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Saturday, July 05, 2014

Diamondbacks send Joe Thatcher and Tony Campana to the Angels

The Diamondbacks’ are on the verge of making the first of what could be many trades this month, agreeing to a deal that will send left-hander Joe Thatcher and outfielder Tony Campana to the Los Angeles Angels.

In exchange, the Diamondbacks are receiving a pair of minor leaguers, right-handed reliever Joey Krehbiel and outfielder Zach Borenstein.

I know it’s not a trolling article about sabermetrics from an old fogey sportswriter, but we need to fill the front page with something, and I guess actual baseball transactions make as much sense as anything.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 05, 2014 at 03:12 PM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels, arizona, diamondbacks, general, trades

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: July 05, 2014 at 08:31 PM (#4744440)
What are the Angels doing? Rich Hill, Jason Grilli, now Joe Thatcher.
   2. McCoy Posted: July 05, 2014 at 10:18 PM (#4744478)
Has to be small sample sizes and all but according to WAR Tony Campana is an average major leaguer and has been for his entire MLB career. Yet he barely plays and he barely starts. Free Tony Campana?
   3. Greg K Posted: July 05, 2014 at 10:29 PM (#4744487)
Has to be small sample sizes and all but according to WAR Tony Campana is an average major leaguer and has been for his entire MLB career. Yet he barely plays and he barely starts. Free Tony Campana?

Is he the guy who's really, really, really fast?

I always get him confused with Steve Clevenger for some reason. Who is not fast.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: July 05, 2014 at 11:24 PM (#4744510)
Presumably due to the minor flaw in WAR regarding PR/defensive specialists. Campana gets to generate baserunning and defensive value without burning PAs. He's then compared to the runs generated by an average player in the same number of PAs.

There probably aren't more than a relative handful of guys with Campana's sort of PA vs. running vs. defensive opportunities profile so it's surely not worth fixing. But I suppose technically Rbat should be measured relative to PA, Rbase relative to times on base (or some such) and Rfield relative to defensive innings (or some such).
   5. Lou Sleater-Josh Kinney Posted: July 05, 2014 at 11:27 PM (#4744514)
Is he the guy who's really, really, really fast?

Yes. 66 steals on 74 attempts.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: July 05, 2014 at 11:37 PM (#4744518)
For example, if I counted right, Campana has been used as a PR 36 times in his career. With a career OBP of 294, it would take him another 122 PA to reach base safely 36 times. He's been used often enough as a PH then gone into the field that he may not have that many "free" defensive innings but it's still probably on an order of 50-100.

Let's say between those he would need an additional 150 PA ... in those 150 PA, he'd add no additional baserunning or defensive value but would get docked about 7 more runs on Rbat. Which still keeps him average but at least a bit below.

Little dude is freaking fast and knows how to use it on defense too. He's credited with +18 between Rbase and Rdp (which does require a PA). Willie Wilson had two seasons like that. Only 6 seasons in the expansion era where a player had 15+ Rbase -- Wills 62, Rickey 85 and 88, Wilson 79-80 and Coleman 86.

Guy should probably retire, get on a bike and ride the Tour. Small enough he can probably climb well and I bet he can hold his own in a sprint.
   7. valuearbitrageur Posted: July 05, 2014 at 11:54 PM (#4744524)
Is Campana a pinch-running defensive replacement? Is that even something useful if he can't hit a lick?
   8. valuearbitrageur Posted: July 05, 2014 at 11:59 PM (#4744525)
What are the Angels doing? Rich Hill, Jason Grilli, now Joe Thatcher

Isn't it obvious?

Jason Grilli is a right hander.

Rich Hill, like all the rest of the Angels lefty relievers, stinks.

Joe Thatcher is a very effective lefty reliever.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: July 06, 2014 at 02:25 AM (#4744560)
Is Campana a pinch-running defensive replacement?<i>

Pretty much yes. He has 160 career appearances in the field (plus PR appearances where he didn't make it into the field) and only 84 career starts. He does a reasonable amount of unsuccessful pinch-hitting as well.

<i>Is that even something useful if he can't hit a lick?

With shortened benches, not a lot but if you can afford him then, as his WAR shows, he's plenty valuable enough. He's a guy who, to this point, has easily out-run and, on a per-inning basis, fielded nearly as well as Peter Bourjos. Bourjos is a much better hitter ... but, by WAR, Bourjos would still be an average player if he put up -25 Rbat a year. Last year BJ Upton put up -26 Rbat and he sure wasn't gonna add 20-30 runs of baserunning and defense to that.

Of course nobody is ever going to give Campana that kind of shot because they all know that his bat is just too weak no matter how great the legs are. But he's probably as good or better than Miguel Dilone or Chuck Carr were and they got 2000 ML PAs. Giving him starts would be pretty dumb but probably smarter than the DBacks giving Womack 102 starts IN RF! in 1999. He's a better player, probably even better hitter, than Blair was from 31-36 and he was still given about 1400 PA.

I'm reasonably confident there are no better baserunners in MLB than Campana. There are probably some better CFs but not a huge number. It's gotta suck to be one of the best at two key aspects of the game and still be useless.
   10. shoewizard Posted: July 06, 2014 at 03:18 AM (#4744567)
He should have played soccer

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