Not Orioles related, but a couple of… interesting, trades going down today. I don’t remember who said it, but I saw a comment along the lines of “sometimes I think people don’t give teams enough credit for how much they’ve advanced with regards to the statistical analysis part of the game – then today happens.”
First of, the Royals acquired shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt from the Mariners for pitching prospects Dan Cortes and Derrik Saito. Betancourt can’t hit (wOBAs of .270, .299, .310, .306, and .285 in his career) and can’t field (-20.3 UZR career, with a high of +1.1 in 2005 and a low of -12.6 last year), but no the bright side he is owed $9 after this year through 2011 (assuming the buyout is exercised in 2012).
Reactions include (and they’re all pretty uniform, even ones not noted below): Rany (of RanyOnTheRoyals) – “Uh-oh. I think I’m going to get banned again.” (referring to this episode in which the team punished him for saying they have some issues – generally, sucking, but namely excessive injuries) USSMariner – “Yuni traded for delicious creamsicle — wait, what? Two minor league pitchers, a big righty and a command lefty? Z = GENIUS” Marc Normandin (Baseball Prospectus) – “I don’t want to know what the Royals were thinking, because I’m afraid it will give me brain damage… He’s never been even average hitting, and is poor on D too. Wtf.“ Dan Szymborski (BaseballThinkFactory) – “Suffice it to say, if the Royals get hosed simply by getting Betancourt.” Rob Neyer – “Smartest front office in all the Major Leagues? Obviously the K.C. Royals. Nobody else is even remotely close.” and “It’s apparent that the Royals — and more specifically, Dayton Moore — see Betancourt playing a significant role in the franchise’s future. Which should be enough to scare the socks off any living Royals fan.” RJ Anderson (FanGraphs) – “The Royals desperately needed a shortstop… The Royals still desperately need a shortstop.” So yeah, I don’t know what going on in Kansas City but it’s certainly not good. Why can’t the O’s have a team like that in their division?
The other deal had the Braves finally getting rid of Jeff Francoeur (career .308 OBP and .313 wOBA ), sending him to NL East rival New York Mets for Ryan Church (career .345 OBP and .342 wOBA). I don’t think Church has ever shown quite the ceiling that Frenchy did way back in the day, but he’s clearly the better player right now. The reactions weren’t nearly as harsh as for the KC-M’s trade, but the general thrust is still the same – don’t trade for guys that couldn’t get on base if you paid them, because you do need to pay them and they sure won’t get on base. Mets looking toward next year (Franceour is a few years younger), or is this just another bad move? [Edit: Craig Calcaterra (of ShysterBall) – “I repeat: someone has given the Braves actual value (with value defined as “a sentient being possibly capable of playing baseball”) for Jeff Francoeur. That it’s the Mets only makes it sweeter. I will sleep very, very well this weekend. Assuming of course I ever stop laughing.”]
(By the way it’s .609 for Yuni + .634 for Frenchy = 1.243, while Pujols is right about there at 1.181. It is 62 points, but that’s still pretty absurd.) It’s not November, but I’m still feeling awful thankful for Andy MacPhail.