An Opportunity Arises

Dave · May 6, 2009 at 1:03 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Usually, when teams get frustrated with one of their own underachievers, they don’t get a chance to trade that guy away and get anything of value back. It either turns into a dump-the-contract kind of situation where the team gives the player away, or they go in another direction and just let that guy sit on the bench while everyone regrets the situation.

Thanks to a move by the Minnesota Twins this afternoon, a window may have just opened for the Mariners.

The Twins, more than any other team in baseball, value contact hitting. They hate strikeouts – it’s an organizational philosophy that is preached at their kids from day one. They want aggressive, high contact guys who hit for average and are willing to sacrifice power to get that. They also care very little for statistical analysis, and give no heed to any of the newer defensive metrics out there. They evaluate defense by scouting reports and tools. They’re a small ball, speed and defense kind of team, and as long as Ron Gardenhire‘s the manager, they always will be.

There’s not a team in baseball more apt to value Yuniesky Betancourt than the Twins. He fits all of the things they like in a player – he’s fast, he’s got good defensive tools, he’s almost impossible to strike out, he hits the ball on the ground, and he’s a high average hitter. The things that he fails at – drawing walks, working counts, living up to his defensive reputation – are the things that the Twins value less than anyone else in baseball.

Betancourt and the Twins are a match made in heaven. He’s their kind of player. No other organization in the game will see as much value in Yuni as the Twins.

And as of today, the Twins could use a middle infielder.

They just demoted starting second baseman Alexi Casilla to Triple-A, as he’s gotten on Ron Gardenhire‘s last nerve. He made some fundamental mistakes over the weekend, dropping a throw on a relay from the outfield, and has always struggled to live up to Gardenhire’s expectations. The fact that he’s hitting .167 to start the year didn’t help.

To replace him on the roster, the Twins called up Matt Tolbert, who is more of a corner infielder than a middle guy. They’ll give Casilla’s playing time to Brendan Harris, but he profiles more as a utility player than anything else. A Punto-Harris middle infield tandem is not exactly the stuff that the Twins dream of.

Jack, get on the phone. Call Bill Smith and tell him that you’d like to talk about acquiring Casilla. Point out that your team is too right-handed, and you wouldn’t mind adding a switch-hitter to the roster. Do the whole change of scenery thing. When Smith asks what you’re willing to give up, make it sound like it kills you to part with your starting shortstop, but throw out the old “I know I have to give something to get something” line, and see if he’ll throw in Jose Mijares just to make it easier on you.

Alexi Casilla isn’t a great player – he’s basically a switch-hitting Yuni with a few more walks – but there’s no doubt that this team is better with Cedeno at SS and Casilla as the utility guy than they are with Betancourt at SS and Cedeno backing him up. You ship out the biggest defensive liability on the team, replace a hacking right-handed bat with a slightly more patient left-handed one, and shed some future contract obligations in the process. If Smith is willing to give you a decent second piece to “even the deal”, all the better.

Yuni to Minnesota. Make it happen, Jack. Gifts like this don’t come along all that often.

Comments

75 Responses to “An Opportunity Arises”

  1. okori on May 6th, 2009 1:12 pm

    I got it. We could trade Betencourt for 2K9′s version of Juan Gonzalez (the other one) and Ramon Santiago..

    No no no! I don’t mind targeting Casilla. He put up decent number’s last year. Good buy low option.

    Isn’t that the philosophy though? Buy low? Do you really sell your commidity, that’s apparently not valued at anything right now?

    Trade a .300 hitter who’s youngish, and still has some talent in that all be it pudgy body for an acknowledged utility player.

    Or trade for Casilla, and work him into the rotation. Figure out what actually to do with Betencourt. Here’s an idea. Send him down and move him to 2B. He’s to chunky. He can’t cover the range at SS anymore. Plus a move to 2B has fixed a SS’s throwing problems before. Brian Roberts came up as a wild throwing SS. I know, because I worked as a dugout guard that year. He almost took my foot off..

    This site preaches value. Don’t get jumpy. Trading players away for nothing, just to move em, screams fan, and reduces the site’s entire credibility.

  2. RoninX on May 6th, 2009 1:15 pm

    Dave’s whole point is that Yuni’s value is declining, but he probably has the highest remaining value to the Twins. That doesn’t scream “Fan”.

    Is “Fan” a dirty word now by the way?

  3. Joe C on May 6th, 2009 1:17 pm

    I’d prefer to “even the deal” by throwing in Silva.

  4. Mat on May 6th, 2009 1:21 pm

    Frankly, I don’t think this has any chance of happening. From the Twins’ standpoint:

    Betancourt pros:
    * Contact hitter, avoids strikeouts
    * Defensive potential

    Betancourt cons:
    * Doesn’t work hard
    * Error-prone
    * Hasn’t shown any signs of improvement
    * No power
    * No plate discipline
    * Owed $7M over ’10 and ’11

    Additionally, the Twins are pretty unlikely to move Punto off of SS to accommodate Betancourt, so they would have to play him at a position where he’s got 9 games of experience.

