Nationals Baseball: 2011 Review - Trades

Monday, October 10, 2011

2011 Review - Trades

It's the off-season and with deals likely to be bandied about over the next few months, now's a good time to go back and look at the trades made this season and what the early indications are based on post-trade performance.  This is not to settle "winners and losers", given it's only been 3 months since the latest of these deals took place, it's just to give of a feeling of how these may end up when we look back at them years from now.

Traded Josh Willingham (.246 / .332 / .477, 29 homers) to the Oakland Athletics. Received Corey Brown (AAA .235 / .326 / .402, 134Ks in 124 games) and Henry Rodriguez. (3.56 ERA 45BB 70 K 14 WP)

It would have been nice to have Willingham's pop but it probably would have been at the expense of Mike Morse playing.  Right there this looks like a good deal for the Nats.  Corey Brown's nice AA stint looks like a fluke and feelings are trending toward the idea he'll never make enough contact to hang in the majors. Henry Rodriguez remains a mystery.  Is he Brian Bruney or Joel Hanrahan?   Still no answer and until we figure that out this trade is more of a nothing for nothing deal.

Traded A.J. Morris (didn't pitch in 2011), Graham Hicks (3.98 ERA in A-ball ) and Michael Burgess (.225 20HR in A+ ball) to the Chicago Cubs. Received Tom Gorzelanny.(4.46 ERA as a starter, 2.42 as a reliever)

Gorzelanny might have flopped out of the 5th starter role, but he'll be an inexpensive and effective long reliever / spot starter in 2012. AJ Morris was the big get for the Cubs but his injury recovery from shoulder surgery was slow.  Graham Hicks and Burgess are both 21 meaning they will both be old next year for the league they were in, especially for high school guys.  Nothing about Hicks line makes you think he'll make the majors.  Burgess still has a ton of power but until he can get that average up he's not going anywhere. Right now it's looking good for Rizzo.

Traded Justin Maxwell (.260 16 homers in 48 games) to the New York Yankees. Received Adam Olbrychowski (4.16 ERA in A+).

Olbie is a failed starter that's looking very much to be a failed reliever.  If 22 is on the old side for non-college A-ball guys what is 24?  Maxwell showed crazy power (a homer every 3rd game) in AAA  before injuring his shoulder.  If Maxwell can come back from injury the Yankees should get some value from him where I doubt the Nats are going to get anything from Adam, but still that's an "if".  Pretty nothing deal right now.

Traded Nyjer Morgan (.304 , plus defense in CF) to the Milwaukee Brewers. Received Cutter Dykstra (.212 / .265 / .265 line in A+ ball) and cash.

Terrible trade. You can argue whether or not the Nats should have dealt Morgan, but you can't argue that the Nats got nothing of value back for him. Nyjer was a major league CF with at least a few good years left and a decent track record of success at the plate and in the field. You have to get something more back for him than a kid who's still in the minors because of one good year and a famous last name.

Traded Alberto Gonzalez (.215 / .256 / 283) to the San Diego Padres. Received Erik Davis (5.30 ERA in A and AA) and cash. 

Erik Davis is another 24 year arm that didn't produce in A and AA, but it was very much a surprise that he performed that badly. Alberto is nothing but a defensive replacement. Nats might have thought they were getting a steal here, but again nothing for nothing right now.

Traded Bill Rhinehart (.287 / .380 / .513 in AA) and Christopher Manno (0.53 ERA, 31 K , 6 BB in 13 games in A+ ball, ) to the Cincinnati Reds. Received Jonny Gomes (.204 / .229 / .306 3 homers in 43 games)  and cash.

Jonny Gomes did nothing good for the Nats.  He didn't play well enough to hope he'd decline arbitration.  (He might have even played himself out of Type B status at that) He didn' help Nix by putting him in a platoon situation. He didn't hit well enough to give the Nats a win or two.  Rhinehart kept doing what he's doing - heading toward a few years on the bench in the majors.  Manno though, Manno looks like he's only getting better.  It was only 17 innings with the Reds, but he was that good with the Nats before hand.  It's a long way from A+ to the majors but this could be a stinker of a deal for the Nats in a few years. A good lefty is a good lefty.

Traded Jerry Hairston (.274 / .348 / .379)  to the Milwaukee Brewers. Received Erik Komatsu (.234 / .298 / .297 in AA).

Komatsu took a step back after coming over.  It doesn't look good but like Davis he had a decent track record. Unlike Davis he's 23 and ended the year in AA, not 24 in A+. He gets more leeway. We'll see how he does next season.  Hairston helped the Brewers with his continued decent play, but the Nats didn't need him and the trade was pretty fair.  I can't fault Rizzo here.

Traded Jason Marquis (9.53 ERA) to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Received Zachary Walters (.293 / .336 / .371 in A+). 

Walters lost a little pop as the Nats moved him up from A-ball to A+ball, but he played decent enough to maybe move up to AA next year.  That's good enough to lay off him for the time being. The real shame here is the Nats sitting on Marquis rather than dealing him while he was (relatively) hot.  Walters is a fair return for the Marquis they dealt, but the Marquis sitting at 3.50 at the end of June with 7 runs given up in his last 5 games could have brought more. The trade itself isn't a loser, but it isn't what it could have been for the cost of maybe a win or two.


