Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday October 23,2008

A Reality Check on Believing ESPN writers without checking what the real stats and rankings are your self.

A reality check on Peavy rumors

By Keith Law

Thursday, October 23, 2008 | Feedback | Print Entry

Some of the projected "offers" I've seen for Jake Peavy just don't make sense. Look at what we've seen in the past few major pitching deals involving front-line starters:

• For a half-season of CC Sabathia, Cleveland got one top prospect (Matt LaPorta), an A-ball arm (Rob Bryson, who subsequently hurt his shoulder), a "AAAA" pitcher (Zach Jackson) and a player to be named who did not turn out to be a top prospect.

Matt LaPorta was THE #1 prospect in the Brewers organization and is a Top 25 prospect in all of baseball. Both Rob Bryson (20 yrs old) and Zach Jackson (25 yrs old) were top 20 prospects in the Brewers organization at the time. Bryson was ranked 9th – 11th depending on the service and Jackson was ranked 14th to 18th. Rob Bryson is a highly touted draft and follow by the Brewers and in just 2 professional seasons has a 3.34 era and a 1.12 whip with over 11k/9 and a k/bb ratio of nearly 4/1

Zach Jackson has 16 starts and a 5.49 era over parts of 3 seasons already.

Does this guy even CHECK his info before publishing?

• For three years of Dan Haren, signed cheaply, Oakland got one starter with big-league experience (Dana Eveland) and one big-league-ready starter (Greg Smith), neither of whom has a high ceiling or is a top prospect. On the minor-league side, the A's got two top prospects in outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and left-hander Brett Anderson, and two lesser prospects in outfielder Aaron Cunningham (fringe starter or good fourth outfielder) and first baseman Chris Carter (big raw power and a ton of strikeouts, with defensive problems).
For Dan Haren the A’s got Outfielders Carlos Gonzalez (#22 according to BA and the Dbacks #1 prospect) and Aaron Cunningham (#6 in Dbacks system); Pitchers Brett Anderson (#36 according to BA and #3 in Dbacks system), Major League Starter Dana Eveland and ML Ready Greg Smith; and 1st baseman Chris Carter (#7 in Dbacks system). What he means by lesser prospects I simply cannot figure out. The A’s got 4 of the top 7 in the entire diamondbacks system AND a Major League Starter.

• For one year of Johan Santana, the Twins got a good center-field prospect (Carlos Gomez), two back-end pitching prospects who were not major-league ready (Phil Humber and Kevin Mulvey) and a 19-year-old pitcher with upside (Deolis Guerra, who instead found his downside this year).

Gomez is the 52nd ranked prospect in Baseball and the #3 ranked prospect in the Mets organization. Deolis Guerra, 18 at the time of the trade and the youngest starting pitcher in high A ball by two years this season, is ranked as the 35th best prospect in the country this year and was the #2 rated prospect in the Mets organization. Not just a “pitcher with upside”, a top prospect expected to be an ace in the. 25 yr old Phil Humber was the 7th ranked prospect in the Mets organization and pitched in the Majors this season AND the year before that AND the year before that. Not ML ready? Mulvey, at 23 the 2nd youngest starting pitcher in the International League, is pitching extremely well in AAA and is stuck behind a bevy of other good young pitchers in Minnesota including Humber.

• For a year and a half of Rich Harden, who had a history of injuries at the time of the deal, the A's received a young big-league starter (Sean Gallagher), a bench player (Matt Murton), a fringe hitting prospect (Eric Patterson), and a very good catching prospect (Josh Donaldson, having a horrible year at the time).

The A’s got the Cubs #5 prospect and top starting pitching prospect in the organization in Gallagher, a former ML everyday player in Murton who was replaced in the lineup by the big dollar Fukodome, the Cubs 2nd best OF prospect the organization in Patterson who spent 43 games at the big league level in 2008, and the Cubs #7 prospect and #2 catching prospect in Donaldson (Geovany Soto who started the year with the big league club being #1) who hit .330/ .391/ .564/.955 at high A ball at age 22. Some services like had Gallagher and Patterson ranked 3 and 4 in the organization prior to the year.

The team acquiring Peavy would get something similar to what Arizona got financially in Haren -- three years of control at below-market prices -- but they're not getting the same pitcher on the field. Peavy missed time this year with elbow trouble after notching a career high in innings in 2007. When he did pitch, his strikeout rate was down, his walk rate was up, and his home run rate was back up after being exceptionally low in 2007. His velocity was about normal, sitting 92-93 mph on the four-seamer, a few miles per hour below that on the two-seamer, but his slider didn't have the same bite. He uses the slider often, which isn't good for the elbow, and without that as a primary weapon, he's not going to be as effective.

Peavy has also benefitted tremendously from his home environment. Petco Park is one of the toughest places in baseball to hit a home run, good news for pitchers like Peavy who don't keep the ball on the ground. In fact, Peavy has allowed far more home runs (81) in his career on the road than he has at home (47), despite throwing 95 more innings at home. And that's before we consider the soft competition that he's faced, between the National League and the weak offenses in the NL West.

The team that gets Peavy will get FIVE years of control at below market prices. 2009-2013. Lets compare apples to apples on stats – for their careers Peavy has been better than Haren at Petco - 2.77 era 1.09 whip .219 baa vs 2.70 era 1.16 whip .263 baa.

In 2008 Peavy was still better than Haren in ERA-2.85 to 3.33, K/9-8.60 to 8.58 and BAA- .229 to .247. And please don’t try to say it’s because Haren plays in a hitters park at Chase Field. Haren’s road numbers were almost identical - 3.32 era, 1.25 whip, & .246 baa including 3.21 era 1.21 whip and .291 baa at Petco as compared with Peavy’s 1.74 era, 0.97 whip, and .205 baa at Petco.

Oh, and Haren ALSO plays in the NL West.

So PLEASE, Take what the writers at ESPN say with a grain of salt. It is far from Gospel. In fact they seem to be much worse at researching their articles to make sure they are accurate than many of the blog writers out there like, and just to name a few Padres blogs.

The Bottom line is this;

The Team acquiring Peavy should and will give something MORE than what Arizona gave up for Haren because Peavy has shown he is simply a better pitcher than Haren.

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?