    The Twins have huge problems in the bullpen and Mijares has been the only non-Nathan to show any signs of life in the bullpen. Good luck prying him loose.

    The Twins will keep Tolbert around, he won’t be much good, but he’ll work hard, he won’t cause them any trouble, he won’t cost them any talent, and they’ll be perfectly happy with that because that’s how the Twins operate.

  5. Dave on May 6th, 2009 1:21 pm

    Isn’t that the philosophy though? Buy low? Do you really sell your commidity, that’s apparently not valued at anything right now?

    If it’s correctly valued at nothing, and someone is willing to give you more than nothing, then yes.

    Trade a .300 hitter who’s youngish, and still has some talent in that all be it pudgy body for an acknowledged utility player.

    Trade a .290 OBP hitter who’se not young, and whose talent has basically been eroded through a lack of work ethic, for a 24-year-old switch-hitter who was a better player last year?

    There’s no point phrasing things in terms of generic roles that have no meaning. Yuni’s not a “.300 hitter”, and using a phrase like that just confuses the discussion.

    Send him down and move him to 2B.

    Yes, because *that* will increase his value…

    Trading players away for nothing, just to move em, screams fan, and reduces the site’s entire credibility.

    If trading bad players who are hurting the team away for cheaper, more useful players reduces my credibility with you, so be it.

  6. bakomariner on May 6th, 2009 1:23 pm

    They did want Wash last year…send out Wash with Yuni and get back the two players Dave mentioned and another prospect…

    We can fill the Wash void with Vargas, Olsen, or RRS…

    Although getting them to take Silva or Batista would be better…

  7. bakomariner on May 6th, 2009 1:27 pm

    Dave- I know this is a “wish” post, but is there any real chance of this happening? Do you have any inside info. that the club is shopping Yuni? I’ve been wanting him gone for two years now…GOD I hope it happens…

  8. hub on May 6th, 2009 1:30 pm

    This was the exact scenario that screamed into my head. How much does it help that Yuni’s 3-year performance against the Twins is a .357avg, .370obp, .541slg, .911ops? Come on Gardy…you KNOW you want him. =^)

  9. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on May 6th, 2009 1:41 pm

    Dave,

    I am not sure I am completely tracking this potential move. It’s probably because I can’t adequately quantify the impact of Cedeno at SS and Casilla in the wings over Yuni where he is. Can you help? I suspect the flexibility of a switch-hitter to shake the block of righties up is going to be signficant in itself. What does a Cedeno/Casilla tandem sharing time at SS look like offensively, do you think? How is Casilla’s defense v. Yuni’s for the times he is run out there? I think those are the pieces I don’t have a handle on, yet, though I haven’t made my usual pilgrimage to Fangraphs to examine the data yet, either.

  10. Beniitec on May 6th, 2009 1:49 pm

    Batista, Silva, and Yuni for Casilla and Mijares..and a PTBNL

  11. Paul B on May 6th, 2009 1:55 pm

    Guys, nobody is going to take Silva in a deal. The only way the M’s get rid of him is to pay all of his remaining salary (except possibly the ML minimum).

    Get over it. You’re dreaming.

  12. oar68 on May 6th, 2009 2:00 pm

    Gardenhire LOVES Tolbert. Expect him to get every opportunity to stick.

    Also, there is something in that organization known as THE TWINS’ WAY. Among the rules of THE TWINS’ WAY are to listen to the coaching staff and keep your head in the game. Both of those disqualify Betancourt from even getting a sniff from GM Bill Smith. Gardenhire would kill Yuni within two games.

    Tolbert is playing second base and batting second tonight.

  13. joser on May 6th, 2009 2:08 pm

    This site preaches value. Don’t get jumpy. Trading players away for nothing, just to move em, screams fan, and reduces the site’s entire credibility.

    Wow, just wow. How you read Dave’s entire post and came away with that…. What’s it like knowing hundreds, perhaps thousands of people are reading what you wrote and rolling their eyes?

    How much does it help that Yuni’s 3-year performance against the Twins is a .357avg, .370obp, .541slg, .911ops?

    It would help more if he was doing that against the rest of the AL Central.

    Guys, nobody is going to take Silva in a deal. The only way the M’s get rid of him is to pay all of his remaining salary (except possibly the ML minimum).

    Right, which is how you get rid of him in a deal. Whenever I see someone proposing to trade Silva, I always assume they’re including the provisio that the M’s continue to pay all of his salary. That’s a given. At a price of nothing (or the league minimum) he has some value. The only question is whether you want that minimal value occupying a roster spot on the M’s, or somewhere else. The money is gone either way.

  14. jordan on May 6th, 2009 2:17 pm

    What does a deal like this sound like?

