And the deals keep on coming
I guess the discussions that went on in Dallas are paying off as several deals are coming to fruition.
Let’s start with the Milton Bradley deal. It’s not often you see two guys with big league experience get traded for one prospect (usually, it’s the other way around), but I guess when Bradley’s involved, all bets are off. The Dodgers wanted to make a "character" move, plain and simple. Not only did they improve in that regard by dealing the oft-maligned Bradley, they received one of the best people — not just players — in the Minor Leagues. Andre Ethier is an outstanding hitter and above-average outfielder. And his makeup, as anyone will tell you, is off the charts. There’s a reason he was chosen by the Arizona Fall League as this year’s recipient of the Dernell Stenson Sportsmanship Award. He should reach LA before the year is over. You can hear Andre discuss the trade and the charitable donation he’s making in conjunction with the Stenson Award on my radio show, "Around the Minors" this Friday on MLB Radio at 2 p.m. ET.
While that deal is official, the Javy Vazquez deal isn’t quite. But again, it’s an interesting one from a Minors perspective. The key to the deal for the D-Backs is White Sox CF prospect Chris Young. The guy’s got 30-30 potential. He’s hit 50 homers and stolen 63 bases over the past two seasons and skipped over High-A ball as if it was nothing in 2005.
The White Sox are clearly gearing up for another run next year, bringing in established guys in Jim Thome and Vazquez to do so. But here’s the thing. One is older and an injury concern, the other hasn’t pitched well consistently in two years and will be on his third team in three years (one move not his choice, the other his demand). To get these question marks, the White Sox have given up two lefty pitching prospects, one good in Daniel Haigwood and one arguably one of the best Minor League southpaws in the game in Gio Gonzalez, and a young center fielder with about as much five-tool upside as anyone. And it also puts a lot of pressure on Brian Anderson, no? He’s the guy in center now…at least he won’t be looking over his shoulder. If they win in 2006, no one will say a word, but that’s a lot of future to mortgage for a pair of guys who aren’t exactly bankable products these days.
And, finally, there’s the Joey Gathright rumor. This might be a good situation for the Rays and the Marlins (if you can say anything baseball-related in South Florida is in a "good sitaution" these days). The Rays have some outfield depth, with Carl Crawford, Rocco Baldelli and Jonny Gomes ready to go and uber-prospect Delmon Young not far behind. The speedy Gathright doesn’t look like he’d have a role outside of fourth outfielder/pinch-runner. And, frankly, he’s too good for that. The Marlins, on the other hand, are now spilling over with pitching prospects. I’m not sure I’d give up Scott Olsen, who assuming health is Major League ready and pitches from the left side, but you’ve got to give to get. Gathright would become the Marlins’ every-day center fielder, forming an exciting perfecta in the outfield with Jeremy Hermida. Olsen would step into the Rays rotation to join Scott Kazmir as one of the more intriguing young lefty combinations I’ve ever seen. We’ll see how that one plays out, but for once it could be a deal that works for everyone involved.