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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Phillies - Acquired Triple U

Philadelphia Phillies - Acquired P Ugueth Urbina and IF Ramon Martinez from the Detroit Tigers for IF Placido Polanco.

I was all prepared to complain about Ed Wade’s pointless reliever transaction of the year, but this is a much better move than past adventures.  The Philly bullpen has been terrible but Urbina, unlike some of Wade’s previous acquistions, actually represents an improvement on existing players.

Do I like Polanco?  Yes - he’s a legitimate starter at 2B, 3B, and SS, but if the Phils are only going to use him over Utley and not bench David Bell, he’s not of much value to the Phillies.  Polanco had limited trade value, too - he’s on a 1-year contract and not very happy in Philadelphia.

The Tigers will use Polanco at short if Guillen’s not OK and will likely bench Infante if Guillen is.

2005 ZiPS Projection - Placido Polanco
——————————————————————————————————
Period     AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
——————————————————————————————————
Actual ‘05 158 26   50   7 0   3 20 12   9   0 .316 .376 .418
Rest ‘05   312 47   95 15 1   7 41 21 23   2 .304 .360 .426
——————————————————————————————————
Total ‘05 470 73 145 22 1 10 61 33 32   2 .309 .365 .423

 

2005 ZiPS Projection - Ugueth Urbina
—————————————————————————————-
Period     W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
—————————————————————————————-
Actual ‘05   1   3 25   0   27   21   8   4 14 31 2.63
Rest ‘05   3   2 43   0   44   35   20   5 22 52 4.09
—————————————————————————————-
Total ‘05   4   5 68   0   71   56   28   9 36 83 3.53

 

2005 ZiPS Projection - Ramon Martinez
——————————————————————————————————
Period     AB   R   H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB   BA   OBP   SLG
——————————————————————————————————
Actual ‘05 56   4   15   1 0   0   5   3   4   0 .268 .305 .286
Rest ‘05   150 13   39   8 1   1 14 13 23   0 .260 .323 .347
——————————————————————————————————
Total ‘05 206 17   54   9 1   1 19 16 27   0 .262 .318 .330

Dan Szymborski Posted: June 08, 2005 at 10:04 PM | 43 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Los Angeles Waterloo of Black Hawk Posted: June 08, 2005 at 10:26 PM (#1390955)
Is Polanco a legit SS at this point? Aside from one game there this season, he hasn't played there since 2002.
   2. Spiritualized Posted: June 08, 2005 at 10:30 PM (#1390960)
Hi, my name is Ed W. and I am an addict.

For several years now I have been addicted to acquiring costly and unnecessary veteran journeyman relievers for prospects. As a result, my team’s bullpen routinely has a payroll of $20 million. That money could be better spent elsewhere, especially since halfway decent situational relievers like Matt Perisho (.130 BA vs. righties) are available for a fraction of the price. I’ve given up second round picks for Mike Jackson, who didn’t pitch an inning after I signed him, and Rheal Cormier. I’ve given up a third round pick for Joe Table. I’ve paid $17 million to Billy Wagner so he could make 70 appearances a year.

I acquired Todd Jones. Turk Wendell. Paul Spojaric. Dennis Cook. Terry Adams – twice.

I gave up Anderson Machado, Elizardo Ramirez, Eziquiel Astacio, Taylor Buchholz and Brandon Duckworth to name a few. All for a few holds and saves.

I know I’ve got a problem. I tried to quit this offseason. I picked up Aaron Fultz and Pedro Liriano off waivers. I renewed Geoff Geary’s contract. I let Todd Jones and Roberto Hernandez go. That’s a start, right?

Then I started to backslide. I resigned Cormier. And Terry Adams. And then my bullpen struggled – so what was I supposed to do? Have patience with Rob Tejada, Geary and Amaury Telemaco? Bring up Mike Bacsik or Liriano?

No, because I am powerless to my addiction. Today I really fell off the wagon hard. I traded Placido Polanco – an all-star second baseman if you project his 2004 stats over a 162 game schedule – and all I got in return was Ugueth Urbina and Ramon Martinez.

