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Posts Tagged ‘Orlando Cabrera’

It was a busy day for GM’s yesterday, with several contenders adding key pieces to their post-season drive.  Let’s take a look at the moves and the effect I think they will have.

Boston Red Sox Acquire Victor Martinez

The Red Sox added a big bat in Martinez, while holding onto prized pitching prospect Clay Bucholz.  Instead, they sent reliever/spot starter Justin Masterson to the Indians along with minor league pitchers Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price.  This is an excellent trade for the Red Sox, as none of the players they gave up are irreplaceable.  It also gives them incredible line-up flexibility.  Martinez can catch or play first base while Kevin Youkilis can play first or third.  This will allow the Red Sox to rest either Jason Varitek or Mike Lowell and his achy hip on any day. 

Red Sox Acquire Casey Kotchman

The Red Sox traded recently acquired Adam Laroche back to Atlanta, where he started his career, for first baseman Casey Kotchman.  I am not totally sure what the point of this trade was.  Kotchman will be a defensive substitution at best for the Red Sox, and has a lot less pop than Laroche.  For Atlanta, I would consider Kotchman a superior player, so I am not sure what their plans are either.   

Detroit Tigers Acquire Jarrod Washburn

With the White Sox hot on their heels, the Tigers were in need of a veteran presence to settle their rotation.  Washburn is a perfect fit, and is having a career year in 2009, with a 2.64 ERA and 1.07 WHIP.  He will combine with Verlander and Jackson to give the Tigers a strong trio of starting pitchers, but I do not think it will be enough to get them past the big dogs in the AL East in the post-season.

Chicago White Sox Acquire Jake Peavy

Finally, the Jake Peavy saga has ended in San Diego.  He agreed to waive his no-trade clause to head to Chicago, something which he refused to do earlier this year.  While the White Sox gave up a lot, including pitcher Clayton Richard and top prospect Aaron Poreda, it gives them the ace they need this year (if Peavy is health).    

Twins Acquire Orlando Cabrera

Despite a .500 record, the Twins fancied themselves a buyer at the deadline due to the fact that they are only three games out of a playoff spot.  They needed an upgrade at SS, and Cabrera’s .694 OPS provides a significant upgrade over the .639 that they have gotten from the position this year.  He is also a career 5.0 UZR/150 fielder at short, although he has slipped this year.  While the intention was good, it does not match what the two teams above them did, and the Twinkies are headed for a third place finish.    

Yankees Acquire Jerry Hairston Jr.

Hairston’s particular talent is not with the bat or his glove, but that he can play pretty much anywhere on the diamond.  This will be huge for the Yankees, who are an old team, and this will allow them to rest some regulars down the stretch.  Do not be surprised if you see Hairston come up with a big play late in the season or in the playoffs, just a funny feeling.

Marlins Acquire Nick Johnson    

I almost cannot believe it, but the Marlins added a piece to their team instead of selling for once.  Johnson is an on-base machine, and will give the Marlins greater flexibility in their infield.  However, they are already six games behind the Phillies, and it may be a case of too little, too late.

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So far, I have prided myself on keeping a professional site free of grammatical errors (to the best of my ability) and bad language.  That almost changed when I read this article explaining that several agents were pushing the Players Association to file a grievance against the teams for colluding against the free agents this past off-season.  I was not happy about this, but am happy that Bud Selig had such a dismissive attitude towards the accusations.   

The first reason this ticked me off is because the game is changing.  Teams are winning with cost-effective young superstars, not bloated free agent contracts.  This in turn is changing the free agent landscape.  Last year, the World Champions Phillies paid ace Cole Hamels $500k, Chase Utley $7.85 MM, Shane Victorino 480k, Jimmy Rollins $ 8 MM, and Ryan Howard $10 MM, all who produced way better numbers than what the franchise would get for similar money on the open market.

The AL champion Rays were even more cost effective:

Carl Crawford – $5.75 MM

Scott Kazmir – $3.79 MM

Evan Longoria – $500k

BJ Upton – $412k

Matt Garza – $405k

In today’s game, it is not worth losing your first round pick unless you are getting a franchise player like Mark Teixeira.  Why on earth would a team want to give up the opportunity to draft the next Troy Tulowitzki to sign Type A free agent Orlando Cabrera?  No one was colluding against Cabrera, they just understood that he was the lesser of two possible options.  A first round pick who pans out will give you better numbers and you control him for seven years, the first three of which will probably be for half a million dollars per year. It is a no-brainer.  

The second reason I am upset is the economy.  Total Opening Day payrolls fell less than 2% from 2008 to 2009.  Boo hoo.  The S&P 500 dropped almost 40% during the same time span, as did the Dow Jones.  Despite this, agents have the gall to complain that average player compensation dropped by $50,000.  If it was the guys making the major league minimum losing this money I would have a little more sympathy, as that represents about 12.5% of their total compensation.  However it is not.  It is hitting the multi-million dollar players.  $50,000 is a drop in the bucket for them.    

This particular quote from Seth Levinson, who represented almost a dozen free agents this past off-season, really irked me.

There are too many things that need to be explained.  In my experience, there are no coincidences in a monopoly.

Baseball is not a monopoly.  Not sure if you have noticed Seth, but baseball teams are being run by businessmen now, and these men are running their teams like businesses.  They are making decisions based on which players will give them the best production for their resources, both in terms of dollars and draft picks. 

The current free agent system with the Type A and B criteria is no longer appropriate for today’s game, and unless we see some changes in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, we will see more of the same in the future.

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