So Wade finally pulled the trigger, seeing the writing on the wall, as they say.
And he got a fairly competant package back.
The Tigers got Polanco and addressed a pressing need at second base. Omar Infante had been disastrous so far this year, posting a line of .215/.259/.349, and Polanco's been better than that.
Polanco is a consistent, "nice" player. He's not particularly great, but he's OK. This year, he's doing a bit better in the batting average department but the XBHs are down.
Ramon Martinez isn't particularly good. Think of him as the "Diet Polanco," where the taste is unpleasant and worse than the original, but it looks a lot like the original and is a passable substitute. He will essentially be replacing Polanco as the team's swingman. Martinez had been with the Cubs for the last two years, doing rather poorly. 2005 has been a bit better.
There are three things that concern me about Uggy's stats:
- In his last 81.1 IP, he has walked 5.1 batters per 9 innings. That's a bit too high to be considered a top flight reliever.
- Lefties are killing him this year, to the tune of a .289/.407/.511 line. That could be a question of limited at bats, but it's still a concern.
- Urbina is a dramatic fly-ball pitcher. On his career, his G/F is .73, and it's been consistently lower than .51 since 2002. Flyball pitcher + CBP = ?
I wonder to myself whether or not Ed Wade actually considered the G/F aspect of this deal. My more general question is do GMs make deals like this by carefully examining everything, or just by saying, "well, Urbina's a top reliever. He's got a good reputation and helped the Marlins win a championship in '03." Did Wade just do the deal for the hell of it, or did he weigh the potential problems for a flyball pitcher at CBP? I'm curious.
In either case, I'll give the slight nod to the Phillies on this deal for a couple of reasons:
- Urbina was one of the best relievers on the market for the stretch run this year, and the Phillies nabbed him for relatively cheap. To put it in perspective, in 2003, the Marlins gave up Adrian Gonzalez, Will Smith, and Ryan Snare. Gonzalez will be starting somewhere by next year, I assume, Will Smith is hitting .293/.376/.533 in AAA-Oklahoma (PCL warning on stats), and Ryan Snare is... well he's 26 in the PCL and holding his own. That package is better than just Polanco.
- The Phillies, at this point, had little need for Placido Polanco. Having Polanco as a swingman was probably not going to be the difference between the Phillies being a playoff team and the Phillies not being a playoff team.