    Alexi Casilla
    Jose Mijares
    Anthony Swarzak

    Yuniesky Betancourt
    Jarrod Washburn

  15. Steve Nelson on May 6th, 2009 2:17 pm

    Whenever I see someone proposing to trade Silva, I always assume they’re including the provisio that the M’s continue to pay all of his salary. That’s a given. At a price of nothing (or the league minimum) he has some value. The only question is whether you want that minimal value occupying a roster spot on the M’s, or somewhere else. The money is gone either way.

    Don’t neglect the value to the Mariners of keeping Silva within the league so that the Ms would face him occasionally.

  16. matthew on May 6th, 2009 2:19 pm

    Throw in Dave Sims. I can’t deal with his butchering of Franklin Gutierrez last name any longer.

  17. okori on May 6th, 2009 2:20 pm

    Betencourt’s what? 27?? And he never had any real time in the minors.

    So, no. Sending him down wouldn’t help. Moving him to a position he’s probably more qualified to play.. Doesn’t make sense.

    We should give him away for parts, no?

    AND, he’s correctly valued at nothing?

    He’s still got speed. He’s still got some pop in his bat. He makes a lot of those highlight plays. He just loses focus on easier ones.

    No talent there.. Nothing that can’t be coached..

    You’ve got a player that has a skill-set that can be coached. He’s also make $4 mill, not $10.

    Send him down, train him up. It works, no big deal. If not, not a huge loss.

    You trade him away now for change, and you’ve got the potential of a Guillen deal here. Santiago wasn’t all that far off from Casilla at the time, and Guillen was an under producing SS with questionable work ethic, no?

  18. JI on May 6th, 2009 2:21 pm

    Gosh I hope so

  19. okori on May 6th, 2009 2:22 pm

    Sorry for the double post, but this is a different point:

    Your little stats thing was cute. I know BA. I know OBP. He has a low OBP, but a highish BA. Those are norms for him.. Matches O Guillen for one. Got to credit that to Niehaus, who may read your blog. He pointed out the Guillen never walked either.

    You’re not going to confuse me with stats talk. I’ve read this site for years + your book. The low OBP is bad. The BA is good. Look at the whole player. Don’t just pick stats that help your case.

    To Joser-

    It helps knowing that most baseball analysts preach against not using stats to make your case, but looking at them as part of the whole picture. It helps to know that there are still scouts at there that look at power/speed and think we may have something here. I could go with a whole I’m rubber, you’re glue thing here. My point is the same point made by Blowers/Hasselmen amongst others about Betencourt. He needs some coaching, but you can see the talent. It’s actually Hasselmen’s idea to send him down..

    The 2K1 Orioles present a great example of this. They had a stats guy, and a toolsy guy. The stats guy started the year at 2B. The toolsy guy came up later, and moved between 2B/SS. It was obvious to anyone who watched (and there’s a key) the team, who the better player was. That guy, the toolsy guy, just played his 1000th game with the team. The other guy (Harriston) is in Cincy I think as a util IF.

  20. Beniitec on May 6th, 2009 2:25 pm

    Matthew…actually Dave Sims is the only one who says it correctly. It’s pronounced Gooti-eh-rrez. I’m getting kind of annoyed at Rick Rizz’s version. ;)

  21. Dave on May 6th, 2009 2:27 pm

    Don’t just pick stats that help your case.

    I love that you ended your comment with this. It helped push me over the top in realizing that I just don’t need to bother responding.

    You like Yuni. Great. I hope you and Bill Smith think alike.

  22. Bretticus on May 6th, 2009 2:32 pm

    I have to ask Dave–how do you survive? You’re a god damn super hero in my eyes for dealing with this mess.

    What do you think the odds are that something like this actually happens? If it were last year’s front office, I would’ve just laughed at this idea, but since we have Zduriencik and Blengino in the fold, it could be a real possibility. Should I get my hopes up here? I just want Yuni to go away; getting a solid player like Casilla would make me do backflips.

  23. bakomariner on May 6th, 2009 2:32 pm

    No stats here…but Yuni SUCKS sooooooooooo bad…

  24. matthew on May 6th, 2009 2:34 pm

    Beniitec: Okay, but don’t just single out Gutierrez. He should do that with all of the players names. His over-enunciation of Gutierrez is like fingernails on a chalkboard. It’s like combining all of the Money Tree and Broadstripe commercials into one word… haha.

  25. decatur7 on May 6th, 2009 2:42 pm

    I must come to Sims’ defense, Matthew (although not over his ridiculous pronounciation of Gutz’ name – that does have to stop). He had, in my opinion, the single best call of the year so far on Gutz’ 4/15 leaping catch against the Safeco Field wall. Oh, BABY indeed.

  26. Mike Snow on May 6th, 2009 2:44 pm

    I wish you had responded, Dave, I was looking forward to hearing more about what’s in your book. To think you’ve been holding out on us all this time while Derek hogs the glory as the published author among us.

  27. Mike Snow on May 6th, 2009 2:51 pm

    Hey, I think I may have found it:

    Globalization And Self-Determination: Is The Nation-State Under Siege?

    Editing a collection like this seems pretty impressive for a guy still in school.

