Amaro’s Mirror Trades

Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Management, Media, MiLB, MLB Trade Deadline, Players, Prospects, Trade Rumors

In certain deals, it seems that Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. takes a sensible trade proposal, holds it in front of the mirror and does what the reflection says.

In short, he does the opposite of what he should do.

It was evident in the Cliff Lee for Roy Halladay trade (since rectified with the twin-acknowledgments that it was a mistake with the acquisition of Roy Oswalt a year ago and the re-signing of Lee as a free agent last winter), and it is so now with the trade for Hunter Pence.

Pence is a good player and he’ll help the Phillies; but when you’re trading two of your top prospects along with two other young players, I’d think you could do better than a “good” player.

I’d think that such a swap—tweaked when necessary—would bring back a star player along the lines of Hanley Ramirez.

But Amaro focused on Pence and got him. I give him credit for doing what he thinks is right in execution, not in theory.

If you compare what other clubs have acquired when they’ve traded their top prospects—specifically the Red Sox with the deal they made last winter in getting Adrian Gonzalez—reason dictates that the Phillies could’ve gotten a better player than Pence in a deal centered around Jonathan Singleton and Jarred Cosart.

Pence is under team control for the next 2 1/2 years and he fills a void in the Phillies lineup; Gonzalez was a free agent after 2011 before the Red Sox signed him to a $154 million extension to prelude free agency, so the Phillies have more certainty with Pence, but you can’t place the two in the same category on the field.

Amaro targets and acquires.

Sometimes that’s good as it was with Lee and Oswalt.

Sometimes it’s okay as it was with Raul Ibanez and the lateral move for Halladay (as great as he’s been) at the expense of Lee.

Sometimes it’s wrong as it was when he traded Lee for Halladay.

And sometimes it’s questionable as it is now with Pence.

No matter what happens with the Phillies from here on, they could’ve gotten more for Singleton and Cossart if they’d looked elsewhere and/or waited.

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You All Do Realize It’s Hunter Pence, Right?

All Star Game, Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Management, Media, MLB Trade Deadline, Players, Trade Rumors

The packages I’m seeing bounced around as being offered for Hunter Pence are mind-boggling.

The Phillies are ready to give up two and maybe three prospects for him including Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton and/or Domonic Brown?

The Braves are supposedly in on Pence as well but aren’t going overboard with the prospects as the Phillies are.

As I’ve said repeatedly I don’t put much stock in rumors—they could be smokescreens or outright fabrications—but use your own mind. Check this link on MLBTradeRumors regarding Pence and what do you see? You see about 10 different versions of the same story all changed within a very short timeframe. I don’t blame MLBTradeRumors—they’re a clearinghouse for this stuff putting it all in one place; I blame the sources and purveyors of this nonsense, all of whom are in cahoots to scream “fire” in a crowded theater.

But one thing is being missed in all of this.

It’s Hunter Pence.

He’s a pretty good player. That’s it. He’s consistent in his power and overall game; he can run; he’s good defensively with deceptively strong and accurate arm considering the fact that he throws like there’s something wrong with him physically (he’s awkward) or mentally (his eyes are deer-in-the-headlights wide).

He doesn’t strike out an absurd amount and doesn’t walk. Pence is arbitration eligible after this year and a free agent after 2013. He’s a useful piece and a good guy.

He’s not worth the Phillies offer.

If the Phillies hold off until after the season, the packages that are being discussed could yield a superstar player who may be too costly for his current team or is disgruntled and wants out. Of course that type of player will be more financially expensive than Pence, who they’ll have under team control for the next 2 1/2 years, but it’s a lot to give up for a supporting player. That’s what Pence is.

If I were surrendering that package, I’d approach the Marlins about Hanley Ramirez, Logan Morrison or Mike Stanton before going after Pence; go to the Rays and ask about Evan Longoria—who knows what they’ll say? How about the Orioles and Nick Markakis? The Dodgers about Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp?

Any of these players would be preferable to Pence and might be obtainable with the package of Singleton, Cosart and Brown.

Much like the decision Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. made in December of 2009 to trade Cliff Lee for Roy Halladay and “replenish” the Phillies system, it wasn’t well-thought-out, nor was it smart.

You’ll notice that none of the young players the Phillies got in that trade—Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and J.C. Ramirez—are being discussed in these Pence scenarios.

The Phillies need to step back and think before pulling the trigger on a good bat when what they’re giving up could get them a great bat if they wait.

They’re making a mistake. Again.

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MLB Trade Deadline Stories 7.28.2011

All Star Game, Books, Draft, Fantasy/Roto, Free Agents, Games, Management, Media, MLB Trade Deadline, Players, Trade Rumors

Update: Click here for a new posting with video and analysis of the young players traded to the Astros for Pence.

Are you buying this? I’m not buying this.

Some of these rumors are so ridiculous that they couldn’t possibly be true in any business enterprise other than baseball.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they’re not accurate.

According to MLBTradeRumors, the Phillies offered top prospects Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton and possibly even Domonic Brown to the Astros for Hunter Pence.

Pence is a good player, but he’s not worth two top prospects, let alone three. Ruben Amaro Jr. has done some stupid things in his time as GM, but he’d redeemed himself in my eyes with his fearless recognition and correcting of the mistake he made in trading Cliff Lee for Roy Halladay. If he sells the farm for Pence, it’s a stupid thing to do because that package could get essentially whatever the Phillies want now and definitely after the season—better players than Pence.

I’m not buying this story and if I’m the Phillies I steer totally clear of Ryan Ludwick as well. They really don’t need a bat to that desperate degree.

Speaking of Ryan Ludwick…

If I were the Braves, I’d forget Ryan Ludwick too. Josh Willingham, yes. Ryan Ludwick, no.

And speaking of Willingham…

I’m getting a “we don’t care anymore” vibe out of Oakland.

The team is atrocious and the lukewarm defenses of Billy Beane are becoming even more ludicrous. Please don’t think silly stories that are popping up of Beane “figuring it out” are anything more than those still invested in the validation of Moneyball.

Without that book and forthcoming movie (which has nothing to do with the text of the book—you’ll see), Beane might’ve been fired long ago. The team’s a disaster. Don’t tell me anything different and don’t remove blame from the man in charge—Billy Beane. He gets credit for the good, he gets blame for the bad. That’s the way it works in reality; not in Michael Lewis’s fantasy world.

On a related subject…

Can we bag the growing talk about the brilliance of Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos? It’s ballooning into the eventual designation of “genius”—something that is easy to anoint and nearly impossible to achieve, especially in baseball. It’s too fleeting; too dependent on perception and story-framing; too reliant on the last move that might or might not have worked.

He’s a good, gutsy GM whose team is hovering around .500 and probably has a bright future.

Let’s leave it there for now.

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