It’s not just bellyaching to say that Chris Denorfia is largely overlooked because he plays on the west coast. He has been a good outfielder for the last number of seasons and he was good for an extremely impressive 3.9 fWAR, but I don’t think it’s going out on much of a limb to say that he probably isn’t well known.
He has been the target of a number of trade talks this off-season which, once again, would probably have hit the news a little harder if Denorfia played for the Phillies or the Red Sox. Anyhow, whatever the situation might be with his notoriety outside of San Diego, he is a valuable player and it is not surprising that teams have tried to trade for him.
Peter Gammons wrote about the discussed trades this morning, noting the fact that Denorfia’s value is sky-high because he is right-handed and can play center field.
Ask the Padres. They have had at least a half-dozen teams try to talk to them about Chris Denorfia, from the Rangers to the Red Sox to the Rockies before they got Drew Stubbs, and Josh Byrnes has told every club he simply won’t deal Denorfia as long as he thinks the Padres can contend for a post-season berth.
As age 33, Denorfia has been something of a revelation in the last couple seasons. While his offense was solid in 2013 (.279/.337/.395 with 10 home runs and 47 RBI) it was his defense in the outfield that really sparkled. According to FanGraphs, his overall performance in the outfield was good for 20 DRS (defensive runs saved) and a great 16.3 UZR (ultimate zone rating). Most of that work was done in right field, where Denorfia had 9 DRS and a 9.9 UZR.
The Padres believe they can contend in a stacked NL West. If they’re right, Denorfia will have to perform well once again. San Diego is counting on just that and therefore is not interested in mixing things up in the trade market.