Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 23, 2005
BASEBALL: Does Whatever A Spivey Can

On a gut level, I liked the Nationals' gamble in dealing Tomo Ohka for Junior Spivey, at least as far as the fact that Ohka has been playing with fire thus far this year and is likely to crash and burn.

As for Spivey, he's a lot less impressive than he seemed a few years ago. But he may have a role. The righthanded hitting Spivey, for his career, is batting .305/.568/.409 against lefthanded pitching, as opposed to .257/.379/.331 against righties. If Spivey is used as a role player, he can be spotted more against lefties.

Of course, dealing a starting pitcher, even a combustible one, for a role-playing infielder isn't usually a long-term winning strategy. But if Frank Robinson uses Spivey properly, he can get the most out of this deal.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:16 AM | Baseball 2005 | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)

Spivey is simply a stop-gap solution at second base until Jose Vidro comes back, so in the short-term, the move makes sense, especially given the strained relationship between Ohka and Robinson. Between Jamie Carroll, Cristian Guzman and him, they provide good defense and adequate hitting in several potential infield platoon roles, and with the multiple injuries that the Nats have had to deal with so far, position player depth is key for them.

Also, personally, pitchers who walk a lot of people drive me insane as well, so I'm glad they shipped Ohka off while they could get something for him.

Let's go Nats!

Posted by: Riley at June 23, 2005 10:26 AM

The trade's a loser. Spivey isn't hitting any better than Jamey Carroll was, and there's no reason to think that Ryan Drese is an improvement on Ohka. It's a shame that we apparently have to get rid of anyone Frank doesn't get along with.

Posted by: Ryan at June 23, 2005 10:34 AM

OMG, isn't this trade a loser if they got him because of his lefty-mashing? I mean, really, isn't this just phase 2 of Beane's Eric Karros signing? Karros was mentioned as a guy who could bash lefties coming into his Oakland contract. But such stuff is built on the sandy foundation of small sample sizes. Sure enough he fell apart because his track record against righties presaged a general decline he couldn't recover from.

Posted by: Rob McMillin at June 23, 2005 3:10 PM

This has nothing to do with this post but I had to go over this with some people who care about baseball.

Not that I did not sort of know this already but I was looking up some stuff from the 80s and got stuck on the stats of the 1985 Cardinal team. How different was baseball back then?!

They had only 3 guys with more than 70 RBIs and only one with 100. Only 3 guys hit .280 and only 1 hit 20 HRs. The whole team hit 87! They had 3 guys steal 30 bases, 1 stole 56 and Coleman got 110. The team stole 314 and had a steal % of 76.6%!

They also had 3 guys throw 240+ innings. Andujar, who I remembered as a kid being a big tough guy (remember the blowing out his finger act?), struck out 112 guys in 270 innings (that's 3.73/9 innings)!

Can you imagine that team playing today? What would that look like? I don't even think I can imagine it.

Posted by: jim at June 23, 2005 4:05 PM

While I can see why someone may like the trade from Washington's point of view, the trade was a great fit for Milwaukee, no matter what you may think of Ohka's long term prospects.

The Brewers weren't going to get a whole lot for Spivey who wasn't having a good year, but they did get a starting pitcher who is better than what they've been trotting out at the end of the rotation even if his secondary numbers are kind of scary. Certainly, he's at least an innings eater unlike Obermueller and Glover who had a hard time lasting 4 innings.

Rickie Weeks is already a better hitter than Spivey. His defense is a work in progress, but he's already made more of an impact for the Brewers than Spivey did. VORP supports that.

You would have to think that a starting pitcher is easier to flip at the deadline than a guy that can only play second base. Other than the Yankees, who needs a second baseman? Even then, second base doesn't seem to be the top of anyone's priority list.

Posted by: Robert R at June 24, 2005 10:59 AM
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