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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Braves - Acquired Rafael Soriano

Atlanta Braves - Acquired P Rafael Soriano from the Seattle Mariners for P Horacio Ramirez.

Isn’t this against MLB rule 21 or something?  Apparently, Buzzie’s Other Idiot Son was getting upset that the Angels and Astros were hogging all the stupid.  This is one of those trades that are so bad that you can actually justify it better by pretending that the offending GM is making the trade as part of some James Bond Bad Guy Masterplan.  And not the Fleming Bond, the Bad John Gardner Bond that fought an evil ice cream manufacturer and an evil text-based video game programmer.

What can you say about this trade?  Soriano will be awesome for Atlanta and Ramirez will suck rocks for the M’s.  It’s all so anti-climactic - why nurse Soriano through 2+ wasted seasons, finally get him back as an elite reliever, and then dump him for Ramirez?  It’s the equivalent of returning from your tour in Iraq and, upon coming home, catching up on all the reruns of Wings that your TIVO was catching off of USA for you.

2007 ZiPS Projections
——————————————————————————————-
Player       W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
——————————————————————————————-
Ramirez     6   9 25 24 142 160   81 21 50 59 5.13
Soriano     2   1 48   0   54   43   17   5 19 58 2.83
Difference   4   8       88 117   64 16 31   1 6.55

 

Dan Szymborski Posted: December 07, 2006 at 05:22 AM | 50 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Cabbage Posted: December 07, 2006 at 05:50 AM (#2253844)
I'm digging that 88 inning - 1 strikeout difference you're projecting.
   2. Latnam's first name is Bob Lemon's middle name Posted: December 07, 2006 at 05:56 AM (#2253852)
As I said in the other thread "The Braves traded H-Ram." "Great trade. Who'd they get?"
   3. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: December 07, 2006 at 05:57 AM (#2253853)
1) I can't believe we got someone to take Horacio Ramirez
2) I can't believe we actually go something of value in return for him.

Hide the sharp objects from M's fans.
   4. NBarnes Posted: December 07, 2006 at 06:07 AM (#2253865)
It's stuff like this that reminds me why I'm a Red Sox fan in Seattle, rather than a Mariners fan. As much as I dislike the Lugo contract, and as hopeful/terrified as Matsuzaka makes me, nothing could compare to the despair this would induce in me if I cared.

Jeff over at Lookout Landing has the last word on this trade.

Horacio Ramirez, Career (NL):

K%: 11.3%
uBB%:
8.1%
GB%: 49.7%
HR/FB%:* 13.7%

Joel Pineiro, 2006 (AL):

K%: 11.8%
uBB%: 6.9%
GB%: 47.5%
HR/FB%: 13.4%
   5. Darren Posted: December 07, 2006 at 06:11 AM (#2253872)
Wow, this is an awful deal. Makes me wish the Red Sox had Horacio Ramirez before today.
   6. Raskolnikov Posted: December 07, 2006 at 06:13 AM (#2253873)
Forget H-Ram, as much as he sucks. How does a blue chipper like Soriano get dealt?

Does anyone trade a pitcher with a great arm who could dominate if everything falls into place for a crappy pitcher that you can find at the local Duane Reade's? Even Littlefield and Duquette combined aren't this stupid. Bavasi is such a numbskull.
   7. Gaylord Perry the Platypus (oi!) Posted: December 07, 2006 at 06:16 AM (#2253876)
And with any luck, this means that LaRoche stays in Atlanta.

The AJC article says the Braves "still need to trim payroll". God, this team is going to suck soon...
   8. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 07, 2006 at 06:17 AM (#2253877)
Has Soriano bounced back from getting hit in the head with a line drive to end his season?
   9. Corn On Ty Cobb Posted: December 07, 2006 at 06:23 AM (#2253883)
You don't trade an arm like Soriano for a mediocrity like Horacio friggin' Ramirez. What in the world is Bavasi thinking? Really?

Also, word is the LaRoche to the Pirates for Gonzalez deal is dead.
   10. Stately, Plump Buck Mulligan Posted: December 07, 2006 at 06:32 AM (#2253898)
"Makes me wish the Red Sox had Horacio Ramirez before today."

