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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Brewers - Acquired Koskie

Milwaukee Brewers - Acquired 3B Corey Koskie from the Toronto Blue Jays for P Brian Wolfe.

I’ve liked a lot of things the Blue Jays have done this offseason.  This isn’t one of them.

Troy Glaus wants to play 3rd.  Considering the fact that they’re already weakening their infield defense with the loss of Orlando Hudson, they really needed to keep their best defensive 3rd baseman on the team and starting at 3rd.  If things couldn’t be worked out with Troy Glaus on a move to 1B or DH, then the Jays really shouldn’t have pulled the trigger on the trade.  That they did anyway and appear to be letting Glaus stay at 3rd has hurt the team and limited the gain that the pickup of Glaus would make.

Corey Koskie had a disappointing, injury-filled 2005 season.  I can understand a team trying to contend not wanting to take a chance on Koskie if they can give him away, but the Blue Jays are paying the vast majority of Koskie’s contract to not play for them.  If they’re not saving a heap of dough (it appears the Brewers are only paying 4-5 million of the remaining 2 years!) then it’s a far better idea to play Koskie at 3rd and hope he returns to being a quality player.  And before 2005, he was undoubtedly a quality player - every year from 1999-2004 was at least a very good season for Koskie.

For the Brewers, there’s nothing to dislike about this pickup.  They get a high-upside 3B for much less than they would pay on the open market (2 years, $4-5 million total) and for that bargain, only give up a waiver-wire pitcher who is unlikely to ever help a major league team.

Thumbs up for Doug Melvin.  ZiPS likes this trade better than I do.

2006 ZiPS Projection - Corey Koskie
————————————————————————————-
AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
————————————————————————————-
402 54   95 23 1 14 53 55 105   5 .236 .336 .403

 

2006 ZiPS Projection - Brian Wolfe
———————————————————————-
W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
———————————————————————-
3   5 36   3   66   73   38   9 26 32 5.18

Dan Szymborski Posted: January 08, 2006 at 07:37 PM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: January 08, 2006 at 09:49 PM (#1811533)
More evidence that Doug Melvin is not only a competent GM, but probably one of the top 10 in the game right now--and more evidence that JP isn't. Although I'm already convinced on both counts.
   2. Excel Hearts Choi Posted: January 08, 2006 at 10:11 PM (#1811570)
Funny, Melvin has such a bad name in the Dallas area given his final moves for the Rangers. The sad thing is, the young players for the Rangers are not attributed to Melvin, but to Hart (Teixeira, etc.). As a Rangers fan, I watch the moves of the Brewers because I feel Hicks unfairly gave up on Melvin.
   3. Bromadrosis Posted: January 08, 2006 at 10:20 PM (#1811588)
Or you could just not give up anything for another year of Bill Hall.
   4. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: January 08, 2006 at 10:43 PM (#1811615)
Or you could just not give up anything for another year of Bill Hall.

A Koskie/Hall platoon at third (with Hall getting additional time at short and second) is an improvement over Hall playing 150+ games at third, IMHO. If the Brewers were paying Koskie's entire contract, I wouldn't be so high on picking him up. But for $2M/yr for the next two years (plus half his 2008 buyout), he's a very useful addition. The trick for both maximizing his value and avoiding his 2008 option from vesting to make sure that he gets less than 400 PA over the next two years*.

*-according to Cots, his $6.5M option vests with either 600 PA in 2006 or 2007, or with 1200 PA total from 2005-07. He had 404 PA in 2005, so that leaves 796 (398/yr) left for 2006-7.
   5. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: January 08, 2006 at 10:49 PM (#1811622)
BTW, over his career, Koskie is .288/.384/.486 against righties (2263 AB) and only .247/.331/.377 against lefties (879 AB). So platooning him to avoid vesting his option is not only an optimal financial strategy, but it's also an obviously optimal strategy for maximizing offensive production.
   6. Matthew E Posted: January 08, 2006 at 11:02 PM (#1811640)
I can't really agree with the analysis... the Jays want to contend this year, and they already have enough things that they have to hope for without a return from Koskie being one of them. Plus, I have the notion that Koskie's career is basically over, and the Jays are doing well to move him out at all, and that they never should have signed him in the first place. Nothing against him, of course; I hope he can put it together again as a Brewer. But I'm not getting that vibe.
   7. Who Swished In Your Cornflakes? Posted: January 08, 2006 at 11:35 PM (#1811691)
I can't really agree with the analysis... the Jays want to contend this year, and they already have enough things that they have to hope for without a return from Koskie being one of them. Plus, I have the notion that Koskie's career is basically over, and the Jays are doing well to move him out at all, and that they never should have signed him in the first place. Nothing against him, of course; I hope he can put it together again as a Brewer. But I'm not getting that vibe.


I'd rather have a run-preventing defense than a lumbering ball-crushing DH playing in my infield.
   8. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 08, 2006 at 11:38 PM (#1811696)
A Koskie/Hall platoon at third (with Hall getting additional time at short and second) is an improvement over Hall playing 150+ games at third, IMHO.

