Well, there are Effing A trades, Effing F trades and everything in between.
There are trades done for short term gain, for long term gain and because your owner told you to trade some guy. Given the fact that it is extremely difficult to ascertain just how much input Drayton had on each trade, given that Drayton’s middle name is – I’m a better GM than You Are, I am not going to call Eddie Wade either a genius or a nincompoop. Well, not a total nincom POOP (dang I LUUUUVVV that word. I watch too much Daffy Duck…)
Remember that Ed was not responsible for the trades of Ensberg, who fetched a couple pieces of chewed gum or something, which is what he was worth by then (let this be a lesson to stupid macho types who think that playing hurt is a wonderful terrific selfless thing to do for the team. The “macho” refers to stupid players, their stupid teammates, stupid fans and stupid sportswriters, both amateur and professional.)
The Dan Wheeler for Ty Wigginton trade was also Purpura’s. Poor ol Pur-puppet is pretty much remembered for trading future Hall of Famer Willy Taveras for Jason Jennings and (supposedly) running off Pettitte. Ahem.
Also, from the 2007 team, Adam Everett, Mike Lamb, Eric Munson and Jason Jennings were not tendered a contract and Biggio and Orlando Palmeiro retired.
And I strongly suspect that Ed Wade was ordered to get rid of Lidge, Burke, Albers and Scott (of those traded, not non-tendered) and ordered to acquire Tejada (who Drayton has wanted since the HR Derby in 04 – or so I hear tell.)
OK. Trade time.
1 – Jason Lane to the Padres for 10 bucks and a dollar dog.
sigh. Unfortunately, this is one of those trades in which both sides came out even. Poor Jason Lane. Damm I wish I knew what on earth happened to that poor boy. The Astros wasted away at least 2 years of his youth keeping him in AAA, then keeping him on the bench. Sigh. But let’s remember he was instrumental to the 2005 pennant, just as Mo Ensberg was.
2 – Chris Burke, Chad Qualls and Juan Gutierrez to the Diamondbacks for Jose Valverde.
Money - 955K + 1.3125 mill + 390K (2.66 mill) : 4.7 mill
Performance:- Juan Gutierrez: AAA – 116.2 IP over 22 GS, 3 relief – 6.09 ERA, 1.68 WHIP – 44BB, 87 K 11 HR, 11.73 hits/9 IP. His worst performance of his career.
- Chris Burke: he never recovered from his shoulder injury. 199 PA over 86 games: 5 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 22 BB, 33 K, 2 GIDP, 3 sac fly, 12 RBI. .194/.310/.273/.583 and (-) 12 RCAA
- Chad Qualls: Good – 73.2 IP/77 G with a career low ERA of 2.81 and a 1.05 WHIP, 18 BB, 77 K, 4 HR and .597 OPS against. Bad was him blowing 8 saves (and they lost every one of those games) as a set up man and 2 more losses. Oh yeah – and he Francoed 4 more games, blowing the lead and getting inherited ruinners assigned to the other guy so that THEY were tagged for the L. Total – he lost his team 14 games. However, with the collapse of Brandon Lyon in September, he was made the closer and saved 7 of the last 8 games, giving up only 2 hits and a BB. + 15 RSAA. Interesting that RSAA does not reflect games lost/blown.
- Jose Valverde – After a VERY rough beginning over the first 3 weeks, he only blew 4 more saves and lost 1 more over the remainder of the year while saving 44. Not Lidge, but darn good. 72 IP over 74 games – 10 HR, 23 BB, 83 K and a .686 OPS against. Total – he lost his team 5 games, but unlike Arizona, the Astros came back to win 4 games. 8 RSAA
Conclusion: I would have to say that the Astros ended up on the winning side of this trade in spite of paying 2 mill for just 1 player – at least so far. Since they got rid of Lidge, they simply HAD to have someone who could close, and there was absolutely no one on the 40 man who could take Lidge’s place and they obviously either wanted Qualls gone or didn’t think he had what it takes to close. Valverde saved 44 games and won 2 more while losing the team only 5 games (although it could have been 9) and Qualls, although he had better numbers, lost his team 14 games. Burke provided next to nothing as a utility guy. The Astros have control of Valverde for 09 and the Diamondbacks have 2 more years of Qualls and I would guess that Burke is finished and Gutierrez looks as if he won’t make the majors. (Interesting that Qualls has 15 RSAA and Valverde 8 – and Brad Lidge only 19??!!!?)
