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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

WaPo: Nats’ Cordero, Rauch Remain Subjects of Trade Talks (RR)

With this afternoon’s non-waiver trade deadline approaching, the Washington Nationals were still involved in discussions involving relievers Chad Cordero and Jon Rauch yesterday, according to industry sources, but even internally there appeared to be little consensus about whether a trade—or more than one—would happen.
...
General Manager Jim Bowden did not return messages yesterday. Still, one Nationals insider said yesterday he expected the club would make at least one deal, and that Rauch was the most likely to go because it is easier to find a trading partner for him. Would the Nationals, who have been reported to be interested in Cincinnati Reds outfielder Adam Dunn, want major league players in return, or prospects?

“Prospects, absolutely,” one person familiar with the Nationals’ thinking said.
...
Because of Rauch’s performance over the past two years, Bowden has apparently asked for high-end prospects—Detroit Tigers outfielder Cameron Maybin, who is all but untouchable, was once mentioned—in exchange.

NTNgod Posted: July 31, 2007 at 03:13 AM | 59 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals, rumors

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   1. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: July 31, 2007 at 03:30 AM (#2462491)
Bowden has apparently asked for high-end prospects—Detroit Tigers outfielder Cameron Maybin, who is all but untouchable, was once mentioned—in exchange.

Good Lord, was Bowden calling at 3 AM again?
   2. Chris Needham Posted: July 31, 2007 at 03:32 AM (#2462495)
Hey, it worked last year.
   3. Sam M. Posted: July 31, 2007 at 03:35 AM (#2462503)
Hey, it worked last year.

Not in engineering a Soriano deal it didn't. Bowden plays that game again, he'll fail to deal his primary assets . . . again. This time, of course, he isn't in a position where he'll just lose them for squadoosh, so it's a more defensible strategy. Much more.
   4. Chris Needham Posted: July 31, 2007 at 03:46 AM (#2462528)
Oh, Jesus. Not the Soriano thing again.

We've been through this 1,000 times. The packages they got were crap. Bowden had a deal lined up that he was going to pull the trigger on, but Kasten nixed it.

The Nats got a half season of Soriano -- which DID mean something to this sadsack franchise -- and two draft picks by not trading him.

One of the draft picks is already tearing through A ball.

Sure, they could've traded him and got a few kids, but they didn't, and the choice was certainly defensible.

There's a tendency to let our dislike of Jim Bowden as a person (and it's REALLY easy to dislike him!) color our perceptions of his actions. This is no different (other than that pesky winning part) than what Billy Beane has done 1,000 times with his Free Agents. And for that, he gets lauded.
   5. Sam M. Posted: July 31, 2007 at 03:54 AM (#2462532)
Testy, testy. The difference between Billy Beane and Jim Bowden (other than, as you say, that "pesky winning" thing) is that Beane doesn't have a reputation for being almost impossible to make deals with because he holds out for the sun, moon, and the stars. Bowden does. This may result in the occasional great deal when he swindles the other guy (or sends him damaged goods . . . allegedly), but it seems like it often results in stalemates as well. Clearly, other teams think Bowden consistently misappraises the value on the respective ends of potential deals. If he fails to deal either Cordero or Rauch, given that he has a very favorable bargaining position and market within which to bargain, then I'd put the blame squarely on him. He ought to be able to find a good deal out there with so many teams seeking bullpen help.
   6. Chris Needham Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:00 AM (#2462539)
Sure, if the team is in a position where they HAVE to trade them.

That's the difference. The Nats aren't under any obligation to trade Cordero or Rauch. They're both relatively young and under team control for 2 and 3 years respectively.

Bowden's right to ask for the sun, moon, and starts (funny how his perception has changed; used to be that people ####### about how he made TOO MANY pointless trades) because he's got assets which are valuable to his team, too.

Sure, you can say that a losing team doesn't need an established closer, and you're probably right. But read Svrluga's piece above for some good insight. Cordero's value with the Nats is higher than with many other teams because he's a closer on the Nats and just a 7th-inning reliever on, say, the Mets. Teams aren't willing to give up players worthy of a closer, so Bowden's holding on to him. That makes sense from the Nats' perspective.
   7. Ozzie's gay friend Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:18 AM (#2462555)
I think Bowden has some lunatic quirks, but isn't nearly as bad as his reputation.
   8. Stately, Plump Buck Mulligan Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:34 AM (#2462571)
The Nats aren't under any obligation to trade Cordero or Rauch.


Sure they are. Didn't you hear? The Mets need bullpen help! Bowden can either make a deal with them (getting little in return, of course) or Mets fans will think he's a big meanie!
   9. AJMcCringleberry Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:47 AM (#2462582)
The Mets need bullpen help!

Good point, Omar better get on the phone quick and cave into Bowden or he might lose out on the great Jon Rauch!
   10. Sam M. Posted: July 31, 2007 at 12:39 PM (#2462699)
Sure they are. Didn't you hear? The Mets need bullpen help! Bowden can either make a deal with them (getting little in return, of course) or Mets fans will think he's a big meanie!

