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View Full Version : Lopsided trade or lopsided thinking?



Brutus
07-17-2006, 11:56 AM
Like many of you, I quickly became dislodged from the seat of my chair when I saw the news of the Reds trading Austin Kearns and Felipe Lopez.

In fact, I merely saw the title on ESPN.com's front page.

"Nats get OF Kearns, SS Lopez in 8-player deal with Reds."

My first and most obvious thought was that the title left out the biggest acquisition...

"Oh my, Cincinnati traded for Alphonso Soriano?" I thought to myself. "But why would they do that?"

Then before I dared to succumb to the shock value of clicking on the headline title, satisfying my morbid curiosity of finding out what the sillly Reds' franchise did "this" time, I pondered other options.

Could they have traded for John Patterson?

"Nope," I realized. "Patterson is on the DL and may not even get back to pitch this season at the rate his progress is going."

Had it not specified SS before Lopez' name, I may have surmised it was some low-level Lopez I had never heard of. But the chances of that were slim.

So when it was all said and done, I could only figure that the Reds got Livan Hernandez, perhaps Chad Cordero or Jon Rauch and maybe a few other prospects as well.

I clicked on the story.

Gary Majewski.
Royce Clayton.
Billy Bray.
Darryl Thompson.
Brendan Harris.

Oh, and the Reds 'threw in' Ryan Wagner.

"They did WHAT?" I blurted out as I threw the existing pencil that was lying in my hand halfway across the room. "These are scraps I would expect to find for Kearns or Lopez, but not both."

I double-checked to make sure I had not fallen victim to some sort of ill-conceived, middle-of-july April Fool's prank by ESPN. Sadly, reality set in and I was not any more a victim than the rest of you.

Although I still felt like there was some bigger piece of the puzzle that wasn't included in the report, perhaps a mystery sixth player from the Nats that the AP just had not yet picked up on, I was simply attempting to nurture my own tormented ego that question whether this was a move made to get better, a move made to clear salary for other and bigger acquisitions or the start of a quasi-fire sale which goes against everything new management allegedly stood for.

The mere course of time has blown away most of my lingering emotions of this trade, however. As of today, some five days later, I am no longer adamant against this transaction.

No longer is the Reds club the worst franchise in sports (post-trade personal observation).

They're good enough. They're smart enough. And doggone it, people like them.

No longer is Wayne Krivsky dead to me (another personal post-trade observation).

Sure, my belief still exists that if Krivsky wanted to carry out the trash, the dead weight or the negative aspect of the clubhouse, he could have done so packaging Lopez and Kearns in seperate trades and acquired much more than they did.

But in principal, I've decided I can live with this trade.

If there's one thing Krivsky has earned, it's a chance. It's another thing that you can actually look at his bold, unafraid moves this season and see what he's doing. He actually has a clue. He's making things that make sense, not that make convenience.

He's doing one thing and following it up with a corresponding thing. He's fitting together pieces and parts while ridding of other spares and unnecessary ones.

Out with the old and in with the new.

This move is still painful in the interim, especially when you consider it was done with a club that was still second place in their division and a game out of the wildcard. But for many reasons, whether they be attitude, salary or ridding of surplusses for much-needed relief pitching help (Team Clark's eloquent and detailed post helped me rehabilitate psychologically on some of these issues), this trade did have some upside to it. It was lopsided, but perhaps the real problem is the lopsided thinking we all have.

Nevermind that the Reds conceivably could still land a Miguel Tejada or Brandon Webb. Most likely, maybe it will just be an Elmer Dessens, Kyle Lohse or Reggie Sanders. That's just the way the trading landscape works.

But I'm guilty of it, and we're all guilty of it - thinking that trades are supposed to work like fantasy leagues where the stats must match up to be considered a good trade.

We can count pennies until we're blue in the face. We can crunch the statistics of the return for whatever player of value given up, but we forget in our lopsided thinking that the real measure of a trade is supposed to be simple.

"Does it make us a better team?"

