Marlins Trade Casey McGehee to Giants
A decade later, Luis Castillo finally returns to the Marlins.
Oh, wait, it’s not THAT Luis Castillo …
Off the heels of acquiring Martin Prado, the Fish have jettisoned corner man Casey McGehee to San Francisco in return for two minor league right-handed pitchers, Luis Castillo and Kendry Flores.
McGehee had a heckuva first half in 2014, but tailed off considerably, posting a measly .620 OPS. With McGehee out of the way, I assume Prado will man the hot corner, and should be an upgrade.
As for the young hurlers going to the Fish, I’m not sure they’ll ever make it to Miami. Flores sounds similar to Rafael Montero — can paint the outside corner all day, throws a good change-up, has a curveball that shows potential, his K/BB ratio is off the charts, shows unflappable confidence and grace, but velocity is only barely above 90 with not much movement. Hey, he COULD turn into Yusmerio Petit with that arsenal. Or, his ceiling may be AAAA.
Luis Castillo is more of a mystery — though, I’m positive he never played second base. My Google brain offers very little other than stats and his age (22), though the stats do show something interesting — 10.1 K/9 last year as a closer in A ball. And in 2013, he struck out 34 while walking only 3 in 28 innings in the Dominican Summer League — for whatever that’s worth.
Here’s my thinking:
For teams focused on 2015, Murphy’s trade value is probably a little higher than McGehee’s, but two good-not-great prospects sounds about right. If you assume that, and also assume that Elvis Andrus’ bad 2014 on defense was a fluke, then the above trade makes some sense.
FOR THE METS:
• Lose 20 HRs from LF (den Dekker takes over vs RH) and 20 points of AVG / SLG from the middle infield (Murph > Elvis).
• Gain huge upgrades in SS defense, LF defense, and replace a #4 starting pitcher with a #2. Also trim $18 mil from 2015 payroll, which the Wilpons would applaud.
• Risk: Mets are on the hook for Andrus’ decline years, but only if he doesn’t opt out after 2018. If you’re bothering to acquire him, you’re betting on the upside, and if he reaches it, he’ll opt out as all Boras clients do (that’s how Scott gets paid!). The Wilpons probably think their finances will be better by 2019 anyway.
FOR THE RANGERS:
• Escape the risk in Andrus’ contract. Acquire a needed corner OF who’s a good fit for their park (fly ball pull hitters thrive in Arlington). Acquire a starting pitcher who will be better than terrible, something they really need. Can plug Profar in at SS. Mets need a prospect back, but not a great one, just depth for the Angels’ system.
• If they’re rolling in money, maybe the Andrus contract doesn’t bother them, and they’re prepared to buy a Gee type for an extra few mil in FA. Maybe they’re afraid of Granderson’s age and have suddenly decided to care about corner OF defense. Otherwise, seems like a solid deal.
FOR THE ANGELS:
• In Murphy, acquire a decent second baseman, which are hard to come by these days. High-contact style fits Scioscia’s preference. In win-now mode, makes sense to trade prospects to fill a hole.
• Thin farm system will need to lose two good prospects and only get one so-so one back. Can’t “win now” forever.
FOR THE RAYS:
• The two prospects are the key. The Rays have relied on their farm for years, but it hasn’t been producing talent to replace the promotions from 2012. Two good guys will help. As for Cobb, he’s already 27 and arbitration eligible; losing him is worth it to re-stock, as long as someone competent takes his rotation spot for the next two years. Enter Jon Niese, who’s only 11 months older than Cobb. The Rays have a good track record with pitcher health, so Jon’s shoulder might worry them less than some.
• Replacing a cheap guy with a more expensive guy really isn’t the Rays’ style, but $7 mil (2015), $9 mil (2016), and team options for Niese shouldn’t be a scary commitment.
