Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Big trade

I'm going to make a run at analyzing the recent trade (although not official) between the D'backs, Tigers, and Yankees. I'm going to argue it's a good trade for all three teams.

D'backs: this is the closest call in terms of whether or not the team won, and it all revolves around Max Scherzer. Arguably, Scherzer was as good or better than Edwin Jackson last season. Jackson had the better traditional stats (wins, era, etc.) but Scherzer had the better peripherals (k/9, k/bb, etc.) last year and probably has a higher upside. But the D'backs have a real opportunity to win in 2010, with the McCourt divorce, the Giants complete lack of offense, and the Padres stinking up the joint and talking about trading their only decent players (Kouz, Bell, and A.Gon). Of course, the Rockies will be good again. The D'backs picked up the option on Brandon Webb, so they'll have Webb, Haren, and Jackson. As indicated, Scherzer is probably just as good as Jackson, but there are folks who think Scherzer can't last as a starter without a third pitch. Jackson has shown that he can win 13-14 games and go 200+ innings by doing just that the last two years in the tougher league. (Don't believe me, see Brad Penny's 2009 season.) Plus they've added Ian Kennedy to act as a fifth starter. He's odd in that he's a little older, but still "young" in terms of major league experience (read: how much they have to pay him). I think he's a good fit to round out there rotation. They also gave up Schlereth, a hard-throwing lefty who was a first round pick, and that may come back to haunt them. But teams like the D'backs have to go for it when they have a chance and this may be their year.

Tigers: they had to cut payroll and no one was going to trade for the D-Train. So they rolled over two guys that aren't overpaid, but are certainly paid well. Granderson is a bit overrated because he's such a great guy and has great stats. But look at his platoon stats; he can't hit lefties. Arguably, he peeked in 2007. So the Tigers, who have to cut payroll, traded a high-paid player who was a bit overvalued in the market. Some think Austin Jackson is overrated as a prospect because he may not be good enough to stay in center and may not have enough power to hit in left or right. But I think he has a legitimate shot to someday (probably 2011) replace Granderson. (Full disclosure: the Blue Sox drafted Jackson in the 2007 minor league draft, so I'm not 100% unbiased.) Coke and Schlereth should help the bullpen in 2010, but aren't the keys to the trade. Getting Scherzer, with his great arm, huge upside, and years of team control was the key. (That and trimming payroll.)

Yankees: the Yankees are probably the big winner here. It's very likely that Jackson, Coke, and Kennedy were not in their long-term plans so they give up basically nothing. Both Hughes and Joba are more valuable to the Yanks than Kennedy, so he's a good trade chip. Coke can be replaced (and likely would have been after his late season struggles) and the Yanks don't have a good history of allowing prospects to play everyday (at least not since Jeter, et al.) Now, they don't have to sign Godzilla and Damon (although they may still sign Damon), moving Melky to left, playing Swisher in right, and using Gardner as a fourth outfielder. Further, as Joe Sheehan pointed out, Granderson is more valuable as a Yankee. As a bit part (and at an affordable salary) he's great for the Yankees. And the Yanks can bench him against tough lefties. In Detroit, he had to carry the team. He's just not equipped for that. So the Yanks fill a big hole and add flexibility to their roster without giving up anything but a good prospect and a couple of organizational guys that probably wouldn't contribute to their big league club.

No comments: