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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Diamondbacks - Acquired Haren, Traded Valverde
Arizona Diamondbacks - Acquired P Danny Haren and P Connor Robertson from the Oakland A’s for OF Carlos
Gonzalez, 1B The Black Chris Carter, OF Aaron Cunningham, P Brett Anderson, P Greg Smith, and
P Jumbo Eveland.
Let’s just make this the super-sized Transaction Oracle!
For the first part of the trade, the Arizona-Oakland one, I like this trade from both sides. The A’s simply aren’t good
enough to catch the Angels this season and not good enough to catch 2 of New York-Boston-Detroit-Cleveland, so, as Beane
hinted at the end of the season, they’re going to rebuild here. They better be as that’s the only justification for
letting Haren, who’s signed cheaply for 3 more years, leave town. This does a good job at filling out some of the holes in
the minors for the green-and-gold and while none except for Gonzalez are real impact prospects, the A’s need to fish for a
real impact hitter and they’ve been very good at developing solid starters out of a mass of pitching prospects. Gonzalez
isn’t ready this year and Carter won’t be ready for a couple, but the A’s have 1B-DH-OF options to sort through the next few
years anyway. Same issue with Cunningham - they’re going to also play him at AAA while they sort out the aforementioned
options. So they gamble that one of Eveland-Smith-Anderson becomes a solid pitcher and come out ahead on the deal if it
works out. You have to give credit for Beane for discipline - when the time comes to rebuild, no half ass “OK, we’ll take
lesser prospects if you throw in a guy who’s a major leaguer!”
From the Diamondbacks point-of-view, they have farm system that’s developed a lot of value and are one of the better teams in
the NL, so it was time to condense some of that talent pool. Minor leaguers aren’t just for using - they’re also for trading
when they need arises. This is something Terry Ryan didn’t do several years ago when the Twins had a lot of young
outfielders with trade value, they just sat on them until they disappointed, for one reason or another. One can’t help but
feel that Byrnes is smiling at the idea of Webb-Haren pitching a lot in the playoffs. He no doubt knows he’s giving up value
and that some of the players will be good players someday, but I think he recognizes the cost.
Then, there’s the other half of the trade. It’s OK from Arizona’s perspective - I’m not a huge fan of the players coming
back. Qualls shouldn’t be that steep of a downgrade and Burke has role player use and Gutierrez still has upside, but given
that Valverde’s a Magical Proven Closer, I would think he could get a little more in return.;
As for the Astros, they get another really solid reliever, but from a tactical standpoint, this is an absolute nightmare.
They’ve emptied out what was left of the scraps of their farm system and still only have 1 starting pitcher. If any
starting position players get injured, this could get ugly fast - Loretta will have to replace an injured Matsui at some
point, leaving them essentially with Cruz Jr. and Blum. No team that thinks they’re in contention should be a couple of bad
hops from Geoff Blum, Starting 1B. Yes, the bullpen should be pretty good. When they come in for the 6th inning with the
team behind 7-1, they’ll keep that lead from becoming 7 on the way to an Astros 7-2 loss.
Now, could teams stop making huge trades and ex-Senators stop releasing cover-your-ass reports for a few days so I can finish
the damn Rockies projections?
More projections soon! I’m late for a dinner reservation - I didn’t expect something like this to pop up.
Addendum: Alberto Callaspo was also traded for Billy Buckner. The Royals get the wife-beating discount here. The Diamondbacks clearly didn’t have him in their plans and with the Royals looking to acquire young players that can hit anything, they figured it was worth a shot for a soon-to-be organizational pitcher. Grudz is still the starter, but the team doesn’t consider German good enough defensively to play 2nd full-time, so Callaspo might get a shot at a starting job in 2009, provided he behaves himself.
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