Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Trading Tuesday (On Wednesday)

Sorry for the late Trading Tuesday post but awww here it goes...
The Nationals signed Stephen Strasburg as you all might have heard. Instead of the $50m Boras had mentioned during the draft, Strasburg signed for a totally reasonable although record breaking 4 year $15.1m contract. Everyone said that the Nationals and Strasburg had a lot to lose by not doing this deal, and they did, but it wasn't even in my mind. Leaving $15m on the table to sit out a year and possibly getting hurt or lose effectiveness is a silly idea but I bet if he did sit out he'd end up with a similar amount of money. If the Nationals didn't sign Strasburg it would be a disaster for them. The Nats are lightyears away from being competitive but at least they now have 2 stars in the organization in Strasburg and Zimmerman (Zimmermann will have to wait), and maybe 3 if they get Bryce Harper (the Royals are looking really bad).

I have absolutely no clue what happens here on out with Strasburg. I read somewhere that Boras said he wanted Strasburg to get some time in the minor leagues. I find it funny that in negotiations Boras will say how he is major league ready and better than 75% of the starters right now, yet once the deal is done with he thinks Strasburg needs some time before he's ready. I don't blame Boras, he's just doing his job and doing it well, but it's quite funny. If the Nationals think he's ready I don't see why he'd need to waste much time in the minors, but if they don't think he's ready it'd be a horrible move to bring him up just to sell tickets. I don't think the Nats would do that, but you can't really give that organization the benefit of the doubt.

-Speaking of the Royals (a little late since there is a paragraph in between my mentioning them) they recently made a questionable move demoting Alex Gordon to AAA. You can find a better analysis of the move over here, so no need for me to labor on it, but it's very odd that you'd send one of your most promising players down to the minors when the one thing he really needs is experience at the major league level.

-Disgruntled released veteren pitcher John Smoltz seems to be on his way to the Cardinals. If there is a formula for success for a pitcher, leaving the AL East and working with Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan has to be among the best. He'll likely be given a chance to be the Cardinals 5th starter and if that doesn't work he'll move to the bullpen. Just like the Red Sox acquisition of Smoltz and the Phillies signing of Pedro, these moves are good so long as you don't keep starting an ineffective pitcher. If a random AAA pitcher comes up on the Phillies and pitches poorly for one start, let alone two or three he gets sent back down. If Pedro or Smoltz pitches poorly they should be treated the same. The "if they did it before they can do it again" mantra is useless when before they threw 96 and now they touch 90.

-One other move of note was the Rangers pickup of Pudge. Their pre-season catcher depth has been nonexistent, Salty stinks (and is hurt), Teagarden can't hit, and Max Ramirez can't hit any more (in the minors). So, picking up Pudge (or any backup catcher for that matter) is a smart move and a move a competing team should make. I have to say though that I didn't really think the Rangers had a shot to win the wild card over the Red Sox, but each game that goes by their chances increase. Now it wouldn't shock me if they did sneak into the playoffs and went into 2010 with a ton of hype only to miss the playoffs. That's the trend in sports with surprise young teams. They do well partially because of some luck and the next year they are expected to get better when even repeating their performance would be a nice feat. The Rangers are going to be very good in the long term and they have surprised us this year short term, but don't start penciling them in for the AL West crown next year just yet. Although, that Feliz kid is insane.

UPDATE: For whatever reason I didn't realize that the Rangers gave up two young kids for Pudge. That's a lot to offer for a backup catcher. Sure, maybe it's nice seeing him back in his old uni, but are Mariners fans really loving watching Griffey Jr. hit .223 at DH? It's not a bad move in general to get a backup catcher when you need a backup catcher, but giving up what the Rangers did is silly. The Rangers GM wasn't around during Pudge's years, I wonder if this is an ownership move.

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