This will go down as the trade that killed the 2006 Red Sox. You heard it here first.
Most of the detail of why I say this is in the other threads, but to recap:
Wily Mo Pena is the most one dimensional player to hit the major leagues since Dave Kingman. He hits HRs period.
Career splits ...
vs. LH .272/.342/.547
Home .263/.320/.495 Away .232/.284/.457
Arroyo was a ROOGY or a very mediocre SP who was no longer cheap.He was clearly exposed last year by teams who had seen him more than twice. Hard to argue getting someone with the upside of Pena and having him for three years as a looksie.
I am mixed on this trade. I have a lot of the same concerns as VAL. I think Wily Mo is a hacker, his own talk to the contrary notwithstanding. His all or nothing approach will not help.
On the other hand, if he doesn't perform, he's not going to be the starter, so I don't think the concerns about his performance against RHP should be so great. If Trot really sucks, the Sox would have been in trouble anyway. He should hit lefties well enough. I'm not sure he was worth a capable major league starter as an upgrade to Mohr in 2006, but when you add in the potential, you can certainly make the case. And, maybe there is a "Dave Jauss likes David Ortiz"-esque report out of the DR that Pena really has changed some of his approach at the plate. We can hope.
I'm also in the boat who thinks that Bronson is headed toward being ineffective. I wish him the best in the future, but he just seemed like he was pitching to avoid mistakes, especially to lefties, instead of pitching to make his pitch. It was hard to watch him in several starts last year (in which I was sitting in Fenway watching him, natch), and I think there is an equal chance he will get worse as get better this year.
I don't think the depth of pitching risk is quite as high as VAL is making it out to be. Then again, I think Lenny Dinardo is capable of spot filling 10 starts this year which is a pretty big difference of opinion to most.
This is the part of the story that has me wondering. I love the pure talent vs. talent part of the swap, but does this trade make nearly as much sense if Pena is merely a fourth outfielder and LHP platoon partner to Nixon? If the common "wisdom" for Narron and the Reds is this kid becomes a potentially elite power hitter with consisten PT, are the Sox thinking any different? Isn't there a risk here that unless Pena becomes an everyday player at this point, his development retards?
Seems like there are two possible "other shoes" left to drop here. 1: Trot gets traded, or 2: Pena gets flipped. Pure speculation on my part, but the player development component is a bit of a head scratcher.
That said, so long and thank you to Saturn Balls. I'll miss him. Now Purple Lips doesn't have Bronson to slap at (or get beaned by) anymore...alas.
I don't like this trade. You can never have too much pitching, or too much pitching depth. As much as I would have hated to see both Arroyo and Papelbon in the bullpen, it seems that these things always sorted themselves out somehow, especially on a team with 3 aging starters (Schilling, Wells, Wakefield) and one (Beckett) who has never pitched 180 innings in the majors.
As for Pena, I dread the thought of him in RF in Fenway. He was horrendous there last year when Cinci came to town for 3 games. Crisp better get some roller blades for when he plays between Pena and Manny.
Having Pena, Lowell and Gonzalez in the lower half of the order, will probably take away some of the run-scoring potential of Tek, Crisp and Nixon as well, since those the new guys won't be getting on base much. The Sox will leave a lot of guys stranded when the lower half of the batting order is at the plate, and that's putting a lot of pressure on the top half of the lineup to score runs.
As I said in another thread, Pena is valuable to the team during the 5.7% of his ABs where he hits the ball out of the park, but basically useless at the plate the rest of the time. In the A.L. he is likely to strike out 35% of the time.
I want to be optimistic, but what I see right now is a shambles.
I like Pena for three reasons:
* his ability to hit lefties, which makes him a good platoon partner for Nixon;
* his ability to play all three OF positions - necessary in a 4th OF;
* his potential. Often I think "potential" is a bag of crap, but in the right situation you roll the dice, and this is the right situation IMO. The Red Sox are not absolutely dependent on Pena realizing his potential for their offense to run, so they can hopefully break him in in some lo-leverage situations and work up from there.
