In perhaps the biggest trade of the offseason, a player who had been on the market finally was traded. The destination, however, may be a bit of a surprise.
Austin City Limits and Washington D.C. Blue Coats
Austin gets: 1B Jimmie Williams
Washington gets: 3B Ewell Elster (AAA), SP Oleg Clay (AAA)
Analysis: Interesting deal from Austin's perspective, but the way I see it, they can't lose. They feel they are ready to contend with a huge influx of talent from their minor league system and, in their eyes, needed one big bat. So they went out and got a huge bat at the 1B position. Moreover, he's inexpensive this season ($1.3 million). If Austin falls out of contention, there will probably be suitors for him, or they could hang on to him (he's arbitration-eligible starting next season). Williams solidified his reputation as one of the best left-handed power bats in the game last season, not having a drop-off in production after the David Rushford trade.
In return, Washington gets a good 3B prospect in the process and a bit of a wild-card at the starting pitching position. Elster looks like a good all-around hitter who should be a decent-to-good defensive third baseman. Clay has talent- his only drawback is his durability. It remains to be seen how many innings he'll be able to throw in the big leagues.