Fair Deal (cont.)
The 10 biggest trades of a busy winter
Here's a look at the winter's major trades (all stats through Wednesday, May 21) ...
1. Hamilton to Texas; Volquez and Herrera to Cincinnati. A bonanza for both teams. Herrera is 3-0 with a 1.68 ERA in two minor-league stops this season, having already earned a promotion to Class AAA.
2. Dan Haren and prospect Connor Robertson to Arizona; prospects Dana Eveland, Greg Smith, Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, Chris Carter and Aaron Cunningham to Oakland. Haren fits beautifully into the No. 2 slot behind ace Brandon Webb and Arizona still has many more fine young players left. Meanwhile, the A's have to be thrilled with Eveland (4-3, 2.90) and Smith (2-4, 3.18). Big outfield prospect Gonzalez started strong (3, 16, .294 at Class AAA Sacramento) while left-hander Anderson is off to a slow start (5-4, 5.68 at Class A Stockton).
3. Johan Santana to the Mets; outfielder Carlos Gomez and pitching prospects Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra and Kevin Mulvey to the Twins. Santana (5-2, 3.30) has been a bright spot for the Mets in their trying beginning, and while he doesn't have his usual velocity yet, he's historically a much better pitcher after June 1. Gomez (.270, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 16 SBs) has been everything the Twins could have hoped for. Humber (1-4, 5.09 at Triple-A Rochester) and Mulvey (2-6, 4.39 at Rochester) have been only fair but Guerra (4-1, 4.01 at Class A Fort Myers) has been better than fair.
4. Carlos Quentin to the White Sox; Chris Carter to the Diamondbacks. Quentin (12, 38, .294) leads the AL in home runs after a brutal .214 season for Arizona in 2007. Could be a rare E for the D'backs, who sent Carter to the A's in the Haren deal.
5. Miguel Tejada to the Astros; Luke Scott, Michael Costanzo, Matt Albers, Dennis Sarfate, Troy Pattonto the Orioles. Tejada (.340, 5, 35) has enhanced Houston's excellent lineup, although he was cited in the Mitchell Report the day after the trade, then aged two years in a moment. As it turns out, Baltimore did OK, too. Scott (.263, 4, 16) has been solid at the plate and in the field, Albers (2-1, 2.08) and Sarfate (2-1, 3.79) are big pieces in the Orioles' vastly improved pen, and left-hander Patton, who needed arm surgery, has a chance.
6. Erik Bedard to the Mariners; young outfielder Adam Jones, reliever George Sherrill, and pitching prospects Chris Tillman, Tony Butler and Kam Mickolio to the Orioles. Bedard has been fine when he's pitched but he's a clubhouse downer on a team that appears to be heading down the tubes. The talented Jones (.258, 2, 15) is starting to adjust as a hitter, while Sherrill has been solid as a closer (17 saves in 19 chances). Grades: Mariners B, Orioles: B+.
7. Brad Lidge and infielder Eric Bruntlett to the Phillies; outfielder Michael Bourn, reliever Geoff Geary and prospect Michael Costanzo to the Astros. Since returning from an early spring knee injury, Lidge has been light's out in Philly (1-0, 0.45, 11 for 11 in saves). Bourn sure can run but he's struggling to get on base (20 SBs, .272 on-base percentage).
8. Nick Swisher to the White Sox; outfielder Ryan Sweeney and pitching prospects Faustino De Los Santos and Gio Gonzalez to the A's. Swisher has been considered a clubhouse boon but isn't hitting yet (.210, 4, 14. He also should never be in center field. Ryan Sweeney has been solid in the A's outfield (.295, 1, 20). Gonzalez (1-2, 4.40 at Triple-A Sacramento) and De Los Santos (2-2, 5.87 at Sacramento) aren't living up their billing yet.
9. Orlando Cabrera to the White Sox; Jon Garland to the Angels. Cabrera (.219, 3, 11), normally a tremendous player, has been surprisingly unproductive on the South Side in the third of three monster deals by noted risk-taker Ken Williams. Cabrera is a fine shortstop, however, and like Swisher, he adds to the clubhouse. Garland (5-3, 4.34) has been a huge addition with Kelvim Escobar and John Lackey out. The Angels have been fine at shortstop with Erick Aybar and Macier Izturis sharing the job, anyway.
10 (tie). Ryan Church and Brian Schneider to the Mets; Lastings Milledge to the Nationals. Between them, Church (.311, 9, 32) and Schneider (.283, 2, 14) have outhomered Milledge, 11-1. Church has been stellar on offense and defense. Milledge (.241, 1, 16) is another outfielder with tools, just GM Jim Bowden's type.
10 (tie). Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers; pitcher Andrew Miller, outfield prospect Cameron Maybin and prospects Mike Rabelo, Burke Badenhop, Eulogio De La Cruz and Dallas Trahern to the Marlins. Everyone loved the Tigers' end of this deal at first. But Cabrera has been moved from third base to first base and Willis has been moved, at least temporarily, to the bullpen. Things better improve since they've committed $152.3 million to Cabrera and $29 million to Willis. The Marlins are doing fine with their lead duo, to the surprise of many. Miller (3-3, 6.18) has been inconsistent. Maybin (.239, 6, 18, 10 SBs at Double-A Carolina) has justified Florida's decision to demote him. Badenhop (1-3, 6.75) is up ahead of schedule, Rabelo (.215, 1, 7) is a serviceable catcher and De La Cruz is off to a nice start (6-2, 4.35 at Triple-A Albuquerque) but Trahern is struggling (0-4, 12.00 ERA).
Around the Majors
I can't blame ex-union chief Marvin Miller for thinking the deck is stacked against him in Hall of Fame voting. Miller belongs in Cooperstown, yet the crack committee includes the likes of noted Wal-Mart union buster David Glass and several other management types. Players on the committee may also be hesitant to vote for Miller if they are too old to have benefited from his great work. When they elected a poor commissioner, Bowie Kuhn, to the Hall of Fame last year, but not the visionary Miller, the committee showed its hand.
When Willie Randolph called the Wilpons to explain his misguided comments in the Bergen (N.J.) Record about the Mets' TV network SNY supposedly showing him only in a bad light (according to Randolph, anyway), the phone call was returned by GM Omar Minaya. Randolph issued a public apology the day after Minaya called back but he's going to have to work to undo the damage. Mets people, who were disinclined to fire Randolph for a variety of reasons (including a contract that goes through 2009), were upset that Randolph created a needless distraction.
Mets second baseman Luis Castillo has "lost two steps'' according to one baseball scout.
Mark Teixeira must be impressing the Mets. He went 9-for-14 in the Braves' four-game sweep.
Top Yankees people got together for a Monday meeting headed by the silent boss Hal Steinbrenner. It was then that the decision was made to start using Joba Chamberlain as if he's preparing for the rotation. Chamberlain was great in the eighth, but Yankees people were frustrated by their inability to get the ball to him with leads.
LaTroy Hawkins deserved every bit of that three-game suspension.
Looks like a year of adjustment was all Daisuke Matsuzaka needed.
Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez and club management "decided they weren't going to take the BS anymore'' from their young team after last year, according to one person familiar with the situation there. Gonzalez's new toughened policies is what set the stage for this year's improvement.
I can't decide who's better: Chipper Jones or Lance Berkman.