Thursday, October 23, 2008

Can Peavy trade make Padres better NOW?

Thursday October 16, 2008

With all the rage about Peavy getting traded I started thinking about what trades are being bandied about and how can the Padres make the team better NOW with those trades.

In addition to Peavy, Greene and Kouzmanoff are the most likely Padres to be traded.

Let’s go through those three one by one.

Peavy is among a handful of true #1 pitchers in baseball. Aces that you can hand the ball to and expect a win every time out. His $78 million contract over the next 5 years is less than any of the big name pitchers like Sabathia, Sheets, Burnett, Dempster and Lowe will get in free agency this off season and less than Santana, Zito and Zambrano will make over the same period. With talent certainly in the class of the best of those pitchers, Peavy’s contract makes him an affordable ace for most teams.

Greene has been hit hard by the Petco effect. His away OPS is a respectable .802 while his home OPS is just .658 Why the park affects a pull hitting right handed batter so much is beyond my comprehension, but the evidence is clear.

While many are saying that 2008 killed any value Greene has in the trade market, I would suspect that a lot of teams are still looking at 2008 as an aberration and are lusting after a good defensive SS that has shown 27 hr and 97 rbi just one year previous to that.

Kouzmanoff is a 2nd year pro who was among the best defensive 3B in the game in 2008. While he was brought in for his bat, that defensive improvement shows his athletic ability in a nice light. Offensively he improved his HR and rbi totals while his OBP and OPS suffered. All in all a promising year for a player coming into his prime playing years at 27.

Now about the potential trades. I am going to start with Kouzmanoff and work back to the Peavy trade.

It all starts with a simple question, Who needs a third baseman?

Three AL East teams, the Red Sox, Orioles and Blue Jay’s, have an aging and ailing 3B that I am sure they would like to replace, but that all have huge salaries due them in 2009 and beyond. So let’s write them off as a good trade partner for Kouz.

The NL east teams are set at 3B so we can dismiss them as well.

The AL Central teams other than KC all seem to be in need of a 3B.

Cleveland would probably love to have Kouzmanoff back as Marte has been a bust, but other than Carmona and Lee don’t really have the good young pitchers to send back.

Josh Fields has not lived up to his billing in Chicago so they may be in the market as well, would they be willing to part with Danks?

The Tigers have Guillen at 3B now. Would they be willing to part with Galarraga for an upgrade?

The Twins seem likely a perfect trading partner as they have no real 3B prospects and several young pitchers that I would love to see in a Padres uniform. Can you imagine Liriano or Blackburn pitching in Petco? Wow!

In the NL Central, the Cubs are set for several more years at 3B, the Reds have a good young 3B in Encarnacion, and the Cards have an option on Glaus for 2009. The Astros are more likely to move Miggy to 3B than to trade for a 3B. The Brewers have tried Hall and Braun at 3B in successive years. While both were defensive nightmares, I doubt they are in the market. The Pirates just traded for the other LaRoche brother, so that would seem to take them out of the market as well.

In the AL West the A’s have a need but are they a good trading partner? The Mariners have a 29 year old Beltre entering his walk year. The Rangers have top prospect Chris Davis so they are not really in the market for a 3B. That leaves the Angels, who may move Chone Figgins who is coming into arbitration eligibility in this off season and is does not have the power normally associated with the 3B position.

The Padres have never been a team that trades useful players within their division so the NL West is probably out as a trade partner.

I could see the Padres making a trade with several teams for Kouzmanoff.

The Twins, the White Sox and the Angels. All have a need and enough good young pitching to interest the Padres. If the Padres could bring in Danks, Liriano/Blackburn, or Ervin Santana in return for Kouzmanoff it would help strengthen the rotation immensely while only slightly lowering the 3B and outfield production of the Padres based on last years production from Headley and the outfield platoon players.

I believe that the team that eventually lands Peavy will be forced to take on Greene as part of the trade. With that as a presumption, I see only two teams that make good trading partners, Atlanta and St Louis,

Atlanta wants Peavy and have been actively talking with the Padres about making the trade happen. If they take Greene too, they may send back Yunel Escobar or Kelly Johnson as part of a 7 or 8 for 2 package.

I can realistically see the Padres getting Escobar, Jordan Schafer, Jair Jurrjens, Cole Rohrbaugh, and 2-3 other prospects for Peavy and Greene.

That would fill a #2 or #3 slot in the rotation with Jurrjens, add an immediate starter in the outfield in Schafer and fill a hole at either SS or 2B. In addition Rohrbaugh, a LH starter, is very close to being ML ready.

If the trade goes to St Louis, I can see the Padres getting Adam Everett, Colby Rasmus, Chris Perez, Bryan Anderson and 2-3 more prospects.

Rasmus would become an immediate starter in the OF, Anderson shares time with Hundley at catcher and Everett becomes the starting 2B with Luis Rodriguez holding down SS for a year. Perez is probably not far off from making the ML roster as well.

Personally, I like the possibilities the Braves deep system gives the Padres in any trades for Peavy.

If they Padres pick up a #2/#3 starter for Kouzmanoff and an OF, a middle infielder and a starting pitcher for Peavy and Greene I can definitely see them improving on their 2008 record next season with just a little luck on the injury front.

Now I have had my say. What do you think?

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