–Brian Sabean, GM of the San Francisco Giants,
signed Edgar Renteria on December 3rd 2008, and now, 28 days later, I assess
the damage. A while back, I wrote off Sabean as the worst GM in baseball. Although I’ve switched positions since then, Sabean is showing why he has
always been in my bottom five.
The Mike Jacobs trade was
bad. Raul Ibanez and A.J. Burnett got
overpaid, and the Kyle Farnsworth signing was just stupid, but the worst deal
made this off-season is undoubtedly the Edgar Renteria
signing. Forget the fact the Giants
already had a young, worthy shortstop, and forget the fact the Giants are in
rebuilding mode. Renteria just got flat
His hitting has
deteriorated; he has no range, and is 33 years old. Why on earth would a GM sign him to a two-year contract worth
$18MM? Since that’s too much money to
be an “insurance” player in case Manny Burriss
doesn’t perform, Renteria is going to be playing every day.
Now, if Brian Sabean had
serious doubts about Manny Burriss being ready to play in the bigs, then I
would have respected his decision to sign a veteran free agent shortstop,
because I hate it when teams rush their prospects (hello J.R. Towles). I’m not saying Manny Burriss or Ivan Ochoa
aren’t ready, but if the Giants signed a consistent, inexpensive shortstop like
Berroa I would not have disagreed.
But Renteria is way too expensive, and was signed to a multi-year
deal. Seriously, what is Brian Sabean
thinking? I hope his plan isn’t to wait
for Renteria to have a comeback year and then trade him away for prospects
because Renteria will never have an OBP higher than .350 ever again, his range
is gone, and his power will only get worse in spacious AT&T Park.
I hope Edgar Renteria
realizes how lucky he is. I struggle to
find a single team that would have given him half the contract he signed for
with San Francisco.
The only way San Francisco
could screw up their situation more is if they keep Manny Burriss in the majors
as a backup. Because the only
silver lining in this signing is the chance Manny Burriss would have bombed in
the majors. This signing gets rid of
that risk. Perhaps he can develop
better in Triple-A Fresno rather than with the Giants. But still, Ivan Ochoa could’ve filled in for
Burriss. Besides, Renteria is signed
until 2011, and it won’t take that long for Burriss to develop. That is why this deal is so idiotic.
So now I present to you my list of the ten worst current general managers:
(Only counting time with their current club)
10. Ruben Amaro Jr. – PHI (He’s really only made one move, but it was bad)
9. J.P. Ricciardi – TOR
8. Dave Dombrowski – DET
7. Ed Wade – HOU
6. Kevin Towers – SD
5. Frank Wren – ATL
4. Brian Sabean – SF
3. Jim Bowden – WASH
2. Walt Jocketty – CIN
1. Dayton Moore – KC
Nationals trade Austin Kearns to the Phillies for LHP Moises Melendez
a lot of “ifs” in this trade. This deal
only makes sense if the Phillies fail to re-sign Pat Burrell, and if
Washington eats up most, if not all, of Kearns’ salary for next year (last year of his contract). Kearns is
owed $8 million next year, about six million more than he is worth.
the Nationals are willing to pay that six million, then it makes sense for the
Phillies, with their need of right-handed outfielders, to acquire Kearns as
part of the solution to Burrell leaving.
I am not saying that Kearns is worthy of being the Phillies starting
left fielder. He’s only as good as
a fourth outfielder, but he is a good guy to provide power off the bench, and be a
back-up in case of injury.
team interested in acquiring Kearns (actually Detroit and Toronto are
the others I can think of) should understand they have all the leverage in the
world. The Nationals need to get rid of
Kearns no matter how much salary they have to eat, and no matter how bad a
prospect they get. The Nats have Roger
Milledge, and Elijah Dukes
set to start with Willie Harris,
and Wily Mo
Pena behind them. Kearns doesn’t
deserve to be in AAA, but he has no place with the Nationals.
I said, the Nationals hardly have any leverage even though they have the player
with the bigger name. Therefore they have to
take it easy on their asking price. The
important negotiation process will not be what prospect they get, but rather
how much they will pay of Kearns’ salary.
I think 75% is enough. Obviously
the more money the Nationals eat, the better prospect they get but they can’t
get carried away. Moises
Melendez is not trash. True, he’s
not a high profile prospect (like Kearns once was) and probably projects as
a middle reliever or lefty specialist, but hey, that’s the type of pitcher the
Nats need more of. Melendez wasn’t used
as a lefty specialist this year in Class-A Lakewood, but being a left-handed
middle reliever without dominating stuff makes it a likely future
scenario. Melendez would go to Potomac
(A+), and maybe get a taste of Double-A before the season ends.
matter how much salary they he will have to eat, Jim Bowden (who apparently
thinks he a Jedi)
needs to trade Kearns. End of
story. I hope Jimmy B can put Kearns’ “glory”
years with the Reds behind him, and move on to younger, more talented, less
Rockies trade 1B Joe Koshansky to the Nationals for RHP Saul Rivera
very sad (Saul
is my favorite player), but the truth is, if this deal were made, it would
benefit both teams.
