Wednesday, February 15, 2012

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.

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