Tagged: Wily Mo Pena

TTPs for the Nationals

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Nationals trade Austin Kearns to the Phillies for LHP Moises Melendez

 

There are
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.  

austin kearns.jpg

If
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. 

 

Any
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
Bernadina
, Lastings
Milledge
, and Elijah Dukes
set to start with Willie Harris,
Mike Daniel,
and Wily Mo
Pena
behind them.  Kearns doesn’t
deserve to be in AAA, but he has no place with the Nationals. 

 

Like
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.

No
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
expensive pastures.  

Rockies trade 1B Joe Koshansky to the Nationals for RHP Saul Rivera

 

It’s
very sad (Saul
is my favorite player), but the truth is, if this deal were made, it would
benefit both teams. 

sauuul.jpg

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:

 

Manny
Corpas
(CL)

Taylor
Buccholz
(SU)

Jason
Grilli
(SU)

Saul
Rivera

Luis
Vizcaino

Ryan
Speier

Steven
Register

 

If
you noticed there were no lefties in the pen. 
That’s because the only left-handed reliever the Rockies have right now
is Glendon
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
block Koshansky
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.

koshanksy.jpg

Yes,
the Nationals have Kory Casto, Nick Johnson,
Dmitri Young,
and Josh
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
job.

 

Maybe
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. 

 

Acquiring
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

 

Let
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
there.

 

As
for Belliard,
he is one of the oldest players in the team and needs to be traded this
off-season. 

belliard.jpg

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. 

 

Chris Burke
and Augie
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
disappointing 2008.

 

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. 

joshellis.jpg

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,
and Scott
Maine
were offered for Belliard, it would be a fair and beneficial trade
too.

Although it is time for Belliard to leave Washington, he will always be remembered becuase of

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this and this.


In
other baseball news, the iconic Oriole Bird has quit his diet.  He has gone from this:

skinnyoriolesbird.gif

To this (maybe it’s just perspective):
fatoriolebird.png
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
.

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)