Monday, July 16, 2007

Transactions Analysis: Post All-Star Break Edition

To paraphrase Bill Lumbergh, we lost some people over the past few weeks, so we're.....gonna have to play a little catch up. Hence I'm spending part of a lovely Sunday doing a TA, though in fairness, I'm doing it while taking a break from an epic Order to Show Cause. Back from Portugal and ready to do some damage to the league, which had a ton of interesting and crappy transactions in the last 2 fortnights. (El Angelo)

Before making a transaction, the question you should always ask yourself is "How Is This Good For The Team?" We 'll attempt to answer that question for the moves below, so come with us as we jump to conclusions. Flair is optional.

Also, I'd just like to re-pimp Racing Esoterica, El Ang's new horse racing blog. We mainly just dick around here, but Ang can write the hell out of a race analysis. Anyone with a passing interest in the ponies owes it to themselves to take a look. (Teddy)

abe vigoda's spleen

  • Signed Bengay Molina, C, San Fran; Released Mike Barrett, C, San Diego [6/20]

  • Traded Jim Thome, 1B, Chicago (AL) and a 2nd round draft pick in the 2008 draft to The Sex Cannons for Jeremy Bonderman, SP, Detroit [6/22]

  • Signed Dmitri Young, 1B, Washington [7/12]

  • Signed Matt Stairs, 1B, Toronto [7/13]

  • Traded Ervin Santana, SP, Anaheim to President Skroob for Kelly Johnson, 2B, Atlanta [7/14]
There's a pair of hideous 1B's coming in to replace Jim Thome, who I didn't have a problem with giving up, especially for J. Bonderman, as the Tessios try to establish a great front line staff with the idea of drafting hitting next year. It's not a bad plan, as it's easier to find a 20HR/80RBI guy than a #2 starter. It also allowed them to give up Santana for a flyer on Johnson, who's unlikely to be kept, but not the worst idea in the world.

The only quibble I have is the casual discarding of a 2nd round pick--this team's unlikely to crack the top 8 this year, meaning that's probably around the #16 pick in the draft. For reference's sake, the players taken around there this year were Victor Martinez, Alex Gordon, Bobby Jenks, and Gary Sheffield, all very good contributing players, and frankly, I suspect that the '08 draft may be a bit deeper with some fun guys coming into their +1 or +2 years. And that, added with Thome, makes this a steep tariff for Bonderman. (El Angelo)

Agreed--the basic player swap is fine, but the 2 is a bit too high a price to pay. And I like Bonderman a ton. I even like the idea of trying to zig by keeping pitching when everyone else is zagging by keeping hitting--hell, that's the approach I took last year. But in order to get anything else other than a bunch of lottery tickets, you need high picks. Elite guys haven't been dropping much beyond pick 20, and you need to have the best player at least one position to have a chance at getting into the money in this league. (Teddy)

Ed Rooney's Office

  • Signed Pat Neshek, RP, Minnesota; Released Andy Marte, 3B, Cleveland [6/19]
My co-author's team is cresting into contention by the fates, so why toy with destiny by adding or subtracting from a formula that's working? Better to just play around the margins. AND to add 1 more notch to Pat Neshek's attempt to win the Pewter Parachute. In this race, he's at roughly the same stage that Secretariat was at one mile into the 1973 Belmont. (El Angelo)

Neshek's Pewter Parachute dominance has reached the point that I think we should consider striking an actual Pewter Parachute trophy and sending it to him this offseason. We'll probably go ahead and soft-pedal the etymological background of the award title.

In more salient analysis, this is something I never thought I'd see: a win-now move out of my team. I continue to see a strike (either labor or meteor) as the only way my team will hit the money, but when I saw a chance to plug the injury hole in my bullpen and give ol' Pat a leg up at the same time, I felt honor-bound to take it. (Teddy)

Evil Empire

  • Signed Shawn Marcum, SP, Toronto; Released Casey David Jansssssen, RP, Toronto [6/19]

  • Released Raul Ibanez, OF, Seattle [6/25]
The rules of journalism and ethics forbid me from running more unnecessary photos of Famke Jansen, so I'm instead satisfying what Gregggg Easterbrook calls the "non traditional male" portion of our illustrious readership and inserting the late Dr. Richard Kimble instead. Frankly, that car is more interesting than any of these three players, who I can't say much about positively or negatively. (El Angelo)

I can: Raul Ibanez is Teh Suck. (Teddy)