Is it also better than a Branyan/Hall platoon?
   9. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: January 09, 2006 at 12:57 AM (#1811763)
Is it also better than a Branyan/Hall platoon?

Depends. Koskie is .287/.388/.504 over the last three years vs RHP, while Branyan is .249/.366/.518, so that's a slight advantage to Koskie which grows when you take into consideration his defense. Branyan is signed for 800K + 400K in incentives, so the salary difference is about a million dollars. Worth paying for the defense, I think.

There's also the question of whether Bill Hall's platoon splits, and indeed his stats in general, from last year are legit. He hit .336/.407/.560 vs lefties against only .277/.319/.473 vs righties, but he'd hit righties better every other year of his career.
   10. Paul D(uda) Posted: January 09, 2006 at 01:07 AM (#1811775)
What evidence is there that Glaus is this monster at 3b? Aside from last year when he's been hurt, I don't think that the observations or metrics support that opinion.
Someone at battersbox had an interesting observation on Glaus' defence, commentating that because he's occaisionally erractic with his throws, he looks a lot worse than he actually is.
   11. My guest will be Jermaine Allensworth Posted: January 09, 2006 at 01:13 AM (#1811781)
Or you could just not give up anything for another year of Bill Hall.

I think this maximizes Hall's value. The infield has three question marks -- an injury-prone third baseman, a shaky second-year SS and a rookie 2B. Hall should get plenty of at-bats filling in for those three positions at various points rather than locking him it at one.
   12. The Mighty Quinn Posted: January 09, 2006 at 01:17 AM (#1811787)
It's pretty clear the Jay's think( and given the league lack of interest in trading for him others share that opinion) that Koskie is physically shot.

Any future projections need to keep that in mind. I love the guy, but he plays the game like a hockey player ( which he was as a former D-1 goalie with Minny-Duluth), with a reckless abandon that has destroyed his body.

Baseball is a game that requires pacing over its 190 game odd ( including exhibition) schedule, Koskie just can't seem to do that.
   13. philistine Posted: January 09, 2006 at 01:30 AM (#1811801)
While you can't blame Melvin for taking a chance on Koskie at 2m per, I think the question whether they actually need him is legitimate. A Branyan / Hall platoon looks more than adequate and still allows Hall to cover for any minor injuries in the infield. The extra 2 million does seem quite a lot to pay on the possible upgrade in defense. There probably is a greater need somewhere in the team that they could have spent the money on.

On the other hand, having too many good players is not usually a problem. Branyan looks better than one or two starting 3bs and could quite easily bring in something the Brewers need more in a trade during the season. And I don't think the Brewers will miss Brian Wolfe. So from my point of view, it's a great trade for Milwaukee.

As for Toronto, I really have very little faith in JP. To have Glaus at 3rd at the expense of losing Hudson, Koskie and Batista must surely weaken the team and is costing them millions for the privilege. While Milwaukee have Hall and Branyan on the bench, the Jays have Hill and Adams starting without much cover.
   14. Matthew E Posted: January 09, 2006 at 01:37 AM (#1811810)
I know the Jays' defense will be worse, but I don't think it'll be much worse. As Paul D commented above, is Glaus really that bad? Hill may be no Hudson at second, but he looked fine there last year. And Overbay at first is a big improvement, and it's possible that his ability to catch wild throws will make Glaus and Adams look better too. I'm going to miss Hudson as much as anybody but I don't think the sky is falling.
   15. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: January 09, 2006 at 01:52 AM (#1811821)
When I saw Glaus regularly with the Angels, his defense looked below average, but not awful. Strat-o-matic rated him a 2 before his shoulder problems, but has downgraded him to a 3 the last couple years.
   16. Spivey Posted: January 09, 2006 at 03:00 AM (#1811874)
A Koskie/Hall platoon would have Hall on the short end of the platoon and not really playing that much. Plus Koskie is getting older and is coming off an injury plagued season - it's not a given that his defense is going to be good. Personally, I'd still give Hall a fair amount of starts against RHP.
   17. NTNgod Posted: January 09, 2006 at 03:09 AM (#1811895)
Hall was a 'utility guy' last season. Some seem to be thinking of that as the type who gets 150-200 ABs for the season, when in reality, Hall was used more in the Tony Phillips sense - getting everyday ABs playing multiple IF positions (they also had him play some OF in spring training last year).

For much of the season, he'd start at 2B one day, SS the next, etc. He's not likely to be picking splinters out of his rear end this year, if still a Brewer.
   18. 1k5v3L Posted: January 09, 2006 at 03:24 AM (#1811910)
Last year, Glaus was horrible. No lateral movement at 3b. Slow reactions. I compared him to an Ent trying to field 3B, with two hobbits on his shoulders to boot. MGL wrote recently that Glaus was one of the worst defensive 3Bmen in the NL, sometime like -25 by UZR last year. Believe me, he was bad.