This Mets' fan doesn't think he's a big meanie, and doesn't particularly want either Cordero or Rauch or any other bullpen help for the Mets (I happen to think the pen is solid enough as is, and wouldn't pay even a "fair" price for an upgrade).

I just think he's a big dolt, who doesn't understand the basic concept that you've got to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. In the case of Cordero, the odds are next to nil that the guy will either still be around or still be effective by the time the Nats are ready to win three or four years from now. So the ONLY question ought to be: when is the optimal time to sell? The longer Bowden waits, the less of Cordero's service time he'll be selling, and the less value he'll bring back. The longer he waits, the greater the chance Cordero might hit a bad stretch, or suffer an injury, and lower his perceived or actual value.

If Bowden honestly thinks there will be a time when Cordero raises his value by pitching better than he has, or in which more contending teams will be seeking bullpen help, good luck to him. This is the moment to strike. And guess what? Whatever Jim Bowden may think is the "right" value for Cordero, the market sets the value. The best offer he gets for him is his trade value, and unless that best offer is truly laughable it is highly unlikely that the best thing to do is sit tight and hold on to Cordero.
   11. Chris Needham Posted: July 31, 2007 at 12:47 PM (#2462704)
the odds are next to nil that the guy will either still be around or still be effective by the time the Nats are ready to win three or four years from now.

No hyperbole there, huh? You better hurry up and trade David Wright. He could fall off the table at any time, and you better get something for him. Minaya's a dolt otherwise! ;)

We're talking about a solid 25-year old relief pitcher. Is he as good as the Nats (and most importantly, their fans) think he is? nope. Is he just some crappy relief pitcher who's certain (CERTAIN!) to break down? Not likely either.

Again, it boils down to the fact that Cordero's value and use to the Nats is higher than it would be for any other team.

Should he trade him? Perhaps. Given Cordero's salary, it might be wise for the team. But it's not a clear cut decision, something so black and white, as you're making it out to seem.
   12. Sam M. Posted: July 31, 2007 at 12:52 PM (#2462708)
We're talking about a solid 25-year old relief pitcher. Is he as good as the Nats (and most importantly, their fans) think he is? nope. Is he just some crappy relief pitcher who's certain (CERTAIN!) to break down? Not likely either.

My point was based much more on the expectation that he'd be gone to free agency before the Nationals are ready to win than that he'd break down or suck, though the latter is also a possibility. It's pretty unusual -- the exception rather than the rule, at least -- for relievers to stay consistently good for as long as you'd be asking Cordero to stay effective to last until the good times start to roll in D.C. Is he likely to be Hoffman, Rivera, or Wagner? I doubt it.

The real point -- which you ignored -- is that RIGHT NOW is the optimal time to sell Cordero because of service time remaining, the market for relievers, and Cordero's effectiveness. If Bowden is ever going to sell high, this is it. When do you think the price is going to go higher?
   13. Chris Needham Posted: July 31, 2007 at 01:00 PM (#2462710)
The price might not be higher, but again the other real point -- which you ignored -- is that RIGHT NOW his value to the Nats is higher than with that of any other club. Sure, his trading value might be highest now but if they're still not meeting what his worth is to the Nats, then it's a defensible decision.

The Nats are going to have the money to re-sign him if they want. This isn't the Expos, even if they look like it this year. They're going to have money to burn and Cordero is consistent, good, and a fan favorite. No, I won't pencil him for the hall of fame -- you're right, he's unlikely to last til his mid-30s like the guys you named -- but there's no reason he can't be effective for a while now, especially in that he's had no hint of arm problems.
   14. Sam M. Posted: July 31, 2007 at 01:07 PM (#2462715)
RIGHT NOW his value to the Nats is higher than with that of any other club. Sure, his trading value might be highest now but if they're still not meeting what his worth is to the Nats, then it's a defensible decision.

I didn't ignore this -- I addressed it by talking about how Cordero actually has very little value to the Nats, properly understood. Yes, he's their closer, but their focus shouldn't be on the closer for the '07 club. It should be on building a quality club that can compete starting around 2010 or so. Players who are likely to help them do THAT are the ones who actually have "value" to the Nationals. I don't think Cordero is likely to do that (partially because he's likely to be gone, partially because he's unlikely to still be good enough to be a closer). So I really think Cordero's value to the Nationals is quite limited, and is higher as an 8th inning guy for somebody else. Solid prospects coming back to Washington should have higher value to Bowden than Cordero does.
   15. Chris Needham Posted: July 31, 2007 at 01:16 PM (#2462722)
That's a fair point.

But, you also have to consider the possibility that Cordero will still be around in 2009 and pitching effectively. We're not talking about projecting him into his 30s.

You don't see it that way, and that's fine. But certainly I'd hope that you'd see that that view isn't the only view of Cordero and his future role/performance.

