Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Trade of the Day: 2/29/12

It was a sad day for Oakland A's fans when the extent of 3B Scott Sizemore's injury came out. With him out for the year, GM Billy Beane and Co. will have to get creative to find a suitable replacement. Josh Donaldson, Adam Rosales, Eric Sogard, and Wes Timmons are current roster options being looked at.
Interestingly, these stopgaps would hold down third for a season for Sizemore, who appears to be a short-term answer there himself. While prospects Steve Parker or B.A. Vollmuth could develop as long-term answers, another possible one finds himself as a perhaps the odd man out on the Nationals' Opening Day roster. Here's a trade that could possibly bring that man, Steve Lombardozzi, to Oakland.

OAK IF Lombardozzi
WAS OF Collin Cowgill and OF Jermaine Mitchell

Lombardozzi, though with limited experience at third, would take over as the A's starting 3B, perhaps for many seasons, if not just for 2012.
Cowgill, an older prospect who dominated AAA last year for the D-backs, would have the chance to start in center or, at the very least, platoon with Roger Bernadina. He might even provide the long-term answer in CF that GM Mike Rizzo's long sought beyond 2012, when Bryce Harper should take over in RF, Jayson Werth in LF, and Mike Morse at 1B. Mitchell gives the team just another outfield option on a roster without many of them.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Trade Options for Out of Options Players

A week or so ago, MLBTraderumors posted a list of the players in 2012 who were out of options. Upon analyzing this, I looked for players who would be squeezed out of a roster spot on their current team and tried to find a trade partner for them who was in a similar boat. It was hard to do, but I found a few scenarios that I believe benefit both the players to be traded and the teams involved. In other words, the players they'd be getting back could help them on a 25-roster, at least more than the other out of options player(s) they were acquired for. Here's a couple trade ideas with some analysis.

MIN receives 1B Brandon Allen
OAK receives P Matt Maloney and IF Mike Hollimon

As a Twin, Maloney was a long-shot to make either their rotation or bullpen (already including two lefties in Glen Perkins and Brian Duensing). In Oakland, he'd have a shot being their fifth starter. As I've previously opined, if I were GM Billy Beane and am interested in rebuilding, I'd prefer to start the season with a rotation of Brandon McCarthy, Dallas Braden, Bartolo Colon, Tom Milone, and Maloney, keeping Brad Peacock and Jarrod Parker in the minors for service time reasons. Scanning the Athletics' 40-man roster and list of non-roster invitees I find a dearth of middle infielders, so Hollimon could be a throw-in to make up for Allen's potential they're sending the Twins. With Luke Hughes possible starting the season on the DL, Allen's power left-handed bat and 1B-OF glove could fill out Minnesota's bench alongside Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Trevor Plouffe, and Craig Tatum (see below).

MIN receives C Tatum and P Jensen Lewis
ARI receives rights to P Jeff Gray and C Rene Rivera

According to Buster Olney, the D-backs are searching for catching depth, which may have prompted their waiver claim of Tatum a few months ago. However, being out of options, he is not a roster option for them at this point. The Twins are likely to carry a third catcher this season, and as Ron Gardenhire's favorite, Drew Butera is likely to get that precious roster spot. Despite his defense, Butera hits less than most pitchers, so even Tatum represents an upgrade in the batter's box. Lewis gives the Twins an extra arm to try out in camp as a late-inning option, and Rivera, as a non-roster player, better serves the D-backs' purpose that Olney mentioned. Gray could slot into the final bullpen spot for Arizona, competing with Joe Paterson and Brett Lorin.

NYY receives P Mike Zagurski
ARI receives OF Justin Maxwell

With Boone Logan as the only lefty pen option on the 40-man roster (excluding Rule V draftee Cesar Cabral), Zagurski would provide the Yankees with a second southpaw if so desired. There's technically room, as those two would offset Mariano Rivera, Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, Cory Wade, and most likely Phil Hughes in the bullpen. Maxwell could fight for the final bench spot for the D-backs, giving them another needed backup OF option. A continued injury to Stephen Drew or a trade of Gerardo Parra would add even more sense to this proposition.

HOU receives 1B David Cooper, P Luis Perez, and IF Luis Valbuena
TOR receives 1B Brett Wallace

The Astros were an easy team to find matches for, even if it meant finding roster spots for two extra bodies by DFA'ing perhaps Arcenio Leon and Enerio Del Rosario. Their roster is chock full of players heavy on options and light on experience (and potential). So why not try once again to find a first baseman for the present with this trade? Someone's got to keep base warm for Jonathan Singleton, so why not Cooper? Perez would give the bullpen a second lefty to pair with Wesley Wright and Valbuena could fill an open bench spot. Wallace returns to Toronto, again with a chance to supplant Adam Lind as the long-term 1B, with Michael McDade the only real legitimate prospect who'd be breathing down his neck.

