NL West Report: Sifting Through the Settling Trade Dust Out West

About two years ago, I read "The Economist" by JC Bradbury, which did a lot to develop my interest (and chops) for baseball analysis.  Consequently, I really respect what the guy has to say, but last Friday, he tweeted this:

As an economist, it pains me to read stories about winners and losers in trades. Trade is mutually beneficial: that's Econ 101.

The huge fallacy in that statement is the assumption that both parties have made intelligent decisions for themselves in said trade.  As we saw this weekend, that is not always a safe assumption in the NL West.  So with that, I'm going to name winners and losers at the trade deadline.

Padres - A

Notable Moves:  Traded for IF Miguel Tejada, giving up RH RP Wynn Pelzer (7/29).  Traded for OF Ryan Ludwick for the cost of RHP Corey Kluber and LHP Nick Greenwood (7/31).

Commentary:  Jed Hoyer managed to significantly upgrade two positions in the lineup without parting with significant prospects in return.  It is hard to argue then that it wasn't a greatly successful first deadline for Hoyer. Tejada is way past his days as an elite (or even above average) hitter, but he is a significant upgrade over Everth Cabrera at short, who has remembered finally that he's in the major leagues.  Ryan Ludwick represents the biggest bat entering the NL West by far, and Hoyer pried him away for two C prospects (according to John Sickels), with neither placing in the top 20 in the system.  He ranks Pelzer #5 overall, but that is a great deal higher than any other ranking you'll find.  The creativity Hoyer showcased to construct that three-team trade - when the Cardinals weren't looking to move Ludwick - should give Padres' fans confidence going forward with him at the helm.

 

Rockies - B

Notable Moves:  None.

Commentary:  Could the Rockies have used a bat or elite starting pitcher?  Yes.  Would those trades have been smart?  Probably not.  It is good to see Dan O'Dowd has not panicked like in the Kimera Bartee-Chone Figgins days, or as Minnesota GM Bill Smith did this year.  The reality is the that Rockies are suspended between being in the thick of contention and being out of it completely.  Small moves could have helped, but those names that fit the bill to sell (Joe Beimel, Randy Flores, Clint Barmes) were not anything in the way of major league help or enticing minor leaguers.  The timing and mysterious extent of Todd Helton's injury had to be a huge headache for O'Dowd, leaving it difficult to make deals that would allow Helton his chance to prove he is healthy while keeping the roster adequately deep should his bat fall flat again.

 

Diamondbacks - C-

Notable Moves: Traded RHP Dan Haren for LHP Joe Saunders, RHP Rafael Rodriguez, LHP Patrick Corban and LHP Tyler Skaggs.  Traded RHP Edwin Jackson for RHP Daniel Hudson and LHP David Holmberg.  Traded C Chris Snyder and SS Pedro Ciriaco for OF Ryan Church, IF Bobby Crosby and RHP D.J. Carrasco (7/31).  Traded RHP Chad Qualls to Tampa Bay for PTBNL.

Commentary:  First and foremost, it should be understood the sole purpose of the trade deadline for Arizona this year was salary purging, and it is undeniable that interim GM Jerry DiPoto accomplished that.  DiPoto included cash in the Snyder deal only, purging around $47.6 mil in contract obligations from those four players, $6.8mil over the last two months of this season.  For a team wanting to start over, DiPoto freed up room on the payroll without sacrificing his any of his offensive weapons.  We know all too well what the Padres have done going with youth after purging payroll, and that seems to be the plan in Phoenix.

With that said, some of the players received are underwhelming to the point that it is hard to wonder if better deals could be had.  Snyder seemed to be a hot commodity, yet DiPoto had to kick in $3mil and acquire two replacement level players with an average reliever to get rid of him.  Salary relief included, the prevailing opinion is that Haren should have fetched more.  Selling "low" on him really hurt.  Getting Tampa Bay to eat all of Qualls' salary is a complete win, and the Jackson trade seems to be a positive for a rebuilding team.  It seems the talent sold by DiPoto should have brought in better prospects, though Hudson is a huge win in the Jackson trade.


Giants - D

Notable Moves:  Traded OF John Bowker and RHP Joe Martinez for LHP Javier Lopez (7/31).  Traded RHP Daniel Turpen for RHP Ramon Ramirez (7/31).  Signed Pat Burrell (5/29).

Commentary:  The Giants needed a hitter, and they failed to land one.  After being tied to Corey Hart, Prince Fielder, David DeJesus, Jose Guillen, Scott Podsednik, Kelly Johnson, Jose Bautista, Adam LaRoche, and Josh Willingham, getting absolutely no offensive help is disappointing at best, complete playoff-prevention at worst.  In a vacuum, the Ramirez trade is a steal, buying low on a talented reliever while just giving up a ho-hum 24-year old AA reliever.  Sabean overpaid for the LOOGY (who has better numbers against RH this year), handing the Pirates two cost-controlled pieces who have yet to get a long look at the major league level.  Neither are top prospects, but Lopez isn't worth both under any circumstances.  Both trades improve the big league club, but nothing close to what the Giants need.