Maybe the Nats are being a bit optimistic with their performance over the next two years or so and their ability to resign. But with a fanbase pared down to the lowest level, a new stadium opening up, and the ability to finally build some fans in what's a very fickle market, there's value in Cordero beyond being a 8th-inning setup guy for a playoff team.
   16. TerpNats Posted: July 31, 2007 at 01:36 PM (#2462734)
The Nats aren't under any obligation to trade Cordero or Rauch.

Sure they are. Didn't you hear? The Mets need bullpen help! Bowden can either make a deal with them (getting little in return, of course) or Mets fans will think he's a big meanie!


Oh, I forgot -- we're Washington! We're supposed to serve as mere vassals for teams in New York and Boston (who are, of course, inherently more important than our lowly Nats).
   17. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: July 31, 2007 at 01:40 PM (#2462737)
Only three years ago the team was vassal to all of MLB so it represents an improvement of sorts.
   18. Sam M. Posted: July 31, 2007 at 02:05 PM (#2462756)
Oh, I forgot -- we're Washington! We're supposed to serve as mere vassals for teams in New York and Boston (who are, of course, inherently more important than our lowly Nats).

So, this is going to be the rhetorical posture of Nats' fans: the whole "poor country cousins" nonsense? Give it a rest. Just because I happen to think that the Nationals would be better off because of where they are on the success cycle, and where Cordero is on the path to free agency, trading him right now than holding on to him, does NOT mean that I (or anyone else) regards the Nationals as some modern-day incarnation of the Kansas City A's, useful only to ship off players as needed to the mighty Yankees or their modern-day equivalents. I just happen to think the smart move for the Nats is to move Cordero now, and that if Bowden doesn't make it, it'll add further evidence confirming his reputation as someone who holds out for too much in trades and doesn't know when to pull the trigger.

Sheesh. Defensive much?
   19. Chris Needham Posted: July 31, 2007 at 02:12 PM (#2462759)
if Bowden doesn't make it, it'll add further evidence confirming his reputation as someone who holds out for too much in trades and doesn't know when to pull the trigger.

I still am fascinated by this transformation in the Jim Bowden CW.

It's now become accepted fact that Jim Bowden doesn't like to pull triggers on deals, which is the exact opposite of the old narrative, that he was a wheel-spinning transaction junky who made deals and moves for pure pleasure.
   20. Covfefe Posted: July 31, 2007 at 02:29 PM (#2462782)
Rauch is a nice reclamation project, but come on...

He's Todd Van Poppel - just another hotshot SP prospect that didn't make it in the rotation, but has carved out a healthy bit of usefulness in the bullpen. I have no doubt he could even spend a few seasons as a serviceable closer.

Why teams feel the need to spend prospects to acquire someone like this rather than figure out how to pluck such things off the scrapheap themselves is beyond me.

There are probably 3 relievers in the entire MLB universe that I would give up a 'true' prospect for, and maybe another half dozen or so that I'd be willing to part with moderately interesting minor leaguers for.

Has any team ever said, after the season is all said and done -- to say nothing of 2-3-4 years after -- "Gee, I'm so glad we made that deal to bring in a middle reliever"?

I mean, forget even the Larry Anderson-Jeff Bagwell stuff... Even something like Ruben Quevedo-David Weathers -- Quevedo ate himself out of baseball, but David Weathers was hardly a key to the 2001 Cubs.

Cripes... were I a major league GM, I think I'd just make accumulation of fungible bullpen arms a priority from March through July just so I could flip them to stupid teams at the break.
   21. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 31, 2007 at 02:34 PM (#2462787)
Rauch is a nice reclamation project, but come on...

He's Todd Van Poppel - just another hotshot SP prospect that didn't make it in the rotation, but has carved out a healthy bit of usefulness in the bullpen. I have no doubt he could even spend a few seasons as a serviceable closer.

Why teams feel the need to spend prospects to acquire someone like this rather than figure out how to pluck such things off the scrapheap themselves is beyond me.


HE'S REALLY TALL AND AAAAAAHHHH HE MAKES LOTS OF SCARY FACES ON THE MOUND
   22. formerly dp Posted: July 31, 2007 at 02:36 PM (#2462790)
I agree w/Chris on this one- I have no idea why the Nats would trade a guy like Cordero now unless they could get a young, top-flight prospect back. If I'm trading with the Mets, I ask for Pelfrey and one of the big three OFs. Cordero would be a huge addition to the Mets, but he wouldn't be their close this year or next, so it doesn't really make sense for the Mets. If the package doesn't materialize this year, it may next year, and in the meantime, having Cordero around helps the team substantially.

For the record, I loved the way Bowden would collect other teams' failed prospects with the Reds. Ruben Gotay seems like just the type of pickup the old Bowden would've made. What he couldn't do was build a pitching staff or spend money right...but picking up free position players he was really good at....
   23. Chris Needham Posted: July 31, 2007 at 02:40 PM (#2462794)
but picking up free position players he was really good at....