Hand Banana

  • Signed Bob Howry, RP, Chicago (NL); Released Kelly Johnson, 2B, Atlanta [6/25]

  • Signed Adam Jones, OF, Seattle/Tacoma [6/26]

  • Signed Lastings Milledge, OF, New York (NL); Released Howry [7/9]
I'm a tad surprised at the callous discarding of Kelly Johnson, who as you'll note later, I snatched up and dealt off for a flyer on a pitcher later this reporting cycle. I suppose with Cano in tow, there's no need to carry a redundant 2B, but it's not like he regressed to the point of Baergitude--he's still a useful player at the 4 slot. To kick him to the curb for Bobby Friggin Howry is a bit odd for this squad.

What's more interesting is that they're clearly hedging their bets for next year with the inkings of Lastings Milledge and Adam Jones, both of whom are interesting ideas for next year, but who may have trouble getting playing time from their current squads due to front office incompetence. Frankly, with Lastings, you're better off hoping the Mets swap him for someone in a better ballpark (Eric Gagne?), where his power will increase by 35%. (El Angelo)

For me it's the Adam Jones move that stands out. Jones is already the best non-Ichiro outfielder in the organization, and a guy who really ought to get a clean look this year. If he does, he could both help this year and get into the mix as a keeper for next season. As with Milledge, both front office and park effect issues exist. But both signings are consistent with both a win-now and win-later approach, which is about all you can ask out of FA signings. (Teddy)

It's Enrico Palazzo

  • Signed Melvin Mora, 3B, Baltimore; Released Jose Contreras, SP, Chicago (AL) [6/19]

  • Signed Chad Qualls, RP, Houston; Released Fernando Rodney, RP, Detroit [6/25]

  • Released Qualls; Signed Carlos Marmol, RP, Chicago (NL) [6/27]

  • Released Justin Duchsherer, RP, Oakland [7/3]

  • Signed Adrian Beltre, 3B, Seattle [7/14]
These are nothing more than back-of-the-roster movements, with the exception of the last one, which I actually really like. Beltre's been a PECOTA favorite for the last year or so, and he's not having a poor year; I smell a fair second half ahead of him. He made zero sense on my roster with its glut of 3Bs, but he's a good idea for a team trying to win now. I sadly cannot say the same for what's left of Melvin Mora. (El Angelo)

Are you implying that Carlos Marmot is just a back-of-the-roster guy? Shit, I'll go further: I'll outright state that I think he's a figment of the imagination of the create-a-player function in MLB '07. I also like the Beltre grab as long as IEP is willing to eat an OBP hit. For this team, the real news is that the other contenders have taken a step back already post-ASB. IEP is getting some clean air out front, and is looking tough to catch. (Teddy)

Le Dupont Torkies

  • Claimed off waivers Casey Janssen, RP, Toronto; Released Ryan Garko, 1B, Cleveland [6/22]

  • Signed Jason Barlett, SS, Minnesota [7/3]

  • Activated James Loney, 1B, Los Angeles, from prospect list; Released Kevin Slowey, SP, Minnesota [7/12]

  • Traded Loney; Chad Billingsley, SP, Los Angeles; Jonathan Broxton, RP, Los Angeles and Jon Lester, SP, Boston to President Skroob for Chris Carpenter, SP, St. Louis; Adam Wainwright, SP, St. Louis; Barry Zito, SP, San Francisco; and Coco Crisp, OF, Boston [7/12]

  • Signed Joakim Soria, RP, Kansas City; Released Chris Duffy, OF, Pittsburgh [7/13]
With the exception of inking Jason Bartlett to oddly run the DH position (which strikes me as a total waste of his usefulness as a middle infielder), we mostly have here pitching upgrades. Or are they? Joakim Soria is probably at best a wash with Broxton; ditto for Billingsley-Wainwright; and Crisp versus Duffy is a death match that has no winners. That means the deals come down to the scratch-off card known as Lester and super-prospect Loney for dice rolls in Carpenter and Zito. The latter has been particularly brutal this year, so you have to think they're sacrificing Loney for the idea that Chris[t's Dad Was a] Carpenter is going to come back and light it up for a 4th place team. It wasn't that high a price tag, but it's not really a certainty either. Still, when you're in free-fall on the pitching side, you need to take a chance. It's a good thing that Travis Hafner still qualifies at first base (how?), because otherwise, this would be a poor movement of assets. (El Angelo)

Style points to the champs for emptying both prospect barrels in an attempt to climb back into it this season. I think that Carpenter will bounce most of the way back in the second half; given the lack of true high-end pitchers available in the market, he probably made the most sense out of any realistic trade target.