I should mention that one of the reasons (besides $$$) that the Dbax were comfortable trading Valverde away was that they thought Brandon Lyon could step and be an A-list closer and they could get 2 prospects at the end of the year when they let him walk. They sure were wrong on that score.
3 – Luke Scott, Matt Albers, Dennis Sarfate, Troy Patton and AAA player Mike Constanzo to the Orioles for All-Star Miguel Tejada.
Money - 430K + 395K + 390K + 390K (1.61 mill) : 13 mill (and 13 mill next year)
Performance:- Luke Scott: 536 PA over 148 G: 29 double, 2 triple, 23 HR, 53 BB, 102 K, 7 GIDP, 3 SF, 65 RBI from the 6-hole (mostly) 7 RCAA
- Matt Albers: as a reliever, 37.2 IP over 23 G: 31 H, 19 BB, 3 HR, 22 K, 2.63 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, .230 BAA; as a starter, terrible – 3 games, 11.1 IP, 8 ER and he still ended up with 5 RSAA
- Dennis Sarfate: as a reliever, 64 IP over 53 G: 43H, 48 BB, 3 HR, 71 K, 3.38 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, .195 BAA; terrible as a starter – 10.38 ERA over 14 IP and 4 GS – lowered his RSAA from 5 to (-3)
- Mike Constanzo: AAA (his first year) .261/.333/.395/728 – 52 BB, 159 K over 483 AB. Not great for a 3B – and I also remember he made 30 something errors, too – can’t find the stat page, unfortunately,
- Miguel Tejada: 666 PA over 158 G: .283/.314/.415/.729: 38 double, 3 triple, 13 HR, 24 BB, 77 K, 32 GIDP (a new NL record) 7 SB, 7 CS, (-)26 RCAA.
Conclusion: Definitely an Orioles win, both in terms of players and money. Sure I know that All-Star Tejada (reminds me of All-Star Lance Carter with the 6 something ERA a few years back) is popular in Houston because he is “energetic” and hits for average and seldom (shudder) walks. His glove was better than I dared hope, but I am not sure that at age 36, his agility will allow the same performance. His glove most certainly is not worth 13 million and his bat most definitely is not. He is essentially untradable because of his enormous salary and his rapidly declining power. I am still amused by all the people who were sooooo sure that Miggy would hit 50 homers fer SHER this year. And saddened by the number of people who think Barry Bonds is evil personified for (supposedly) using steroids but don’t mind one bit that Tejada did.
Oh, and by the way that (-)26 RCAA is exactly the same as Adam Everett’s 2006, his last full year. Tejada had 66 RBI batting 2nd, 3rd or 5th. Everett had 55 RBI batting 8th, behind Brad Ausmus. Yet, Everett’s bat was vilified and Tejada’s praised. It’s all in the BA.
Meanwhile, Luke Scott outplayed Hunter Pence (who had -7 RCAA), Albers was a nails reliever until he got hurt, Sarfate was good as a reliever, terrible as a starter and Troy Patton spent the year on the DL with a torn labrum – who knows if he will ever be able to pitch.
4 – Josh Anderson to the Braves for Oscar Villareal.
Money - 380 K : 2.6 mill
Performance:- Oscar Villareal: 37.2 execrable IP over 35 G – 5.05 ERA, 1.57 WHIP, 12 HR, 17 BB, 21 K. He got tagged with 3 L and he blew 3 more that the Astros lost. (-) 3 RSAA
- Josh Anderson: in AAA, he hit .314/.358/.405/.763 over 453 AB with 23 double, 4 triples, 4 homers, 30 BB, 57 K, 42 SB, 7 CS; He had almost the same line over 142 AB in the majors once the Braves traded Kotsay and he had 2 RCAA. Did I mention that the guy is a great CF?
Conclusion: This is most DEFINITELY an effing F trade. Ed Wade needs to learn an important lesson here: John Schuerholz has been GM of the Braves since 1991. I can think of exactly two good pitchers he has traded since then – Jason Schmidt and Adam Wainwright (I would call Odalis Perez and Jason Marquis – OK major leaguers, some good years some bad. And they were both traded because they did not get along with Bobby and/or Leo.) That is it. He was wrong about exactly TWO guys. Two guys in 17 years should make you think a bazillion times before trading for a Braves pitcher, let alone signing him to a 2 year deal BEFORE you see how well he pitches. The Astros never thought much of Josh Anderson, who, like Bourn, is a lefty – and he was essentially a AAA lifer as far as the Astros were concerned. Ed’s high opinion of Michael has not been Bourn out by his performance, at least so far, and if Michael does not improve this year, it will essentially be a flushing of 2.6 mill down the toilet. Plus the loss of a Michael Bourn clone, only better, that we already had.