He's still great at that, which makes the Young extension so baffling... but that's a different conversation.

That being said, Bodes has done a good job with the arms since coming to DC. He's gotten great performances out of scrapheapers like Loaiza, Carrasco, and Colome.
   24. formerly dp Posted: July 31, 2007 at 02:55 PM (#2462811)
One of the reasons he was good at in Cinci was that they had a lot of jobs available, so they could audition more than other teams. The situation is the same in DC, but when he slots guys like Young and Guzman in, it seems counterproductive to this strategy.
   25. Cowboy Popup Posted: July 31, 2007 at 03:01 PM (#2462815)
It should be on building a quality club that can compete starting around 2010 or so. Players who are likely to help them do THAT are the ones who actually have "value" to the Nationals. I don't think Cordero is likely to do that (partially because he's likely to be gone, partially because he's unlikely to still be good enough to be a closer).

They could keep him at closer while they suck, let him rack up a bunch of saves and get two picks for him when he leaves as a Type A free agent.
   26. Charles S. hopes his opening day is b4 opening day Posted: July 31, 2007 at 03:04 PM (#2462818)
I didn't ignore this -- I addressed it by talking about how Cordero actually has very little value to the Nats, properly understood. Yes, he's their closer, but their focus shouldn't be on the closer for the '07 club. It should be on building a quality club that can compete starting around 2010 or so.

Dispassionately you are correct, but consider the situation. A team owes it to the paying customers to give them reasonable optimism for a win when they pay money to come to the park. The Nationals are still a relatively new entity in the Washington market. Washington has lost two baseball teams. If going to the ballpark, or watching the team on TV, becomes a hopeless exercize for the new fans, they can easily turn their backs on this franchise. I am not saying that trading Cordero will cause this to happen, but there is more to consider than just who will help them contend in 2010.
   27. Sam M. Posted: July 31, 2007 at 03:14 PM (#2462832)
I have no idea why the Nats would trade a guy like Cordero now unless they could get a young, top-flight prospect back. If I'm trading with the Mets, I ask for Pelfrey and one of the big three OFs.

Sigh. You realize that's a better package than the Rangers just got for Mark Teixeira and Rod Mahay, right? You honestly think that Chad Cordero has more market value than Mark Teixeira, and/or that the Nationals are better served just keeping him than the Rangers would have been just keeping Teixeira?

IMHO, if that is how Bowden values Cordero in this market, it is precisely the kind of overvaluing of the commodity that keeps him from closing a deal. Which is fine; there is a case to be made (Charles S. makes it quite well in # 26) to keep faith with the fans by at least trying to stay moderately respectable while you build a winner. The problem is, though, when those two goals work at cross-purposes. If he has to choose between a move for the long-term and one for the right-now, the long-term should be his priority. It seems to me that failing to move Cordero when his value is never going to be higher (even though it's not as high as Bowden dreams it is) overrates the present over the future of the organization.
   28. Esoteric Posted: July 31, 2007 at 03:37 PM (#2462859)
#27. Sam M -

Who's comically overvaluing their own team's prospects now? Pelfrey is junk - young, but no longer a top-flight prospect - and he will never amount to much of anything in the major leagues, mark my words. He's the THROW-IN on a Cordero deal, not the main piece.

Dear lord, Mets fans can be so provincial sometimes about assuming that their players - and only their players - command any sort of market value or DIFFERENTIAL value.
   29. formerly dp Posted: July 31, 2007 at 03:41 PM (#2462863)
Sigh. You realize that's a better package than the Rangers just got for Mark Teixeira and Rod Mahay, right?

Yes. Cordero's cheaper and under their control longer. I think you're just flat-out ignoring Chris's point about the Corderio's value to the Nats vs. his value to other teams. As much as we've all invested hope in Martinez, Gomez and Pelfrey, they've all seen their stock either drop or level off this year. Milledge's stock has risen, but only in the last few weeks, and they can't trade him now b/c of Beltran and Endy's injuries. So if you're the Nats, do you roll the dice on one questionable prospect or hold Cordero until the same frenzy over relievers happens next year?

Sam, let me ask you, what would be fair value for Cordero from the Mets? Please don't say Mike Carp...the Mets aren't really loaded with mid-level talent.
   30. Joey B. is counting the days to Trea Turner Posted: July 31, 2007 at 03:50 PM (#2462876)
Is he likely to be Hoffman, Rivera, or Wagner? I doubt it.

Oh, anyone who thinks that Cordero will ever be in that league is simply nuts.

Chief can be infuriating to watch, because he has an incredible ability to seemingly create jams for himself in every game he comes in, but somehow or another, just when you think he's going to lose the game he almost always gets himself out of it. He certainly isn't "lights out", and never will be.