  28. okori on May 6th, 2009 2:51 pm

    Dave-

    First, I acutally like the site if you can’t tell..

    Second-

    Try to respond to one of these:

    Ozzie Guillen – Bet comp

    Carlos Guillen – Bet comp in trading a younger player for nothing..

    Or don’t.. Just blow it off.. Your site..

    You want a place for Yuni, look at CHI. They don’t have a second baseman, and would salivate at a Yuni and Rameriez pairing.. They also have AAA pitching..

    Swap Yuni for value is what I’m saying if you are gonna do it..

    Or coach him up. Most will say that he’s been responsive to coaching. Send him down. Bring in Carlos Guillen as a roaving instructor (I’d also bring in Tim Wallach to work with Beltre (he’s the only coach Beltre’s ever responded to.)) See what happens..

    Worst casem and probable scenario:

    Beltre leaves at the end of the year. Lopez moves to 3B.

    Who’s your middle infield at that point?

    This team has 0 depth there.. You’re right though.. Give away a 27 year old with some skills. Makes sense..

    I’m just a fan though, right?? Question? Where can I buy that Kool-Aid. You know, the one that will just let me say that Silva sucks, even though he’s not pitching bad against RHs. The one that just lets me rail on Yuni, even though there’s some promise there.. Way easier..

    I hope it’s Fruit Punch.. Oh Yeah!!

  29. Dave on May 6th, 2009 2:57 pm

    Ozzie Guillen – Bet comp

    Offensively, sure. Both suck at the plate.

    Guillen was legitimately a very good defensive SS. Betancourt is legitimately one of the very worst defesnive shortstops in baseball. So, yes, Betancourt is all of Ozzie Guillen’s weaknesses and none of his strengths. Awesome.

    Carlos Guillen – Bet comp in trading a younger player for nothing..

    Not even remotely close. They’re massively differently players with totally different skills. It’s a horrible comparison that no one who has ever watched the two play would make.

    You want a place for Yuni, look at CHI. They don’t have a second baseman.

    Apparently you’ve never heard of Chris Getz or Gordan Beckham, both of whom are better than Yuni.

    I’m just a fan though, right?

    And a not very informed one at that, unfortunately. You just have way too many facts wrong to have so much confidence in your opinion’s value.

  30. Sports on a Schtick on May 6th, 2009 2:59 pm

    Who the fuck would say Yuni has been responsive to coaching?

  31. Dave on May 6th, 2009 3:02 pm

    The same person who thinks Yuni only makes $4 million over the next three years, wants to hire the Detroit Tigers left-fielder as a roving instructor, and thinks that batting average is a useful way to evaluate offense.

  32. joser on May 6th, 2009 3:04 pm

    So I started trying to calculate what a blended Cendeo+Castillo would look like — ie calculate their wOBA (and from that their WAR) using their career platoon splits, and then weight them ~75% Castillo and ~25% Cedeno (reflecting roughly the relative ABs against RHP and LHP) but I immediately noticed something interesting: Cedeno has a reverse split. He hits RHP better than LHP. Granted, we’re only looking at 344 ABs against lefties here, so maybe (probably) it would evaporate over a larger sample size; it’s still kind of interesting. But it makes it hard to do the calculation I had in mind and come up with something that looks better than just using Cedeno as Betancourt’s platoon partner against RH pitching.

    (For the record, I was also thinking it would be interesting to do that kind of blended-platoon WAR calc for Johjima and Clement — though the AB weighting would probably be different — as well as other potential Cedeno partners other have suggested like Callaspo or Lowrie, but now I’ve got some other things on my plate. Will try to look at it later tonight if nobody else beats me to it).

  33. cdowley on May 6th, 2009 3:11 pm

    Okopi –

    You want to argue tools? Fine.

    The problem with Yuni is that he has no tools anymore. Yes, he has a decent BA. But he has that because he swings at goddamn everything. It has to be above his head, at his shoelaces, or a foot and a half off the plate for the bat to stay on his shoulder. You swing enough, you’re bound to hit SOMETHING…

    Other than that, he has nothing. The power potential he flashed early hasn’t improved beyond those early flashes. He doesn’t use his speed at all on the basepaths. His defensive range has utterly dissapeared. His arm still shows power, but his accuracy is worse than end-of-career Knoblauch.

    So what tools have you excited, then?

  34. Logger on May 6th, 2009 3:12 pm

    The same person who thinks Yuni only makes $4 million over the next three years, wants to hire the Detroit Tigers left-fielder as a roving instructor, and thinks that batting average is a useful way to evaluate offense.

    Snap. I thoroughly enjoy reading Dave trash untrue and unsupported statements.

  35. Teej on May 6th, 2009 3:18 pm

    Give away a 27 year old with some skills. Makes sense..

    I’m curious to hear what these skills are, because they definitely don’t include hitting or fielding. Baserunning? He’s got above-average speed, I guess.

  36. eponymous coward on May 6th, 2009 3:31 pm

    Baserunning? He’s got above-average speed, I guess.