I'm surprised Theo didn't try to get him. He'd fit in perfectly with Boston's "we have no clue about assembling a bullpen" philosophy.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: December 07, 2006 at 06:40 AM (#2253903)
a crappy pitcher that you can find at the local Duane Reade's?

I don't think they have Duane Reade's in Seattle so this trade makes a lot more sense.

On the serious side, what's the difference in arb/FA status. Based on b-r (where it's hard to judge service time), looks like Soriano might be an FA after this season while Ramirez has two seasons left. Yes, to most of us, 1 season of a good reliever is better than two seasons of a really bad starter, but y'know, 88 IP of 6.55 has a lot of value in today's game. :-)
   12. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 07, 2006 at 06:57 AM (#2253909)
Jeff over at Lookout Landing has the last word on this trade.

The best thing on that page right now is the poll.
   13. I HEART BAVASI Posted: December 07, 2006 at 07:20 AM (#2253924)
As a Mariners fan, the last 24 hours have been brutal. Bavasi is a clown. He just traded our dominant 8th inning RP for junk. We ALREADY have guys like Horacio at the back of our rotation! Why trade our best chip for another #5 starter?!...
And you're right, that poll is pure gold.
   14. SMK Posted: December 07, 2006 at 07:34 AM (#2253927)
Dave Cameron has his take up over at USS Mariner. He's spot on, as always.

Bavasi makes me want to bang my head against a wall.
   15. Gaelan Posted: December 07, 2006 at 08:58 AM (#2253946)
You don't trade an arm like Soriano for a mediocrity like Horacio friggin' Ramirez.


When did mediocre become a synonym for horrendous?
   16. JGK Posted: December 07, 2006 at 09:18 AM (#2253950)
On the serious side, what's the difference in arb/FA status. Based on b-r (where it's hard to judge service time), looks like Soriano might be an FA after this season while Ramirez has two seasons left. Yes, to most of us, 1 season of a good reliever is better than two seasons of a really bad starter, but y'know, 88 IP of 6.55 has a lot of value in today's game. :-)


Soriano is just now arb-eligible. :(
   17. m...... Posted: December 07, 2006 at 09:20 AM (#2253952)
This really isn't that bad of a trade for Seattle. Both pitchers have dealt with injuries so that is a question mark hanging over both of their heads. If Horacio is healthy he'll give you a full season of league average pitching, which is a very valuable asset for a team to have. If Rafael Soriano is healthy, he'll be more effective with shinier numbers but will pitch a third as many innings. Relievers with high K/9 & low ERA surface every year out of nowhere, and often times they'll slide back into obscurity just as quickly as they achieved success. Dependable league average starters are a much less common commodity.

In a perfect world, you choose Soriano over Ramirez, because Soriano is probably better at his position than Ramirez is at his. But if you have a deficiency at one position, which Seattle apparently felt they did, you have to make a sacrifice, and not all trades have to be perfectly equal to benefit both teams.
   18. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: December 07, 2006 at 09:36 AM (#2253958)
Dependable league average starters are a much less common commodity.

I'll agree with this idea in the abstract, but what evidence suggests that Ramirez is either? He's certainly not dependable. "League-average starter" is a little more ambiguous. Its been a few years since I crunched the numbers, but I believe that the median ERA+ for starters with more than 25 starts is around 110. So by that standard, Ramirez is below-average.
   19. Gaelan Posted: December 07, 2006 at 12:38 PM (#2253992)
Horacio is healthy he'll give you a full season of league average pitching, which is a very valuable asset for a team to have.


Ramirez has no chance of being a league average teacher. Ramirez is a left handed Russ Ortiz. He doesn't do anything well. He isn't within a million miles of average.
   20. Toolsy McClutch Posted: December 07, 2006 at 01:19 PM (#2253997)
Maybe the market on starters has shifted so much that crappy starter > good reliever?

Yikes.
   21. hpt150 Posted: December 07, 2006 at 01:38 PM (#2254001)
How long before Soriano takes over the closer slot from Wickman in Atl?
   22. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: December 07, 2006 at 03:23 PM (#2254047)
How long before Soriano takes over the closer slot from Wickman in Atl?

