Dear Ty Wigginton,
I want to start of by saying "Best of Luck in Philadelphia". It was pretty surprising to suddenly read the tweets from Jon Morosi and Troy Renck telling us you'd been traded. Definitely put an interesting spin on an evening at the Pepsi Center watching the Avalanche lose to the Sharks in unimpressive fashion.
When the Rockies signed you to your 2-year, $8M contract, I kind of winced. I didn't see you being an impact on this team for any amount of time. You were supposed to be the backup for Rockies Organization guys, Ian Stewart and Todd Helton. You were supposed to be a platoon option at a couple of positions. But that's it: a backup. A Part-time player. The kind of role on a winning team that makes ANY sort of sense for a player coming off of a season just barely above replacement level could take. I wasn't a FAN of the acquisition, at least not at the pricetag, and we would've preferred someone like Josh Willingham, but the Rockies still went for it.
Well, what's done is done. The Rockies wanted you to come play for them, so they made an offer that would pretty much guarantee you wearing the Purple Pinstripes in 2011.
So the season began, and everything was as it should have been. Well, sort of. Ian Stewart began the season hurt and ultimately terrible, and didn't record a hit until April 11th. After Stewart got demoted and Jose Lopez hit the bricks, it became incredibly apparent that we'd be seeing you getting a lot of playing time at 3B. That worked out for awhile, too. It wasn't until mid-August when things started getting downright embarrassing. This is when any and all excuses began to break down. The bizarre "Rockies lose when Wigginton hits a home run" streak gave way to the "Whenever the Rockies need a hit, Wigginton will ground into an inning-ending double play" streak. Whatever goodwill had been earned during the first half of the season was thoroughly lost during the 2nd half.
You see, Ty, it's not that you were the worst player in the majors. It's not that you were the worst 3B the team had ever seen. It was really just a miscasting. As a part-time player, you were posting somewhere in the realms of an .800 OPS, give or take. Had Ian Stewart not so completely wet the bed, you would have likely stayed the part-time player you were cast as. But instead, you were thrust into a position you should have never been in: regularly starting.
Take any other lousy bench player in MLB. As it stands, you're already at the pinnacle of American Sports: Playing in Major League Baseball. Most MLB managers will throw the bench players the occasional start, often leading to groaning fans as to why somebody ELSE isn't getting the start. The fact that you were thrust into this role, and the fact that you performed so miserably at it, turned what would have just been the same annoyed groaning we'd expect from any other bench player starting more than they should.
The backlash you received was from the underperformances of a player who was supposed to be an absolute beast and instead was turning in the worst season of his career compounded with an underperforming backup player, and it turned that annoyance into pure vitriol.
Ty, the words I've read about you go beyond the kind of distaste people have for the baseball players they don't like. The kind of inexplicable hatred that actually has me thinking that Philadelphia might be a better place for you to continue your MLB career.
The taste that everyone still has in their mouths isn't really one based on your lack of performance. It's the team. It's having holes on the team that aren't going to be fixed fast. It's watching Ubaldo Jimenez fall apart and get traded in absolutely miserable fashion. It's Aaron Cook being unable to rediscover his form from years past. It's the continued lack of a 2B. It's Ian Stewart striking out again. It's being unable to hit on the road. It's finishing 4th in the division.
No, Ty, it wasn't really you everyone hated. It was 2011. The problem is that you embodied so many of the problems with this current team, it was hard not to direct the hatred toward you. You couldn't hate Cook, he's a Classic Rockies Player. You couldn't hate Ubaldo, because just look at that smile and his love for Denver. You can't hate the entire team, because come on, it's the team. Homegrown guys and all that. But you, Ty. You came from Baltimore (among other varied teams), on a relatively short-term deal, and you'd be more expendable if you weren't so overpaid.
So here we are, Ty. The Rockies are paying $2M for you to play for Philadelphia. Furthermore, should the Phillies decide to keep you around next season (that is, exercise your option), only THEN will the Rockies receive the cash or PTBNL supposedly promised. However, should you have your option declined, then the Rockies will have to chip in on your $0.5M buyout. Even in parting you are still costing the team money. But it opens up a bit for the potential use on players who can actually help the team.
So to conclude, Ty, Goodbye. Good Luck, and Good Riddance.