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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Saturday, July 06, 2002

Big Ol’ 3-Way Trade

Oakland:  Acquires P Ted Lilly, OF John-Ford Griffin and P Jason Arnold for 1B Carlos Pena, P Frank German and a player to be named.

Detroit:  Acquires 1B Carlos Pena, P Frank German and a player to be named for P Jeff Weaver.

New York:  Acquires P Jeff Weaver for P Ted Lilly, OF John-Ford Griffin and P Jason Arnold.

Before anyone says it, any small-market could afford Jeff Weaver for at least the next couple of years and would have easily been able to trade him in later years if they couldn’t.

This is definitely a big surprise to me; there was noise about Jeff Weaver leaving Detroit, but I felt that Dombrowski wouldn’t do it.

The Yankees upgrade Lilly to Weaver and give up Griffin and Arnold to do it.  Both Griffin and Arnold were recently promoted from Tampa of the FSL where Arnold was off to a great start (2.48 ERA in 13 starts) while Griffin, already on the old side for the league, was only hitting 264/344/373. 

Griffin is, however, off to a good start for Norwich.  Overall, I think Arnold is the better prospect, a righty with an excellent fastball and for a low-level hard thrower, he’s been a control freak and I’m not talking about the bad Larry Bowa type.  However, pitching prospects are risky because of arm problems and Griffin hasn’t done anything yet to make him untouchable, so I think that the Yankees are better off with Jeff Weaver than with the 3 players that left.

This is a puzzling trade from the Tigers’ point of view.  Jeff Weaver is the kind of pitcher you want to acquire when you’re rebuilding a team, a 25-year old pitcher who looks like he’s becoming an ace.  Carlos Pena remains an excellent prospect, but the Tigers are just swapping very good players and not really making any gains off of it.  The Tigers already have Munson coming around in Toledo (OPS getting close to .850 despite a .231 batting average) and I just don’t feel that this is enough of an upgrade to justify trading Weaver.

This is also a bit puzzling from the A’s standpoint, even if 1B Graham Koonce’s development is for real.  I don’t feel that Lilly, Griffin and Arnold is enough to justify Pena, a lesser prospect in German and an unknown prospect to be named.  I like Ted Lilly, but he’s a 5th starter for the A’s at best with Zito, Mulder, Hudson and Harang being the front 4 long-term.  A lot of people, however, like German better than I do.  As well as he’s pitched this year, he’s still a relief prospect with serious control issues. 

Scott Hatteberg is not the answer at 1B and the A’s have now traded 2 players who very well could be for an old, bad utility guy and a 5th-starter upgrade.  With Hatteberg likely to be a substandard 1B and the A’s carrying Mark Ellis for some unknown reason, they really shouldn’t have done this.  I’d rather the A’s deal the same players to the Indians for Jim Thome; it’s better to trade the future for the present than to trade the future for a lesser future.

Dan Szymborski Posted: July 06, 2002 at 02:06 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Buddha Posted: July 06, 2002 at 02:53 PM (#557541)
I think I speak for all Tigers' fans when I say, "Ehhh."

That's probably the first nice thing I've heard said about Eric Munson. Considering his prolific strikeout rate, I'm surprised to hear ANYTHING good in this forum.
   2. Klobedanz Posted: July 06, 2002 at 03:03 PM (#557542)
Speaking on behalf of all Yankee fans, I say "Woo-Hoo!!"
   3. Walt Davis Posted: July 07, 2002 at 05:22 AM (#557564)
Of course, the Yanks could give a crap about the prospects they gave up, as the draft rules make it certain that high-priced, tough-agent talent will always fall into their lap no matter where they're slotted.

I couldn't let that one pass as it's utterly untrue. The Yanks don't get much good talent through the draft and none of it is high-priced. The highest signing bonus ever paid by the Yankees was a mere $1.7 M. And even that was a special case, some kid they originally drafted in like the 23rd round, who went back to college and had a breakout year. Predicted to be a 1st round pick, but the Yanks still had rights until the next draft so they signed him, precisely because they knew he wouldn't be there for them to draft.

Is this as odd for Oakland as I think it is? Is Griffin a notably better OF prospect than Ludwick? Obviously Lilly is better short-term than Ramos, but I'm not sure about long-term. Does this become Jason Hart, Frank German, and one other prospect for Jason Arnold and Mike Venafro?

As to Oakland's 1B question, perhaps Beane is taking replaceable talent seriously and figures he can find a cheap decent hitting 1B anytime he needs one.
   4. Bruce Markusen Posted: July 07, 2002 at 05:06 PM (#557566)
For whatever it's worth, my take on the deal:

*Weaver is at least a little better than Lilly right now, so in the short-term, this is a trade that helps the Yankees. And that is always the biggest concern for the Yankees when making a trade; does it make them a better team now and does it give them a better chance of winning a world championship? The Yankees believe the answers to both of those questions is yes.

*I don't think that the difference between Weaver and Lilly comes out to two above-average prospects like Ford-Griffin and Arnold, so from that standpoint, the Yankees overpaid to acquire Weaver. It's realistic to expect Ford-Griffin and Arnold to make the A's' major league roster by 2004, perhaps in significant roles. If so, this could be one of Beane's best deals ever.

*I like Lilly a lot--above-average fastball, very good breaking ball, deceptive motion--but the Yankee brass was concerned about him breaking down over the long haul. They didn't like his size (six foot, 185 pounds) and his tendency to throw across his body.

*All in all, it's a deal that probably will help the Yankees in 2002--assuming Weaver isn't one of those Leary-Whitson-Rogers type pitchers who can't succeed in New York--but a trade that could be very costly in the long run.
   5. Big Ed Posted: July 07, 2002 at 05:09 PM (#557567)
Here in Chicago, Kenny Williams said the Tigers were asking for a major leaguer plus two top prospects. This leads me to think, 1) he's lying, or 2) everyone else thinks he's a fish. Though these are not mutually exclusive, I think #2 is more likely.
   6. Silver King Posted: July 07, 2002 at 07:08 PM (#557569)
Jonathan wrote:

"Oakland'll bring in Roberto Petagine and platoon him with John Mabry, thus frustrating and endearing himself to the stathead community simultaneously."

ROFL!! I guess we'd call the resulting first sacker Joberto Petagry. And what a mad-wizard's-laboratory pedigree he has, too...
   7. Bob T Posted: July 07, 2002 at 07:38 PM (#557570)
Petagine is doing qutie well for the Yakult Swallows, the defending champs in Japan.

He is leading the Central League with a 627 SLG and has an OBP of 410. He also leads in HRs with 20.

I don't have last year's numbers, but Petagine played extremely well last year.
   8. Voros McCracken Posted: July 08, 2002 at 08:00 AM (#557573)
With apologies to Michihiro Ogasawara and Hideki Matsui, Petagine's probably the best hitter in Japanese Baseball. He won the Central League MVP award last year and the Twins were making noises about signing him. Petagine wanted something in the $3 Million range and nobody bit. He had a very good year in 2000 and a phenomenal year his first year there in 1999.

I believe only Sadaharu Oh has drawn more walks in a single season in Japan than Petagine.
   9. Big Ed Posted: July 08, 2002 at 01:11 PM (#557574)
i'm confused, big ed.

pena is a major leaguer.

german and bonderman are two prospects.

what are you trying to say?

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