Ok, what we've been doing here is rebuilding the D-Backs here through a series of ten trades, focusing on replacing older, underperforming veterans with young, good prospects.Are you still paying attention, Front Office? ‘Cause I'm gonna need you to stay awake for this one...
Trade #8: Diamondbacks trade C Miguel Montero (MLB), UTIL Jordan Pacheco (MLB), Andrew Barbosa, C Bobby Wilson (AAA), RP Charlie Brewer (MLB), RP Joe Munoz (AA), C Raywilly Gomez (A), RP Kevin Munson (AA), SP Archie Bradley (AA) and OF Brett Jackson (AAA) to the Rangers in exchange for 3B Joey Gallo (AAA), 2B/3B Ryan Rua (MLB), OF/3B Jake Smolinski (MLB), C Tomas Telis (MLB), and RP Alex Claudio (MLB)
Probability Meter: (65%)
O.M.G. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Deep thought for the day: how far are you willing to go to truly reshape this franchise?
As I said before, I'm all in. Just not recklessly.
Same story: the players I'm getting back are much better than the ones I'm giving up.
You see, the sum WAR of all the guy I'm trading away in 2014 was...
Yes, those ten players, who cost us over thirteen million in 2014 alone, couldn't even win us half a game. Who cares that Miguel Montero was named an all star this year? His OPS was less than .700. And his WAR/Salary ratio might be the one of the worst in the NL this season. And at 31 years old, it won't get any better. When his gimpy legs start to give out, where are we going to put him? Certainly not at first, where Goldschimdt reigns. Not in the outfield. With no DH rule, he has no place. And if he can't catch, his value shrivels up and dies. We'd either have to let him go in free agency or resign him to a completely unreasonable deal. I say we trade him, preferably now. He's coming off an all-star season; he'll never have another, and it makes sense to trade him when his value will never get any higher and we have a better hitting catcher in Peter O'Brien.
Most of the vitriol about this trade will concern Archie Bradley. I get it; he's our best prospect, #9 on the MLB top 100. But here's the deal: Archie Bradley isn't that good.
He absolutely dominated in 2013, pitching to a tune of a 1.84 ERA. But this year, his stats took a gigantic leap backwards. Across three levels, he posted a 4.45 ERA while watching his walks increase incrementally as his strikeouts decreased. Plus, his stuff regressed, too. His fastball in no longer sitting in the high nineties, and his command has been much shakier. He got knocked around in the Arizona Fall League this year, and couldn't even beat the Australian Team early this year. Rival scouts are starting to notice, too. So, I get it. Bradley is young, he's a prized prospect, and I get it. But his value may never get any higher than this, and will likely fall soon if he doesn't start to get anybody out. The other prospects are roster fodder.
Okay! Now for our return!
Joey Gallo is the number six ranked prospect in all of baseball (in my opinion, he's number 3). He absolutely demolished pitching this year, bashing 42 home runs in AA and AAA this year, batting .271 to supplement it. He also got on base at a .394 clip and slugged .615. All told, his OPS was 1.009. Oh, and he just turned 21 a week ago. In my mind, he has the most power in all the minors, and already has more power than all but a handful of major leaguers. He could easily hit 25-30 home runs a year for us, essentially becoming Evan Longoria or David Wright. I'm telling you, the kid is special.
Ryan Rua batted .295 in the majors this year, and he'll be 25 on Opening Day. Tomas Telis, a catcher, player plus defense while hitting .250 as a 23 year old rookie. Smolinski straight-up mashed during his September cameo. Alex Claudio, a 23 year old lefty sidearmer, posted a 2.92 ERA and a 136 ERA+. Look, on paper this makes perfect sense. We'll be shedding salary while getting young, impressive talent. I say we do it.
Trade #9: SS Nick Ahmed (AAA), OF Evan Marzilli (AAA), OF Mitch Haniger (AA), RP RJ Hively (AA), RP Cody Wheeler (AA) and RP Kyle Winkler (AA) to the Cardinals in exchange for SP Marco Gonzales (MLB) and RP Sam Freeman (MLB)
Probability Meter: (75%)
Okay, I know I gave up a lot here. But hear me out.
For starters, the guys we gave up are good-but not truly terrific prospects. Ahmed batted .312 in the PCL--but remember, he'll be 25 on Opening Day and Didi Gregorius in his triple-a time this year actually did better than Ahmed. So, make of that what you will. All I'm saying is that Ahmed may not be anything more than a Cliff Pennington/Willie Bloomquist kind of player. Evan Marzilli will be 24 on Opening Day and only batted .245 in single-A. He worries me, because his swing just looks choppy and awkward. I don't think he'll ever be a major league player, but he still is being treated like a top prospect.
Haniger posted a so-so .746 OPS, but what concerns me is that for a player as old as he is, playing against that relatively competition, he didn't do better, considering that his major selling tool is his bat. Plus, I can honestly say that his swing just looks long and forced. He really is losing a lot of contact with his swing, and I don't think he'll ever transition adequately to the show. Hively, Winkler and Wheeler are just names.
But, in return, we'll get Marco Gonzales, who'll be 23 on Opening Day, and Sam Freeman, who'll be 27 and a half. Gonzales pitched to the tune of a 2.43 ERA in three levels of the minors this year. He came up this year and showed some precocious poise and command on the mound. He won four games against two losses, pitched effectively from both the bullpen and the rotation, put up a 4.15 ERA, and showed a great touch on his changeup. The book on him is that he's an extremely advanced young pitcher who has a great feel for the game and will almost certainly reach his ceiling as a #2 or #3 starter.
Sam Freeman actually might be the crown jewel in this piece, though. This year, his ERA+ was 146. He attained it with a 2.61 ERA and a consistent season. I know it's a lot to give up, but we'll be getting back young versions of Wade Miley and Oliver Perez.
Trade #10: SP Jeremy Hellickson (MLB), OF Danny Dorn (AAA) and SP Alex Sogard (AA) to the Yankees in exchange for SP Shane Greene (MLB)
Probability Meter: (75%)
Gather ‘round, snakepitters. I'ma let you in on a little secret:
Brian Cashman's really not that smart.
I'm serious. The man has more money to work with than the entire AL Central and he still can't get his team to the playoffs. He WAY overvalues older players, and is prone to rash decisions with his money. Which is precisely why he'll be interested in Jeremy Hellickson. See, Shane Greene had a wonderful rookie year. His ERA+ was 105, his ERA was 3.78 (his FIP, at 3.73, confirms it was no fluke), he struck out over 9 batters per nine innings: he was their unheralded ace.
But remember, this is Brian Cashman, and these are the Yankees. The dude some sort of weird fetish for aging veterans with expensive contracts, and he's gonna love this deal. We'll give him Hellickson (who was every bit as bad as Cahill was last year) and he'll give us a stud rookie. Everybody wins!
Tomorrow: final thoughts.