Monday, July 31, 2006

Monday Madness
By Ben Valentine

We're in the home strech now. July 31st is here and the trade winds are blowing. Keep it here at Sportszilla for all your trade deadline analysis.

Cardinals get RHP Jorge Sosa

Braves get RHP Rich Scalamandre

For those who don’t believe luck plays a role in the game, look at Jorge Sosa from 2005 to 2006. Sosa’s K/9 went from 5.71 to 5.98. His K/BB went from 1.33 to 1.81 while his GB/FB remained at .81. Yet last year his ERA was 2.55 in 134.0 innings while this year it sits at 5.46 in 87.1 innings. Sosa isn’t any different than last year except his luck finally ran out. He’s not a very good player and the Cardinals likely can find better.

The Braves get a 25 year old righty in Scalamndre who has struck out a batter per nine in AA and AAA this year. The kid has shown solid stuff, but has poor control as his 16/6 K/BB ratio in 16 AAA innings indicates. Last year at high A, he walked 3.64/9 as well. He’s not a star, but for a pitcher like Sosa who was already designated for assignment, it’s more than the Braves could have hoped to acquire.

Royals get 1B Ryan Shealy and RHP Scott Dohmann

Rockies LHP Jeremy Affedlt and RHP Denny Bautista

With Doug Mientkiewicz at first the Royals needed an upgrade. Shealy supposedly has great potential, but he’s done it at AAA Colorado Springs where the balls flies out better than Coors and he’s 27, so he’s not exactly young. Still, he’s hit everywhere he’s been and the Royals need to turn over their roster. So it’s not a terrible deal for them, since it also doesn’t block Justin Huber. (Buddy Bell does though)The 28 year old righty Dohmann can mow people down with a 8.03 K/9 but has no control with a 1.47 K/BB. He’s got a 6.20 ERA and 1.66 WHIP in 24.2 IP. Dohmann’s not young but can’t be much worse than the relievers the Royals are chucking out there.

Shealy had no role on Rockies with Helton going nowhere and Brad Hawpe and Matt Holliday in the outfield. They get a nice return here in Affeldt who will bolster their pen and the 25 year old Bautista is a project for down the road. A nice deal for both teams.

Dodgers get 2B Julio Lugo

Devil Rays get 2B Joel Guzman, Sergio Pedroza

The Dodgers clearly don’t read this blog. They get a very good player in Lugo, with a .871 OPS at short. Lugo will move to second since Furcal is there. He also made Caesar Izturis even more expendable. Five games back isn’t out of it, but the Dodgers are 50-55 here. Does Greg Maddux and Julio Lugo make this team much better than they yesterday? The Dodgers better resign Lugo in the offseason; otherwise this trade was a waste.

The 20 year old Guzman has posted OPS numbers above 800 the last two years. This year he’s got a mark of .803 at AAA Las Vegas. He’s got solid upside, so by himself it’s not a bad swap for free agent to be Lugo. Pedroza in his second year of pro ball, playing at the SAL and the Florida State League (Mid and High A) The 22 year old outfielder had .998 OPS this year at mid A, and struggled though in a short ten game stint in high A. He’s old for the level and the Rays have better prospects. Still not a bad haul for a free agent to be.

Dodgers get RHP Greg Maddux

Cubs get SS Caesar Izturis

The Dodgers are done. It’s not that they gave up a piece of their future in Izturis, who is out of a job now that the Dodgers have Furcal and Betemit, but still. Couldn’t they have gotten something more back? Maddux isn’t done, but he’s not a difference maker anymore. His K/9 is 5.35 and while his pinpoint control remains (3.52 K/BB) he’s not much more than a fourth starter. His high GB/FB (1.99) might make him a third.

Izturis has struggled this year after recovering from Tommy John surgery last year. (Yes non pitchers do have the surgery) Well “struggle” isn’t really fair; his OPS of .655 is higher than his .624 mark from last year. He’s really not good, but someone probably else probably overvalued him. The Maddux limited their market, so I’m not sure they could have done better here. Still Izturis isn’t exactly more deserving of playing time of Ronny Cedeno.

