Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It was all going so well....

The free agent market was out of control; the M's had strength/surplus in the bullpen (though that was diminished recently with the prognosis on Mark Lowe), and a seller's market for relief help. Bill Bavasi had made a couple of nice, under-the-radar deals to improve the club. He's skillfully charted out a middle ground with the fans: he's made it clear he's willing to deal Richie Sexson (cheers from the USSM crowd) but not just as a salary dump - he wants something cool in return (cheers from the anti-USSM crowd).

I've been planning a 'this off-season is awesome' post for a while. It was going to talk about how, despite their huge advantage in young talent, the Angels have pissed away a lot of their cash advantage through stupid deals, and how the M's wisely avoided over-committing resources in the next few years (when their young talent/low payroll will allow them to make a big splash in free agency/make the playoffs/win pennants). There are few times when just sitting there make sense, but this just may have been one of them.

In one afternoon, all of those positive feelings are gone. In one move, Bavasi has put paid to every positive thing ever said about him. I'm trying not to go too negative based on one move, but ferchrissakes, if he gets credit simply for hiring his friend (Bob Fontaine, who happens to be competent) and sitting still when the market goes crazy (who's to say he didn't offer $48m for Gary Matthews?), then he's absolutely gotta take credit for this crap. He saw an inefficiency in the market for 3/4 starters (Meche/Lilly/Weaver offers) and then overspent from another fund source. Hint to Bill Bavasi: you wouldn't pay $15m/year for Horacio Ramirez; don't pay the equivalent in talent. It doesn't matter if you offer to pay cash for a 19" black and white TV that's on sale for $2,000 or if you 'finance' it with 'zero down' payments and a low interest rate. It's still remarkably stupid.

As Jeff at Lookout Landing demonstrates here, the man's a younger version of the bad Joel Pineiro. His slugging against isn't quite as bad; that makes him a replacement-level MLB pitcher, and not a replacement level minor league mascot. His K:BB ratio is so bad, I can't in good conscience repeat it here. I know they're different types of pitchers (FB/GB), but the dude reminds me a whole lot of Damian Moss. Seriously, Moss used to be in the organization; I think he flamed out of the NPB - *he can be had*. If we're looking for guys who cleverly walk as many as they strike out (you know, to put hitters at ease - all the better to pounce later), and who have good stretches where the FBs don't leave the yard, and when the balls seem to be hit right at people, well, why *not* Damian Moss? I know it's a sore f*#$@ing subject, but why not Damian Moss AND Raffy Soriano?

The most depressing part of this is that it's now basically impossible to give Bavasi the benefit of the doubt. No, check that, the biggest part of this is losing Raffy Soriano to the poor man's Clint Nageotte. But still, one problem is that Bavasi seemed to fixate on a deal for Soriano (clearly, ANY DEAL), when his preferred deals - one involving Manny Ramirez or Adam LaRoche - were turned down. His behavior resembles nothing so much as your crazy drunk friend, who, upon being turned down by a smart, beautiful, charming girl, inexplicably becomes fixated on the questionably gendered mouth-breather at the bar. It doesn't make sense; you want to blame the alcohol, but you figure that even the alcohol excuse has its limits, and that the behavior is actually indicative of a long-supressed fetish. Seriously, how do we *really* know that Bavasi wasn't the one pushing to keep Pineiro on the 25 man roster all of 2006?
It all makes sense now, doesn't it? Join me in another drink....

7 Comments:

At 12/06/2006 11:27 PM, Blogger PositivePaul said...

Seriously, this is the move that pushes a lot of folks on the "Bavasi is OK" fence well over the edge. Like, say, me for example.

There's no way to spin this into a good move. Not with what other teams were (as reported behind the scenes) ready to give up for Soriano.

As I said on DOV -- Let’s just say Bavasi’s self-performed the same routine that Bob Barker likes to plug at the end of Price is Right.

 
At 12/07/2006 10:12 AM, Blogger Snave said...

This was just a gross move. Bavasi gives the Braves a guy who should be able to step in and close ballgames right away, as long as he's healthy. The Braves give us a pitcher who isn't in their future plans and might not be in the future plans of many other ballclubs. I'll wait and see how the two players perform, but my hunch is we gave up a closer for a dime-a-dozen back-end-of-the-rotation-at-best player.

A couple more moves like this, and we'll be in last place next year for sure.

 
At 12/07/2006 12:25 PM, Blogger marc w said...

Yeah, I think this trade is somewhat remarkable, in terms of getting so little for a commodity that's so hot in this market. Seriously, people need to study this... why has the market value of a crappy 4th starter skyrocketed (in dollars or prospects)?

Other issues raised by this:
1: Has Bavasi fallen so in love with GB pitchers that he ignores literally everything else about them? 'Hi Mr. Bavasi, I'm Horacio Ramirez' 'Great, good to meet you Brandon...we're glad to have you.' 'no no, it's uh, it's Horacio' 'Of course, Brandon. Absolutely. You'll really like it here; you should say hi to Derek over there- he was solid for us in the bullpen' 'uh, I'm sean green, mr. Bavasi. S-E-A-N'.
The man's now some weird walking parody of baseball prospectus circa 2002 or something.

2: Do the M's know something we don't? i.e., Soriano isn't fully healed either from the liner or from TJ? I've always been worried that Soriano's velo never fully came back, but it certainly didn't hurt him last year. But did something else turn up that, for whatever reason, the Braves aren't too worried about (but that the M's think really knocks down his value)? This would be an interesting argument, but of course you need to give the benefit of the doubt to the M's front office, and I don't know anyone feeling that charitable right now. And it has nothing at all to do with Soriano's actual market value right now. If Chad Cordero can get you a huge haul, Soriano should net a slightly smaller (but still big) haul.

3: Maybe this works because, y'know, baseball's weird and all. What's the biggest 'lopsided' trade that actually worked for the team that got 'fleeced'? Right now, I suppose we'd say the Freddie Garcia trade, though that was a different animal. A vet-for-prospects thing often works well short term for one team and long term for the other; that's different than trading two young but established pitchers. But who knows? Maybe Soriano's arm falls off and Horacio Ramirez puts up a weird, fluky- BABIP-fueled solid year, like Derek Lowe's 2002 (I know Derek Lowe is faaar better, but work with me here)...

 
At 12/07/2006 1:41 PM, Blogger PositivePaul said...

Well, I'd say that this says a lot...

 
At 12/07/2006 4:44 PM, Anonymous Deanna said...

Heh, Damian Moss didn't even make it into the NPB. He tried out for the Yokohama Bay Stars last year and they said "Your fastball sucks" and dismissed him.

 
At 12/07/2006 10:32 PM, Blogger marc w said...

I was going to say something about that, Deanna... I heard he crashed and burned over there; at least he's not connected with a team that could then fleece us in exchange for his 'services.'

 
At 12/13/2006 6:05 PM, Blogger Snave said...

Bad to worse:

Snelling and Fruto to the Nationals for Jose Vidro... so Vidro can be the DH. Huh!?

 

Post a Comment

<< Home