awhile. I fully expect to see him back in September. When he does return, Casey will probably be used A LOT as a pinch hitter. Any idea what his career PH numbers are?

  16. Yay, productive outs. That’s just what a team that makes to many outs as it is needs.

    Casey is a singles and doubles guy playing a power position. He’s also way overpriced. But he’s an upgrade over what Shelton has given us this year (at least assuming the switch to the AL doesn’t cause a big problem. If the AL is as much better than the NL as it has seemed, he might be worse than Shelton), which is really the point of the deal. As long as they don’t do anything stupid like extend his contract this is a nice little deal that gives us a LH bat and improves our OBP at very little cost.

    I think Shelton will be fine and the trip to AAA will do him some good. He should be back, if not this year then next year.

  17. If you had to completely release 1 of 4, between D. Young, M. Thames, C. Monroe, or C. Shelton, who would it be?

  18. Shelton has been a terrible hitter for his last 300+ ABs. I don’t think that’s a slump. Hopefully it’s something he can fix and not something that other teams have figured out about him.


    Shelton gets his swing straightened out and comes back hitting line drives and with a better OBP, OBP, OBP.

    Casey doesn’t have any range but he catches it when he can get to it. No power but they don’t need power. They need people on base. .377 lifetime OBP.

    A “tweak” but a good deal. Rogers could turn into a useful reliever, or not. I like it.

  20. Good trade for Dombrowski. The Tigers traded Shelton’s .310/.360 line at first base for Casey’s .370/.430, and only gave up an AA relief pitcher. Casey can hurt postseason-caliber pitching; not Shelton.

  21. As long as they don’t do anything stupid like extend his contract this is a nice little deal that gives us a LH bat and improves our OBP at very little cost.

    Agreed. This seems like a perfect rental. It gives us a little more depth and diversity at a pretty reasonable cost.

    I’m sure we’re going to hear a ton in the media about “left handed bat” but it’s simply not an advantage in this situation.

    Don’t forget about the other side of the equation. He may not have an advantage over a typical righty, but there may be righties that are at a disadvantage to all left-handed batters. That side-arm reliever that MIN kept using would probably be a good example…. tough release point for a righty, but easy to see for any lefty.

  22. Placido Polanco has been a terrible hitter for just as long (actually a little bit longer), but I’m not sure that it really matters. I’m pretty confident that you could find 300 consecutive AB’s for almost ANY hitter in history and make him look bad. It’s only half a season and it looks like a classic example of the multiple endpoint fallacy.

    I’m not sure what makes anyone think Casey can hurt “postseason calibre pitching” more than Shelton. Casey isn’t that good a hitter. He’s a complimentary guy, and as long as that’s all we ask of him he’ll be fine. I don’t think he’s a guy we are bringing in with the expectation that he’s going to scare anyone in the playoffs.

  23. Shelton’s defensive stats may look the same but it seems like he made his errors at a bad time and made mental mistakes (cutoffs) that don’t show as errors.

  24. I like encouraging the team to be more patient. Maybe that can happen by example. And it certainly sounds like Casey is nothing but happyfuntime in the clubhouse, which we can always use to shield against the toxicity of last season.

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  26. One thing that hasn’t been brought up is that Casey led the majors last season in double plays ground into with 27. Blech.

  27. Is there a possibility Casey will start tonight? I think he’s currently injured, so…. Will it be DY.
    There’s no way in a million years we’ll give up D.Y. AND Thames for Soriano. NOT HAPPENING. Those two together are 175% better than Soriano. I wouldn’t mind seeing one of them go for Soriano, as long as we’d be able to keep Soriano for more than 3 months.
    Well, 1 hour left and no movement on Soriano, this one should be fun to watch play out.

  28. The double play rates from this year:
    Shelton: 21.5%
    Casey: 14.5%

    The net double play rate (vs. the average number of opportunities for an average player). 0 is average. positive is bad. negative is good.

    Shelton: 5.49
    Casey: 0.89

    So, still an upgrade over what we had.

  29. Assuming this year is representative of what we can expect going forward. What is Casey’s career DP rate and net DP rate (or is that not easily accesible)?

  30. Well, this deal does add better ave and obp for very cheap. I really like that part of the deal. And with Shelton struggling mightily, the position we aquired doesnt bother me either.

    What I’m not so thrilled with is that we picked him up while injured, in a sesaon where he’s only played 60 games due to various nagging injuries. The injuries have put a damper on his extra base power.

    Plus, I’m very dissapointed that we didn’t gain any speed with this aquisition. In fact he might be slower than Shelton.

  31. I can’t find any past rates, but I can tell you his 27 GIDPs in 2005 was a career high. He’s mostly in the 10-16 range for his career with 19 in 2003. He’s at eight currently.

  32. Casey’s hitting the ball on the ground 45.1% of the time this year and 51.6% of the time last year vs. Shelton’s 32.3% and 38.3%, I don’t see how Casey is less of a gdp threat than Shelton.

    Furthermore, I don’t know how fair it is to look further back than this season and last season for Casey, as the injuries have zapped him of his power in this time.

  33. Too many outs Nick?

    What does that mean? Last I checked every team was making the same amount of outs over a 9 inning game.

    We’ve already pointed out that his OBP is pretty decent and a vast improvement over Shelton’s–which addresses the “too many outs” issue.

