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   1. Dan Posted: July 10, 2012 at 11:37 PM (#4179788)
Apparently Ellsbury will be activated to start the second half, and the Sox are looking into trading Sweeney once Crawford is back, presumably meaning Ross and Nava will split duties in RF.
   2. Dan Posted: July 10, 2012 at 11:45 PM (#4179797)
It's probably not the only factor or even the biggest factor, but the contributors toward the Red Sox offensive performance this season might have something to do with those numbers as well. In close games, you're facing good pitching, and the Red Sox simply haven't had any elite bats this season besides Ortiz. Ellsbury and Crawford are hurt, Pedroia has been some combination of hurt and slumping, Gonzalez is some sort of inexplicable mess, etc. So we're seeing a massive number of PA taken by players who are either platoon players, AAAA guys, or simply inexperienced. These types of hitters all seem somewhat more susceptible to opposing teams playing matchups and also are probably less likely to succeed against the frontline pitchers on opposing teams. So in close games, we're seeing good MLB relievers, and the hitters on the Red Sox simply don't match up well against those pitchers. And guys like Salty, Sweeney, Ross, etc. are having to face more pitching from their weak sides since the bench and lineup are depleted. Valentine has simply been forced into playing several platoon players fulltime.

It's late, I'm tired, and I really just came up with that, so I really don't have time to look into splits or anything but I'll try and take a look at it tomorrow if someone else with more time, more inclination, or more skill at parsing numbers doesn't beat me to it.

I think these factors are plausible, but I don't yet have any idea if the facts and numbers fit this narrative.
   3. Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 11, 2012 at 12:09 AM (#4179808)
I didn't go through the numbers systematically, but in addition to the poor performance in 1-run games (the O's are leading the majors at something like 16-6), I noticed that once you remove the blowouts (</= 5 runs by BBRef numbers) their RS/RA is essentially flat. Teams ahead of them all did better in games decided by fewer than five runs.

(did you really call out Simmons for not sourcing a tweet?)
   4. The District Attorney Posted: July 11, 2012 at 01:05 AM (#4179826)
The sort of thing that an underdog, populist sportswriter back in the early days of the internet might have railed against as pointless, elitist, lazy ####-slinging.
I dunno, was Simmons ever really this type? Having an innate distrust of "insider" "psychological" explanations seems like a specifically stathead worldview. Simmons' come-to-Jesus stathead column was only a couple of years ago, and he's pretty much walked it back with everything he's done since. I think he's always wanted and valued insider information, whether he was in a position to get it or not. He is surely a humongous "narrative" guy, and as far as I can recall, that has never changed much.

The theory of the article is interesting, but of course you realize that low morale might manifest in the guys simply playing worse, rather than only playing worse in the clutch. But, sure, it's possible it could manifest in that way instead. And it's also possible that Valentine is motivating the Sox very well, they'd be below .500 without him, and the only reason he catches crap is because people are trying to sell controversy and/or he's doing a worse job winning over reporters than he is running the team. That's the nature of intangibles; can't prove 'em. I don't think that trying to will intangibles into tangibility by defining them as "deviation from a mathematical formula that generally works" is likely to reveal much. But, let's see what we observe as time goes on.
   5. tjm1 Posted: July 11, 2012 at 01:21 AM (#4179831)
Simmons was always more open-minded than a lot of people. He used to run "daily links" on his Digital City site, and he often linked to sites like Baseball Prospectus in its early days.
   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 11, 2012 at 08:24 AM (#4179880)
I dunno, was Simmons ever really this type? Having an innate distrust of "insider" "psychological" explanations seems like a specifically stathead worldview.
I wasn't clear - no, I don't think Simmons ever tended toward being skeptical of psychological explanations. And hell, this post is all about psychological/interpersonal explanations of sports outcomes. I think, though, that early Simmons would have been rightly annoyed at "I know why but I can't tell you" crap like that from media elites. Now that he is one, well, he knows what's going on and he can't tell you. (Likewise, in response to Mayor Bloomberger, it's not the lack of sourcing in the tweet, it's the "I know why but I can't/won't tell you." If he follows it up with a story of his own, or a story on Grantland he commissioned, then I take back most of my criticism.)**
The theory of the article is interesting, but of course you realize that low morale might manifest in the guys simply playing worse, rather than only playing worse in the clutch.
Definitely. Both were the case in 2011 - players underperformed overall in September, and they choked in the clutch. I should have acknowledged that, especially given how many of the holdovers from 2011 have underperformed this year. Ortiz and Salty have improved, Pedroia and Youks I chalk up to injury, perhaps Gonzalez too, but the relative struggles of the starting pitching are perhaps interesting in this light.

