Monday, July 31, 2006

John Kruk: "The Tigers made a great, great trade." Maybe we should be worried...

Sean Casey is now a member of the Detroit Tigers, and John Kruk likes the trade. The approval from the Worldwide Leader's lunatic fringe notwithstanding, it looks to be a solid move for a mid-level left hand bat. Unfortunately, Casey is not Alfonso Soriano.

I'm disappointed that Jim Bowden wouldn't put down the crack pipe. That has to be the only explination for his skewed trade demands. You have to think that Bowden left some good offers on the table for what would have been a rent-a-player for most any team that traded for Soriano, but the dumbass wouldn't budge in his demand for multiple prime time prospects. The Tigers weren't going to fall for that, and it looks like the rest of MLB felt the same way, as Soriano stayed in DC.

You think Bowden may have outsmarted himself? He asked for the moon, and rather than compromising, Bowden got bubkis. Considering Soriano's ability, the Nats are taking a huge risk if they can't sign him long term before he hits the open market. Odds are Soriano ends up walking, Washington ends up with a pair of 1st round compensatory draft picks for a 40-40 type player, and their fans continue to gnash their teeth.

As for Sean Casey? He's a good fit, being a lefty stick with a very good on base percentage inserted into a lineup overloaded with free swinging, impatient righties. The best description I heard about Casey? He's Mark Grace, but with a little better stick, and a worse glove.

All in all, this is a low risk trade, and considering the Tigers gave the Pirates a non-prospect AA middle reliever, it could pay off nicely. In some ways, this deal reminds me the move that Dave Dombrowski made in 1997 for Darren Daulton. Both are former All-Stars in their 30's, still productive but with stats had been slowly declining for a couple of years, been dinged up injury-wise, and brought in to shore up 1st base. Daulton ended up being a solid addition to a Marlins team that won a title. Daulton has since lost his mind, but that's neither here nor there... I hope we can say the same about Sean Casey. Not about his sanity, but winning a title...

More surprising, or maybe not, considering his 2 month long funk, was Chris Shelton being demoted to Toledo to make roster room for Casey. Hopefully the Mud Hens' hitting coach, Leon Durham, can cure Shelton of his propensity for swinging for the fences at most anything within 3 zip codes of the strike zone. You can't let Shelton try to fix his swing woes in the middle of a pennant race. With Da Meat Hook hitting well and staying off the sauce, along with the addition of Casey, you don't need another one dimensional, unathletic 1B-DH, especially one that is slumping.

This trade does not not guarantee a World Series. But it's a nice, solid tweak to the roster, and I can understand the reasoning behind the move. Even better, the White Sox and Twins didn't do much of anything.


  1. Will Alfonso Soriano be to Jim Bowden as Juan Gonzalez was to Randy Smith? That is the question. I don't think Smith ever recovered from that trade, despite his best efforts of trading and reacquiring Brad Ausmus. Soriano could hang around Bowden's neck in similar albatross-like fashion.

  2. Back in June when it was becoming apparent the Tigers were going to be a contender, I had made the point on the Frog that this was just kind of trade I suspected that they would make.

    It's really no risk short of Casey upsetting the clubhouse morale, which seems unlikely given that ex-teammates only rave about the guy.

    I wish the Tigers would have made more of a play for Carlos Lee in retrospect, but I can't fault them for not giving up the moon to get Soriano. If the Nats were really interested in Maybin and only Maybin, Dombrowski was perfectly right to tell them to pound sand.

  3. Maybe I'm just plain nuts, but I don't think Bowden's wrong for holding on to Soriano. Nor was he wrong for demanding the sun, moon and stars.

    The worst case scenario is that the Nats acquire two compensatory draft picks if Soriano bolts. That would give them three picks in the top what? 35 or 40 selections?

    Washington isn't going to win this year or next, barring a miracle, so if I'm Bowden, I'll take my chances and stockpile the farm system. (Look no further than Granderson, Zumaya and Verlander to see what an influx of youth can do to a team.)

    Besides, if Soriano leaves, Bowden will also have his contract off the books, thus freeing up money to sign others for the short term.

    If Soriano stays, they get an All-Star caliber player to market and build around. Again, I could be wrong.

  4. Brian:

    You're not nuts, but it's a ballsy gamble on Bowden's part. The draft is a crapshoot. You cited some guys the Tigers finally hit on, but you need to look no further than their drafts throughout the 90s to cite the counterexample to that.

    If they deal Soriano, they likely get at least one proven prospect and maybe a couple of utility guys or something like that. By keeping Soriano they get three picks in the top 35. I think most people would argue that the former is a "surer" thing, but the fact is it's a gamble either way.