Thursday on Twitter, I threw this out there:
Propose the biggest-impact Rangers trade you can. Can happen any time next 24 mths. Specifics – team & all players. Mine in upcoming report.
Filter to implement before you click “send” – make sure it’s a deal you’d make if you were the other team.
There were tons of responses, many of which were strong – but some of which were major violations that were clearly never run through the stated “filter.”
I was going to wait a few days to post mine. Figured I’d let Fan Fest pass, wait until the Yu Darvish deadline expired Wednesday, and maybe post my proposed trade sometime around a week from now.
But something happened on Friday to change my mind on the timing, and it wasn’t the viral afternoon reports that Prince Fielder was spotted (as first reported by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale) at the Four Seasons Resort in Las Colinas, apparently meeting with the Rangers at Fielder and Scott Boras’s request. (According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, one club executive hypothesized that Fielder could end up with a six-year contract that he can opt out of after three seasons, maybe at $22-24 million per year, and that the Rangers, Nationals, and Cubs could lead the pack.)
But that wasn’t what made me decide to write this report today rather than a week later.
When I heard last night that the Mariners and Yankees had hooked up on a killer old school trade, swapping righthander Michael Pineda (and minor league righty Jose Campos) for slugger Jesus Montero (and righty Hector Noesi), a deal whose merit will be debated for years unless Pineda or Montero gets hurt, I couldn’t avoid it any longer.
First, a few thoughts on the Pineda-Montero trade:
1. The Yankees win, as far as I’m concerned. Can’t believe Pineda was available at all. And Montero’s going to be a great hitter, but take a look sometime at what Safeco Field did to Adrian Beltre’s slug. That ballpark isn’t kind to right-handed power hitters. To give up a potential number one with all that inexpensive club control for nearly any hitter, especially one without defensive value, is hard to get my head wrapped around.
2. All that said, I’m not exactly rejoicing to get Pineda out of the division. The thing is, for the foreseeable future, New York is a much bigger threat to Texas, given what the Rangers want to be, than Seattle is.
3. It’s something I’ve written about a hundred times, and will half a hundred more, but I still can’t believe the Mariners traded Cliff Lee to Texas for the Justin Smoak-led package rather than the Yankees’ Montero-led package. (From the July 10, 2010 Newberg Report: “I’m pretty sure I’d take Montero ahead of either [Smoak or Chris Davis], even if he eventually has to move from catcher to first base. Given the choice between a 20-year-old whose ceiling might be Miguel Cabrera and a 23-year-old who could be [Justin] Morneau, I’ll take the younger guy, whether he’s a catcher or not.”)
Now the Mariners have both. But as one club executive told Olney last night: “If [the] Mariners liked Montero so much, how come they didn’t just trade Cliff Lee for him? . . . Pineda is worth more.”
That’s because Pineda (who turns 23 next week and held right-handed hitters to a .184 batting average last year, lowest among right-handed starters in all of baseball) has five years of control remaining. Lee had under three months left on his contract when Seattle traded him.
No, Texas didn’t have the hitter to match Montero this time and get Pineda. (Jurickson Profar? Debatable. Presumably the Mariners preferred the surer bet, as Montero steps into the middle of the lineup right now.)
Of course, I didn’t think Texas had the hitter to match Montero in 2010, either.
4. Poor Smoak. Montero may catch some now but he’s eventually going to be a first baseman – and Smoak is eventually going to be traded.
Well, maybe that won’t be so bad for him.
5. It’s just stupid that the Campos-level prospect went to New York in the deal, rather than the other way.
6. Great trade for the Yankees, who also reportedly signed righthander Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year deal.
7. Bring it.
Now, for the hypothetical trade thing. I asked you all to cook up a monster deal involving Texas over the next two years, the parameters of which were simple: Make it a trade you could argue for on both sides. David Murphy, Michael Kirkman, and Julio Borbon for Tim Lincecum doesn’t qualify.
Things to think about:
Contract status at the time of your deal.
Team needs. Here and for the other team.
And not just immediate needs. Long-term needs, too.
The ability of each team to survive what they’d be giving up – would they be able to address holes left by the trade internally, or would it force another trade or an expensive free agent add?
If one team is giving up a player it would be on the verge of losing to free agency, you have to weigh the return against the one or two premium draft picks it would presumably get if it just held the player through the contract.
Think about P.R./marketing impact on both sides. This isn’t fantasy league.
And then, after weighing all those things, go back to the most important and maybe least appealing part of this exercise:
Ask yourself if the other team makes your deal.
On December 12, 2013, the Texas Rangers trade shortstop Elvis Andrus, lefthander Martin Perez, righthander Cody Buckel, and third baseman Christian Villanueva to the Los Angeles Dodgers for lefthander Clayton Kershaw and catcher Gorman Erickson.
See you at Fan Fest in a couple hours.