Grading the Trades

Like clockwork, as the air gets colder, the hot stove starts heating up. Let’s go over the big ones so far.

Yankees- Curtis Granderson (DET)

One of the more likeable players in baseball on the least likeable team in baseball. Crap.

Tigers- Phil Coke (NYY), Austin Jackson (NYY), Max Scherzer (ARZ), Daniel Schlereth (ARZ)

Diamondbacks- Edwin Jackson (DET), Ian Kennedy (NYY)

This deal seems to make sense for all teams, but it is a question of if it will end with the desired results. The Yankees got a dynamic outfielder who has done it all throughout his career and gives them some speed on the basepaths as well. The Tigers were able to alleviate some payroll stress and reload with prospects and guys who can come in and produce right away. The Diamondbacks got one guy who really came on strong last year and a former wunderkid in Kennedy. Will it all work for them? Let’s take a look.

Curtis Granderson is not who you think he is. Over the past three seasons his batting average has dropped from .302 3 years ago to around .280 2 years ago  to a measly .249 last year. New York has not seen that kind of regression since Brian Cashman’s hairline. He has still remained productive through a power surge, but he is not the leadoff guy people still see him as. His strikeouts were way up last year and although his power numbers were up, many of his other numbers were down (OPS, SLG, OBP, GO/AO, if you don’t know what these mean, click) . Obviously, as a lefty in New York, his power numbers should continue to rise, potentially even beyond 35 home runs, but if they do then you can expect him to hit around .250 or .260 again. In my opinion, he is far better for the Yankees if he goes back to .280 with a bunch of doubles than a slugger. There is no lack of guys to drive him in, and when he is striking out as much as he has been, he is negating his own speed. I have always been a fan of Granderson’s but I cannot see him succeeding at the rate he is capable unless they get him in and fix his swing. He will put up decent clean up spot type numbers, but will not be the lead off guy the Yankees think they are getting. Yankees Grade: Pending, but for now B-.

The Tigers did a fairly good job reloading in my estimation. They lost Granderson and Edwin Jackson, but they were guys who have had mixed results. We already talked about Granderson, but Jackson had a very mixed bag last year as far as numbers were concerned. He started out fantastically, getting strikeouts and being virtually unhittable at times. However, right around the All-Star break he started getting crushed. There was speculation that he was tipping pitches and judging by his stats, that looks like a definite possibility. There has never been a doubt about this guy’s potential, but all things considered, getting rid of him was not a horrible idea if the AL hitters already know what he is going to do. With Jackson’s departure, the Tigers brought in Max Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth (son of ESPN’s Mark), Austin Jackson and Phil Coke. That is a pretty good haul, albeit for two of their more talented players. Scherzer has stuff so filthy kids under 18 cannot watch him pitch, but he has had some shoulder concerns and slight consistency problems. But he is such a good prospect that the Tigers were ok taking a very slight roll of the dice on him. Daniel Schlereth is a young kid (23), but might be thrust into action early given the Tigers pitching situation. Like most young pitchers,

Professional Stud

he has toget better command of his stuff and avoid the long ball, but if he can do that I can see it as a fairy good add for the Tigers. Austin Jackson was among the top prospects in the Yankees system, and there is little doubt about the kind of guy the Tigers got here. He has hit .300 or around there in almost all of his minor league seasons with speed to burn and more than respectable RBI numbers. His numbers remind me of a young (non-power hitting) Grady Sizemore, which is high praise from and Indians fan. I would not be shocked to see him on the big club this year at all, so a very good get by the Tigers. Phil Coke is less exiting but did a great job out of the pen for the Yankees last year and should be able to come in and immediately give the Tigers another reliable arm in the bullpen. Tigers Grade: B+

