After reading this article, maybe the Reds are better off pursuing the likes of Bobby Abreu.
12.10.2008 10:33 am
The Trouble with Trading Outfielders
By Derrick Goold
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
LAS VEGAS — Back in 2003, Chicago Cubs general manager Jim Hendry went into the offseason looking for a lefthanded bat to balance out his lineup. He came to that year’s general manager meetings with that in mind, he planned to hit the Baseball Winter Meetings with that bat atop his shopping, and inbetween the two he made a deal … for righthanded-hitting Derrek Lee.
“We were too righthanded,” Hendry said here at the Baseball Winter Meetings. “Same problem we still seem to have.”
Hendry told the Lee story to provide context for how these meetings often spin and whirl in unexpected directions. He came to find a lefthanded bat. He may leave with another pitcher (i.e., Jake Peavy). But in doing so he also helped describe what is one of the overcrowded markets in this winter’s free-agent field: outfielders. Specifically, lefthanded hitting free-agent outfielders. The Cubs are said to be pursuing Milton Bradley, but a whole handful or other outfielders have also been on their radar. The list of options is long:
Garret Anderson, who would prefer to go back to the Angels
Bobby Abreu, whose agent has put together a packet of stats that includes a statement placing Abreu in the company of Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez. They are the only three players with at least 100 RBI in each of the past six seasons.
Adam Dunn on the high end.
Ken Griffey Jr.
etc. (Jim Edmonds, Cliff Floyd, Luis Gonzalez … )
Add into that market players like Jeremy Hermida, who the Florida Marlins are willing to move, and even a DH-like hitter in Jason Giambi, who could satisfy some of the teams looking for a DH/OF best-buy hybrid in this market. There are more available outfielders than teams looking for outfielders. The Cubs are one. Cincinnati has been mentioned as another team, though a righthanded bat may be a better fit for the Reds. Tampa Bay has been talked about here as a team looking to sign an outfielder after the dust has settled.
There is a glut of outfielders available to teams who are looking.
Therein lies the trick for the St. Louis Cardinals as they plan to deal from a strength — their depth in the outfield — and possibly clear a spot for Colby Rasmus in the big-league outfield. (Asked the other night if there was a scenario he saw where Rasmus broke camp with the major-league club this coming April, GM John Mozeliak nodded in the affirmative.) Rick Ankiel may attract a team like Atlanta — where true believer Bruce Manno is the assistant general manager — but for what return? Ankiel is eligible to be a free agent after this coming season and is his arbitration reward going the be all that different than what the market may do to some of the salaries for the free-agent outfielders?
This market has been billed as one that would encourage teams to deal because of the set salaries and the attractive quality of control through arbitration. But the outfield market is so overrun with options that the better price may be not giving up a prospect or two at all. But will that land the better outfielder?
Valid points to be sure…but if Chris Duncan proves he can play at all, like it or not, the 2009 Cards will have 4 outfielders with at least a season of major league experience before Rasmus even laces up his cleats. If they’re not going to trade this kid, they have to play him…but where?