    The fact that he doesn’t K too often and, as Kurt points out, doesn’t hit into as many double-plays as Shelton, means he will be more prone to move runners along than the man he is replacing.

    I think that’s a positive. It’s something winning clubs do.

  34. Our hitters come to the plate the make too many outs (of course, I think you knew :)). Winning clubs get on base and don’t make outs (at least if they want to win with offense), productive outs have very little to do with it.

    The improved OBP is a good thing, in fact it’s the main thing Casey brings to the table. He’s got no power and no speed (he might even be slower than Shelton, I’m honestly not sure.).

    As I said earlier, historical GDP rates would be nice, because Casey only has 213 AB’s this year. Drawing conclusions about his ability to advance runners (even compared to Shelton) based on GDP data from just this year is premature. Casey averaged 20 DP’s per 162 games prior to this year (and 8 in 59 games this year hasn’t improved that rate). Shelton averages about 16 per 162 games including this year. Some of that may be related to opportunity (Casey has played on some good offensive teams in Cincinnati) but my main point is that I wouldn’t draw any conclusions based on Casey’s 59 game partial season this year.

  35. Well, Soriano didn’t go anywhere today. No trade to the Yankees, White Sox or any other AL team so that isn’t so bad.

    I like the trade for Casey. Pretty cheap rental price for a decent bat. We all knew that by today there wasn’t going to be any huge deals and I was actually surprised that we made any deal at all. It looks good and even if it doesn’t work out (i.e. Casey doesn’t play any better than Shelton was currently playing) we only gave up a AA prospect.

    What really surprised me today was that the White Sox didn’t pick up any pitching help. I really thought they would make a move for long relief or a spot starter. To me that was more shocking than seeing Shelton get demoted.

    My $.02.

  36. I met Casey about 7 years ago when he was with the Reds. He was visiting DC with his friend who was dating my co-worker. Nice guy.

    I like the move. He has had some medocure numbers but on a pathetic team. Put him at the #9 slot and make the pitchers pitch to him (vs around him to Granderson) and hopefully you will see a few Polanco at bats with two on and no outs.

    I don’t care about the power, if he can get aboard our hitters can get him around.

  37. Heyman reports that Bowden says he was never really close to a deal to move Soriano.


    Agree with Andrew: The fact that there were no further deals for AL Central or East teams is good news. Yankees will be scary when Sheffield and Matsui return but that’s a ways off. Let’s go grab that #1 seed for the playoffs!

  38. I think that if we’re looking ahead to the post-season, where games are so often low scoring, nip-n-tuck affairs, things like moving runners along with less than two-outs becomes pretty critical.

    And all I’m saying is would you rather have a guy hitting below the Mendoza line who Ks all the time and doesn’t hit homeruns or someone who doesn’t hit home runs, but hits for average, gets on base, and is more likely to move runners along when making outs?

  39. being the lone WPA nerd on this site i think, another way to look at it is that Detroit gets a guy with a -30 WPA this season and sends down a guy at -83.

  40. I’m not trying to argue in the face of statistics, but in all the “expert” analysis I’ve read it seems generally accepted that Casey is a good fielder.

    Admittedly if I was hearing this from the typical announcer I’d chalk it up to opinion based in little fact. But considering the source – baseballamerica.com I feel a lot better about it:


    You might find this article interesting as well:


    I’ve always thought Casey was supposed to be a very good fielder. I can’t claim to have seen him very much in person because he plays in the NL, but it seems that way according to what I’ve read. I know Shelton has improved his fielding, but I think worries about a defensive lapse are the least of our concerns.

    I was glad to see Dombrowski didn’t do anything rash. I would have liked to see them add another bullpen arm but this falls in line with what I mentioned before – A good defensive LH veteran bat.


  41. DD quote:

    “They asked for Cameron Maybin to be part of packages of players. I said I wouldn’t trade Cameron Maybin straight up for Alfonso Soriano, so we were never close.”

    Love it!!!!

  42. “And all I’m saying is would you rather have a guy hitting below the Mendoza line who Ks all the time and doesn’t hit homeruns or someone who doesn’t hit home runs, but hits for average, gets on base, and is more likely to move runners along when making outs?”

    I’d rather have the guy that hits home runs and hits for average. 🙂

    Obviously if the choice is between one guy that sucks AND doesn’t move runners along and another guy that doesn’t suck nearly as much and also moves runners along, I’ll take the guy that doesn’t suck as much. But if the guy that sucked is the guy that moves runners along (hits around the mendoza line, doesn’t hit home runs, but doesn’t K and makes productive outs when possible), and the guy that doesn’t suck doesn’t move runners along, I’d still rather have the guy that doesn’t suck.

    As far as Casey being a nice guy, I doubt you are going to find a nicer guy in all of baseball. I’ve lived in Cincinnati for 10 years now and the guy is still just about everyones favorite player in town. His nickname was/is “The Mayor” and as far as I can tell the reason is most people thought he could have run for mayor of cincinnati and won without any trouble.

  43. Casey’s a seasoned veteran – exactly the kind of guy you’re looking to add at relatively low cost as you look at the playoff schedule. Shelton gets the attention he needs and the Tigers have a solid guy to fill in until he gets the groove back. A marginal move, but this game is one at the margins.

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