Now I’ve got to play David Bell, his bad back and his terrible glove at third base for the entire season. And my bullpen still costs roughly $20 million. I could’ve signed Wade Miller, whose arbitration eligible, to be my fifth starter for $1.5 million. I could’ve hired a good pitching coach like Florida’s Mark Wiley to turn young and/or inexpensive arms into quality relievers.

But I’m unable.

My name is Ed W. and I am addicted to outrageously expensive and thoroughly replaceable veteran relievers.
   3. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: June 08, 2005 at 10:38 PM (#1390970)
Nice Post J Spaceman
   4. Harris Posted: June 08, 2005 at 10:42 PM (#1390975)
I was truly hoping after last night's game that Manuel/Wade had decided to start playing Polanco at 3rd over David Bell. I was really excited about this season, oh well, just when I thought they had it figured out. Let the nosedive begin as David Bell can be more comfortable hitting infield flies and GIDPs and not have to worry about playing time. Damn, I'd rather have Tomas Perez at third.

Don't forget the acquisition of Rodriguez last year for Ricky Ledee. damn damn damn Bullpen was getting so much better since we cut Adams and Worrell went to the loonie bin. So long as we didn't give Fultz the ball. arrrgh.
   5. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: June 08, 2005 at 11:20 PM (#1391064)
I gave up Anderson Machado, Elizardo Ramirez, Eziquiel Astacio, Taylor Buchholz and Brandon Duckworth to name a few. All for a few holds and saves.

In other words, you gave up zero value and got a little bit in return. I think this is a good deal for the Phillies. Polanco was going to be on the bench anyway since Utley can flat out crush the ball, and they get a good reliever and a serviceable, though inferior, replacement for Polanco. For Detroit, I could easily see this deal turn out good or bad.
   6. The Spanish Inquisition Posted: June 09, 2005 at 12:19 AM (#1391331)
R when Baseball Primer was full of humourous posts like #2, as anyone was free to post without having to undergo mandatory registration and all posts could be attributed to anybody the poster wanted (in this case, "Ed Wade")? Now the best we can hope for is somebody using their "handle" and risking their "reputation" to crack a joke.

HELP ME CAMPAIGN FOR ABOLISHING REGISTRATION!!!
   7. The Spanish Inquisition Posted: June 09, 2005 at 12:20 AM (#1391335)
Remember when Baseball Primer was full of humourous posts like #2, as anyone was free to post without having to undergo mandatory registration and all posts could be attributed to anybody the poster wanted (in this case, "Ed Wade")? Now the best we can hope for is somebody using their "handle" and risking their "reputation" to crack a joke.

HELP ME CAMPAIGN FOR ABOLISHING REGISTRATION!!!
   8. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: June 09, 2005 at 12:28 AM (#1391369)
So all it took to get Polanco was an overpaid/overhyped right-handed reliever and a replacement level utility infielder? Where were the Yankees? That's an acquisition price that they actually might have been able to meet.

But hey, who needs an upgrade at 2B when you've got Cano and his .261/.409?
   9. Dr Love Posted: June 09, 2005 at 12:54 AM (#1391432)
LMAO. Another middle reliever for Slowhand. Attaboy Ed.

At least it's an actual good one though.

#2 forgot Matt Williams, Valerio De Los Santos, Felix Rodriguez...
   10. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: June 09, 2005 at 01:05 AM (#1391480)
Nobody expects post #6...or #7...!
   11. PhillyBooster Posted: June 09, 2005 at 02:20 AM (#1391797)
I sort of see it like Aqua Man. If you're Aqua Man, you think every problem can be solved through long distance underwater swimming, talking to the dolphins, and rounding up a giant squid to do your bidding.

Sometimes the evil guy is trying to take over the Gobi Desert, but hey, you're Aqua Man. That's your shtick.

Well, Ed Wade is Aqua Man. The masses were crying out, "Where, oh where, can we find a General Manager who can acquire for us an adequate bullpen arm for fair value?"

Suddenly, there was an evil force causing losses that Aqua Man was actually equipped to handle!

