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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Braves - Acquired McLouth

Atlanta Braves - Acquired CF Nate McLouth from the Pittsburgh Pirates for P Charlie Morton, OF Gorkys Hernandez, and P Jeff Locke.

I think Huntington misunderstood.  People were calling for McLouth to be moved to left field, not to another city.  This strikes me as a mistake on the part of the Pirates.  With McLouth not a free agent until 2011 and already locked up at $5 million per, the team really needed to get a real impact prospect.  Now, Jason Heyward was almost certainly off-limits here and probably Tommy Hanson, too, but couldn’t the Pirates have gotten at least a little higher in the Braves prospect pecking order?  When you’re giving up a solid, cheap player and the other team isn’t giving up someone they’re likely to miss, you’re not getting fair value.

Morton’s pretty much a 5th starter, unlikely to really develop too much beyond that.  Locke has a solid fastball and probably has the highest upside of any of the players going to Pittsburgh, but he’s also an A-ball pitcher and having trouble with walks this year.  Hernandez has developed more than a lot of toolsy players of the type, but his power is still disappointing and his skills haven’t developed enough that you can overlook that.

The benefits for the Braves are pretty obvious.  They acquire a player who instantly becomes their best outfielder, and give up none of their prized prospects.  Yes, McLouth can’t stay in center long-term, but even at 10 runs below average (and he’s been a bit better this year), he’s still a solid contributor.  The Braves still have Heyward and Schafer’s career is hardly over.


2009 ZIPS Projection - Nate McLouth
——————————————————————————————————————
          AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI   BB   SO SB   BA OBP SLG
——————————————————————————————————————
Year-to-Date   168   27   43   7   1   9   34   21   29   7 .256 .349 .470
Rest-of-Year   310   56   80 19   2 13   45   36   58 13 .258 .345 .460
——————————————————————————————————————
Total       478   83 123 26   3 22   79   57   87 20 .257 .347 .464

Year-to-date totals include minor-league translations, if applicable.

 

Dan Szymborski Posted: June 04, 2009 at 12:13 AM | 192 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Repoz Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:03 AM (#3205804)
The quicky interview I saw with Huntington...he seemed to be hinting toward the upgrade in CF defense with McCutchen.

This, of course, confused the MLBeasters as McLouth is a GG winner!
   2. Spivey Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:29 AM (#3205851)
Terrible deal. McLouth was an allstar and a gold glove last year. Someone had to think he was pretty good. And, really, he is still a pretty good hitter. They should have gotten a B+ prospect or a few B prospects.
   3. Justin T is going to crush some tacos Thursday Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:31 AM (#3205858)
Wasn't Hernandez the 4th ranked Braves prospect by BA? So, if Hanson and Heyward aren't plausible, then skipping past Schafer and taking the next guy isn't too far down the pecking order. And Locke was ranked 7th, although probably more on the basis of being a recent 2nd-rounder than for any great performance. Still, he was a recent 2nd-rounder, not some organizational filler throw-in.

There's a good chance that none of the three players amounts to anything, prospects being what they are. From that perspective, I agree that this trade is sort of screwy from the Pirates right now. That is the concern, that they didn't really need to roll the dice on the prospects since McLouth was theirs for several more years. I do not agree that they didn't extract enough from the Braves.
   4. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:33 AM (#3205862)
God, I love the Pirates.
   5. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:36 AM (#3205865)
Tonight a 17 year old Pirate fan who has known nothing but futility in his lifetime now comes to the realization that he will most likely be experiencing that same futility well into his adulthood.
   6. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:44 AM (#3205873)
I don't think there's a 17 year old Pirate fan.
   7. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:48 AM (#3205878)
This is a great deal for Atlanta. There's just no two ways about it. They give up their third fifth starter option - Morton - the guy that was Jordan Schafer insurance (Schafer now becomes McClouth insurance) and a TINSTAAP from A-ball. If McClouth needs to move to LF in a couple of years that's okay because Schafer has a much better cushion to work out his swing in Gwinnett now. If Schafer fixes himself quickly you could be looking at Diaz/Schafer/McClouth this year, pushing Francoeur to the bench. In the long term you're lookin gat McClouth/Schafer/Heyward.

Yay Frank Wren!
   8. Spivey Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:51 AM (#3205882)
It's not like that's the 4th and 7th best prospects from a deep system though.
   9. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:54 AM (#3205883)
Four misspellings of "McLouth" in a 99-word paragraph! A new world record!
   10. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:02 AM (#3205887)
Maybe Sammy's been watching NBC Mystery Movie reruns?
   11. Steve Treder Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:03 AM (#3205888)
Good heavens, are the Pirates idiotic.
   12. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:06 AM (#3205889)
Uh, okay. McLouth. It's not like I pay attention to Pittsburgh unless we're trading for their players.
   13. Justin T is going to crush some tacos Thursday Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:07 AM (#3205890)
It's not like that's the 4th and 7th best prospects from a deep system though.

Not relevant. The critique in the post said they should have plucked from somewhere lower than Hanson and Heyward but higher than Hernandez in the Braves' prospect pecking order.

I think the Pirates got more for McLouth in those three guys than the Rockies did in CarGo, Greg Smith, and Huston Street from the A's for Holliday.
   14. JJ1986 Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:09 AM (#3205892)
The critique in the post said they should have plucked from somewhere lower than Hanson and Heyward but higher than Hernandez in the Braves' prospect pecking order.

Freeman fits in there now. Medlen might too.
   15. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:09 AM (#3205893)
Uh, okay. McLouth. It's not like I pay attention to Pittsburgh unless we're trading for their players.