And I like getting rid of Arroyo for two reasons:
* as others have mentioned, they sold high;
* Arroyo's struggles with lefties. I just cannot get around this. Imagine an important game late in the year in the Toilet, with that short porch in right, and Arroyo having to go three times through Damon, Giambi, and Matsui?. . . . I have zero confidence in Arroyo in that situation, and frankly, if he can't pitch in that spot, he has no business being on the team.
So I'm in favor of the deal.
He [Pena] seems to have shades of a young, cocky malcontent. Hopefully this isn't the case once he gets here. He seemed happy with finally settling into a position (left field) and getting playing time. Now he will most likely be playing right field and platooning with Trot. Could this be another Jay Payton situation? If so, it would be a waste of resources (Arroyo's cheap contract and value as a swingman who showed he was capable of giving us 14 wins last year). At least Payton played defense.
I guess it's hard for me to focus on legit points when I read that this is the worst off-season in 75 years or that they won't score 800 runs.
There's a lot of risk if things go wrong, but the worst off-season ever? They got a #1-caliber starter, a young CF, and now a young corner OF.
Pena was rushed because of a foolish deal the Yankees made, and I am not sure if Cincy was run well in his time, but this is a guy who could slug over .500 and there are few OF between 24 and 30 these days that can do that.
I love this deal, if for no reason other than I won't have to listen to Arroyo sing anymore. HUGE plus!!
I really like this trade as well. I think this has been a very good off-season for the Red Sox, an outstanding one in terms of the long-range health of the organization. The front office is showing tremendous flexibility, dealt well with adversity, and correctly seen the weak spots of the team. Bravo. This is the best off-season of Theo's tenure.
The organization should feel really proud of their entire history with Arroyo. They got him off the scrap heap, got production out of him, and dealt him for a young power hitter.
This deal can be looked at in 2 ways: 2006, and beyond 2006.
For the here-and-now, this deal tells me the Sox are somewhat comfortable entering the 2006 season with the risk that is the health/performance expectations of the current starting and relief corps - As of this morning, I would have assumed these risks would neccesitate keeping a guy like Arroyo, so in that regard, this trade is telling. That's my main take-away. In any event, I'd say the Sox are getting fair value in return. It's a wash for 2006.
For 2007 and beyond, it's a no-brainer. Arroyo's PECOTA projections into the future look like Enron's stock graph, circa 2002 - and if Pena figures out how to take a pitch, he could develop into a monster.
I'm not as giddy as most who have posted on this thread, and I don't really think this helps the 2006 squad, but I can see the Sox reasoning.
Dave Pinto's probabilistic model of range model shows Pena to have been the worst defensive RF in baseball last year. That said, I really like this deal. Bronson's declining K rate is a serious concern and I just didn't see any major role for him this year unless we lost a few other starters. Pena clearly has significant potential to be an offensive force with some work. Why not make the move? Although the Juan Gonzalez window (which was only open a crack to begin with) was just closed and locked.
First of all, no teeth gnashing if Arroyo's K rate rebounds and he ends up with a better ERA than most of our starters, both of which are likely against a bunch of hitters who have never seen him before. Translating his NL performance this year into an AL performance just won't work. Which is why I thought that trading him was inevitable once Wells recanted: he was of far more value as a starter for an NL team than as a swingman or reliever for us.
Because of Pena's fielding, it's not clear that he represents an upgrade over Mohr for this year. However, as others have noted, his picture's in the dictionary next to upside.
PECOTA: .282 / .345 / .558
Bill James: .259 / .311 / .502
ZiPS: .260 / .310 / .534
Shandler: .256 / .302 / .483
Because his career path has been so atypical, the PECOTA projection is the most interesting.
