So, the Jays signed Scott Podsednik today. Okay, I guess. He's been fine over the past two seasons. But is he an upgrade over Corey Patterson, who the Jays already have in their system? It really depends on the role, and I think for the role I see them in, I'd rather have Patterson.
Like Podsednik, Patterson bats lefty. Patterson is much better defensively, likely an average or even above centerfielder (43.4 UZR over his career in centre, 8.9 UZR/150) while Pods is below average everywhere in the outfield but particularly at centre. With Rajai Davis, the likely centerfielder, being a righty who hits lefties substantially better than righties, that's a big advantage for Patterson in my mind.
Podsednik had 100 wRC+ last season, exactly average (99 OPS+), while Patterson checked in at 98 (95 OPS+). Podsednik was pretty good in 2009, which is a point in his favour, as Patterson spent that season hurt and in the minors and Corey was awful in 2008 (not that Pods was much better). Patterson is three years younger, which is good. Pods steals more bases (35 last season to Patterson's 21) but at a much worse rate - Pods was below the break-even rule of thumb at 70% while Patterson swiped successfully 84% of the time. Patterson offers substantially more power than Pods as well (a surprisingly high .151 ISO to Pods' tepid .101)
Patterson has a .718 OPS over his career against righties, while Pods is .735. Pods definitely gets on base better, but I don't want either of them near the top of the order. For my money, with Davis a liability at the plate against righties, I'd rather the team carry Patterson than Podsednik. Not that I'd want Corey Patterson getting the lion's share of a center field platoon in 2011, but I really wouldn't want Podsednik doing that. Patterson's tools (defense and a bit of power) are arguably worth more to a team very thin in the outfield than an aging Podsednik who is likely to get on base a bit more, though still not enough to hit atop the order.
Also, I'm not arguing against the signing - I'm fine with it. It's no-risk, and Podsednik adds depth in a thin outfield and has been a useful player the past couple of years. It's more, as I often say, to Mrs. Hugo's consistent annoyance, "just sayin'."