Maybe it works in reverse. You should start spelling Jeff Francoeur incorrectly and maybe they'll trade him to the Pirates!

I think the Pirates got more for McLouth in those three guys than the Rockies did in CarGo, Greg Smith, and Huston Street from the A's for Holliday.


They should have. 2 and 2/3 seasons of Nate McLouth for $13 million is a great deal more valuable than 1 season of Matt Holliday at $13.5 million. McLouth's excellent contract situation brings a ton of value to this trade. If he were unsigned and the possibility existed for him to be making $20 million over 2010 and 2011 in arbitration, this trade would have become a good deal better for the Pirates.
   16. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:10 AM (#3205894)
I think Morton's over-rated by the prospect lists. He has his uses but he's clearly behind Hanson (duh) and Medlen. Probably better than Reyes or James Parr, but then you have to account for Tim Hudson coming off of the DL too. Locke is behind Rohrbough on the "next wave" lists, IMHO. Gorkys Hernandez has skills that should be useful to a ML team, but he was essentially Schafer's backup plan. Now Schafer becomes the McLouth backup plan. Pittsburgh is getting some useful players, but for a game that is built around putting ML quality players on the ML rosters, this is a clear win for Atlanta.
   17. bookbook Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:21 AM (#3205898)
I agree that this trade wasn't great. But I'm interested in the strategy of collecting bunches of relatively high draft picks as soon as they are eligible to be traded to you. You save the cost of signing these guys (most of whom don't pan out to be worth the signing bonus) but get to play the numbers game and see if a few pan out.
   18. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:24 AM (#3205899)
I think this deal is being underrated from Pittsburgh's standpoint. (caveat: Braves fan, though I'm not one to overrate their prospects (at least no more than anyone else's)).

Both by scouting reports and stats, Hernandez is an outstanding CF defensively - a legit possibility to evenually be the best in the game on that front - who is hitting .316 as a 21-year old in one of the biggest pitcher's parks in AA. He also has little power, though he offers some (gap) projection, and isn't walking this year, though his track record on that front in the past is respectable. He is a B prospect now, possibly B+ (on the John S. scale).

Morton is 25 and has been one of the best pitchers in the IL the last two years (12-4 in 143.2 ip, 103 h, 38 r, 36 er, 3 hr, 43 bb, 127 so). He also struggled in Atlanta last season, but was trying to play through back problems. Disconcertingly, he's never pitched that well outside of AAA - he wasn't a particularly high achiever prior to his Richmond promotion. He has 3rd-4th starter stuff. I wanted him to make the big league roster this year.

Locke was a little overrated as Atlanta's #7 prospect (per BA), but he's still a pretty useful commodity to have.
   19. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:25 AM (#3205900)
I do agree with: "but for a game that is built around putting ML quality players on the ML rosters, this is a clear win for Atlanta."
   20. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:26 AM (#3205901)

Both by scouting reports and stats, Hernandez is an outstanding CF defensively - a legit possibility to evenually be the best in the game on that front - who is hitting .316 as a 21-year old in one of the biggest pitcher's parks in AA.


The problem is, .401 BABIP. Davenport, Smith, and I all have that translated in the .600 OPS range.
   21. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:31 AM (#3205903)
True, but he's also has (IMO) more power and discipline than he's shown this year. Let's say he's Carlos Gomez, albeit in a slightly different form. Would you find that valuable?
   22. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:32 AM (#3205904)
Hernandez is a better version of Gregor Blanco, IMHO. He has better power and he's a better defender, but I just don't see him translating his meagre minor league offense into real major league quality. He's Mike Cameron without the power. Morton has had a couple of quality repeater years in AAA, but he did poorly in Atlanta last year (you can't just write it off to "bad back" as if that's not a huge concern for his projectability) and the Braves had him well buried on the depth charts. When you have Lowe/Vasquez/Jurrjens/Kawakami/Hanson/Medlen/Reyes/Parr you can afford to flip Charlie Morton for a real major league outfielder.
   23. Adam M Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:33 AM (#3205906)
I didn't realize McLouth was locked up for so long for so cheap. It seems like the Pirates could have done better.
   24. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:33 AM (#3205907)
(I think he has less power, a bit more patience, and isn't as good of a theft as Gomez.)
   25. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:36 AM (#3205909)
Morton has had a couple of quality repeater years in AAA,
Quality repeater years? Last year was his first year - he was great. This year is his second year, he's been great.
but he did poorly in Atlanta last year (you can't just write it off to "bad back" as if that's not a huge concern for his projectability)
I'm not - it's a real concern going forward, but it explains (partially) he struggles. Didn't he also lose like 25 pounds late last season for some reason? Whatever the case - he's okay now.
and the Braves had him well buried on the depth charts. When you have Lowe/Vasquez/Jurrjens/Kawakami/Hanson/Medlen/Reyes/Parr you can afford to flip Charlie Morton for a real major league outfielder.

I haven't questioned this deal on the Atlanta side. I'm just not convinced that Pitt got screwed.
   26. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:38 AM (#3205910)
Hernandez is a better version of Gregor Blanco, IMHO. He has better power and he's a better defender, but I just don't see him translating his meagre minor league offense into real major league quality.

Except Blanco barely ever sniffed top prospect lists, while Hernandez has been considered of value since day one.

He's Mike Cameron without the power.
What a strange comp.
   27. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:41 AM (#3205913)
I don't think Pittsburgh got totally screwed. They have a 4th/5th starter with potential in Morton, another OF prospect to throw into their collection, and a guy in A-ball with a good fastball. I don't know how this makes them a better major league baseball team, but I've sort of stopped thinking of the Pirates as a majore league baseball team at this point. You don't "rebuild" for 20 years.

