Originally Posted by Guacarock
Cordero for Lidge doesn't make much sense. We get little in the way of salary relief, and we get back a closer who looks battered and frazzled.
A better deal: Cordero and a top prospect to the Angels for Fuentes and Izturis. Fuentes also is having a rough year, with more blown saves than usual, some injury problems early on, and notable signs of fatigue lately. But he still has collected 44 saves and his $9 million salary gives us more relief than picking up Lidge, who carries an $11 million pricetag. Also, being a southpaw, Fuentes would be the ideal complement to emerging ace set-up man Masset.
If the Angels add the switch-hitting Izturis to the mix, we get our desired upgrade at SS, plus Izturis is just perfect to hit No. 2, where the Duster seems to want his shortstops slotted. We would probably have to pay Izturis $2-$3 million next year, but the differential between Cordero and Fuentes' salaries would cover that.
This deal makes sense for both teams. The Angels are always contenders, and have to be a little frustated with Fuentes' inconsistencies this season. Cordero looks to be the more airtight closer.
As for us, I'll take Fuentes' ups-and-downs if we solve our SS problem. The Angels can afford to shed Izturis because they are well covered in the infield with Kendrick at 2B, Aybar at ss, Figgins at 3B, and Wood emerging and vying for a position. Izturis could be the one squeezed out, so why not see if we can grab him -- although the Angels are admittedly difficult trading partners. Maybe if Fuentes blows 2-3 key playoff games, they might be more receptive to a hot stove deal.
Press reports are beginning to surface indicating that the Angels are targeting an upgrade from Fuentes as one of their off-season priorities. Time to strike while the iron is hot. We should offer Cordero for Fuentes and Izturis, adding a decent prospect or two to even out the deal and entice the Angels. We're somewhat bereft in the middle infield (unless they want Frazier, Janish or Valaika), but we do seem to have a glut of good, up-and-coming outfielders and relievers.
Looking over this year's thin crop of free-agent shortstops and the few available shortstop trade candidates (like Hardy or Drew), Izturis stands out as the best possible fit for the Reds. He's got glove, speed and OBP, sufficient OBP, in fact, to lead off and allow us to bat Stubbs second where his power might come more into play, along with his speed.
Izturis is eligible for an arbitration-set raise, and will no doubt command north of $2 million in 2010, but Hardy and Drew are already paid far more, along with the top free-agents like Scutaro, Cabrera or Tejada. We should be able to budget for him, using our savings from shedding Cordero (due $12 million in 2010) for Fuentes (due $9 million).
Am I worried that we're weakening our bullpen? Yes and no. In an ideal world, I would take Cordero as my closer over Fuentes most days, but we don't live in an ideal world. We are a small-market team that needs to upgrade at SS, and it's quite possible we don't have the resources to do so unless we trim a big contract.
I'd rather trim Cordero's contract than Harang's or Arroyo at this juncture. We lack a welter of starting pitchers to replace Harang and Arroyo, but we do have a handful of potential closer candidates (Masset, Burton, Bray) already on the roster and a few others (Ondrusek, Del Rosario) knocking on the doors. We also have Rhodes under contract, and while he can't pitch everyday, he's good as gold when he does.
The only big knock I can see on Izturis? He can declare for free-agency in 2011. So we might enjoy one year of his wizardry, and then have to either really pay for it or else downsize our expectations and start grooming his replacement. We're already grooming his replacement - Todd Cozart -- and he's looking good in the Arizona Fall League. At the same time, Todd won't be ready for 2010, but maybe 2011. Bingo!