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Stuff You May Have Missed
- How the MLBPA betrayed the union ethic
- On the Pirates signing of Clint Barmes
- Justin Verlander and the power of narrative
- Predicting the W-L record of the 2012 Blue Jays using WAR
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- In a weak and expensive free agent market for starting pitchers, Danks and Floyd may be better options.
- Should the Blue Jays sign Jonathan Broxton?
- Has Ruben Amaro learned nothing from the Brad Lidge Extension?
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- The myth of Eric Thames’ fast-balls
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Category Archives: Trades
Like most Jays’ fans, words cannot describe just how happy I am with the Colby Rasmus trade(s). Enough words have been spent on the deal by my many, many, many contemporaries in the Blue Jays blogosphere, and there are more than a few professional opinions on the matter, so I shan’t bore you with mine. Needless to say, this one is an unequivocal win for Alex Anthopoulos and his front office of ninjas. It seems like every trade he makes, he doesn’t just come out on top, he leaves the entire industry dumb-founded.
Yesterday was a crazy day. You see, I’m a graduate student. A graduate student who needs to finish his incredibly complicated thesis on biased media coverage of unions within the next two months. Throw onto that that my Graduate Assistant union is planning a massive rally to fight against budget cuts on Thursday (I’m the communication director for my union) and the fact that I have a pretty much full-time job as a writer and days like yesterday are bound to happen.
The Jays decided another fairly major trade was going to drop on the one day I had no time to comment.
Luckily, I have a small window of time this morning to go through it and I have to say, it’s a confusing one.
Just a little over three days after trading face-of-the-franchise Vernon Wells to the Angels for Mike Napoli and Juan Rivera, a deal I still love to death, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos flipped Napoli to the Texas Rangers for reliever Frank Francisco.
There are two sides to this deal and I cannot decide which one I’m on.
On the one hand, I am a firm believer that Mike Napoli is extremely underrated both at the plate and in the field. He also provided the Jays with something they needed; a proven catcher who could help ease J.P. Arencibia into his starting role and a guy who can hit left-handers well enough to start at first base and DH a few times a week.
Frank Francisco, however, comes to a team already stacked with right-handed relievers what with returnees Jason Frasor, Shawn Camp, Josh Roenicke, Casey Janssen, and Scott Richmond along with recent acquisitions Carlos Villanueva, Octavio Dotel and Jon Rauch.
On the other hand, Francisco is a terrific pitcher; his xFIPs over the last three seasons are 3.34, 3.53, 3.31 and he has a career K/9 rate at 10.01, including 10.25 last season.
Francisco is also very solid against lefthanders posting a 2.93 FIP against them and holding them to a .203 opponent’s batting average. He did, however, walk left-handers at a much higher rate than righties, still he’s good enough against them that taking only one lefty north with the team is a possibility. That might not be the worst thing given the Jays are a little thin in that regard; really only David Purcey and Jesse Carlson are possibilities and neither should scare anybody.
I like Francisco as a pitcher a lot, but this is still a bit confusing. My guess is that Anthopoulos isn’t quite done yet. I said it before, perhaps Jason Frasor has pitched his last game in a Jays’ uniform; this seems to only add to that feeling.
It’s also possible that Napoli was resistant to signing in Toronto. He is arbitration eligible and already submitted his number to MLB at $6.0-million. Anthopoulos, on the other hand, has said he will only negotiate multi-year deals after the submission deadline for arbitration so it is conceivable that Napoli had no interest in signing for more than one year.
This, of course, is aimless speculation and the Jays could be in the same position with Francisco who filed for arbitration with the Rangers and was unable to reach a settlement with them before the deadline.
Either way, it would seem Anthopoulos has something else in the works. I can’t see him breaking camp with 9 viable right-handed relievers.
Since Dotel and Rauch were just signed to deals, one would assume they aren’t going anywhere so that leaves the holdovers and Villanueva as possible trade bait.
I also think that a Vladdy Guerrero signing could be up-and-coming too.
Which reliever would you consider moving if you had to move one (or two) of them?
Do you think this was a good trade?
Okay, so, today was not a good day for the Jays to break another trade. I’m faaaar too busy to comment on the trading of Mike Napoli to the Rangers for reliever Frank Francisco.
I refer you to Mr. Parkes over at Getting Blanked for his analysis until tomorrow when I should have some time to post something.
Before I do, I want to point out that I was going to write a piece on what I consider to be a terrible off-season for the Tigers, but Jonah Keri wrote this piece for FanGraphs today. He’s not as hard on them as I would be, but it’s still a well-thought-out piece.