I clearly approach this from a Braves perspective, and they've plugged one of the gaping holes in their team without giving up anything of note. If any of the players going to Pittsburgh outperforms their ATL counterparts in the next three years I'd be shocked. And a 2010 OF of McLouth/Schafer/Heyward looks better and better to me.
   28. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:42 AM (#3205914)
What a strange comp.

I was being kind. I could have said Josh Anderson.
   29. Sam M. Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:52 AM (#3205919)
I don't know. I think the Pirates did just fine, given their position. They turned a guy who is cheap, yes, but not really that good, into a guy who I suspect will be better (the defensive player McLouth is supposed to be in CF, but really isn't), and then two other guys on top of that who have some value as decent enough prospects. Yes, all their value is in the future, but the Pirates shouldn't exactly be concentrating on the "now" if they're being rational about things, now should they? Just because they've been stupid in the past, and never had a sensible plan, doesn't mean THIS trade is stupid and lacks a fixed view of their time horizon.

McLouth is obviously better than any outfielder the Braves have who is major-league ready, and so this is a great deal for them, since it improves their ability to contend now. Good for them. And they have utilized the ample depth in their system -- which is another way of saying they have depleted it. (That's not a criticism; one reason to build up depth is so that you can trade a solid prospect like Hernandez, thus depleting your depth, but still have kids you can be ready to plug into your outfield in the next couple of years.) Just because the Pirates didn't get the Braves' best OF prospect, or their best pitching prospect, doesn't mean they didn't get kids who can help them. And it doesn't mean the kids they got weren't worth McLouth.
   30. zonk Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:57 AM (#3205920)
I think people are over-rating Nate McLouth based on a)the fact that he's a Pirate and I think us baseball geeks naturally overcompensate for good players on bad teams, and b)too many memories of his first 6-8 weeks last year rather than all the other 1200 ABs of his career.

Zips says he's a .800 OF -- who can pass for a CF, but isn't nearly as good defensively as his hardware. Don't get me wrong, he's a perfectly good OF - his bat is good enough to play a corner OF spot for virtually any team and he's also an excellent baserunner - but he's ultimately a .250/.350/.450 corner OF with nice secondary skills.

Obviously, that's a huge step up for the Braves -- but I'm not sure exactly who people are thinking the Pirates could have gotten for him.
   31. Jim Wisinski Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:05 AM (#3205923)
Obviously, that's a huge step up for the Braves -- but I'm not sure exactly who people are thinking the Pirates could have gotten for him.


Ideally, the equivalent of "a .250/.350/.450 corner OF with nice secondary skills" at a position they need more, whether that be a position player or a pitcher.

I'd much rather see them go for a single guy who can definitely help them instead of three guys that, given the general odds of prospects of those caliber panning out, probably won't really.
   32. DL from MN Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:15 AM (#3205930)
Wonder if the Twins could snag Wilson and Sanchez for Delmon Young and Casilla.
   33. Stately, Plump Buck Mulligan Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:21 AM (#3205931)
I think people are over-rating Nate McLouth based on a)the fact that he's a Pirate and I think us baseball geeks naturally overcompensate for good players on bad teams, and b)too many memories of his first 6-8 weeks last year rather than all the other 1200 ABs of his career.


The third reason people overrate McLouth is that he's a better fantasy baseball player than actual baseball player. He's currently ranked 84th among all MLB players in the Yahoo fantasy baseball (20-20 ability will do that for you).
   34. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:50 AM (#3205945)
Zips says he's a .800 OF -- who can pass for a CF, but isn't nearly as good defensively as his hardware. Don't get me wrong, he's a perfectly good OF - his bat is good enough to play a corner OF spot for virtually any team and he's also an excellent baserunner - but he's ultimately a .250/.350/.450 corner OF with nice secondary skills.

Granted, he's not a middle-of-the-order slugger. But the player you describe has his uses, particularly for a team lacking any other MLB-quality starting outfielders, and especially given the price.

McLouth is basically the second coming of Al Martin (minus a few BA points, add a few walks): decent broad base of skills, not exceptional in any one of them. Martin was a useful player until he turned 30. The key for the Braves is to enjoy McLouth when he's cheap (preferably in LF) and then refrain from signing him long-term.
   35. Walt Davis Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:51 AM (#3205946)
Ugh! Dreadful move for the Pirates though I'll give them credit for having the cojones to trade one of their most popular players.

It's fair enough that McLouth is "nothing" more than an average-ish corner OF, but, again, he's one who's under your control for 2 2/3 years at $13 M (using Dan's numbers which I assume are correct).

This also means that the Pirates have traded their entire OF within less than a season. And the best player they've gotten in return is .... Gorkys Hernandez? Oh hey, what do you know, Andy LaRoche has started hitting. So in exchange for an entire starting OF, they may have gotten a starting 3B!

And this may mean we can officially declare a strange trend of lower-revenue teams trading off cost-controlled "young" guys -- Swisher (twice), Haren, Bay, McLouth, Laird, possibly Peavy, am I missing anyone? It's understandable that these would be valuable trade chits but what makes them valuable to the higher-revenue team is exactly what makes them so valuable to lower-revenue teams. Seems to me you have to get great payoff in return to make trading away players like that worthwhile. Other than the Haren 6-for-1 deal (which might still not pay off for the A's), I don't think that's happened.

I know, the White Sox aren't low-revenue so I'm cheating a bit counting the second Swisher trade. And Peavy's not exactly cheap and Laird was being pushed out by younger players.
   36. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:08 AM (#3205955)
It's understandable that these would be valuable trade chits but what makes them valuable to the higher-revenue team is exactly what makes them so valuable to lower-revenue teams. Seems to me you have to get great payoff in return to make trading away players like that worthwhile

My thoughts exactly.

