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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Rangers - Acquired Riley

Texas Rangers - Acquired P Matt Riley from the Baltimore Orioles for OF Ramon Nivar

Here we have the ever-popular swap of disappointing prospects, neither of whom will do any better for their new teams than in their old uniforms.

I would hope that the Orioles are dumping Riley primarily because his stuff is mostly gone and his command is non-existent.  Even when Riley held the other team scoreless, he seemed to have no idea where the ball was going (the September 25 game against the Tigers featured some of the ugliest shutout pitching I’ve seen since Jeff Ballard).  The Orioles are probably trading Riley as much for his off-field problems; he’s generally been insubordinate and has a reputation for being a partier.

I’m taking that all with a grain of salt, however; the O’s have a history of leaking bad things about people that they want to get rid of - Roberto Alomar, Davey Johnson, Cal Pickering, Rocky Coppinger, David Wells, Kevin Brown being the obvious examples.  Hell, this is a team that actually felt the need to explain what a bad man Aaron Ledesma was after they exposed him to the expansion draft.

Will Riley do better in Texas?  I doubt it.  The Rangers have a terrible track record with pitchers of every stripe, let alone a pitcher that needs a lot of fixing.  Mazzone or Gullett might not be enough to help Riley turn his career around.

Now, what do they Orioles get/Rangers lose?  Ramon Nivar, a former prospect who has been passed by practically everyone in the Ranger organization.  They still played Nivar at 2nd frequently (he should have a FR rating in that DMB disk, but after not including it last year, I forgot to change that this year), but nobody believes that he’ll be anything but an outfielder at the major league level.  Nivar’s unlikely to be a plus for the Orioles at any point, but it’s not like he’s blocking anybody; we’ll find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq long before the Orioles’ current braintrust finds a hitting prospect.  Rangers won’t miss him.

Nivar, Ramon - 2005 ZiPS Projection
495 66 131 18 2   7 47 21 47 19 .265 .299 .352


Riley, Matt - 2005 ZiPS Projection
W   L   G GS   IP   H   ER HR BB SO   ERA
6   7 25 25 125 119   68 15 65 119 4.90


Dan Szymborski Posted: March 31, 2005 at 02:11 PM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 31, 2005 at 02:17 PM (#1225314)
I'm a little higher on Riley than you. But I think that's because he posted a 3.50 ERA in my DMB league last year.
   2. Brian Posted: March 31, 2005 at 03:15 PM (#1225392)
How does Gullett get mentioned in this kind of company? Or even with the next tier down?
My impression is that he had some success with a few scores of pitchers Bowden ran through Cincy but outside of a few successes he hasn't been a noteworthy pitching coach. Am I wrong? For every Elmer Dessens there is a Dempster or Claussen who he didn't help. Wilson finaly got healthy and is average anyway.

What has Gullett really done?
   3. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: March 31, 2005 at 03:43 PM (#1225433)
More so, Orel Hershisher (Rangers' PC) is starting to get a good rep. It's early in his career, no doubt, but Texas's pitching was respectable last year - which few saw coming.

As for Nivar, he's got tools and was decent in '03. I don't like him, but the O's farm system could use help from any and all comers; he won't hurt 'em.
   4. The Good Face Posted: March 31, 2005 at 04:35 PM (#1225486)
I like the trade from both sides, but think Texas came out slightly ahead. Riley may still have potential to become a valuable pitcher, but Nivar is a 5th outfielder at best. His only tools are speed and an ability to put the bat on the ball, but with virtually no power or plate discipline.
   5. RP Posted: March 31, 2005 at 04:41 PM (#1225499)
This trade is almost identical to the Kim trade. The orioles are basically dumping a frustrating player who doesn't have a place on the team and is out of options. It's frustrating that they only got Nivar in return, but maybe other teams are scared by Riley's reputation as a headcase and the Orioles figure it's addition by subtraction.
   6. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: March 31, 2005 at 05:46 PM (#1225615)
If Riley posts 125 innings of 4.90 ERA in Arlington, he'll be their #2 or #3 starter. Not a bad return for a pinch runner.
   7. David C. Jones Posted: March 31, 2005 at 06:15 PM (#1225651)
I don't like this trade from the Orioles perspective. Riley's BB/SO ratio is pretty good, and his off-field issues aside, whatever the hell those might be, he could easily emerge as a reliable #4 or #5 starter this year. Look, this is a team that has a starting rotation right now of what? Rodrigo Lopez, Daniel Cabrera, Erik Bedard, Sidney Ponson and a yet-to-be-determined #5 starter, though with Riley out of the picture it will probably be Bruce Chen. That is not the profile of a team that should be trading away any pitcher with the goods to potentially become a decent major league starter, which Riley certainly could become, unless you are getting something significant in return. Ramon Nivar is not that player. Bad trade for the Orioles. Good trade for the Rangers. As an Orioles fan, I'm disappointed. I absolutely hate the way the organization is constantly "running players out of town." To the above list, I would also add Jeffrey Hammonds and Armando Benitez.
   8. RP Posted: March 31, 2005 at 06:21 PM (#1225659)
If Riley posts 125 innings of 4.90 ERA in Arlington, he'll be their #2 or #3 starter. Not a bad return for a pinch runner.