    Yuni’s grounded into 26 DPs his last ~700 PA’s over two years, and has a lifetime 55% SB percentage. Jim Rice had a better lifetime SB%, and had a number of years where he grounded into less DP’s per PA than Yuni has the last two years.

    If Yuni has baserunning skills, he hasn’t shown them in 4+ MLB seasons, so at this point, until he DOES show them, I’m going to say “no, he’s a crappy baserunner, too”.

    And as for Dave’s point… from your keyboard to GMZ’s telephone, Dave.

  37. Graham on May 6th, 2009 3:32 pm

    You may like the site, Okori, but you sure don’t understand anything about it.

    It’s not about which stats you think are better, or what you want to believe. It’s about being able to demonstrate that what you say is truth rather than fanboy fiction. Calling out BA as something that’s even remotely equivalent to OBP demonstrates that you either have no desire to apply rational thought to baseball or you’re simply utterly lacking that skill in the first place.

  38. joser on May 6th, 2009 3:35 pm

    Just so we’re all on the same page, the Bill Bavasi gravy train gift that keeps on giving will be giving this to Betancourt:
    $2M this year
    $3M in 2010
    $4M in 2011
    and $2M in 2012 — because I’m assuming they’ll buy out his option rather than pay $6M to a 30 year old SS who fell off a cliff 5 years earlier.

    That’s $11M over four years. It’s nothing like Silva’s contract, but it’s still bad. Bavasi is like herpes — a reminder of a really bad decision in the past that keeps showing up to ruin the present.

    Castilla, on the other hand, would be making league minimum for what, another 2 years? Not that I’m sold on him by any means, but at least he’s cheap and wouldn’t cost a lot to acquire. One nice thing about getting a platoon partner to insert at SS without giving up Clement as part of the deal is that you could then also bring up Clement and get another LH bat that way. Though I fear Dave is right, and Clement will never catch another game in a Mariners uni.

  39. snepp on May 6th, 2009 3:37 pm

    What does a deal like this sound like?

    Alexi Casilla
    Jose Mijares
    Anthony Swarzak

    Yuniesky Betancourt
    Jarrod Washburn

    It sounds like something that would get proposed on the ESPN boards.

  40. Mike Snow on May 6th, 2009 3:38 pm

    I see very little reason to get excited about Casilla, but to repeat what I’ve been saying for years now – Trade Betancourt!

  41. joser on May 6th, 2009 3:41 pm

    What does that sound like? A winning draw in Scrabble. (“How’d you get so many ‘q’s?” “Don’t worry about it”)

  42. eponymous coward on May 6th, 2009 3:46 pm

    What does a deal like this sound like?

    Alexi Casilla
    Jose Mijares
    Anthony Swarzak

    Yuniesky Betancourt
    Jarrod Washburn

    It sounds like you’ve been rosterbating. That’ll make you go blind, you know.

  43. JakeSuds on May 6th, 2009 3:52 pm

    Wow, this is the first time I’ve seen someone get the dressing down here. I haven’t been around too long, though. I’m starting to understand how most of the stuff that gets said around here is pretty smart! Very good thing. My baseball team could use a verbal beatdown on sabermetrics… BA is all that matters to them, sigh.

  44. CCW on May 6th, 2009 4:02 pm

    Personally, I’ve seen enough of Yuni. His offense and defense are both bad, and frustratingly so. If we can trade him for a cheaper, 24-year old, switch-hitting, solid gloved, middle infielder with any amount of upside, by all means… But when you really look at it, it seems HIGHLY unlikely that the Twins would do that deal. They have a different philosophy, but they aren’t flat-out crazy.

  45. JMHawkins on May 6th, 2009 4:04 pm

    I am not sure I am completely tracking this potential move. It’s probably because I can’t adequately quantify the impact of Cedeno at SS

    Defensively, Yuni looks like -25 to -30 runs over the season. Cedeno is roughly even at SS defensively, and the two are pretty close to a wash at the plate, so Cedeno is a + 2 to +2.5 win upgrade over Yuni. Trade or no trade, he should be starting.

  46. Teej on May 6th, 2009 4:05 pm

    If Yuni has baserunning skills, he hasn’t shown them in 4+ MLB seasons, so at this point, until he DOES show them, I’m going to say “no, he’s a crappy baserunner, too”.

    I was half-hearting that just to find a positive thing to say. I know he’s not a great baserunner, but he does have decent footspeed. I don’t know if he gets off to terrible jumps or what (his swing follow-through is pretty cumbersome, too, so that might have something to do with the GIDP), so it hasn’t translated into good baserunning.

  47. Celadus on May 6th, 2009 4:06 pm

    Beniitec:

    Regarding your Batista, Silva, and Yuni for Casilla and Mijares..and a PTBNL comment:

    To paraphrase one of the more hilarious and at the same time accurate comments I’ve seen: if you decide to offer another team a bag of poo, it doesn’t necessarily help your prospects if you offer them a bigger bag of poo instead.