I don't have a problem with the Pirates looking to trade McLouth: he's exactly the type of player they should be looking to trade BUT TO GET SOMEONE APPROACHING AN POTENTIAL IMPACT PROSPECT IN RETURN. None of the guys that the Braves gave up can be expected to be impact players. At best, they might become cheap role players.

I don't see how Murton projects as a #3 starter (as someone either here or on a Newsblog thread suggested). Back of the rotation would seem to be his ceiling, with a near 50% chance that he never becomes anymore than a AAAA journeyman. Likewise, at best Hernandez is a 5th outfielder, with a better than 50% shot at spending the next six years floundering as a AAAA outfielder. And Locke has possibilities, but at the end of the day is still just a young Single A reliever.
   37. PreservedFish Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:10 AM (#3205956)
Where does the judgment on McLouth's fielding come from? Is it just the UZR numbers? Everyone on this thread repeats that McLouth is an overrated fielder, as if it were an easily verified fact.
   38. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:12 AM (#3205957)
Well, he got the Gold Glove, so he's definitely overrated. But by how much?
   39. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 04, 2009 at 05:37 AM (#3205970)
I have to be a little bit milder on the trade. ZiPS really likes Charlie Morton going forward. I don't like Morton anywhere near as much as ZiPS does, but it's at least a bit of evidence that I'm writing him off too quickly.

   40. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: June 04, 2009 at 06:22 AM (#3205996)
I guess the big question is, what the hell was the rush here?

If you're looking for a package to cash in on McLouth that's fine, but is this the sort of deal that is just so good it has to be done now before the Braves reconsider?
   41. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 04, 2009 at 06:39 AM (#3206003)
This is the first time the Pirates have ever traded someone without announcing for years ahead of time that they needed to trade him and would be trading him soon. And in fact, they didn't give us any warning at all!

Maybe they thought they were trading Jack Wilson.
   42. baudib Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:16 AM (#3206009)
This also means that the Pirates have traded their entire OF within less than a season. And the best player they've gotten in return is .... Gorkys Hernandez? Oh hey, what do you know, Andy LaRoche has started hitting. So in exchange for an entire starting OF, they may have gotten a starting 3B!


Yeah, this is the biggest issue here. The Pirates are consistently making firesale deals without getting enough in return. It's almost unbelievable that they could get so little return on these trades.
   43. DFA Posted: June 04, 2009 at 07:45 AM (#3206010)
It must be disappointing for Pirate fans to realize that their front office doesn't believe they are capable of competing in the NL Central for 2 2/3 seasons, or at least doing so with McLouth on the team. McLouth seems like a reasonable player during the length of his contract for a pack of players some of whom might be replacement level guys? I'm supposing that the Pirates were higher on McCutchen and Tabata, perhaps? This offer doesn't really blow me away, especially since they didn't get Freeman in the deal.
   44. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 11:09 AM (#3206020)
Pirates fans realized at least two years ago that they weren't going to contend this season. Right now, the notional year of earliest possible contention is 2012, and even that's going to require some good luck/drafting.

Also, I can't believe there are people in this thread who still seem to think that the Nady trade was a bad idea, or that the Bay trade is done and in the books when the most important prospect from it (Morris) is still in A-ball. It's disappointing, but such is life. Littlefield burned the farm system to the ground, so there was going to be some pain while we built it back up.
   45. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 04, 2009 at 11:27 AM (#3206024)
As I just stated elsewhere, Nate's defense is better than the numbers would indicate. Either by choice or management decision he plays shallower than most centerfielders and with that big outfield sometimes has balls drop over his head. But he does make his share of plays. He challenges any wall. He's solid out there.
   46. I'm Old and I Blame the Pirates Posted: June 04, 2009 at 12:49 PM (#3206052)
What interests me most about the reaction to this trade is that for years Pittsburgh seamheads (all 12 of them) have been screaming that the Pirates need to trade players at peak value for whatever they will bring. Well, they just traded their "best player" (and incedentally, their entire marketing campaign) who most reasonable folks seem to think isn't going to be a whole lot more than he already is for prospects who may or may not work out in the long term. Now they're screaming that they shouldn't have done it, or they didn't get enough in return.

IMHO - they got what they could. How it all works out in x years is going to be blogfood for the next little while. But nobody in this day and age not named Littlefield is going to give up top prospects for a serviceable outfielder with B+ numbers. Well-intentioned Pirate fans may wish to set fire to articles of clothing in public spaces, but trades like this are the present (and probably forseeable future) reality for the PBC. They just don't have that much to deal with. Littlefay et al had a decade and a half to turn the organization into a moonscape. Getting something green to grow there is going to mean takings chances with the few resources you have, whose value is going to suffer prima faciefrom the club's obvious desperation.

How does this work out? Who knows. But props to present management for having the stones to take the chance.
   47. Answer Guy Posted: June 04, 2009 at 01:00 PM (#3206055)
Now they're screaming that they shouldn't have done it, or they didn't get enough in return.


They're probably not screaming; they're probably either watching hockey or counting down the days to Steelers training camp.
   48. zonk Posted: June 04, 2009 at 01:07 PM (#3206065)

The third reason people overrate McLouth is that he's a better fantasy baseball player than actual baseball player. He's currently ranked 84th among all MLB players in the Yahoo fantasy baseball (20-20 ability will do that for you).


True - funny thing is, being one of the few who don't think the Pirates got completely hosed here, I actually have McLouth signed to a very reasonable long-term in my own fantasy league, so I'm well aware of his rotisserie chops (I'm shopping him myself).

