Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday: Covering the Bases

Happy Friday, Everyone….

  • If there was still any question as to whether the Braves would include minor league pitcher Tommy Hanson in a trade for Jake Peavy it was answered last night with a resounding “NO.” Pitching in front of Atlanta’s top brass in the Arizona Fall League (a finishing school for baseball’s top prospects), including GM Frank Wren, Hanson was simply dominant. The 6’6” right-hander used a 92-94 mph fastball in all quadrants of the strike zone, as well as a knee-buckling 12-to-6 curveball, to strikeout 11 hitters while walking just one in five innings of work. This outing was indicative of the type of autumn Hanson has had. In 18 frames in what is unanimously known as a hitter’s paradise, Hanson has yielded just one run while boasting an otherworldly 30/4 K/BB ratio. The general consensus among scouts is that the 22-year-old Hanson will be no worse than a #2 starter in the big leagues and could even match Peavy’s big league success at some point. In other words, Padres GM Kevin Towers shouldn’t even waste his time by asking for Hanson in any trade scenario with the Braves.
  • Earlier today San Diego chose to exercise Brian Giles' $9 million option over his $3 million buyout. Though Infield Chatter is a big fan of Kevin Towers, we have no choice but to question this decision. With owner John Moores putting the Padres up for sale in the wake of a contentious divorce with his ex-wife and Peavy, the face of the franchise, on the trading block as a result, it’s evident that the organization is in full rebuilding mode. So, why then, would Towers pick up the option on his soon-to-be 38-year-old right fielder? We’d understand the move if Towers had designs on trading Giles in return for prospects; however, the El Cajon native has a full no trade clause and just last summer vetoed a trade to the playoff-bound Red Sox. Who’s to say Giles wouldn’t follow suit in 2009 and leave the likely last place Padres saddled with a weighty contract?
  • In our first Trade Fair feature we proposed the Tigers shipping slugger Magglio Ordonez to Tampa Bay as part of a three-way deal that would also include the Brewers. This week it surfaced that the Phillies are one of several teams in hot pursuit of outfielder Matt Holliday. The Rockies are seemingly anxious to trade Holliday because he’s a free agent after 2009, and, like most Scott Boras clients, has no desire to sign a long-term deal before maximizing his value in the free agent market. Anyway, Holliday is an outstanding hitter (though his numbers are significantly inflated by the “Coors effect”), who would surely force the Phillies to surrender their top two prospects – catcher Lou Marson and SS Jason Donald – in any deal. This leads us to ask whether the Phillies would consider trading for Ordonez instead. For roughly the same package it would take to land Holliday, Philadelphia could acquire a player, who, despite being six years older, is a better all-round hitter and is signed for three years at a cheaper average annual salary than what Holliday would likely fetch in the open market. And as was the case in our trade proposal from last week, Detroit would happily offer to eat a portion of Ordonez' contract and ease the Phillies' financial burden. From the Tigers’ perspective, this deal is a slam dunk. Both Marson and Donald are excellent young talents who would provide extremely cheap solutions to two gapping holes in Detroit’s everyday lineup.

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