This is one of those trades which will likely see no benefit to either team.

Rangers get RHP Kip Wells

Pirates get RHP Jesse Chavez

Wells has stumbled since returning from a blood clot. With a 3.96 K/9 and a horrific .89 K/BB in 36.1 innings, he didn’t look to have much value. Wells is an awful pitcher at this point and not worth trotting out there when you’ve can’t afford to lose games. The Rangers would have been better off not bothering with him at all.

Chavez struggled a great deal last year at AA but has rebounded this year with a K/BB of 70/28 in 57.2 innings. With numbers like that, he looks like a possible relief candidate down the road. Actually a decent haul for pitcher who never was very good and is likely done in Wells.

Yankees get OF Craig Wilson

Pirates get RHP Shawn Chacon

The Yankees went shopping in the state of Pennsylvania and apparently it’s cheap. The Yankees get a solid fourth outfielder in Wilson (817 OPS) of who can slot in right now over Melky Cabrera in left or play first base to let Giambi DH.

The Pirates get… one of the worst pitchers of 2006. What the hell is Dave Littlefield thinking? He hands away Oliver Perez for a dime a dozen corner outfielder and then trades Wilson for a guy who is beyond useless, because he makes over the major league minimum. They would have been better off getting one of those garbage prospects the Phillies got for Abreu. Dave Littlefield did not distinguish himself today. In fact he probably deserves to be canned.

Mets get RHP Roberto Hernandez, LHP Oliver Perez

Pirates get OF Xavier Nady

With the freak injury of Duaner Sanchez, a separated shoulder suffered in a cab accident Sunday night, the Mets needed another arm for their pen. They get one in Roberto Hernandez, who saved his career last season at Shea. His numbers are down from last year (K/9 from 7.88 to 6.91, K/BB from 2.18 to 1.38) so the Mets would be wise to use Aaron Heilman in the 8th inning now. They also should give more of an opportunity to Heath Bell, but that’s not likely. They also get a reclamation project in Perez, who two years ago was one of the brightest young pitchers in baseball. He won’t help this year but is a good gamble down the road. Also, it will be interesting to see what Lastings Milledge does now that he’ll likely get an opportunity to play in the bigs.

Nady is a solid corner outfielder. Nothing special here. It’s very odd the Pirates could not get more, especially since some team would probably gamble a B- level prospect for Perez alone.

Padres get 2B Todd Walker

Cubs get RHP Jose Cerda

Walker is a decent player and they didn’t give up much here. Apparently Walker will play some third base for the Padres. He’s not a huge upgrade, but isn’t really worse than Vinny Castilla. At 33, he’s a decent gamble.

Cerda is in rookie ball, with an ERA over 5.00. Don’t look for him for a long time, if ever.

Rangers get 1B/DH Matt Stairs

Royals get RHP Joselo Diaz

More bats for the Rangers, who seem to have found pitching was far too overpriced. Stairs with an .781 OPS isn’t much of an upgrade though. Why not just give Jason Botts a chance, unless they just plan to use Stairs as a bat off the bench. They didn’t give up anything, so it’s not a terrible trade. But if Stairs does become their full time DH, the Rangers would be better off playing Botts.

Well, well. The second piece the Mets gave up for Victor Zambrano. He’s been striking out a ton of guys this year; 75 in 63.2 innings. But he also walks a ton, 42 this year. He’s got a live arm, but his control will always be an issue. He's 26 now, so he's not much of a prospect.

Reds get RHP Kyle Lohse

Twins get RHP Zach Ward

What’s with the Reds and picking up former Twins’ busts? First Joe Mays, now Lohse. The 27 year old righty has been on the decline since a decent 2003 season, posting a 7.07 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in 63.2 IP this year. His K rate is okay at 6.50 but his K/BB is a lousy 1.84 considering he’s a flyball pitcher (.95 GB/FB). Yes he’s moving to the National League with no DH, but he’s also going to one of the best hitter’s parks in baseball. Don’t see much upside for the Reds here. They seem intent on getting pitching, no matter how mediocre to terrible it actually is.

