Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 31, 2008
BASEBALL: Sell High

The interesting thing about the Pudge Rodriguez for Kyle Farnsworth deal is that both teams are trying to sell high. Farnsworth, coming off consecutive poor seasons in 2006-2007, has been pitching well in 2008, albeit not so well that anybody really trusts him, especially allowing 2.23 HR/9 IP, which is a recipe for catastrophe. Before getting rocked in his last outing, he had a 2.11 ERA in 23 outings since May 27, with only 3 HR allowed in that period. The Yankees figured they could unload him before he blew up again to a Tiger team whose bullpen has been a wreck.

Rodriguez is the same story, though - he's 36, he showed signs of age when he batted .276/.290/.444 in 2005, and after a bounce-back 2006 he hit .281/.294/.420 last season and .245/.286/.349 through June 8 of this year (He's also no longer absolute death to opposing base thieves, although his rate of catching a third of them over 2007-08 is still quite good, just not in the 50% neighborhood of yore). But Pudge got blazing hot since then - .382/.429/.536 over his last 30 games. The Yankees, desperate for catching with Posada down, obviously figured it was worth the gamble that he could stay over .300, where he needs to be to have any offensive value at all given his minimal power, no patience and negative speed at this juncture.

Of course, for Detroit this means Brandon Inge is now the long-term starting catcher, which I find a relatively dubious choice but they did not have a lot of other options, or indeed any others.

UPDATE: OK, I can't possibly top David Pinto's take: "With A-Rod and I-Rod in the fold, can E-Rod, O-Rod, U-Rod and sometimes Y-Rod be far behind!"

Posted by Baseball Crank at 9:30 AM | Baseball 2008 | Comments (5) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

I'd say it's a no-brainer for the Yankees. It's true Pudge needs to hit .300 to be an actually good offensive player, but even if he hits .270, he's a vast offensive upgrade on Molina and Moeller, who hit like pitchers.

Posted by: Jerry at July 31, 2008 10:47 AM

Yeah, I'm with Jerry. I like the trade from a Yankee standpoint, and I don't need Pudge to hit .300. But I agree with Crank from a valuation standpoint - both teams really were trying to sell high. The question I asked myself is would I have made the trade assuming that Farnsworth would continue to pitch reasonably well and that Pudge would turn out to be a .270 hitter? My answer was still yes, given what we gained from an offensive standpoint at catcher and given that we have other relievers.

Posted by: MVH at July 31, 2008 11:03 AM

Plus you get a future Hall of Famer who is playing for his next contract. He will go all out and not have any worries about the whole burden being on him. Jeter and A-Rod will absorb most of the heat win or lose, so he can just go play. He will be on best behavior and will have a blazing finish to the season. The only fly in the ointment is will he show the attention to detail with the pitching staff that Giradi is going to demand. I bet he will for the rest of this season.

Next year is a different story. Hopefully the Yanks won't resign him.

For now, great move.

Posted by: TROOPER YORK at July 31, 2008 11:46 AM

ESPN is reporting that Kyle Lohse is on the block - http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=mlb_trade_deadline

I'd like to have him on the Yankees, too.

Posted by: MVH at July 31, 2008 11:51 AM

Great, the Angels get Teixiera, the Yankees get Nady, Marte and Rodriguez and the Red Sox get...to trade their best hitter. If we trade him in the alleged Jason Bay deal we get a young, decent hitter who has never had a meaningful at bat in his life. Manny has put them in quite the pickle this time around. Maybe get Bay, stick him in center, let Ellsbury come off the bench for D and pinch running, sign Bonds and let him play left at Fenway and have Youkilis play left on the road while Papi plays first and Bonds DHs. Not exactly an original line of thinking but if they are going to be down a bat like Manny's they might as well find somebody to replace it for 55 games.

Posted by: jim at July 31, 2008 1:48 PM
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