Monday, January 18, 2010
The Neil Huntington Era- Part IV
This is the part of the discussion that in the past, I have often been in favor of the job that NH & company have done. Fact is, the system was in shambles. Another fact is that the group including: Bay, Wilson, Sanchez, Nady, etc. had several chances and they just weren't going to win together.
That led to NH saying "It's not like we were breaking up the '27 Yankees," and I totally agree. This team needed an influx of young talent throughout the system and I think he has done a good job of trying to do exactly that. When the average person doesn't see top studs coming over in the trades, well he didn't exactly have top end talent to deal. To see how little talent was in the system before NH got here and where it's at now, check out a piece I wrote in August about the prospects. You can click here to read that.
I was going to make a spreadsheet of all the trades, but I found one on MLBtraderumors today so click here to look at all the deals or you can go directly to mlbtraderumors.com. For the sake of this discussion, I will look at the major deals and let you discuss them. Now it's way to early to say who won or lost certain deals, but you can take a shot at it if you want.
-NH made only one deal that calander year, trading away closer/setup man Soloman Torres to the Brewers for prospects Marino Salas and Kevin Roberts. Evaluation: Torres closed for the Brewers for a year before hanging up the spikes. Salas struggled in a brief big league appearance. Neither guy the Pirates recieved is currently on their radar.
- Before the trading deadline, NH managed to add pieces to that season's team in many small deals. He added bench strength and bullpen help by acquiring: Denny Bautista, Jason Michaels and Tyler Yates. One real small deal not talked about is NH re-acquiring Evan Meek from Tampa for cash, allowing them to send the Rule 5 pick Meek to the minors. Meek looks like he should be a bullpen fixture for years to come.
Now the big deals
- Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte to the Yankees for Ross Ohlendorf, Jose Tabata, Daniel McCutchen and Jeff Karstens. Evaluation- How people keep complaining about this deal is mind boggling. Definite win for the Bucs. Ohlendorf is a solid middle of the rotation guy, Karstens is a valuable long guy, McCutchen was impressive in his September audition and Tabata is a star waiting to happen.
- Jay Bay for Andy Laroche, Brandon Moss, Craig Hansen and Bryan Morris. Evaluation- I initally liked this deal, but after watching Bay as a Red Sox and seeing the big deal he signed, it would have been nice to get more in return. I like Laroche. He has turned himself into a nice third baseman. I also feel his bat will be fine. I hope he can play second though, because I don't like him enough to keep Pedro Alvarez in the minors for a long time.
As far as Moss and Hansen go, they have both been disapointing to say the least. I was happy about getting Moss and when he gets hot, he goes on a tear for weeks, but it doesn't outweigh the prolonged slumps. Hansen will likely never figure out his control and health issues. Morris was the big part of the deal, but has struggled in the minors and was even suspended once for conduct.
While it doesn't look like a slam dunk for the Bucs, I don't hate this deal and haven't given up on it just yet. They added some pieces and if Morris figures it out, it will look better. Fact is, Bay would have walked anyways. They did get 4 highly rated guys in the deal, sometimes it doesn't always pan out the way it looks on paper. However, they did turn down a confirmed deal involving Cliff Lee, Kelly Shoppach and Franklyn Gutierrez. Where would the rebuild be right now if they pulled the trigger on that one?
- Eric Krebbs and cash to the Dodgers for Delwyn Young. Evaluation- While NH maybe hasn't made the huge improvement to the club through many deals, he has had some luck with some smaller ones. Young has proven to be a good young addition. Maybe not an everyday guy, but valuable off the bench. NH all along has taken alot of stock in low risk/high reward type of players. Young fit that bill and if he makes the team in 2010, should be a valuable extra piece. NH also made a small deal to acquire Jason Jaramillo for Ronny Paulino that worked out pretty well. JJ is a competant #2 catcher.