If this were the comic books, there would be a problem that could be solved through acquisition of an adequate middle reliever once every month. Unfortunately, life isn't like Aqua Man.
   12. phatj Posted: June 09, 2005 at 02:36 AM (#1391843)
Awesome, PhillyBooster.

I like this trade, with reservations. What exactly is the point of Ramon Martinez on the Phillies? They already have Tomas Perez, who can play all IF positions, isn't awful with the bat, and swings a mean pie to boot. Unless the Tigers wanted the Phillies to take him and his salary, I don't get it. I would much rather have acquired a prospect, even a marginal one.
   13. PhillyBooster Posted: June 09, 2005 at 03:01 AM (#1391908)
Um, best I can come up with there is that Ramon Martinez is actually from Philadelphia. As in born there.

Maybe he's got a standing request to be traded to Philly as the extra guy whenever they work out deals?

Either that or that disease that David Bell has that causes him to be unable to hit with runners in or out of scoring position is fatal.

Where have you gone Travis Chapman? Our ballteam turns its lonely eyes to you. Woo woo woo.

[RIP Anne Bancroft]
   14. Sam M. Posted: June 09, 2005 at 03:11 AM (#1391927)
I let Todd Jones and Roberto Hernandez go. That’s a start, right?

See, that's what triggered Wade's fall off the wagon.

Jones: 1.42 ERA, 19/10 K/W ratio, 9/10 S/SO

Hernandez: 2.52 ERA, 1.04 K/IP, 26/11 K/W ratio.

Once Wade got a look at those numbers, he was doomed. His mistake was not acquiring these guys. It was letting them go too soon.
   15. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 09, 2005 at 04:09 AM (#1392078)
Remember when Baseball Primer was full of humourous posts like #2,

The horse you're beating is long dead.

It's nice to be able to actually have conversations and debates again, rather than threads consisting of dozens of consecutive "fake name jokes," of which maybe 10% were funny.

If you need a false identity to make a joke, it probably isn't funny in the first place.
   16. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: June 09, 2005 at 05:00 AM (#1392173)
It's nice to be able to actually have conversations and debates again, rather than threads consisting of dozens of consecutive "fake name jokes," of which maybe 10% were funny.

Yeah, but the ones that actually succeeded in being funny were *very* funny. Laugh out loud stuff.
   17. mr. man Posted: June 09, 2005 at 05:06 AM (#1392176)
what does this mean for madson? will he still rank above UUU? or will they split the setup job?
   18. mr. man Posted: June 09, 2005 at 05:07 AM (#1392178)
or is madson going to be starting by season's end?
   19. mr. man Posted: June 09, 2005 at 05:08 AM (#1392180)
that is, wade will find a way to eliminate starters entirely, pithcing the games with 6-7 relievers, where each guy pitches 1/2 innings?
   20. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 09, 2005 at 05:09 AM (#1392181)
What's the velocity on his fastball. I was in Wrigley when he blew away the Cubs hitters.

The man looked very impressive for an inning of work.
   21. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: June 09, 2005 at 05:09 AM (#1392182)
Add ?s where appropriate
   22. Floyd Thursby Posted: June 09, 2005 at 07:33 AM (#1392259)
Given the Phillies needs and surpluses (surpli?), this was a very reasonable trade.

Very, very reasonable trade.

The Giants traded their version of Gavin Floyd and Ryan Cameron for the same thing, minus the quasi-useful utilityman garnered in addition to the reliever.

And Primer hasn't been as fun since the switchover. Not really close, if you ask me. I'd wade through several Ackbars to get to that one nugget of impersonation gold, and it'd be worth it. Minority opinion, I know.
   23. baudib Posted: June 09, 2005 at 08:00 AM (#1392265)
The problem with this is that it comes two years too late.

If the Phillies had acquired Urbina instead of Williams in 2003, they likely would have beaten out the Marlins for the wildcard. There were three games in which Williams and Urbina pitched against each other, and all three games resulted in a Williams blown save or loss and an Urbina win or save.

