Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The Arbitration File: Chris Heisey

Fan fave Chris Heisey to be 4th outfielder again in 2014?

Since Chris Heisey’s first season with the Reds in 2010, I decided he was a favorite of mine. I would be lying if I said his level of attractiveness didn’t factor into that decision, but that all has to be put aside when evaluating his 2013 season and future with the Cincinnati Reds.

It’s no secret that this past season didn’t treat the left fielder as well as 2012 or 2011, physically or statistically.

When Ryan Ludwick slid into a shoulder injury on Opening Day, Chris Heisey had the chance to fill the void of the starting spot in left field.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t exactly the case.

A strained hamstring in late April put Heisey on the DL and eventually into the minor leagues for a rehab assignment. He was activated from the DL on June 25 and served as a DH and pinch hitter until moving back in the lineup on July 3.

In 2013, Heisey had 224 at-bats in 87 games to prove himself and he did that with an average .237/.279/.415 slash line. He also put up nine home runs, 11 doubles, 23 RBI and 29 runs scored. The only statistics that went up for the 28-year-old were his home runs and slugging percentage from 2012 (7, .401) to 2013 (9, .415). Oh, and he didn’t get caught stealing in 2013 and was caught three times in 2012.

With that being said, a decline in other areas including batting average, number of walks, on-base percentage and OPS+ from 2012 to 2013 could increase Heisey’s trade potential this offseason.

When it comes to being a bench player, Heisey hit over .300 in 2011 and 2012 as a pinch hitter, but 2013 wasn’t the same story. The injury could be to blame for his meek .130 in that role this past season.
Maybe his saving grace is that he had over 100 more chances (at-bats) in 2012 to help boost those numbers. Either way, statistics speak louder than words.

Compared to the other left fielders on the Reds’ roster (Ryan Ludwick, Derrick Robinson, Xavier Paul and Donald Lutz), Heisey had the most at-bats (224), runs scored (29), hits (53) and home runs (9). Going into arbitration last year, Heisey filed for $1.65 million with the Reds countering at $1.05 million. The two avoided arbitration and agreed on a middle-point of $1.325 million.

Some reports believe the left fielder is due for a mild raise due to his hot bat against left-handed pitching and because it’s his second year of being arbitration eligible. But that judgment will be up to the big guys.

A number of decisions need to happen that could affect the left fielder’s future with the team including a Shin-Soo Choo contract and the verdict on what to do with Billy Hamilton. However, I believe Heisey will bounce back as a fourth outfielder and pinch hitter on the Reds roster in 2014.

Tags: Arbitration Chris Heisey Cincinnati Reds

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