Tagged: Akinori Iwamura

A TTP (Theoretical Trade Proposal)

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TB trades Andy Sonnanstine to NYM; NYM trades SS Reese Havens and CF
Ezequiel Carrera to SF; SF trades Randy Winn, RHP Keiichi Yabu, and LHP Geno
Espineli to TB

 

Got that? 
So this is a three-team deal. 
And yes, the Rays trade away one of their starters in the playoffs Andy
Sonnanstine
.  Still, this trade
makes sense for every team involved. 

randywinn.jpg

The Rays predictably will use their starting pitcher depth to acquire a
bona-fide starter in right field.  In
this case it would be Randy Winn. 


It’s true, the Rays have a lot of players
who play right field.  Eric Hinske, Gabe Gross, Ben Zobrist, Fernando Perez,
and Justin
Ruggiano
all are capable.  But
Hinske and Gross are not exactly the type of guys you want starting every day
on a team that is expected to compete for the championship again next
year.  Zobrist and Perez are bright,
young players but at least at this point are most valuable being on the bench
because of Perez’s ability to play every OF position, and his blazing
speed.  Zobrist also is very versatile
and is a valuable guy off the bench.  He
might even have a reasonable chance to overtake Iwamura
as the Rays starting second baseman.  Ruggiano
has done everything you could ask from him in AAA.  Yet he just can’t seem to bring the same game to the majors.   He had a .911 OPS in 66 AAA games versus
.576 with the Rays.  So, with Winn
coming up, in it can put all of the right field questions to rest while adding
a veteran presence that can fill the #2 spot in the Rays order.  That way Iwamura can move down in the order
where he should be. If Crawford
continues to struggle, Iwamura could easily come back to the top instead of a
guy like Upton having to be taken out of the heart of the order.

Although Winn will obviously make a huge mark on
the Rays, I think Andy Sonnanstine is the biggest impact player involved in
this deal.  Simply put, to have a
Sonnanstine in the Mets rotation would be fantastic for them.  Even if, at his best, Sonnanstine is only as
good as a #3 starter, his ability to eat up innings without eating payroll is a
quality invaluable to the Mets at this point. 
This way the Mets can afford not resigning Oliver Perez.  In my opinion, Jon Niese is
ready to be the Mets’ 5th starter next year.  However, if the Mets do re-sign Perez their
rotation would be dynamite.  Whether or
not Perez comes back, the Mets would have, for the first time in a while, a
young rotation that can last a long time. 
To have a rotation where every pitcher in under control until 2012 is a
huge advantage over the other NL East clubs. 

AndySonnanstine.jpg


Of course since Sonnanstine is that
valuable, New York will have to give up a lot. 
The big sacrifice that the Mets will have to make is their second pick
of the 2008 draft, slugging infielder Reese Havens.   

havens.jpg

Havens (left) was drafted 22nd overall
as a shortstop but is expected to wind up as third or second baseman by the
time he gets to the majors.  Ezequiel
Carrera
, a High-A outfielder, didn’t put up great numbers this year but if
you start thinking about his age (21) and the fact that he completely skipped
A-ball, his .344 OBP, 28 steals, and seven dingers are pretty impressive.  The Giants have a fair amount of outfielders
like Fred Lewis,
Aaron Rowand,
and Nate
Schierholtz
and some nice prospects like Antoan
Richardson
, Ben Copeland,
and Eddy
Martinez-Esteve
.  And yet, with the
decent chance that Rowand and Lewis could get traded in the near future,
Copeland’s and Richardson’s non-overwhelmingness, and Martinez-Esteve’s and
Schierholtz’s sudden lack of power, there is a reason to why the Giants might
want to add another outfield prospect.


