By Jason August 1, 2008 1:29 am
Ok, this was a an insane, insane trade deadline.
Lets start with the blockbuster before we go on to the minor moves:
-The Pirates receive LaRoche, Morris, Hansen, and Moss.
-The Red Sox get Jason Bay
-The Dodgers get Manny Ramirez
Wow. Rarely are trades win-win (Edson Volquez for Josh Hamilton comes to mind) however, this trade might be the rare win, win, win trade.
The Dodgers make a big splash that will immediately pay dividends. Yes, they already had an overcrowded outfield with Pierre, Either, Kemp, Jones and now Manny; however Jones is struggling, Pierre has been injured and Andre Either can’t hit lefties.
The Dodgers made this trade without giving up Kemp or Kershaw their two biggest trading chips. They did give up two very good prospects but, LaRoche’s stock has dropped since the beginning of the season and while Morris has a lot of upside he’s all projection at this point.
The other important aspect of this deal is Manny agreeing to decline arbitration. The Dodgers are sure to receive two first round draft picks at seasons end and that will help a great deal in making up for the prospects they traded. Considering they also picked up the cash to pay Manny for the rest of the year the Dodgers got a steal. They are instantly the favorites in a weak NL West.
The media and fans have been so quick to chastise the Red Sox in this trade but I can’t say I agree.
Look at Bay and Manny’s statistics side by side:
You also have to factor in several other things.
-Jason Bay is having a down year. Yes I’m aware Bay had a terrible 2007 (.247/.327/.418) however in ‘05 and’ 06 he had monster years (.961 and .928 OPS.) He hit 32 homers in ‘05 and 35 in ‘06.
-Bay is a significant defensive upgrade in left field.
-Bay is a significant upgrade on the bath paths over Manny Ramirez. (Bay had 21 steals in ‘05 and 11 in ‘06, hes currently on pace for 11 steals)
-Bay is moving from a pitchers park to a hitters park.
-Bay is under team control for 2009 at 7.5 million
-Manny was content on tanking the rest of the year.
I know the downside of this deal for the Sox, after all I am a Yankee fan. Jason Bay isn’t a feared hitter like Manny. Manny has killed the Yankees in his career, especially in big games, while Jason Bay has never even played in a meaningful series. The Sox also had to shell out cash to deal Manny and surrender two prospects (though neither were part of Bostons long term future)
I’m not saying the Red Sox came out smelling like roses in this deal but all things considered they did pretty damn good.
The Pirates to me are the loser in this deal, if there is one. I’m all for trading players who aren’t part of your long term future. Nady, Bay and Marte weren’t going to be around when the Pirates are eventually ready to contend. However when you trade players, especially in a sellers market, you should be holding out for top level prospects. In both of the Pirates deals they got back quantity but not quality and that’s not a good thing.
-Moss is a borderline everyday player. He’s an older prospect without a great deal of projection. He is what he is. He’s probably going to need to be platooned at the major league level.
-Hansen (a Long Island native) was an ‘05 first round pick. In two years in the majors (78 innings) he’s done nothing to prove that he can be an effective reliever. Maybe a change of scenery and a move to weaker league will do wonders for him but I don’t see it happening.
-LaRoche had a lot more value coming into the season. Sometimes buying low with a prospect can be a great idea and I’d assume LaRoche was the centerpiece of this deal. LaRoche projects to hit for decent average while walking often and has the upside to hit 30 homers. His glove for third base is below average. LaRoche is immediatley the Pirates best option at third base and should start immediatley. Fun and interesting fact this trade reunites Andy with his brother Adam LaRoche the Pirates first basemen.
-Bryan Morris is the real wildcard in this deal. The 21 year old righty has a live arm and throws 96 MPH. Besides his fastball he has a sharp breaking curve and he’s currently working on developing a change up. He’s one year removed from Tommy John surgery, Keith Law believes that his mechanics (throwing across his body) could lead to more injuries in his career. In a perfect world he’s a number two starter.
Yes, this trade along with the Yankees trade rejuvenates an otherwise terrible Pirates farm system. However did they truly get one cornerstone player in either deal? Morris is not nearly the prospect Kershaw is. Tabata and LaRoche aren’t nearly the caliber of prospects like Bruan, Bruce and Rasmus. Tabata wasn’t even the best outfield prospect in the Yankees organization!
Why didn’t the Pirates expand this trade and include Jack Wilson (making over $15 million over the next two seasons) and John Garbrow in this trade. The Dodgers are desperate for a shortstop and Wilson’s inclusion could have possibly netted the Pirates Matt Kemp. The Sox (along with the rest of the MLB) are desperately in need of a lefty reliever. Maybe Garbows inclusion could have enticed the Sox to part with Jed Lowrie (who conveniently would replace Jack Wilson.)
At the end of the day these trades leave the Pirates with an slew of effective, cheap and young major league players. Which, for the near future still makes them a .500 team at best.
Going around the league quickly because believe it or not they play baseball outside of the North East:
-I don’t get the Griffey to White Sox trade. Griffeys name carries more weight than his bat. Last I checked Carols Quentin played left and Jermaine Dye right. Not to mention; Nick Swisher, 1B/OF, Paul Konerko, 1B and Jim Thome DH. Talk about a logjam. Does Kenny Williams really expect Griffey to still be able to play center?
Here’s an idea for Chicago, why wouldn’t the inquire about Adam Dunn instead? Sure it might have come at a slightly greater prospect price but Dunn represents a significant offensive upgrade, unlike Griffey. Great move for Cincinnati terrible move for Chicago.
-I don’t get trading Gabby Hernandez for Arthur Rhodes. I understand how valuable left handed relievers are however Arthur Rhodes isn’t good. I’m aware he’s having a turn back the clock season but your trading a prospect for a 38 year old journeyman reliever. The Marlins have a legit chance to win the NL East but somehow I don’t think Arthur Rhodes is the answer. The Marlins should have made a stronger run at Jason Bay or Manny Ramirez
-The Yankees made a minor move. The Nationals get shortstop Alberto Gonzalez from the Yankees for minor league pitcher Jhonny Nunez. Nunez is a young power arm. The Yankees will try him as a starter. Cashman said the move was made for several reasons. One being that the Yankees just traded three arms (Olendorf, Karstens, McCutcheon.) and Nunez helps replenish that area of the farm system. Two, it cleared a spot on the 40 man roster. Finally, Alberto was blocking Ramiro Pena at AA who Cashman is very high on. This trade makes Wilson Betimit more valuable than ever. Expect the Yankees to turn to veteran minor leaguer Cody Ransom (currently at AAA) if the need for a utility infielder arose.
Whew. This was an exciting couple of weeks in baseball.
Yo I’m outta here. Word to your mother.