**You know, Grantland is probably the media outlet most likely to do something good on the Red Sox clubhouse, if there is a story to tell. Entirely tangential, but I remain really impressed with what Simmons has built there. It's the best sportswriting site on the web, and by a wide margin.
   7. jmurph Posted: July 11, 2012 at 08:54 AM (#4179897)
the Sox are looking into trading Sweeney once Crawford is back


This is ridiculous. Sweeney is currently hitting like a 3rd grader (and no, he's not actually good against righties, either). If they thought he was good with the potential to be very good only a few months ago, why are they now going to trade him when his trade value has to be quite low? What are they going to get?
   8. Dan Posted: July 11, 2012 at 09:04 AM (#4179903)
This is ridiculous. Sweeney is currently hitting like a 3rd grader (and no, he's not actually good against righties, either). If they thought he was good with the potential to be very good only a few months ago, why are they now going to trade him when his trade value has to be quite low? What are they going to get?


Hasn't basically every trade by Cherington involved selling low on at least one player? Why would that be surprising at this point?

I assume the actual reason for trading Sweeney is that the team feels they'd rather use Nava in RF with Ross or just give Ross a full-time or nearly full-time job because he's hitting well. And they're probably comfortable with Kalish as the other depth option behind Nava, so Sweeney is just without a real role once Ellsbury and Crawford are on the roster. And he's only controlled through next season, so it's not like there's a long-term benefit to keeping him. Lillibridge probably sticks as the 5th OF/25th man which is really the only spot Sweeney could fill on a (theoretically) healthy roster.
   9. jmurph Posted: July 11, 2012 at 09:17 AM (#4179915)
You're right, the guy can't hit and absolutely doesn't deserve the playing time. I'm just frustrated at the thinking, I guess.

If only a guy like Sweeney had a several year record of being totally unimpressive to look at before slotting him in for 60-70% of the at-bats in RF.
   10. villageidiom Posted: July 11, 2012 at 09:20 AM (#4179919)
If they thought he was good with the potential to be very good only a few months ago, why are they now going to trade him when his trade value has to be quite low?
The 40-man roster is full; they have two outfielders returning from the 60-day DL for whom they must clear space soon; trading means at least they might not have to pay his salary and they get a minor-leaguer back - as opposed to DFAing a player, having to pay the rest of his salary, and getting nothing back.

The motivation to trade away some of the depth they've desperately needed - Sweeney or otherwise - is purely to solve a roster logjam with the return of Ellsbury and Crawford. It's not a house-flipping deal where they're doing it purely to buy low and sell high.

As I asked in a separate thread, what moves would y'all make to make it happen? (In that thread I'd said there's no way they'd add Ciriaco because of the 40-man crunch, but they shifted Rich Hill to the 60-day DL to make it work. Hadn't considered that move; oops.) Here's the 40-man roster as of now:

Ortiz
Gonzalez
Pedroia (15-day DL)
Aviles
Middlebrooks

Saltalamacchia
Ross
Lillibridge
Sweeney
Punto

Beckett
Buchholz (15-day DL)
Lester
Morales
Doubront

Matsuzaka (15-day DL)
Cook
Aceves
Miller
Melancon

Padilla
Albers
Tazawa
Bard
Mortensen

Atchison
Shoppach
Lavarnway
Kalish
Anderson

Pimentel
Podsednik
Nava
Iglesias
Stewart

Britton
Gomez
Germano
Lin
Ciriaco

EDIT: If the question is "Why Sweeney specifically?" I can't answer that any better than Dan.
   11. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 11, 2012 at 09:31 AM (#4179928)
If they thought he was good with the potential to be very good only a few months ago, why are they now going to trade him when his trade value has to be quite low?
Well, I think this can be defended, actually. They're not going to trade him unless both Ellsbury and Crawford are ready to play everyday major league baseball. So if it does go down, it'll be in the context of some other good #### happening. Also, as vi says, if Crawford and Ellsbury do come back the 40-man roster will almost certainly be officially overstuffed. And as Dan says, the 25-man roster wouldn't really need five outfielders, not with Kalish stashed in AAA, and Ross and Nava seem like the better choices for a RF platoon.