FLA receives P Lucas Harrell and P John Gaub
CHC receives P Sean West
HOU receives rights to IF Marwin Gonzalez

This deal allows the Astros to do with Gonzalez as they wish, either on the roster or, preferably, in the minors. Harrell, as a long man, reunites with a former skipper in Florida, plus the Fish add a lefty with options in Gaub. Evan Reed seems like a worthy of a DFA to make room. West gets a chance with Chicago, who is searching for a reliable southpaw out of the pen.

SEA receives P Ramon Troncoso
LAD receives P Cesar Jimenez

The Dodgers currently have one lefty in their bullpen, Scott Elbert. The only two projected bullpen arms without options are Kenley Jansen and Javy Guerra, so probably the only way Jimenez makes the team out of Spring Training is if one of those two really struggles. Troncoso could slide into the last Seattle bullpen spot, but everything would have to work out right and he'd need a stellar spring. This is an example of a trade that would yield minimal, if any, results, but is a better scenario all around than the current one for each team.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Options for Johnny Damon

Who doesn't like Johnny Damon? From his former caveman ways to his faux hawk, choppy left-handed swing knocking out hit after hit to his noodle arm lobbing balls to cut-off men, he appeals to fans all through baseball. This offseason, like the last two, his appeal is, however, not reaching executives all through baseball. He and agent Scott Boras are struggling to find a guaranteed deal as Spring Training nears.
I think the man has value, and should hold value for a team long enough for him to reach 3,000 hits and secure an induction to the Hall of Fame. There's at least one skill he's lacking though that would ensure his employment until then. That's how to put on and competently use a first baseman's mitt. If he was more versatile, he would have more teams interested, since he's currently just a DH masquerading as a leftfielder occasionally.  In fact, I've found at least seven teams besides the Athletics, Yankees, and Orioles, that could use him if he was a little more than just a hitter, and they're listed in order of what makes most sense to those scenarios that seem more of a stretch.

  • Milwaukee Brewers - Odds are Ryan Braun serves his suspension to begin next year. Hole in LF for the first 50 games. Mat Gamel gets a chance to replace Prince Fielder at 1B. What if he struggles after extended exposure to major pitching? Hole at 1B after the first 50 games. If Gamel produces, then once Braun returns Damon could serve as the team's primary left-handed pinch-hitter or as trade bait.
  • Chicago Cubs - How about a Damon-Epstein reunion? Yes, the former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein was once spurned by Damon when the rival Yankees signed the outfielder, but he tried a few years later to claim him from the Tigers. This may show the fences have mended and the two sides are amiable to a reunion, especially if Alfonso Soriano is somehow dealt. There's no way Damon would be worse in LF than Soriano, plus he could always take Bryan LaHair's spot at 1B if the career minor-leaguer fails to produce. The Cubs already face a lack of outfield depth as mentioned earlier.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers - The Dodgers are currently looking at some combination of Juan Rivera, Tony Gwynn, and Jerry Hairston in LF. Somewhat underwhelming for a corner outfield spot. While Damon wouldn't provide a huge upgrade, he'd nevertheless still be an upgrade, allowing Rivera to platoon versus southpaws with James Loney (.561 OPS vs. LHP in 2011) at 1B instead of with Damon (.812 OPS). The bench currently consists of Matt Treanor, Adam Kennedy, Gwynn, and Hairston, so a fifth spot is technically open.
  • Cincinnati Reds - Two questions: First, would you take Denis Phipps over Damon? Second, who is Denis Phipps? Well he is the fifth and final outfield option on the Reds' 40-man roster. They currently have either Chris Heisey or Ryan Ludwick as the fourth outfielder, with Todd Frazier also having some experience out there. Out-of-options Juan Francisco has played limited innings in the outfield, so a Damon signing could make sense, as he'd give them a left-handed bat for LF and off a bench that currently consists of Heisey/Ludwick, Wilson Valdez, Ryan Hanigan, and Miguel Cairo.
  • Minnesota Twins - MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger recently projected the Twins' season-opening roster, and sees them carrying two catchers on the bench along with Trevor Plouffe and Tsuyoshi Nishioka (since Luke Hughes may start the season on the DL). One of those catchers, Ryan Doumit, may end up starting at DH, so Damon, as a DH and LF option, seems like a pretty good fit here. If injuries further hinder Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, even more at-bats at DH, LF, or even 1B would be available for Damon, a bonus for him and his quest for 3,000 hits and for a team trying to avoid a repeat as AL Central cellar dwellers.
  • Philadelphia Phillies - How settled are 1B and LF for the Phillies? John Mayberry deserves a shot at starting in LF, while it looks like Ty Wigginton and Jim Thome will try to hold down 1B for as long as Ryan Howard's injury keeps him out. Neither of those options seem to promising, though Mayberry does have experiencing manning first as well. If Howard's takes longer to return than expected, then perhaps Damon in LF with Mayberry at 1B gives Philadelphia the best lineup. That would also give them a bench of Thome, Wigginton, Laynce Nix, Brian Schneider, and Michael Martinez.
  • Atlanta Braves - How satisfied Atlanta is with their outfield situation? They have two spots cemented with Michael Bourn and Jason Heyward, but after that they have Martin Prado (recent trade bait), Matt Diaz (right-handed bat who had zero home runs last year, two less than Jose Constanza), Eric Hinske (whose best served as the team's primary left-handed pinch-hitter and backup 1B), and bat-licking Constanza, (smoke-and-mirrors minor-league journeyman who had some early success last year). While Damon wouldn't need to spend too much time playing first here, he would offer the team an answer for the two-hole in their lineup and allow them to trade Prado.

