Friday, September 11, 2009

Transactions Analysis Part III: Bringing It All Back Home Edition

Le Dupont Torkies

Obtained Aramis Ramirez (3b, CHC) from The Spam Avengers; traded away Ryan Zimmerman (3B, WAS) to same. [7/7]

Obtained Brandon Inge (C/3B, DET) and Michael Cuddyer (1B/OF) from wormcheese moosebird; traded away Denard Span (OF, MIN) and Matt Garza (SP, TB) to same [7/8]

Obtained Matt Holliday (OF, STL) from Aroids Anonymous; traded away Vlad Guerrero (OF, LAA) to same [7/30]

Obtained Adam Dunn (1B/OF, WAS) and Ryan Franklin (RP, STL) from wormcheese moosebird; traded away Chad Billingsley (SP, LAD) and Jon Broxton (RP, LAD) to same. [7/30]

Notable FA pickups: Julio Borbon (OF, TEX)
Notable FA cuts: Ryan Dempster (P, CHC), Billy Wagner (RP, BOS)

And so here we see a continuation on my season-long theory that effort = results in this league. Nobody else was as active in the trade market as the Torkies, and unsurprisingly they’re on top of the league as of this writing. The only note of caution is that they’re still on pace to cruise through the innings limit, but as of now they have the cushion to absorb that.

As for the trades themselves, three of the four were straightforward now-for-later moves, with useful pieces like Matt Garza, Ryan Zimmerman, and Chad Billingsley sacrificed to bring in win-now vets. The fourth trade, however, was a good old-fashioned barrel-fucking. Lines since the trade:

Matt Holliday: .380/28R/11HR/35RBI/1SB
Vlad Guerrero: .345/25R/9HR/19RBI/0SB

If you just voided that one trade, you’d see a 4.5-point swing between the Torkies and AA, such that AA would now be in second place with 95.5 points, only 3.5 points behind the Torkies in first. Instead, AA are in 3d and the Torkies are cantering home with another title. Crazy. (Teddy)

I note this below, but let's also bear in mind that Tucker's also traded some draft picks for next year, but when you're drafting last and have a good eye for non-crappy players, it matters little. I don't have much to add to Teddy's analysis except to somewhat belatedly marvel at the August 23-26 stretch where Tucker went from 4 points behind me to 11 1/2 points ahead. For that type of a rally to occur in August is unheard of, and I tip my hat to our probable repeat winner. (El Angelo)

Flaccid Funiculi

Obtained: Brandon Philips (2B, CIN) and Dexter Fowler (OF, COL) from Aroids Anonymous; traded away Jose Lopez (2B, SEA) to same [7/23].

Notable FA pickups: Francisco Liriano (SP, MIN), Drew Stubbs (OF, CIN)
Notable FA cuts: Dallas Braden (SP, OAK)

There was a notable lack of win-now moves for this team, with FF pretty much ceding the field to the Torkies, MA, and the Cobblers. The Brandon Philips/Jose Lopez trade was pretty much a wash, with Lopez slugging well and Philips providing more speed. That means the team gave up essentially nothing for Dexter Fowler, an intriguing guy whose floor looks to be Willy Taveras, a guy who has been plenty valuable in this league over the years. Nice trade; you wonder what might have been had the team pulled off one or two more like it. (Teddy)

Let's give Will a little more credit here: he fired a big bullet early by dealing a first-round pick away for Shane Victorino and Justin Verlander back in June, both of which have been solid contributors. What really seems to have happened it the Law of Large Numbers finally caught up to this squad, as it was top heavy with little depth on offense. One bad injury--which Carlos Beltran's was, if Will had the probable 15 HR's and 15 steals he would have provided, he would be in 2nd place--proved to be too much for the team to overcome. Lots of points for style, though, because it's great to see an owner try an unconventional style, stick with it, and make a great run at the title. You know, like our commish, only the exact opposite. (El Angelo)

Aroids Anonymous

Obtained: Lopez; traded away Philips and Fowler (OF, COL) [7/23].

Obtained Guerrero; traded away Holliday [7/30].

Obtained: Joe Nathan (RP, MIN) from wormcheese moosebird; traded away Curtis Granderson (OF, DET). [8/9]

Notable FA pickups: Scott Feldman (SP, TEX), Franklin Morales (temporary CL, COL)
Notable FA drops: A ton of young pitching, including Dan Bard, Dustin Nippert, Chris Volstad, et al.

I’ve pretty well spoiled a lot of this above, but suffice to say that one of these trades was catastrophic and another was more or less ineffectual. That said, the Joe Nathan/Curtis Granderson trade was good for both sides and helped AA defend critical points in the SV category. Even better were the two FA pickups highlighted above. It’s rare to add a 16-game winner and a decent closer to a fantasy roster in late August without giving up anything at all, but that’s what AA pulled off. (Teddy)

I'm a lot less harsh than my co-author on the Holliday trade, and am giving Corey much more benefit of the doubt. Let's remember at the time Corety made the Holliday trade, (1) his team was much further out of it than he is now (I'm not sure they had cracked the 80 point barrier by then), and (2) Holliday had been playing like shit for the A's. To top it off, Holliday is unkeepable for next year while Vladie is, and they picked up a late 2nd round pick in the exchange. It's a purely defensible move, which only seems worse because the Aroids didn't tank afterwards, they kept getting better. How much of that is a function of his team playing better versus the bottom half of the league cratering is debatable--the bottom 5 teams in this league have lost enough points from inertia and crappiness this year that it's likely that 85 points will only get you 5th place this year.

As for Scott Feldman, the fact that he has 16 wins is nothing shy of truly shocking. The guy has a K/BB ratio that's approaching 3/2, can't strike anyone out, and plays in a horrible park for pitchers. He is currently tied for first in AL Wins with CC Sabathia and Verlander, and is clearly the answer to "which doesn't belong and why" for that trio. In fact, I'll officially declare him the worst pitcher to contend for the win title since 1989, when Bleach Saberhagen lead the AL with 21 W's. That year's top 10 included Storm Davis (19 wins), Mike Moore (19), something called Jeff Ballard (18--he had 23 the rest of his career), the immortal Allan Anderson (17) and...wait for it...AL Rookie of the Year runner-up, Tom Gordon (17). Reading that officially made me feel old. (El Angelo)


Corey said...

As Angelo said, I was way out of it and my pitching was falling apart. But right after I traded Holliday, Philips, and Fowler (none of whom spent much time on my starting lineup all season), my hitters went on fire and my pitchers stopped sucking. And as for the comparison, it's a bit misleading, since I've been platooning Vladi and Adam Lind, so a strict comparison of Vladi and Holliday is not a complete picture.

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