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Those Pesky Minor Trades

Chicago Cubs trade OF Matt Lawton to the New York Yankees for P Justin Berg

This deal has several major pluses for the Yanks:

  1. "Plate appearance" eater Tony Womack will no longer be eating plate appearances.
  2. Bernie Williams is mercifully no longer the Yankee centerfielder; that honor goes to the more acceptable Hideki Matsui.
  3. Justin Berg is not really all that highly touted a pitching prospect.
  4. Matt Lawton can hit a bit.
As for the Cubs, you have to ask: would they have traded Jason Dubois for Justin Berg?

I wouldn't have. But Justin Berg's not a slouch. He's 21 in the NY Penn League (which is a bit too old), but his numbers are looking pretty solid this year. In 58.2 IP, he's only given up 3 longballs and 20 walks. The K/9 isn't bad, either (52 K). He's not a top prospect, nor even close, but he might find his way into the upper minors and majors.

Lawton's an average ballplayer. He's hitting .268/.366/.410, which is awfully close to his career average .269/.369/.420. He profiles well as a leadoff man, but Jeter's better there. He'll be a good fit for the Yankees, at least in terms of his stats.

Edge to the Yanks on this, simply because I have no idea what the Cubs are doing.

San Francisco Giants trade OF Michael Tucker to the Philadelphia Phillies for P Kelvin Pichardo.

Kelvin Pichardo's nothing worth writing home about, but, so far, in rookie ball, his control has been impeccable. He's only allowed 3 walks in 54 innings, and I have no idea who he is, otherwise. Some scout probably finds him mildly intriguing, but I can't say anything based on 54 innings in the Gulf Coast League.

I'd guess that Pichardo is as marginal as they come because of what they traded for him. Michael Tucker's .240/.317/.372 line is downright offensive for a right fielder with 286 PAs (that's a VORP of 1.8, for those keeping score at home). His best season was all the way back in 1997, when he hit .283/.347/.445, and that was a LONG time ago. There's nothing in his record which says that'll happen again.

Hypothesis: The Phillies have someone in their AAA who could do exactly what Michael Tucker would do.

The stats say:

Shane Victorino, CF - .310/.377/.534
Jim Rushford, RF - .311/.371/.455

Victorino's 25 years old.  Rushford's 31 years old. Just saying.

This deal's too inconsequential to really care about, but it's yet another opportunity to poke at the establishment.