Also, the Angels already made a deal for a 2B – Josh Rutledge. He’s similar to Murphy offensively but a better defender. They also seem content with Grant Green and/or Gordon Beckham as options there. Part of the reason they traded Kendrick was to clear some salary and have stability / player control beyond 2015, so bringing in Murphy would go against those goals. Additionally, Kendrick was a pretty good defender, and I’d imagine that Scioscia would want to remain at least average to above-average defensively at 2B, and they’ll be that with one of the three options currently available.
As for Gee, I don’t think he has any value whatsoever, now that it’s public knowledge that the Mets are trying to dump him. He’s a throw-in, at this point. The Rays won’t pay $16M for two years of Niese — they can’t afford it, and further, they’d prefer to take their chances with someone who might be almost as good but will cost around the league minimum.
Gee is better than almost all AAA guys, and cheaper than almost all FAs. That’s not huge value, but it’s not NO value.
Sounds like you know what the Angels are up to better than I do. Oops!
As for the Rays, I as thinking the prospects would be the big get for them, and Niese would just be an asset they could trade, use, or use-and-then-trade as they saw fit. But if the Mets can’t turn Murph into super-enticing prospects, then never mind.
I really do think the Mets need to add more elite players, and after looking through Grantland’s list of the best, there were very few I could even conceive of acquiring. Alex Cobb honestly seemed like the best option, given the Rays’ willingness to trade guys like Myers. Maybe there’s some other way the Mets can angle for Cobb; I love the guy’s stuff and demeanor, and I think he’d instantly transform the Mets rotation from a mix of promise and hype to actually being elite.
So what if Alderson and his crew believe that Murphy and the current infield is more valuable. Or maybe they think they can get more for him latter. Whatever, this shows that alderson is ready to field this team as is,.
Murphy does compare — somewhat — to McGehee, in that they both will be FAs after 2015 and are similar players. However, the Mets would have needed to get a better return than Castillo and Flores, for no other reason than the fan base would be ticked off in losing their favorite son and not getting a legit MLBer in return. First and foremost, the Mets must sell tickets, and Murphy helps sell tickets.
Middlebrooks is not a fair comparison, because he is younger, under team control for several years, and making barely above the MLB minimum salary. For that kind of player, you tend to get more of a return in trade.
Finally, I think that Alderson under-values defense, and believes that the team has a better chance to win with Murphy’s bat at 2B vs. Drew’s glove at SS — and either way, the cost is about the same. I disagree, but I’m guessing this is the thought process.
I was amazed when you, a person of great insight, stated that one reason the Mets won’t trade Murphy is that he “helps sell tickets.”
How many people fork over their hard earned money for a ticket to watch Daniel Murphy? I like Murph but a gate attraction he’s not.
Over the course of a season how different would total attendance be with Murph and without him?
I think Alderson under-values defense mainly because it’s not measurable / advanced stats aren’t reliable. I also think he never played baseball at a high level and therefore doesn’t understand / believe the importance of little things like fundamentals, defense, running the bases, etc. I also think he supports his beliefs based on the past, when homeruns were aplenty and made up for / hid little mistakes.
Finally, I believe that he believes that offense — and homeruns in particular — sells more tickets. But he’s not alone in that opinion, otherwise we wouldn’t still be seeing the experimentation of the designated pinch hitter.
I have been consistently saying this – proceeding in this fashion enables the Mets to acquire assets for Murphy and use that $9 million or so on a shortstop, and considerably tightens the infield defense if a “real” shortstop is acquired and Murphy is jettisoned.
Eno Sarris of Fangraphs said in a chat the other day: “I’m beginning to lose faith in this front office (referring to the Mets as he is a Mets fan).” This is kind of what I’m feeling like – I feel the Mets front office should be / could be doing more to improve the team and I’m not impressed with the offseason acquisitions of Cuddyer, Mayberry, and Gilmartin.
One thing is certain, and that is the Mets seem very reluctant to spend money. So should the fans. Until the light bulb goes on and someone recognizes that correlation, this franchise is irrelevant as far as championships are concerned.
Thankfully, the Islanders are giving Mets fans on, or from, Long Island something to cheer about.