If Wayne Krivsky believes this step, which may seem like a giant leap back to the masses, is actually a step forward and will in fact make the Cincinnati Reds a better team, forget what the pundits say - he came out of the trade a winner.

Of course, as I give him that generous benefit of the doubt, I am counting on the production to corroborate that theory. If the offense starts tanking badly and the Reds lose games because of it, we will know the trade was not very good in hindsight.

But I don't care if you trade Ken Ray for Ken Griffey - the end justifies the means. If winning is the ultimate goal and any deal is done with that intention, it is a good trade provided it accomplishes that.

Everyone has the right to hate this trade and any subsequent trade. I can't sit here with a straight face and say I am excited about the trade, even if we have been temporarily blinded in the wake of a 4-game sweep of the Rockies.

But in reality, no matter how lopsided I may think the player-for-player compensation was to the Nats-Reds deal last week, I think the real issue is that my mind was too lopsided to notice the bigger picture.

Now like everyone, I'll sit back down into my armchair general manager's seat.

MaineRed
07-17-2006, 12:06 PM
I don't have any proof but to me it always seems like the clear winner of a trade when it is made ends up being the loser more often than not.

In the NBA, when the Kings traded Chris Webber and paired him with Iverson, EVERYONE (99% of people) said the Sixers robbed the Kings, yada, yada, yada. What happened in reality? The Kings didn't get much better but the Sixers went into the tank. Nothing good came of making that deal. A deal that was supposed to set up a mini dynasty according to many.

There are many other examples as well. How often has a team traded for prospects only to be ripped. But then two years later, one of the prospects becomes a stud and everyone says they got the prospect for nothing, when before it was they got nothing for the vets they traded.

It takes time to fully evaluate trade.

All I know is that the Reds have not lost since this trade. They are 4-0. Face it folks, if the Reds were 0-4, it would be, "SEE, SEE, SEE, now our offense sucks. SEE!"

Small sample sizes are only used when the sample gives a negative result.

Personally I think a lot of Red fans are paranoid, due to past trades by different men.

Mr Red
07-17-2006, 12:11 PM
Good read Brutus....keep on posting and welcome to the best baseball board on the net.

Carin4Narron
07-17-2006, 12:14 PM
Look at it this way, wasn't Kearns and Lopez worth Ross,Phillips,Arroyo,Castro,Guardado-sp,Clayton, and the 2 middle relievers?

That's not so bad,isn't it?

Redus
07-17-2006, 12:41 PM
Bravo Brutus!

Ltlabner
07-17-2006, 01:10 PM
Top notch post! Well said!

BuckU
07-17-2006, 01:27 PM
I don't have any proof but to me it always seems like the clear winner of a trade when it is made ends up being the loser more often than not.

In the NBA, when the Kings traded Chris Webber and paired him with Iverson, EVERYONE (99% of people) said the Sixers robbed the Kings, yada, yada, yada. What happened in reality? The Kings didn't get much better but the Sixers went into the tank. Nothing good came of making that deal. A deal that was supposed to set up a mini dynasty according to many.

There are many other examples as well. How often has a team traded for prospects only to be ripped. But then two years later, one of the prospects becomes a stud and everyone says they got the prospect for nothing, when before it was they got nothing for the vets they traded.

It takes time to fully evaluate trade.

All I know is that the Reds have not lost since this trade. They are 4-0. Face it folks, if the Reds were 0-4, it would be, "SEE, SEE, SEE, now our offense sucks. SEE!"

Small sample sizes are only used when the sample gives a negative result.

Personally I think a lot of Red fans are paranoid, due to past trades by different men.


Great points. I’d also like to bring up a trade that everybody thought one team got fleeced yet the other team had the last laugh…

Anaheim Ducks trade Sergei Federov and a 5th round draft pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Francois Beauchemin and Tyler Wright.

