Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Padres - Rangers Trade Reaction

I received an email from ESPN's Keith Law last night regarding the proposed deal. Among other things, he said:

That's an outrageously large haul for San Diego... You're talking about four of the top 100 prospects in the game, probably of the top 75, and it's not like the Rangers are trying to compete in 2009 or like the trade would put them over the top. You're also not discounting Peavy for his elbow issues or down performance in 2008.

I countered.

I can understand the outrage over San Diego's coup... to a degree; by definition, prospects are not sure things. Look at a list of top prospects from 2005 and you'll see names like Joel Guzman and Andy Marte in most "Top 10" lists. Although still relatively young, both are looking like busts.

Clearly, a major benefit of having a deep farm system is the luxury of dealing some of your best prospects for a proven winner. Jake Peavy is just that.

Peavy is one season removed from a Cy Young year in which he won the pitching Triple Crown. In a "down" year, he still struck out almost a batter an inning (4th in the NL with 8.6 K's per 9), had a WHIP of 1.1, gave up the second fewest hits per game, and finished among the league leaders in Adjusted ERA+. Hard to argue with those results.

Last offseason, the Mariners dealt a more impressive posse to Baltimore in exchange for Erik Bedard. (Bedard was coming off arm trouble at the end of '07 before he was dealt and did not have nearly the track record of Peavy.) Sure, the M's are regretting this now, but for a team that believes it's on the brink of contention, it might be a chance worth taking.

Further, I fail to understand why the three potential contenders in the AL West seem reluctant to grab the division by the proverbial horns.

The A's have made a bit of a play with the Matt Holliday deal, but now they are sitting back and waiting for the leftovers of the OF market to come to them. They probably could have had Rafael Furcal but weren't aggressive enough in their pursuit.

The Angels seem to have buyer's remorse before actually buying anything (or anyone). Doesn't Manny make perfect sense for the Angels or does the signing of Juan Rivera eliminate that possibility (insert joke here)?

The Rangers had the AL's best offense last year, yet, have done nothing this offseason to improve the pitching staff. Does signing Ben Sheets solve all of their problems? Of course not.

Downgrade Main to a lesser prospect if it will make you sleep better at night, but get a deal done, Jon Daniels.

This blog was created to form a medium of exchange where sports fans can share ideas, beliefs, and opinions. The creator has written for a number of websites and has appeared on ESPN Radio as an NFL Draft, MLB Trade Deadline and Fantasy Sports Analyst. He can be reached at mjs3131@hotmail.com

Monday, December 29, 2008

Padres - Rangers Trade

Background / Proposal

Put simply, as currently constructed, the San Diego Padres are in no shape to compete in the NL West for at least three years. Their farm system is improving but still lacks the big-time prospects necessary to supplement the major league club. Owner John Moores is actively shopping his team and looking to cut payroll. Now is the time to deal Jake Peavy and Brian Giles (and any other non-core players) with the long-term goal of building around Adrian Gonzalez, Chase Headley, and Chris Young. Peavy and Giles seem to be the team’s most coveted assets. In return, they figure to bring a slew of prospects.

I propose the following deal:

San Diego would send RHP Jake Peavy, RHP Heath Bell, and OF Brian Giles to the Texas Rangers for RHP Michael Main, 1B Justin Smoak, C Max Ramirez, and SS Elvis Andrus.

Why would San Diego do this deal?

Dealing Peavy, Giles, and Bell would clear approximately $23m of salary off the books for the 2009 season. Additionally, the trade would clear the three years and $50m left on Peavy’s contract after this season. As discussed above, the farm system lacks upper echelon prospects. This deal changes that in a big way.

Michael Main: The Rangers’ top pick in the ’07 draft was considered one of the best high school arms in his class.

Justin Smoak: Owner of the most beautiful left-handed swing since Ken Griffey Jr.

Max Ramirez: The most Major League-ready of the four prospects would split time behind the dish with Nick Hundley.

Elvis Andrus: Has drawn comparisons to Edgar Renteria (in a good way).

Why would Texas do this deal?

Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla are better suited to fill the number three and four slots of the rotation rather than the number one and two slots. Peavy easily slides into the top of the rotation.

It has long been rumored that the Rangers (specifically Nolan Ryan) are interested in signing free agent Ben Sheets. If the rumors are true, and The Ryan Express can lure Sheets to Arlington, the (formidable) rotation would look like this:

1. Peavy (Age on Opening Day 2009: 27)
2. Sheets (30)
3. Kevin Millwood (34)
4. Vicente Padilla (31)
5. TBD

Heath Bell would solidify the pen and would probably be the 8th-inning guy in Texas. Bell has proven capable of filling the 9th-inning role as well meaning if closer CJ Wilson struggled, Ron Washington should have confidence inserting Bell into the role.

Offensively, Giles is an OBP-machine. He rarely strikes out, walks a ton and sports a career Adjusted OPS+ of 139. Giles will be a free agent after the 2009 season meaning the Rangers would only be making a one-year commitment to him and could potentially receive draft pick compensation if he decided to leave. The lineup might look like this:

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B (Age on Opening Day 2009: 26)
2. Giles, LF (37)
3. Michael Young, SS (32)
4. Josh Hamilton, CF (27)
5. Hank Blalock, 3B (28)
6. Nelson Cruz, DH (28)
7. Chris Davis, 1B (22)
8. David Murphy, RF (27)
9. Taylor Teagarden, C (25)

With a healthy Kinsler-Giles-Young combo atop the order, Josh Hamilton may eclipse 150 RBIs next season.

Couple the proposed trade above with the signing of Sheets, and the Texas Rangers become the clear favorites in the AL West and serious contenders for the AL Pennant. Most importantly, the deal does not mortgage the future for two reasons. The first is that the Rangers have one of the best farm systems in the league. The second is that the centerpiece of this deal, Peavy, will only be 27 years old on Opening Day.

Other Questions / Considerations / Comments

--Would Peavy and Giles waive their no-trade clauses for a chance to compete for a World Series in the near future? My guess is that it would be harder to convince Giles than Peavy to ok the deal. (Giles had a chance to go to Boston last season but rejected the opportunity.) Peavy was born in Alabama and would have to seriously consider this opportunity.

--Would billionaire owner Tom Hicks be willing to take on $80m+ of contracts? Hicks, the guy who signed A-Rod to his 10-year, $250m contract a few years back, seems like an owner willing to take risks which put his team in better shape to compete for the World Series. After all, since Hicks purchased the team in 1998, the Rangers have not won a single playoff game. An owner can only stay patient so long (exception: William Clay Ford).

--The last major deal these two teams made turned into a laugher: Texas shipped Adrian Gonzalez, Chris Young, and Termel Sledge to San Diego for Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka.

--Would Texas be willing to deal its last two first round picks (Main and Smoak) after spending a combined $4.7m on their signing bonuses? For what it’s worth, in 2007, Texas had two first round picks, and three sandwich picks so all would not be lost.

--The fans in Texas would be ecstatic. In 37 years, the Rangers franchise has won a total of ONE playoff game.

--For the good of the game in each respective city, both teams should consider the deal.

This blog was created to form a medium of exchange where sports fans can share ideas, beliefs, and opinions. The creator has written for a number of websites and has appeared on ESPN Radio as an NFL Draft, MLB Trade Deadline and Fantasy Sports Analyst. He can be reached at mjs3131@hotmail.com