I think his value is higher on the Nats than it would be on most other teams because RFK is such a big pitcher's park, and he tends to give up a lot of deep fly balls that would go out in smaller parks.
   31. Sam M. Posted: July 31, 2007 at 03:59 PM (#2462881)
Pelfrey is junk - young, but no longer a top-flight prospect - and he will never amount to much of anything in the major leagues, mark my words. He's the THROW-IN on a Cordero deal, not the main piece.

If you think Pelfrey is no longer a top-flight prospect, you're just wrong. This is only his second year in pro ball, and he's been rushed to the majors and had his problems. In an ideal world, he'd still be developing in the minors and be regarded as one of the elite pitching prospects in the game. Which is exactly what he is, notwithstanding his struggles at the major league level. I guarantee you there is no GM in all of baseball who would trade Pelfrey and one of the Mets' three OF prospects for Chad Cordero. Indeed, there isn't one who could stop laughing long enough to say "No."

But we can agree to disagree on that. My real point was about how much more valuable Mark Teixeira is than Chad Cordero. One of the Mets' OF stud prospects is equivalent to Salty, and Pelfrey is at least as good a prospect as Andrus (he's actually much better, but I'll let that go). So the point is that Bowden is asking for a package that is equivalent for Chad Cordero to the one the Rangers got for Mark Teixeira. (Yes, there were two other kid pitchers in the deal going to the Rangers, but then the Rangers also threw in Ron Mahay on their end. The basic deal was Teixeira for Salty and Andrus.) Raise your hand if you think Cordero is worth as much as Teixeira.
   32. Neil Kinnock...Lord Palmerston! (Orinoco) Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:06 PM (#2462890)
and he will never amount to much of anything in the major leagues, mark my words.


words marked.
   33. Sam M. Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:10 PM (#2462899)
I think you're just flat-out ignoring Chris's point about the Corderio's value to the Nats vs. his value to other teams.

I refer you to # 14. Honestly, I think Cordero's short-term value to the Nats is to win a few extra meaningless games right now. Big whoop. His highest, best value is to be traded for the best deal Bowden can swing, even if it doesn't match his pie-in-the-sky estimate of what he "should" be worth.

Hey, I have a really nice Ford. It does everything I want it to do: gets me back and forth to work, runs reliably, gets good gas mileage. It hasn't required much maintenance at all since I've had it. I think someone should give me $50,000 for it; after all, someone I know paid $50,000 for a BMW the other day. I think my Ford is worth the same as that BMW. So I'll just hold onto it until someone gives me what I think it's worth. Who cares that the best offer is only $5,000 for my used car, and that it's only going to lose value from here on out? I know better than the market what that car is worth! And who cares that I'd be better off taking that $5,000 and investing it in something I need for the future, instead of keeping the Ford?

By the way, it's not just me. From Ken Rosenthal's latest:

Chad Cordero, Jon Rauch. Rival executives doubt either will be moved, citing the Nats' unrealistic demands.

So there.
   34. Chris Needham Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:17 PM (#2462902)
Cordero's more like the #######' car that helps you to pick up chicks and that you've been in love with since the day you bought it.

If someone offers you blue book value for it, you're not gonna take it. #26 is right.
   35. formerly dp Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:18 PM (#2462903)
Pelfrey is junk - young, but no longer a top-flight prospect - and he will never amount to much of anything in the major leagues, mark my words. He's the THROW-IN on a Cordero deal, not the main piece.

That's crazy. He hasn't improved his value at all this year, but he's learning. I'd buy low on him as another team, and as a Mets fan I don't want them selling low. I think he'll be a mid-rotation starter next year. Which is why I'd ask for him as Bowden.

Raise your hand if you think Cordero is worth as much as Teixeira.

If the receiving team was using Tex as a pinch hitter, then yes. Teams are trading for Cordero knowing moving him out of the closer role immediately decreases his value. You and I know that shouldn't matter, but it does. And Gomez/Pelfrey as the low end of package a lot of GMs might consider, except they know they'd be selling low on Pelfrey. But a lot of people are mixed on Gomez, as exciting as he is.

Sam one of the negative aspects of the Mets aggressively promoting their prospects is that they don't ever look dominant for their levels. Gomez would've lit up AA and not been old there, same for F-Mart at high-A. But you have to understand that this may tarnish them somewhat and mean they don't bring as much in return as you'd like. Look at Martinez this year- what's there in his numbers other than "surviving" AA? He actually hit worse as the season went on.

I'm just glad that circumstances have conspired to keep Milledge a Met. He's gonna be a good one, I don't care what they say about his attitude, he plays hard and seems like he's learning from every mistake. He's made a couple of plays where you can see what he's thinking, and he seems to have good/developing instincts, which to me is a mark of maturity. hijack: end.
   36. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:18 PM (#2462904)
I have...no, I have no idea what the censored word in 34 is. That doesn't happen too often.
   37. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:20 PM (#2462908)
I have...no, I have no idea what the censored word in 34 is.

