21 March 2008

I don't like this trade

The Royals had an off day this week and were back in action last night for, apparently, some BP versus the Milwaukee Brewers, as Brewers' pitcher Manny Parra allowed 8 runs on 10 hits with 4 walks over 3 2/3 IP. Basically everybody in the lineup chipped in. Alex Gordon and David DeJesus had 2-hit games, Damon Hollins was 2-2 off the bench, John Buck had 3 RBI, Billy Butler and Ryan Shealy had 2 each, and Jose Guillen returned from a bout with the flu to go 1-3 with a run batted in. The only glitch was Joey Gathright leaving the game in the 9th with hamstring tightness, but manager Trey Hillman told both the Star and team site it was precautionary. Brett Tomko started and, according to reports, strengthened his case for a rotation spot despite allowing 3 runs (2 ER) on 5 hits and a walk with 3 Ks in 4 IP. He wasn't economic as he threw 85 pitches in those 4 innings. Hideo Nomo made his bullpen debut with 2 perfect innings and three other Royals relievers held the Brew Crew in check.

As far as an injury/illness report goes, Butler is obviously back in the lineup after battling the flu but Grudzielanek and Miguel Olivo are still nursing back and groin injuries, respectively. The team site states they'd likely play in a minor league game today (Friday) to test the waters before trying to make the leap back into the KC lineup.

The other big news of the week was the big trade the Royals made....didn't you hear?.....for Reds minor-league reliever Brad Salmon. They gave up the proverbial PTBNL. At first I thought, ah, more Omaha filler, because doesn't it seem like the Royals already have a lot of bullpen guys in the mix? He's 28 and has a minor league career ERA of 4.12 with a career WHIP of 1.37. He's been in the bullpen since 2003 and followed up a really good 2006 for the Reds AAA club in Louisville by being not as good in 2007 but getting a shot at the Reds' pen, where he posted a 4.13 ERA and 1.33 WHIP with 22 Ks and 10 BB in 24 IP. OK, so basically he's a decent pitcher, but nothing extraordinary. Can we all agree on that? I had no problem with it until last night when I see the Cincinnati media is reporting the Reds are likely gonna get minor-league P Blake Johnson as the PTBNL. I HATE this deal. So we get a decent, but nothing special, 28-year-old reliever from the Reds and in exchange we give them a soon-to-be 23-year-old pitcher who is coming off a nice season at high-A ball (1.15 WHIP, 3.28 ERA, 80 Ks, 33 BB in 131 2/3 IP). Yes, his K-rate declined last season to 5.47 K/9 compared to 6.20 in 2006 and a career K/9 of 6.82, but the Carolina League was a good league last season. There were a bunch of good hitters. Yes, he posted higher K rates in 2006 in the moon-surface California League, but I think the Carolina League was an all-around tougher league. Better pitchers, good, possibly better hitters, although less hitter-friendly conditions. On the other hand, his walk rate was solid. He projected to a mid-to-end rotation starter or a bullpen guy, which I don't understand that we'd give up for a guy like Salmon. This just reeks of another questionable deal by Dayton Moore. Not to mention that fact that Moore swindled the Dodgers out of Johnson and Julio Pimentel for the washed-up Elmer Dessens. The Johnson-Salmon deal reminds me of the series of deals that sent Ruben Gotay to NYM for Jeff Keppinger, who in trade went to.....guess who.....the Cincinnati Reds for minor-league P Russ Haltiwanger last January. Which one of those three haven't you heard of? My concerns about that trade would have been salved if not for the fact that Haltiwanger ended up posting pretty-much Salmon-type numbers at high-A, and turns 24 in April. Meanwhile, Keppinger hit for an .893 OPS at AAA in 57 games to earn a call to Cincy, where he hit .332 with an .877 OPS (including a .400 OBP) with 24 BB and only 12 Ks in 67 games. Let's not forget Gotay, who hit for a more modest .772 OPS in 98 games for the Mets. So, basically, to sum it up, in his three deals with the Reds, Moore has gotten 1. Jason LaRue (bleccch); 2. Russ Haltiwanger (jury's still out but it's not looking too rosy) and now 3. Brad Salmon. In return they gave up a PTBNL or cash for LaRue, a solid major-league IF for Haltiwanger, and now a promising 23-year-old mid-minors starter for Salmon. I wonder how many rings it takes Reds GM Wayne Krivsky to pick up the phone when he hears Dayton is on the line?


Seth Feldkamp said...

I thought the deal was cash or a PTBNL. I think that usually means that it is our choice whether we want to pay them or give them the player.

Ken said...

I hope it's just cash -- but the media is reporting it as the Johnson deal. I hope they're wrong and it's Aw-hell Berroa or somebody else instead.