espineli.jpg

Now when you think about it, Tampa Bay would be
trading Sonnanstine straight up for Winn, and that obviously wouldn’t favor
them.  But if you add Yabu and Espineli to
the deal, it evens out.  Those two will
add depth to the bullpen.  And although
Espineli (right) probably will find himself spending some time in Durham, he provides a
lefty arm and the credentials of 2.66 in Triple-A last year in the hitter-friendly
Pacific Coast League.  Yabu (below) is pretty old but if he can be effective when he’s 40 (3.57 ERA), how much much worse can he be at 41? 

yabu.jpg

SO, when it’s all said and done, here’s how it
would work out for each team:

 

Rays


Receive                      Give Up

Randy Winn             Andy Sonnanstine

Keiichi Yabu

Geno Espineli

 

Giants

 

Receive                      Give Up

Reese Havens          Randy Winn

Ezequiel Carrera      Keiichi
Yabu

                                    Geno Espineli

 

Mets

 

Receive                      Give Up

Andy Sonnanstine  Reese
Havens

                                    Ezequiel Carrera


So, what do you think?  Fair all around?


I guess since Monday marks the beginning of
baseball’s hardware week, I  will give you my picks for each major award (with the
runner-up in parentheses):

 

Again, these are my picks for who deserves each
award, not my predictions for who will win:

 

Rookie of the Year

AL – Evan Longoria — (Jose Arredondo)

NL – Geovany Soto — (Joey Votto)

 

Cy Young

AL – Cliff Lee — (Roy Halladay)

NL – Johan Santana — (CC Sabathia)

 

MVP

AL – Kevin Youkilis (Mark Teixeira)

NL – Wily Mo Pe, I
mean, Albert Pujols —
(Manny
Ramirez)

 

Manager of the Year

AL – Joe Maddon — (Ron Gardenhire)

NL – Cecil Cooper(Charlie Manuel)

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OK Orioles, You Need to…

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Trade Melvin Mora and
Chris Waters to the Brewers for Alcides Escobar

 

mora.jpg

I really dig this deal for both teams
involved.  It’s no secret that either
Escobar or J.J. Hardy will probably get traded, and the Orioles are a perfect
fit. 

They need a shortstop badly, and
Escobar should be ready for the majors by next year.

 

The Brewers get Melvin Mora (left) who
is coming off a career year, driving in 104 runs, 23 home runs, and a .342
OBP.  He has a no-trade clause in his
contract but I think he’ll wave it to be able to escape a re-building franchise
and a join a playoff team.

 

            The Brewers are desperate for a
third-baseman after the atrocious year Bill
Hall
had.  Plus, the Brewers could
keep J.J. Hardy
as their shortstop of the future.  
Since Mora becomes a free agent after next season, he won’t interfere
with Mat Gamel‘s
progression up the system, as he will likely be the 2010 Brewers starting third
baseman, and Mora will move on to another team.

           

alcidesescobar.jpg

On the other end of the spectrum,
the Orioles get
a shortstop
for the next six years or so, that can deliver a very good OBP,
a fair amount of home runs, a lot of speed, and stellar defense every single
season.


            Unless Mora hits like he did in 2004
(.921 OPS), Mora-for-Escobar will slightly favor the Orioles, so they probably
will need to throw in a pitcher like Brian Bass or Chris Waters.

 

            If I were Doug Melvin,
I’d choose Chris
Waters
as the extra player, just to add depth to the thin rotation
Milwaukee has.  If Milwaukee can’t
resign Ben Sheets or CC Sabathia, then Waters may even may even be competing
for the 5th spot in the 2009 Brewers rotation.  

waters.jpg

There’s not a great chance that Waters will
be win the battle considering he’s competing with Mark DiFelice,
Chris
Capuano
, and Seth McClung.  It’s still very likely the Brewers will send
Capuano to Nashville (AAA) since he missed all off 2008 after having Tommy John surgery. 
DeFelice and McClung could make the team as relievers or as starters,
but both are fully capable of pitching adequately while eating up some innings
in the rotation.