I'm guessing "female dog"in'

test - #######'

Edit - yup.
   38. Sam M. Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:21 PM (#2462912)
Cordero's more like the #######' car that helps you to pick up chicks

Ah! Now I know why I'm never going to get this. Holding on to Cordero is a straight guy thing. Huh. Who knew! ;-)
   39. Chris Needham Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:24 PM (#2462916)
Exactly. You can't put a price on manlove!

Edit: Well, in certain circles, I suppose you can... so I've heard... yeah... that's it...
   40. Esoteric Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:24 PM (#2462917)
Okay, admittedly Pelfrey isn't junk at all...that's the MLB.com poster in me coming out for a bit. (Too much caffeine this morning.)
   41. formerly dp Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:25 PM (#2462918)
So Sam, you never gave me a realistic Mets package for Cordero...

Why is his value only going to get worse? I don't quite understand that. He's not 36 years old. He might get hurt, but he might get better. He might have a 1.50 ERA at the break next year and be considered an elite closer. It's not a foregone conclusion as your weak-ass car analogy makes it out to be...just because your jedi mind tricks work on the guys at the gate doesn't mean they'll work on Jabba the Hut :>
   42. Covfefe Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:32 PM (#2462925)

If you think Pelfrey is no longer a top-flight prospect, you're just wrong. This is only his second year in pro ball, and he's been rushed to the majors and had his problems. In an ideal world, he'd still be developing in the minors and be regarded as one of the elite pitching prospects in the game. Which is exactly what he is, notwithstanding his struggles at the major league level.


Sorry, I'm not buying this either. I don't think Pelfrey is quite 'junk' - but to say he's still an 'elite' pitching prospect just ain't right... unless 'elite' covers one heck of a lot more territory than I thought 'elite' covered.

Second year of pro ball, sure, but he was also a college junior (out of a well regarded college program, to boot), so we're not talking about some raw high school kid. He's 23 - the same age as Kyle Davies, for example.

Greg Maddux hit the bigs in just his 2nd season, too.

Mark Prior after just half a season.

Papelbon in his second season.

Kerry Wood in his 3rd.

Matt Garza, from the same draft -- is up (and was up last year), and he's got much better K/BB numbers (33 BBs, 62 Ks in 76 innings) at the major league level than Pelfrey.

Justin Verlander was up for good the year after he was drafted -- and at the same age and experience level, he posted 60 BBs against 124 Ks in 186 innings... far better than Pelfrey's 36 BBs, 40 Ks in 70 innings.

Ditto Jared Weaver - drafted in 2004, up in 2006, posting 103 Ks against 33 BBs in 123 innings.

OR take Chad Billingsley... or heck, even a Paul Maholm.


I'm not saying Pelfrey's garbage that should be given away, but to say he's still an 'elite' prospect is foolish. He's still a prospect, but his performance has certainly caused his stock to take a big hit for all but the biggest of homers.
   43. Sam M. Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:46 PM (#2462946)
Why is his value only going to get worse?

See # 10: as time goes by, Bowden will have less of Cordero's pre-FA service time to sell. That alone makes him less of a valuable commodity. The closer Cordero comes to being a mere rental, the less value he has. Then, too, there's always the chance that Cordero could have a stinkeroo year, or get hurt. Right now, you've got the combination of (a) a good amount of service time to sell; (b) Cordero pitching well; and (c) a lot of teams hunting for bullpen help. All in all, that strikes me as the optimal time to strike. Maybe Bowden will get lucky, and Cordero will be pitching even better next year, and/or even more teams will be buyers. But that's not a good bet, IMO, and he definitely won't have more time on Cordero's FA clock.

you never gave me a realistic Mets package for Cordero...

It is true the Mets don't have the mid-level prospects that would make it work easily. The depth in the farm system isn't what it should be. I'd do one of Humber, Mulvey, or Guerra (Nats' choice), and probably any position player in the system other than one of the three outfielders.

But I certainly grant that this might not be adequate return for Cordero. No one really thinks that Brett Harper is going to amount to much, after all, and any real quality is awfully young and questionable (e.g., Pena). If you want to say that any deal between the Mets (specifically) and the Nats is either too much to give for Cordero or too little, I think that's perfectly reasonable. Certainly, Bowden shouldn't just give the guy away, and the Mets might not match up right in the middle. But that doesn't mean Bowden couldn't make a deal with someone else that would be just right.
   44. Sam M. Posted: July 31, 2007 at 04:57 PM (#2462961)
Greg Maddux hit the bigs in just his 2nd season, too.

Yeah, and how'd that go for the Mad Dog, any way? As I recall, the guy looked nothing like a major league pitcher. He was pretty much junk. Certainly no longer an elite prospect, that's for sure.

Yes, I know there are differences, like the fact Maddux was a lot younger than Pelfrey. I'm just saying that some pitchers take longer to adjust and figure out how to succeed and win at the major league level. Has Pelfrey's status taken a hit? Sure. Does he remain an outstanding prospect? I believe he does. We'll see who's right.
   45. Covfefe Posted: July 31, 2007 at 05:04 PM (#2462971)
Yeah, and how'd that go for the Mad Dog, any way? As I recall, the guy looked nothing like a major league pitcher. He was pretty much junk. Certainly no longer an elite prospect, that's for sure.