Saul is extremely
nice to fans, but he’s 31 years old entering next season. That’s just slightly too old for the
rebuilding Nationals. Plus, Rivera is a
perfect fit for the Rockies who need bullpen help. After the Holliday deal, they acquired Street, but he will
probably be flipped over to another team.
I also doubt they will pick up Matt Herges‘
option for next year considering his poor season and his age (39). If you add Rivera to the Colorado ‘pen, it
will most likely look like this:
you noticed there were no lefties in the pen.
That’s because the only left-handed reliever the Rockies have right now
Rusch, and he had a 5.30 ERA last year as a reliever, and lefties have a
.334 OBP against him in his career. A
.334 OBP is not bad but to make a team as a lefty specialist, you need to be
better than that.
Todd Helton, Garrett Atkins,
and Jeff Baker
in Colorado, so the Rockies need to trade him.
He has shown enough talent and put up good enough numbers in the minors
to have legitimate trade value. There
will be other teams interested like the Giants and Mariners or maybe even the
Yankees. Ultimately, I think Saul
Rivera will win the Rockies over.
the Nationals have Kory Casto, Nick Johnson,
Willingham. All that doesn’t mean
much though. First off, the Nationals
need to trade away Willingham; he just doesn’t fit with the team. Plus, there is little chance Johnson or
Young can return completely healthy.
And if they are healthy, GM Jim Bowden should trade them for whatever he
can get, and that won’t be much. If
they manage to start next season healthy, they better be traded quickly because
it won’t be long before they go back on the DL.
There is almost as little hope as
Johnson and Young both staying healthy as there is a chance Kory Casto can
finally start producing in the bigs. In
82 career games, he’s had 14 extra base hits and a measly .264 OBP. It’s worth noting that Casto’s horrendous
MLB stint in 2007 really drowned his career numbers, but even though he
improved greatly in 2008, he still wasn’t all that impressive. This last spring I had faith in Casto. I truly thought it was not too late for him
to turn his career around. But now it’s
time to move on and try something else.
That means it is time to finally give Koshansky a full-time major league
Casto can still make the team next year.
After all, he can play left field and both corner positions. Who knows, maybe Casto can capture some of his
minor league power and bring it to the bigs.
Koshansky doesn’t mean Washington is lacking future first base options. Chris
Marrero has dealt with injuries and slumps since he was drafted in the
first round two years ago but he still has big power potential. Bill Rhinehart
doesn’t have the same big upside as Marrero but he put together a good 2008 and
should next year in Double-A Harrisburg.
Nationals trade 2B Ronnie Belliard to the D-Backs for RHP Josh Ellis
me first start off by saying that I don’t think Anderson
Hernandez will ever develop into an adequate starting major league second
baseman. But with the way things are
for the Nationals, they need to at least give him a chance. Despite his AAA .262 OBP he did hit .407
after joining the Nats. He also seems
to have brought his hot bat to the Dominican Winter League as he holds a 1.055 OPS
he is one of the oldest players in the team and needs to be traded this
I’ll give Bowden credit for
signing Belliard. Ronnie was the
starting second baseman for St. Louis when they
won the World Series in 2006.
Weirdly enough (well, he only had a .297 OBP with St. Louis), Belliard
wasn’t signed until February 18th to a minor league contract by the Nats. That was only five days before spring
training started. Belliard has done
everything Washington could have imagined and more. The reality is the only way the Belliard signing can truly help
the Nationals is if Bowden trades him for some prospects. Despite
landing on the DL and missing almost 40% of the season, Belliard’s trade value
absolutely soared this season. Not only
did he have his best offensive season of his career, but also he increased his
versatility by playing both corner positions as well as his natural position at
second. The Mets, Brewers, and Dodgers
may hold some interest in Belliard as well, but Arizona appears to be the best
fit for Belliard and the Nats.
Ojeda didn’t have good enough years to warrant consideration for a
full-time gig at 2B. Jesus Merchan
had a nice year at Triple-A and holds a good spot to take over Chris Burke’s
spot on next year’s 25-man roster. That
will allow Burke to gather up some time at Triple-A at bats after his
Josh Ellis is
the prospect that makes the most sense for this specific deal. The two main needs the Nationals have in
their system are middle infielders and relievers. Since the Arizona system is weak on middle infielders, relief
pitchers are the best way to go. Ellis
had a 2.40 ERA this year in Visalia (A+) in his first professional season.
You can see, he pitches sort of like Brian Shouse or Cla Meredith. Too bad the Diamondbacks are moving their AAA affiliate to Reno
(the Reno Aces) because Ellis could have had a chance to be a sidewinder on the
Tucson Sidewinders. The Diamondbacks
are stocked with young relievers, so if pitchers like Abe Woody, A.J. Shappi, Kyler Newby, Jeff Dietz,
Maine were offered for Belliard, it would be a fair and beneficial trade
Although it is time for Belliard to leave Washington, he will always be remembered becuase of
other baseball news, the iconic Oriole Bird has quit his diet. He has gone from this:
To this (maybe it’s just perspective):
The diet obviously wasn’t working because ever since
the Bird started the diet in 1998, the team is 98 games below .500. Ouch.
They need change. And that
change should come in the form of the logo and mascot getting a beer belly like
Wild Bill Hagy. Thumps up to the Orioles front office. This is their first sign of intelligence since they designed Camden Yards.