Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hot Stove Update: 3 Way Trade

Trader Billy Beane and the Oakland A's got the 2013 hot stove fired up with the postseason from 2012 still in full swing.  The A's sent SS Cliff Pennington and prospect Yordy Cabrera to the D'Backs for CF Chris B. Young.  The D'Backs then shipped Cabrera to the Marlins for RHP Heath Bell in what was technically a separate deal.  The D'Backs sent $500 K to the A's to pay a small part of Young's salary while the Marlins sent about $8 M to the D'Backs to cover part of the $21 M remaining on Bell's salary.  This one is a bit of a head scratcher in many ways so let's try to break it down:

The A's got a superior defensive CF with power coming off a year that was limited by injuries.  Young seems to have been around forever, but he's only 29 yo.  He rang up fWAR's of 4.6 in both 2010 and 2011 due to a combination of power, speed and defense.  What I find interesting is that he put up a fWAR of 2.8 in 363 PA in 2012 which projects to pretty darn close to the 4.6 he put up in the previous 2 seasons over a full season's worth of PA's.  That is more than the A's platoon of Jonny Gomes and Seth Smith put up this year.  Young played for A's manager Bob Melvin in Arizona and had a good relationship with him and that could be a factor in the trade too.  All in all, a nice buy low for Trader Billy.  He can jettison the Gomes/Smith platoon and go with a superior defensive OF of Young, Cespedes and Reddick with Coco Crisp as the 4'th OF.

The A's did not need Cliff Pennington, who is approximately a league average SS coming off a down year at the plate, because they have Stephen Drew, who they acquired from the same D'Backs in a mid-season trade this year. Yordy Cabrera was a second round draft pick in 2010 out of HS who is already 22 yo.  He has some power potential but will have to pick up the pace if he wants to make it to the majors.  Just looking at his numbers and age, he reminds me an awful lot of Wendell Fairley in the Giants system.

The D'Backs apparently decided to commit to Adam Eaton as their CF of the present and future which made Young expendable.  They also apparently decided to invest the savings of that trade-off in their bullpen.  Eaton is a scrappy young guy who can get on base a lot from a leadoff spot in the lineup, but who has little pop and is unlikely to have anywhere's near the WAR value of Chris Young.

Heath Bell was part of the Marlins' spending spree last offseason as they tried to jump start their future in their new stadium.  That went badly wrong as Bell became a gas can out of the bullpen and spent most of the season being greeted with thunderous booing when he would come into a game.  He was reportedly unhappy that he never regained his closer role which makes his acquisition by the D'Backs a bit puzzling as they have an established closer in JJ Putz who they just exercised their option on for 2013.  The D'Backs could still have more moves to make but for now appear to be aiming for a 3-headed monster of David Hernandez, Bell and Putz for the last 3 innings of games they are leading after 6 which makes you wonder how Bell is going to like that if he was unhappy with a setup role in Miami.

Miami gets to cut its losses with Bell's contract by quite a bit and gets a lottery ticket on the high risk/reward prospect in Cabrera who is a local kid to boot.

I'll give modest thumbs up to the A's and Marlins for upgrading their OF and dumping an albatross respectively and a thumbs down to the D'Backs who take on salary and possibly a headache without an obvious upgrade and a possible downgrade in personnel.

PS-two more thoughts:  1.  D'Backs GM Kevin Towers was Bell's GM in San Diego.  2.  Bruce Bochy was Bell's Manager in San Diego.  With the Giants possibly being in the market for a top of the line closer this offseason, Towers may have been heading that off at the pass as part of his motivation.


  1. That makes a lot of sense re taking first step before Giants could. Also, Putz w not always a closer, maybe they can move him back to setup. I would think that they would do an open competition but that Bel would be expected to win then Putz slides to setup.

    1. I'm guessing both Bell and Putz think they should be closers so it could get interesting.

  2. Young is going to cost 7mm, 8.5mm and then a 11mm option. That is pricey for the A's. The snakes are running up to their budget, it is surprising they are adding another expensive piece to their pen.

    Typical marlins move. There is a reason they don't give out no-trade clauses. I say good for the A's, questionable for the fish and the snakes.