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Thread: Bowden 1 Krivsky 0

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    Bowden 1 Krivsky 0

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/ar...en-1-krivsky-0

    Bowden 1, Krivsky 0
    by Aaron Gleeman
    July 14, 2006

    Lopsided trades happen all the time. In fact, it's the very nature of trading that a large percentage of swaps involve one team getting significantly more in return than the other team. Even completely one-sided deals—the ones that cause guys like me to express amazement that such a thing could take place as a result of negotiations between two people who are paid to run major-league baseball teams—happen relatively often.

    However, there's a particular subset of unbalanced trades that still occurs infrequently. These are the trades that not only look unfair from the moment they take place, but look so out of whack that it's difficult to even conceive of what one general manager was thinking during negotiations (or how the other general manager kept a straight face). These are the trades that would get vetoed in any self-respecting fantasy league in the country.

    What sets this specific kind of lopsided deal apart from all the rest is that there's zero hindsight needed to know that it was a colossal mistake. There are plenty of trades that become one-sided once they've had time to play out—for instance, Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, and Boof Bonser for A.J. Pierzynski—but rarely can you point to a trade the moment it's made and label it a sure-fire disaster. "Disaster trades" only happen once every few years, but what's amazing is that they typically end up looking even worse than expected very quickly.

    The last example of a legitimate disaster trade that I can think of was the Mets swapping 20-year-old elite pitching prospect Scott Kazmir to the Devil Rays for 28-year-old Victor Zambrano and his 4.47 career ERA. At the time of the trade, the vast majority of Mets fans had trouble even coming up with a plausible line of thinking to even approach justifying the deal, and it became an instantaneous punchline.

    In analyzing the Kazmir-for-Zambrano swap immediately after it took place in mid-2004, I called it "an awful, awful trade for the Mets" and added:


    The Mets just traded for a soon-to-be 29-year-old pitcher with severe control issues who has never had an ERA below 4.00 as a starter in the major leagues. And what did they give up for him? Here's where this deal gets crazy ... They gave up one of the best—and perhaps the best—pitching prospect in all of baseball, Scott Kazmir.

    To show you that it met the aforementioned qualifications for being a disaster trade—clearly horrible without the need for any hindsight and impossible to make sense of from the loser's point of view—I then went on to say:


    The idea that Scott Kazmir was just sent from the Mets to the Devil Rays in a trade that revolved around Victor Zambrano is enough to make you wonder whether or not you're following the same game as some of the people in charge of actually making these decisions.

    And as difficult as it may be to believe after re-visiting my initial reaction, the deal became a true disaster trade by looking even worse for the Mets than expected almost immediately. Kazmir made it to the big leagues within weeks and quickly emerged as one of baseball's top young starters, while Zambrano continued to pitch like he had in Tampa Bay and then struggled with arm problems.

    I bring this up because the Reds completed a disaster trade yesterday, sending Austin Kearns, Felipe Lopez, and Ryan Wagner to the Nationals for Gary Majewski, Bill Bray, Royce Clayton, Brendan Harris, and Daryl Thompson. Any trade with that many players involved is difficult to break down, but think of it this way: Cincinnati essentially sent its starting right fielder and starting shortstop—both solid young players making reasonable salaries—to Washington for two middle relievers, a 36-year-old no-hit shortstop, a potential utility man, and a Single-A pitcher who's been injured most of the year.

    While "Kazmir-for-Zambrano" is the way most people remember the Mets-Devil Rays trade from 2004, New York also gave up low-level pitching prospect Joselo Diaz. Here's what I wrote at the time about his inclusion:


    Honestly, if you'd have told me the Devil Rays traded Zambrano to the New York Mets for just Joselo Diaz, I would have thought that made sense. A mediocre, 28-year-old starting pitcher for a mediocre-but-intriguing 24-year-old prospect? Yeah, that seems about right.

    Similarly, if you'd have told me that the Reds traded either Kearns or Lopez for those same five Nationals, it would have seemed somewhat reasonable. That they parted with both of them—along with Wagner—is difficult to comprehend. Dealing Kearns and Lopez for spare parts will never haunt the Reds like dealing Kazmir may haunt the Mets, because Kearns and Lopez are merely solid players while Kazmir has superstar potential. However, in terms of an overall exchange of talent—both short term and long term—this trade is about as lopsided as it gets.

    Kearns and Lopez are both 26-year-old former first-round picks who aren't eligible for free agency until after the 2008 season. They're also both somewhat enigmatic, but for different reasons. Kearns has never played more than 112 games in a season, but he's a good defensive outfielder who came into this season as a career .266/.360/.461 hitter and has batted .274/.351/.492 this year while missing just two games. Lopez had a big year in 2005, hitting .291/.352/.486 with 23 homers, but his production has dropped off this season and he struggles defensively at shortstop.