  48. abender20 on May 6th, 2009 4:13 pm

    How about Ian Stewart*? I know he isn’t a true second baseman, but he also hasn’t had a fair shot to work there. The Rockies are jerking him all over the place, and he’s a left-handed bat with some upside. Also, his ability to play third would make him even more useful in the event that Beltre goes away at some point.

    *I realize that Stewart would cost more than Yuni (and there’s no reason the Rockies should want any part of Yuni). I only mention this as another of the elusive LHB middle infielders that isn’t firmly entrenched.

  49. JMHawkins on May 6th, 2009 4:17 pm

    Hey, since PTBNL came up, I have a question. The PTBNL is usually based on how well one of the guys in the deal does (e.g. if we trade Yuni for something plus a PTBNL and his OBP is
    .330 with a gold glove we get a prospect, if his OBP is .299 and he has more errors than walks we get somebody to backup Brian LaHair). But, are the actually candidate PTBNLs negotiated as part of the original deal, or are they filled in later.

    Anyone know?

  50. Mike Snow on May 6th, 2009 4:24 pm

    I think you’re confusing this with football trades for conditional draft choices. The reason for not naming the player being traded is usually that the player technically cannot be traded at that point (he’s on the disabled list perhaps), or hasn’t been identified yet. In the latter case, the teams will have a list of candidates drawn up to choose from, you have that much right.

  51. joser on May 6th, 2009 4:36 pm

    From the bizofbaseball:

    A transaction including a player to be named later must be completed within six months. The player may not be an active Major Leaguer player during the interval between the trade and the date the player is named. As a result, most players to be named later are minor leaguers.

    At the time of a trade, clubs sometimes agree on a list of players from which the player to be named will be selected. They also may agree on an amount of money to be exchanged in lieu of a player.

    Clubs may include a player to be named later in a trade if a player is not eligible to be traded. For example, once a draft pick signs a professional contract, he may not be traded until an entire year has elapsed (the Pete Incaviglia Rule). Additionally, a player on a minor-league reserve list may not be traded between November 20 and the Rule 5 draft in December, so trades during that window may include a PTBNL.

  52. joser on May 6th, 2009 4:40 pm

    abender20: I like Stewart, but I think a big part of the reason the Rockies have been “jerking him around” is because he’s their utility guy. He may not like being their Willie Bloomquist (or maybe he does, I don’t know) but that’s pretty valuable to the Rockies. So you’re right, he wouldn’t be cheap. Like the suggestions for Lowrie or Callaspo, it all comes down to what you’d have to give up.

  53. CMC_Stags on May 6th, 2009 4:52 pm

    Just so we’re all on the same page, the Bill Bavasi gravy train gift that keeps on giving will be giving this to Betancourt:
    $2M this year
    $3M in 2010
    $4M in 2011
    and $2M in 2012 — because I’m assuming they’ll buy out his option rather than pay $6M to a 30 year old SS who fell off a cliff 5 years earlier.

    Are we to the point now that giving up Yuni for nothing to get out from under his contract would be a good deal? Assuming, as Joser did, that the M’s buy him out of the 2012 deal, he’s owed $9M for 2010 and 2011. Assuming that free agents are making about $4.5M per WAR in the market, which means Yuni would have positive trade value if he’s worth 1 win or more per season and has negative trade value at less than 1 win per season.

    After posting 1.7 WAR seasons in 2006 and 2007 he posted a 0.3 WAR season last year and is already at -0.3 WAR – below replacement level – so far this year. If the M’s could trade Yuni for a bag of peanuts, I’m to the point where I would think it was a good deal; if for nothing else to get out from under his contract.

    If the M’s can get back some AAAA player with a shot of contributing for peanuts back in the deal, even better.

    -edit-

    I do think there is a chance that once Yuni is a free agent or is in a contract year and feels like he has something to play for financially that he might make more of an effort. This creates the possibility that he plays better after he leaves. But even if that happens, it’s not going to happen while he plays for the Mariners.

  54. dchappelle on May 6th, 2009 5:00 pm

    Ugh, Alexi Casilla is terrible though. A bad defender (at 2nd no less), and a worse than Yuni hitter. But, I guess you’d be saving your $s at least. Maybe he gets to better than replacement value in his peak years.

    I think this has about .0001% of happening though. I think our front office actually values Yuni.

  55. Broadcast James on May 6th, 2009 5:03 pm

    Man I have to say I enjoy Dave’s “smackdowns” more than Derek’s. :) Sorry DMZ :)

    Seriously though, on a totally subjective level I’m ready to let go of Betancourt, I’ve been a booster of his in the past, but flubbing those easy grounders a few Sunday’s ago broke the camel in my mind’s back.

    If he’s below or around replacement level, seems like he should be easy to replace?

  56. Red Apple on May 6th, 2009 5:16 pm

    Ugh, Alexi Casilla is terrible though. A bad defender (at 2nd no less), and a worse than Yuni hitter. But, I guess you’d be saving your $s at least. Maybe he gets to better than replacement value in his peak years.

