Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Knee-Jerk Reactions to the 2012 Trade Deadline

I wasn't sure what I would do for the trade deadline, but since there haven't been any major deals yet, there's no harm in looking at what has been done.

Might as well start with the Cardinals: Edward Mujica for Zack Cox. They needed relief help (and not really anything else), so there's that. But really good relievers are generally overpriced, so I'm kind of glad they didn't jump into the deep end of the market. Mujica doesn't seem great, but he's still probably something of an improvement (there are some really weak spots in the Card's 'pen). I remember being high on Zack Cox in the past, but he's apparently fallen off in the past season. He's 23 and hitting .254/.294/.421 at AAA that's less than encouraging, especially since he may have to move off third base. With Lance Berkman, Matt Holliday, Carlos Beltran, Matt Carpenter, David Freese, Allen Craig, and Matt Adams all blocking him at the corners, I'm even less concerned. Not bad, I suppose. Could be a worse move.

Francisco Liriano to the White Sox: This one's a little older. I was kind of hoping the Orioles would go for him. He definitely helps stabilize the Sox. The upside is there, too. They didn't give up much for him, either (in part because Chicago didn't have many prospects to give away, thanks to Jerry Reinsdorf's stingy draft spending). And, as Fangraphs notes, he's already done pretty well since moving back into the rotation. Very solid pick-up.

Hunter Pence to the Giants: Guys, I'm beginning to think the Giants don't have a long-term plan. To review:
Last deadline: Need outfield offense. Trade for Carlos Beltran; gave the Mets arguably their top prospect, knowing that you can't get a draft pick for Beltran due to his contract preventing offering arbitration.
Offseason: Choose not to resign Beltran, even though he carried a 159 OPS+ down the stretch. Beltran signs for 2 years, $26 million with the Cardinals. Decide to fill the hole with Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan, Nate Schierholtz, Gregor Blanco.
This deadline: Need outfield offense. Trade more prospects for Hunter Pence, who looks to make $13-14 million next year in arbitration. Pence has a 109 OPS+. Beltran has a 137 OPS+. Yeah, not such great planning.

Shane Victorino to the Dodgers: How were the Dodgers competing exactly? They had holes in left field, first base, third base, and shortstop, as well as injuries to Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier and a sort of thin rotation. Somehow, they've got Victorino and Hanley Ramirez (both of whom were automatic upgrades almost regardless of performance), and are still in the running for Ryan Dempster. This has been a busy time for them. The one problem is that they had a rather thin farm system to start with, and they might wind up totally emptying it (although they did get Hanley for just money, which looks like a very good "change of scenery" move). Also, I'm not sure I totally trust Ned Colletti with trading away prospects. I mean, his track record includes James McDonald-for-Octavio Dotel and Carlos Santana-for-Casey Blake.

Zack Greinke to the Angels: Wrote about it already here. However, if they sweep the Rangers (Greinke won't pitch during the series), then the deal already looks better.

Ryan Dempster to the Rangers: This seems like a very measured, reasonable response to the Angels move. It's not as big, but they didn't need as big of a move either. And most reports seem to be that they didn't give up as much-maybe one top ten prospect (granted, they shouldn't have had to, but still; it means they didn't feel compelled to overspend, as many Angels fans seemed to think they would).

Wandy Rodriguez to the Pirates, Travis Snider to the Pirates (for Brad Lincoln to the Blue Jays): That was some awkward phrasing, but I was trying to fit it into the established pattern. Wandy should help stabilize the Pirates rotation. They gave up some possible useful parts to get him, but no major stars it looks like, so it should be fine. I like the Snider-Lincoln deal; the Blue Jays get a solid reliever, the Pirates get a corner outfielder who has hit quite a bit in the minors. Pittsburgh definitely got a lot of upside in this deal.

Kevin Youkilis to the White Sox: Old, but another savvy White Sox pick up. As The Common Man notes, since the deal, Youkilis is hitting .255/.375/.462 since the trade, while Will Middlebrooks is hitting .256/.269/.433. Also, the Red Sox have been short on depth as of late, and they've already traded away one of the two players they got in the deal for nothing. No idea what was going on in Boston with this one.

Carlos Lee to the Marlins: Also old, but I just want to say: LOL Marlins.

Potential deal: Alfonso Soriano to the Tigers: Unfortunately, this one looks dead. It would have been similarly hilarious, though. It could have had a sword fight to the death with the Vernon Well deal for "Most Confusing, Immediately Awful Trade Ever". Unfortunately, were both deals capable of a sword fight, they probably would have impaled themselves prior to the duel starting. It would have been funny to see, though.

Another potential deal: Joe Blanton to the Orioles: Good depth move, especially if the Orioles don't give up any major prospects. It looks like the Phillies have come down on their original demand of Jon Schoop, which is good (and sensible, on their part). Also, I really like Jonathan Schoop's name. That has no bearing on this deal, though.

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