I'm not saying my 2 1/2 year roto relationship with McLouth makes me an expert on him, I'm just saying a lot of people seem to be thinking McLouth is a perennial all-star type rather than a nice player who might may very well never make another midsummer classic (especially now that he's playing for a team that won't have trouble filling its one spot).
   49. Steini's Famous Garbage Pitch Posted: June 04, 2009 at 01:14 PM (#3206070)
I think it was a good time to trade McLouth. He has decent power for an outfielder and decent (at best) defense, and the Braves needed that. There are times when his skills are less valuable.
   50. thedad01 Posted: June 04, 2009 at 01:17 PM (#3206075)
One aspect being overlooked is that the Pirates also called Andrew McCutchen up. If the Pirate management had made the decision to call him up before the trade, then the question would be who would they move to create playing time for him assuming they feel he is ready, which his AAA stats would indicate.

If that was the case, then the question to consider is would Nyger Morgan or Delwyn Young have drawn interest let alone this package of players from the Braves.
   51. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 01:29 PM (#3206090)
"If that was the case, then the question to consider is would Nyger Morgan or Delwyn Young have drawn interest let alone this package of players from the Braves."

Given that Young was available for nothing but money a few months ago, I doubt he'd bring much (if anything) back in trade. And he's being used more as a 2B than an OF now, anyway.

"I guess the big question is, what the hell was the rush here?"

The Braves were probably motivated at least in part by a desire to distract people about the Glavine thing, and as such, I'm guessing that they weren't going to sit on this offer for very long.
   52. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2009 at 01:44 PM (#3206109)
The Braves were probably motivated at least in part by a desire to distract people about the Glavine thing, and as such, I'm guessing that they weren't going to sit on this offer for very long.

Ummmm... No. The Braves were motivated by the fact that their best outfielder was Matt Diaz. Jordan Schafer needs a season at AAA to work out the hole ML pitchers found up and in on his swing. (To leave him in CF despite the obvious need for improvement would be to replicate the error the franchise made with Francoeur in 2005.) DFA'ing Jamie Moyer after he had trouble getting outs in A-ball doesn't enter into it.
   53. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 01:51 PM (#3206116)
Wow, I'm surprised people are so negative from Pittsburgh's point of view. The critique almost seems to be "they didn't anyone as good as Shafer, Heyward or Hanson so this trade is a FAIL." Well yea, the Braves top prospects are really good, that doesn't mean the rest of their prospects are really bad. Hernandez was pretty well thought of and I think he has a chance to become a McLouth-type player with perhaps less home run power. Morton is probably a back of the rotation guy, but he's close to MLB ready and those kind of pitchers aren't exactly easy to come by, especially in Pittsburgh. Locke has some upside but is a long way away, which is exactly what you want out of a third guy in a trade.

I think its a win-win for both teams. Atlanta doesn't need to part with their top prospects, Pittsburgh gets three nice minor leaguers all of whom have a decent chance of being starters. I think there is also too much emphasis in the analysis on McLouth being young and cheap. He's a nice player to have, but not a big impact bat that you can expect top prospects for. I mean he's a .800-.850 OPS corner outfielder. I think Huntington did pretty well, and it was a nice time to cash in that chip in case McLouth turns back into a pumpkin.
   54. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 01:56 PM (#3206127)
Well, since you wanna hang around the NL East, Huntington, how's about you send Zach Duke to Flushing?

Now, as far a sthe Braves acquiring McLouth? %@*(&+><!
   55. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 04, 2009 at 01:59 PM (#3206130)
Wow, I'm surprised people are so negative from Pittsburgh's point of view.


The phrase "benefit of the doubt" springs to mind.

Even if they had traded him for Jason Heyward, Jair Jurrjens and Yunel Escobar, people would be negative from Pittsburgh's point of view. "Heyward must be injured or have PTSD or be about to retire and go play football", we would think.
   56. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:05 PM (#3206138)
Ummmm... No. The Braves were motivated by the fact that their best outfielder was Matt Diaz. Jordan Schafer needs a season at AAA to work out the hole ML pitchers found up and in on his swing. (To leave him in CF despite the obvious need for improvement would be to replicate the error the franchise made with Francoeur in 2005.) DFA'ing Jamie Moyer after he had trouble getting outs in A-ball doesn't enter into it.

Here, I agree with Hutcheson entirely. Someone, call a doctor - I may swoon...

Hernandez was pretty well thought of and I think he has a chance to become a McLouth-type player with perhaps less home run power

To be clear the concern with McLouth back when he was a prospect was that he was a tweener (not enough glove for center, pop for a corner, etc...) - Gorkys is much more two-dimensional - hit line drives (28% LD in AA), run fast, catch ball.
   57. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:06 PM (#3206139)
The phrase "benefit of the doubt" springs to mind.

That, and very few internet flame wars develop over "well, both teams did okay considering what they're trying to accomplish." If you want the flipside to this, go read some of the comments at the AJC. They're comparing this to sending Saltalamacchia and Andrus to Texas for Teixeira.
   58. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:08 PM (#3206146)
"Well, since you wanna hang around the NL East, Huntington, how's about you send Zach Duke to Flushing?"

Sure. What'll you guys give for him?
   59. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:09 PM (#3206150)
The last time the Pirates and Braves made a trade it was not exactly a stroke of genius by the Braves. Adam LaRoche has been more valuable than Mike Gonzalez, who is no longer dominant even when he isn't injured. Jamie Romak and Brent Lillibridge have been the world's two worst baseball players this year, but you were able to trade Lillibridge for half of Javier Vazquez somehow, so maybe it's even.
   60. rb's team is hopeful for the new year! Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:14 PM (#3206160)
Adam LaRoche has been more valuable than Mike Gonzalez, who is no longer dominant even when he isn't injured.

