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Free Agent Profile: Rich Aurilia

Rich Aurilia

Rich Aurilia is a veteran who knows how to play baseball the right way.  He can play any of the 4 infield positions, get the job done at the plate, and have a terrific effect on the clubhouse atmosphere.  In other words, he could be one of the great bargains of this offseason, and I’m sure Aurilia will have plenty of teams calling his agent to try and sign the experienced infielder. 

Here’s a look at Aurilia’s statistics for 2006…

  • Batting Average: .300
  • On-Base Percentage: .349
  • Slugging Percentage: .518
  • OPS: .867
  • Doubles: 25
  • Triples: 1
  • Homeruns: 23 — 122 games, so…30 in a full season?
  • RBI: 70 — 93 in a full season?
  • Runs: 61
  • Stolen Bases/Caught Stealing: 3/0
  • Walks: 34
  • Strikeouts: 51 — very tough to K; good contact hitter

Rich Aurilia was very good at the plate this season, and as you’ll soon see, he could be depended on to get the big hit.  The Reds would not have been the same team without Aurilia’s presence in 122 games this season, and he’ll look to have that same effect on his next team. 

For a deeper look, here are Aurilia’s situational numbers (BA/OBP/SLG)…

  • Bases Empty: .289/.345/.506
  • Runners On: .316/.353/.535 — he steps it up with guys on base
  • RISP: .297/.336/.500
  • RISP w/2 outs: .275/.297/.419 — hmmmm…
  • Bases Loaded: .375/.333/.375

Rich Aurilia is no Derek Jeter with RISP, but he gets the job done, and for a middle-infielder, his numbers are well above average.  That, combined with his splits (see below), greatly increases his value this offseason.

Here are the splits for Aurilia…

  • Vs. Lefties: .347/.406/.680 — 1.086OPS is spectacular
  • Vs. Righties: .276/.318/.437
  • Home (Great American Ballpark): .308/.363/.533
  • Away: .291/.333/.502
  • Day Games: .255/.304/.389 — uh-oh…
  • Night Games: .323/.371/.584 — …maybe not

Aurilia’s split stats seal his case as a very solid player.  His terrific success against southpaws might suggest that a platoon role in the infield would be his best option, but with decent numbers against righties as well, Aurilia may best be used as a utility infielder who starts every game but shifts around the diamond defensively. 

Here’s another reason to sign Aurilia…

  • Pre-All Star Break: .267/.319/.488
  • Post-All Star Break: .332/.378/.547 — excellent
  • September: .344/.385/.511

Late-season success is very valuable to teams that are one step away from making the playoffs, and Aurilia has historically done very well in the latter half of the year.  That should put him on the radar for every GM looking to bolster his team’s playoff chances without breaking the bank. 

Could Rich Aurilia return to San Francisco?

There are a number of teams searching for a middle-infielder this offseason and Aurilia is among their best options.  His power should attract even more teams because shortstops and 2B’s with power don’t come along very often.  Add veteran experience and positive attitude to the equation and Aurilia becomes one of the potential steals in this offseason of mega-spending.  Look for the Reds to make an effort to bring him back, but also for the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Padres, Blue Jays, and Giants to try to pry Aurilia away from Cincinnati. 

My Prediction: Rich Aurilia will sign a 2year 14Million deal to return to the San Francisco Giants. 

Stats Prediction: Aurilia’s 2007 should look something like .290/.350/.510 with 27HR and 85RBI. 

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Tomorrow’s Profile: Ted Lilly

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

Reliever Jamie Walker signed a 3year 12Million contract to join the Baltimore Orioles.  The addition should bolster the O’s bullpen, which was awful in 2005, except for closer Chris Ray. 

The Rockies reportedly agreed to a 4year 13.25Million contract (plus an option for a 5th year worth at least 6.75M) with starting pitcher Jeff Francis, though the Rox front office has yet to confirm the signing.

The Rangers agreed to a 3year deal worth 13.3Million with outfielder Frank Catalanotto, with an option for a 4th season.  The signing is a good start by the Rangers’ front office to start filling holes vacated by Gary Matthews Jr. and Carlos Lee.

________________________________________________________________

Trivia Time!

The previous question was…

In 2002, Eddie Guardado saved 45 games for the Twins, breaking a franchise record set by which former Minnesota closer?

The correct answer…

Rick Aguilera

Today’s question is…

Rich Aurilia has made one non-baseball-related TV appearance, guest starring on an ABC soap opera in 2003.  Which soap opera was it and what role did Aurilia play in that episode?

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