I personally think the Diamondbacks made a mistake here. Edwin Jackson, as noted earlier, has all the talent in the world and can be nasty but they paid a premium for him. Scherzer was probably their best prospect with MLB experience and Schlereth, though not stunning, was still a 1st round pick. Jackson should look great next to Webb and Haren, but if he starts tipping pitches again then he will fall into the same post All-Star break slump he hit last year. If Webb is healthy and Jackson can stay at a high level then it could prove a very good trade, but I do not see it happening. I also think Ian Kennedy will not be much of anything. He was highly picked, but has really yet to put it together and has just been demolished at times. It is always tough to tell if a guy will just click with a certain pitching coach, but I would not bet on Kennedy posting anything better than a 4.00 ERA, and it will probably be much higher. Risky deal for a team trying to win now. I agree witht he timing of trying to win now in the NL West, but I think they might hve overpaid for what they got. D-Backs Grade: C

The Big One

These technically were multiple deals, but it was somewhat of a chain reaction so we will list them together.

Phllies- Roy Halladay (TOR), Philippe Aumont (SEA), Tyson Gillies (SEA), Juan Ramirez (SEA), $6 million

Mariners- Cliff Lee (PHI)

Blue Jays- Kyle Drabek (PHI), Travis d’Arnaud (PHI), Brett Wallace (OAK)

Athletics- Michael Taylor (PHI via TOR)

Not everyday you see 2 Cy Young winners essentially involved in the same deal. The one will go down in the record books regardless of how any of the players do, just a huge trade.

Harder to hit than the 17th at Sawgrass

The Phillies swapped 3 of their top prospects for 3 of the Mariners top prospects and Roy Halladay for Cliff Lee. So are they a better team? By a little, yes. Halladay is a ground ball guy who will do well in Philly, and the fans will love him. I hae nothing bad to say about him, but I do not feel like they really improved a ton. Lee is still a stud obviously and theprospects the Phillies gave up were probably a little better than the former Mariners prospects, but that is hard to judge until they set foot on a MLB field, which could be a while. I cannot knock Ruben Amaro Jr. for the deal as he has been running circles around the NL East, but they are not as improved as it might appear. I would talk more about the new prospects but I do not know anything about them to be honest. If you want to read more, click here. Phillies Grade: B

The Seattle Mariners are trying to win now and initially I have got to say I really like the look of their team. Even

Fun Fact: There are no pictures of him as a member of the Phillies on the 1st page of Google Images. As an Indians fan, I get an immense amount of satisfaction from this.

Manny Pacquiao would agree that there is no better one-two than his majesty King Felix and Cliff Lee, and Erik Bedard, though over paid monumentally, is not too bad. If they can get just average starts from their 4th and 5th guys thenthey can be very good. They already were tops in the AL in ERA last year and they have gotten better. Along with the addition of Chone Figgins, they look ready to strike, and Figgins former team, the Angels, looks ready to fade with Vlad possibly on the move, Figgins gone, and John Lackey gone to rivals Boston. The Rangers have been making moves too (Mike Lowell, Chris Ray, Rich Harden), and it looks like there may be a changing of the guard in the AL West. The Mariners paid a price for Lee, but given the timing, I would say it is worth it. Mariners Grade: A-

The Toronto Blue Jays had to do it. They were going to risk getting virtually nothing for the best pitcher in baseball, so I cannot blame them for making the move, but I think they could have gotten more. First off, if they had dealt him at the trade deadline, they would have gotten more, but I think they could have gotten J.A. Happ in this deal instead of Drabek, which would be an improvement to my estimation. Drabek is very highly rated, but Happ is already major-league-ready and would be a piece they could build around immediately. They initially got Michael Taylor in the deal, but spun him for Brett Wallace, who was the centerpiece of the Matt Holliday to St. Louis trade. I wouldn’t expect to see Wallace in the majors this year unless the Blue Jays are really, really bad, which they could be. He is a top-notch prospect though, so remember him down the road a bit. I don’t know much about   d’Arnaud either but he is one of the top catching prospects that was available, so it is a pretty good add. It will be hard to really grade this deal for the Jays for a couple years, but that’s why we are here. Blue Jays Grade: Necessary

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