Sunday, July 27, 2008

Getting Close To The Deadline

Three more trades going down this weekend, with two contenders picking up some pieces for a play-off push, and another team re-tooling for future contention.

First, the Pirates finally put a stop to the constant rumors, sending both of their best trade chips to New York.

The Yankees got:

Xavier Nady, 29 year-old OF, hitting 330 / 383 / 535 this year and 281 / 337 / 456 career. He's making $3.35 MM this year and has one more year until free agency.

Damaso Marte, 33 year-old LHRP, 3.45 ERA with 47 K's and 16 walks in 46.7 IP, and a 1.15 WHIP. He's making $4.7 MM this year and has a team option for 2009 at $6 MM.

The Pirates got:

Ross Ohlendorf, 25 year-old RHP, 6.53 ERA in 40 IP out of the pen this year, with 36 K's, 17 BB's, and a 1.73 WHIP. He's in his first ML season.

Jeff Karstens, 24 year-old RHP, combined 5.56 ERA in 57.3 IP split between starting and relieving in 2007 and 2008, with 21 K's, 20 BB's, and a 1.52 WHIP. He has just one year of service time.

Dan McCutchen, 25 year-old RHP, 3.58 ERA in 70.1 IP in AAA this year, with 58 K's, 11 BB's, and a 1.19 WHIP. He has no ML experience.

Jose Tabata, 19 year-old OF, hitting 248 / 320 / 310 in AA this year. He has no ML experience.

I have to say that this is a good deal for the Yankees. Nady is clearly playing above his head this year, but he is still a quality outfielder. His updated Marcel projection has him at 281 / 329 / 450, and I have him worth about 1 WAR a year. Marte is a very good LOOGY (.585 OPS against career) and isn't half bad against righties (.717 OPS). Both guys will be helpful to New York (about one wins worth combined) as they continue their run (14-6 in July) towards Boston and Tampa Bay. They also should net some draft picks for Marte.

I don't really like the trade from the Pirates perspective, as the three pitchers are more #4/5 starters or middle-relievers. McCutchen might be interesting, but he's already 25. How this deal will be looked at will depend almost entirely on how Tabata turns out. The kid is talented and young for his level, and has shown the ability to hit for average and some plate discipline. The power is still lacking and he is said to have some attitude problem. There's a lot of risk there, but also a lot of upside.

The Rauch deal really may have depressed the reliever market, since I thought Marte and Nady were both quality trade chips - the return for both wasn't that close to what I thought they would bring back combined if dealt individually. The Pirates probably will end up getting value out of the deal, but I assumed they would get a little more back.

Second, the Dodgers - a game out of first and a half-game below .500 - picked up a versatile and underrated player from the very busy Cleveland Indians.

Los Angeles got:

Casey Blake, 34 year-old 3B/1B/OF, hitting 293 / 368 / 470 this year. He's a pending free agent making $6.1 MM (which the Indians are covering).

Cleveland got:

Jonathan Meloan, 23 year-old RHP, converted to starting this year and has a 4.97 ERA in 105 IP in Triple-A with 99 K's, 60 BB's, and a 1.70 WHIP.

Carlos Santana, 22 year-old C, hitting 323 / 431 / 563 in high A-Ball this year.

LA picked up a pretty good player (about 2.25 WAR a year, so the Dodgers get about a win) in Blake. He is probably only a little better than Andy LaRoche right now, but is less risky (especially for the salary cost; 0). I think they should have just gone with LaRoche's upside, but LA has been blocking their youngsters for years. They got some value, but also gave up a couple of quality prospects - a lot more than having Blake for the rest of the year is worth, even with the one or two prospects he might net (if LA offres him arbitration).

Cleveland continued to retool, and decided that throwing in $3 MM was worth getting back better players. Meloan could probably be an effective reliever right now - he has very good stuff. He's still young too, so if he can successfully make the transition to the rotation, then it's a bonus. Santana is old for his level, but he's hitting very well and is solid behind the plate. Both players should have at least some impact in the majors, though neither are likely to be stars. Very good deal for the Indians.

The third trade involved a contender not actually improving itself.

St. Louis got:

Luis Perdomo, 24 year-old RHRP, 3.52 ERA in 15.1 IP in AA this year, with 17 K's, 7 BB's, and a 1.24 WHIP.

Cleveland got:

Anthony Reyes, 26 year-old RHP, 3.25 ERA in 52.2 IP at Triple-A this year, with 47 K's, 21 BB's, and a 1.37 WHIP. He's in his second ML season.

The Cardinals never committed to giving Reyes a long-term chance to start for them, and didn't get a great return for him. Perdomo is projected as an OK middle reliever, but he's pretty old for his level.

Reyes still has some up-side, and it's likely that he'll be in the Cleveland rotation next year. I don't think he'll set the world on fire, but he's still cheap and could turn into a 1-2 WAR player. His mechanics leave a little to be desired, but it was another good trade for Mark Shapiro. The Indians haven't drafted well in recent years, but Shapiro has done a good job of restocking the system with the team far out of contention this year.

I think there will be a few more deals going down in the next few days - if I was the Twins GM I'd seriously look into trading for Adrian Beltre. I'm also interested in seeing if the O's make any deals (which they should). Fun times.

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