Monday, January 28, 2008

Trade Recap

Cardinals receive: 3B Troy Glaus (Rating: 7/10)

Blue Jays receive: 3B Scott Rolen (3)

I don't know what Toronto was thinking. The Blue Jays already announced that they don't care about their infield defense when they signed R-D punching bag David Eckstein to boost the team's intangibles, forcing John McDonald to the bench. Now they exchange Glaus for an older, worse, and somehow more fragile version...with a bigger contract to boot.

Rolen's defense has held up well through his injuries, but his bat is basically toast. If the Jays wanted a Gold Glove-caliber 3B with a .720 OPS, why not take Brandon Inge off the Tigers' hands? He's more durable than Rolen and was basically available for free. If they wanted a shorter commitment, Pedro Feliz and Joe Crede were waiting for suitors.

Glaus has a no-trade clause, but the Cards should make an effort to deal him, since they're unlikely to contend this year or next. Still, getting out from under Rolen's contract and receiving a decent player in return was quite a coup.

Mariners receive: SP Erik Bedard (3)

Orioles receive: OF Adam Jones, RP George Sherrill, SP Chris Tillman, SP Tony Butler, and RP Kam Mickolio (8)

At least with this deal, it's clear what both sides were looking to accomplish. The Mariners wanted to somehow get Horacio Ramirez out of their rotation, and in that regard, they succeeded. Sure, it might have been easier to simply non-tender Ramirez, but then they would have had nothing to show for giving away Rafael Soriano. (Schuerholz 1, Bavasi -100.)

Meanwhile, Seattle's offense now consists of Ichiro and the Black Holes. That sounds like a cool name for a New Wave band, but it's not the best approach to winning baseball. Their next-best hitter is Raul Ibanez, who gives back two runs in the field for every one he drives in.

The good news for the Mariners is that they have an easy path to the playoffs in a four-team division with no dominant squads. Unfortunately, they're trying to get there with only four players: Ichiro, Bedard, Felix Hernandez, and J.J. Putz. Those experiments rarely end well.

I've heard estimates that this trade makes the Mariners 2-3 wins better for 2008. I'm not even sure I'd be that optimistic. Replacing Jones with a bargain-bin free agent in right field will be a huge blow, and the loss of Sherrill leaves a big hole in the bullpen. Seattle had better hope that Bedard or Felix can personally turn the lead over to Putz in every start, because I wouldn't trust anyone else with it.

You probably know about Jones, one of baseball's top young players, and Sherrill, one of MLB's better relievers when he's healthy. Tillman is the other key to the deal, a B+ (Sickels) or four-star (Goldstein) power pitching prospect. Tony Butler is more of a longshot to make it, but could be a useful back-end starter. Mickolio looks like little more than a throw-in at this point. All in all, this is a pretty good haul for the Orioles, and it could help set the market for a Johan Santana trade.

White Sox: Reportedly interested in OF/DH Carl Everett (-1 million)

This isn't a transaction yet, but it's too good to leave out. Everett? Really? Were both Alomar brothers busy? Did Neifi Perez hold out for a multi-year deal?

If the Sox actually sign Jurassic Carl, even to a minor-league deal, I'm going to laugh really hard.

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