Archive for the ‘player movement’ Category

Gaudin to the Yanks

On Thursday night, the Padres traded right-hander Chad Gaudin to the Yankees for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

The 26 year old starter is under contract through 2011. Gaudin’s strengths are his strikeout rate (8.97 k/9 this year; 7 per 9 for his career) and his ability to keep the ball in the park (.60 hr/9 this year; .91 for his career). His biggest weakness is his control, with a career walk rate of almost 4.3 per 9 innings. His career ERA sits at 4.58; his FIP at 4.45.

Gaudin’s a pretty nice pick-up for New York. He might even be around average as a starter, and he should fit in nicely on the Yanks’ pitching staff (be it in the pen or rotation – or both). Signed through 2011, he probably wasn’t a guy who really fit into the Padres’ long term plans. Still, he’s a solid starter with two years left under contract – hopefully, the Pads get something of use for him.

Mid-season moves

The Padres have made four ‘major’ in-season trades (I left out the Chris Burke deal):

Coming Going
LHP Aaron Poreda (22) SP Jake Peavy (28)
LHP Clayton Richard (25) OF Scott Hairston (29)
RHP Dexter Carter (22) RP Cla Meredith (26)
RHP Adam Russell (26) OF Jody Gerut (31)
LHP Sean Gallagher (23)  
RHP Craig Italiano (22)  
RHP Ryan Webb (23)  
INF Oscar Salazar (31)  
OF Tony Gwynn Jr. (26)  

 

The Padres have accomplished a few things with these deals. Obviously, they’ve added players to the organization. Four going out, nine coming in. With that, they’ve added plenty of service time. The players leaving were running out of years with the Padres, while the guys coming in all have a long time before free agency.

With these deals the Padres got a lot younger. Salazar’s really the only older guy who was acquired; everyone else is in the 22-26 age range. The Pads have also added a lot of pitching depth. They traded two pitchers and got seven back in the four trades.

The biggest thing these deals tell us is that San Diego knows where they stand. The Friars dealt some talented players, namely Peavy and Hairston, and in return have mostly prospects to show for it. The organization appears to understand that it isn’t going to compete in the short-term, and the rebuilding process has begun.

I’m not saying this is a great thing, but it’s better than trying to win with inferior talent. Hopefully in a few years, because of some of these trades, we’ll have a competitive team to watch again.

Clayton Richard dazzles in debut

Clayton Richard, acquired in the Jake Peavy trade, pitched five and two-thirds innings last night against the Brewers, allowing one run, two hits, three walks, and striking out five.

According to PITCHf/x, Richard worked primarily with the four-seam fastball, throwing it 57 times. He averaged 91.8 miles per hour with the pitch, and topped 95 three times. Richard worked in 11 two-seamers, averaging 88.7 mph. His off-speed repertoire included 11 change-ups (84 mph), seven sliders (80.1), and three curves (81.3).

Richard throws from the left side, and stands at 6-5, 240 pounds. The 25 year old has a 5 ERA in 142.3 innings in the majors, so far in his young career. He has put up respectable peripherals: 6.3 k/9, 3.4 bb/9, 1.0 hr/9. In the minors, Richard had a career 3.33 ERA, along with 5.8/ 2.5/.4 periphs.

According to the Baseball America Prospect Handbook, Richard throws an 88-92 mph fastball with natural sink. He has an average change (at best) and an inconsistent breaking pitch (they call it a slurve). BA thinks he has a chance to be a starter long term, but also may profile well as a reliever so he can concentrate on his best pitch, the sinking fastball.

Richard is a nice addition to the organization. His upside probably isn’t super-high, but he has size, a good track record, and he fits right into the rotation. For the Padres, it also has to be nice to be able to display him right away, as often times prospects are just names and numbers to fans. Richard’s Saturday night start puts a face on him and shows Pads fans that he is, like the other three prospects acquired in the Peavy deal, a real, live thing — and that he can pitch a little bit too.