There are two other points to make with Sweeney that help explain why you might trade for him and then trade him away. First, Sweeney is very much a project. He was three times rated in BA's top 100, he's big and strong and fast, scouts have always seen legitimate power potential in his swing, but he's never realized that potential against professional pitching. When the Sox traded for him, they were trading not just for an averagish platoon outfielder, but also for the chance at fixing Ryan Sweeney.

Second, Ryan Sweeney is going to be going to his third year of arbitration next year, and then he's a free agent. The Sox have taken their shot at fixing him, they've failed, and they don't get a bargain price on him next year or any time further along.

I hate to pre-endorse Ben Cherington trades, but dumping Ryan Sweeney doesn't seem like a crazy move, and Sweeney probably still has enough former-prospect residue to net a live GCL arm or something.
   12. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 11, 2012 at 09:42 AM (#4179934)
On the 40-man, one way to clear a space would be trading Lars Anderson for a random C-prospect with a little upside who doesn't need to be rostered yet. There have to be some clubs out there who think they can fix Anderson.
   13. jmurph Posted: July 11, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4179984)
You guys are right, I think, on the merits of trying to deal Sweeney. I'm probably just re-whining about their decision to acquire him and count on him to be their starting right fielder in the first place.
   14. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 11, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4179995)
I would sort of defend acquiring Sweeney, as a general proposition. His batting is below league average, but his fielding has been solidly above average split between RF and CF, and he's a good baserunner. The total package is a ~league average platoon RF for under $2M. Sweeney's worked out pretty much fine, and so he should have at least some value on the trade market. The problem is that they traded an All-Star talent with five years of team control remaining to get him.
   15. booond Posted: July 11, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4179996)
Anderson can go. He has no value to the Sox. What are they going to do with Pods? Is there anyone willing to give anything for him or does he hold onto a spot until such time that the clock strikes midnight and his value is reduced to having a hot wife.
   16. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: July 11, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4180196)
I'm probably just re-whining about their decision to acquire him and count on him to be their starting right fielder in the first place.

No. They counted on him to be a Crawford placeholder, Ross platoon partner, and OF depth. At the time of the A's trade, Ellsbury was healthy and Crawford was expected back in early May. The OF on OD was Ross/Ellsbury/Sweeney plus McDonald. Let's also not forget that, in that role, Sweeney performed quite well. He OPS'd .962 in April ('results based analysis' be damned). Sweeney's role expanded when Ellsbury got hurt and Crawford stopped progressing.

The total package is a ~league average platoon RF for under $2M. Sweeney's worked out pretty much fine, and so he should have at least some value on the trade market. The problem is that they traded an All-Star talent with five years of team control remaining to get him.

Yes. Evaluating Sweeney only on present value and setting aside any consideration of 'fixing' a guy who STILL looks to have projectable tools, he's a perfectly cromulent placeholder/4th OF. On the other hand, the actual problem is that they traded Reddick for a bullpen ace who immediately got injured.

What are they going to do with Pods? Is there anyone willing to give anything for him

I can't imagine that there would be. The Sox got him from the Phillies for nothing, and I don't think there's an MLB GM who would read much into 70 PA of hitting over his head.
   17. jmurph Posted: July 11, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4180234)
No. They counted on him to be a Crawford placeholder, Ross platoon partner, and OF depth.


They counted on him to be about 65-70% or so of a starter, as the left-handed half of the platoon getting most of the starts in RF. That is not OF depth or a placeholder or a 4th outfielder (except on the small percentage of days an LHP is starting).

On the other hand, the actual problem is that they traded Reddick for a bullpen ace who immediately got injured.


And replaced him, on most days, with a guy much worse than Reddick at the plate. I don't see how that isn't also a problem, if not "the" problem.
   18. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 11, 2012 at 02:12 PM (#4180245)
They counted on him to be about 65-70% or so of a starter, as the left-handed half of the platoon getting most of the starts in RF.


