Thursday, November 5, 2009

The offseason trade scorecard

As opposed to real life, most of the big-time trades are made in the offseason. Thus far there haven't been too many deals, but some blockbusters have already gone down.

Fargo Dirtbags and Trenton Traffic

Fargo gets: RP Chris Jennings
Trenton gets: RP Furio Diggins (Hi-A), RP Roy Stock (AA)

Analysis: The loss of Chris Siddall to free agency left a spot in the Dirtbags bullpen which appears to be filled by Jennings. Jennings can either set up Bert Price or close if Price struggles. Trenton is paying for most of his salary this season, so he comes cheap for one year but he's got three more seasons after this one, which is part of the reason why Trenton was willing to deal him. Trenton received Diggins, who is a #5 starter at best, and Stock, who isn't ever going to be a ML closer but could pan out to be a solid reliever.

Boston Bambinos and Monterrey Sultans

Boston gets: C Rick Anderson
Monterrey gets: C Grover Becker, LF Ron Cookson (AAA)

Analysis: Boston was willing to give up Cookson, a well-rounded offensive corner outfielder, to upgrade their catching position. Anderson has always been a decent defensive catcher but has seen his average fall an amazing 96 points over two seasons. The good news is he's still only 25 and has two seasons of at least 29 HRs and at least 96 RBI under his belt and he is moving to Boston, a good hitters' ballpark. As for Monterrey's catching situation, they seem likely to go with rookie Vin Logan, who is not nearly as good defensively as Anderson but has the potential to be a monster hitter.

Trenton Traffic and San Juan Dead Bunnies

Trenton gets: 3B/OF Calvin Chang
San Juan gets: SS Brandon Martin, SP Bert Pierre, RF Tony Gutierrez (AAA)

Analysis: Trenton overhauled their offense last season and made great strides even before the Dunwoody/Salmon deal and the Traffic feel this is the last piece of their offense. Chang put up numbers worthy of MVP discussion last season for last place San Juan and should get plenty of opportunities in the middle of an already good lineup. Pierre was arguably Trenton's best pitcher last season before the big trade- he went 10-8 with an ERA of 3.47 last season. Martin's value depends on whether he can develop defensively- he would be a good hitter for a shortstop, but not good enough at any other position (at least on a contending team). Gutierrez is now the heir apparent in RF- he isn't likely to ever hit like Chang, but he's hit .300 with about 20-25 HRs in the minors and that might be good enough for the Bunnies.

Syracuse Simpletons and Atlanta Bandits

Syracuse gets: SP Steven Michaels, SP D'Angelo Ramirez (AA)
Atlanta gets: SP Kazuhiro Whang

Analysis: This one, I have to admit, is a bit of a head-scratcher for me. The deal does seem to be relatively even, but you normally don't see a 35-year-old starter get traded FROM a contending team (in this case, the back-to-back World Series champs) TO a rebuilding team (Syracuse went 71-91 last season and has finished last in the AL North each of the last three seasons). You would have to think that Syracuse feels this is their season to contend. Michaels is one of the most decorated pitchers in this league, with 6 All-Star appearances and a Cy Young to his name. He went 16-9 with a 2.79 ERA last season, so he's still one of the top pitchers in the league. Ramirez has control issues, but if he can find the plate, he could be a decent back of the rotation type guy. As for Atlanta, they get Whang, a 21-year-old potential ace who may need a little time to develop. Interesting deal in the respect that this may cost Atlanta in the short run, especially if Whang needs another season or two in the minors, but probably benefits them long term,

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