Well, the real downside of that trade was that the hole at first caused the braves to trade the farm for texeira. The trade for mclouth isn't nearly as one-sided as that was though.
   61. Elvis Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:15 PM (#3206161)
Why the low playing time estimate for McLouth - is it just for the partial '07 season?

Someone mentioned McLouth and his fantasy value. He had an ADP of 59 so being ranked 84th currently is not anything to get excited about.

One other thing to consider about the trade is that depending on what happens to next year's FA class, McLouth's contract may not be much of a bargain, especially if he doesn't return to 2008's first half numbers.
   62. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:15 PM (#3206163)
"Hernandez was pretty well thought of and I think he has a chance to become a McLouth-type player with perhaps less home run power."

He seems more like a Marquis Grissom type to me. Which still wouldn't be a bad outcome, all told.
   63. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:18 PM (#3206170)
"Someone mentioned McLouth and his fantasy value. He had an ADP of 59 so being ranked 84th currently is not anything to get excited about."

I think the point they were trying to make is that he's not the 59th (or 84th) best player in MLB, so that fantasy ranking overstates his true value.
   64. Elvis Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:20 PM (#3206174)
And my point was that even fantasy leaguers shouldn't be over-ranking him at this time.
   65. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:25 PM (#3206181)

He seems more like a Marquis Grissom type to me. Which still wouldn't be a bad outcome, all told.


That is a much better comp, yes.
   66. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:51 PM (#3206209)
Grissom strikes me as a terrible comp - he had a lot more power, both gap and home run, than Hernandez does. One has to remember what the offense was like when Grissom was a prospect. 11 home runs per 600 PA was quite nice for a CF prospect at the time.

Grissom was also a good deal more polished, which prompted the Expos to call him up a year too soon.
   67. zonk Posted: June 04, 2009 at 02:54 PM (#3206212)
And my point was that even fantasy leaguers shouldn't be over-ranking him at this time.


Hush.

Like I said, he's my primary chit in an attempt to get some pitching.
   68. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:10 PM (#3206235)
Sure. What'll you guys give for him?


Ike Davis, Josh Thole & Tim Redding.
   69. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:16 PM (#3206241)
"Grissom strikes me as a terrible comp - he had a lot more power, both gap and home run, than Hernandez does."

Hernandez is 21 and in AA. When Grissom was 21, he was beating up teenagers in the NY-Penn League. And when he got bumped up to the upper minors at 22, he didn't show much power at all: .115 ISO in 278 AA AB, and a .128 in 187 AAA AB. Which is, admittedly, more than Gorkys has shown in his not-quite-a-half-season in 2009, but it's not like we're talking about Mike Cameron here, even by '80s standards.

The polish thing may be true, but since the Pirates probably aren't going to rush Gorkys to the majors the way the Expos did with Grissom, how much does that matter?

In terms of gross skill set, I think they're pretty close. CF with great defense, good contact hitter, runs a lot, doesn't walk much, gap power at best (at least to start).
   70. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:16 PM (#3206242)
"Ike Davis, Josh Thole & Tim Redding."

Pass.
   71. rb's team is hopeful for the new year! Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:18 PM (#3206245)
I think the point they were trying to make is that he's not the 59th (or 84th) best player in MLB, so that fantasy ranking overstates his true value.

Are we sure that he isn't? There's a lot of play between those two rankings, but he certainly might be the 84th best player in baseball. Good hitting, good fielding cf who is young? He was the best player on the pirates, and will be among the best 3 position players for the Braves.
   72. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:20 PM (#3206248)
Question for you, Dan: On the now-closed Bucs Dugout thread, you said that you spoke to at least one front office type who would've been willing to give up more. Did you mean that he listed players that you yourself would consider to be worth more than the Atlanta package, or just that he said "Oh, sure, I would've beaten that offer" (i.e. using his own valuation of his prospects)?
   73. SouthSideRyan Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:24 PM (#3206254)
Well, since you wanna hang around the NL East, Huntington, how's about you send Zach Duke to Flushing?


The Mets do have a good history with acquiring Pirate lefties.
   74. bfan Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:27 PM (#3206259)
CF with great defense, good contact hitter, runs a lot, doesn't walk much, gap power at best (at least to start).


crappy base-stealing record (10 out of 18, this year). I am surprised that these incredibly fast guys in the low minors can't have good stolen base records, through their pure speed alone.
   75. Bad Doctor Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:28 PM (#3206261)
I don't have a problem with the Pirates looking to trade McLouth: he's exactly the type of player they should be looking to trade BUT TO GET SOMEONE APPROACHING AN POTENTIAL IMPACT PROSPECT IN RETURN. None of the guys that the Braves gave up can be expected to be impact players. At best, they might become cheap role players.

I kind of get this, but really, it's Nate McLouth. Outside of two hot months in 2008, he's a .260/.345/.450 guy without the range to be an asset in CF or the arm to be an asset in RF. That really helps out the Braves where there are now, no doubt, but I don't know how much value it is in general ... even if he's locked in at $5 million/yr for a couple of years. (E.g., When a guy like Ryan Church becomes a free agent, I doubt he'll command $5 million/yr, even though he's a comparable player.)