Yikes. If that's true, it says more about the Rangers rotation than their return on this trade.
   9. Spivey Posted: March 31, 2005 at 06:40 PM (#1225683)
A 4.90 ERA in Arlington would very likely be an ERA+ over 100 (and even better when compared only to SP). Getting a SP who could be above average for Nivar is gold.
   10. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 31, 2005 at 06:41 PM (#1225685)
To the above list, I would also add Jeffrey Hammonds and Armando Benitez.

Add Jon Miller.
   11. RP Posted: March 31, 2005 at 06:43 PM (#1225691)
Is Riley's projection for Arlington?
   12. Spivey Posted: March 31, 2005 at 06:45 PM (#1225697)
Generally that's how Dan has done it I think, but I am not positive if that is the case for this.
   13. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 31, 2005 at 11:45 PM (#1226033)
I think that's the first time I've ever seen the phrase "Aaron Ledesma" as the emphasized part of a sentence.

I like Ramon Nivar because his name looks like an anagram.

   14. KJOK Posted: March 31, 2005 at 11:53 PM (#1226042)
Looks like a good trade for Texas. Nivar looks like he'll never hit enough for an OF, while Riley could still have an Alan Ashby or Todd Van Popel type career.
   15. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: April 02, 2005 at 12:08 AM (#1227251)
I think Matt's arm is still in pretty good shape. His 93-95 mph fastball is certainly good enough for a lefthanded starter or reliever, and his curveball is a thing of beauty when he's got it working - it's truly fun to watch.

But he's eight years into his professional career and still has major problems repeating his delivery and developing a plan for attacking hitters. Bedard, with a similar repertoire (although probably less talent), passed him on the fly in this regard. Riley's mechanics would change from game-to-game last year, causing his command to vascillate between good-enough and awful. When he found a delivery that worked he had enough talent to be semi-wild yet still shut down hitters with his filthy fastball/curveball combo. When his mechanics would get out of whack he would start falling off the mound to the 3rd base side, lose all command and eventually get pounded. He still seemed immature on the mound, strutting with bravado during strong games and acting like a guilty puppy during his off-day pummelings.

I started ranting about Riley to anybody who'd listen back in 1998, went to see him pitch at Bowie several times before his TJ, and have been following his roller-coaster career ever since. I'm kind of sad to see him go - hopefully Orel can help him make some use of his talent.
   16. Mike Emeigh Posted: April 02, 2005 at 01:09 AM (#1227325)
Nivar looks like he'll never hit enough for an OF, while Riley could still have an Alan Ashby or Todd Van Popel type career.

Why would you wish a Todd VanPoppel type of career on anyone?

And I think you meant Andy Ashby, not Alan.

-- MWE
   17. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: April 02, 2005 at 04:47 PM (#1227969)
Rangers have a terrible track record with pitchers of every stripe

Ryan Drese would beg to differ. Of course Doug Davis wouldn't.
   18. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: April 03, 2005 at 05:19 AM (#1228711)
"Why would you wish a Todd VanPoppel type of career on anyone?"
CBW would probably take it - as would thousands of guys.

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