    They're far from perfect players, but Kearns and Lopez are already above-average regulars entering their peaks years. Kearns ranks fourth among NL right fielders in Value Over Replacement Position, while Lopez ranks sixth among NL shortstops even in a disappointing year (and led NL shortstops in VORP last season). Majewski and Bray are quality relievers and the Reds certainly need bullpen help, but this appears to be a case of first-year general manager Wayne Krivsky panicking and overpaying for middle-relief help.

    The Reds' strength is their offense, which led the NL in scoring last season and ranks third this season. They have the outfield depth to adequately replace Kearns with Chris Denorfia or Ryan Freel, but they'll be suffering a huge drop-off at shortstop. With Lopez manning the position, the Reds ranked second and fourth among NL teams in shortstop production over the past two years. Krivsky has been on the job for about half a year, but he's already traded for two of this era's worst hitters in Clayton and Juan Castro. Now those two will split playing time in place of Lopez.

    The best-case scenario for the Reds is that Majewski and Bray help stabilize what has been a brutal bullpen, the Clayton-Castro duo offsets some of the offense lost by providing better defense than Lopez, and Harris and Thompson develop into useful role players. Unfortunately, competent middle relief isn't really something to pay a premium for, there's little to suggest that Clayton and Castro are quality defenders despite what their long-expired reputations might have you believe, and Kearns and Lopez are good enough to make the deal look horrible even if everything breaks right for Cincinnati.

    This is a classic example of trying to patch up one hole while opening up several others in the process, and the end result is Cincinnati trading dollar-bills for a whole bunch of loose change. Giving up players like Kearns and Lopez is one thing, but giving them up for such a pathetic return is an entirely different story. What makes this trade particularly interesting is that the general manager doing the fleecing, Jim Bowden, hasn't exactly been known for being the most shrewd decision-maker in the past.

    All of which is another way that yesterday's deal is similar to the Kazmir-for-Zambrano swap, where much-maligned (and since fired) general manager Chuck Lamar shocked everyone by actually ripping someone else off for a change. Back then I wrote that the Devil Rays "shocked the hell out of me by not only making a smart trade, but actually robbing another team blind." I feel much the same way about Bowden and the Nationals today.
    When all is said and done more is said than done.

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    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: Bowden 1 Krivsky 0

    Nice analysis.. Hard to argue with it.

    People mention the upside to the Reds. Perhaps Bray evolves into a closer and Majewski becomes a competent middle reliever.

    Look at the upside for Washington though. 2 middle of the order hitters, with one being a great defensive RF and the other one being adequate at SS (IMO, Lopez was adequate last year, so it's not a huge stretch). Plus, Wagner might bounce back with a change of scenery. I have a feeling that being buried in AAA, clearly out of favor with the Reds may have affected Wagner's pitching. If Wagner isn't injured, a change of scenery might be exactly what Wagner needs to bounce back and become a decent middle reliever. I doubt that Wagner ever becomes the closer we hoped for when we drafted him, but it's not too far out there to say that in a best case scenerio, he pitches as well as Majewski (perhaps next year). I'm not crying about losing Wagner, I'm just saying that's another wildcard that might make this deal even more lopsided down the road.
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    Re: Bowden 1 Krivsky 0

    It's extremely hard for me to be optimistic about this trade even though I want to. I have a sick feeling about this move and definitely believe WK was robbed.

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    Re: Bowden 1 Krivsky 0

    Let's judge this trade three years from now.
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    Re: Bowden 1 Krivsky 0

    Quote Originally Posted by Krusty
    Let's judge this trade three years from now.
    That could be the part that really hurts
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    Re: Bowden 1 Krivsky 0

    I am not sure this trade was about the "talent." Seems to me that if there was a line made up of Reds players who play with less than obvious intensity, Lopez would be at the very front of it and Kearns would be close behind him.

    In other words, not counting the skills, these two were not the most intense players to ever put on the uniform.

    If these were football players I can see a Marvin Lewis type saying something like, "we want players who play the game the way we want it played."

    Team this trade with the Hancock release and the somewhat short fuse on a few other DFA's and I would say that maybe Krivsky is trying to change the overall franchise culture a little bit.
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    Re: Bowden 1 Krivsky 0

    Quote Originally Posted by red-in-la
    I am not sure this trade was about the "talent." Seems to me that if there was a line made up of Reds players who play with less than obvious intensity, Lopez would be at the very front of it and Kearns would be close behind him.

    In other words, not counting the skills, these two were not the most intense players to ever put on the uniform.

    If these were football players I can see a Marvin Lewis type saying something like, "we want players who play the game the way we want it played."

    Team this trade with the Hancock release and the somewhat short fuse on a few other DFA's and I would say that maybe Krivsky is trying to change the overall franchise culture a little bit.
    I think this is almost certainly part of Krivsky's thinking. Though I don't think that means the two should have been given away.

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    Re: Bowden 1 Krivsky 0

    Quote Originally Posted by red-in-la
    I am not sure this trade was about the "talent." Seems to me that if there was a line made up of Reds players who play with less than obvious intensity, Lopez would be at the very front of it and Kearns would be close behind him.