The 22 year old Ward has posted a 95/37 in 114 IP games for low A Dayton, surrendering just two homers in that span. Though he’s a 2005 draft pick, he’s a little old for the level he’s at. With those peripherals and his 2.29 ERA he’s shown promise but he’s no future ace. Still even if he becomes a fourth or fifth guy down the road, that’s still fair return for a borderline major league pitcher like Lohse.

Tigers get 1B Sean Casey

Pirates get RHP Brian Rogers

Casey is having his typical Sean Casey season, which is excellent OBP and useless poor .408 slugging for a first baseman. The Tigers are probably somewhat fearful of paying for big sluggers in that spacious park, but Casey might be a little bit of an overreaction in the other direction. Having a high on base guy at first is less valuable than other places. They certainly can’t DH him, right?

Rogers is a 24 year old relief prospect. Up until this year at various levels of A-Ball, Rogers had a 8.55 K.9 and 3.02 K/BB which is okay. This year he’s had a 62/14 K/BB in 60.0 innings at AA Erie. After a season like this it’s possible he makes it down the road as a reliever. For a slap hitting first baseman, it’s not a bad deal.

The most surprising aspect of this trade is that the Tigers sent Chris Shelton to AAA to make room for Casey. I know most of it came early, but he had splits of .277/.343/.476/.819. Casey has an OPS of .785. Thus, the Tigers look to have made a bad move, though it isn’t because of who they gave up, but who they gave up on.

Reds get LHP Rheal Cormier

Phillies get RHP Justin Germano

Didn’t the Reds already address their bullpen? This just shows what a miserable trade that deal with the Nationals was earlier this month, since they have to add another pitcher. Cormier has a 13/13 K/BB this year in 34.0 IP, which isn’t pretty, despite having a 1.59 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. Interestingly enough, Cormier is not a lefty specialist, at least not this year. Lefties are hitting .259 against him, righties .197. He’s not a difference maker, he can be an okay reliever. The key is you don’t give up a big time starter for a guy like this.

And the Reds didn’t. Germano does have 21.1 innings worth of major league experience with the Padres, coming last year. He is a 23 year old right handed control artist who’s never posted a BB/9 over 2.37 and that was back in 2002 in high A. Over the last few years, he’s been able to keep that number around or below two. However he’s not a big strike out guy, posting a 7.35 K/9 over the course of his minor league career. It looks as though Germano could be a fourth or fifth starter in the bigs. That means he’s a better prospect for a lefty specialist than anything they got back for Abreu; which is pretty damn pathetic.

Cardinals get 2B Ron Belliard

Indians get 2B/SS Hector Luna

The 31 year old Belliard’s best season came in his second year in the bigs, with the Brewers in 1999 when he posted an .808 OPS in 457 ABs. Since then he’s consistently been a mid to upper .700s OPS guy, who is mediocre with the glove. Basically you can expect splits of .280/.340/.430 with Belliard. He’s your average second baseman.

At 26 Luna has posted a .291/.355/.417/.772 split this season in 223 ABs, by far his best in his three year career. While he’ll be entering his age 27 season, don’t expect much improvement. Luna’s highest OPS in the minors was a 738 mark in high A in 2002. In fact, when you look at his stat lines, he looks remarkably like… Ron Belliard. Belliard had better years in the minors, but at this stage it’s not likely he’s going to turn into an 800+ OPS guy and the next time Luna does it, it will be a first.

Essentially the Cardinals swapped a potentially average second baseman for a consistently average one. It’s not a difference maker deal, since the Cardinals’ lineup is still suspect outside of Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen. But they didn’t give up anything of much value here. Cleveland can hope for lightning in a bottle, but it’s likely they’ll have to turn elsewhere for their 2007 second baseman.

Analysis: Bobby Abreu Trade

Analysis: 7/26- 7/30 Trade Round Up


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