His BB/K ratio certainly wasn't 1-1, either... He was also a high school selectee -- not a college selectee from a major program, and 2 and 1/2 years younger.

My point is that Pelfrey's ascent to the majors is hardly unusual or unprecedented - younger and less experienced than him have made the jump, and have done it showing more of something than Pelfrey.... He looks like a middle reliever to me - straight (but zippy) fastball, without much to offset it.

Like I said, I don't think he's junk -- but I don't see how anyone can look at his peripherals and still call him "top flight".
   46. Sam M. Posted: July 31, 2007 at 05:13 PM (#2462983)
He looks like a middle reliever to me - straight (but zippy) fastball, without much to offset it.

I'm willing to bet I've seen more of Pelfrey than you have, and the one thing that is NOT true of his fastball is that it is "straight." It actually has a lot of movement, mostly downward, which is why he induces a lot of ground balls.

His problem is not a straight fastball. It's the lack of command of the movement, which gets him behind in the count, which then forces him to take something off and come in . . . and boom. When you come into the strike zone behind in the count, you're doomed, which he's starting to learn. That same stuff early in the count can be a lot more effective. Pelfrey just can't pitch from 1-0, 2-0, 3-1. If he's ahead, it's a lot harder for the hitters to lay off that sinking fastball, and it's a much more effective out pitch (either for K's or grounders). The key for him, in a nutshell, is strike one.

There's no reason Pelfrey -- out from under the pressure to succeed in the majors -- also can't work on his other pitches to make them better complements to the fastball. IOW, he's a work in progress. Just because he hasn't come on as fast as some others doesn't mean he won't get there. There are plenty of very, very successful pitchers who took longer than those you mentioned to put it together.
   47. Covfefe Posted: July 31, 2007 at 05:27 PM (#2463001)
OK --

Find me one. I'm not saying they don't exist, I'm just saying when I look over BA's last 17 years of top 100 prospects, then look at BB-Ref's draft history to find similar players: college pitchers that advanced to the bigs quickly, struggled, but then put it together. I find plenty of pitchers that were highly regarded college draftees that quickly made their way to the majors -- but I can't find one that struggled on par with Pelfrey and later became anything more than a journeyman. Even the ones that put up nominally bad ERA/W-L numbers -- showed something in the peripherals (missing bats, hopeful K/BB ratios) that would have pointed to better things to come.

Edit: And no, injuries don't count...
   48. Dan Broderick Posted: July 31, 2007 at 05:42 PM (#2463019)
According to this article in WaPo

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/2007/07/moving_parts_with_three_hours.html

It seems that a Cordero or Rauch trade may be hinging on what happens with Gagne and I could see how it makes sense. If the Mets think they can get Gagne, who has a limited no trade and is a rental, for a couple of C prospects, they are not going to deal Humber for Cordero. If they lose out on Gagne, maybe they trade Humber for Cordero. But it is kind of getting down to the wire here. It doesn't look like Bowden is being unrealistic as previous reports have stated and of course his demands may have lessened the closer we get to 4pm.

I really suck at linking...
   49. Mark S. is bored Posted: July 31, 2007 at 05:57 PM (#2463034)
Find me one. I'm not saying they don't exist, I'm just saying when I look over BA's last 17 years of top 100 prospects, then look at BB-Ref's draft history to find similar players: college pitchers that advanced to the bigs quickly, struggled, but then put it together. I find plenty of pitchers that were highly regarded college draftees that quickly made their way to the majors -- but I can't find one that struggled on par with Pelfrey and later became anything more than a journeyman. Even the ones that put up nominally bad ERA/W-L numbers -- showed something in the peripherals (missing bats, hopeful K/BB ratios) that would have pointed to better things to come.


John Maine. Drafted in 2002. Made it to 1 bad start in 2004. In 2005 pitched in 10 games (8 starts) for 40 innings and a 24/24 K/BB ratio.

How about Mark Mulder. Drafted in 1998. In 2000 he started 27 games for 154 innings and a 88/69 K/BB ratio.
   50. Dan Broderick Posted: July 31, 2007 at 06:04 PM (#2463043)
Gagne seems to be a Red Sox so we'll see if Omar moves on Cordero...
   51. Sam M. Posted: July 31, 2007 at 06:07 PM (#2463047)
I'm not saying they don't exist, I'm just saying when I look over BA's last 17 years of top 100 prospects, then look at BB-Ref's draft history to find similar players: college pitchers that advanced to the bigs quickly, struggled, but then put it together.

Not sure there is one, or even if there is, that it would mean anything (one example does not prove much, after all). The point is that there are plenty of college pitchers who didn't advance to the majors that quickly in the first place, because they just took more time than their club (and they) would have liked to develop. Those guys would have struggled like Pelfrey had they been rushed to the majors the way he has been -- but never were put in that position. The real question is whether there are college pitchers who put it together in their third year in the pros or later, and then went on to become successful major league pitchers. THAT is the real comp group to which Pelfrey belongs, and I think we'd agree there have been plenty of those.