    In other words, not counting the skills, these two were not the most intense players to ever put on the uniform.

    If these were football players I can see a Marvin Lewis type saying something like, "we want players who play the game the way we want it played."

    Team this trade with the Hancock release and the somewhat short fuse on a few other DFA's and I would say that maybe Krivsky is trying to change the overall franchise culture a little bit.
    Bingo.

    It's not about winning the trade, it's about winning games. And people continue to undervalue quality pitching. Krivsky is piecing together a staff -- starters and relievers -- that will be here a while. That's how you compete consistently.

    Pitch well, play good defense, and play hard. That's what Krivsky is about. I think it's great.

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    Re: Bowden 1 Krivsky 0

    It's not about winning the trade, it's about winning games. And people continue to undervalue quality pitching. Krivsky is piecing together a staff -- starters and relievers -- that will be here a while. That's how you compete consistently.

    Pitch well, play good defense, and play hard. That's what Krivsky is about. I think it's great.
    I suspect you're right that they're thinking this way. let's see if it works...
    "Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini

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    Re: Bowden 1 Krivsky 0

    Giving up position players for pitching doesn't seem so bad. Seems like it's a lot easier to replace position players. The more I think about the trade the more I seem at peace with it. Kriv has earned at least a little leeway with me.
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    .377 in 1905 CySeymour's Avatar
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    Re: Bowden 1 Krivsky 0

    Quote Originally Posted by osuceltic
    Bingo.

    It's not about winning the trade, it's about winning games. And people continue to undervalue quality pitching. Krivsky is piecing together a staff -- starters and relievers -- that will be here a while. That's how you compete consistently.

    Pitch well, play good defense, and play hard. That's what Krivsky is about. I think it's great.
    A good point. So, how many people thought that both Pena AND Kearns would have gotten traded this season?
    ...the 2-2 to Woodsen and here it comes...and it is swung on and missed! And Tom Browning has pitched a perfect game! Twenty-seven outs in a row, and he is being mobbed by his teammates, just to the thirdbase side of the mound.

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    Re: Bowden 1 Krivsky 0

    I am optimistic about this trade...why?

    We get the BP help we need not only for now but also for the future....the guys we picked up are better than anything we have on the roster or available to us through the farm sysytem.

    Kearns has been hurt every year he has played outside of this year...also with Deno in AAA, Freel on the bench Dunn, Junior and EE looking like they would benefit from position changes and OF's being the "easiest" position players to replace...the trade makes sense.

    Lopez is a good hitting, poor fielding SS...Clayton is merely a piece we had to take for the arms to come this way...big deal...he'll be gone at the end of the year...he improves our defense...maybe next year we see Phillips move to SS and Olmedo at 2B...I don't know.

    Wagner was not doing anything to help his cause in AAA.

    The market for pitching is DRY especially relievers...how many times have you heard on ESPN, FOXSPORTS and the like that with so many teams in the chase right now nobody wants to give up any arms at all...this is truely a sellers market...Until he proves otherwise,Krivsky and his team of scouts and advisors who went out and got Bronson Arroyo, Brandon Phillips and David Ross have my full trust.

    just mho
    "Sometimes, it's not the sexiest moves that put you over the top," Krivsky said. "It's a series of transactions that help you get there."

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    Re: Bowden 1 Krivsky 0

    If the Reds want to stay in contention, they needed bullpen help. How do you fix a weakness that fast? You draw from strengths.

    I applaud Wayne Krivsky. The Reds are better today than they were on Sunday.
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    Re: Bowden 1 Krivsky 0

    At this point, I kinda cringe when I read this because I find myself agreeing with a lot of it. Kriv got antsy and overpaid. Bray and Majewski are quality but Lopez and Kearns were a lot to give up.
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    Re: Bowden 1 Krivsky 0

    You know, the mark of a quality organization is being able to evaluate their own talent in an unbiased view. Kearns had a good rookie year, but he hasn't been the .300 hitter that we were lead to believe he could be. Whether that is because of injury problems, weight problems, or whatever, I have to believe his stock isn't as high as we want to believe. Because he is a hometown boy, he came up through the system, and he's popular with fans makes us value him from a sentimental standpoint, but in all honesty if another player was playing in right with a .275 average would we be all that sad if he was traded. I believe Denorfia will give us at least that if not more from an average standpoint. We may lose a little power, but how much more do we need? Looking at Lopez, he had a great year last year, but his year he has struggled, so which do we believe, his one great year or his mediocre year. People labelled last year as his breakout year, but mabye it was an over achieving year for him. So to sum this all up, maybe we overvalue our own players because they are our players. Give this trade time. The whole point in a trade is to trade away our surplus to fill a need, and that is what Krivsky did. Even though from a player comparison we do not know the other players as well, but the players we got in return do address the immediate need we had. Let it play out, then make your judgements, people are reacting way too quickly.
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