 

Dodgers - F

Notable Moves:  Traded RHP James McDonald and OF Andrew Lambo for RHP Octavio Dotel.  Traded IF Blake DeWitt, RHP Kyle Smit and RHP Brett Wallach for LHP Ted Lilly and IF Ryan Theriot.  Traded C Lucas May and RHP Elisaul Pimentel to Kansas City for OF Scott Podsednik (7/29).  

Commentary:  It is undeniable that the Dodgers are a better team than a week ago, but that doesn't mean Ned Colletti was smart.  For the second straight season, Colletti overpaid for a big name reliever by surrendering a top offensive prospect, which should be #1 on the DO NOT DO list for GMs.  Dotel will help the pen, but he'll only get about 20 IP at most.  But what did Colletti give up for him?  The Dodgers' top two overall prospects according to Baseball America before the 2009 season.  Both have fallen pretty significantly in prestige since then, and neither are can't miss prospects, but they are two upside cost controlled chips flipped for a relief pitcher.  Meanwhile, the Dodgers are in fourth place.  Can you say panic?

Ted Lilly is a huge upgrade in the rotation over Carlos Monasterios or John Ely.  Truth.  He could really help the Dodgers improve down the stretch, though they had to acquire a poor man's Jamey Carroll in the deal as well.  Lilly has the worst strikeout rate in his career this season, so the best version of Lilly might not be getting off the plane at LAX, but still, he's an improvement.  Even though I'm not a big believer in DeWitt, this trade doesn't make a lot of sense given the Dodgers' spot in the standings.  Neither prospect in the Podsednik deal is too valuable to lose.

In the last three years, Colletti has traded Josh Bell, Jon Meloan, Carlos Santana, Andrew Lambo and James McDonald (all top ten prospects at some point) for Casey Blake, the DFAed George Sherrill and Octavio Dotel.  Brilliant.  It isn't as if the McCourt divorce will be resolved soon, freeing up significant money in coming seasons to buy success.

The reality is there's no money there.  He would have absorbed a lot more than $3.3mil in salary to keep prospects if he had the ability to.  Everything smacks of going for broke in this small window left, before next year's team is in a far more difficult situation.  Remember, Andre Ethier, Chad Billingsley, James Loney, Russell Martin, Hong-Chih Kuo, Jonathan Broxton, Rafael Furcal and Matt Kemp will all be due big raises in 2011 in addition to $7million paid out to players no longer on the team.  Don't be surprised if at least one of those eight players are traded this offseason.  Consider Colletti made these trades for a team that is eight games out in the division (in fourth place) and 6.5 games out of the wild card.  

For as much grief as Dan O'Dowd and the Monforts have had in this town, we've never seen anything like this.  

 

Team capsules after the jump.

NL West Report

Arizona (39-66, 5th, W1, 23 GB)

Last Week: 1-4.  0-3 @ Phillies.  2-1 @ Mets.

Divisional Change: Lost 1.0 games to first place San Diego

This Week: 4 game home series vs. Nationals.  3 game home series vs. Padres.  

News:    If you're curious about the nitty-gritty details about the payroll shedding in the desert, Nick Piecoro has compiled it for you.

It seemed Edwin Jackson might be safe in Arizona with the trade of Dan Haren, but as the team continued to spiral downward, Jackson got shopped hard.  As it turns out, Snakepitters seem to love the return for Jackson, as it is a real possibility Daniel Hudson will be more valuable the rest of this season alone.  Hudson was rated as the White Sox' #1 prospect by Kevin Goldstein before the season, and he wasted no time making an impression, driving in two runs and allowing just one over eight innings in his Arizona debut yesterday.


Dan Hudson

#0 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks

6-4

220

R

R

Mar 09, 1987

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Dan Hudson 1-0 1 1 0 0 0 0 8.0 3 1 1 0 1 4 1.13 .50

Here's the reaction to the Snyder trade by Snakepitters, if you've been wondering.  The other starter, David Holmberg, has been drawing early comparisons to Brett Anderson, former D-Back farmhand and current Athletic.

Although Hudson and Crosby have already reported to the D-Backs, Ryan Church will wait until tomorrow to join the team.  It is pretty undeniable that Jerry DiPoto has made his mark on the franchise in short time, for better or worse.

DiPoto quickly came under fire a week ago when defending the Haren trade by pointing out the number of WINZ Joe Saunders has had in the last three years.  Nick Piecoro responds to that criticism here.