Options for the Remaining 2012 Free Agents

Thanks to mlbtr.com, a comprehensive list of the year's remaining free agents is always available. A few weeks ago, after the Mariners gave major league deals to Hong-Chih Kuo and Shawn Camp, I was intrigued enough to want to try my hand at predicting where and for how much the remaining free agents will sign. Here's a whirl at it:

  • Ramon Castro (36) - minor league deal with FLA, reuniting with a former team, manager, and pitcher whose perfect game he caught
  • Jason Kendall (38) - reportedly injured for the entirety of the 2012 season 
  • Ivan Rodriguez (40) - minor league deal with MIN; if unable to beat Drew Butera for the roster's third catcher spot, he'll at least get to spend camp with his son, Dereck Rodriguez, who's an outfielder in the organization 
  • Jason Varitek (40) - retirement; if the Red Sox won't have you back, please at least walk out of baseball as one, it just seems right, as Jorge Posada understood
First basemen
  • Ross Gload (36) - minor league deal with PHI; he's cheap, left-handed insurance for injuries at 1B, LF, or pinch-hitting behind injury-prone Ryan Howard and Jim Thome or less-than-reliable Laynce Nix and Dominic Brown 
  • Derrek Lee (36) - major league deal with MIL @ 1 yr/$2.5m; Lee becomes a platoon partner with Mat Gamel or hopefully more for the Brew Crew, replacing out-of-options Frankie De La Cruz or Tim Dillard on the roster
  • Xavier Nady (33) - minor league deal with SF, providing right-handed depth at 1B and the corner outfield positions, since the only other current roster option is Brett Pill, who doesn't inspire a whole lot of confidence
Second basemen
  • Felipe Lopez (32) - minor league deal with MIL, an organization with whom Lopez already has some familiarity with and can add some AAA depth to 
  • Julio Lugo (36) - minor league deal with CLE; come on, the Tribe has already handed out over twenty invites to Spring Training, you don't think they can hammer out one more? 
  • Aaron Miles (35) - major league deal with PHI @ 1 yr/$.625m; Miles played well enough in 2011 to earn a big league deal, no matter how cheap it is, and he'll provide insurance in case Michael Martinez fails to impress, and a DFA of C Eric Kratz seems worth it
  • Edgar Renteria (35) - minor league deal with CIN, becoming potentially valuable injury insurance; with Miguel Cairo and Wilson Valdez aboard, Paul Janish is seemingly out of the Red's plans and Chris Valaika is the only projected AAA depth currently on the team's 40-man roster 
  • Miguel Tejada (38) - minor league deal with BAL; providing infield insurance in case Brian Roberts or Ryan Flaherty aren't up to speed when camp breaks
Third basemen
  • Eric Chavez (34) - major league deal with NYY @ 1 yr/$1.5m; I know GM Brian Cashman is making a show of being unable to stretch his mammoth budget to afford Raul Ibanez and Chavez at million-dollar deals, but come on, Chavez's play last year does not deserve a pay-cut, so the Yankees will find a way at the end of the day to field the best team they can, no matter the cost, plus a spot and cash for Chavez would open up with this proposed trade
  • Wes Helms (36) - minor league deal with ATL, because Helms is too classy a veteran to have to retire with the season's end he had last year; the Marlins villainized him and his return to Atlanta to help Fredi Gonzalez was cut short by injury, so let's give him one more chance
Left fielders
  • Johnny Damon (37) - major league deal with CHC @ 1yr/$2.5m, with more analysis here; not many places make sense but I guess Damon could serve a mediocre one-year stint here, perhaps replacing Adrian Cardenas on the 40-man
  • Jay Gibbons (35) - minor league deal with ATL; I wouldn't say Atlanta's outfield has "depth" right now by any means, though I'm not sure a Gibbons signing would provide any more of that either
  • Ibanez (40) - major league deal with NYY @ 1 yr/$1.25m; this would require Ibanez to sign for a hair over one-tenth of his 2011 salary, but for a chance to win I think both sides would want to do this, even if it meant losing the Rule V rights to Cesar Cabral or Brad Meyers to open a roster spot
  • Hideki Matsui (38) - minor league deal with SEA, forming an all-Asian squad of Matsui, Hisashi Iwakuma, Kuo, Chih-Hsien Chiang, Ichiro, and Munenori Kawasaki to take to Japan in March to face the A's as well as potentially adding a little pop to a punchless lineup 
  • Marcus Thames (35) - minor league deal with DET, providing depth in the corner OF and DH spots and at 1B; there would be a need if a Clete Thomas trade were to happen, since the Tigers would have six big-league outfielders on their 40-man, two of which (Ryan Raburn and Don Kelly) figure to see significant time in the infield
Right fielders
