The Angels needed a few small things to fill out their roster this spring. One of them was a utility infielder with a good glove and some clubhouse leadership. They think they got those things in John McDonald.
*The MWAH projections are simply my best guess based off my own personal opinion and research (my wOBA calculation is approximate because my math skills are only “meh”)
What happened in 2013?
Here is all you need to know about McDonald: he was on four teams last year. He spent time with the Pirates, Indians, Phillies and Red Sox in 2013. It is good that so many teams thought he could be of use to them, but not so good that three of those teams later decided that they didn’t really need him after all. Considering that McDonald averaged just two hits per team, it isn’t too hard to imagine why he was considered expendable.
Of course, McDonald has been in the league since 1999 not because of his bat, but because of his glove. Even at his age, he can still flash the leather all over the infield and that is all that really counts.
What do the projections think he will do in 2014?
Honestly, who gives a shit? I shouldn’t have even bothered with the graph. McDonald can’t hit. He never could hit. This is a guy with a career 57 wRC+. That’s just terrible. The only thing worth worrying about is that the projections don’t think he is going to be even more terrible, mostly because he can’t get much worse.
Also, quick editor’s note, Steamer’s numbers were all honked up, so just go ahead and ignore those. You should just ignore them all though because they don’t matter for McDonald, in case I haven’t made that point clearly enough.
Does the Monkey agree or disagree?
Again, it doesn’t matter. The only number worth looking at is my projection him to get 150 plate appearances. McDonald can still be useful in the field, but it would be better if he didn’t play very much. He is the kind of bench guy that should only make starts when someone needs a day off. If Freese or Kendrick goes down, it should be one of the young kids in the minors being called up to take their spot in the lineup with McDonald staying on the bench. His bat just isn’t cut out for playing very much.
His best use on the field is just keeping guys fresh and I imagine we could see him as a late-inning defensive replacement for David Freese. His best use overall though should be serving as a positive presence in the clubhouse. When the Red Sox acquired McDonald last season, it wasn’t for depth, it was to add another good chemistry guy to their roster. That’s what the Angels need from him. Based off what I saw in person in Arizona and have heard from various reports, McDonald is already providing that.
What are the known unknowns?
There isn’t much mystery with McDonald. He is what he has always been, only older. The only thing that is unclear is if he’ll be joined on the bench by someone like Grant Green or Ian Stewart, either of whom will eat into his potential playing time. Even that isn’t really worth worrying about.