 

            Does this mean the Brewers should
trade Bill Hall?  I don’t think so.  He can serve as a super-utility man.  With Hall being able to play left field,
center field, third base, shortstop, and second base, he should be able to rack
up at least 350 at-bats in a full season. 
Oddly enough, out of all the positions Hall can play, the one he would
probably play the least is third base.  Russell
Branyan
had such a solid season he is probably the one who will be tabbed
to fill in on Melvin Mora’s off days.

 

Trade Aubrey Huff to
the Indians for Scott Lewis, Mike Pontius, and Niuman Romero

 

I
believe the Indians will be good enough next year to make the playoffs, but
they will need to replace Andy Marte at
third base.  I know Aubrey Huff
isn’t the best defensive third baseman but he played 33 games there in 2008,
and has racked up 361 games at the hot corner in his nine-year career.

huff.jpg

In
return for Huff, the Orioles should ask for the blatantly obvious: a starting
pitcher.  Scott Lewis
succeeded at every level he played in; AA, AAA, and ultimately the majors.  These were his minor league stats this year:

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Level      GS     
ERA      W      L     
IP      WHIP 

AA           13      2.33      6       2    
73.1    0.97

AAA         4        2.63      2       2     24       0.96

MLB        
4       2.63      4      
0      24      1.08

scott lewis.jpg

Lewis will fit extremely
well into the Orioles rotation, and could be one of the cornerstones of the
team’s pitching staff. 

 

Scott Lewis is good
player, but obviously it will take at least one more player to acquire
Huff.  Originally I thought the Orioles
should target Jared
Goedert
, because every single Orioles third base prospect had a rough
season, and Goedert was ready to play in AA, so he wouldn’t block any other the
other prospects.  Later I realized that
I was being hypocritical because Goedert, like the rest of the third-base
Orioles prospects, had a very disappointing year after a promising 2007.

 

First off, is Tyler Henson,
who had a good first stint in professional baseball with the Low-A Aberdeen
Iron Birds in 2007:


Level      G      OBP      HR      RBI      SB      SLG      OPS

A-           67    .353       5         31       20      .449     .802

tyler-henson-21.jpg

But then went through
struggles in his first full season with Class A Delmarva:


Level     G      OBP      HR       RBI      SB       SLG      OPS

A         127    .310      11        62        19      .392      .702

Even though Henson had a
rough year, it’s not bad enough for him to repeat the level, so he should
attempt to rebound in High A Frederick.  That being said, with Billy Rowell
(drafted 9th overall in 2006) having another disappointing in
Frederick, Henson will be forcing Rowell (right) to first base. 

rowell.jpg

Rowell’s year was bad enough that
he’ll repeat the Carolina League, but I wouldn’t label him a bust just
yet.  He’s still extremely young (20
years old entering Opening Day 2009). 
However, he hasn’t even come close to what everybody thought he would
do.  He was drafted as a raw power guy;
a guy who wasn’t even expected to have a high OBP, but he’s only hit 19 home
runs in 922 career at-bats.  It may be a
concern that learning how to play first base will effect his hitting, but I
think in the long term it will probably help his offensive production.  Another aspect of this move is that it
potentially has set up Brandon Snyder
to block Billy Rowell.  However, I don’t
think we can look at this switch in those types of terms because Rowell has not
had one good full season yet since signing with the O’s.  Worry about Snyder blocking Rowell when
Rowell finally becomes a good player.

 

And lastly, let’s talk Mike Costanzo.  He had a great season last year at AA
Reading, but since switching organizations (twice), and getting promoted to
AAA, his production has seriously slipped. 
These are his numbers last year at Double-A:

 

Level        G       OBP      HR       RBI      SB       SLG      OPS

AA           137    .368      27        86        2        .490     .858

 

And here are his 2008
numbers at Triple-A Norfolk:

 

Level        G      OBP      HR       RBI       SB       SLG      OPS

AAA         129  .333       11        63         2        .395     .728

costanzo.jpg

Despite Costanzo’s bad
season, if Melvin Mora gets traded he’ll get every chance to be the starting
third baseman in Baltimore.  He’ll have
to produce though, because Oscar
Salazar
(probable starting first baseman) and Scott
Moore
(probable DH) also play the hot corner. 

