After a little sleep, back to find the Vazquez deal all but done - pending the inevitable medical, naturally. A couple of tweaks: we also get reliever Luis Viscaino (age 31, career ERA+ 98), and there's some money going to the White Sox - at least $1m, possibly more. So much for Byrnes' supposed refusal to hand over any of the cash that came with Vazquez from the Yankees.
Having chewed over the trade last night, I'm both enthusiastic and somewhat concerned. In the long term, I think it'll be fine, but 2006 doesn't look like it's going to be pretty: more of a rebuild than a reload. Hang on, weren't we supposed to have done that last season, and be ready to contend in 2006? Oh, well... Anyway, here is the "Point/Counterpoint" for the trade.
It doesn't address any major current issues - Young is not ready for the big leagues yet: while his AA numbers were great, he skipped High A to get there. I guess we could play him, but the last couple of players we tried skipping Triple-A with [Daigle and Snyder], didn't really work out too well. For 2007 and beyond, certainly, but not yet. Otherwise, all we've done is trade an inconsistent starter for a mediocre one, and add a reliever.
We kept all our prospects. - What about those 2007 D'backs? Just for giggles, here's a prototype Opening Day lineup for the season after next:
- Young, CF (age then: 23)
- Tracy, 3B (26)
- Drew, SS (24)
- Quentin, RF (24)
- Jackson, 1B (24)
- Gonzalez, LF (21)
- Santos, 2B (23)
- Montero, C (23)
- Webb, P (27)
And in case you're wondering, that Gonzalez in LF is not Luis, but Carlos, currently rated our #4 prospect [just behind Drew, J and Q] by Baseball America. It is a stretch for him to reach the majors, since he's not yet played above Low-A, and Montero might not quite be ready either, but even so... And we should have Justin Upton waiting in the wings to replace Santos. That is one hell of a potential lineup: and they'd be dirt cheap too, leaving us a lot of money to get pitching.
Chase Field = Sun City East - So far this off-season, our three acquisitions to play next season have been Damion Easley (36), Jason Grimsley (38) and Orlando Hernandez (real age unknown, but likely 40+). This does not seem really to be building for the future, it's more like the old-school, "win now" mentality of Joe Jr - except without the budget to match.
This is likely just the start - I expect the next trade to be the departure of Glaus, quite possibly for the CF we need (and with Young up and coming, we don't need more than a one- or possibly two-year rental). Then Tracy returns to 3B, Green moves back to RF.
Plus how much cash? - There's been no official word on this to date, but some reports say up to $8m. Add $4.5m for Hernandez - possibly $6.5m if he actually pitches a full season, since his incentives seem to start at 100 IP - and a couple of million for Viscaino (he earned $1.3m last year), and we haven't saved any real money, certainly not this season. It's madness for a team to nickel-and-dime Upton, yet hand so much money over, in return for a pitcher who hasn't won ten games or even started more than 22 in a season since 2000.
Hey, we don't have to keep him - Maybe he'll have a blistering first-half, and we can spin him to a contending team at the deadline. And don't forget, we won't have Vazquez's $12m on the books in 2007, or Gonzo's cash either. As mentioned above, expect us to seriously attack the Free Agent Class of 2006: Barry Zito, Mark Mulder, Brad Radke, Jason Schmidt. Hell, buy them all up alongside Brandon Webb! Now, that's what I call a rotation...