Cynically, you could say that this gives the Phils TWO relievers they can peddle as closers at the trade deadline.

All in all, not a bad deal. It is quite possible that Urbina will be the best reliever to change teams in midseason, and they didn't give up someone who was vital or a decent prospect.
   24. Dr. Vaux Posted: June 09, 2005 at 09:47 AM (#1392280)
Boy, wouldn't it be nice if this trade meant Madson in the rotation?
   25. Harris Posted: June 09, 2005 at 12:01 PM (#1392304)
I prefer to keep Madson in the pen. He's started one game and it was miserable. I realize its a catch-22, kinda like not starting a guy so you can save him to pitch hit in a critical situation (dumb dumb dumb), but if it ain't broke.....
   26. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: June 09, 2005 at 12:05 PM (#1392308)
PhBoost (#11) Absolutely awesome analogy. Proof that you don't have to post under a phony handle and be hilaripus.
I don't know what getting Ramon Martinez does for the team other than I don't think there are any reasonable alternatives in AAA. Not much pop off the bench now -- only Michaels or Lofton are players that I like to see come up.
   27. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: June 09, 2005 at 12:05 PM (#1392309)
and be hilaripus=to be hilaripus
   28. Larry Bowa Posted: June 09, 2005 at 12:06 PM (#1392310)
Fellas,

[drinks]

I... I just don't know what to say. I'm speechless.

The problem with Ed ****ing Wade is that he is all surface and no substance. Contrary to popular belief, he actually (I think) makes trades that--on the surface--satisfy the WIP crowd by "giving them what they want"--be it a CF (Lofton), or a starting pitcher (Milton/Lieber) or a reliever (too numerous to mention).

The thing is, he doesn't look at the trade going forward--he always views trades through the Dark Cloudy Prism of Past Performance. To wit the following quote:

"We're adding a guy who was closing with another club and was very, very effective over the course of his career," Wade said. "He's pitched on a championship team and can pitch effectively in tight situations."

Now... this is a guy who just thinks, flat-out, that past performance guarantees future results.

ED YOU STUPID **** IT DOES NOT! WAKE UP YOU ****ING PENCILNECKED PUTZ!

This is, has been, and always will be the problem with Ed ****ing Wade and the entire Phillies organization.

I'm not saying Urbina will fall off a cliff--he may pitch well. And I'm not saying he could have gotten more for Polanco--I'm not sure he could have. It's just that this trade was precipitated by his mis-read of the market, offering Polanco arbitration, and his refusal to make Forrest Gump make Tejada into the 7th inning set-up man he should be.

Philly is hopeless, hopeless, hopeless.

I stand by my 75-win prediction. Watching the bottom drop out will be fun.

Oh--and those of you who think Wagner or Urbina will get traded by July 31 if they fall out of contention... Nope. Not gonna happen. Why? Because Ed Wade never admits the Phillies are out of contention until the math says they are. Hence, they're never sellers.

I even predict they offer Urbina arbitration for 2006. And he'll accept.

Your pal,
Larry

PS--the mood stabilizers seem to be working.
   29. A different Terry Posted: June 09, 2005 at 12:51 PM (#1392342)
PhillyBooster--spot on. Very apt, very funny.

Harris--if you're going to judge whether a guy can start or not on one away game on a windy June night in Chicago against the 2004 White Sox, you're going to eliminate a lot of good pitchers. Yes, he stunk up the joint that night, but Madson's a good young arm and can probably be used a lot more effectively (and for way more innings) than he is now.

Ultimately what bugs me about the trade is that it's just so damn boring (whoa, another middle reliever, whoa) along with the fact that the Phillies now just have Ugeth Urbina and a 32-year-old (!) utility guy to show for Scott Rolen. It's like having Tomas Perez's twin on the roster. Yawn.
   30. philly Posted: June 09, 2005 at 12:52 PM (#1392343)
Now... this is a guy who just thinks, flat-out, that past performance guarantees future results.

That's quite true, but I'd add one little bit on top of it. Wade seems to fix his opinions about these veterans at the very peak of their past perforamnce.