  • J.D. Drew (36) - minor league deal with ARI, having a chance to earn a spot on a team with his brother, Stephen Drew; he might be considered disinterested and detached, but a guy with his natural abilities could still improve most teams
  • Magglio Ordonez (38) - minor league deal with DET, this going along with the Thames argument and for the sake of familiarity and Jim Leyland sentiment
Designated hitters
  • Vladimir Guerrero (37) - minor league deal with TOR, providing some organizational depth at DH behind Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion, joining and tutoring David Cooper and Mike McDade in Las Vegas
  • Ramirez (40) - minor league deal with OAK; I'm more curious of a Ramirez signing with the A's than I was with his deal with Tampa, plus I'm actually thinking such a deal brings decent value to Oakland
Starting pitchers
  • Kyle Davies (28) - minor league deal with TOR; they gave him a shot at the end of last season, why not again
  • Doug Davis (36) - minor league deal with CHW; like Davies, Davis got a shot with this team's top affiliate last year and actually provided nine good starts for them
  • Rich Harden (30) - reportedly injured for the entirety of the 2012 season, which is too bad, his K/9 rate makes him an intriguing bullpen arm as it always has
  • Scott Kazmir (28) - minor league deal with NYM, allowing him to reunite with the team that traded him as a top prospect for a few middling seasons of Victor Freaking Zambrano
  • Sergio Mitre (31) - minor league deal with OAK, giving them some AAA long relief or starting depth
  • Mark Prior (31) - minor league deal with MIN; his propensity to injury requires this to be a cheap deal, but wouldn't it be interesting for Prior to give his last shot at a comeback with the only team that passed on him in the draft (taking a lot of flack for drafting Joe Mauer instead...)
  • Roy Oswalt (34) - major league deal with CIN @ 1 yr/$7.5m; isn't this a fair deal for both sides, allowing Oswalt to pitch (in an important role) for a contender and the Reds a Hall-of-Fame calibar pitcher as they go all in for the year, thus filling out their roster while still keeping their payroll under $89m and only a reasonable $8m more than ownership has ever spent on a payroll there
  • Ben Sheets (33) - reportedly injured for the entirety of the 2012 season
  • Rick VandenHurk (27) - minor league deal with OAK, giving them some
  • Javier Vazquez (35) - retirement; so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu...and you ended on a good year too 
  • Tim Wakefield (45) - retirement; while knuckleballers can pitch forever, Wakefield is no longer wanted by his long-time Boston club, plus he has some pretty numbers he can hang his Red Sox hat on as he exits: a 200-180 record, 1.35 WHIP, 6.0 K/9 rate, and an All-Star selection 
  • Brandon Webb (33) - minor league deal with CIN; coming cheap, Webb makes sense financially for the Reds, while they make sense geographically and competitively for him, since Cincinnati is close to Webb's Kentucky home and is a contending team he'd like to pitch for (if that ever happens again)
  • Chris Young (33) - minor league deal with NYM, returning to provide his team with four stellar starts or a third straight year; if only he could wait to get injured in October, not that the Mets will be playing then
Right-handed relievers
  • David Aardsma (29) - minor league deal with DET; looking at the 40-man roster and knowing Al Alburquerque is injured, I can't see a whole lot of bullpen depth/upside for middle innings, making Aardsma an intriguing risk to take
  • Danys Baez (34) - minor league deal with a Mexican AAA squad; sorry, it's hard to envision any other scenario for this guy
  • Jason Isringhausen (39) - major league deal with LAA @ 1 yr/$1.5m; Izzy's threatened not to take another minor league deal, and I think his performance last year earns him a big-league spot, with Anaheim making sense as they replace Andrew Romine with him
  • Tony Pena (30) - minor league deal with CHW; they paid Pena last year and have some depth concerns this year, so at a discount price it may be worth seeing if he can bounce back from injury
  • Michael Wuertz (33) - minor league deal with MIN, giving the Minnesota native a place to rebound and possibly fill an important need
Left-handed relievers
  • Mike Gonzalez (34) - major league deal with TEX @ 1 yr/$2.4m; he would be the finishing touches to yet another Texas team primed for a return to the World Series, easily worth a DFA of Brandon Snyder or Cody Eppley
  • Damaso Marte (37) - minor league deal with KC; fearing (or knowing) Jose Mijares won't succeed may convince the Royals to take a flyer on this oft-injured southpaw
  • Arthur Rhodes (41) - minor league deal with NYY; there's Boone Logan and (if only) Pat Venditte, so Rhodes could be a fit here