2008, unless Wickman completely implodes. If Wickman is even vaguely effective Cox will use him as the closer all year.
   23. Chad Posted: December 07, 2006 at 03:29 PM (#2254050)
I feel bad for the M's fans on this one. Seattle is a great town and I've always had a soft spot for the M's because of that. If the A's can't win the division, I always hope Seattle does. I'm fairly convinced now that Bavasi's heart is still in Anaheim. Dammit.
   24. AROM Posted: December 07, 2006 at 03:44 PM (#2254068)
This is a great move for the Angel's offense. Too bad its also a great move for the Ranger and A offenses.
   25. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 07, 2006 at 04:29 PM (#2254121)
Ramirez's ERA+ the last two seasons was 95 and 98, about the definition of league average starter. He can be an acceptable starter.

But Soriano has shown flashes of greatness, and I think the Braves got the upper hand on the trade.

No word about Soriano's head injury?
   26. frannyzoo Posted: December 07, 2006 at 04:41 PM (#2254135)
I'm still looking for word on Bavasi's head injury...the one he quite obviously suffered years ago.
   27. bunyon Posted: December 07, 2006 at 04:47 PM (#2254139)
No word about Soriano's head injury?

No, but Bavasi's doesn't appear to be improving.
   28. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: December 07, 2006 at 05:44 PM (#2254248)
Well, as one of the few Braves fans that was a fan of H-Ram I am sorry to see him go and wish him luck. I think he is way better than Kyle Davies, for instance. But the Braves 'pen was awful last year and I'm glad it is being addressed. Added bonus for me if it means they are keeping LaRoche.
   29. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: December 07, 2006 at 08:04 PM (#2254448)
No word about Soriano's head injury?

From the Lookout Landing entry:

I'll tell you right now that the head injury isn't a concern at all anymore. He feels great, he feels confident, and he's hitting 93-94 in the Dominican Republic as we speak, so there don't appear to be any problems.
   30. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 07, 2006 at 08:49 PM (#2254527)
Thanks, Pope.
   31. Loren F. Posted: December 08, 2006 at 12:53 AM (#2254836)
Wow, Wings gets no respect. Next you'll be knocking King of Queens.
   32. Mac T Posted: December 08, 2006 at 12:57 AM (#2254842)
I would have non-tendered Ramirez, because I don't see how a team that's trimming payroll could afford to carry an average-at-best starter for $3.5 million, which is probably what he'll get in arbitration. In other words, WHEE!
   33. Johnny Tuttle Posted: December 08, 2006 at 01:01 AM (#2254848)
If MLB operated as a league-votes-to-approve-trades fantasy league, what would be the over/unders on reject votes this would receive and on messages Schuerholz would make to post defences on the league message board?
   34. Honkie Kong Posted: December 08, 2006 at 01:37 AM (#2254899)
Why is Soriano pitching in winter ball anyway?! wrap him in cotton wool!

the NL East is going to be a steel cage match next season
   35. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 08, 2006 at 02:04 AM (#2254940)
I don't see how a team that's trimming payroll could afford to carry an average-at-best starter for $3.5 million, which is probably what he'll get in arbitration.

The "average-at-best" starter that the M's just watched walk into free agency got $11M per year for 5 years. $3.5M is CHEAP.
   36. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: December 08, 2006 at 02:07 AM (#2254943)
Ramirez's ERA+ the last two seasons was 95 and 98, about the definition of league average starter. He can be an acceptable starter.

The idea that a 100 ERA+ equates a league-average starter is a misuse of the statistic, IMHO. That's like saying that a batter who hits .265 is a league-average starting position player.

Instead, look at the median ERA+ for starters who make 25 or more GS and you'll get something around 110 ERA+. That's a more accurate of a league-average starter.
   37. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 08, 2006 at 02:11 AM (#2254946)
Man, for Soriano, Putz, and Jeff Clement, I woudl have given you THE OTHER Ramirez
   38. Honkie Kong Posted: December 08, 2006 at 02:14 AM (#2254950)
Instead, look at the median ERA+ for starters who make 25 or more GS and you'll get something around 110 ERA+. That's a more accurate of a league-average starter.

It has been done already here . He has the median ERA+ for a #3 starter as 97.

reasonable when you think ERA+ takes relief pitchers into account too
   39. baudib Posted: December 08, 2006 at 02:16 AM (#2254954)
Back when Soriano was coming up, I traded a boatload of stuff to get him in the offseaso; something like Dontrelle Willis and a cheap closer. Some of you might be familiar with how bullish I have been on Dontrelle Willis. I did it because I was very deep in retainable players and I wanted a lottery ticket -- I figured Soriano to have a 5-10 percent chance of becoming Pedro Martinez.