Aside from the very scary low OBP that Pena puts up on a consistent basis, this is, on the face, a very good trade for the Red Sox. Pena is the perfect 4th OF for the Sox right now, someone who crushes lefties and someone who can cover all 3 OF spots. This now makes keeping Stern not a real problem as Stern has shown a good arm and still very good speed making him a solid defensive replacement. Arroyo has been a fan favorite, but honestly I could not see the Sox keeping him all that much longer.
Think about it, the Sox have Paps, Dinardo, Lester all waiting in the wings. Paps and Dinardo can step in and do a pretty fair job this year and at least Paps will have a starting spot (unless he flops, which I do not anticipate) next year. Lester will have to be given his shot in the next 1-2 years and while the future losses of Wells, Schill and Wakefield are imminent, the fact is that onle one or two slots would open before 2008.
Arroyo has been so hit or miss. His inability to keep command of his slider or to keep his high 80's fastball out of the heart of the plate is downright scary come crunchtime. I still have visions of Gary Sheffield cranking up and salivating as one of Arroyo's custom 88 mph fastballs comes coasting in on the inside part of the plate. Don't get me wrong, I liked the guy (hated his music, but liked the guy), but if Willy Mo can play as he has in the past, the trade is even and the Sox get a position filled that they needed. If Willy Mo plays like he is possibly capable and gets his OBP out of the gutter, he could be the RF starter for years to come, making it a big Red Sox win.
I really like this trade. Yes, Willy Mo has some deficiencies that are worrysome, but I think this is the best possible environment for him to work those out. When you can tutor under Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Tek, Papa Jack and work with a guy who is as good at getting on base as Kevin Youkilis (yes, I said Kevin Youkilis will be a possitive role model for Pena) you have all the ingredients necessary for Pena to go from power potential to a great hitter. All he has to do is take advantage of what's now in front of him. Whether he does that or not is another issue, but the pieces are there.
There is one other aspect of this. If he has been smart enough to talk about being more patient and more selective, then perhaps he will be smart enough to listen when someone tells him that hitting in the same lineup with Ramirez and Ortiz will allow him to wait for good pitches to hit... just possible.
That said, unless Francona seriously juggles Manny into DH, Ortiz to first, etc... I don't see where this guy gets even 250 ABs -- never mind the 300 he got in Cincy. That is assuming that Stern only gets defensive work and Mohr for that matter as well. This is suddenly a very crowded outfield -- unless you 'plan' on Nixon getting hurt.
My real objection to or concern of this trade is that to me, the real offensive risk is the infield, where the Sox are banking on two of the three of Lowel, Youks, Snow to hit, with little insurance offensively if two of them doesn't hit full time. Youks has never proven to hit over 450-500 ABs, and the other two aren't spring chickens either. Wasn't there another way to leverage Arroyo (given the presence of Stern and Mohr) in a higher need location?
That said, I'm not a GM, and I didn't stay at a Motel 6 last night.
Reds fans consider Pena one of the worst fielders in the entire league. He has one of the worst instincts, hands, and footwork in the entire league. His strong arm is his only saving grace.
I also have a sim score, and I can usually find 10 to 20 players that are comparable at even a "barely comparable" level, fielding-wise, to anyone. In the case of Pena, I found ZERO comps. No one is even close to matching his breadth of skills and non-skills.
It's worth noting that in 2004, Reds fans liked him alot more (13 fans in 2004, and 21 in 2005... 13 is a little low, but not that low). Back then, they considered him around average.
MGL's UZR also has him as incredibly bad. Ramirez, Ortiz, Pena, Millar. Is there a worse combination of poor fielders ever, in the whole history of MLBl?
Will be interesting to see how Redsox / SOSH fans think of him.
1. Pena is a bad defensive OF; I've watched enough of him to say that with some confidence. That said, he's not terrible (Manny is terrible; Lonnie Smith was terrible). Pena's defensive problems are tied to his aggressiveness - he will airmail throws often, because he's got a cannon for an arm and gets over-eager to "make the play". In this way, he could be expected to improve, somewhat, as he matures. He has the skills to be a good or at least average defensive OF in RF, if he can "rein it in" a little. That's different from a guy who doesn't have the tools to begin with - there will be, for the next 3 seasons, a chance that he improves as he gets more comfortable and mature.