    Trade of the Day: 2/15/12

    Despite being the "month of love," February in fact has little love for trade speculation. With 40-man rosters all but set and Spring Training weeks away, most GMs are finished tinkering for the offseason and few, if any, are looking to complete a big trade. Well that won't stop me from drawing up a trade, and it's not just any trade, it's a four-team trade. Here's the breakdown, along with simplified cash and roster breakdowns. A team-by-team analysis also follows.

    BAL receives P Koji Uehara, P Homer Bailey, OF Alfonso Soriano, P Kyle Lotzkar, OF Jordan Akins, P Aaron Kurcz
    CIN receives OF Adam Jones, P Scott Feldman, OF Engel Beltre, $1.75m from TEX
    CHC receives P Carlos Fisher, P Bronson Arroyo, $2m from TEX in '12, $7m from CIN in '13
    TEX receives OF Chris Heisey, IF Paul Janish, P Kevin Gregg, P Pedro Strop

    Baltimore parts with a CF that some argue is elite, others call a borderline All-Star, others as mediocre. My opinion of him (and as it seems is O's GM Dan Duquette's) is somewhere between those last two choices. In the last four years Adam Jones has averaged under 138 games and a WAR of just over 2.5, while posting a negative UZR in the past three seasons. Not to mention he's yet to bat .285 or reach an OPS over .792 in a season. He does have some pros, which will be covered later. While Bailey has similarities to Jonesformer top prospect with star skills who's struggled with durability and consistencyhe fills a bigger need in the rotation and offers more team control. Uehara completes their bullpen, while Soriano provides a home run swing (albeit with as many holes as a cheese grater) for only an average of $4m a year. If he stinks it up, he can be easily DFA'd and they'll only take a $1m hit to their 2013 and 2014 payrolls. By shedding the contracts of Jones and Gregg, they add less than $5m to the current year's payroll, plus add three prospects ranked within their respective teams top 25 to deepen their system.
    The Reds seem to be going all in for the next year (or two) and with the addition of Jones and possibly Roy Oswalt, this is a win-now move for them. For starters it sorts out a mediocre rotation and improves it by shedding Arroyo and the bulk of his contract. Jones has some upside in his youth and by moving to a park even more friendly to homers. Feldman is a useful bullpen arm for a year or two, either as middle or long relief, and Beltre has the tools to be a useful roster option if he can put it all together.
    With this trade the Cubs do add payroll in 2012 ($10m), but even without a possible Matt Garza trade, the Cubs would be well below their typical payrolls. The Cubs' new management removes the millstone around its neck that Soriano's contract was, plus gets increased financial freedom come 2013.
    The Rangers aren't affected much financially by this trade. The players and cash going out are negligibly more than the players coming in. The makeup or quality of this club isn't greatly affected by this deal either, though Heisey and Janish are useful role players, especially with Mitch Moreland's injury and infield depth questions lingering.