Plus, Jonah Keri rules so…buy his book in March. It’ll be the new ‘Moneyball’.
Today, the Detroit Tigers traded starting pitcher Armando Galarraga to the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor-leaguers Kevin Eichhorn, a right-handed pitcher and Ryan Robowski, a left-hander.
Galarraga is well-known for his near-perfect game last season which was lost due to a blown call by umpire Jim Joyce.
Galarraga avoided arbitration with the Tigers by signing a one-year $2.3-million last week; he was then promptly placed on revocable waivers and designated for assignment.
For those who don’t know, revocable waivers is sort of a complicated process. When someone is placed on them, he can be claimed by any team in the league. If he is claimed by more than one team, the move is blocked; however, if he is claimed by only one team, there is a decision to be made. The Tigers could have pulled Galarraga back, let him go to the Diamondbacks for nothing, or work out a trade with the claiming team.
This is probably the first move this offseason by Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski that I like. Galarraga had no place in the Tigers rotation for the upcoming year with the addition of Brad Penny and rather than non-tender Galarraga and effectively release him, the Tigers’ GM was able to turn him into two serviceable (albeit fringy) prospect pitchers.
Eichhorn is the son of former major-league pitcher Mark Eichhorn and was a two-way player in high school as both a pitcher and a short stop. He was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2008 draft by the D’Backs.
He is ostensibly a two-pitch pitcher possessing a fastball in the 88-91mph range with solid arm-side break and an average curve. His command is advanced for a pitcher of his age (about to turn 21); he posted a very solid 1.9 BB/9 rate mostly with the Pioneer Rookie League’s Missoula Osprey.
Eichhorn is still a ways from the major leagues but might see action as high as AA this season if he continues to show improvement. With only two effective pitches, he’s likely no more than a middle-reliever in the future.
There isn’t much info on Robowski out there, but he was a 16th round draft pick by Arizona in 2009 and posted a 5.17 ERA in 35 relief appearances in 2010 with high-class-A Visalia.
He’s slightly older than Eichhorn at nearly 23, but also exhibited solid command with a 2.7 BB/9 rate and a 3.19 K/BB ratio.
As for Galarraga, the Diamondbacks are getting a pitcher who can, when he’s on, dominate a game, but has trouble staying consistent. He’s past the point where he can be considered a high-ceiling player, but the D’Backs are getting a pitcher with some experience who is a solid back-of-the-rotation starter on a decent team.
I think it should be assumed that if the Angels had offered Toronto a pack of Big League Chew they would have accepted the trade, but the fact is, Napoli and Rivera are far from useless commodities.
Napoli, although not a great defensive catcher is probably better than people think he is; he’s certainly better than the Angels think he is.
He’s also one of the better offensive catchers in the game having posted a career OPS 26 points higher than that of Wells at .831. He also tops Wells in OBP (.346-.328) and in slugging percentage (.485-.475). Napoli also has a career walk-rate of 11% which is a very solid above-average number. The Jays need patience at the plate; we know this.
From pretty much any angle, Napoli in himself is comparable to Wells in return value, especially when you consider Napoli’s salary will be no more than just over $6-million for 2011.
Defensively, Napoli has some serious versatility and fits two or three real needs in the Jays’ lineup. He was actually rated as an above-average fielder last season with the Angels, according to FanGraphs and will allow Toronto to ease J.P. Arencibia into his role as starting catcher this season. If Arencibia struggles and has to be sent down, Napoli and Jose Molina are more than capable of carrying the catching load.
Outside of that, Napoli actually played more games and innings at first base last season in Anaheim than at catcher, where he more than held his own defensively. Given his propensity to tear apart left-handed pitching (.289/.393/.538 against lefties vs. .238/.329/.467 against righties in his career) a platoon situation at first base with Adam Lind does seem to make some sense.
His offensive ability also makes him a nice DH option when there’s no other way to get him in the lineup.
This also allows Edwin Encarnacion to move into a corner-infielder bench role who can also DH occasionally, which in my opinion increases his value over his status as a below-average regular.
There’s very little not to like about Napoli in a favourable situation such as Toronto.
As for Juan Rivera, he was more of a throw in to the deal, likely to make room on Los Angeles’ depth chart as well as to clear his $5.25-million salary for 2011, but he still fills a noted hole in Toronto, especially with Wells departing.
Rivera will likely occupy one of the corner positions (my guess is left field) with Travis Snider playing in the other. Rivera is not a particularly good fielder but does possess some pop at the plate with a career .461 slugging-percentage and even if his on-base numbers aren’t great, he still has an identical .328 career OBP as Wells.
The more I look at this deal, the more I love it.