JUPITER, Fla. – The Cardinals needed Ty Wigginton as much for his experience as they did his skills when they signed him to a two-year contract in December.
The utility player brings 11 years of big league experience with him to the Cardinals bench, something they desperately missed a season ago.
“We needed a guy with veteran presence to help our bench,” said manager Mike Matheny. “Last year we were in a position where our entire bench basically was a bunch of guys with less than two years service who really didn’t know how to go about preparing which put a lot on Mark McGwire and John Mabry. You need that veteran presence in my opinion that Ty is going to bring.”
Wigginton, 35, hit .235 with 11 home runs and 43 RBI in 315 at-bats with the Philadelphia Phillies last season. He has a career .263 average while spending time with the Mets, Pirates, Devil Rays, Astros, Orioles, Rockies and Phillies.
The right-handed hitter provides some much-needed power off the bench. He has four seasons of at least 20 home runs. He hit 22 home runs and had 76 RBI in 2010 when he made his only All-Star team with Baltimore.
But more important than his skills, Wigginton brings the Cardinals some much needed leadership on the bench.
“He’s already proven to be a guy who’s not afraid to speak up and say some things,” Matheny said. “More so with his groups but you can see he’s a veteran who understands the game and gets what we’re about around here.”
Wigginton has seen much of his time in the field recently at either first or third base.