Friday, August 1, 2008

Trading for Dummies

Murray Chass' latest article focuses on the recent trades at the trade deadline. Chass feels that teams are stupid for trading their stars or superstars for prospects or platoon players. Among the trades he mentions over the past couple of years, the recent Pirates-Yankees trade caught my attention.

The Pirates gave the Yankees an established good-hitting outfielder (Xavier Nady) and a serviceable reliever (Damaso Marte), and what did they get in return? Three minor league pitchers, two of whom have spent time with the Yankees but didn’t stick, and a-once-but-no-longer-touted outfield prospect, Jose Tabata.

Let's look at this trade a little closer.

The Pirates gave up Xavier Nady ($3.35 million for 2008) and Damaso Marte ($2.15 million) and in return got minor leaguers Jeff Karstens, Dan McCutchen, Ross Ohlendorf and Jose Tabata.

So the small-market Pirates gave us $5.5 million in payroll for 4 minor leaguers, one of which is currently pitching for the lowly Pirates, whose payroll that combined is under $1 million.

Most teams that make a trade like this are either trying to (1) get rid of a problematic player (i.e. Manny Ramirez) or (2) lower their payroll. Since the Pirates are once again fighting for cellar rights in the NL Central, management has decided to raid the locker room and slash payroll. Obviously, a team prefers to get something in return in a trade, so if you are slashing payroll, you get prospects in return.

On a team with a total payroll of about $40 million, knocking $5.5 million of that number and adding less than $1 million is a good chunk.

The trade prompted a friend of mine to ask if the Pirates have become the modern-day Kansas City team that years ago served as a major league feeder for the Yankees.

Between 1955 and 1960 the Yankees and the Athletics completed 16 trades involving about 60 players, including Roger Maris, Clete Boyer, Ryne Duren and Ralph Terry, all of whom went to the Yankees.

Whether Nady and Marte help the 2008 Yankees win anything will be seen in the next couple of months, but more interesting to watch will be the teams that benefited from the Athletics, now of Oakland, and their trading practices.

Over five years the A's and the Yankees had 16 trades involving roughly 60 players, per Murray.

How many have the Pirates and Yankees had over the past five years? Two. Yessiree, a whopping two trades involving a total of 8 players between both teams.

How is that a fucking pipeline to the Yankees?!?!?!?!? Just because you think one trade maybe lopsided for a team, it does not make them rival the Athletics-Yankees major league pipeline of the 50's.

I also enjoy that fact that his friend asked the question about the Pirates and Yankees, Murray informs the audience about the A's-Yankees trades, in case the reader didn't know, and then proceeds to not answer the question. What's the matter Murray, did you get distracted by shiny object and forget about the question at hand? Joe Morgan will at least give us some drivel or a "consistent" answer.


The article goes on to bash Billy Beane for getting trading away three of the A's starters over the past 8 months and getting a measly 13 players in return. What the hell was he thinking!

Well, Billy was probably thinking that I have few or no prospects in my organization and I have three good pitchers that will start commanding big payrolls when their contracts expire. Let's see how many players I can fill my major and minor league teams with for only a few of my good players. Billy understands that he is in the middle of a rebuilding process and is will to sacrifice a year in order to have several strong years and hopefully a playoff run or two.

Chass also states that the Cubs and Brewers were brilliant in their trades because they gave up prospects in exchange for Harden and Sabbathia, respectively. Yes, in the short run those trades could make the difference in winning a World Series. Or, you could be an injury away from a Mets'-like flame out should those players get hurt. What happens if your teams starts racking up the injuries? I bet you wish you had some prospects to fill their place, huh?

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Blogger Slut Bunwalla said...

So, does Chass think the A's are unfairly trading their best players, or doing a good job in getting players back? He never says.

Chass shows in his blog just how much he needs an editor. It's sad that he has won awards for writing--perhaps his editor should have won the awards.

August 4, 2008 at 12:53 AM  

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