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Monday, November 19, 2007

White Sox Send Jon Garland To Angels For Orlando Cabrera

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the Angels have sent Orlando Cabrera and cash to the White Sox in exchange for starter Jon Garland.

One way or another (though Rotoworld thinks it could be Erick Aybar), Cabrera was going to be gone by the end of 2008; getting something of value for him qualifies as a good thing. Moreover, the Angels get younger, and while I tend to agree with the anonymous Rotoworld analyst that at this point who says Garland is a fourth starter on the Angels, it puts one of Joe Saunders or Ervin Santana on notice that theirs isn't an automatic rotation slot.

Garland pitched in a hostile environment in U.S. Cellular, so moving to Angel Stadium might help; it should, however, be noted that his career home ERA is a half run lower than his road ERA. He's never had very good peripherals (career 4.79 K/9 and only 4.23 in 2007), and so he's had to rely on pitching to contact to earn his keep. He's at his best when he keeps the ball on the ground, but he hasn't been able to do that consistently in his career — and that ability seems to be eroding lately. That is, he's an older, more expensive version of Joe Saunders or Paul Byrd with slightly better numbers than Saunders and younger than Byrd.

As to Garland's future: PECOTA just about nailed Garland's 50th-percentile projection with a 23.5 VORP (he finished at 26.6); assuming that accuracy continues, Garland is likely to play out just below the 4 WARP level, i.e. he's worth maybe two wins a year if he gets lucky. As a one-year deal, it makes some sense for the Angels; Garland is likely better than the free agent pitching available this offseason (Matt Clement, anyone?). He hasn't had any significant injuries lately, and has generally been healthy, both good attributes for a pitcher.

Overall, I like this trade for the Angels, but despite what some are claiming at BTF, this is a pretty even trade. Both players are entering free agency after this year (though why Chicago wants Cabrera after re-signing Juan Uribe is a mystery), both have been healthy, though Cabrera has substantial downside risk and Garland's upside, despite being only 28, is pretty limited. It provides depth for the Angels, but ... what for the Chisox, who really need to think about rebuilding at several positions?

Update: More coverage at the Times and Register.

Update 2: I don't get why U.S.S. Mariner's Dave thinks this makes the Angels worse. The gap between Nick Adenhart and the majors is still large. The suspicion elsewhere seems to be that there's going to be another big move, whether it's another attempt to get Tejada or going for broke with Miguel "Who You Callin' Fat?" Cabrera.

Update 3: Also via MLB.com, which adds this money quote from Tony Reagins (emphasis mine):

"I don't know if it's a bold move," Tony Reagins, the Angels' new general manager, said of his first major deal. "It's a move that makes us better. This puts us in the right direction and opens up opportunities to do things down the line if that opens up."
Mike Scioscia gives us some more:
"More important, it gives Tony the opportunity to look at some things in the [Dec. 3-6] Winter Meetings [in Nashville]. Obviously, there's been a lot of focus on the offensive side. Tony's not done. ... He's going to address that, and he has the tools to do things. Every club we've talked to asks about pitching, and we have a legitimate six-man rotation."
There's another log on the fire of Miguel Cabrera trade prospects...

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I've read plenty of speculation that this is a precursor to a bolder move, so I'm left wondering...

Possibly a huge deal on the horizon of Saunders, Santana, Kendrick, Wood and Aybar for Miguel Cabrera, Dontrelle and Uggla? Figgins would presumably move to SS.

Or, a tamer-by-comparison deal of Wood & Saunders (or Santana) for Tejada?

Do you have a take on any of those? Speculation is just that - speculation... but worth considering?
No idea how that happens.
i like OC, but i love this trade. i've been wanting more SP all winter, recalling how well our Big 3 did in their last 3 starts in 2007. We have the depth at SS to still handle the AL West, and it gives us a better chance in post-season (assuming nothing else goes down).

and i haven't seen it pointed out yet, but the last time we traded an older popular gold glove shortstop and team leader for a younger starting pitcher, it turned out OK (1972).
and Happy Thanksgiving Rob.

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