December 8, 2005

Midnight Massacre

That's the tagline I'm hanging on this trade. And while I may be wrong, I'm not uncertain. Trader Jim, desperate to do something to justify his presence at the Winter Meetings (and his continued presence on the payroll) made exactly the kind of big, splashy trade that generates a ton of media light and heat, but no fire. In case anyone missed it, though I don't see how you could have, Brad Wilkerson, Terrmel Sledge and Armando Galarraga went to Texas in exchange for Alfonso Soriano.

Let's clear up some preliminaries: I don't like Soriano. Didn't like him in New York, didn't like him in Texas, fully expect to not like him in D.C. He's a lousy contact hitter, has no (zip, zero, zilch) patience at the plate, had awful stats away from Arlington, may actually be worse than Vidro at second base, and has never shown any inclination to play the outfield. Plus, he has a reputation for being a bad clubhouse guy.

Now, on to the merits: Trading Terrmel Sledge? Fine, good guy, coming off a bad injury, no better than a 4th OF, clears a logjam for Ryan Church and Marlon Byrd.

Trading Brad Wilkerson? Not great, but okay. He was the Nats most marketable player, he was due for a raise this year and FA next year, he's been hurt, and he really didn't have a natural position in this lineup (I tend to agree with the consensus that Wilkie is not a natural 4-5 hitter.) What depth the Nats had was in the OF, and with *shudder* Marlon Anderson to back up Nicky at 1B, I understand the rationale for moving Wilkie.

Trading Armando Galarraga? Inexcusable. I'll leave it to the farm system expert to lay out the full case, but it comes down to this: What is the one huge, glaring, neon-flashing weakness on the team? Starting pitching! Trading away one of our few legitimate SP prospects without getting any prospects in return is massively stupid.

And finally, moving into fantasy: If Soriano moves to CF and becomes an above average defender, or if we move Jose Vidro's contract and get prospects in return, or if we flip Soriano at the trade deadline this season for high-end prospects, I will eat my share of crow and reevaluate the trade. I will also travel to the All-Star Game to cheer for Cristian Guzman.

Elsewhere: More in-depth analysis from Capitol Punishment, generalized feelings of dread from OMG and Nats Blog and a truly depressing conversation thread shaping up over at Federal Baseball.

1 comment:

Watson said...

While I have no warm and fuzzy feelings about this trade I'm hoping that there is a silver lining here. Soriano has some pop and even if his number decrease (which they will) he'll still hit 25 dingers. He also gives us some speed on the bases. Maybe he'll be a good addition. We'll know by May.