Monday, July 28, 2008

Trade Deadline Talk

I was reading Grant's post on McCovey Chronicles about the Giants trade deadline plans, and I wrote so much that I thought I would post it here too. Grant wonders about Winn and Molina in particularly, Aurilia too, and about how Winn is blocking Schierholtz while doing worse than Schierholtz this season:

Winn Vs. Schierholtz

It depends on whether the Giants believe that the .726 OPS Winn currently carries represent his net future value or the .766 career OPS or .798 OPS he has compiled as a Giants player. If you think he is done (the .726 OPS), then you try to dump him now, throwing cash out and playing Schierholtz. Think of it this way, nobody thought of this earlier in the season when he was hitting better, only when he has been slumping recently, and yet the only real difference between then and now is that Winn is slumping right now. Unless you think he suddenly lost it, there is no reason to think he's not still the roughly .800 OPS hitter he has been for us the past few years. And if you think it's the .798 OPS, then you hold onto Winn because of his better defense and veteran experience, because then he has Nate beat on three counts, offensive, defensive, and intangible leadership.

BTW, that is the trade scenario that Ted Robinson discussed while on Ralph's and Tom's show the other day when he suggested that Winn was horribly overpaid since we could get equivalent production by playing Schierholtz (nevermind the fact that players of his offensive abilties are getting that much and more - hello Gary Mathews Jr. - on the open free agent market). He admonished the Giants for not trading Winn when we got an equivalent or better player (and much younger and cheaper) sitting in AAA.

It also depends on whether you believe that Schierholtz is actually the .778 MLE OPS from this season or the .787 MLE OPS is his 2007 suggests, or if the holes in his swing that scouts and observers have noted about him would expose him in the majors as a AAAA hitter, much like Todd Linden's 2005 .904 MLE OPS didn't really portend anything close to that in the majors. That MLE hasn't really materialized yet, has it?

Not to jinx him, but MLE is not a guarantee, it is an approximation that, while nice for giving you a ballpark estimate of his MLB abilities, is still only a very rough estimate, with a wide bell curve, and sometimes your prospect falls behind the curve, much like the Cards discovered recently with Anthony Reyes, who was their Tim Linceucm/Matt Cain a couple of years ago, but they just recently gave up and traded him away for nothing much, at least I didn't recognize the name.

I love Nate, else I wouldn't quote him in my sig, and wish him well, but as good as he is hitting, he is only 29th in OPS in the PCL. Unless you think there are going to be 30 players coming up from the PCL over the next year and not only start but hit nearly .800 OPS as a regular starter, you have to admit that there are many of these players out of that 30 who are going to eventually go to the majors and majorly suck. If you know that Nate is not going to be one of them, then you deserve a job as a fortune teller, because there isn't anybody who knows that for certain, there are levels of belief and possibilities.

Giants Trading Deadline Plans

It also depends regarding the Giants deadline plans. Typically, Sabean and the Giants pronouncements are much like Horton The Elephant, "he says what he means, he means what he says," and what he last said was that the team is in transition and they are listening to offers for any veterans but are not trading away any young pitching. Now, how much they accept in trade is another question, but A.J. notwithstanding, the Sabean regime has been pretty good when trading with other teams, we tend to come out ahead of the deal, sometimes by a little, sometimes by a lot. Even in the cases of the no-name names that Grant notes, most of the time, the other team didn't get much either.

I think that no team will wow the Giants for Molina, which is what that would take because we have nobody who can take over right now, unless we get their lame-o catcher back in return - and at least get a good enough defensive catcher - along with a good prospect. In this case, getting their catcher would clear the way towards the other team being OK taking on Molina's 2009 contract. I think it would take the loss of the starting catcher for the season while leading the division to get the team to be that desperate for Molina, but then you don't get the lame-o catcher in return, so that's a catch-22. So losing Molina is unlikely in my opinion.

I think Aurilia will probably be gone after the trade deadline, because he can still hit well (road OPS .791; 34 AB/HR or about 20 HR in 680 AB season, good HR power; mashes lefties with .893 OPS) and can play 1B, 3B adequately and SS, 2B in a pinch, can come off the bench for power and driving in RISP. His contract is also pocket change at that point.

After because he's not a difference maker - Durham can make a huge difference if he continues to hit well while Weeks sucks - since he can't hit RHP that well and is not great defensively, so a team would want to acquire him to help them get over the top as the season nears ending and it is clearer what the team's chances are for winning it all. He may or may not make the playoff roster (not if after August 31st), again because he's not a difference maker UNLESS the other team lost a starter for the season and has no adequate replacement. He could be a supplemental acquisition, like how we picked up Bill Mueller one September past.

Winn is not a difference maker either, but is much more valuable than Aurilia because he hits so consistently throughout his career and plays good defense at all three OF positions. He would also represent speed off the bench, along with a touch of double-digit power. Given his 2009 contract, I think it would again take a situation like I described above for Molina for Winn to be traded.

He's a nice player, a complementary player, and it would probably take an injury to an OF late in the season where the team still has a good chance to get into the playoffs for a team to be desperate enough to trade for a Winn now, plus perhaps the situation of losing an OF as a free agent this offseason, meaning Winn has a spot for next season. Otherwise, I don't see another team taking on Winn's contract until the off-season and the musical chairs music ends, and a team finds that they need to get a decent OF in trade. I think we can probably get a failed prospect, much like we got for Durham, plus a prospect with flawed but decent potential (probably a lot of speed too), again much like Durham's trade.

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