Plus, Hernandez has been lauded by scouts at times over the years. Not right now, but if he was, guess what, he's right next to Hanson and Heyward and untouchable. From what I understand, Locke is a lefty who sits in the low 90s with a good curve who has put up terrific strikeout and groundball rates the last couple of years. Does he have issues, yes, but if he didn't, guess what, he's right next to Hanson and Heyward and untouchable. When you say, "Well I know we won't get top prospects, but we need someone with impact potential," to me, that is Tabata and Hernandez and Locke. Sure they have a bunch of questions marks and need a lot of seasoning, but if they didn't, they would be top prospects.
   76. Sam M. Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:28 PM (#3206262)
"Ike Davis, Josh Thole & Tim Redding."

I don't blame you for passing on that, Vlad. Ugh. How about Niese, Thole, and a C prospect to be negotiated? And you can have Redding if you want him, too, but you don't have to take him.

That, and very few internet flame wars develop over "well, both teams did okay considering what they're trying to accomplish."

True . . . even though IMHO that happens too be an accurate characterization of the trade. Except I'd unpack it a bit and say the Braves did very well (reflecting the success of their drafting and development, and putting it to good use), and the Pirates did OK.
   77. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:33 PM (#3206266)
Bad Doctor and Sam put it much better than I did, but those are exactly my thoughts.
   78. puck Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:37 PM (#3206270)
Where does the judgment on McLouth's fielding come from? Is it just the UZR numbers? Everyone on this thread repeats that McLouth is an overrated fielder, as if it were an easily verified fact.

From UZR and plus/minus, I presume.

However, do I have this right? Fangraphs's UZR, THT's RZR, and Dewan's plus/minus all use Baseball info solutions pbp data?

I've seen it mentioned on the Book blog that MGL still has Stats pbp data. Has he ever commented on how the results differ given differences in the data?
   79. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:48 PM (#3206291)
"Outside of two hot months in 2008, he's a .260/.345/.450 guy"

This understates his level of ability by about 20 points of OPS, maybe a bit more if he's got any power development left.
   80. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:49 PM (#3206293)
Since people are commenting on Nate's defense, I should note that the Pirates use some moderately unconventional OF positioning, which may throw off a zone-based metric's assessment of which balls Nate should and should not get.
   81. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:50 PM (#3206294)
When you say, "Well I know we won't get top prospects, but we need someone with impact potential," to me, that is Tabata and Hernandez and Locke. Sure they have a bunch of questions marks and need a lot of seasoning, but if they didn't, they would be top prospects.

If the Braves had given up the equivalent of Tabata, then I wouldn't be complaining. But, in my opinion, I don't see Hernandez as a B prospect. The Grissom-comp is way off-base. Damon Buford would seem to be a much more likely outcome. And then there's also the fact that the Pirates really don't need a young CF...

As for Locke, the guy's a Single A reliever. I cannot say with absolute certainty that he won't have a decent MLB career, but he's a dime-a-dozen and odds are overwhelming that he'll never amount to anything.

As far as "well the Braves weren't going to part with X, Y, Z and so these guys represent the best of the second tier," then the Pirates shouldn't have traded with the Braves. Plenty of teams could have used a cheap, league-average outfielder. McLouth fills a glaring need for Atlanta, but the Pirates addressed none of their needs. Dumping McLouth for the sake of dumping him was totally unwarranted.
   82. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:52 PM (#3206296)
crappy base-stealing record (10 out of 18, this year).

And 94 for 113 (83%) going into the year. (That said, his routes and baserunning technique could use refinement, per the scouting reports).

If memory serves, Grissom was always thought to have more power potential than Hernandez has. (Though Gorky's has gotten ok marks on that front - I've read that he could be a 10-15 HR guy once his frame fills out - he's definitely got more "raw pop" than Blanco).
   83. Elvis Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:53 PM (#3206297)
Ike Davis, Josh Thole & Tim Redding.


There's no way I'd give this up for Zach Duke. Yes, Duke is sitting pretty now with a 2.62 ERA. He's also the guy who posted ERAs of 4.82, 5.53 and 4.47 the last three years. He has an unsustainable HR rate, his strikeout rate is in Pelfrey territory, this is his third straight year of a declining GB rate (making that HR rate stand out even more) and he's getting lucky both on BABIP (.270) and strand rate (77%).

Davis and Thole likely won't be stars, but Davis has a .367 OBP with 21 extra-base hits in 181 ABs in the FSL and Thole has a .923 OPS in Double-A and can at least nominally play catcher. That's way too much to give up for a SP with Duke's track record.
   84. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:55 PM (#3206298)
As for Locke, the guy's a Single A reliever.

He's a starter, has been his whole career. Has the repetoire for the job and everything.
   85. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 03:59 PM (#3206299)
"He's also the guy who posted ERAs of 4.82, 5.53 and 4.47 the last three years."

As a BIP-heavy pitcher in front of the worst defense in baseball.

"How about Niese, Thole, and a C prospect to be negotiated?"

That could work, depending on the C prospect in question (you mean C-grade, not catcher, right?). That said, the real-world Mets reportedly refused to include Niese in last year's Bay/Nady talks, so I don't know that they'd put him into a Duke deal.
   86. Tike Redman's Shattered Dreams Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:00 PM (#3206302)
One thing about Hernandez that someone here mentioned in passing -- he has a 27.7% line drive rate in AA, which, combined with his speed, would explain the high BABIP. Both of those are out of line with his career norms, but I could understand why scouts seeing him this year would believe that a .300 average is quite possible.

Question for you, Dan: On the now-closed Bucs Dugout thread, you said that you spoke to at least one front office type who would've been willing to give up more. Did you mean that he listed players that you yourself would consider to be worth more than the Atlanta package, or just that he said "Oh, sure, I would've beaten that offer" (i.e. using his own valuation of his prospects)?