And he should have been expected to do a good job with that. Sweeney has a sub-.600 OPS since coming back from the concussion and it is not difficult to think there is a cause and effect at work there. He had slumped the week before the concussion but the prolonged nature of it makes me think it's part of the issue. Sweeney also was not the primary piece of the Reddick deal, criticism of the Reddick deal working/not working is predicated on Bailey, not Sweeney.
   19. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 11, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4180248)
Criticism of the Reddick deal is predicated on Reddick. Even if Bailey had 20 saves and a 2.5 ERA, it would be a very bad trade.

That the extremely injury prone reliever the Sox traded for got injured just makes it worse.
   20. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 11, 2012 at 02:22 PM (#4180257)
I can’t believe how profoundly screwed up the 2012 Red Sox are behind the scenes. The stories I am hearing in KC are just unfathomable.


I have spent a troubling portion of my day thinking about this quote and MCoA's post around it. I think the idea that the Sox are pretty screwed up right now seems more than a little reasonable. I've been trying to think though, what are the signs of a screwed up organization in on-field performance? I came up with four;

1. Failure to adapt - I think the consistent use of a limited roster (not disabling Pedroia, Middlebrooks) is a sign that there is a communication problem.

2. Moves that make no sense - Going back in time a bit one of the things that I always remember about 2004 is not that the Sox acquired Roberts and Mientkiewicz but that Francona used them correctly. It seems to me that Valentine has deployed his resources about the way Cherington would have anticipated when moves were made. Need was a big reason for that but for the most part guys that have been acquired/called up have gotten used in what looks like a logical way.

3. Repeating mistakes - This is similar to #1 but I would differentiate by noting this is more to do with the players than management. Where is the coaching staff making corrections with a guy like Jon Lester or Adrian Gonzalez, players having poor seasons by their standards. Watching Lester is like watching me coach little league "OK Jon, stick with it, you're doing fine." then he throws the exact same pitch. Gonzalez too doesn't seem to have changed his approach one iota in half a season of struggles. Does Magadan talk to him?

4. Streaky - A team with weak leadership should be streaky shouldn't it? When things are going well everyone just comes together but when they go badly there is no one to settle the situation down either by word or deed. That kind of defines the post-9/1/11 Red Sox, win 8 in row, then lose 8 in a row.
   21. jmurph Posted: July 11, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4180260)
Sweeney also was not the primary piece of the Reddick deal, criticism of the Reddick deal working/not working is predicated on Bailey, not Sweeney.


I just disagree. Look I'm not suggesting Sweeney is the biggest reason (or even close to the biggest reason) this team is mediocre to date, I'm just suggesting that they were wrong in thinking he could carry the heavy half of a platoon. There was nothing in his record to indicate he could handle that, and he's shown nothing in Boston (I'll concede the good start, but I'm talking overall). I don't think it matters that he wasn't the centerpiece- they thought he was a worthy starter on most days, and I think they were wrong.
   22. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: July 11, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4180421)
They counted on him to be about 65-70% or so of a starter, as the left-handed half of the platoon getting most of the starts in RF. That is not OF depth or a placeholder or a 4th outfielder (except on the small percentage of days an LHP is starting).

Maybe. I don't know to what degree of confidence we can know what the FO's plan was for OF deployment, or for that matter what BV was going to end up doing with the pieces he had been given.

From 2008-2011 (age 23-26 seasons), in 1597 PA, Sweeney put up a .286/.347/.383 line with good baserunning and defense. No star, by any means, but certainly a guy that you don't mind throwing a couple dozen starts to while you wait for your $135 million man to come back.
   23. Dan Posted: July 12, 2012 at 09:27 PM (#4181418)
I wonder what the price tag will be when the Rays trade for Lowrie. He's a perfect fit for their roster: he can fill in for Longoria in the short term, either at 3B or by shifting Elliot Johnson/Sean Rodriguez to 3B, and a be a solution at SS for them in the medium term. They have decent depth to play while he misses time, as he is wont to do, but no really good frontline talent at SS. And his salary shouldn't get to crazy numbers in arbitration since he's had such a mixed track record.

