Last night the Padres traded Scott Hairston to the A’s for minor league pitchers Craig Italiano, Ryan Webb, and a player to be named later. The PTBNL is important because it sounds as if it may be the centerpiece of the deal (the Pads will apparently choose between two pitchers).
It’s obviously tough to evaluate a trade that isn’t complete, but let’s at least take a look at some of the moving parts in this deal.
As a Padres’ fans, it’s tough to see Hairston go, because believe it or not, he might be the second best position player on this team – at least he’s played that way. Hairston, splitting his time between center and left, has been an average (to slightly above average) fielder, and he’s hit .299/.358/.533 (.390 wOBA) with half his games in Petco.
It’s easy to say that this is the new Scott Hairston, but I’m not sure there’s anything in the numbers that really indicate that. His walk rate (8%) and strikeout rate (23%) are right near his career totals. His 21% line drive rate and .345 BABiP are well above career marks, and show that he’s hitting the ball harder. But I’m not sure that we should expect that high line drive rate to continue, or the average on balls in play to stay so high. In short, Hairston hasn’t been lucky, he’s been a better hitter. But everybody has stretches where they play better baseball than expected.
Let’s make some assumptions about Hairston. Let’s say that right now he’s going to split his time in left and center in Oakland, overall he’ll be an average fielder, and that right now his park adjusted wOBA (true talent) is .357 (based on ZiPS in-season projections). Here’s my quick and dirty Hairston projection for his remaining time in Oakland, assuming he’s a full-time player:
(edit: I should note that the projections below, both Hairston’s projected WAR and his projected salary, are pretty high. You should probably expect Hairston to be worth less — maybe 5-6 WAR total, rather than 7 — and make less through the arbitration process. The numbers below represent a relatively optimistic projection for Scott Hairston.)
|Projected WAR||1.7 WAR||2.9 WAR||2.4 WAR|
That’s based on Hairston’s current projection, $4.84M per marginal win (inflation rate 10% each year), Hairston declining by .5 wins each year, and that he’ll make 60% of his free agent value in 2010 and 80% in 2011 (roughly how Tango does it).
Overall, it looks like the A’s are getting a pretty valuable player. I project Hairston to be worth about $17 million in surplus value (market value minus salary) through 2011. The Padres have to some how make that up with the players they bring over.
The two that we know about are Craig Italiano and Ryan Webb. Italiano, after being selected in the second round of the 2005 draft, has had a pretty rough go of it in the minors. His ERA sits at 5.28 in 230 innings. He has done a good job, however, with his k rate and home run rate (striking out 261 and allowing just 19 homers). His main problem is walks, as he is at 5.2 per 9, and, well, just being hit hard (high BABiP’s). The reports I’ve read on him say he has pretty good stuff – sits in the low 90s with his fastball, can hit 95-96 – so he has some promise.
Ryan Webb was drafted in the 4th round of the’04 draft, and as you’d expect, probably doesn’t have the ‘projectablilty’ of Italiano. He’s put up a 5.30 ERA in over 500 minor league innings, with 7 k/9, almost 3 bb/9, and 1.1 hr/9. I don’t really expect too much out of Webb, other than maybe some organizational depth.
Like I mentioned earlier, it sounds like the PTBNL might be a key part of this deal. The Padres are apparently choosing between a couple of pitchers, one with major league service time. Obviously, we’ll have to see who that is before we can make any final judgments of this trade.
My initial reaction is that the Padres gave up a very solid player in Hairston. However, it’s not that hard to make up $15-20 million or so in surplus dollars, if you bring in three guys. Italiano, if he becomes even a decent major leaguer, could easily pass that mark by himself (mostly because he has 6 years here, compared to Hairston’s 2.5 with Oakland). Then again, he might never reach the majors. Overall, with two smart organizations dealing with each other, I’m guessing the trade will end up being a relatively fair one, after we find out who the Padres are getting.
The A’s get more of a sure thing in Hairston, and he’ll likely start in their outfield for the next few years. The Padres pick up three less-proven guys, but gain some players and service time. We’ll see how it works out.