Monday, January 14, 2008

Bedard, Blanton, Santana Updates

It seems like this off season has been a tiring array of the near miss trade talks. We break down the three pitchers left standing, the teams they are rumored to go to, and the teams that make the most sense to us.

Erik Bedard: Rumored to be close to going Seattle in a package for Adam Jones, Brandon Marrow and various other minor leaguers. We have already commented on the impact of this potential trade, and why it makes sense for these teams. But these rumors are getting old fast, and it is getting to the point of, for lack of a better term, "get off the pot, or piss" for Seattle.

Sleeper Team Not Mentioned: How about the Dodgers? After seeing Arizona add another ace in Dan Haren to go along with Brandon Webb, the Dodgers have to make a move to try and keep up with last season's NL West winner. The Dodger's starting rotation currently consists of Derek Lowe, Brad Penny, Chad Billingsley, Hiroka Kuroda, and Jason Schmidt. The rotation is deep, but lacks a clear, number one ace. Kuroda, Schmidt, and even Billingsley all enter the '08 season with their own question marks for various reasons, whether it be injury (Schmidt) or inexperience (Billingsley, Kuroda). Bedard would give them a clear ace, add depth, and give the Dodgers a chance to put one of the questionable aforementioned starters into the bullpen. It could also allow Schmidt more time to rehab from the surgery on his shoulder in the minor leagues or in extended spring training.

The Dodgers also have the depth to make the trade. They will start the season with either Andre Ethier or Matt Kemp coming off the bench. Both are young players, who are ready to play in the majors on a full time basis. Another season in the minors or coming off the bench, would do neither player any good. Either player would probably thrive with the opportunity to play everyday. The Dodgers could offer a deal centered around Either, or Kemp and a reliever like Jonathan Broxton, or Scott Proctor.

Joe Blanton: Has been linked to the Mets and Dodgers mostly in trade rumors. There has been no clear cut favorite that has seemed to put an all or nothing offer on the table and recently there are reports that the A's won't trade Blanton at all.

Sleeper Team Not Mentioned: The Cincinnati Reds. The Reds have been linked to Bedard, but don't want to give up Homer Bailey, in a trade for the Baltimore ace. It might be possible for the Reds to offer a trade to the the A's built around 1B Joey Votto. The A's currently have Daric Barton slotted to start the season at firstbase. Barton is a fine prospect who has shown an ability to get on base in the minors, but has done little in the way of power or an ability to knock in runs. Barton did hit 4 homeruns in a stint with the A's last season, but there really isn't a track record to show this wasn't anything more than an aberration. Votto, like Barton is young, but might be more of a Billy Beane guy, who can get on base and slug a 3run homer when needed. Of course Beane could also hold onto both and deal DH Jack Cust in an attempt to free up playing time for both firstbasmen.

The Reds on the other hand, could move Adam Dunn to first and play the speedster Norris Hopper in his place everyday in the outfield field. They could also go with a platoon of Jeff Keppinger and Scott Hatteberg at first and not worry about moving anyone.
This would allow the Reds to have a clear rotation of Aaron Harang, Joe Blanton, Bronson Arroyo, Homer Bailey and either Edison Volquez or Matt Belisle (which ever one doesn't make the rotation would be an excellent fit in the bullpen). The move would add a pitcher, adds depth and would come at a lower cost than Bedard. The Reds already have a clear ace in Aaron Harang, there is no reason for them to overpay to get another one from Baltimore.

Johan Santana: Rumored to be going to the Red Sox, Yankees, and Mets. All of these rumors have been alive for well over a month, since the end of the MLB's winter meetings. Recently, the Mets have become the frontrunner in the Santana Sweepstakes, but have yet to pull the trigger on a deal. In my opinion, the Mets should give up whatever it takes to win in the next season or two. There are various prospects the Mets are unwilling to give up right now, but with only another one to two seasons left in Pedro Martinez, and Carlos Delgado, it might be worth it for the Mets to mortgage the future to worry about the now.

Sleeper Team Not Mentioned: Seattle Mariners. Sure they are in talks for Bedard, but what if they get turned off by Baltimore's overwhelming demands? Why go for Bedard, when a similar package could land the best pitcher in baseball? They were mentioned early on for Santana, but they could get back in it if the rest of the teams maintain their posturing. Seattle has the prospects and (being owned by Nintendo) they certainly have the money to invest in Santana. This would give Seattle a 1-2 of Johan Santana and Felix Hernandez to go along with Jarrod Washburn, Miguel Batista and Carlos Silva. It would also allow them to move Horacio Ramirez, either via trade or bullpen. The move to having a 1-2 of Santana and Hernandez could help in Seattle's chances to beat out the Angels for the top spot in the division.

Most of this is nothing but speculation and innuendo, but the bottom line is, at least one of these guys are going to get traded.

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