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We've tried holding back on dissecting pieces by the local papers, whom we have respect for; most notably the likes of Carter Gaddis, Eduardo Encina, and the Marcs Lancaster and Topkin, but sometimes a piece comes along that just mystifies us, and we are forced to take a page out of Fire Joe Morgan's book.

His name has been mentioned in Minnesota, and it sort of makes sense. The Twins are teetering on the brink of contention and could use a third baseman with a little pop in his bat.
His name has come up in New York, too, and that is also understandable. The Yankees are beginning a playoff push and want to upgrade at first base.
Yes, for teams with designs on the postseason, Ty Wigginton can be an attractive solution for a number of lineup woes.
So why not in Tampa Bay?

The Rays have one of the league's top five leaders in OPS at first, and Akinori Iwamura's glove is made of a Gator skin, if that's not enough for you how about his .363 OBP, 25 points higher than Wigginton.
The July 31 trading deadline is fast approaching, and so the Rays are relevant once again. It is the one time of the year when other teams and their fans size up the Rays' roster as if they were having a smoke-damaged infielder sale.
The Rays have traded Fred McGriff and Bubba Trammell at deadlines past. Aubrey Huff and Steve Trachsel. Toby Hall, Mark Hendrickson, Albie Lopez, Julio Lugo and Jim Mecir have all departed in the vicinity of July.

Fred McGriff, Aubrey Huff, Julio Lugo, Jim Mecir; fair enough all very good performers for the Rays, I was too young to know what  `salary dumping' meant, and McGriff is my favorite player ever so sure he's a cap casuality so to speak, Huff may be an asshat but he was productive, Lugo, nice guy too bad he's struggling, Mecir great story very good pitcher, but umm...Trachsel, Hen...drickson....Lopez, Trammell, and Ha..ll...what the hell? The latter group is of average to poor players, it was less of a salary dump more of a dump, but perhaps you've been around too many smoke damaged items and it's effected your ability to comprehend who is good and who is bad; completely understandable.
And so it is that Wigginton is the latest to hear the rumors. His $2.7-million salary puts him right around the major-league average, but it makes him Wiggy Warbucks in the Rays clubhouse. Only Carl Crawford has a higher '07 salary.
So why would I suggest Wigginton be spared in Tampa Bay's annual drive to produce profits?
Because this situation is vastly different, both from the player's and the team's perspectives. Look, the Rays were nowhere near contention when McGriff was traded in 2001, so it made sense to dump him. And Huff and Lugo were months away from free agency in '06, so those trades were understandable, too. As for Hall, the team did not consider him a valuable enough asset for the future.
Wigginton does not fit in any of those models.

He's right actually, dumping Toby Hall increased ticket sales, something about Hall being bad...?
His contract is up at the end of the season, but he remains in the Rays' control for another two years. At 29, he is entering his prime, and could easily play a contributing role if the Rays really are ready to make a playoff push in 2009.
In other words, this should not be a monetary decision.
The time has come for the Rays to pay more attention to the box scores than the bottom line.
Why wouldn't you want someone with 20-homer power who can play three infield positions and is one of your few players with fire in his belly

He is under the Rays control, and his salary won't grow all that much, so not reducing to salary dumping isn't exactly the greatest of arguments Romano.
You're right this shouldn't be a monetary decision; purely statistical / on the field, looking at the box scores is how you judge these players, absolutely!  So what stats will you use to back his value up?
Oh...fire in the belly. To quote Lupe Fiasco "I'm thinkin godly, God guard me from the ungodly". The old sports cliché of a player having `fire' in his `belly'.
It's true Wigginton has 20 plus homer potential, that's a plus, and he can play three infield positions, just not necessarily well at second or third, he plays an okay first, but I think we can all agree that Josh Wilson, Iwamura, and Pena are all better defensive offerings than Wigginton.
Granted, Wigginton does not have a permanent home in the lineup. Aki Iwamura is the better third baseman, B.J. Upton has more potential as a second baseman and Carlos Pena has turned into an answer at first base.
And it is true Wigginton's salary may become untenable through salary arbitration. Todd Walker has never shown as much power and he won $3.95-million in arbitration last year, so it is not a stretch to think Wigginton could command somewhere between $4-million and $5-million in arbitration.

B.J. Upton plays centerfield more nights than not, Aki is better, Wilson is better, and you just said this isn't fiscal, therefore a potential FOUR MILLION DOLLAR SALARY is really a moot point, in your words of course.

But how often can you find a player capable of driving in 80 runs, playing multiple positions and willing to fill whatever role is available?
What's more, Wigginton wants to stay. Maybe it means he's loyal, maybe it means he's loony, but it certainly means he is unique.
And the odds that he would bring something of greater value in a trade are slim. Lugo and Huff were better commodities, and the Rays still have not seen productive results from those trades.

Runs batted in are a poor stat to begin with due to it being an opportunity stat more than not, but because you asked, the team `found' Carlos Pena and Brendan Harris, two players that should reach about 80 RBIs this year, Harris willing to play third, second, short, whatever, and Pena is the same guy who has become a walking praise machine for the team and its youth.
Lugo was of better value, yes, but Huff can be argued, and he wouldn't bring something of greater value? Mr. Romano aren't you the same guy who has in the past bitched about the Rays inactivity towards fixing the bullpen, and in this column have you not basically written Wigginton off as a movable asset?

Now if Andrew Friedman finds some GM stumbling out of happy hour who is willing to give up a prized prospect then, by all means, make the deal.

I'm sure Mr. Friedman goes out bar hopping at night looking for barely legal, drunk, defenseless general managers who sign trade papers and have their owners somehow give the `a-okay' for senseless deals every night.

Otherwise, the Rays are better off talking to Wigginton about a multiyear deal. He has expressed a willingness to consider a hometown discount in exchange for security, which means the Rays could buy out his two arbitration seasons and maybe even his first year of free agency. A three-year deal in the $10-million to $11-million range would surely make sense for both sides

Wait, why? He's under the Rays control for two more seasons, at that rate he'll be 31, Bill James has theorized an average hitter's prime ends after turning 28, money is not a factor Mr. Romano, and with arbitration it won't matter much if he's willing to take a discount. Three years 10-11 million? Certainly rather than just holding onto him for his next two arb years and seeing if he still has anything left just give him the three year deal now; makes perfect sense.

Even if Wigginton is to be a super sub - picking up at-bats at first, second, third and designated hitter - he would earn his keep. And should someone turn an ankle or pull a hamstring, Wigginton could prove to be invaluable.
For too long, the Rays have been auctioning off their assets in the name of progress. They talk of the future more than the folks at the Sci Fi Channel.

Sure super sub, that's fine, and he can do just that under arb, that or the Rays could find someone else likely just as good picking up 300 at-bats annually.
Ah there it is! The cliché `Rays always talking about the future and always selling off their good parts like Tobias Hall and Mark Hendrickson...

Wigginton is here today.
Why not keep him around tomorrow, too.

Tomorrow? That's the future Romano, we aren't at privilege to discuss that, right?