Everybody should know who Federov is… a very good two-way center. For those of you who are not hockey savvy Wright was a 4th line center/winger that really didn’t have a place on Columbus’ team anymore and Beauchemin was a waiver pick up from Montreal during the lockout. In addition, Anaheim picks up Todd Marchant and his large salary who Columbus waived to make room for Federov (not officially part of the trade, but it appeared there was something worked out between the two teams)

Basically, it was:

Federov
5th Round Pick

For

Wright
Beauchemin
Marchant

On the surface it appears that Columbus robbed Anaheim, only giving up a soon to be waived center, a 7th or 8th defenseman, and an over paid 3rd line center, much like everybody thinks that Washington robbed Cincinnati. Granted Federov is no longer in the prime of his career like Kearns/Lopez are, but Kearns/Lopez are still not a proven commodity like Federov.

Long story short, Wright ends up being waived but Beauchemin and Marchant are key players who end up propelling Anaheim deep into the playoffs while Columbus missed out again. Like Clayton, Bray, & Majewski, the players Anaheim received seemed like an unfair return but they were key components, role players who fit Anaheim’s system. I feel like the 3 main players acquired fit a need much like this example. Anything Thompson and Harris may provide is icing on the cake.

Point is, the “obvious” winner might not look so good when it is all said and done. Especially if the Reds make a post season run.

blumj
07-17-2006, 01:27 PM
I hope no one minds the reference, but the organization that's widely regarded as the model franchise in modern pro sports lives by this principle above all else: "We are building a team, not collecting talent."

Krusty
07-17-2006, 01:38 PM
What we're seeing is Krivsky mold the team the way he wants it. O'Brien didn't do much at the major league level in regards to major moves (exception would be is Milton signing). So much of what Krivsky inherited at the major league level is a result of Bowden's.

Should make an interesting offseason when Krivsky decides whether Dunn and Griffey are a part of the future in his eyes.

westofyou
07-17-2006, 01:42 PM
On the surface it appears that Columbus robbed Anaheim,

See I never thought that, SF's scoring touch has wained and his groin problems and age don't bode well for an impact player at his current cost, the move was a panic one by Columbus and astute one by the Ducks (who would not have done it if Teemu was not performing at the level he was)

BuckU
07-17-2006, 01:49 PM
See I never thought that, SF's scoring touch has wained and his groin problems and age don't bode well for an impact player at his current cost, the move was a panic one by Columbus and astute one by the Ducks (who would not have done it if Teemu was not performing at the level he was)

C'mon, there wasn't a part of you that thought that, at the time, Columbus didn't give up much?

westofyou
07-17-2006, 01:54 PM
C'mon, there wasn't a part of you that thought that, at the time, Columbus didn't give up much?
Not at all, They ended up having to pay the salary for an declining offensive impact player on a team that didn't need an impact offenive player, they needed a Big D man not Sergio... and I'm a Red Wing fan so I love Fedorov.

Falls City Beer
07-17-2006, 01:58 PM
I'm going to neg you two for talking about hockey. :devil:

Brutus
07-17-2006, 02:04 PM
I agree wholeheartedly about the point regarding the "obvious winner" sometimes not being such an obvious winner in the long run.

At one time, the Reds were thought to have 'fleeced' the Mariners in the Ken Griffey Jr. trade. Now granted, if Junior's health had cooperated, perhaps the Reds still would have been considered the winner to that trade by far.

However, the Mariners are a prime example of a transition to fewer stars, less talent, but more victories.

The Mariners lost Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez in a span of a few years.

They gained Carlos Guillen, Freddy Garcia, John Halama, Mike Cameron and Brett Tomko. Without the aforementioned three stars, they ended up winning 116 games in 2001.

That team was still loaded with their fair share of difference makers when you think about Ichiro, Edgar Martinez, etc, but it wasn't the same kind of talent the M's had with Johnson, Griffey and A-Rod.

Baseball teams are a collection of 25 players performing individually. Sometimes, five players doing positive things on a baseball team can outweigh a couple of players doing excellent things.

This trade may or may not have given the Reds five players to outweigh the two players they lost, but as long as it gets them to a roster of 25 players that accomplishes that ultimate goal, the trade is a success.

osuceltic
07-17-2006, 02:06 PM
If we're going to use other sports as points of reference, here's an NBA example going on right in front of our eyes.

