Welcome to the Bench: Cliff Pennington

Background
Born: 6/15/1984 (31 y, 1 m, 25 d) Corpus Christi, Texas, US
Drafted: 1st round (21st overall) in 2005 by Oakland Athletics
Teams: Oakland Athletics (2008-2012), Arizona Diamondbacks (2013-2015) Toronto Blue Jays (Current)
Positions: Shortstop (564 games), Second Base (106 games), Third Base (31 games), Left Field (5 games), DH (1 game)
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 195 lbs
Bat: Both
Throw: Right
Full Baseball Reference Bio

2015 Stats
GP   AB   1B   2B   3B   HR   RBI   BB   SO   SB   CS    BAA    OBP   SLG
73    159   28    3      0      1     10     17    30      3     0       .235    .316    .279
Fangraphs Profile for Career Standard and Advanced Statistics

The Trade
The Toronto Blue Jays acquire Pennington from the Arizona Diamondbacks for shortstop prospect Dawel Lugo.

What he brings to the team
The switch-hitting shortstop gives the Jays a versatile bench bat (I guess that’s what you call it) who plays solid defense at 3 key infield positions. He also adds some organizational depth who can give Tulo a couple days off and knock every infielder behind Devon Travis down a peg on the depth chart (although the sun will not shine as bright everyday that Kawasaki is in Buffalo). He has shown that he can be effective, posting a WAR of 3.5  in 153 with Oakland in 2010, his best season to date. This is a nice little pickup for the Blue Jays.

Why he’s on the bench
This year’s triple slash line of .235/.316/.279 and a wRC+ (Weighted Runs Created Plus) of 62 (terrible considering 100 is average) leaves more to be desired. Let’s just say he and Ryan Goins could make for a very uninspiring battle for the backup middle infield position. The Jays offense is good enough to tide over a couple weeks the Goins/Pennington combo but let’s hope that Travis is healthy sooner rather than later. It might speak to his talent that his top viewed Youtube video isn’t some exciting highlight reel of defensive web gems, or any significant home runs. It is a very grainy video of Pennington breaking three bats in one at bat. Behold.

Inspiring stuff.

Pennington is a solid depth pickup for the playoff-bound Blue Jays, but I try and curb my enthusiasm. Although I can’t help but relate to the new Jay. Aside from him being taller than me, definitely more athletic , and having enough promise that someone was willing to pick him in the first round of his draft–I am a gym class mid-round pick at best– Pennington is also a weak hitting middle infielder who has had bells palsy.

Other Stuff

Looks like Pennington and Bautista should bowl together.

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