Then again, Friedman has historically been very stingy at the trade deadline in the past. He's never really willing to pay the talent price for acquiring significant upgrades during the season. I would even say he has issues at the opposite extreme of what Cherington did wrong this offseason: he's TOO obsessed with buying low and selling high. He simply won't make any trade unless he is selling high and/or buying low, which really limits his opportunities on the trade market, particularly during the period leading up to the trade deadline when prices tend to be distorted towards buying high on players.
   24. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: July 12, 2012 at 10:06 PM (#4181441)
Your assumptions are mutually exclusive. Trading for Lowrie prior to 2012 trade deadline would be buying high, which if your 2nd para is true, invalidates the 'when' in your first sentence.

He makes even more sense for the Tigers and possibly even the Orioles (not an organizational fit, but roster-wise). From a baseball perspective, he'd make a great Athletic as well.

And actually, now that I think about it some more, he'd be PERFECT on the Yankees right now. Relief for Rodriguez and Jeter, possibly Cano, even Teixeira, and much better than Nix.
   25. Dan Posted: July 12, 2012 at 10:16 PM (#4181452)
Perhaps. Every year I expect the Rays to make some significant acquisition of a player who's a perfect fit for their roster, and Friedman is never willing to pay retail price.

I don't think Lowrie would work too well for the Yankees' situation simply because I think he's another guy (like Aviles) who needs to play the same position day to day. He seems to rely heavily on timing things and practiced plays rather than natural athleticism and good footwork. Hence his solid defense this year playing SS every day (just like Aviles). Lowrie does a lot of little things like knowing the speed of runners and not rushing his throws that are specific to the timing and locations inherent to specific positions. From watching him play defense on the Red Sox, it looked like he struggled mightily as a utility guy, but when he was asked to fill in at any IF position for a longer period of time he adjusted well (filling in for Youk at 3B, for Pedroia at 2B). My expectation for Lowrie is that he'd struggle defensively if he was asked to spell ARod, Jeter, and Cano each a few times a week rather than starting at SS or 3B or 2B everyday for some team. He was also godawful the few times he was asked to fill in at first base (when Francona was using him there after PRing late in games rather than shifting Youkilis from third base to first).
   26. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: July 12, 2012 at 11:26 PM (#4181494)
That's a well-made point. I'm sure you've seen him play much more frequently than I have, and what you're saying does make sense. I also couldn't agree more with your second sentence.

Interesting about Friedman, too, the more I think about it. What was the last trade the Rays made that involved a significant talent outlay? I can't actually think of anything besides Garza/Young, and that was a significant win for TB. Oh, they traded Kazmir to LAA for what seems to have turned out to be Sean Rodriguez, who has performed fairly well for them; and of course Kazmir himself was well-nigh pumpkin stage at that point. Of course that brings to mind the previous time Kazmir was traded, another big win for TB, but now we're talking ancient history.

EDIT: JJ (below): Excellent call, I forgot about that. That was a great move. Wow, Mark Teahen. I remember thinking he was going to be really good.
   27. JJ1986 Posted: July 12, 2012 at 11:32 PM (#4181496)
They traded Edwin Jackson for Matt Joyce and that turned out quite well for them.
   28. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 13, 2012 at 09:32 AM (#4181628)
Gordon Edes has a story today on dysfunction in the Red Sox clubhouse. He doesn't have all the goods, but it seems pretty clear that there is poor communication between all of the following:

-manager and coaches
-coaches and coaches
-manager and front office
-manager and medical/training staff
-front office and medical/training staff
-manager and players
-players and players
-players and medical/training staff

In the end, that stuff is the manager's responsibility. The front office should back him up and provide him with skilled and loyal lieutenants, and the medical and training staffs should display basic competence, and the players should do their jobs and submit to medical directives, blah blah blah. The manager is the man who runs the clubhouse. If the clubhouse is ###### up, it's the manager's job to fix it. It sounds like Bobby V isn't doing his job.

