Let's look at our 2006 prediction for Sean Casey.
That's pretty close - we were off a little bit on the slugging. Of course, our projections look way too optimistic when you consider Casey's performance with the Tigers, which stunk. Among individual guessers, WTM was the closest, pegging Casey at .290/.355/.420. For the season, Casey hit .272/.336/.388 total, and Greg Schuler got closest there, guessing that Casey would hit .280/.340/.400.
A couple of you mentioned the possibility of Casey being injured, and that turned out to be prescient - Casey wound up on the DL in mid-April and missed six weeks with a back injury. Craig Wilson filled in and was an improvement over Casey, putting up an .855 OPS as a first baseman.
Casey returned in late May but continued to be a mediocre player for the Bucs. He hit for a high average but only hit three home runs in 210 Pirate at bats. He was also extremely slow on the basepaths and nothing special with the glove. Casey's entire game now is hitting for contact, which is unacceptable for a first baseman, especially a slow one who doesn't play great defense. He completely fell apart with the Tigers. Casey will be out of the majors in a year or two. The Pirates dodged not just a bullet but a massacre by not signing him to an extension. He is no longer an acceptable option as a starting first baseman.
Casey is, if anything, as good a cautionary tale as any about why a team in the Pirates' position shouldn't hand out money to veterans who aren't stars. If you'll remember, of Dave Littlefield's pricy veteran acquisitions, Casey was the one we were least annoyed about. And, as it turned out, he was not nearly worth the money the Pirates paid him, even before considering they had a perfectly worthy substitute in Wilson who spent much of the spring and summer on the bench.
In July, the Pirates traded both Casey and Wilson (and received almost nothing in return for either). They went with Ryan Doumit and the newly-acquired Xavier Nady at first the rest of the year. Neither were inspiring, but at least Doumit can catch and is still young enough that he can get better, if only he can stay healthy. Nady is not a good player by any stretch of the imagination, but that won't stop the Pirates from starting him somewhere next year. That's okay, but he'll be 28 next year, and his career batting line is .270/.326/.429. They shouldn't hesitate to replace him when he becomes expensive or when they can find a suitable replacement.
|Actual (with Pirates)||.296/.377/.408|