Friday, July 28, 2006

With apologies to Steady B...

I'm sorry, but Jim Duquette has killed baseball. I realize there have been some pretty stupid trades over the years (Bagwell/Anderson and Slocumb/Lowe+Tek to name two), but that Kazmir for Zambrano trade is still absolutely wrecking the trade market. We've heard for the last two months that it's a seller's market, so all the moronic GMs who could not put together any semblence of a remotely competitive team are going insane.

Let's take Jim Bowden, for example. I live in DC, so I hear a lot about him. I see his fat face with that creepy haircut of his, and I just want to punch him. He kind of looks like Sydney Ponson, if he were ever sober enough to be given a front office job. Bowden has Alfonso Soriano to trade. Soriano is a power bat with supbar defense in the outfield or at 2b, a crappy OBP, and will hack at any breaking ball low and away (though the NL hasn't figured this out, for some reason). And he is making $10mm this year before he becomes a free agent. He is a good player, not particularly cheap, but would probably nestle into a nice lineup on a contender and give them a boost. He has inherent value. And apparently, there are 6 or 7 teams interested in Soriano. So what does Bowden do? He asks for 2 frontline prospect plus another middling one as the leaping off point for discussions. What? Are you that stupid? (note: Christian Guzman say "hi") This is the equivalent of having a few people all willing to pony up $60 for something. Maybe, if you are good at playing the sides off one another, you could get one of them to take a leap up to $75. But Bowden is setting telling each of them that the price starts at $1,000,000. Honestly, I'm 95% sure that all Washington is going to get from Soriano is a couple of draft picks, unless Bowden suddenly sees reality a few minutes before the deadline, in which case he trades Soriano for a $50 package. Bowden is a freaking idiot, especially since all this waiting around has allowed the Brewers to come on the market with Cliff Lee, so Soriano is now a bit redundant. 2 months of Soriano realistically should fetch you maybe a top-line prospect, almost definitely a B+ prospect in the upper levels of the minors. Yet, somehow, I think Bowden will find a way to get nothing in return for him.

Or what about the Phillies? Apparently, they want either Lester or Hansen for Cory Lidle. Cory Lidle. For a guy whose numbers are worse than Jeff Suppan's were in 2003 before the trade deadline. Jeff Suppan, who was suppossed to be worth Brandon Lyon (which somehow ended up being Freddy Sanchez due to the Pirates crying foul about an MRI). Maybe that isn't quite Bowden territory, but it's in the same general vicinity.

Honestly, the only team that seems to have a clue about this is the Royals. They have nothing, yet they have traded a few moving parts and gotten some respectable minor league arms to show for it. They haven't had a blockbuster, but they have received a nice return on what they had, and more importantly they have been able to actually move them. Sure, Mark Redman is still there, but he'll be going somewhere for what I imagine will be a B-grade AAA prospect and a low A player or two who might actually have potential.

It's crazy. There is so much dreck, and little else, bouncing around in the free agent market. Yet, somehow, I don't think the few guys that are worth trading are going anywhere, at least at value. I think Bowden has set the bar so high for himself that he won't have time to actually hammer out a deal. Nobody is seriously talking to him, with 3 days left. He won't end up moving Soriano because no team is desperate enough to even approach his demands. So, Monday morning, I think he'll be the one staring down at the 10 hours left on the trade clock and having nobody biting on Soriano, and he'll be calling other GMs begging them to give him $0.80 on the dollar for Soriano, and to please take Livan while you're at it. Unless he can get the Reds on the phone.

I'm sorry, but 4th starters at the deadline do not bring back power left-handed pitchers. Poor-defensive right-handed hackers in contract years do not bring back 2 top prospects. I really hope that this year, like last year, has no real activity, so these crap teams start to realize that the market is not this out of whack going forward. If the trade deadline looks this crazy for the next decade, I really think this game will have lost one of the more exciting aspects of the summer. Because, when blow-hard idiots like Bowden are walking around thinking they are hot shit and about to pull one over on another club, the game is just infuriating.


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