Deadline Deals

The clock has struck four and the apple in Citi Field may as well be a pumpkin.

No trades for the Mets, but a flurry were made by others. Since the 2 PM update, the following occurred.

Red Sox get Victor Martinez
The Bosox were expected to do “something”, and they did, moving Adam LaRoche (see below) and adding Casey Kotchman and Victor Martinez to their lineup. Martinez can catch, play 1B, and DH; his presence along with Kotchman’s likely means “Big Fraudi” Ortiz will have more time to “research” his PEDs usage. The Red Sox gave up three pitchers — Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price. Nice haul for the rebuilding Indians, and a deal that helps both clubs going in opposite directions.

White Sox acquire Jake Peavy (again)
This time Peavy OK’d the deal, according to various sources. What changed since the last time? More importantly, Peavy is currently on the disabled list. Isn’t there an MLB rule stating that a player on the DL cannot be traded? The Padres get a foursome of prospects: Clayton Richard, Adam Russell, Aaron Poreda and Dexter Carter.

Nationals trade Nick Johnson to the Marlins
Stunning to see an in-division deal, but the Nationals are so far down in the standings they’re listed in the Central. The Fish gave up minor-league LHP Aaron Thompson, a 2005 first-round pick who compares to Tom Glavine — meaning, a soft-tosser (89-91 MPH fastball) who relies on control and guile. The 22-year-old has struggled with injuries and has been something of a disappointment. I’m not sure who he would compare to in the Mets’ system … maybe Michael Antonini? (Though, Antonini is two years older.) But stop thinking about it … where would you put Johnson with Dan Murphy entrenched at 1B?

Nationals trade Joe Beimel to the Rockies
Lucky for the Mets, they just missed seeing the LOOGY face their slugging LH hitters in key situations (had there been any such situations, or if the Mets had any dangerous LH hitters). They also missed out on adding him to their own bullpen. The Rockies gave up two undisclosed minor leaguers.

Blue Jays trade Scott Rolen to the Reds for Edwin Encarnacion
This deal had been rumored for several weeks, with the Jays supposedly uninterested in the free-swinging Encarnacion. But they came to their senses when they realized that free swinger was only 26 years old and is as good a fielder at the hot corner as Rolen used to be. Being 13 games out tends to knock sense into teams.

Braves acquire Adam LaRoche from Red Sox for Casey Kotchman
Whoa! Where did this one come from? Theo Epstein’s saberbrain loves Kotchman’s OBP, youth, and contract status. We thought the Braves didn’t like LaRoche’s passive attitude, but I guess they’ll look the other way and focus on his homerun bat. Instant upgrade for the Bravos.

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.
  1. isuzudude August 1, 2009 at 11:29 am
    Instant upgrade for the Braves? Not in my eyes. Kotchman is a better pure hitter, a better glove, better vs. LHP, strikes out less, is younger, and is under contract for longer than LaRoche. All LaRoche does is hit for more power. Furthermore, Kotchman was the centerpiece for the Braves in the deal that sent Teixeira to the Angels. So now all the Braves have to show for Teixeira (or for Elvis Andrus, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Matt Harrison, and others; the players sent to Texas to acquire Teixeira) is the one-dimensional Adam LaRoche, who will be a free agent at year’s end and is highly unlikely to fetch a draft pick when he signs elsewhere this winter. TERRIBLE. I know the Braves are reknowned for always getting one over on their trading partners, but I don’t see the logic behind this deal at all. With McCann, Church, Anderson, and McLouth, they appear to be vulnerable enough vs LHP, but by adding LaRoche and subtracting Kotchman, they do nothing but further complicate that problem. And what a wise idea that is when you play in the same division as teams that feature 3 of the best LHSPs in the game (Hamels, Lee, and Johan). I commend Frank Wren for stealing Javy Vazquez and Nate McLouth earlier this year, but replacing Kotchman with LaRoche is one of the lowlights for Atlanta in 2009, IMO.
  2. joejanish August 1, 2009 at 2:00 pm
    ‘dude, while I agree with your player vs. player assessment, there is a lot more to this trade from the Braves’ perspective.

    First, unlike the Mets, the Braves think a first baseman needs to provide power and production to the lineup, and were dissatisfied with the singles hitting of Kotchman — particularly in a lineup that doesn’t have power bats elsewhere to make up for the difference.

    Second, the Braves believe that LaRoche is a second-half player who will start mashing the ball any minute now. They could be wrong, but that factored into their decision.

    Third, Kotchman is in a one-year contract, and arbitration-eligible after the season. No doubt his fielding, OBP and AVG would make him cost more than the Braves are willing to pay for a 1B with limited power. There was a good chance they would have looked to move him — or allowed him to become a FA — anyway, after the season.

    Fourth, they have a 20-year-old 1B named Freddie Freeman who projects to be similar to Kotchman and may be ready by 2011, and they would prefer to have a stopgap in 2010 to keep the position warm. And after experiencing both LaRoche and Kotchman, they’d prefer to take their chances with LaRoche for a one-year deal — don’t be surprised to see the Braves sign him to one before the end of the year or before he files for free agency in the offseason.

    And finally, LaRoche will almost definitely qualify as a “Type B” FA, which gives the Braves a draft pick if they lose him. There’s an outside chance he gets to “A” with a monster second half (though doubtful).

    Bottom line is that Bobby Cox wanted a homerun bat in his lineup, and that’s what they think/hope LaRoche will provide.

  3. isuzudude August 1, 2009 at 2:10 pm
    Yeah, obviously Atlanta thought they were improving themselves with the trade, so therefore they must value power and a short-term contract out of their 1B position. But, from my perspective, I have a hard time believing the Braves got any better by replacing Kotchman with LaRoche. Glad I’m not a Braves fan, I suppose.

    Perhaps LaRoche will qualify to earn the Braves a draft pick if he leaves via free agency, but don’t the Braves have to offer him salary arbitration in order for that clause to kick in? He’s riding a $7 million contract this year, which is unlikely to decrease in 2010, so would the Braves offer him arbitration knowing he’s going to cost them more money than they’d probably like to spend? In their frugal ways, I don’t see this as an automatic.

    Too bad Wren didn’t come calling Omar to do a Delgado for Kotchman swap. I would have been all over that.

  4. joejanish August 1, 2009 at 2:21 pm
    Ha! I’d have taken Kotchman for Delgado too … though I believe I made that clear about two years ago when Kotchman was still on the Angels!

    Like I said, I agree with your assessment. But the Braves obviously feel they need more homeruns to make a run for the postseason, and they knew for sure Kotchman would not give them that. LaRoche might not either, but it was a gamble they were willing to take.

    Yes, they will have to offer LaRoche arbitration in the offseason to get the draft pick, but I believe it makes sense for them to do so — IF he hits well over the next 2 months. Mainly because the arbitration cost will be less than what LaRoche will cost on the open market. They’re going to need find a 1B this winter no matter what, and there isn’t much out there available. They seem willing to pay for someone who can put the ball over the fence, and likely feel that they can find a much cheaper alternative to Kotchman if they’re going to have a non-power guy at the position.

    i.e., there are literally DOZENS of Dan Murphys out there, so why pay millions for underwhelming production if you don’t have to?