Jake Peavy trade analysis

At the trade dealine, Jake Peavy was dealt to the White Sox for four pitching prospects. Peavy, who has been injured since June, may not pitch again this season until late August, at the earliest. Anyway, before we look at the details of this trade, I think it’s essential to touch on Peavy’s career in San Diego.

The guy was a great asset for the Padres, and a wonderful player to watch. Peavy finished his Padres’ career with a 3.29 ERA in 1342 innings, racking up 1348 strikeouts to just 435 walks. According to FanGraphs, Peavy was 25.6 Wins Above Replacement level from 2002-2009. That performance, on the free agent market, was worth about $95 million. The Padres paid a mere $21 million for it. His time here wasn’t perfect, as he came up short in some of his biggest starts, but overall Peavy was tremendous for the Padres.

At this time, however, it does make some sense to deal Jake. Peavy makes $48 million over the next three years. The Padres are a team not expected to compete for at least one of those years, if not all of them. Peavy is getting older. It adds up. Other than trading him when his value is relatively low, its probably a good time to trade Peavy.

That said, was it a good deal? First, we need to estimate Peavy’s production and value over the rest of his contract. ZiPS projects Peavy’s park-neutral ERA at 3.65 – note that we’re ignoring his injury for now and just going by his past production. So, I’ve got Peavy as about a 4 WAR pitcher, in a full season. Here’s the chart:

Year 2009 (1month) 2010 2011 2012 Total
WAR .7 WAR 3.5 WAR 3 WAR 2.5 WAR 9.7 WAR
FA Salary $3.4M $18.5M $17M $16M $55M
Actual Salary $2.6M $15M $16M $17M $50.5M
Surplus Value $.8M $3.5M $1M -1M $4.5M

 

Peavy is ‘only’ worth $4.5 million in surplus value through 2012, according to my calculations. That is not considering his option for 2013 (and $4M buyout) or the draft pick the Sox will pick up when/if he leaves for free agency. There are two factors making that figure look smaller than you might have expected. One, Peavy is getting older, he likely isn’t going to be as good now as he has been in the past. Two, now he starts making the big bucks. Again, $48 million over the next three years. That’s not bad for a sure-fire ace. But for Peavy, coming off injuries and approaching 30 – well, it’s not bad, but it isn’t necessarily a bargain.

According to John Sickels, the Padres picked up:

Aaron Poreda: B+ prospect
Clayton Richard: C+ prospect
Dexter Carter: C prospect
Adam Russell: unranked

Those four prospects are worth about $11 million in surplus value. So, the Padres actually made out relatively well in this deal. $11 million – $5 million = $6 million to the plus side. That is, if you trust my evaluation of Peavy, and the judgment of these prospects, and all of the other assumptions made here. There are a lot of factors involved in this type of analysis, making it much more of a fun little exercise than it is a true evaluation of the trade.

Also, even if this is a “win” for the Padres, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is a loss for Chicago. The White Sox could increase their playoff chances enough to offset the apparent gap in the deal that favors San Diego.

Anyway, the Padres got great production out of Jake Peavy while he was making very little money, relatively speaking. Now, when he’s going to get paid (and should gradually decline performance-wise), they ship him off for a haul of decent, if not overwhelming prospects. Yeah, that may not be how you want to look at things from a fan’s perspective, but I guess it is a business. For a small market team like the Padres to compete, moves like this may be a necessity. They can afford players up to a certain point, but once that point comes it is time to cash in and move on.

It was fun watchin’ ya while you were here, Jake.

Peavy links

My analysis will come sometime between tonight and tomorrow night, but I figured for now I’d round up some links:

Padres’ sites
Inside the Padres: Tom Krasovic gives us Barry Axelrod’s take on the Peavy deal.

Gaslamp Ball: The guys at GLB discuss the trade.

WebSoulSurfer: Web’s analysis of the Peavy trade.

U-T Padres Blog: Jay Posner has some details on the players the Padres received.