Yes, it would have been great if Pelfrey had been as major league ready as advertised. He wasn't. But with the physical tools Pelfrey has, and working with Rick Peterson, I remain quite optimistic he will develop at a reasonable pace. I grant you there's reason for doubt.
   52. HowardMegdal Posted: July 31, 2007 at 06:08 PM (#2463050)
Another point on Pelfrey- it isn't showing up in his major league stats, but his velocity, which was down in March-April, has rebounded in July. It is useful to note that he missed more bats Saturday night than he did in all of spring training.
   53. Chris Needham Posted: July 31, 2007 at 06:55 PM (#2463181)
This'll make Sam's ears bleed. From the WaPo beat writer's blog:

Another theory on the Mets' involvement: They won't give both Lastings Milledge AND Mike Pelfrey. But would the Nationals take Phil Humber with either one of those?
   54. Sam M. Posted: July 31, 2007 at 07:03 PM (#2463202)
Check out the trading deadline thread, Chris. Heyman is reporting that the Mets have offered Humber. Just Humber (oh, maybe some filler, too; who knows?). But you won't get Milledge, period. If only because the Mets have no one else to play center field right now . . . If the Mets gave up Milledge and Humber (much less Pelfrey)for Chad Cordero, it wouldn't just be my ears that would bleed. It would be my wrists.

I think it's fair to say that the WaPo beat writer has no clue what Omar Minaya is thinking.
   55. Chris Needham Posted: July 31, 2007 at 07:04 PM (#2463206)
Testy, testy! ;) Serenity now! Serenity now!

I don't put any stock into it either. Just passing it along, that's all.
   56. Covfefe Posted: July 31, 2007 at 07:13 PM (#2463224)

John Maine. Drafted in 2002. Made it to 1 bad start in 2004. In 2005 pitched in 10 games (8 starts) for 40 innings and a 24/24 K/BB ratio.

How about Mark Mulder. Drafted in 1998. In 2000 he started 27 games for 154 innings and a 88/69 K/BB ratio.


OK - Maine's a good example - though Pelfrey has appeared on the BA Top 100 twice (#36 and #20), whereas Maine only made one appearance at #54. Mulder to some extent, too -- though he immediately went lights out the following year, so we shall see.

Not sure there is one, or even if there is, that it would mean anything (one example does not prove much, after all). The point is that there are plenty of college pitchers who didn't advance to the majors that quickly in the first place, because they just took more time than their club (and they) would have liked to develop. Those guys would have struggled like Pelfrey had they been rushed to the majors the way he has been -- but never were put in that position. The real question is whether there are college pitchers who put it together in their third year in the pros or later, and then went on to become successful major league pitchers. THAT is the real comp group to which Pelfrey belongs, and I think we'd agree there have been plenty of those.

Yes, it would have been great if Pelfrey had been as major league ready as advertised. He wasn't. But with the physical tools Pelfrey has, and working with Rick Peterson, I remain quite optimistic he will develop at a reasonable pace. I grant you there's reason for doubt.


OK -- that's fine... like I've said in every post, my point was/is NOT that Pelfrey is "junk". But you're moving the goalposts here (college pitcher vs. "top flight prospect").

If I'm the Mets, I wouldn't give up Pelfrey for Cordero either because I don't think the bullpen need is so great that one would sell low on Pelfrey.

My only point - and I'll admit being maybe a little glib on the 'future middle reliever' stuff - is that Pelfrey can no longer be considered a "top flight" prospect. His career isn't over and he still has some value as a commodity....

But - he was ranked as the #36 prospect in BA's 2006 top 100 and then #20 in 2007. Eligibility aside, anyone -- Sickels, BA, BP, et al -- I doubt would keep him anywhere near that high were they to include him in a 2008 list.

Pelfrey's stock may not have fallen as much as say... Kyle Davies' stock has fallen, but I'm just saying its not rational to still put him the 'top flight' prospect class.
   57. Dan Broderick Posted: July 31, 2007 at 07:19 PM (#2463237)
Testy, testy! ;) Serenity now! Serenity now!

2004 wasn't all that long ago. Can't blame Mets fans for being a bit shaky on a deadline day.
   58. HowardMegdal Posted: July 31, 2007 at 07:20 PM (#2463242)
2004 wasn't all that long ago. Can't blame Mets fans for being a bit shaky on a deadline day.

It sure seems like it, though, doesn't it?
   59. Chris Needham Posted: July 31, 2007 at 07:24 PM (#2463256)

2004 wasn't all that long ago. Can't blame Mets fans for being a bit shaky on a deadline day.


Hmmm... should I post the Millege and Humber for Ryan Church and Saul Rivera rumor?

Nah. All these lawyers around here would find me culpable in some deaths.

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