Saturday, July 30, 2005

Trade winds

Less than 29 hours remain until the non-waiver trading deadline passes. A week ago, all the talk was about A.J. Burnett, Mark Redman, and Joe Randa. All that, however, has been eclipsed by Manny Ramirez, who has requested a trade out of Boston. His gigantic contract virtually assures that the Red Sox cannot get equal value, at least in terms of production on the field, and will probably end up paying the majority of his salary for the rest of the year. It also limits the trading partners tremendously.


At first glance, those teams would seem to be either the Yankees or the Mets, but don't count out large market teams like either Chicago team or the Dodgers. Quite frankly, Manny is exactly what the White Sox need to inject some life into their anemic offense, which so far has been bailed out by their pitching staff. The White Sox would have to give up Brandon McCarthy, one of their bullpen performers in Damaso Marte, and perhaps even an Aaron Rowand to get Manny. Is that worth it? In my opinion, yes. He's a Hall of Famer who is a proven clutch performer. The Dodgers have a couple of stud middle infielders they can offer--but that's exactly what Boston already has in its system in Hanley Ramirez and Dustin Pedroia. The Dodgers would probably have to give up Jeff Weaver, Edwin Jackson, and Hee Sop Choi, or maybe even Yhency Brazoban. Given that the Dodgers are shopping Weaver anyway, that doesn't seem like too bad a deal, but I doubt Boston would take it. The Cubs can offer stud prospects Rich Hill, Felix Pie, and then throw in a major leaguer or two, like Todd Walker or Mike Remlinger, or perhaps even the recently demoted Corey Patterson. That trade wouldn't exactly mortgage the Cubs' future, given that their two best pitchers are already under 25.


Of course, as I'm typing this, all the news over the airwaves is a 3-team deal that would put Manny Ramirez and Danys Baez on the Mets, with Mike Cameron and Aubrey Huff going the Red Sox, while a veritable bounty of prospects would go to the Devil Rays: the Mets would give up Lastings Milledge and Yusmeiro Petit, respectively among the best outfield and pitching prospects in the game, and the Red Sox would give up Kelly Shoppach, an older prospect blocked by Jason Varitek, and Anibal Sanchez, who has had injury troubles but has great strikeout potential. Let's look at the trade in terms of VORP value so far in the season:

Boston would lose 34.3 runs with Ramirez going, getting back 17.0 and 14.9 back with Cameron and Huff, respectively, for a loss of 2.4 runs, not to mention the fact that they would be giving up two prospects. Ramirez and the Boston fans, however, have placed the front office in a situation where they basically HAVE to move him, no matter what the cost. And make no mistake--getting Manny's salary off the books will definitely benefit the Red Sox, as they'd save a few million dollars this year and many more over the next couple years. Also, Huff has underperformed this year at an almost astonishing rate; it's hard to imagine him doing worse in Boston, although his left-handedness doesn't help matters. All that stuff is silver lining though. In a vacuum, there's no way the Red Sox would do this deal. But their hand is forced.

The Mets would gain Manny's 34.3 runs and Baez's 9.8 (not bad for a reliever), while only losing Cameron's 17.0, for a net gain of 27.1, which is about 2 or 3 wins. In a tight NL East and Wild Card, that could make the difference between playing and golfing in October. While the Mets would lose their top 2 prospects, they would take solace in knowing that Beltran and Ramirez would have blocked Milledge anyway. There's no way to soften the blow of losing a prospect as promising as Petit, but that's the way it works in New York--win now, or win never.

Tampa Bay, meanwhile would officially make themselves the most promising team of 2007. Adding those 4 prospects to a system that already includes such young studs as Scott Kazmir, Delmon Young, B.J. Upton, Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli, Jonny Gomes, and Joey Gathright. And with all those extra outfielders, they could even leverage that into a trade for more pitching at some point. They lose 24.7 runs this year, but when you're in last place, what's a couple of wins? If anything, it gives them a shot at the #1 pick in next year's draft. Tampa will have to improve its pitching staff if it doesn't want to end up like the all-bat no-arm Reds.


Okay, that deal fell through and even more players are in the mix. I'm going to take this as my cue to stop speculating and sit out until the deals actually happen.


Anonymous Sean O said...

Thank god that deal didn't go through, because it would've been disaster for the Sox. I know Dunn puts up some great stats, but losing Manny, Hanley and, from what I'm hearing, Jon Lester for Dunn, Cameron, and a Millar clone would've been suicide.

Meanwhile at the end of Saturday's game Manny came running on the field in uniform with a big smile on his face to congratulate his teammates. I can only hope everyone can put this episode by them by tuesday, since we either deal with it or we lose.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous bainard said...

I agree with Sean, dealing Manny would have been bad for the Sawx, as it would take probably two players to equal the productivity he could bring to your team, and too much toying with the chemistry of a first-place team this late in the season is never advisable. ESPN had a shot of the Pale Hose dugout during yesterday's beatdown of the O's. It was all smiles, jokes, and a general sense of camaraderie. It looked more like Little League than Major League, and it showed that, even without the Hurt, the Southsiders will certainly guarantee themselves homefield in the AL playoffs, and just might end up pulling themselves into the World Series not unlike a certain current World Series champion, with a combination of teamwork, humor, and well-timed hitting.

10:32 AM  

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