Monday, June 28, 2004

Seattle Reaction To The Garcia Trade

Derek Zumsteg and David Cameron of Baseball Prospectus fame have a blog, U.S.S. Mariner, that deals with Baseball in the Great Pacific Northwest. They could barely contain their excitement about this trade:

I haven't been this happy to be an M's fan in... a year? Maybe more.

I was sitting at the game today when my phone rang. Normally, I don't answer my phone anyway, and never at games, but it was Jason, and this was more or less our conversation:
JMB: "Dude, they traded Garcia."
DMZ: "Whaaa?"
JMB: "They got Mig--"
DMZ: "Jeremy Reed! Jeremy Reed!"
JMB: "Yes, they got Jeremy Reed. And Miguel Olivio [sic], and a shortstop-- I don't know who yet. We give up Garcia and Ben Davis..."
DMZ: jaw down, staring out at field, blinking
JMB: "Hello?"

The essential analysis of Mariners fans is that they got a whole lot for Freddy Garcia in the trade. And they are right, there's no question that the White Sox gave up a lot for Freddy Garcia. Reed has quite a bit of potential and fits in nicely at Safeco - he can play a good LF and hit a lot of doubles in the gap. Reed alone would justify the Mariners' deal.

Hours later, I have to say that I'm surprised that Olivo would be included in the deal. He was a long-term solution at catcher for the White Sox, with the White Sox owning his rights through 2008. However, I hasten to add that, setting aside his homer against Maddux today, Olivo really has never hit righties well. He's a less than .200 hitter against them over his career, and there simply aren't enough left handers out there for him to feast on. Seattle fans might be disappointed to see his production against righties.

Morse is the Sox's throw-in. His 2004 season is by far his best ever, and there are lingering questions raised by his recent suspension. Apparently, his defense isn't good enough for shortstop, and he's most likely to move to LF or 1B - two positions the Sox have stocked very well, thank you.

The ultimate value from this trade is where Garcia can take the Sox this year. For a team starving for a World Series appearance - 45 years and counting - one year of glory seems worth the price of a future star (Reed) and a solid catcher (Olivo). Garcia's arm puts the White Sox well in front of the Twins in terms of starting rotations; Santana and Radke matchup well against Garcia and Buerhle, but Santana/Radke/Silva/Lohse/TBD are no match for Garcia/Buerhle/Loaiza/Garland/Schoeneweis. Consider this - Garcia is, in effect, replacing the Sox's 5th starter, a place from which they've gotten 2 wins, 8 losses and a 9+ ERA. It's safe to say that Garcia will add 3-4 wins per 10 games started over the 5th starter replacement - assuming another 16 starts, that's an extra 5-6 wins over the rest of the season. Division races are so made.

The Twins probably still have a better bullpen, but the Sox have the better lineup 1 through 9. So the real measure of the value of the Garcia trade will be known on October 3rd. If the Sox haven't made the playoffs, the deal has been a failure.

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