    Dave envisions his likely role as utility infielder, though…with Cedeno getting the bulk of playing time.

    Besides that, why not trade for him while his value is low? He’s off to a bad start and in the doghouse…maybe he’ll turn things around with us.

    Heh, I remember in the offseason being chided for saying Lopez had put up “a career year” in ’08. Maybe I was right after all.

  57. Dave on May 6th, 2009 5:18 pm

    I was advocating for trading Lopez all winter. You weren’t exactly out on an island there.

  58. Lauren, token chick on May 6th, 2009 5:20 pm

    I know there’s got to be a German term that neatly combines my sad affection for Yuni with my recognition that these arguments probably all make sense with a soupcon of unreasoning belief that he! will! improve! magically!

  59. okori on May 6th, 2009 5:22 pm

    Dave-

    $4 mill a year.. That’s what I said, or meant to say.. If it came off differently, that’s my bad..

    and Carlos Garcia is who I want to bring in.. So I had some typos.. Remeber him.. The coach, that most people tied into the team say got to Yuni.

    Do you just talk man? Don’t really address the issues..

    Let’s keep stretching ya..

    Ozzie Guillen comps to Yuni offensively.. Good..

    NOW

    Did I say that Yuni’s a SS, or that he needs to move to 2nd Base?

    So saying he’s horrible defensively means 0 to me. I’m not saying he’s a SS..

    Did we hear any of that..

    AND as YOU stated.. Casilla’s a Util guy..

    On the others that say that Yuni has no skill, the power hasn’t gone anywhere, it just hasn’t materialized, because he has no approach. He can be pitched to, and usually swings at pitches away. Can’t drive those..

    How are we doing there Dave?? Argue some of this, instead of taking shots..

  60. CMC_Stags on May 6th, 2009 5:22 pm

    If he’s below or around replacement level, seems like he should be easy to replace?

    Well, not as easy as we’d like.

    1) The M’s don’t have a quality young SS in the system that is MLB ready.

    2) The highest upside SS in the system (if he can stick at SS) is out for the year with a broken bone.

    3) Trading for a decent SS mid-season is going to be more costly than a fringe contender should pay.

    4) Ronny Cedeno is basically a AAAA SS so far based on his MLB track record. His career total WAR is -0.7, mostly based on a disastrous 2006 season when he was brought up too early by the Cubs.

    If the M’s can trade Yuni but don’t get a SS in a deal, you’re looking at Ronny Cedeno at starting SS for the rest of the year with Chris Woodward coming up and playing the utility role.

  61. jephdood on May 6th, 2009 5:30 pm

    If the M’s can trade Yuni but don’t get a SS in a deal, you’re looking at Ronny Cedeno at starting SS for the rest of the year with Chris Woodward coming up and playing the utility role.

    I’m fine with that. And maybe they might go there as soon as Cedeno’s hammy allows it.

  62. Broadcast James on May 6th, 2009 5:33 pm

    Thanks CMC-Stags… Sometimes “replacement level” feels like a bit of a misnomer.

    Another thought, is there really no one tooling around in the Caribbean or Japan that we could pick up? How would that work? Is that totally unfeasible?

  63. jimmylauderdale on May 6th, 2009 5:47 pm

    With Bobby Cox turning Kelly Johnson into a strictly platoon player at 2b, does that make him any more attainable for the M’s?

    Of course, with Escobar and Infante (Who Cox seems to be like) already there, it seems doubtful they would be interested in any sort of middle infielder swap.

  64. Red Apple on May 6th, 2009 5:52 pm

    One serving of Kelly Johnson, please. And a plate of Jeff Clement (pun intended). Let’s bring some left-handedness into this lineup, pronto.

  65. Dave on May 6th, 2009 6:23 pm

    Do you just talk man? Don’t really address the issues..

    Yes. In six years of blogging here, plus my writings for FanGraphs and the Wall Street Journal, I’m well known for avoiding the issues. I never dig into any substance. I’m all fluff.

    Ozzie Guillen comps to Yuni offensively.. Good..

    Not good. I’m not sure if you realize it or not, but Ozzie Guillen was one of the worst hitters in the history of baseball.

    Seriously. Ever. wRAA, career, all time:

    1. Bill Bergen, -287
    2. Alfredo Griffin, -287
    3. Ozzie Guillen, -282

    Those are the three guys with the lowest runs above average scores of all time. Comparing a hitter to Guillen is like comparing a movie to Gigli.

    So saying he’s horrible defensively means 0 to me. I’m not saying he’s a SS..

    Right – you’re just suggesting that we should take a guy who can’t hit or field and move him to a position where the expected level of offense is higher. Excuse me for not seeing the brilliance of having an Ozzie Guillen level hitter playing second base.

    On the others that say that Yuni has no skill, the power hasn’t gone anywhere, it just hasn’t materialized, because he has no approach.