Even as just a middle reliever, this is a titanic coup for Atlanta.
   40. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 08, 2006 at 02:19 AM (#2254956)
I thought I saw posted that all starters have an ERA+ of 96.

Calling 110 ERA+ an "average" starter is way out there.
   41. Gaelan Posted: December 08, 2006 at 02:30 AM (#2254961)
He has the median ERA+ for a #3 starter as 97.


Which means a guy with that ERA is the third best starter on a mediocre team. Besides none of this matters because Ramirez is going to be much worse than that for the five innings a start that he gives.
   42. Danny Posted: December 08, 2006 at 02:30 AM (#2254962)
Instead, look at the median ERA+ for starters who make 25 or more GS and you'll get something around 110 ERA+. That's a more accurate of a league-average starter.

So there were about 32 average or better starters in MLB last year? Yeah, one per team makes sense...
   43. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: December 08, 2006 at 05:04 AM (#2255141)
It has been done already here . He has the median ERA+ for a #3 starter as 97.

Apples and oranges.


So there were about 32 average or better starters in MLB last year? Yeah, one per team makes sense...

Quick check... In 2006, my Access query came back with 86 pitchers who started 25 or more games (doesn't include pitchers who pitched 25 or more over multiple teams, such as Maddux and a few others). So there were actually 43 above-average starters. The median ERA+ was 103.5 (weighted mean of this subgroup was 107), which is on the lower side of where it is historically.
   44. Steamer46 Posted: December 08, 2006 at 12:27 PM (#2255334)
but many below average guys would have been dropped from the rotation before reaching 25 starts so your methodology comes up with an above average sampling - thus the 43rd best starter in your sample was clearly above average

who was it by the way?
   45. Darren Posted: December 08, 2006 at 12:37 PM (#2255336)
Quick check... In 2006, my Access query came back with 86 pitchers who started 25 or more games (doesn't include pitchers who pitched 25 or more over multiple teams, such as Maddux and a few others)

But that means there are only 86 guys who count as starters to go around among 30 teams. That's about 3 per team. Each one of those teams has two more starter slots to fill from the bunch of guys who pitch less than 25 games.

What I think you've found with the 110 number is the average ERA+ of #2 starters.
   46. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 08, 2006 at 02:18 PM (#2255350)
If you can start 25 games at the big league level without (a) getting hurt or (b) getting fired, there's a very good chance you're at least an average major league baseball player. And as Bill James said, most of the value produced by ballplayers over the history of the game comes simply from the upgrade from replacement level to average.
   47. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: December 08, 2006 at 02:22 PM (#2255352)
So there were actually 43 above-average starters.
Under your definition, here's what the typical opening day rotation looks like:

SP Above average
SP Average
SP Below average
SP Below average
SP Below average

This does not work for any definition of "average" that I can understand.
   48. bibigon Posted: December 08, 2006 at 04:39 PM (#2255460)
This does not work for any definition of "average" that I can understand.


Look up the difference between mean and median. I'm not saying it explains the data, but it certainly could - if the distribution of talent is irregular.
   49. Spivey Posted: December 09, 2006 at 02:03 AM (#2256018)
Quick check... In 2006, my Access query came back with 86 pitchers who started 25 or more games (doesn't include pitchers who pitched 25 or more over multiple teams, such as Maddux and a few others). So there were actually 43 above-average starters. The median ERA+ was 103.5 (weighted mean of this subgroup was 107), which is on the lower side of where it is historically.

The problem with this analysis is guys that are sucking are not allowed to make 25 starts - and that generally has little to do with if they're healthy. If Ramirez is sporting an ERA around 5.5 in Safeco after 20 starts he could easily be canned.
   50. darrylzero Posted: December 16, 2006 at 12:11 AM (#2262730)
I'm a Mariners fan and a big Soriano fan, and I don't like this trade. But I think people are being a little optimistic about him in this thread. Flashes of greatness, yes, but he's getting expensive for a reliever and might not make a great starter. Probably better than Ramirez, but I think more people than just Bavasi in the organization didn't think that would work. Plus Ramirez is a lefty GBer. Bad trade but not horrible.

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