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.


Why would the Marlins want Gathright? He has no power and does not get on base enough or steal well enough considering his speed. His OBP in the minors is because of a high AVG. He will never come close to the .380 OBP that would make him a good offensive player. Just because the Marlins have an abundance of arms doesn’t mean they have to trade them. Let the players sort themselves out first. If you are going to trade and arm for a CF, trade for Jeremy Reed.

Here are two different players’ career Minor League stats:

Player A: .316 AVG/.390 OBP/.361 SLG/165 SB in 215 ATT

Player B: .330 AVG/.377 OBP/.392 SLG/ 151 SB in 192 ATT

Player A is Joey Gathright. Yes, he doesn’t walk all that much — the OBP is indeed mostly because of his high average. Of course, he also almost never strikes out (228 K’s vs. 126 walks in 320 Minor League games).

Player B, for the record, struck out just 74 times in his Minor League career , while drawing 90 walks in 315 games. Any guesses on Player B yet? Here are some more hints: Player B has now spent parts of six seasons in the big leagues. He’s got a career .305 average and a .355 OBP and .375 SLG to go along with 267 steals (96 caught). He’s got two stolen-base crowns in the bigs and he’s one of the toughest men to strike out, clearly carrying over his skills from the Minors to Majors.

Figured it out yet? He’s thought of — for better or worse — as one of the top leadoff men in the game. That’s right, it’s former Marlins CF Juan Pierre.

Now I’m not saying Gathright is the next Pierre, but I think maybe it’s easy to see why the Marlins like him. I’m a fan of Jeremy Reed’s, too, but the Marlins might be thinking that they could use the speed Gathright offers to manufacture some runs for a less-than-potent lineup. And, every once in a while, a guy comes along who hits enough to keep the OBP respectable. Look around baseball — there aren’t too many true OBP leadoff hitters like you speak of out there.

Hi! I did an interview with Pat Neshek over at Minor Details!

“Q&A: Minnesota Twins’ Pat Neshek”

Copy and paste:



I’m in total agreeance with those points dealing with the Sox. We’ve given up far too much for those two bums. Nobody wants to talk about that in Chicago but the truth of the matter is Chris Young could develop into a All-Star caliber player and Gio and Haigwood would eventually fit seemless into the rotation down the road. Instead we go and get a wretch of pitcher at $9.5 mil a pop and a broken down DH, awesome. I’m not a fan of either trade mainly because of the huge sacrifice we had to make in the minors. I hate the Twins but one thing I admire is their insistence to hold on to their young talent and develop them. They don’t throw away guys Liriano to get instant gratification. No they nurture them and that’s why they will be tough to contend with for years without wasting money on uncertainties.

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