Some more on deadline trades

TRADE-O-RAMA
I enjoyed my BP colleague Christina Kahrl’s take on the Dodgers’ acquisition of George Sherrill from the Orioles for prospective third baseman Josh Bell and righty Steve Johnson:

torre_pb_080109.jpg[T]his move seems more about Joe Torre’s desperate need to turn to people he’s heard of in his pen. Sherrill’s been around long enough that Torre can use him with fully-formed preconceived notions without any chance that anyone will blame anyone other than Sherrill if it doesn’t work out in any particular high-leverage ballgame, and that’s the kind of cover the veteran skipper’s grown accustomed to over his long years of service. Bleeding talent for players Torre doesn’t have to sweat developing was one of those intrinsically accepted costs of employing the man in the first place, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Dodgers fans have to like it.

Torre had his talents, no doubt about it, but he did become spectacularly risk-averse in the bullpen. Most managers are, but Torre reached an extreme. As I’ve remarked before, Joe Girardi has “made” more Major League relievers in less than two years running the Yankees than Torre did in his last five years, perhaps longer.

If you’re the Orioles, you wish you could have done more than this, but the organization isn’t willing to move Brian Roberts, while Melvin Mora and Aubrey Huff haven’t been productive enough to excite anyone. Still, in Bell they added the possible replacement for Mora, and none too soon. There’s some question as to whether Bell can stay at third, and the club still desperately needs help at shortstop, but this is a start.  

The Red Sox made an excellent move in picking up Victor Martinez. They received an offensively talented catcher-first baseman who can spell Jason Varitek, Kevin Youkilis, or, by pushing Youkilis to third base, Mike Lowell. Martinez can’t throw, but Varitek can’t either, so no big loss there. Martinez can belong to the Red Sox for another year if they pick up his $7.5 million option, which seems like a no-brainer. The one risk here is that Martinez has been in a severe slump; in his last 30 games he’s hit .161/.268/.279.

The acquisition of Martinez rendered Adam LaRoche redundant, so he was swapped off to the Braves for Casey Kotchman. Kotchman is the New Millennium Doug Mientkiewicz, and he’ll take on that role for the Sox. A greater role in the future will depend on this offseason. If Varitek wants to come back, he has the contractual right to do so, and that could block up the catchers’ position a bit. Mike Lowell has another year to go on his deal, and has no-trade protection. David Ortiz is also signed for another year.

The Braves made an odd deal here, picking up an imminent free agent who isn’t a great hitter for a first baseman. True, Kotchman hadn’t hit like on either, but he’s better at getting on base and is the superior gloveman. The Bravos may do well in the short term given that LaRoche is a second-half hitter, but the gain here is likely small and they may be in possession of neither player by November.

These moves will have an impact on the Yankees as they fight the Red Sox the rest of the way. The Sox have hit well in their own ballpark, averaging 5.7 runs per game in the Fens, but have hit just .252/.336/.402 on the road with an average of 4.6 runs per game. The league-average offense scores 4.7. How the addition of Martinez benefits the Red Sox depends on how they spot him to best advantage in different pitcher match-ups, and if they’re willing to cut into David Ortiz’s playing time now and again or bench Mike Lowell against the odd right-hander in road games. In addition, the deal cost the Sox Justin Masterson the versatile swingman. They might miss having him around.

In terms of the moves the Yankees did not make, it’s a bit surprising to see the long-coveted Jarod Wasburn go to the Tigers for two left-handed pitching prospects, Luke French, who has pitched seven games in the majors this year with strong results, and Mauricio Robles, an A-ball pitcher. Neither is a high-value prospect, just “interesting,” and it seems odd that the Yankees couldn’t have made a competitive offer had they wanted to do so. Now they have the choice of sticking with Sergio Mitre, pulling Phil Hughes out of the bullpen, or trying another minor leaguer, either another retread like (choke) Kei Igawa, or go with an untried pitcher such as Scranton’s George Kontos or Trenton’s Zach McAllister (currently on the disabled list with a “tired arm”). Given Mitre’s track record, they have very little to lose by rolling the dice on anyone this side of Sidney Ponson.