Heh. I came to this thread to ask the exact same question.
   87. Elvis Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:05 PM (#3206312)
As a BIP-heavy pitcher in front of the worst defense in baseball.


OK - let's use FIP, which doesn't include defense. Duke's FIP the past three seasons have been:

4.40
4.95
4.13

Clearly better but still not anything for which I would trade Thole and Davis
   88. Gaelan Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:07 PM (#3206315)
Hernandez was pretty well thought of and I think he has a chance to become a McLouth-type player with perhaps less home run power. Morton is probably a back of the rotation guy, but he's close to MLB ready and those kind of pitchers aren't exactly easy to come by, especially in Pittsburgh. Locke has some upside but is a long way away, which is exactly what you want out of a third guy in a trade.


I can't believe this is an argument in favour of the trade for the Pirates. So basically the Pirates traded Mclouth for a bunch of guys that in the best case scenario gives them a player as good as Mclouth. That's the definition of a bad trade.

In order for this to be a trade that makes sense for Pittsburg they have to believe that Hernandez will be better than Mclouth down the road. They've traded value certainty in Mclouth in exchange for prospect uncertainty. There has to be a premium of talent coming back to make up for the significant risk that none of these players will ever be major league regulars. Since, by all accounts, they haven't gotten better talent back then this is a bad trade whose best case scenario is that it raises to the level of pointless.
   89. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:08 PM (#3206319)
"Heh. I came to this thread to ask the exact same question."

It seems like a fairly important point. If it's Dan picking the players, I'd believe that there was more talent out there to be had. If it's Omar Minaya, then maybe he means an offer of Ike Davis, Josh Thole, and Tim Redding.
   90. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:12 PM (#3206324)
"In order for this to be a trade that makes sense for Pittsburg{sic} they have to believe that Hernandez will be better than Mclouth{sic} down the road."

They very well might believe this. A lot of our front office is ex-Tigers staff, and Gorkys was originally a Tigers signee.
   91. puck Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:13 PM (#3206326)
Since people are commenting on Nate's defense, I should note that the Pirates use some moderately unconventional OF positioning, which may throw off a zone-based metric's assessment of which balls Nate should and should not get.

Which would be especially important to note if the data inputs to the 3 metrics I mentioned all use the same zones, right?
   92. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:13 PM (#3206327)
I can't believe this is an argument in favour of the trade for the Pirates. So basically the Pirates traded Mclouth for a bunch of guys that in the best case scenario gives them a player as good as Mclouth. That's the definition of a bad trade.

In order for this to be a trade that makes sense for Pittsburg they have to believe that Hernandez will be better than Mclouth down the road.


What if Morton turns into a decent back of the rotation starter and/or Locke becomes a decent pitcher?
   93. JPWF13 Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:22 PM (#3206336)
I can't believe this is an argument in favour of the trade for the Pirates. So basically the Pirates traded Mclouth for a bunch of guys that in the best case scenario gives them a player as good as Mclouth. That's the definition of a bad trade.


I can't believe I'm agreeing with Gaelen on something...
   94. The Essex Snead Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:23 PM (#3206337)
I can't believe this is an argument in favour of the trade for the Pirates. So basically the Pirates traded Mclouth for a bunch of guys that in the best case scenario gives them a player as good as Mclouth. That's the definition of a bad trade.

Yeah, so let's judge a going-long trade RIGHT NOW instead of waiting to see how things pan out! That always works!

Or what [92] just posted, but with actual, like, info.
   95. puck Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:25 PM (#3206340)
I can't believe this is an argument in favour of the trade for the Pirates. So basically the Pirates traded Mclouth for a bunch of guys that in the best case scenario gives them a player as good as Mclouth. That's the definition of a bad trade.

I certainly don't follow transactions like you guys, but isn't this the direction in which trades are going? Teams don't seem to like to part with prospects. I was surprised at what teams received for Santana and Bay, though I guess impending free agency was a factor there.
   96. Bad Doctor Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:26 PM (#3206341)
As for Locke, the guy's a Single A reliever. I cannot say with absolute certainty that he won't have a decent MLB career, but he's a dime-a-dozen and odds are overwhelming that he'll never amount to anything.

The guy has three relief appearances in the last three years. He's a starter ... his #9 PECOTA comp is the guy that Vlad and Sam are negotiating to be the headliner in a Zach Duke trade. His #10 comp is Dontrelle Willis.

Now, those two guys are surrounded by a fair amount of Jung Bong and the wrong Pedro Martinez and the like, but I'd say their appearance speaks to Locke having some sort of impact potential.
   97. Spivey Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:29 PM (#3206347)
Maybe this was as good as they could get. I have to imagine there are some teams that think McLouth is a good defensive centerfielder, and there may even be some that think he's gold glove level. And I would think a team that thinks highly of his defense would offer better than this.
   98. The Essex Snead Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:31 PM (#3206352)
One thing I'm curious about: has there ever been an organization that's dug as deep a hole as the prior Pirates regime did, and (eventually) come out the other side OK? & if so, how did they do it? The only team / regime that (off the top of my head) comes even close is what the pre-Dayton Moore Royals were doing -- I can only imagine what Pirates fans would've done if Bonifield had guys like Damon & Beltran to trade away.
   99. The Essex Snead Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:32 PM (#3206354)
And, obviously, despite the better efforts of Willie B & His Farnsworthiness, the Royals aren't out of the woods just yet.
   100. Elvis Posted: June 04, 2009 at 04:34 PM (#3206357)
What if Morton turns into a decent back of the rotation starter


Especially if you can turn your current back of the rotation starter into the equivalent of 2003-04 vintage Jason Kendall and current vintage Adam Laroche?
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