by Keith Glab, BaseballEvolution.com
August 1, 2009
This was not only the most active trade deadline in recent memory, but also
the most significant. Because of the World Baseball Classic, all of these
deadline acquisitions will have an extra week with which to impact their new
clubs. With so many playoff races decided by a game or two these days,
that extra week with a Cliff Lee or a Victor Martinez could make a world of
Alongside the prospects listed in this piece, I have listed their
organizational ranking in the
Prospects Guide Magazine. The magazine has the 20 best prospects in
each organization ranked.
Indians Trade Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco to the Phillies for RHP Carlos
Carrasco (1), C Lou Marson (2), SS Jason Donald (5), and RHP Jason Knapp (16)
Asher has already
analyzed this trade and expressed
only guarded optimism at best from the Phillies' perspective. I think that
the Philadelphia Phillis should be renamed the Philadelphia Puritans, because
they just swindled the heck out of the Indians.
Just looking at the prospect rankings, it seems as though the Indians had
done well. In fact, Carrasco and Marson were both ranked above J.A. Happ
(3) in these pre-season rankings. But just because these are some of the
Phillies' best prospects, that doesn't mean that they are elite. None of
these four would crack the top five on a lot of teams' rankings.
Carrasco has a fastball/changeup combo that I generally fall in love with,
but he went 6-9 with a 5.18 ERA in Triple-A before the trade this year.
He's only 22, which makes him young for the International League, but he was
clearly no longer the best prospect in the system. Knapp, a second-rounder
in last year's draft, would seem to have seen his stock go up this year after
fanning 111 batters in 85.1 innings, but he currently resides on the seven-day
disabled list with "shoulder fatigue."
Jason Donald's errors are way down this year, but so is his offensive output.
Lou Marson, frankly, seems like a Quadruple-A catcher to me. He draws
walks, but has little other offensive value. He's only thrown out 25% of
would-be basestealers this year. How he was ranked #2 in the system is
And what did the Phillies receive in return for this motley crew of question
marks? Cliff Lee, who has been almost as good as Roy Halladay has over the
past two seasons, but who comes with a far more affordable contract. As a
bonus, they got Ben Francisco, an excellent defensive outfielder who is a decent
power/speed threat on offense and whose .802 career OPS against left-handed
pitching will greatly benefit the Phillies' left-hand dominant lineup. The
package of Lee and Halladay is at least as good as Halladay alone would have
been due to the salary difference, and the Phillies did not need to part with
prized pitching prospects Happ or Kyle Drabek, as they apparently would have
needed to in order to obtain Doc H. They basically bought Ohio for four
ears of corn.
From the Indians' perspective, why in the heck did they want to trade Lee in
the first place? The Indians have scored the fifth most runs in baseball,
and with a healthy Travis Hafner, Grady Sizemore, and Asdrubal Cabrera, they
figured to have the best lineup in baseball for the remainder of 2008 and going
into 2009. Their weakness was pitching, so why trade their one good
pitcher that would cost them just $9 M in 2010???
Grades: Indians - D, Phillies - A
Indians Trade Victor Martinez to the Red Sox for Justin Masterson, LHP
Nick Hagadone (16), and RHP Bryan Price (19)
See, the Indians fared much better here. They already have a stud
catching prospect in Double-A named Carlos Santana. His stat line is music
to the ears of Indians fans - .874 career OPS and he's performing even better at
higher levels. He's even tossed out 31% of would-be basestealers this
season. Dodger fans are not going to look back on the Casey Blake trade
with much fondness.
In contrast, Victor Martinez has only gunned down 15 % of basestealers this
season. He's gone a pathetic .193/.284/.340 in 212 at-bats since May 22
and hasn't been a consistent performer since 2007. On the wrong side of
30, Martinez is now either a defensive liability behind the plate or an
offensive liability at first base/designated hitter. I hope that's worth
it for the Red Sox, as they surrendered Masterson, who has already proven that
he can dominate in the majors, and two former first-round picks. Hagadone
is coming off Tommy John Surgery and Price seems to have taken a step backwards
in his sophomore season, but these guys both throw in the mid-90s and provide as
much upside as Knapp and Carrasco do.
Grades: Indians - A, Red Sox - D
Indians Trade Ryan Garko to the Giants for LHP Scott Barnes (NR)
Barnes has kind of flown under the radar in a well-stocked Giants
organization despite averaging more than a strikeout per inning since getting
drafted in the 8th round last summer. The Giants have enough pitching
depth not to miss him overly much, and Garko instantly becomes their second-best
hitter. Unfortunatley, he's also a typical Giants hitter. Garko
doesn't walk much and he's not all that young. Much of his career damage
has come courtesy of White Sox pitching (.343/.395/.525 in 200 PA) which he will
not have the pleasure of facing in San Francisco. Basically, this is a
deal that makes sense for both clubs, but it is not something that will boost
the Giants into the playoffs nor make their fans cry like the A.J. Pierzynski
Grades: Indians - B, Giants - B
Red Sox trade Adam LaRoche to the Braves for Casey Kotchman
I'm not sure what the Braves were thinking here. These players have
similar offensive value, but Kotchman is much better defensively.
LaRoche is overpaid this year and a free agent next year, while Kotchman is
arbitration-eligible for another couple of seasons. It seems like LaRoche
would make more sense for the larger-market Red Sox. Maybe he was a fan
favorite in Atlanta prior to getting traded. Seems like an awfully
sentimental move for a team fighting for it's postseason life.
Grades: Red Sox - B, Braves - C
Nationals Trade Nick Johnson to the Marlins for LHP Aaron Thompson (NR)
Johnson has been great this year. He's also been healthy, which is the
real surprise. He gives the Fish a much-needed left handed bat.