Mythical Monkey said...

I think the other thing that made the Nyger Morgan trade a bad one, even at the time, was the Nats had no real fallback position in centerfield or at leadoff. The trade forced everybody to move up a notch in the lineup a week before opening day where they looked incredibly uncomfortable for a month.

I sometimes wonder whether a better manager of people than Jim Riggleman could have done a better job of handling Morgan's erratic personality.

But who knows. Maybe he had burned all his bridges in DC and had to go.

Harper said...

Certainly there was nothing good about the deal other than getting rid of Morgan's wild personality, and not everyone cared about that.

I said something similar on FJBs site but I think winning matters. If the team had been winning and up for a playoff spot eveything Morgan was doing would have been much more forgivable to management. When you're losing everything that is bad is magnified.

Poog said...

Morgan was addition by subtraction. His defense in 2010 was highly suspect. Good for him for making the same mark in Milwaukee in his first year that he did for the Nats when Hanrahan was traded. As for the Willingham trade, didn't then and don't now see this as a nothing trade or one I could understand. Rizzo keeps rolling the dice on fireballing pitchers and Rodriguez showed enough to think he might actually have turned the corner. But the Nats can't score. Given that Willingham surprisingly stayed healthy, can't mark this as anything but a not so good trade. In fact, not really seeing any of these Rizzo trades panning out for the Nats. Talent level has definitely been raised in the organization by Rizzo but Frankie Lane he is not.

Wally said...

Generally speaking, most of these trades were low level enough to make me indifferent to them. The two exceptions are the Willingham and Morgan trades.

Reading blogs, I am in the minority on this, but I liked the Willingam trade. Reality suggests that Willingham doesn't have a lot of trade value. He has never been traded for a good prospect set, and Oakland badly wanted to move him this past July but couldn't find anything worth biting on, particularly with some draft picks as a floor. Part of it is a good hit, bad field OF label is undervalued, and the other part is the Hammer's injury history. I think it is unfair to Willingham, but I also think it is reality. To get a reliever with HRod's stuff is pretty good.

Morgan was a terrible trade, and symptomatic of Rizzo's main weakness in player evaluations: sometimes he just wants a guy gone, and I think it is transparent enough that other GMs exploit it. He basically gave away Hanrahan in the first Morgan trade. I think he needs to show more patience and not tip his hand. I also think FJB was right that Riggs did a poor job of managing Morgan, going back to the STL stuff. Morgan basically felt that no one had his back, and acted up accordingly. BTW, I think Morgan is an idiot and am not taking his side, just agreeing that a more savvy manager could have kept the situation under better control and gotten more value out of Morgan.

Todd Boss said...

Like the post but have some differing opinions...

How could you possibly say that a guy who hit 29 homers this year was "nothing for nothing?" Willingham hit 29 homers in a park known to be death to hitters. LaRoche was always going to get hurt and Morse would have ended up there anyway. I would VASTLY rather have had Willingham than the waste of CBrown and the "only got decent at the end" Henry Rodriguez.

You absolutely cannot look at the Morgan trade by only looking at the stats and the players obtained in return. His attitude had to go, clear and simple. Morgan earned his way out of this organization just as he eventually will Milwaukee. His was a trade of addition by subtraction.

How can you complain about Olbrychowski's age but give Manno a pass? Manno was just as "old" for low-A as Olbrychowski was for high-A. I know everyone loves Manno and his great stats ... but he was a graduated sr playing low-A. If he was that great a prospect he would have come out of college as a jr. Or, you know, gone to a real baseball school?

Harper said...

Poog / Boss - You;re both right. "nothing for nothing" was a bad choice of phrase. Really what I meant to say is that the trade still hasn't worked itself out yet. Willingham was good, and could have helped the Nats. Then again he could have kept Morse on the bench longer. Rodriguez was good, but not great and certainly could go anyway in the future. If HRod crashes out then the deal was bad, if he's good through these next couple of years than it was worth the couple of games caused by losing Willingham.

Poog - I like the Gorzelanny deal and the totality of the Hairston, Marquis, Gonzalez deals should amount to something. We;ll see.

Wally - I think the Willingham deal was fair but that doesn't mean it'll work out for the Nats. As for Morgan I don't care about attitude.

Boss - see above. I, and others, never care about attitude. It's a weak excuse for bad deals. Players like Morgan are a distraction on bad teams, but forgiveable on good teams. If they are good enough to play on a good team you should suck it up and keep them around. Morgan is good enough. Stat-wise, the deal hurt the Nats more than it helps. It can be argued the other way but that's just not provable. Not saying it's wrong, just not provable.

As for Manno and Olbry - both ended the season in high A and Manno is 2 years and 2 months younger. Out of college Manno is on track and Olbry is falling dangerously behind. I will give you credit for a shot at Duke baseball though. They are terrible.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 said...

Last night's performance by Morgan is the same old Morgan. He really can't get a "jump" on a ball. Hey, I'm glad he is with Milwaulkee, Lets go CARDS!! Agree with most of the other analysis. I missed the Hammer, but would he have stayed health?