Moyer and other no-trades
We haven’t really talked about what didn’t happen, and what it means. Jamie Moyer was almost traded twice, and refused both trades. The PI has a high-level rundown.
And while reports vary wildly (as they will), I wanted to ignore some of the issues around this (Jamie wants to return in 2006? Home starter)(and also his no-trade decision) and focus on the deals.
No matter which version of the Astros deal you hear: Moyer and Winn for Chris Burke and Chad Harville, for instance, or Moyer for Fernando Nieve, or some variant of that — these are hauls. That’s a Freddy Garcia-level haul for a 42-year old pitcher who hasn’t been more effective than a league average starter.
Details on the Braves deal are scarce. The Braves seem to do less negotiation-through-the-media and general rumor-mongering than any other team, and it’s interesting nothing’s leaked from the Mariner side either. So not a lot to be judged there.
Reading accounts around the country, it also appears that Meche’s shoulder problem destroyed whatever trade interest there was. Teams are trying to spin the team’s asking price for Guardado as too high which is hard to verify: they’ve got a vested interest in selling a good reason they didn’t get him, but the Mariners (it would seem) weren’t willing to take the best deal on the table as the deadline approached. Without knowing the names offered, it’s hard to make any judgement on whether that was wise.
I do think the team’s a little too stuck on having an ace closer and all the related hangups, and Hargrove’s usage of Guardado is frustrating (for instance, his reluctance to use him in extra-inning games at home, which drives Dave batty). Guardado has a gaudy ERA and a shoulder that’s still torn, even if he’s pitching effectively with the injury now. I always argue that you’re better off taking the risk of trading these guys early (Halama after 2000, Franklin after 2003) if you can find a team willing to bite, and if once in a while they turn out well for the other side, so be it.
I’m not as excited about the Winn/Villone trades as others. Live arms, yay, roll the dice — bringing in some guys with fastballs at least helps balance an organization filled with pitchers with decent stuff, decent control, and little impact potential. I look at the collection and think “meh”.
But trading Winn to create space for Doyle’s a good move all by itself. Villone to Sherrill’s a good tradeoff. Both of those guys were reasonably expensive for a fair chunk of money, and the team’s replacing them with cheap internal options. This is what fans have been clamoring for: a commitment to the future.
And the Moyer deals, if nothing else, demonstrate both that the front office is good at getting value for their players and that they’re willing to trade beloved local figures if it’ll make a difference improving the team’s long-term chances.
Now we wait to see if they can pull off some waiver deals. Last year they made a couple of moves (Mike Myers waived, picked up by Boston, Borders traded to the Twins), and it’ll be interesting to see if they try and find homes for a pitcher like Pineiro, who they might still like to move but may have to pay part of his remaining contract. And while these last starts may make it more likely they’ll punt him, it also unfortunately makes it less likely other teams will take a chance… but then the Yankees are taking people off the street and turning them into emergency starters at this point.