 

Anyway, back to the Aubrey Huff trade… I decided that
despite the 2008 struggles of Orioles third base prospects not named Tyler
Kolodny
, the O’s shouldn’t pursue Jared Goedert.  Instead they should switch their attention to adding depth the
bullpen and second base (I didn’t forget about Ryan Adams and
his 52 errors
).  The Indians have a
wide array of young relievers like Josh Judy, John Gaub (100
Ks in 64.1 innings), and Vinnie Pestano.  But the one young reliever I believe the
Orioles should first ask from the Indians is Mike Pontius. 

ponntius.jpg

Pontius is only 21 entering next year, and
had a microscopic
0.82 ERA in Class
A Lake County.  Yes, he had 6.26 ERA in
Class A Advanced Kinston, but so what? 
He’ll start back there next year and pitch against players at his same
level (2007 high school draftees in their second full season).

niuman romero.jpg

As for Niuman Romero
(not Newman),
he had a solid year at Class A Advanced Kinston and should be ready for
Double-A Bowie.  I’m not speculating that
the Orioles should or will trade Brian Roberts, but when you think about, there
is not that great a chance the Orioles will finish their rebuilding process by
the time his contract expires.  So, it
obviously makes sense to fill up on depth especially when you only have one
other legit prospect at 2B, Adams who is only in A-ball.

 

All in all this trade
works out great for both teams, and should help the Indians compete for a World
Series next year, as well as add more talented, young players to quicken the
O’s rebuilding process.

 

Trade George Sherill
and Luke Scott to the Mets for Dillon Gee, Junior Guerra, Eric Beaulac, and
Shawn Bowman

 

george-sherrill-is-the-key.jpg

This deal is a no-brainer
for both GMs Andy MacPhail and Omar Minaya. 
The Mets may be hesitant to give up a worthy relief prospect in Junior Guerra,
but he’s at least two years away and the Mets need relief help now.  Sherrill
would be a great addition to the Mets shaky bullpen.  Sure, he may be overrated because of his 31 saves, but he will
pitch better than his 4.73 ERA indicates. 
Although it’s theoretically possible that Sherrill can serve as the Mets
closer, he would be much better suited as a 7th inning set-up
man.  With lefties Scott Schoenweis and
Pedro Feliciano already in New York, Sherrill won’t go back to being a
specialist like he was in Seattle.  
Expect his ERA to go down to around 3.60 with another year of throwing
at least an inning per outing rather than just facing one or two batters like
he did with the Mariners.  It’s possible
he may also pitch better in the less pressurized role of a 7th
inning set-up man.  I don’t think that
Sherrill’s bad stats were completely because of facing a lot right-handed
batters.  He had a 3.68 ERA through
June.  I think it was just the new
workload that ultimately pulled Sherrill’s numbers down.

 

Luke
Scott
can be Mets starting left fielder in 2009, and provide more power and
good on-base skills.  Nick Evans
didn’t hit much in 2009, and is probably better suited too start 2009 in
Buffalo (AAA).  Dan Murphy
hopefully can make a clean transition to second base for 2009.  Murphy’s switch is crucial as this deal only
gets done if the AFL
experiment is successful and the Mets are confident Murphy is ready to take
over for Luis Castillo next year.  This
whole trade seems much better when you realize Luke Scott is essentially
replacing Luis
Castillo
in the Mets lineup.

juniorguerra.jpg

dillongee.jpg

As I wrote earlier, the
Mets probably will feel a little antsy about giving up Junior
Guerra
(left)who’s a top relief prospect, but only him and Dillon Gee (right) are
the big prospects that the Mets could have expected to contribute with the big
club in the next two years. 