Now, it should be noted that Cherington's comments in the Edes article, they aren't wrong:
"It's the classic chicken-and-egg thing. When things are going well and you're winning, it feels like a much better atmosphere. When you're not, it doesn't feel as good an atmosphere. I believe we have a group of guys -- everyone in uniform -- who's working hard and talented enough for us to pull together in the second half and win a lot of games. If we do that, the atmosphere will seem pretty good."
This team has more than enough talent to win, and if they win, I bet communication improves universally. It's just that the lack of communication and the other problems in the clubhouse make getting back to winning that much more difficult.
   29. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 13, 2012 at 09:39 AM (#4181638)
There's a case to be made that Valentine had an impossible job - coming in late, with a GM who didn't want him, coaches who were loyal to the previous manager or new to the club, a medical staff in the midst of a half-shakeup that didn't really change anything, and a players' clubhouse unfathomably screwed up, maybe that just wasn't something that could be managed. So you can push some of the blame up and down the ladder as needed.

Or maybe they'll start winning and everyone will make it work. That could happen, too.
   30. booond Posted: July 13, 2012 at 09:41 AM (#4181642)
The manager is the man who runs the clubhouse. If the clubhouse is ###### up, it's the manager's job to fix it. It sounds like Bobby V isn't doing his job.


Clubhouse was ###### up last year, too. This sounds like the players have decided to #### him from the beginning. Having the old coaches there was a big mistake. Valentine is on an island trying to negotiate with the kids from "Lord of the Flies"
   31. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: July 13, 2012 at 10:42 AM (#4181719)
So with Ellsbury returning tonight and the import of the next couple of weeks I got to wondering what Jacoby might do upon his return. I spent a little time with BBRef's Play Index and found 48 players who had a season of 5.0 WAR or better followed by a season of 125 or fewer games (correcting for the strike). Because I should be doing some work today I broke that list down a bit further and found 9 players who were under 30 and had a WAR of 7.0 or better in the first season. This is the list of players and what they did upon returning from injury;

Scott Rolen – 6/18/05-7/1/05 – .250/.341/.278 – Rolen returned to the DL 7/22 and his season was over.
Lenny Dykstra – 7/15/91-7/28/91 - .367/.415/.367 – Dykstra subsequently missed all of September
Josh Hamilton – 5/23/11-6/6/11 - .298/.328/.561
Chase Utley – 8/17/10-8/31/10 - .208/.344/.245
Jeff Bagwell – 9/1/95-9/14/95 - .289/.414/.444
Marcus Giles – 7/15/04-7/28/04 - .217/.362/.391
Derrek Lee – 6/25/06-7/9/06 - .246/.328/.351
Kenny Lofton – 8/1/95-8/14/95 - .403/.433/.629 – Lofton is the worst injury comp on the list, his DL stint in 1995 was a true 15 days.
Nomar Garciaparra – 7/29/01-8/12/01 - .326/.370/.558 – Nomar was making his first appearance of the season at this point, his season later ended on 8/26.

The small sample size makes it difficult to draw any strong conclusions about what we might be able to expect from Jacoby. This small list seems to tilt in the direction of disappointing performance but nothing concrete to be sure.
   32. booond Posted: July 13, 2012 at 11:14 AM (#4181740)
The problem is that due to all the off time, and that 2011 was a big step forward, there is no way to know which Ellsbury will show up and whether that's the true Ellsbury or not.
   33. Dan Posted: July 13, 2012 at 11:24 AM (#4181753)
The real issue is that we really won't know how much of the power breakout was for real if he doesn't hit for similar power, because we won't know if he's just regressing or if he's just not able to swing with the same authority due to the shoulder injury.
   34. Chip Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4181827)
... because we won't know if he's just regressing or if he's just not able to swing with the same authority due to the shoulder injury.


Adrian Gonzalez: The Sequel!
   35. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 13, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4181831)
Interesting about Friedman, too, the more I think about it. What was the last trade the Rays made that involved a significant talent outlay? I can't actually think of anything besides Garza/Young, and that was a significant win for TB.

They traded Jason Bartlett last year for what appears to be three relief pitchers and infield prospect Cole Figueroa. I didn't even notice that trade but really it was a lot for the Padres to give up, since they totally suck and had no use for Jason Bartlett even if he had continued to be good.

And Garza himself to the Cubs.

Mid-2007 they traded Jorge Cantu for two bad relief pitchers, kind of a curious move when he had been one of the breakout stars of 2005, by Devil Rays standards at least. BB-ref suggests they had decided he couldn't play 2B or 3B and therefore they had no use for him with MVP candidate Carlos Pena around.

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