5 – Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlett to the Phillies for Michael Bourn, Geoff Geary and AAA player Mike Costanzo.
Money – 6.35 mill + 600K : 396 K + 1.125 mill (Philly got incredibly more value for their 7 mill than the Astros did for their 1.5 mill)
Performance:- Brad Lidge: 69.1 IP/72 G: 2 HR, 35 BB, 92 K: 41 saves, ZERO BS, but he did cause the team to lose 1 by letting inherited runners score. 19 RSAA. An Effing A year, that is fer SHER. He only gave up runs when his team was already losing.
- Eric Bruntlett: .217/.297/.297/.584 over 238 PA with 15 RBI – used mostly as a DR after the 7th inning when the Phils were ahead (-) 16 RCAA
- Michael Bourn: 514 PA over 138 G: .229/.288/.300/.588: 10 doubles, 4 triples, 5 HR, 37 BB, 111 K, 41 SB, 10 CS, (-)29 RCAA. He did have a .603 OPS from the 7-hole instead of the leadoff spot, but it wasn’t particularly noticeable – well, his BA was .260 which is almost high enough to make the fans happy.
- Geoff Geary: 64 IP/55 G: 2.53 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 12 hold, 2 BS,13 RSAA
- Mike Costanzo (see the Orioles trade)
Conclusion: So far, this looks like an effing F trade. Or at least a D- as Geary was a good middle relief guy when he wasn’t hurt. Bourn certainly has a better glove and is a much better baserunner than Pence, but as a leadoff guy, Bourn flunked. People LUUUVVVV to insist that Lidge had a mental problem, but it sure looks to me as if Lidge had an injured KNEE problem. But nonetheless, the fans and probably the owner wanted him gone and all I can say is that Bourn had better turn into Kenny Lofton for this trade to not be an unmitigated disaster. Oh yeah – and Eric Bruntlett was nails in the World Series – hit a homer and scored the winning run in 2 games.
As for Bourn, the team would have been a lot better off keeping Anderson and getting a starter for Lidge instead of yet another middle reliever and a guy who looks as if Gillick was right in assessing him as a DR.
6 – AAA pitcher Chad Reinecke to the Padres for Randy Wolf
Money - around 80K : 3.7 mill
Performance:- Chad Reinecke 18 IP over 3 games and 1 in relief – 5.00 ERA, 1.44 WHIP (-) 2 RSAA: in AAA, 129 IP over 22 GS – 1.32 WHIP, 4.35 ERA, 20 HR, 41 BB, 113 K
- Randy Wolf: as an Astro - 70.1 IP over 12 GS (5 2/3 IP/GS) 3.57 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 7 RSAA; As a Padre: 119.2 IP over 21 GS (5 2/3 IP/GS) 4.74 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, (-)11 RSAA
Conclusion: Well, the Astros had no use for Reinecke except as a AAA lifer and Wolf was most certainly better than Runelvys Hernandez and all the others who were run out there as #5 guys. Ed Wade wanted to sign Wolf before the season, still wants him to sign this year and he provided decent pitching. However, he is not the “horse” too many people think he is and he is definitely not a better pitcher than Wandy. I seriously doubt that Reinecke will suddenly turn into a good, let alone serviceable ML starter or ace reliever, but youneverknow. So unless Reinecke does the almost impossible in the future, this trade is a win for the Astros even if Wolf never plays another game in an Astros uni.
7 – A-ball infielder Matt Cusick to the Yankees for LaTroy Hawkins
Money – piddling minor league salary: an insignificant portion of 1.375 mill = wash
Performance:- Matt Cusick – in A ball before trade: .285/.356/.462/.818 – had 23 lousy AB after trade.
- LaTroy Hawkins: as an Astro, 21.1 IP/24 - 11H, 5 BB, 23 K, 1 ER - 9 RSAA; as a Yankee – 41 IP over 33 G – 42H, 17 BB, 23 K (-) 6 RSAA
Conclusion: In 08, certainly a win for the Astros, with LaTroy being almost perfect and Cusick being just some guy in the low minors. Some day, who knows, it may turn into a Jeff Bagwell trade, who knows. Hopefully, Hawkins can be re-signed as the setup guy (please, oh Lord, don’t let Ed Wade figure Hawkins can close because he can’t.) Even if Cusick turns into Albert Pujols, I would still consider the trade a win, as the Astros desperately needed an 8th inning guy for cheap, and Hawkins was just that.