The Boston Celtics are trying to trade for Allen Iverson. Why? He's a top-20 player in the league, maybe the best player on the trade market, and the Sixers are in a tough spot and have to move him. That means he's going to come cheap.

The problem? He doesn't fit anything the Celtics are trying to do. Sure, they could trade for him, give up a big salary and a young player, crow about how they stole Iverson, and then try to pound the square peg into the round hole.

By contrast, they might be able to pry someone like Jermaine O'Neal or Shawn Marion away from their teams, but it's going to cost much more. Marion may not be the player Iverson is, but he's a perfect fit for the Celtics. He'll cost more in trade because Phoenix isn't desperate to move him. But they're willing if the return is right.

So ... do you want to give up less and take back something that doesn't make sense, but win the trade?

Or do you want to give up more, maybe lose the trade, but add exactly the right piece to your team?

The Celtics seem to be going with the first option. Me ... I'd rather go the second route.

dabvu2498
07-17-2006, 02:10 PM
However, the Mariners are a prime example of a transition to fewer stars, less talent, but more victories.
The Oakland A's and Minnesota Twins of recent years are also prime examples.

Baseball teams are a collection of 25 players performing individually. Sometimes, five players doing positive things on a baseball team can outweigh a couple of players doing excellent things.
Agreed. And to enhance that thought even further, usually, having 10-12 guys (5-6 especially) who can get guys consistantly out can overcome some lack of offense.

Good stuff, Brutus!

mbgrayson
07-17-2006, 02:20 PM
I agree with most of what people say in this thread. I see several possible benefits of this trade, many of which the big baseball web sites are missing:

1. Most obvious; young relief help. I agree that this aspect is undervalued. In the fantasy league I play, Sporting News Ultimate, relief help is worthless. In that league, to win you need great starters and great hitters. Period. Real world baseball is different, you need relievers, utility guys, etc. And the two relievers obtained are young; 26 and 23. They will be low cost relief help for several years, as long as they are productive and healthy. Pitching was our biggest weakness, and hitting our biggest strength. I think there is a bigger incremental gain in pitching than there will be in the loss in hitting and runs scored.
2. Opens the way for Denorfia in right. Also Freel will get more playing time, and we have good outfielders at lower levels like Jay Bruce and BJ Szymanski at Dayton, or Drew Stubbs from Billings.
3. Payroll. While the initial savings is small since neither Kearns nor Lopez were highly paid, by next year it is possible that, after arbitration, this move may have saved the Reds 5 million per year.
4. Shaking up complacency. Showing the team that nobody is off limits in trades, and that the new management wants to WIN.
5. RHP Daryl Thompson (a quality young starter), and IF Brendan Harris. Nobody is placing any value on these parts acquired in the trade. Yer Thompson could end up being a legit starter, and may be a real find.

In conclusion, it will be interesting to see at years end how our runs scored and runs allowed rates differ from pre-trade numbers. That will be the first real data on whether this trade 'works' or not.

Mike

smith288
07-17-2006, 03:28 PM
Not at all, They ended up having to pay the salary for an declining offensive impact player on a team that didn't need an impact offenive player, they needed a Big D man not Sergio... and I'm a Red Wing fan so I love Fedorov.
My understanding is that Fedorov has helped with Zherdev immensely if you want to look at it at a more subjective point of view.

westofyou
07-17-2006, 03:31 PM
My understanding is that Fedorov has helped with Zherdev immensely if you want to look at it at a more subjective point of view.
That helps, plus special teams play... it never hurts to have an ex Red team player (or Red wing) in the house, especially if they played for Scotty.

Johnny Footstool
07-17-2006, 04:52 PM
The Randy Johnson trade was a salary dump for two of Houston's top prospects (Guillen and Garcia). This trade is nothing like that.

It's more like the Sean Casey/Dave Williams deal - trading everyday players and overpaying for mediocre pitching.

I just might dig through the RedsZone archives tonight and see how many people were willing to "give that deal a chance."