11 Comments

Why are the Red Sox the ones to make dynamite deals at the trade deadline and the Yanks either make no deals or deals that go bust (think Marte and Nady).

Doesn’t Brian Cashman have any imagination? It seems the only deals he makes are those that fall into his lap (Teixiera), obvious signings (Sabathia) or waiver retreads (the aforementioned Ponson).

Gabe Paul could do a better job running the Yankees and he’s been dead 15 years.

While I don’t condone resting on one’s laurels, i don’t think Mr. Cashman should have made a trade for the sake of making a trade. Don’t forget who the Yanks and Sox acquired in the offseason. When the Sox signed Smoltz, Penny and Saito, they planned on seeing where they are at this point at the season and make such a trade accordingly. Victor Martinez is a good bat, but the Yanks have played well lately (last night notwithstanding) and only really needed another pitcher but I’m glad he didn’t over trade for Washburn or even Halladay.

While I don’t condone resting on one’s laurels, i don’t think Mr. Cashman should have made a trade for the sake of making a trade. Don’t forget who the Yanks and Sox acquired in the offseason. When the Sox signed Smoltz, Penny and Saito, they planned on seeing where they are at this point at the season and make such a trade accordingly. Victor Martinez is a good bat, but the Yanks have played well lately (last night notwithstanding) and only really needed another pitcher. I’m glad he didn’t over pay for Washburn or even Halladay.

The Yankees needed pitching. They got a backup infielder. Part with a few prospects and they could have landed one of the three Cy Young winning pitchers that were on the market. However, they got a backup infielder. Anyone know if Hairston can pitch?

The good news is with Monday off they can skip Mitre altogether the next time through the rotation. I think it’s past time they put Hughes back in as a starter. I know he’s been dynamite in the pen but Mitre is not the answer to anything. Hughes should be able to give a decent 5 IP and if you look at his last few outings he has thrown over 30 pitches in each of them. Give him a pitch limit of 65 then keep increasing it each time like they did with Joba last year. If it creates a hole in the pen then just hope Bruney can fill it and if Marte is ready to come back. Then they can find another reliever through a waiver trade if they need one.

George Kontos had Tommy John surgery a few weeks ago, so I don’t think we’ll be seeing him anytime soon.

Cody Ransom is STILL with the club. Why? JH Jr.>Ransom and Shelly Duncan >Ransom Erick Hinske >Ransom MARIO MENDOZA > Cody Ransom. WTF!?

Yup, Cashamn’s never pulled any interesting deadline trades like getting Bobby Abreu for nothing, while all Theo’s done are brilliant moves that can never fail like Eric Gagne!@!@#$@!!

and one of 3 Cy young? I’m praying to god that the 3rd guy you meant wasn’t Jarrod Washburn.

The Mariners wanted a ML ready starter for Wahsburn and the Yankees have none to trade because all of those not named Hughes and Chamberlain are injured. Recognizing that fact, the Mariners asked for AJack, and you think i’ts odd that the Yankee didn’t make a competitive offer?

I expect more out of you, Steve.

btw, Kontos had TJ surgery.

Cashman may have made trades in past years, but he did little to help the team this year. Yankees are one of the big trade deadline losers.

As for the 3 Cy Young winning pitchers, I was referring to Halladay, Lee and Peavey. I do not recall Washburn ever winning a Cy Young award.

Perhaps Cashman has a big party planned for October where he and his prospects can watch some one else win the World Series. He did not make trades to help the team so that he would not have to change his plans.

sigh , maybe you notice that the team’s like, ahead of all the “winners”

There’s no reason to think right now that the team won’t make the playoff (their odds are over 80% by any definition) and once in, everyone has a realistic chanec of winning at a tune of 5-30% (in the AL it’s more like 5-20% due to the more competitive nature) one player can shift that sort of odds. but not by a whole lot. If you think that the WS is surely going to be like… Phillies vs White Sox (who traded for the “cy young winnesr”, I’m willing the go all in right now and say that won’t happen

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