That said, it's a very aggressive move for a team that has exactly zero depth on the offensive side. One more DL trip for Joe Mauer and this team might fall out of it and be faced with an interesting keeper picture for '08. Still, so few teams are really positioned to make a run at the board that it might make sense to roll the dice against the other 4 contenders to see what happens. (Teddy)

Lefty's Revenge

  • Signed Xavier Nady, OF, Pittsburgh [6/16]

  • Signed Heath Bell, RP, San Diego; Released Jason Schmidt, SP, San Fran [6/30]

  • Released Anthony Reyes, SP, St. Louis [7/14]

  • Claimed off waivers Wandy Rodriguez, SP, Houston; Released Joe Smith, RP, New York (NL) [7/15]
I know our beloved commissioner last year said that addition by subtraction is asinine, but in this case, getting Anthony Reyes off your roster is a must---he's about 3 sessions with Dallas Green from turning into Anthony Young. Ah, Dallas Green. BP once described him has "baseball's version of genital herpes--lies dormant for long periods of time, only to flare up painfully at the most inopportune times." (El Angelo)

Reyes's half-season performance put him on pace to join the Matt Young All-Stars, so it's tough to argue with the decision to cast that particular bit of bread upon the water. Posit: Xavier Nady is the poor man's Jose Guillen. Make of that what you will. (Teddy)

M**e

  • Signed Billy Butler, OF, Kanasas City; Released David Aardsma, RP, Kansas City [7/3]
You dropped an inconsequential reliever for a potential stud outfielder, albeit one that makes Jose Offerman look graceful. Trust me, this is a good move. (El Angelo)

The addition of Butler was driven by the prospect/keeper requirements, so this is really better viewed as a decision to cut Aardsma. Of course, even viewed that way, it's still a smart move, unless we've started measuring players alphabetically. (Teddy)

Nigerian Gentlemen

  • Signed Placido Polanco, 2B, Detroit; Released Heath Bell, RP, San Diego [6/17]

  • Signed Manny Corpas, RP, Colorado; Released Joakim Soria, RP, Kansas City [7/1]

  • Signed Johnny Estrada, C, Milwaukee; Released Freddy Garcia, SP, Philadelphia [7/3]

  • Signed Gary Glover, RP, Chicago (AL); Released Micah Owings, SP, Arizona [7/5]
The pitching stuff is sort of in the category of messing with deck chairs on the Titanic and of little consequence, so I'll instead tip my hat at the sensibility behind a pair of nice bench pickups. With Uncle Mike shelved indefinitely, the catcher ranks are pretty thin, and while Estrada won't remind anyone of Todd Hundley, he's also not reminiscent of Joel Skinner or Kelly Shoppach, and makes a handy replacement that will allow you to tread water. The Polanco pickup is a smart one in theory, but this team's already cruising with Brian Roberts playing lights out at 2B and Freddy Sanchez as the jack-of-all-trades backup, so query whether he's of any use whatsoever. Still, not exactly a wasted spot as he can hit and score in peripheral categories, and Roberts is always eligible for the DL in a heartbeat, so nicely done. (El Angelo)

I like Placido Polanco as well, but I'd be lying to you if I said I was happy with that pickup. Not so much because I think it's bad on the merits, but because we now get to look forward to 6 weeks of Mr. Eko trying to pawn Polanco off on the rest of the league. Based on the GRBG's confidential sources deep within Nigeria, the Gentlemen are asking for Albert Pujols in return for Polanco, but would, in a pinch, settle for Miguel Cabrera. (Teddy)

President Skroob

  • Signed Kei Igawa, SP, New York (AL) and Jeremy Hermida, OF, Florida; Released Conor Jackson, 1B, Arizona and Kip Wells, SP, St. Louis [6/19]

  • Signed Kevin Cameron, RP, San Diego; Released Matt Belisle, SP, Cincy [6/27]

  • Traded J.J. Hardy, SS, Milwaukee and Roy Oswalt, SP, Houston to The Sex Cannons for Miguel Tejada, SS, Baltimore; Released Hermida [6/27]

