Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mediot Alert: Forbes Writing on Baseball Trades?

I just ran across this article that was just so egregious that I had to post quickly on it.  This baseball "expert", from Forbes.com, no less (known more for their business news and information, but they do have a nice analysis of baseball finances every year), in this article posted on Yahoo, talks about baseball's biggest trade deadline busts and while he listed some good ones there, he then shows he knows nothing (or rather, nothing of the current common knowledge for baseball fans) about baseball.

Here is the offending paragraph (hide your eyes, it is pretty glaring):

Then there are the 2005 San Francisco Giants, who made a deadline deal with the Seattle Mariners in which they gave up talented young catcher Yorvit Torrealba(notes) for outfielder Randy Winn(notes), who had three-plus years and $29 million left on his contract. Winn, a corner outfielder, never drove in more than 65 runs for the Giants, who finished 75-87 that year and failed to make the postseason during Winn’s tenure. Sometimes, it’s just better to sit tight.

First off, "talented young catcher"?  In four years in Colorado, the team was dying for a starting catcher, went to many different options, and while they admitted turned to him eventually, he wasn't that good.  Baseball-Reference.com had him at less than 2.0 WAR (1.3 to be exact) for the four seasons he played for them, and even though he was playing half his games in Coors, he only had a .710 OPS overall playing there.  Baseball-Reference.com notes that the average starter generates 2+ WAR PER SEASON, and he couldn't even do it over a four season period.  Where does the talented part come into play?

Now, he is having a breakout year, at age 31 so he's no longer young, for the Padres, he's hitting better there than in 8 previous season, but 31 is hardly young anymore.  And that's still only 3.7 WAR since the trade.  Meanwhile, Randy Winn produced 13.2 WAR for us in the time he played for the Giants, four plus seasons, even last season, his poorest season in ages, he produced 3.2 WAR.  Not quite All-Star level, which Baseball-Reference.com notes is 5+ WAR, but at an average of 3 WAR per season, roughly, he was a solid regular starter for us the time we had him.  And up to last season, he produced over 8 times more WAR than Yorvit did, over 4+ seasons.

Second, and this is so easy to check, so it is a wonder that Forbes' editors and fact checkers did not catch this, but Randy Winn did not have three-plus years and $29M left on his contract.  He had a team option for $5M, which the Giants exercised, and then they signed him to the 3 year contract in the off-season after the trade.

Third, he talks about Winn as a corner OF and mentions his RBI totals, which is pretty much what one would say - in the 20th Century.  Today, one could mention his OPS, his UZR, and realize that he was an OK hitter who provided a lot of value as the rightfielder with his great fielding defense.

Fourth, it is not like Randy Winn is an impact type of trade material.  Still, while the team might not have made the playoffs that season or any season afterward, it was not his fault in 2005, he hit .359/.391/.680/1.071 with  14 HR in 231 AB, that was a huge contribution.  And it was not better to hold tight, we had nobody ready to play RF and we would have been much, much worse without Winn than with Winn.  Sometimes it is not all about winning, but of improving the team.  Winn improved our team.

Sigh, I try to not let these people bother me, but this was so bad that I couldn't help myself.

6 comments:

  1. I saw that too and scratched my head.

    Really Forbes, this was the 4th worst trade deadline move? You've got to be kidding me.

    Sometimes you've got to wonder. There were so many worse trades then this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Randy Winn was a fine Giant. The trade was not a bad one at all.

    A trade that I think was pretty bad was the one that sent Cliff Lee to Seattle for prospects. However, they kept league average pitcher Joe Blanton and extended him for 3 years. Later on they gave Ryan Howard a deal for $25 million for 5 years. Now just today, they trade J.A. Happ and prospects to get Roy Oswalt (who is not as good as Cliff Lee) and although money sent over from Houston will pretty much cover the rest of this year and some of next year, all of this just seemed more complicated than it had to be. They could have had Halladay/Lee/Hamels/Happ/Blanton in a rotation. I think the GM said that he may not have stayed after 2010. I doubt that. If they kept it like this (and maybe didn't extend Blanton and way overpay Howard), they would be in a better spot and would have almost surely been in first place right now. Instead it's Halladay/Oswalt/Hamels/Blanton/Kendrick. I'd rather have Lee and Happ than Oswalt and Kendrick. Let's not forget that Oswalt hasn't exactly been healthy this whole time. I think he's been on the DL on three seperate occasions since 2007.

    Although that wasn't at the deadline, I think that it's very bad that it needs to be re-mentioned. I mean, who gives up what would have been the best 1-2 punch in baseball? It's like giving up $100 dollars for a couple of lottery tickets. I'd rather have the sure thing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I agree that the Randy Winn trade was a very good one - Yorvit Torrealba? Tremendously weird choice for worst tradeline deal.

    Here's the Yahoo headline - "The Phillies shouldn't have traded Cliff Lee, but they all but erased the mistake by acquiring ace Roy Oswalt." Really? Well, one, it's the end of July, 4 months of season have gone by, and second, Oswalt is way way overpriced. I suppose in a gold watch kind of sense he deserves the money, but he won't on the field. I think taking on his contract would have been an even trade.

    And too, I'm always hesitant to really believe any "going to the Yankees" rumors - any smart starter thinks twice before going there. Why wouldn't Lee stay with the Phillies?

    The Phils have made some bad moves in the last year, I totally agree. A couple days to go, but I'm really glad I haven't seen Dunn for Lincecum in the headlines. Sabean may not be a rocket scientist, but he hasn't blown it - yet.

    ReplyDelete
  4. OK I'll bite. I think the Torrealba trade was misguided.
    He was considered a fine young catcher, having backed up Santiago (who himself said that Yorvit was good, and was surprised himself when Torrealba was traded).
    Then with the hole at catcher they make the Pierzynski trade for 2 all star pitchers, that fails and they get damaged goods catcher Methany (whom the Cards didn't even make an attempt to re-sign)
    btw-note to Giants: Do NOT sign any players that the Cardinals let walk, as they seem to have problems. (Methany,DeRosa,Wellemeyer)

    ReplyDelete
  5. You forgot to add Morris to the mix too, though Methany was OK for us, he did as expected, but the concussions caught up with him when he got hit while with Giants.

    The problem with your logic, and it is worthwhile logic, is that this assumes that Torrealba was the answer at C that didn't require us to get all those catchers. Judging from what he did for Colorado, no, he was not the answer, not until maybe this season.

    So under your scenario, we don't trade Torrealba, but eventually will need to get another catcher because Yorvit is not really doing it offensively, and meanwhile, we still don't have a RF and so the Giants would have had to sign a free agent to fill that hole because none of our prospects were ready at that time to come up (Schierholtz and Bowker needed a few more years of seasoning in minors still at that point). Maybe they would have tried harder for Juan Pierre. There were lots of worse options than Winn out on the market. I think it worked out fine for the Giants.

    ReplyDelete
  6. OGC,

    I agree with you on the Randy Winn trade. On the other hand, I tend to believe that the Giants would have won a World Series in 2004 if they had simply let Yorvit take over at catcher and not made the trade for AJ Pierzynski. On yet another hand, there is no way Joe Nathan becomes an All-Star closer with Felipe Alou managing.

    ReplyDelete

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