2. Pena will benefit from being around Ortiz & Manny in the batting cage. He reportedly did not get on well with Griffey (few do) and (again, reportedly) has had some language difficulties when it comes to relating to his teammates. Not so much of an issue where the two guys you want him to emulate also speak his language fluently. Pena is reportedly a hard worker - I would think that he'll be stapled to Ortiz & Manny for BP sessions when he arrives and the Sox FO will hope for Papa Jack to complement the "osmosis" of mentors like DO & MR.
3. Arroyo, as many have pointed out, was sold high. He will be very good in the NL this season - his ERA will go down, his K rate will rebound slightly. But let's not mistake that for improvement. Arroyo figures to make 1/2 his starts against offensively challenged teams like Houston & Pittsburgh. He'll have the advantage, at least his first time around the league, of being "ahead" of the hitters because of his funky delivery. However, his true level of ability has been reached in Boston - the Sox got his best, and that best wasn't coming back (i.e. his 2004 performance). Arroyo was a great acquistion for the Sox; as someone pointed out, he was claimed off waivers (costing a pittance), stashed for most of 03 in PAW before pitching some valuable innings down the stretch for the big club, stepped up huge in 04, and then regressed in 05. His spring difficulties were VERY troubling. Say or believe what you will, but the pitcher I saw on TV was tentative and unable to fool LH batters, at all. I think the Sox bought low and sold high on Arroyo - masterfully done, by the FO.
4. Pena has upside - and the Sox will know by 2008 what his future holds. He may very well improve into the superstar that PECOTA projects him to be. But even he's just age-23 Pena versus LHP, he'll help the Red Sox in 2006. LH starters abound in the AL East (Johnson, Chacin, Lilly, Kazmir, Hendrickson, etc.) and being able to send this guy out to hit against them (as opposed to Trot, who should never be used against a LHP ever again, IMO) will help the team.
5. The bottom line is that the Sox traded a known, and possibly declining commodity for a known, and possibly improving commodity. They ensured that an OF injury does not result in Adam Stern being "the guy" to replace one of the starters - they got a guy who COULD force his way into a starting role and, at worst, will mash LHP when he does play.
I don't like seeing Arroyo go, but we kind of had to make this trade. And Arroyo will do better in Cin than he would have here. Lifetime, he's got a 4.91 ERA in Fenway, a 4.43 in all other parks, including his time when he sucked with the Pirates. He just doesn't pitch well in Fenway. He might struggle in the Reds launching pad as well, but moving to a new league and facing pitchers instead of DHs ought to help make up for that, and leave him as a solid, decent starter there. So he will be fine and he will help the Reds, and he will get $11 million to do it, so I'm not worried about him.
Pena is a huge talent and still raw. If he had played AAA ball this year, he would be one of the very top prospects in the game, IMO. He probably would have cranked 40 HRs and stolen 25 bases and gunnned down many runners if he was a 23-year-old in AAA, and he would have been unavailable for less than a ton in return. If we were picking him up in that scenario, the glee on this board would be over the top.
Pena's played 300 games in the majors, but he's over a year younger than Papelbon, about a year and a half older than Andy Marte. He's played parts of 4 years in the NL, and he's been younger or the same age as the rookie of the year every single year (basically the same age as Willis; younger than the other three.)
Now that he's played in the majors and learned at that level, his faults are well known and the glitter is off him, much more than it would have been if he had not played at this level yet. But this is very good for the Sox, as it makes it possible to acquire him for a pitcher that we were going to use in relief, and because Pena's already gone through some of the growing pains that all players have to go through.
In the AL, he's going to have to lay off the breaking balls, and he's going to see more of them, in all counts. His numbers this winter are very encouraging, especially the walks. We'll have to see if he sticks with the patience even while he hits a slump. If he does remain patient through his first real slump, then look out. If he reverts to his old ways, well at least he's a young, talented OF who crushes lefties.
