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Trade Analysis: Seo to the Dodgers

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When I heard about this deal, I quickly formulated an opinion, but I wanted to get some other reactions from various corners of the Internet. So here are a couple:

Given their current roster makeup, it's a fine idea for the Dodgers to explore getting a starting pitcher in exchange for Sanchez - whether it is Seo or Sanchez himself. - Jon Weisman, Dodger Thoughts

If the Mets really go through with the deal for Sanchez, they must believe one or both of the following:

  1. Sanchez is a better reliever than Heilman
  2. Heilman is a better starter than Seo
If neither of the above statements are true -- and I believe that to be the case -- then trading Seo for Sanchez would be a foolish trade indeed. - Eric Simon, Amazin' Avenue.

Both valid perspectives, but I'll give the other side of this. (I believe that both teams did pretty well).

Jae Seo appeared to proverbially "put it all together" down the stretch last year, and in his time in the majors, he went 8-2 with a 2.59 ERA and exhibited superb control, walking just 16 in 90.3 innings. Much ado was made about Seo adding a couple of new pitches to his arsenal in his stint at AAA (121.2 IP, 111 K, 4.29 ERA), and it was reflected in what many people deemed to be a resurgance from Seo.

Seo's primary success, however, came right after his call-up.

8/6: 7.1 IP, 0 R
8/13: 8 IP, 1 R
8/19: 8 IP, 0 R
8/24: 7 IP, 2 R

After this, he was merely "good."

8/30: 5 IP, 4 R
9/4: 7 IP, 1 R
9/9: 8 IP, 3 R
8/15: 5 IP, 4 R
9/21: 6 IP, 2 R
9/26: 5 IP, 4 R

Over that last stretch of 6 games, he averaged merely 6 innings per start and posted a 4.07 ERA. This looks like a standard expectation for Jae Seo, much more than the sheer dominance that he brought when he first came back.

That said, if you look at the course of Seo's entire career, he's established himself as a solid back-of-the-rotation guy, a good value at this point in his career, and a guy who has shown flashes of being a lot better.

The analogy that I've used a few times is like a "penny stock," of sorts. Seo, at one point last year, was a penny stock that an investor, the Mets, had shares in. All of a sudden, last August, that penny stock jumped up in its value, and has given the Mets some good value in its dividends (the starts he gave at the end of the year).

Some news is going to come out soon, though, about Seo (Spring Training -> Regular Season). The news could be really good, sending the value of the Seo Stock up even more. Or it could be very bad, having Seo's value plummet.

I don't know very much about the stock market, but this seems like a valid analogy for Seo. The Dodgers gave up two middle relievers for this stock, which is a calculated risk. The Mets cashed out now and got the bullpen help they thought they needed so badly.

So, who did the Dodgers give up?

Duaner Sanchez: Sanchez has had two full seasons in the majors: 2004 and 2005. In both years, he has had average control, but in 2005, Sanchez exhibited some of the power for which he is reputed in the form of an increased strikeout rate. He has good velocity and good deception. He will be 26 on Opening Day and looks like a solid middle reliever.

Steve Schmoll: Schmoll looks more like a fringe major leaguer than Sanchez, but he will also be 26 on Opening Day. He's known for his deceptive delivery and undeniably "cool" name. Schmoll, like the "Smock" of Calvin and Hobbes fame, is one of those words that bears repeating. But Schmoll looks like he'll fit in at the back of the Met bullpen.

Speaking of the Met bullpen, what does it look like now?

  • Billy Wagner
  • Duaner Sanchez
  • Chad Bradford
  • Steve Schmoll
  • Juan Padilla
  • Aaron Heilman
  • Bartolome Fortunato
  • Heath Bell
  • Royce Ring
  • Victor Zambrano
From those guys, 7 will most likely make the Opening Day bullpen. One will most likely be a starter, with Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, Kris Benson, and Steve Trachsel.

The Dodger rotation now has a surplus of options, with Lowe, Penny, Odalis Perez, Brett Tomko, DJ Houlton, and Edwin Jackson in the mix, potentially. I'll assume that Houlton and Jackson, as of now, are on track to be bullpen pitchers, if it were Opening Day. But there's still a lot of offseason left. Jeff Weaver is also still in limbo, so this could be the final straw in the Weaver negotiations.

Sensible deal on both sides, it seems. The Mets were dead set on adding relief help and weren't able to get the coveted Danys Baez (who was coveted for some reason) for a price they deemed reasonable. And Ned Colletti wanted starting pitching. We'll see where it goes from here, but I'd be surprised if either team were done dealing.