Who’s Your Padre: Corey Brock.

SDPads1: A bunch of good links.

edit
More from Kras: Krasovic touches on what the savings from Peavy’s departure may allow the Padres to do (extend Gonzalez, sign the draft picks, be more agressive in Latin America). Good points.

Avenging Jack Murphy: Scouting reports from Baseball America.

Paul DePodesta: DePo on the trade.

Union Tribune: Tim Sullivan.

The Sacrifice Bunt: Links to scouting reports on the four pitching prospects.

Friar Forecast: Daniel tweaks some of my initial analysis, but comes to a similar conclusion: good deal for San Diego.

619 Sports: Chris Ello is Peaved.

General sites
Fangraphs: R.J. Anderson likes the players the Pads got from Chicago.

Baseball Think Factory: Lots of discussion there.

edit
Hardball Times: Nick Steiner likes the deal for the Padres.

White Sox sites
South Side Sox: Analysis from the White Sox SBN blog.

 

That’s it for now; post any in the comments if you find ‘em.

Peavy dealt to White Sox

Jake Peavy has apparently been traded to the Chicago White Sox. The Padres pick up righties Adam Russell and Dexter Carter, and lefthanders Aaron Poreda and Clayton Richard.

Obviously a big move and one that probably caught people off guard, as Peavy trade talks appeared to have settled down. Discuss in the comments if you’d like. My analysis coming at some point in the future.

The face of the Padres

It is almost undoubtedly Adrian Gonzalez. He’s an offensive force, a solid defender, a cerebral player. He’s cheap and in the prime of his career.

He’s the face of the Padres, the franchise player.

That’s a little bit like being the face of the Bad News Bears (before they got good), though. It is tough to, as a Padres’ fan, make a case for trading Gonzalez. He’s one of the few guys that you’d pay a ticket to see. He’s one of the better hitters in the game, arguably. However, everybody wants to win. While Gonzalez is fun to watch, this team isn’t, even with him on it.

Dealing Gonzalez would almost certainly make the Padres even less fun to watch this season, and likely next season as well. But it would possibly improve their chances of winning down the line – think maybe 2011 and beyond. By dealing Gonzalez, the Padres could add some players that will be under team-control (and cheap) for six years. While Gonzalez is also signed cheaply, he’s only signed through 2011. By then, the Padres may  field a competitive team again, but Gonzalez will be two years older and ready to command some big dollars (and most of his trade value will be evaporated).

The Padres could hold onto him for the next two years+ and treat fans to his excellent play, regardless of the overall performance of the team. Or they could trade him now, with his value sky high, and bring in a few potential franchise-changing players. If that seems like an easy decision, it isn’t.

Say Gonzalez is traded and turns in a Hall-of-Fame-like career in, say, Boston. And the prospects that come to San Diego flame out. Ouch. You’ve traded your best player and have nothing to show for it. There’s also of course a chance that Gonzalez comes back to earth, slowly begins to decline, and the Padres pick up a cost-controlled cornerstone player or two in the trade. There are also another hundred or so scenarios in between those two extremes that may play out.

Trading Gonzalez is likely still a long shot – he’s the face of the franchise – but there’s no reason not to consider it. If the Padres think they can compete next year or even put together a real contender by 2011, it makes some sense to hold onto Adrian. But if this is going to be a lengthy rebuilding process, there’s reason to consider trading the best player on the team (and other guys of value like Heath Bell and Kevin Kouzmanoff).

Gonzalez’s value, on a terrible team, is not being maximized. On a playoff contender, he’s much more valuable, as he adds considerably to the team’s chances of making the playoffs (and how well they perform once they get there). And the Padres, rather than essentially “wasting” some of Gonzalez’s best years, can take a few years to develop the prospects they receive for Adrian, and have them ready for a prolonged run when 2011 or 2012 come around.

Over the next few days, the Padres have some big decisions to make. I’m glad I just get to blog about them.

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