Wednesday was one busy day in baseball as a series of deals took place. Let’s hope that this won’t be the only foray in the trade market by many of the teams involved with the trade deadline looming on Friday. Regardless, for now, we have plenty to talk about.
The big deal of the day saw the Phillies add 2008 AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee to the mix when the Blue Jays continued to ask for too much in the Roy Halladay sweepstakes. This marks the second straight year that the Indians have dealt their ace – they sent CC Sabathia to the Brewers in 2008. This is a great move for the Phils who add a terrific arm to their rotation, and they are the team to beat tin the NL yet again. To read more about this deal, give Ted Carlson’s Brother-Lee Love a read.
The Pirates have traded something like half their club over the past few weeks (not quite), and they continued to move parts around with a deal for the future that saw them send Jack Wilson and Ian Snell for a plethora of young talented, players from the Mariners highlighted by C/1B Jeff Clement. To read my thought on all the players involved, let me direct you to my piece entitled Pirates Continue to Tinker.
The Pirates, continued their day of deals by then pulling off another potentially big deal for the club down the road as they traded second baseman Freddy Sanchez to the Giants in exchange for minor league pitching prospect Tim Alderson. Here are my thoughts on the deal.
1- The Giants have greatly improve their lineup the past couple of days by adding Sanchez and Ryan Garko. Neither of these two batters are going to carry the club, but when the alternatives were Juan Uribe/Eugenio Velez/Matt Downs/Kevin Frandsen and Travis Ishikawa, obviously the club is in a much better spot now they were mere days ago.
2- Sanchez, as long as his back and knee are healthy (the knee held up the deal as doctors were consulted), should continue to be what he has always been, and that is a .300 hitter. Sanchez, who let injury and the pressure of a potential deal weigh him down the past few weeks (he has hit .176 over his last 51 ABs), should be invigorated by the move to a club that actually has a chance to make the playoffs. Another reason to expect his average to rebound somewhat is due to the fact that his line drive rate of 22.6 percent is about two percentage points below his career mark. It wouldn’t hurt if he cut his strikeout rate as well since he is currently operating at a 16.9 percent mark, a full five and a half percentage points worse than his career rate.
3- The Giants sent out their fourth ranked prospect according to Baseball America, Tim Alderson, to the Pirates in the deal (he was the Giants first round selection in 2007). A 6’6″ righty who profiles as a #2 or #3 starter at the big league level, Alderson is an extremely efficient hurler who knows his way around the strike zone. At just 20 years of age, Alderson owns a 20-6 record with a 3.07 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in his 249 professional innings. He has also walked a total of just 51 batters, or less than two per nine innings, a terrific number for a youngster with a K/9 mark of more than seven.
This is a fantastic deal for the Giants in 2009, but when we revisit this deal in 2012, I have the sneaking suspicion that this deal will rank right alongside that other fine move of Brian Sabean in which he traded Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano to the Twins for 131 games of A.J. Pierzynski. Say it ain’t so Brian, say it ain’t so.
By Ray Flowers