Demarini, Easton and TPX Baseball Bats
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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Tigers - Acquired Renteria
Detroit Tigers - Acquired SS Edgar Renteria from the Atlanta Braves for P Jair Jurrjens and OF Gorkys Hernandez
Yeargh, they’re starting quickly this offseason. Note to GMs - please refrain from trades and signings until the Winter Meetings since my first projections will be done by then and it’ll make everything more organized for me. Of course, I’ve also pleaded to both secular and cosmic authorities to prevent the Orioles from making stupid moves every winter for the last 10 years, so it seems that none of Peter Angelos, Syd Thrift, Baby Jesus, God, Flying Spaghetti Monster, Joseph Smith, or the universe’s primordial condition of enormous density and temperature really care about my opinion.
I’m usually a fan of Dombrowski, but this trade just strikes me as odd. Perhaps I’m missing something, but this strikes me as a waste of resources. It seems they got in their heads that the best way to fix a 1B hole, partially of their own making, is to move an excellent overall SS to be a merely above-average 1B. Not to mention that they also got it in their heads that Carlos Guillen had become an inadequate SS, when there’s no evidence of that and selling Guillen on the move by inserting another mediocre-but-not-bad defensive shortstop that’s the same age as Guillen.
Yes, Renteria’s a good player but the Tigers have more pressing needs - they’re playing $13 million to Ivan Rodriguez to be a non-star because they have no other options, for instance. I know the Tigers have never been high on Shelton, but if he could just hit 350/450, which would be below-average, Guillen/Shelton would be as good as Renteria/Guillen and you can either keep Jurrjens for pitching depth or flip him for someone else, since everyone loves young pitchers that have had some success in the majors. Speaking of Shelton, I’m not one to go nuts about chemistry stuff, but you gotta feel for the guy. After his great April in 2006, he played poorly and gets sent to oblivion. Sean Casey’s acquired and plays equally as poorly as Shelton’s bad months and gets $4 million to come back for a silver plattered job. Shelton won’t hit like Pena did in 2007 obviously, but he’s another player that looked like an okay 1B that the team faulted for not being more.
Oh, that’s right, Renteria-for-Jurrjens. We’ve been talking a lot about BABIP lately and we shall continue to here as Renteria had a .332 BA this season, thanks to a robust .375 BABIP, 50 points above his norm. Combine a BABIP coming back to his more usual level, a change in league and a change to a tougher park, and being a non-star in his 30s, and there’s certainly potential for disappointment.
From a roster management standpoint, this seems a better trade for the Braves. Like Renteria, Yunel Escobar also had a huge season, but he’s also a decade younger, the better fielder, and with the choice between kicking Kelly Johnson or Renteria to the curb, I think the Braves made the right one. Starting pitching depth was a real problem for the Braves, with Lance Cormier, Mark Redman, Buddy Carlyle, Kyle Davies, and Jo-Jo “Reggie Cleveland” Reyes being pretty awful behind the big 3. If Chuck James tweaks something or General Zod shows his age, the Braves starting rotation could look pretty comical quickly. I’m not sure how Jurrjens actually gets batters out or why ZiPS seems to love him every single year, but he certainly looks like an upgrade over the peanut gallery or hanging out at Kamp Hampton waiting for Mike Hampton to bring food and smite your enemies. I’m going to continue to disbelieve the projection for Jurrjens. Maybe I accidentally programmed a pro-Dutch agenda.
There’s also Gorkys Hernandez who’s still too far away to really get a good handle on, but he’s got solid tools and a very strong arm and didn’t embarrass himself too badly for West Michigan. There was also a coaching issue - there were no bilingual players or a translator on the Whitecaps, which would seem to make instruction harder, which is pretty important for a rather raw player.
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