The Sluggos made their first small splash of the offseason, this week, nabbing free-agent outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall, in the form of a 1 year/$2.75M deal. Lonnie comes off a 2018 season where he slashed .321/.394/.452 in just 84 at-bats, battling through injuries throughout the year. His best season as a pro came in 2017 when the then 28 year old went for a .288/.360/.521 slash line, adding 12 long balls in just half a season. Chisenhall’s WAR has hovered around 1 with a high of 2.3 in 2015. His dWAR hovers around zero from year to year, a more than serviceable big-league outfielder.
Right away, this strikes as a very good value signing. Injuries concerns are somewhat present, but I’m of the belief that this signing has a far greater probability of “booming” compared to “busting” (especially at the modest $2.75M price tag). El Coffee, Gregory Polanco is slated to miss ~2 months of the regular season after undergoing shoulder surgery last September. Lonnie will likely be penciled in as the opening-day right fielder, with a chance, after Polanco’s return, to carve out the Matt-Joyce-2017 role, as a 4th-outfielder/ pinch-hit/ spot-start extraordinaire, a very important role on a Clint Hurdle lead club.
As Pirates fan, these moves get us excited. We know we’re not going to wake up to news that Bryce Harper just bought a house in Sewickley, and will be taking AJ Burnett’s old #34. And that’s okay. Because we take satisfaction in getting the guys who reinvent themselves in the Steel City; the AJs, Martins, Cervellis and Dickersons of the world. Let’s hope Lonnie will be the next man added to that list.