    Oh, good, so all we need to do is teach him how to do something he’s never done before. I’m sure that will be easy. No problem.

    How are we doing there Dave?

    I’m doing fine. I feel bad for you though.

  66. DAMellen on May 6th, 2009 7:36 pm

    I agree, Dave. You always avoid the issue. For example, you never said what you think of Alberto Callaspo and Jed Lowrie. How much would they cost? It seems like both teams could have an interest in Clement so that seems like a solid place to start. What do you think it would take?

    In all seriousness, you do a fine job of taking issues head on, but I am curious what you think of those two players.

  67. Dave on May 6th, 2009 7:43 pm

    There’s no reason for their teams to trade them.

  68. SonOfZavaras on May 6th, 2009 8:07 pm

    I’ve had my disagreements with you, Dave, but one thing I’ll never say is you avoid issues or fluff an argument.

    Broadcast James had a real interesting idea- is there any veteran from the Pacific Rim that could be posted, signed and play SS for us over the next couple of years? Or from anywhere else, for that matter…

    And, BTW, Dave, it’s, um….apology time.

    For me.

    Regarding that Mike Cameron debate. I went ahead and joined FanGraphs yesterday and ran a few graphs on Cameron.

    The numbers don’t support me, overall.

    In terms of K%, yes they do. But no one in their right mind would just take K% as a sole basis for judging a player’s worth. And, I maintain that in and of itself, 1,600+ SO in a 14-year career would be an eyesore.

    Until you dig deeper on what a player’s doing. Like with wOBA. Slg.%. And OBP.

    Mike Cameron is well over the norm in all of this, and for a career, his line is right on top of the mean on most of those. As a matter of fact, he’s had very few years where’s he’s ever been in the “poor” range of any of those stats.

    I didn’t even bother trying to get a graph on 300-300 players (past and projected future) to see how he stacks up once I was done with those.

    Put it this way: anybody from the Athletics or Diamondbacks’ (among others) front office would have looked at my statement and told me “you’re nuts”.

    Mike Cameron is underrated. The numbers are clear. You were right. I’m wrong, wrong, wrong.

    (Yuniesky Betancourt is my new poster-boy for unrealized potential at the ML level. And he stands to be there for a good, long time.)

    That being so said, I agree with you 100% and from the get-go on Betancourt.

    Trade his butt. For anything approximating more value to the team.

    I have two questions for you, Dave. One: did you play baseball in high school, college? I don’t know, honestly. Strictly out of curiousity.

    And two: Are there any good books that have come out on SABRmetrics that you haven’t already endorsed on this site, and would recommend picking up? I’m all good on Bill James publications and getting more versed on The Hardball Times.

  69. DMZ on May 6th, 2009 8:20 pm

    If you get two, get Tango’s “The Book” and BP’s “Baseball Between the Numbers” edited by Jonah Keri — it’ll be as close to an accelerated catch-up to current thinking as you can get for $20 or so.

  70. SonOfZavaras on May 6th, 2009 8:25 pm

    Thanks, DMZ. Living next to a Borders Books comes in downright handy sometimes…

  71. Dave on May 6th, 2009 8:43 pm

    Good you saw the light on Cameron. Yea, he strikes out a lot. But he does so many other things well – draws walks, hits for power, runs the bases, plays great defense. He’s been a terrific player for a long time, but because people grew up worshiping batting average, home runs, RBIs, and avoiding strikeouts, he never got the recognition he deserved.

    And yes, I played HS ball. Caught for most of my career. And yes, I drew a lot of walks.

  72. DAMellen on May 6th, 2009 9:18 pm

    I was afraid you’d say that. Teams really need to be more willing to trade the exact players we need. It would make everything a lot easier. For us.

  73. Sinking Away on May 6th, 2009 9:56 pm

    I watched Alexi Casilla play just before he was cut and it was clear why he was cut (both defensively and offensively he is lacking a bit of they expected from him). The Twins think they have someone better in the minors. That might be true, but I agree, they might also find value in Yuni and there aren’t any other teams that I can think of who might feel the same same way. Given that, let’s hope Z can get this done before the Twins see Yuni the way we do. He’s good against the AL Central, grab him before no one else does.

  74. SonOfZavaras on May 6th, 2009 10:13 pm

    Jeff Passan has an article on Raul Ibanez out, with a healthy amount of it dedicated to his defensive “perception”.

    I won’t go into opinions espoused around here to death, but I will say that while I liked him as a player, I think it’s a pretty good thing Ruben Amaro, Jr. isn’t our GM.

  75. joser on May 8th, 2009 4:47 pm

    I think Citizen’s Bank park, with its much smaller left field, is helping the perception of Raul’s defense a lot. That doesn’t mean he’s a better defender than we’ve given him credit for, but it does mean his limitations don’t hurt the Phillies as much as they hurt the M’s.

    In other news: the A’s picked up Adam Kennedy on a minor league contract for a PTBNL. So he’s stashed away in Sacramento, out of the reach of Zduriencik.

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