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    Trade of the Day: 2/10/12

    CHC receive P Clay Rapada and OF Matt Angle
    BAL receives rights to IF Ryan Flaherty

    Like the Orioles, I'm expecting the Cubs wouldn't value Rapada worth a 40-man spot. They could DFA him upon acquiring him, and, as I'm expecting he'd clear waivers, invite him to camp as a non-roster player. He would then provide AAA depth. After the signing of Luis Ayala, I predict Angle as the most likely to be DFA'd, but he would be worth a roster spot to Chicago, because of their dearth of quality, major-league ready outfielders.
    This trade would give Baltimore some flexibility with Flaherty, a prospect with at least some potential, allowing them to option him to the minors if unready for major league pitching. The loss of Rapada and Angle is negligible, with Trent Mummey a younger and more promising potential fourth outfielder than Angle or Kyle Hudson.

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    Trade of the Day: 2/9/12

    Back in December, George A. King III of the New York Post reported the Yankees were willing to eat $8m of the remaining $33m of the contract of A.J. Burnett. A lot has transpired since then, including the signings of Freddy Garcia and Hiroki Kuroda and the Jesus Montero-Michael Pineda swap. New York suddenly faces an overage of rotation candidates and have been rumored to be shopping Burnett. Tim Dierkes at MLBTR recently examined some possible fits for the righthander and the two years left on his contract, and the "Pittsburgh Pirates are one team that actually might want to trade for" him, Ken Rosenthal adds. Agreeing with their sensible analysis of why this would be a good fit for both teams and Burnett, I propose this package to complete a deal:

    PIT receives P Burnett, OF Justin Maxwell, and $25m
    NYY receives P Daniel McCutchen, C Eric Fryer, and 1B Matt Curry

    This trade allows Burnett to fill out the Bucs rotation with James McDonald, Erik Bedard, Jeff Karstens, and Charlie Morton or Kevin Correia, depending on Morton's recovery from surgery. Out-of-options Maxwell can fight with Yamaico Navarro, Chase d'Arnaud, and Josh Harrison for the final two bench spots.
    The first two listed pieces New York would receive are former Yankee farmhands, so GM Brian Cashman should know what he's receiveing. McCutchen could serve as a decent bullpen piece and still has at least one minor league option available, while Fryer provides some AAA catching depth after the departures of Montero and Jorge Posada. Curry is a wild card, but no top prospect, offering some left-handed pop as he heads for a full season at AA. In the end, Cashman is unable to rid himself of all but $8m of Burnett's contract, but rather will pay all but $8m to the Pirates.

    Tuesday, February 7, 2012

    Trade of the Day: 2/7/12

    Here comes the Padres' compensation for Cubs' GM Jed Hoyer..."At 5'11", 195 pounds, from Sikeston High School, the San Diego Padres select...Blake DeWitt!"
    This trade could serve as adequate repayment for Hoyer's departure and also fill a bench role for the Padres, with the recently DFA'd DeWitt serving as a backup at all the infield positions and as an emergency outfielder. I like to think my hypothetical trades actually happen, so after the Bartlett-Niemann trade proposed Friday, DeWitt ends up as the 13th and final position player needed for a predicted opening roster, listed below:

    1. Chase Headley 3B
    2. Orlando Hudson 2B
    3. Cameron Maybin CF
    4. Carlos Quentin LF
    5. Yonder Alonso 1B
    6. Nick Hundley C
    7. Will Venable RF
    8. Elliot Johnson SS (defensive specialist?...UZR of over 21 in over 337 innings in '11...)
    Bench: John Baker, DeWitt, Jesus Guzman, Chris Denorfia, and Mark Kotsay

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    Yeah? John Lannan and what army?

    Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe recently wrote of speculation that Nationals P John Lannan will eventually be dealt to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for CF Peter Bourjos. I laughed when I read this. Lannan is a decent starter for the back end of a rotation (or the Angels' fifth starter in this case). He provided 1.3 WAR last year, 5.0 WAR total in four years in the big leagues. Bourjos, on the other hand, provided his club with 4.3 WAR last year alone (not to mention 1.4 dWAR), totaling 6.1 WAR in two big league seasons. What I'm getting at is if the Nats want Bourjos, it'll take a LOT (more than Lannan) to pry him away, as they've already been told. Sure, moving him would open a spot for Mike Trout, or the Nats could always move Jayson Werth to CF to open a spot for Bryce Harper. So a matchup for a trade doesn't seem to make too much sense for either side. But maybe my proposition does:

    LAA receives: P Lannan, OF Mike Morse, P Henry Rodriguez, IF Steve Lombardozzi, P Robbie Ray, and OF Eury Perez
    WAS receives: OF Bourjos, 1B/OF Mark Trumbo, and P Jerome Williams

    The Angels would receive from the Nats three players who combined for 5.3 WAR last year plus three of John Sickels' top-20 prospects (#6, #9, and #18 respectively), while giving to Washington three players who combined for 7.2 WAR in 2011.
    Lannan could slide into the rotation's #5 spot for at least two years, but what then happens to Garrett Richards or John Hellweg? Morse gives the Halos a possible #4 or #5 hitter to protect Albert Pujols. But the question then becomes where do you play him? He's played in 138 games at the hot corner, so you can wonder if the Halos were willing to try Trumbo there for the first time, if Morse could get a shot. More logical destinations are at DH, where a logjam could exist with Bobby Abreu or a healthy Kendrys Morales, or at a corner outfield position, where Vernon Wells and Torii Hunter currently reside. Luckily, Hunter, Abreu, and Maicer Izturis become free agents after 2012, and the Angels would control Morse through at least the next year. Rodriguez could serve as a power bullpen arm, Lombardozzi as infield depth, while Ray could form with the two aforementioned pitching prospects a trio of plus arms to join Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson as the nucleus of the next strong Angel rotation. And who knows, Perez has similar skills to become the next Bourjos.
    Bourjos instantly becomes the long-term answer in CF GM Mike Rizzo has long sought. Werth could move to LF long-term as well, allowing Trumbo to man RF until midseason, then move to 1B long-term when Adam LaRoche could be possibly dealt and Harper called up to the big leagues. Williams would provide, at most, starting pitching depth or long relief for 2012 and beyond.

    UPDATE 2/8/12: I realize now that including Morse and Trumbo is somewhat redundant, so I feel a similar trade, excluding those two, Rodriguez, and Williams (in other words a 4-for-1) could still be fair both ways.

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    Trade of the Day: 2/3/12

    Here goes trade number two before the weekend starts. I started thinking about this after Jeff Niemann lost his arbitration hearing to his club the Rays today. What's his trade value? I figure this deal might be a starting gauge of it:

    SD receives P Niemann, IF Elliot Johnson, and P Dane De La Rosa
    TB receives SS Jason Bartlett, 1B/OF Kyle Blanks, IF Andy Parrino, and $3m cash

    Here's the rundown: Niemann becomes a front-of-the-rotation arm in Petco with several years of control for the Friars, while Johnson fights Everth Cabrera to become either the team's shortstop or utilityman, and De La Rosa deepens their pen possibilities.
    Bartlett (with a little cash included) becomes the Rays' cheap but above average starting shortstop (with a possible extra year of control), Blanks gets a change of scenery and a chance to replace Russ Canzler as a possible platoon partner for Carlos Pena or Luke Scott, and Parrino gives Joe Maddon some versatility to stash on the team's 40-man roster.

    Trade of the Day: 2/3/12

    Thanks to the departure of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, not to mention the pending suspension of Ryan Braun, the NL Central is looking considerably weaker and more open heading into 2012. The Chicago Cubs face an interesting dilemma: pretend to contend or take the plunge into a full rebuild? The average fan is most likely clamoring for the former, while a level-headed one hopefully sees the merit in letting Theo Epstein start his rebuilding now. The offense looks below average at this point, while the rotation seems decent with some possible upside. Matt Garza presents most if not all of that upside, yet his greatest value may come from what they get for him in 2012, not for what they get from him. The Cubs need to deal Garza sometime this season, and for the sake of having something to blog about, I propose the time is now. Here's a suggestion:

    DET receives P Garza, OF Marlon Byrd, 3B Marquez Smith, and PTBNL
    CHC receives P Jacob Turner, 3B Nick Castellanos, P Drew Smyly, 3B Brandon Inge, OF Clete Thomas, and P David Pauley