Guys like Tim Worrell and Mike Williams were decent closers for single seasons in their careers and therefore to Wade they are always viewed as former closers.

Rheal Cormier had one big year for Philly and Wade basically talks about him as if that year was just a normal Cormier year.
   31. Gainsay Posted: June 09, 2005 at 01:59 PM (#1392420)
While I don't like this deal from the Phillies side, I just don't understand it from the Detroit side.

Detroit isn't going anywhere this year, and Polanco is only signed through the year. Maybe they're planning on trying to sign him longer term and just wanted to get an exclusive negotiating window.

Or maybe they think they can flip him before the deadline for more than UUU.

Has the Detroit front office commented on any of this?
   32. Harris Posted: June 09, 2005 at 02:38 PM (#1392467)
While I admit that the Madson start was a ridiculously small sample size under poor pitching conditions, I think he is flourishing in his current role and the starting pitching is not so bad as to warrant his insertion just yet. It's a nice luxury to have a reliable set-up guy who can go three-four innings if necessary. I like Madson where he his and he appears comfortable there. Should Padilla have more arm trouble maybe move Madson, until then, I'll take his setting up UUU and Wagner. Maybe we could play Madson at third.......
   33. Spiritualized Posted: June 09, 2005 at 03:15 PM (#1392567)
Some people didn’t like my initial posting (although I did incorporate actual bits of analysis). So I’ll explain in a more straightforward manner why I dislike this deal and why, upon further review, expensive journeymen relievers are not Ed Wade’s problem. They are a symptom of Ed Wade’s real failing.

Here is Ed Wade’s real failing: He throws resources at a problem.

Need a setup man? Trade an all-star caliber infielder for one.

Need a closer? Trade two prospects and a starter.

Need a starter? Trade a prospect and a valuable utility man.

Need a first baseman? Overpay for a big name.

On just about every occasion that Ed Wade feels he needs to acquire a player – even if the need is legitimate – he simply throws money and prospects at the problem. And on just about every occasion, he could’ve found another player at a more reasonable cost.

Anderson Machado and Elizardo Ramirez probably won’t amount to much. But they’re two less prospects that Wade could’ve packaged for an actual talent, not Todd Jones. Meanwhile in Minnesota, Carlos Silva is one of the league ERA leaders and Nick Punto continues to be a cheaper, better version of Tomas Perez. But it was great to acquire Eric Milton because he told us how much he wanted to stay in Philly. And no one delivers a shaving cream pie like Perez.

Instead of acquiring high-priced talent, why not take all those prospects that Mike Arbuckle & Co. crank out on a routine basis (check out Alan Schwarz’s column in last Sunday’s New York Times) and DEVELOP them? Why hire Joe Kerrigan and Rich Dubee if you’re not going to develop guys like Ramirez, Silva, Adam Eaton (remember he was traded for Andy Ashby?), Geoff Geary, etc?

As someone earlier pointed out, the Urbina trade was a result of Wade misjudging the free agent market for Polanco. I would go further and say that Wade doesn’t understand arbitration, free agency, trades or the Rule 5 draft.

For all those people out there who like this trade and now have jumped on the Ed Wade bandwagon, ask yourself: How good a job would Ed Wade do if he only had $75 million to work with? How good a job would Ed Wade do if Dave Montgomery told him to cut payroll this past offeason from $93 million to $80 million?

The Phillies may well win the division this year and I’ll be cheering all the way. But they’ll win it despite Ed Wade, not because of him. Anybody with a big checkbook can sign Jim Thome.
   34. PhillyBooster Posted: June 09, 2005 at 03:58 PM (#1392670)
Has the Detroit front office commented on any of this?

Here's what I've got from the Detroit side. It ain't pretty.

"The Detroit Tigers had no choice but to trade Ugueth Urbina, after the relief pitcher drank too much and fought with teammates on the team flight to Los Angeles Sunday night. But the early reviews are that the Tigers did well in Wednesday's trade, which sent Urbina and utility infielder Ramon Martinez to Philadelphia for second baseman Placido Polanco."
   35. Harris Posted: June 09, 2005 at 04:41 PM (#1392768)
Need a first baseman? Overpay for a big name.