That being said, he was playing the entire season with a sore ligament behind his left knee, which pretty much meant he couldn't bend his knee much, if at all. He took several cortisone shots to the knee, but those didn't really help. The doctors assured him tho that his knee would be fully healthy with 8-10 weeks of rest, so he should be better next year. And he wasn't helped out by the fact that AZ had Royce Clayton next to him, whose range is probably worse than Troy's. Those two were horrendous together.
   19. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: January 09, 2006 at 03:32 AM (#1811923)
AZ had Royce Clayton next to him, whose range is probably worse than Troy's

Is that a joke? Clayton has very good range. When I saw him he looked good, his reputation is good, and strat-o-matic says he is good.
   20. 1k5v3L Posted: January 09, 2006 at 03:38 AM (#1811929)
When did you see Royce Clayton last, 1997?
   21. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: January 09, 2006 at 03:43 AM (#1811937)
I watch a lot of Dodger games. Clayton was on NL West teams the last two years, so I saw him a lot.
   22. 1k5v3L Posted: January 09, 2006 at 03:43 AM (#1811938)
[url="http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/fielding?groupId=9&seas>2005 qualified SS in baseball, ranked by ZR</a>

Clayton WAS better than Renteria, at least. I'm disappointed the Dbacks couldn't trade him for SaltDog. You know Clayton's gonna age better than Renteria... at least <a href="http://www.store44.com/irvinserrano/sports/irvinserranoS14.jpg"]Clayton[/url] isn't a fake like his siblings.
   23. 1k5v3L Posted: January 09, 2006 at 03:47 AM (#1811946)
Clayton has sure hands, and he gets rid of the ball very quickly. And he looks smooth fielding the balls he can get to. He just doesn't get to very many of them these days. I don't know how much UZR (dis)likes him, but I'll be shocked if he was in the + side of zero last year.
   24. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: January 09, 2006 at 03:50 AM (#1811951)
Wow. And zone rating really hates Guzman. It is suprising that somebody could keep a job being both a mendoza line hitter and a butcher in the field.

Overall, the zone rating rankings look about right, so I guess Clayton really is a poor fielder. Either my eyes deceived me, or Clayton just had a few good defensive games when I happened to be watching. I know that I should not base my thoughts about players on limited observation, but it is influencing.
   25. 1k5v3L Posted: January 09, 2006 at 03:57 AM (#1811956)
Clayton is a web gem magnet. He'd have one spectacular catch or throw or a DP in a game that would make you believe he's truly great, so that you can ignore the many balls that go by him, especially to his right. He's OK up the middle. And he's still very good at DPs. He and Couns were a great DP combo.
   26. AROM Posted: January 09, 2006 at 04:19 AM (#1812004)
Clayton, by ZR, was a real good defender from 96 to 2002, when he was a Cardinal, Ranger, and White Sock.

Since then, he's gotten old.
   27. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: January 09, 2006 at 04:48 AM (#1812043)
The extra 2 million does seem quite a lot to pay on the possible upgrade in defense.

Again, it's not an extra 2 million, as Koskie and Branyan are mutually exclusive. Branyan is making between 800K and 1.2M this year, so it's approximately an extra million.
   28. Nuclear Dish Posted: January 09, 2006 at 09:53 PM (#1812992)
I'm sorry. I must have missed the memo that said that Strat-o-matic is now a good gauge for fielding prowess.
   29. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 09, 2006 at 10:24 PM (#1813077)
Again, it's not an extra 2 million, as Koskie and Branyan are mutually exclusive. Branyan is making between 800K and 1.2M this year, so it's approximately an extra million.

I don't think that's necessarily true. Branyan would be an excellent bat off the bench and can "play" LF and 1B. If I'm Melvin, I'd keep Branyan around and have him and Hall become supersubs playing 4-5 times a week.
   30. The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: January 10, 2006 at 12:10 AM (#1813274)
No way that happens. It would be a repeat of last year, with Koskie taking Helms' roster spot and Branyan taking his role. The only reason they did it last year was because of the deal Helms signed the year previous. No way are they going to keep Branyan around if he's got a non-guaranteed contract, which he does.
   31. 1k5v3L Posted: January 10, 2006 at 02:13 AM (#1813492)
Branyan was DFAed today.
   32. Greg Maddux School of Reflexive Profanity Posted: January 10, 2006 at 03:09 AM (#1813587)
The A's fans were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of Kielty's platoon-mate danced in their heads
   33. The Answer to the TWolves (GMoney) Posted: January 10, 2006 at 04:19 AM (#1813708)
Where did you see the Branyan DFA?
   34. 1k5v3L Posted: January 10, 2006 at 04:26 AM (#1813721)
everywhere; rotoworld, eg.
   35. Michael Posted: January 10, 2006 at 04:31 AM (#1813736)
I agree with #13, Glaus cost too much in terms of talent and money when you count this Koskie give away.

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