-Nate Mclouth for Gorkys Hernandez, Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke. Evaluation- I still love this trade. Great time to deal Nate, while his value was at his highest. I see alot in Morton and Hernandez I'm very high on. He will be in PNC Park sometime soon, if their is room in a crowded outfield. If not, someone like Milledge could be moved to strengthen other areas of the club. Locke has struggled somewhat, but scouts still like him. I still say this was a steal for the Bucs.
-Sean Burnett and Nyjer Morgan for Joel Hanrahan and Lastings Milledge. Evaluation- This one people still complain about but I like it. NH was purely trading for upside. I think Milledge takes advantage of the opportunity and has a big season. I was always high on Hanrahan even with his struggles with the Nats. He did very well in his brief end of the season stint in the Burgh. He has electric stuff and by the end of the season should wind up being the closer. I just dont see the big deal for a losing team to deal guys like Nyjer and Burnett. Sure Nyjer was a fan favorite, but I'd much rather take a shot on a guy like Milledge.
-Adam Laroche for Hunter Strickland and Argenis Diaz. Evaluation- The Bucs love Diaz's glove and are hoping he can hit a little bit (sounds familiar doesn't it). Strickland showed some godd stuff, including a no-hitter after the trade. This is a wait a couple years and evaluate the deal scenerio. Although getting anything for Laroche could amount to a win for NH.
-Ian Snell and Jack Wilson for Jeff Clement, Ronny Cedeno, Nathan Adcock, Brett Lorin and Aaron Pribanic. Again i like it. Snell had to go and Wilson was becoming a locker room problem. NH picked up some of the money owed to the two to get better prospects. Great move. Clement is the key. He has to win the first base job and has to hit for power, something the Bucs desperately need. Not a huge drop off between Wilson and Cedeno defensively at short. Getting three young power arms also is big. If one or two of them, plus Clement developes then it's a great deal. Remember, these deals were made to better the team in the future, not immediately. Patience. (I know we have been patient for 17 years, but let's see this through)
-Freddy Sanchez for Tim Alderson. Love it. I never drank the Sanchez Kool-Aid, like most. Good ball player, but not a superstar. Definitely not an $8mil per year type of guy. I'd rather have the good young arm in Alderson. Brian Sabien was ripped to death in the SF media for dealing Alderson and only getting Sanchez in return. This one should work out good in a couple of seasons.
-John Grabow and Tom Gorzelany for Kevin Hart, Jose Ascaino and Josh Harrison. This deal I'm still 50-50 on. Fact is Grabow wouldn't have resigned and Gorzo just was flat out not in the plans. Hart has great stuff, but struggled with the Bucs. He, like most of our young pitchers just has to realize that he has the ability to get people out without having to go full count on every hitter. A full season with Kerrigan may be good for him. We didn't get to see much of Ascaino, but he has a great arm. I've heard good things about Harrison also, so this deal isn't a total loss for me just yet.
-Jessie Chavez for Akinori Iwamura. At first I wasn't thrilled, especially since Chavez got flipped for an arm like Raafeal Soriano, but with all the power arms the Bucs had in the pen and the emergence of Evan Meek, somebody was expendable. Aki isn't a bad player. He will catch the ball and can handle the bat. He should be fine batting in the 2 hole all season, if his left knee stays healthy all season. This is really the only of NH's deals that didn't stick to the plan of bringing in good young players and good power arms. After seeing the Delwynn Young experiment at second base not work out that well, they atleast should be pretty solid up the middle this season.
I still like what NH has done for the most part with most of the deals. They had to be done. The farm system was a joke and these guys had their shot together and they couldn't win. NH said it best when he said "It's not like we broke up the '27 Yankees." He didn't guarentee that the Bucs would win or even be competitive in the future- far from it. He did; however, give us some hope for the future. Now it's up to these guys to get to the big leagues and perform.
That wraps up my four part series on the Neil Huntington era so far. I hope you enjoyed it. It took alot of research to make sure I had every move.