Does Travis Lee count there as well?
   36. Larry Bowa Posted: June 09, 2005 at 06:42 PM (#1393082)
"The Detroit Tigers had no choice but to trade Ugueth Urbina, after the relief pitcher drank too much and fought with teammates on the team flight to Los Angeles Sunday night. But the early reviews are that the Tigers did well in Wednesday's trade, which sent Urbina and utility infielder Ramon Martinez to Philadelphia for second baseman Placido Polanco."

Uh-oh, Eddie... The team already has one inveterate drunk, and now you seem to have added another...

BTW--I agree with the assessment that Ed Wade will not do well in 2 years (if he's still GM) when David Montgomery throws a meaty paw around him and says "Son, we're takin' this payroll down to $75 million. Get it done by Spring Training."

I've said this a lot elsewhere in other threads over the past two years--the difference in organizations/organizational philosophies between the Yankees and the Phillies is not as great as one might think--the Phillies run their club basically the same way as the Yankees, only with half the payroll and worse player assessment.
   37. Psychedelic Red Pants Posted: June 09, 2005 at 08:37 PM (#1393431)
Or maybe they think they can flip him before the deadline for more than UUU.

That's my thinking on the matter.
   38. Too Much Coffee Man Posted: June 09, 2005 at 09:31 PM (#1393580)
I agree in large part w/ Spiritualized. The trade was good in that in brought in a piece that the Phillies can use. Depending on what you think of Cormier, the Phils now have two or three very solid guys to work the 7th and 8th, leaving the 9th to Wagner. I predict that you'll see a vintage Jim Tracy pattern where Madsen (being less experienced) becomes the 7th inning reliever, Urbina the 8th, and Wagner the 9th.

But, it seems like a lot to pay for that guy. There's probably other reliable pitchers you can pick up for less, and Polanco could have brought more going elsewhere. Now, the "more" might have been something you already have, like an everyday LF. But, a really smart GM would have maximized the haul for Polanco then flipped that into something that solves a problem and adds organizational depth.
   39. PhillyBooster Posted: June 10, 2005 at 02:04 AM (#1394287)
Thoughts after one day of UUU:

Oy.
   40. Adam B. Posted: June 10, 2005 at 06:42 PM (#1395623)
Seriously, he's not sharing a room with Padilla on the road, is he?
   41. Sparkles Peterson Posted: June 12, 2005 at 02:06 AM (#1398477)
#1 I don't see that the skillset is that different for a shortstop than it is for a 2B. Polanco is a superlative 2B and his arm wasn't an issue when he played shortstop and third base previously, so he should still be perfectly capable of playing short.

#6/7 Primer was awesome for a good long while, probably better than it is now, but at some point it turned into another Fark and is was painful to wade through dozens of cliched jokes that people were posting strictly for the sake of posting a cliched joke.

#11 Brilliant. I'm stealing that joke at every opportunity for the rest of my life.

#31 Ditto. Whoever taught Polanco to take a walk and hit for occasional power once he came to Philadelphia turned him into a really valuable ballplayer, but nobody has as much value as an Urbina-type proven closer when August rolls around.
   42. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: June 12, 2005 at 08:39 AM (#1398836)
I just stumbled onto this article when researching Polanco's salary. I don't remember reading it or a similar account back in March.

Detroit would seem to me to be a hard place for Polanco to try to put up the power numbers he'll need for a big multiyear contract. Small sample, but his ISO in Philly was pretty weak.

Katz is pretty well-respected in GM circles and if Polanco's not careful with how he's perceived in Detroit, he may find himself branded as a general malcontent, which very well might cost him some money or security this coming offseason.
   43. Dan The Mediocre Posted: June 12, 2005 at 09:14 AM (#1398845)
I'd be willing to bet that Polanco plays as hard as he can to get the type of contract the Cardinals offered him.

And if Grudz takes a dive, I expect the Cardinals to be the first team to make that offer.

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