Brandon Webb suffered a setback in his bullpen session last week, ending it after just a few pitches due to difficulty getting loose.  Nick Piecoro has an enlightening commentary:

It’s another day that hasn’t gone as planned for Webb. He has gone from hoping he’d be ready for Opening Day to now saying he’s on on board with the idea of speeding up the return by trying to come back as a reliever.  Unfortunately, we have to wonder if even that is possible at this point. We sure hope it is. But if you can’t get loose in this weather – it’s warm and muggy – that’s not a good sign at all.

After failing his physical, Arizona's 1st round pick Barret Loux has reported to a team in the Cape Cod League in hopes of improving his draft status next year.

Transactions:  Traded RHP Edwin Jackson for RHP Damiel Hudson and LHP David Holmberg.  Traded C Chris Snyder and SS Pedro Ciriaco for IF Bobby Crosby, OF Ryan Church, and RHP D.J. Carrasco.  Recalled C John Hester and optioned RHP Rafael Rodriguez.  Optioned OF Cole Gillespie.

Injuries:  The Diamondbacks managed to finish a whole month without a setback to Brandon Webb.  It was only a matter of time, as he had to cut his Wednesday bullpen session short.  Kris Benson was transferred to the 60-day DL on Friday.

Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Brandon Webb shoulder 03/26/2010
Leo Rosales foot 04/29/2010

Star-divide

Los Angeles (54-51, 4th, L5, 8.0 GB, 6.5 GB WC)

Last Week: 1-5.  1-2 @ Padres.  0-3 @ Giants.  This is the team most of the country thinks will make a run at the playoffs?  Thanks for the help in the Wild Card standings, Los Angeles.

Divisional Change:  Lost 2.0 games to first place San Diego and fell into 4th place in the division.  Lost 3.5 games in the Wild Card standings.

This Week:  4 game home series vs. Padres.  3 game home series vs. Nationals.

News:  The biggest acquisition the Dodgers made was clearly Ted Lilly.  He gives the Dodgers a punchers chance of making up ground in the NL West, assuming he performs like Brad Penny did last year in San Francisco.

Ted Lilly

#30 / Pitcher / Los Angeles Dodgers

6-1

190

L

L

Jan 04, 1976

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2010 - Ted Lilly 3-8 18 18 0 0 0 0 117.0 104 53 48 19 29 89 3.69 1.14

TrueBlueLA's Phil Gurnee was not shy his opinions of the Lilly trade:(Colletti's) penchant for trading the future for the present is gutting the Dodgers of some fine cost controlled players.

This team has bigger problems then trying to compete for a 2010 playoff spot, they need some players for 2011, and trading your starting second baseman for a 2010 rental borders on massive incompetence. This is not a playoff team, and Ted Lilly or PodBoy is not going to change that.

Bill Plaschke of the LA Times thinks the Dodgers' chances of competing are dead, yet seems to like the trades for the Dodgers.  There's obviously a disconnect in his brain, because there is no sensical way for those two thoughts to coexist.  I'm not going to "give Colletti credit" for bringing in those "names."

If you missed this ESPN article on the McCourt divorce, check it out.  The moral:  the Dodgers are in trouble.

Eric Stephen review's Los Angeles' tough July.

He also does a good job of diverting the attention of his fans from the poor play on and off the field by pointing out what a dominant season Rafael Furcal is having.  

Jonathan Broxton is tired.  That has to be the explanation.  Last night, Broxton served up a 2-run home run in a 2-1 loss.  That's called a blown save.  Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles seems concerned.  

Transactions:  Outrighted RHP Justin Miller to AAA Albuquerque.  Traded C Lucas May and RHP Elisaul Pimentel to Kansas City for OF Scott Podsednik.  Traded IF Blake DeWitt, RHP Brett Wallach and RHP Kyle Smit for LHP Ted Lilly and IF Ryan Theriot.  Traded OF Andrew Lambo and RHP James McDonald for RHP Octavio Dotel.  Signed SS Juan Castro

Injuries:  Manny Ramirez is progressing well from his strained calf.  He will be re-evaluated this week but is still expected to be out another three weeks.  Clayton Kershaw is not injured but shows up below due to his suspension.  Andre Ethier likewise is not injured but is in the widget below for taking time off for the birth of his child.  Ronald Belisario is on the restricted list for substance abuse.

Los Angeles Dodgers Injuries

Probable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Clayton Kershaw other-excused 08/01/2010

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Andre Ethier other-excused 08/01/2010

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Manny Ramirez calf 07/17/2010
Reed Johnson back 07/09/2010

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Ronald Belisario other-excused 07/07/2010

Star-divide

San Diego (61-42, 1st, W1)

Last Week: 3-3.   2-1 vs. Dodgers.  1-2 vs. Marlins.  The Padres are really annoying.  They looked to be staring at a bad sweep at home against the Marlins with Josh Johnson on the hill, but the Scrappies managed to score five runs and win.  The Padres are really annoying.