  • Signed Kelly Johnson, 2B, Atlanta and Ryan Theirot, SS, Chicago (NL); Released Adrian Beltre, 3B, Seattle [6/28]
  • Signed Michael Bourn, OF, Philly, Matt Morris, SP, San Fran and Matt Guerrier, RP, Minnesota; Released Randy Wolf, SP, Los Angeles and Igawa [7/8]

  • Signed Jonny Gomes, OF, Tampa Bay; Released Austin Kearns, OF, Washington [7/11]

  • Traded Coco Crisp, OF, Boston, Adam Wainwright, SP, St. Louis, Chris Carpenter, SP, St. Louis and Barry Zito, SP, San Fran to Le Dupont Torkies for James Loney, 1B, Los Angeles, Chad Billingsley, SP, Los Angeles, Jonathan Broxton, RP, Los Angeles and Jon Lester, SP, Boston [7/12]
  • Signed Esteban German, 2B, Kansas City; Released Gomes [7/13]

  • Traded Kelly Johnson, 2B, Atlanta to Ervin Santana, SP, Anaheim [7/14]
You could simply just name this list of transactions Anaconda, a/k/a Pass the Trash, but essentially I've traded in most of my bargaining chips (Zito, Carpenter, Oswalt) for players I think and hope will be useful towards next year; namely, a stud SS (Tejada), a young 1B (Loney), and a bunch of scratch-off tickets on pitchers (Broxton, Billingsley, Santana, Lester). Really, the only thing I'm dubious about is giving Hardy up in the process, but he wasn't getting kept anyway. Anywho, I turn it over to Teddy for impartial analysis. (El Angelo)

I can swing the impartial part, but it's more than a little difficult to meaningfully analyze any transactions column involving 28 players. Somehow, during a one-month period (a week of which was spent on a fishing boat in Portgual), Ang either acquired or dismissed more players than actually fit on a roster in this league (23).

About all I can do is look at the roster as currently constituted and decide whether I like it. My knee-jerk reaction is that there are still enormous holes at C (relatively easy to fix in the draft) and all three OF slots (much harder to fix in a single draft). But there's the makings of a roster core in here somewhere, if El Ang can stop feeding his team into the woodchipper just to see the spray. (Teddy)

The Sex Cannons

  • Signed Jack Cust, OF, Oakland; Released Lenny DiNardo, SP, Oakland [6/20]

  • Released Mark Reynolds, 2B, Arizona [6/21]
  • Traded Jeremy Bonderman, SP, Detroit for Jim Thome, 1B, Chicago (AL) and a 2nd round draft pick in the 2008 draft; Released Cust; Signed Brendan Harris, SS, Tampa Bay [6/22]

  • Signed Julian Tavarez, SP, Boston [6/23]

  • Signed Willie Harris, OF, Atlanta; Released Matt Morris, SP, San Fran [6/24]

  • Signed Matt Stairs, 1B, Toronto; Released Tavarez [6/26]

  • Traded Miguel Tejada, SS, Baltimore to President Skroob for J.J. Hardy, SS, Milwaukee and Roy Oswalt, SP, Houston; Released B. Harris and Felix Pie, OF, Chicago (NL) [6/27]

  • Signed Paul Shuey, RP, Cleveland; Released Stairs [6/30]

  • Signed Zack Greinke, SP, Kansas City, Wandy Rodriguez, SP, Houston and Chris Duncan, OF, St. Louis; Released Shuey, W. Harris and Nick Johnson, 1B, Washington [7/8]

  • Released Wandy Rodriguez [7/12]
The other exceedingly long transaction line has a nice blend of help for this year and a save for next year as well. Roy Oswalt & Jim Thome should both be big factors in making a run for it this year, and JJ Hardy's not a terrible fill-in for losing Tejada. To top that off, they've added a 2nd rounder for next year, allowing them to do a little reloading when top talent comes due in the way of keeper hell in March. Most of the pitching moves are boring and inconsequential, with the exception of the Zach Greinke addition, who I still continue to hold out hope for. Then again, I was still touting Ismael Valdez in 2002, so maybe I'm not a great reader of talent. (El Angelo)

All I can say is that Julian Tavarez is jacked and pumped to have been picked up. (Teddy)

1 comment:

Da Commish said...

Hah! One month ago, Chad called Raul Ibanez "the Suck." Since then, Ibanez's numbers look like this:

15 R, 9 HR, 25 RBI, .429 OBP

You sir, are an idiot.