Pena might have been better off going to an NL team where he could play every day, but this is still a trade the Sox had to go for. That doesn't mean it's going to be a steal or anything, but it's a risk they just couldn't pass up. The potential there is great, so you've got to go for it.
Mark my words.
3/20/2006 will be known as the day Theo stole Wily Mo Pena from the Reds.
I really can't believe that there isn't more jubilation for this trade. Maybe I am over-hyping it because I have followed the Reds and seen what WMP can do. This is the type of trade you make every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Thank you to Saturn Balls, one of the 25, I'll buy you a domestic beer and all that. With all due respect, at 29 years-old we have seen the ceiling of Bronson's abilites. Does anyone think he is going to go out and start winning Cy Youngs? Bronson is a solid #3/#4 starter. Not there is anything wrong with that, all teams need 'em.
If WMP comes anywhere close to his ceiling, this trade will be a certain laugher in years to come. Keep in mind folks, this kid just turned 24! It seems like he has been around forever because he has spent limited time in the minors developing. Best case scenario he becomes an anchor in the middle of the lineup for years to come. The Red Sox have a rare surplus of pitching and in those rare times in which that occurs you have to make this deal. Today, Theo doubled down with an eleven against the dealer's bust card.
Worst case scenario, the Sox get a perfect platoon-mate for Trot and a legitimate PH threat for the end of games. What pitcher won't bemoan the sight if this dude strolling to the plate in a tie game in a screaming Fenway Park on a hot summer's eve? Furthermore, if the WMP project™ is a complete bust, it is a good thing we have a surplus of young talented arms on the way. I really don't see the harm in this deal for the Red Sox. You are basically trading your 7th or 8th best starter option/long reliever for a potential Jessie Barfield. Of course high-reward-potential-laden-young baseball players are a dime a dozen, I'd much rather watch and see if WMP can blossom in to an all-star while hitting bombs on the Pike rather than throwing Bronson out there on every fifth day hoping the "good Bronson" shows up.
Sadly, from a Reds perspective, I can also see the benefit of this deal. They get an established MLB pitcher at a reasonable salary for the next three years. It is a sad state of affairs when Bronson Arroyo is your best starter. Welcome to the world of a Reds fan and in the current economic climate of MLB they have to make this deal. The sad irony for Bronson is that his willingness to take a lower-market deal to stay in Boston ultimately facilitated his departure.
Lastly (and I don't meant to DoTB you all with the long-winded post), I really can't help but laugh at VAL's comments calling this a terrible off-season. Theo has stated that he wants to collect players in or entering their prime rather than over-paying for older free agents (see Beckett, Josh, Crisp, Coco and hopefully Pena, Wily Mo). Would it have been better to overpay for Johnny's tendenitis, suffer through another year of mal-adjusted Edgar Renteria and watch an aging yet successful club get another year older? This off-season the Red Sox have gotten younger without sacrificing much in terms of overall talent. One might even argue that they have gained in that department.
This would depend. Pena is a classic overpay type. A free swinger with prodigious power. Arroyo is a classic underpay type, a pitcher that doesn't have a sexy scouting report. In general, the moneyball approach is to find value where the other teams aren't finding it. I guess there is a chance that due to OBP backlash a guy like Pena is now underrated by most GM's. However I tend to doubt it. Since Pena also has a bad defensive rap, I'm not sure what hidden value he has that would make him a Moneyball player - unless we've flipped 180 degrees in the last 3-4 years and now these types of players - low OBP hackers that don't play great defense - are undervalued.
In the context Philips was making the comment, he was wrong. However, by letter of his statement, I don't think he's far off. I hope that Theo and co. know something about Pena and his rushed development that the rest of us don't (or are hoping for) If his OBP stays below .320 I don't think he is a capable replacement for Trot.