Randy Winn is a, uh, baseball player. I mean, he plays for the San Francisco Giants. He plays right field. He, uh, seems like a nice guy.
Alright, you try and write something new and interesting about Randy Winn. He's like a nice pair of freshly ironed slacks. Useful. Better than a pair of wrinkled slacks. Nothing that's going to inspire a Tony-winning musical. But useful. Every team should want a couple of Randy Winns. He switch-hits, has speed, and can play all three outfield positions. Combine all of that with an above-average bat and great defense, and he's better than useful. As they say on the streets, he's danged useful.
It's hard to fully embrace Winn, though, because he represents two different things. On one hand, he's a productive, likable player who plays hard. On the other, he's been the best or second-best hitter on the team for two straight years, and that's unacceptable. A guy like Winn should be a working part of a good lineup, not a featured performer. It's not Winn's fault that he's a #3-hitter any more than it's Bengie Molina's fault for hitting cleanup. As a leadoff hitter, Winn is a little better cast than he was last year, even if he isn't a walking machine.
I'd like to think that in an normal offseason, teams would have been fighting to trade for Randy Winn. If a team close to short-term contention like the Braves wanted a quality outfielder, but they didn't want to get locked into a three- or four-year deal, Winn would have been a nice solution. Except that this offseason started with the government bailing the Farrelly brothers out of jail, and then the economy tanked. Or something. I don't really follow the news. But when Bobby Abreu signs a one-year deal for half of Winn's salary, there probably isn't a huge market for a full price Randy Winn. There's no sense in eating money when the player is still a significant contributor to the team.
It's pretty clear that the icky 2006 season was an outlier for Winn; other than that season, he's been a model of consistency. He isn't exactly young, though. Just because he'll turn 35 this year doesn't mean he'll fall apart, but it isn't outlandish to think that the best years are behind him. A survey of the projection systems:
The PECOTA projection is especially nice. I'm not convinced, though. I think there'll be a drop in performance, and though I'm not as pessimistic with Winn as I am with Molina, I don't think there's going to be a heck of a lot of talk about a contract extension.