As dawn broke this morning, a stream of desperate electrons came coursing through the InterWeb, crying out for some understanding, a bit of calm in this tumultuous pre-trading deadline world:
So --- are we happy? Did we give up anybody we shouldn't have?
How do the Phillies see it? Do we care?
Me & my shadow
That was my Mom (and her weird cat). She's appropriately desperate to know whether yesterday's deal will go down in the annals of Yankee history as Ken Phelps for Jay Buhner (or worse yet, Fred McGriff and Mike Morgan for nobody of consequence) or David Cone for Mike Gordon, Jason Jarvis and Marty Janzen. My guess? More like the Cone deal than the Crime Dog's.
Lemme 'splain. No, is too much. Lemme summup:
Yesterday the Philadelphia Phillies traded RHP Cory Lidle and OF Bobby Abreu to the New York Yankees for minor league SS C.J. Henry, LHP Matt Smith, C Jesus Sanchez, and RHP Carlos Monasterios.
Cory Lidle's the easiest one of the group to describe: LAIM. He's a League-Average Innings Muncher, which, as I mentioned in a column I wrote last week, is an upgrade over the bottom two-fifths of the Yankee starting rotation this year, especially Jaret Wright, who can't often get past the fifth inning. Lidle theoretically gives the Yankees a guy who can take the ball every fifth day, give them something like six innings and change allowing four earned runs, and let their potent offense bludgeon the opposition into submission. Nothing more, nothing less.
Bobby Abreu has been one of the most underrated players in the major leagues for years, and consequently one of my favorite players. People started paying attention when he won the Home Run Derby at the 2005 All-Star Game, but his power numbers dropped off precipitously since then. He had hit 11 homers in May 2005, was named an NL Player of the Week as well as May 2005 NL Player of the Month and then won the aforementioned Home Run contest. He came into the All-Star Game with 18 homers and a .954 OPS, and things were looking pretty bright, but in the second half of the 2005 season, he hit only .260/.376/.411 with six home runs. Consequently, a lot of the blame for the Phillies' inability to close the gap on the Atlanta Braves or the Houston Astros in the Wild Card race was inappropriately laid on his broad shoulders.
This season, with Great Expectations again laid at the Phils' pheet, Abreu was expected to come up big, and through two months of the season, he was doing exactly that. He was hitting .273 /.446/.509, with seven homers, 14 doubles, 8 steals, 41 RBIs, 41 runs, and was leading the NL in OBP at the end of May. But since then he's hit only one homer (none since June 13th), his batting average has stalled at .277, and his OBP is about the same, but he's lost nearly 100 points on his slugging percentage, which is down to .434, not exactly the power expected from a "slugger" making $14 million. So the Phillies phront opphice had to do something to prevent continuing to pay someone who looks like he's in decline, and to whom they still owe about $4.5 million for this season and another $15 million for next year. What they did was trade him to the Yankee, who can afford to pay that salary on the chance that he bounces back and starts hitting homers again. Even if he doesn't, the Yankees got a darn good player. Let me show you:
AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB BA OBP SLG OPS
Player A 343 61 95 26 2 8 65 20 4 92 .277 .427 .434 .861
Player J 390 69 138 26 3 7 65 21 2 44 .354 .427 .490 .916
Almost eerily similar, aren't they? The biggest difference, of course, is that player A has 48 more walks and Player J has 43 more hits, but they come out dead-even in on-base percentage, which is only the most import statistic in baseball when it comes to scoring runs. They're both excellent base-stealers with doubles power who can hit an occasional homer. Before I reveal the identities of our two pals, let me add two more columns to the mix:
Date of Birth 2006-07-08 Salary
Player A 11 March 1974 $44.6 million
Player J 26 June 1974 $65 million
Wow. That is a big difference.
Read the rest at Pending Pinstripes...