Monday, July 26, 2010

The Diamondbacks Just Sucked all the Fun out of the Trade Deadline

The very loud internet buzzing around the Blue Jays, both this week and last, is all about trades. Who goes, who stays, who cares? Obviously, hardcore fans live and die with the various (empty) rumors exploding from twitter. Usually without merit, it sure is fun to get all excited for future rosterbation. Sadly, most of the twitter bulletins are more along the lines of "Heard this: the Dora the Explorer theme song is catchier than Tijuana VD1."

Two separate events figure to deprive Jays fans from squealing with delight this deadline, I fear. Both of these things center around GMs not wanting to look like idiots; I can't say that I blame them as usually costs them their job in the aftermath. Firstly: Alex Anthopoulos is getting a reputation as a pickpocket. No over matched GM clinging to wins and ERA wants a free trip to the cleaners on the Blue Jays team bus.

Which brings us to the debacle in the desert. The D-Backs haul for Dan Haren is, at best, pathetic. Stockpiling left-handed strike throwers as the Snakes may be, it doesn't change the fact that they get a left-handed fifth starter for a top-line pitcher with two manageable years remaining on his existing contract. Consider the savage beatings handed out in the press (free of charge!) to the AZ front office; many other teams stand to take a step back and reconsider their actions.

It seems like a cyclical thing: prospects and young players are coveted out of fear of giving away too much. The market dries up, somebody overpays, the flood gates open. Then the prices drop again and an alert GM thieves his way into a tidy haul. Consider this Haren trade the soap dropping in the GM prison shower - all the buttocks are clenching and nobody plans to give it up for free.

This doesn't bode well for a team shopping middle relievers and one-year wonders. I don't think the Jays would trade Jose Bautista for anything. The desired haul for Scott Downs is a good place to start, since his Type A designation gives the Jays all kinds of leverage. Alex Anthopoulos seems smart enough to not worry about the silly "don't trade within your division" thinking as Downs' A status means a team like Yankees or Red Sox would be unlikely to re-sign him anyway. Frasor, Camp, Janssen are all nice arms but limited upside, in my mind, have a much greater impact on the type of farmhand offered in return.


  1. The craziest thing about this is that they let their interim GM trade their biggest chip, even though the extra years left on Haren's contract meant they could afford to wait for the permanent GM to come in and trade him in the offseason or at next year's deadline. And Dipoto completely, inarguably, hilariously shit the bed. What an embarassment.

  2. Please someone explain: what contender or cusp contender is trading anything for Frasor? Feel free to not explain to me that he's been good in the past as this is not relevant in this type of trade...

  3. I don't think there is much of a market for larger contract players. Just ask Houston who apparently can't give away Roy Oswalt if the other team has to pay his entire salary.

    Smaller contracts might be what makes many of the Jays players so appealing to other teams, plus the fact that they get compensation may make them more valuable than a Dan Haren.

  4. Mattt: I don't think his past success is irrelevant at all, but even if you did ignore that, he's been good for parts of this year. He had a terrible April, a fantastic May, a terrible June, and (up until yesterday) a fantastic July. His FIP is also a full run below his ERA for the year (FIP = 3.37, xFIP = 3.89, ERA = 4.66), while he's still striking out 9.54 batters per 9 innings.

    Basically he hasn't been as bad this year as his numbers suggest, and he probably won't cost a high-level prospect, so he's a pretty good bullpen arm available for cheap. Lots of teams would go for that, I'd think.

  5. I'm sure some teams would go for it, it's what they're giving up that I'm curious about. I guess even a low level prospect would probably be all it would take.

  6. I love that AA's getting a reputation as a thief. It shows he's getting recognition for recognizing and collecting valuable players. Especially players (Lewis, Bautista, Gonzalez, Wise) that are effectively extras on already-staffed teams. AA has been giving offers based on how he thinks his team can make bench or callup players into reliable productive year-round position starters. And a post-season contending team (such as the Yankees) might deal a prospect (such as Jorge Vazquez, 1B) in a long-term MLB filled position (30 year old Teixera). Especially with their added depth at that position (Swisher, Miranda).

    The deal would have to look good to both parties, obviously. And it seems that AA knows how to source out those deals.

  7. HAHAHA the GM prison shower...


  8. i think if you asked anyone who has watched frasor pitch this year, they'd probably guess he had an era near 9. i'm shocked his numbers look as good as they do. i get legitimately, poo-the-bed-terrified when i see him warming up.

  9. Ty, despite Frasor's good FIPs, he's been poor based on the win probability and leverage stats.

    I think the worst part of the D-Backs trade is they took Saunders back as a transparent "look we got a major league starter back" to their fans instead of going for quality. Just a horrendous trade overall.


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