Trade Analysis: Jon Rauch

Diamondbacks get: Jon Rauch
Nationals get: Emilio Bonifacio

This one flew under the radar, and I’m still trying to figure out how Arizona was able to pluck Rauch from the Nats for so little in a market that had relievers remarkably overvalued. Not because Bonifacio is a bad player — he’s a decent prospect — but rather because the Nationals made a trade in which they weren’t bowled over. What’s got into Jim Bowden, anyway? I’d have expected him to demand Chad Tracy and Max Scherzer, with Bonifacio as a “throw in”, in return for his top reliever.

Don’t get me wrong — in a sane market, this deal makes a lot of sense. Rauch is a solid reliever who can fill a setup role for most teams, and he’s on the right side of 30. Bonifacio is a young second baseman who was a suspect until very recently, and could turn into an MLB starter. Or, he could turn into a utility player — it could really go either way. He’s at a crossroads right now — at 23, he’s in the same spot that Anderson Hernandez was at the same age: a slick fielder with good speed who out of nowhere started hitting. Some scouts identify Bonifacio as Luis Castillo without the patience at the plate. So unless he hits well over .300, or develops power, he’ll probably be, um, Anderson Hernandez. But time is on his side.

From Arizona’s point of view, this was a brilliant trade. Bonifacio was not going to get a chance with Alberto Callaspo and Gold Glover Orlando Hudson in his way, and his stock might never be higher. In essence, the D’backs traded a spare part for a guy who could be a difference-maker in what is already a strong bullpen.

For a Mets fan, this trade is especially frustrating, as Rauch is EXACTLY the type of guy needed in the ‘pen right now. But the Nats were in the market for a young, MLB-ready second baseman, and the Mets don’t have anyone in their system fitting that bill. If AHern were two years younger, or hitting above .197, then maybe there would have been a match. But if that were the case, AHern would be in New York, not New Orleans.

Here’s something … if AHern was 24 again, and batting .300 in AAA (which he did, last year), and the Mets traded him for Rauch, everyone would be screaming that you can’t trade away the second baseman of the future for a middle reliever. Right?

The Mets had their window of opportunity with AHern last year, and did nothing with it. Kudos to the Diamondbacks for selling high.

Next trade analysis: Xavier Nady

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.