    Detroit would now boast a rotation of Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, Garza, Max ScherzerDoug Fister, and Rick Porcello. Wow...that's elite. Byrd could provide a little more outfield depth (especially if Miguel Cabrera can stick at third, meaning Delmon Young DH's) and a potential backup plan for the leadoff spot if Austin Jackson continues to be awful there. Smith would provide Cabrera the same kind of AAA depth for 3B that Inge would have, only for a lot cheaper. Detroit would be giving up a lot, so I'm assuming they'd like another piece. My PTBNL is whoever's left of Josh Vitters or Trey McNutt, since one or the other is rumored to be headed to Boston as compensation for Epstein.
    The Cubs would enjoy two new front starters in Turner and Smyly for the foreseeable future, while still having Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Randy Wells, Travis Wood, Chris Volstad, Andy Sonnanstine, Rodrigo Lopez, Casey Coleman as other starting options. They'd get a future 3B in Castellanos, a current one in Inge (at least as a platoon and utilityman), a cheap bullpen piece in Pauley, and AAA depth in Thomas. Since they'd be taking on four roster spots while clearing just three, a DFA of Sonnanstine seems plausible, since he signed a split-contract. Why not pull the trigger?

    Thursday, February 2, 2012

    Trade of the Day: 2/2/12

    Okay, trade number two for the day. John Lannan made National news today as he was beat by his team in an arbitration hearing, meaning he'll receive a 2012 salary of $5m. That news was later trumped by their signing of Edwin Jackson, so word on the street is Lannan's already on the block. The Nats need to dump his salary somewhere, so I suggest the following to do so:

    OAK receives P Lannan, P Cole Kimball, and P Josh Smoker
    WAS receives 1B/OF Brandon Allen, C Landon Powell, and IF Eric Sogard

    These teams already matched up once this offseason in the Gio Gonzalez deal. This trade benefits Oakland because they get a mid-rotation starter (albeit with middling stuff) who will be helped by their big ballpark and should give them 30 starts and 180 innings through 2013. If I were GM Billy Beane (and I'm not), I would prefer to have an Opening Day rotation of Brandon McCarthy, Lannan, Bartolo Colon, Dallas Braden, and Rich Harden (if he could be had back on a cheap major league deal with incentives). Graham Godfrey and Tyson Ross provide further depth, allowing Brett Anderson to heal from Tommy John surgery and Jarrod Parker, Tom Milone, and Brad Peacock to stay in the minors until at least August 1 (for service time and Super 2 reasons). McCarthy, Colon, and perhaps even Anderson could be bring back good value around the trade deadline. Harden, too, whether as a starter or reliever.
    Kimball could be a possible piece in the A's bullpen picture, while Smoker could turn into one a few years down the road. A former first-round pick, the 22-year-old has struggled with command and as a starter. He fared somewhat better last year after moving to the bullpen and gets his strikeouts, so once the A's move on from the Brian Fuentes, Jerry Blevins, and Jordan Norberto, they may hope to find their other 40-man options of Smoker, Sean Doolittle, and Pedro Figueroa serviceable.
    Aside from the money saved from this deal to sign E-Jax, it can perhaps Band-Aid a few weak spots on Washington's current roster. Allen gives them a backup 1B with some pop (or LF to face tough righties for Mike Morse if ever needed), Powell gives them a non-roster C pitchers enjoy throwing to with previous major league experience (and perhaps allowing them to flip the dissatisfied Jesus Flores for something useful), and Sogard gives them another middle infield option, a la Brian Bixler of 2011. (Alex Cora may be back on a ML deal too.) I might add that rumors have Oakland already shopping Allen, so this proposal has its merits for both sides.

    Trade of the Day: 2/2/12

    Alright back to blogging after an extended hiatus. Many experts and analysts are pegging the Minnesota Twins to finish near the bottom (if not at the bottom) of the American League this year. This offseason they've made small patchwork moves, all of them unspectacular if not questionable in the least. Continuing along that line and in an attempt to read GM Terry Ryan's mind, I propose the following trade:

    MIN receives P Kyle McClellan and P Adam Reifer
    STL receives P Anthony Slama and P Brett Jacobson

    This is a salary dump, plain and simple, for the Cardinals, freeing up some cash for them to sign Roy Oswalt. McClellan is known to have been on the block for a few weeks now. Reifer is an older and recently injured prospect, who, according to John Sickels, could rank as high as #15 in their system. I'm not sure why Slama's never gotten much of a shot with the Twins. His peripherals look decent if not above-average. Is he too walk-prone for his control-crazed team? Jacobson, once included in trades for Aubrey Huff and J.J. Hardy, is probably bound for no more than minor league depth at this point of his career.