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Friday, June 25, 2004

The Trade

Octavio Dotel is an Athletic, Carlos Beltran an Astro, and the trio of Mark Teahen, Mike Wood, and John Buck are now all Royals subjects, er. prospects, er whatever. Teahen, a reputed prospect, is only hitting .275/.383/.391 in AAA Sacramento, but hey, he's a future replacement for Eric Chavez, right? His name was in Moneyball, so he must be a great player, right? Er, whatever. I still think Allard Baird got his clock cleaned on this one. Baseball America's 2004 Prospect Handbook noted his questionable power in single-A; his ascent to AAA doesn't seem to have been accompanied by anything like an improvement, though he was high in the Texas League in several important numbers (RBIs, walks, and triples). Oakland gets out of the jam they were in with the bullpen, but depletes their system of its only potential replacement for Chavez should he go down hard. Meantime, the Astros get Beltran's bat and much improved centerfield defense. Though Brad Lidge will likely inherit the closer role, that title may end up causing the move to be a bust for the Astros: the next guy in line for the long-reliever role is veteran David Weathers and his 4.46 ERA, meaning a much worse guy now gets more innings. If Beltran's bat and glove don't make up for the decline in pitching, this just moved the team into the cellar for good. In a "win now" year with Clemens unlikely to return next year and the team's outfield aging rapidly, this move may yet prove one of the dumbest they've made in recent years.

Let's not forget that Dotel is almost as much of a "rent-a-player" as Beltran. He's arbitration eligible this off-season, which means he's going to get a hefty raise. It is likely that Beane will be forced to deal him. Will he get prospects (or major league talent) equal to the quality of Teahen and Wood in return? Highly doubtful. It’s not as bad of a trade as it looks at first glance.
How is it that the A's seem to have multiple prospects available to trade, when Baseball America ranks their farm system pretty low, the last 3 years running (19, 22, 17)?

They got Guillen for a half year, for Aaron Harang (2004 5.43 ERA, 59.2 IP, 6.64 K/9, 1.84 K/BB) and minor leaguers Joe Valentine (in Cincinnati, 14.54 ERA, 4.1 IP, 6.23 K/9, 0.38 K/BB) and Jeff Bruksch (in AAA Potomac, 4.53 ERA, 30 IP, 4.80 K/9, .762 K/BB). In other words, largely junk.
... heh, thanks to the wonder of Blogger and its failure to leave all the comments on the same page, I forgot the question. As to how the A's always seem to have prospects to move, I put it on Beane's ability to hoodwink other GM's. It can't go on indefinitely; they've been ransacking their farm system for a while now.

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