Aaron Thompson's professional winning percentage is under .400, so he will fit
right in with the Nationals. Kudos to the Marlins for actually acting like
they want to win for once. Woe be Washington Nationals fans.
Grades: Marlins - A, Nationals - F
Blue Jays trade Scott Rolen to the Reds for Edwin Encarnacion, RHP Josh
Roenicke (6), and RHP Zach Stewart (9)
I can't fully comment on this trade, as Rolen's contract appears to be
backloaded with bonuses and deferred money, and I'm not sure how much of those
the Reds will be responsible for. But even if the Reds are responsible for
none of it, this is a bad deal for them. Roenicke and Stewart look like
studs, and it's hard to believe that Dusty Baker and company couldn't find
permanent roles for either on their pitching staff this year. Edwin
Encarnacion is much better-suited to a DH league and is no real loss to the
Reds, but with the team suddenly out of contention for 2009, they need to be
pretty sure that the addition of Rolen will be enough to get them to the
promised land in 2010. Rolen's had a very good season that has flown under
the radar, but this is a guy who has played in 140 games just once in the past
five years. Third baseman traditionally do not age well, and it's hard to
envision a scenario in which this move helps the Reds enough to matter.
Grades: Blue Jays - A, Reds - D
Orioles trade George Sherrill to the Dodgers for 3B Josh Bell (5) and RHP
Steve Johnson (11)
Joe Torre has been widely criticized for overworking his bullpen, so Dodger
fans are overjoyed to get a fresh left-handed reliever into the mix. As
someone who followed both the Cubs and the Diamondbacks very closely last year,
it seems to me that the 2008 Dodger bullpen was just dandy during the stretch
run and in the postseason, making the concern's about Torre's bullpen usage a
bit overblown. Still, Sherrill is a 32-year old reliever with decent
peripheral stats whose contract can be controlled for another couple of years.
Bell and Johnson both look like good prospects, so this is basically win-win for
Grades: Orioles - B, Dodgers - B
Padres Trade Jake Peavy to the White Sox for LHP Aaron Poreda (1), LHP
Clayton Richard (4), RHP Adam Russell (NR), and RHP Dexter Carter (NR)
This trade would have made a lot of sense were it consummated in May. A
near-full season of Peavy would have given the Sox a legitimate chance to
compete this year.
Now, Peavy has been sitting out with an ankle injury
for over two months
and has already proven that he has some misgivings about
pitching on the South Side of Chicago.
These misgivings are well-founded,
as he has a mediocre 3.84 ERA away from Petco and is 8-8 with a 3.29 ERA against
the American League in his career, numbers that include starts in Petco.
Peavy is moving from the best pitcher's park in baseball to the best hitter's
park in the American League.
Peavy Fun Fact|
Pitchers have hit .092 against Jake Peavy in his career (34-for-369 with 164 strikeouts)
The Sox do control Peavy's contract through 2012, but I'm not so sure that
Peavy will outperform Poreda over the next three years, and Poreda would have
been far, far cheaper. Clyaton Richard seems to add velocity to his
fastball with every start. Whatever Peavy adds in September will be
negated by the Sox using Bartolo colon or D.J. Carrasco as August's fifth
starter rather than Richard. Dexter Carter had been fantastic since being
drafted in the 12th round last year, a welcome departure from his awful
collegiate numbers. Russell is old and likes to walk batters, which is the
one thing you cannot do in Petco. Interestingly, all four new Padres
pitchers are listed at 6-foot-6 or taller.
Grades: Padres - A, White Sox - C
A's trade Orlando Cabrera to the Twins for SS Tyler Ladendorf (NR)
Red Sox fans might tell you that Orlando Cabrera will lead the Twins to a
World Series title. Uncharacteristically, Red Sox fans might be right.
While it's debatable whether he was even an upgrade over Nomar Garciaparra in
2004, Cabrera's almost certainly an upgrade over Nick Punto in 2009.
Cabrera has hit .373 with nine steals and no caught stealing in July, while
Punto has hit .194 with two steals in three tries last month. I know Punto
is a slick defender, but Cabrera is at least solid defensively, and I trust the
best manager in baseball to be able to use the two players in a tandem that
maximizes their skills. The Twins don't really lose much in Ladendorf.
Cabrera is reasonably cheap and will net the Twins a supplemental round pick in
next year's draft that will be at least Ladendorf's equal.
Grades: Twins - B, A's - C
Mariners Trade Jarrod Washburn to the Tigers for Luke French (NR) and
Mauricio Robles (NR)
There's no question that Washburn overachieved due to the Mariners' large
ballpark and stellar outfield defense, as his FIP was 1.20 runs higher than his
ERA before the trade. But do you know another team with a large ballpark
and stellar outfield defense? That's right, the Tigers do, as evidenced by
Edwin Jackson sporting an FIP 1.25 runs higher than his ERA. Jackson is
beginning to regress to more realistic levels, and Washburn may as well. But
this is still a huge upgrade for the Detroit pitching staff, and it makes them
legitimate playoff contenders despite the Twins' huge advantage in remaining
schedule. Losing French is no big deal; his upside is a future 5th
starter. Robles has fanned 10 batters per nine innings in his minor league
career and could be a nice addition for the Mariners down the road.
This is a weird deal for the Mariners, only because acted like they were
still in contention just days before by acquiring Jack Wilson form the Pirates.
Grades: Tigers - B, Mariners - B
Pirates trades will be discussed in a separate article.
Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Keith resides in Chicago, Illinois and can be reached at email@example.com.