 

beaulac.jpg

Beaulac is a
middle of the road prospect who had a nice, but relatively short 2008 season
after signing.  Despite making six
relief appearances this year, Beaulac is obviously better suited as a starter,
seeing how he dominated in college in that role.  He should begin the year in the Class A Advanced Frederick
rotation.  Gee is by far the best
prospect the O’s acquire in this deal. 
He had a sensational year at St. Lucie (A+), posting a 3.25 ERA, and
then posted an even better 1.33 ERA in his four starts with Double-A
Binghamton.  Gee is 23 years old
entering ’09, and was only drafted last year.  It’s still smart to take it easy with Gee and let him pile up at
least 16 starts in Bowie before they could possibly called him up to
Triple-A.  And that leaves the very last
player, Shawn
Bowman
.  Ahh, Shawn Bowman. 

shawnbowman.jpg

If not injuries, he would probably would
have been traded already because he’s not quite on the same level as the Mets
current third baseman.  Although he’s no
David Wright, he’s still shown he’s a talented player, but it all about
staying healthy.  How injury-prone is
he?  Well, 2008 was his fourth year at
the same level (A-Advanced), but it certainly wasn’t completely his fault.  Here are his number of games played from
every season since 2005:

 

2005: 87

2006: 32

2007: 6

2008: 54

 

Yes, every single one of
those seasons was in St. Lucie except for the last, in which he played for
about a month in Double-A Binghamton, and struggled (.626 OPS, 29 games).  The important thing about 2008, for Bowman,
was how well he hit with St. Lucie.  He
had a .369 OBP with 2 home runs and .485 SLG in 97 at-bats.  That should put him on track to be Bowie’s
(AA) starting third baseman in 2009. 

 

So, with all of this talk
about the Orioles farm system, I realized that the Orioles starting pitching
situation is actually pretty impressive.  After all these trades take place, the Orioles minor league
affiliates’ rotations will look like this:

 

(Note: I think the major
league starting rotation consists of Jeremy Guthrie, Daniel Cabrera, Radhames Liz, Garrett Olson,
and Hayden
Penn
)

 

Frederick – A+

frederick_keys.gif

1. Brian Matusz

2. Zachary
Britton

3. Timothy Bascom

4. Eric Beaulac

5. Chris Salberg

6. Luis Noel

 

Bowie – AA

logo_bowiebaysox_15059.jpg

1. Jake Arrieta

2. Dillon Gee

3. Kyle Schmidt

4. Brandon Erbe

5. Chorye Spoone

6. Nathan Nery

 

Norfolk – AAA

norfolk tides.gif

1. Chris
Tillman

2. David
Hernandez

3. Brad Bergesen

4. Jason Berken

5. Zach Clark

 

Yes, I realize that
Frederick and Bowie have rotations of six, but it’s worth cutting down on
starts then to send a pitcher (ex. Luis Noel, Chris Salberg) that has a bright
future as a starting pitcher to the bullpen, just because you have five other
pitchers better than him.  You never
want to have your good depth of talent to derail a player’s career.

 

So, to wrap it all up, the
Orioles get to reduce their salary even more, so they can sign core players
like Nick Markakis, Chris Ray, and maybe even Matt Wieters.  Plus, the extra money can also go to signing
their top draft picks next year.  The
Mets upgrade their bullpen and lineup, the Brewers finally get a true third
baseman, and the Indians get a huge impact bat that may send them over the hump
of the Twins or White Sox. 

 

There is a lot to agree
with and a lot to disagree with in this post, so let me hear it ALL.  Good or bad.

 

On a currently related
issue, did anyone else notice Akinori Iwamura trying to shove the game ending
ball of the NLCS into his back pocket, struggling with sticking it in, and then
just screwing it, and jumping into the celebration pile.  That gave me a little smile… here’s the video.