Quite the week at the meetings, wouldn't you say? Six trades that I need to analyze today. Someone else should cover the signings made during the winter meetings at a later point today or tomorrow. Don't you just love the winter meetings? Let's start with the trade that is sure to merit the most analysis (read: the head scratcher).
Well...something tells me Jim Bowden isn't going to be handed his dream job in Boston anytime soon. Was it the fact that he made a smart move or two before this that caused this to happen? Netting a useful pitcher in exchange for Vinny Castilla, therefore starting Ryan Zimmerman at third, not overpaying for Esteban Loiaza with the limited resources of the Nats, not overpaying for Burnett, etc. All of that seemed like progress, but then he went and traded one of his best players and two other players for someone who will now be one of the worst players on a last place team...and cost upwards of $10 million.
Without adjusting for park effects, the two were offensive equals this year according to mOPS+. I'm sure Richard Wade will throw in the park adjusted figures for me later on today, and we will see how much better or worse this looks with some context. Wilkerson was in an extreme pitcher's park, while Soriano was in just the opposite. For now, let's take a look at their EqA. Wilkerson's EqA this year was .269 in an off year for him offensively, while Soriano's was .272. I figured them to be further apart than that to be honest. The real difference in value comes from the fact that Brad Wilkerson is an average-to-above average defensive player at 4 positions, while Soriano is one of the very worst in the league at his position. The only problem with quantifying Soriano's value at this point is the fact that he will be moved to the outfield in Washington, where he may be better off defensively. Update [2005-12-9 11:39:20 by Marc Normandin]: Or not...who knows with this guy. [End Update] What tempers my enthusiasm about his ability to make this trade worth it? .224/.265/.374...Soriano's road numbers from 2005. How about in 2004, his first year in Texas? .244/.291/.444. And thanks to David Pinto's wonderful Day by Day Database, we can see his 2-year overall road line for Texas was .234/.278/.409. His home line of .316/.357/.593 certainly helped to obscure his rapid peak and even faster decline at an early age. Wilkerson on the other hand was riddled with injuries this season that hurt his performance, and playing in RFK certainly did not help his offensive statistics. The deal would be a head scratcher but completely understandable from some aspect if it was only these two players. Throwing in Termel Sledge just confuses me completely.
Sledge isn't an amazing player or anything, but he looks like he can hit, and he can field. He's a useful player, and I'm afraid Soriano is going to have trouble being something as simple as that in Washington. A perplexing trade on so many levels.
Andy Marte had fallen down the depth charts at third base in Atlanta, which is also confusing, but it happens. After all, that Chipper Jones guy is the third basemen. And by the way, if anyone has not already read Joe Hamrahi's interview with John Schuerholz yet, you should. Especially since you can basically hear Schuerholz thinking about what he is going to trade Marte for. Trading him for Renteria seems odd though, considering the value in prospects that Florida was getting for its players. The Braves do get Renteria much closer to an acceptable pay level though, since the Red Sox are sending $11 million over to balance out the cash. The Sox plan to keep Marte, but I'm not sure where they plan on using him, since there is already discussion going on as to who gets to play third base and what to do with Mike Lowell in Boston. I understand that was about 5 I don't know's and I'm not sure's, but it is hard to evaluate the impact immediately without seeing what else Boston plans to do this winter.
Which one of these things is not like the others? 2003. Not to mention he has slipped defensively (coincidentally, playing shortstop as if he were Alfonso Soriano at second). Switching back to the NL should help him a little, but I don't see him much better than 2004-2005 anymore. Atlanta isn't paying him for 2003 like the Red Sox did though, so they can be excused. Trading Marte does seem a tad expensive, but the market for shortstops is pretty thin. There is a good deal of speculation that something is wrong with Marte (not physically, just not right) and that is why Schuerholz would deal him. We'll have to see what transpires before any such claim can be made with any real certainty.
I'm not going to analyze every trade from the week, because here at Beyond the Box Score we have a good deal of writers who need stuff to write about. I'd be a pretty greedy site administrator if I took all of the trade analysis for myself all winter. To finish things off though, make sure to check out my first piece over at Bluebird Banter, SB Nation's Blue Jays website in regards to the Lyle Overbay trade. I'm going to be a contributing author there, so make sure to stop in and say hello...and sign up for a username and visit daily. It is going to be less stat heavy than here, but I'll draw my conclusions the same way I do here at BtB, so the analysis will be of the same breed even if I don't litter it with charts and tables. Richard B. Wade will also be helping out over there, and his first article should be up later today. Enjoy your weekend, and drive safe in the snow.