Friday, December 23, 2011
I like the deal. I don't love it, because the Nats didn't steal Gio, nor does his acquisition guarantee the Nats any sort of playoff spot. But I do like the deal.
In general I think you can view a trade in 3 ways, how much does the deal help the Nats right now, how much does the deal hurt the Nats later on, and what alternates to the trade could have been made.
On the first point - it helps the Nats, not a great deal, but enough to make a difference. You've probably read a lot about Gio the past few days but to sum it up, he strikes out a ton (plus), doesn't give up a lot of home runs (plus), but walks a bunch (minus). If he ever got control he could be special, if he ever loses control he could be terrible, but really he's got enough innings under his belt that he's likely shown everyone who he is, which is a good 2/3 type of arm. That's a damn good bet to be better than Milone, Peacock, and Cole next year. (And as always I love the AL -> NL move.)
One the second point - that's always conjecture at this point but it's likely not to be a big deal in the immediate future. Milone is not an impact player and Norris and Cole are still a few years off. Only if Peacock turns into a better pitcher than Gio right now will it matter and I'd bet on Gio everyday. A few years down the road things might be different. Norris and Cole could be impact players, Peacock being a few years younger could be bringing a decent level of production while Gio starts to tail off. But it's foolish to worry too much about seasons 3,4, 5 years down the road. So much can happen between then and now, so much can change, unless it's a slam dunk star you're losing (re: Bryce) you have to make these type of deals, especially when you can absorb it organizationally.
Now the third point - that's a sticker. Forget about Edwin Jackson, he might be a better value than Gio but he's NOT a better pitcher and the Nats need wins, not praise for good deals. But Roy Oswalt, he might have had a similar or even stronger impact on the rotation over the course of the next 2 years for only the cost of money, rather than prospects. Also, if the Nats were willing to part with these prospects could one or two more gotten back a real prize? The latter is hardly worrying over. You're looking for problems if you are looking there. But the Oswalt thing... that's something to chew over. Certainly you'd rather have Gio than Roy from 2012-2015, but 2012-2013? And are we looking much past that? If they do make moves like signing Fielder, extending Zimmerman, getting another player under control until 2015/6 then signing Gio makes more sense. If this is it, than you could easily argue that getting Oswalt would have been a smarter move. It would take a whole another offseason of nothing to prove you right but you could argue the point.
In the end - again, I like it. I am all for trading prospects for quality major leaguers because the prospect success rate is much lower than we like to believe. You put enough guys in there the more questionable it becomes, but even with these four I still like it.