Divisional Change:  Lost 1.5 games to 2nd place San Francisco.

This Week:  4 game road series @ Dodgers.  3 game road series @ Diamondbacks.

News:  It would seem to be good to be a Padres fan right about now.  They have emerged as big winners at the trade deadline.  The big move obviously was trading for Ryan Ludwick.  Here is GasLampBall's reaction to the acquisition, which is about as positive as you will ever find.

Ryan Ludwick

#47 / Right Field / San Diego Padres

6-3

220

R

L

Jul 13, 1978

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2010 - Ryan Ludwick 77 281 44 79 20 2 11 43 24 64 0 3 .281 .343 .484
Jed Hoyer discusses how he worked bringing in the rightfielder in this video.

The Padres were interviewed about their new teammate.  Who would have ever though "World Series" would cross Adrian Gonzalez' lips on July 31 while wearing a San Diego Padres?

Miguel Tejada will play many roles for the Padres, and he's excited about it.

Barry Bloom of MLB.com pegs the Padres as one of the top five winners at the deadline.  Then again, he said the Dodgers were too....

Transactions:  Traded RHP Corey Kluber and LHP Nick Greenwood in a three team trade for OF Ryan Ludwick.  DFA'ed OF Quintin Berry and optioned OF Aaron Cunningham to AAA Portland.  Traded RH RP Wynn Pelzer for IF Miguel Tejada.

Injuries:  Kyle Blanks will have to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss 7-10 months recovering.  That means he not only won't be back by Spring Training, but he will be out until mid-season next year.  An MRI on David Eckstein last Tuesday revealed his calf injury was just a strain.  Mike Adams felt "confident" after a bullpen session Thursday and could return soon.  Placed Oscar Salazar on the 15-day DL with a strained Achilles.

San Diego Padres Injuries

Doubtful

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Chris Denorfia groin 08/01/2010

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
David Eckstein calf 07/21/2010
Oscar Salazar achilles-tendon 07/30/2010
Kyle Blanks elbow 05/18/2010
Mike Adams oblique 07/12/2010

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Chris Young shoulder 04/07/2010

Star-divide

San Francisco (61-45, 2nd, W3, 1.5 GB, Lead WC)

Last Week: 5-2.  2-2 vs. Marlins.  3-0 vs. Dodgers

Divisional Change:  Gained 1.5 games on San Diego for the second consecutive week.  Extended their lead in the Wild Card standings to 2.0 games.

This Week:  2 game road series @ Rockies.   4 game road series @ Braves.  This is precisely the type of week that could slow the Giants.  Winning at Coors Field is tough enough, but the Braves are a blistering 34-13 at home.

News:  Not surprisingly, McCovey Chronicles was very upset at the Javier Lopez trade.  They seem to have a strong attachment to John Bowker (probably too strong for a 27-year-old), and Grant compares Bowker's career progression to Oriole Luke Scott.

John Bowker

#20 / Right Field / Pittsburgh Pirates

6-2

200

L

L

Jul 08, 1983

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB CS AVG OBP SLG
2010 - John Bowker 41 82 9 17 3 0 3 8 6 23 0 0 .207 .256 .354
R.J. Anderson was a little too nice to Brian Sabean, saying that Sabean had "tunnel vision" with the Lopez deal.
Pat Burrell hit a 2-run home run off Jonathan Broxton to give the Giants a win on the last day of July.  It was a big month for the Giants, who finished 20-8.  Buster Posey was a huge part of the team's success, hitting a .488 wOBA in July, but that wasn't  even the best on the top.  
Aubrey Huff finished with a .490 wOBA in July, even collecting his 1500th hit last week.  Hopefully regression from Huff will come crashing down on Huff.
Tim Lincecum tried a new delivery with familiar results.

Transactions:
  
 Called up IF Ryan Rohlinger.  Assigned LHP Dontrelle Willis to AZL Giants.  Traded OF John Bowker and RHP Joe Martinez for LHP Javier Lopez.  Traded AAA RHP Daniel Turpen for RHP Ramon Ramirez.

Injuries:  Brian Wilson was unavailable for Friday' game with back spasms and is day-to-day.  I'm betting he overexerted himself while bending down to  color in his shoes with a Sharpie.  Placed Eugenio Velez on the 15-day July 25 with a head contusion

San Francisco Giants Injuries

Questionable

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Brian Wilson back 08/01/2010

15-Day

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Todd Wellemeyer quadriceps 06/11/2010
Dan Runzler knee 07/09/2010
Jeremy Affeldt oblique 07/21/2010
Eugenio Velez concussion 07/25/2010
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