Weirdest. Trade. Ever.

OK, maybe not EVER, but I’m really puzzled by today’s deal. At first it looked like a lose-lose, but the more I read, the more I think it makes some sense for the Angels. But for the White Sox, ugh.

If you’re the White Sox, why do you want Cabrera? Of all the packages of talent — especially young talent — that you could get for a dependable if unspectacular starter like Garland, why Cabrera? In his best season in years, he only hit 301/345/397 — and he’s 33. Yes he’s a Gold Glover, but man, it just seems like there’s a lot more that you could get. And more specifically, Cabrera is exactly what the White Sox didn’t need on offense — another guy who doesn’t get on base (career OBP .321) on a team that was last in the MAJORS in OBP last year.

From the Angels side, it’s kind of a strange deal if it doesn’t lead to something else. But from what I can glean, it appears that this is prelude to some kind of second trade including a starter, either for Tejada or Miguel Cabrera or another impact bat. That, I could see. And it’s not as though the Angels have a dearth of infielders. Maicer Izturis, whom I’ve always liked, has been a better offensive player than people realize. He hit 293/365/412 in 2006, and 289/349/405 in ’07. That is to say, roughly equivalent to Cabrera this year and better the year before. If they let Izturis play, they’ll see now offensive downgrade. Anybody have insight or numbers (not errors, but actually valuable numbers) on Izturis’ defense?

Anyway. I’m actually off the beat this week — happy Thanksgiving everybody! — but as I’m sitting at home, working on other things, I was intrigued by this trade and wanted to get something up about it. Also, as regards the Cardinals, this may mean that Juan Uribe is available, but despite the power I’m not too crazy about Uribe’s .295 lifetime OBP.

-M.

(now playing: REM Live)

9 Comments

I agree that it’s a weird deal and if anyone got fleeced, it was Chicago. They already picked up Uribe’s option or resigned him or something like that, and he at least has some pop and a decent glove. Cabrera has no pop, decent contact abilities and is OK at best at getting on base.

I certainly hope we don’t trade for Uribe. We don’t need another free swinging righty that can’t get on base (Wilson, Encarnacion)

To me this smells of a multi-step deal, possibly an aborted one. Is there somebody out there that might be interested in Cabrera as part of a package that the Sox are trying to put together? And might a move to generate that package have come undone when the other trade partner backed out? That’s happened in some other three-ways recently.

I agree that I sure hope it doesn’t lead to the Cardinals getting interested in Uribe, and the possibility looks alarmingly real given the other nickel-and-dime moves of the day. Wasdin … Brazelton … LaRue … ecchhh. The minor-league contracts I can almost condone, but $850k for Jason Freakin’ LaRue? I don’t like the way the trading season is starting.

I actually like LaRue, as backup catchers go. He had an awful year this past year, but he’s been useful not too long ago. Even in ’06, he hit 8 HR in 191 ABs. And as recently as ’05, he hit 260/355/452.

As for Wasdin and Brazelton, I’ve seen a lot of negative reactions, and I just don’t understand it. What’s the harm? Every team makes moves like this every year — they just happened to put the announcement in the same release as the LaRue news. I don’t think it’s any indicator, one way or another, of the direction of this winter.

But that’s just me.

-M.

I like LaRue as a backup much better than Gary Bennet or Kelley Stinnet, or Einar Diaz for that amtter. And what’s wrong with $850K? In baseball money that must be like, what, a janitor’s salary? No offense to any janitors. I’m just sayin’. That’s cheap. Spend low on lesser needs, so you have more to spend on more pressing needs.

Matthew, I can’t speak for anyone else, but my problems with the Wasdin and Brazelton signings are twofold. First, yes, moves like this are common enough, but why make them for guys who are on the downhill side of their careers, when there are instead guys more or less like Haerther that are getting non-tendered and may actually have an upside left? This is a nervous, impatient move that doesn’t help the farm system, indeed reduces the roster space available at Memphis (assuming they make the team) for talent arriving from below.

Second, they wouldn’t have signed those guys if they weren’t preparing to use them. If they break camp with Memphis, I think they’ll show up in Busch at some point, and not only will they not be assets there, they’ll continue the pattern of papering over problems rather than solving them. All of that said, at least they’re on minor-league contracts so the liability is reduced, but I still don’t like the message.

As for LaRue, yeah, once upon a time he was useful. But even with catchers, it is a bad thing to make moves based on the way a player was, not the way he will be. You know the concept of “replacement level” from Baseball Prospectus, right? LaRue was way below replacement level last year, has been below replacement level more years than not, and there is no reason to believe he’ll be above replacement level next year. Paying him more than replacement-level money is just plain a waste.

I don’t mind the LaRue signing. I don’t see it hurting the team at all, he’s a backup catcher. He won’t cost us a division. And with the 2 minor league deals, they would only be called up in emergency possibilities, not a definite callup.

I like Baseball Prospectus as a reference, but I’m glad our front office doesn’t treat it like the be-all,end-all of baseball decisions. I bet Baseball Prospectus wouldn’t have had anything good on Woody Williams prior to his signing, or Jeff Weaver, or maybe even Fernando Vina.Not to mention Gary Bennet, Einar Diaz, and Kelley Stinnett…But all of those guys provided great contributions to the Cards and were good signings. Plus Jason LaRue is younger, so I say give Marty Mason some time with him and see how good he is this coming year. And let’s just reserve jugement on this until we see what else is done this off season.

All I know is: CARDINALS ****!

Well, one of the superior free-agent possibilities that I had in mind, from a probable value-for-dollar perspective as well as confidence that Duncan could fix whatever was wrong with him, was …

Joe Kennedy. :-(

My condolences to the Kennedy family. This has gotta hurt.

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