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Game 103 Open Thread: July 29, 2006

reyes maddux
2-4, 4.57 8-11, 4.83

the carlos lee trade you already know about. the rest of the story so far:

the barry-zito-to-mets rumor has been dusted off, although nobody has explained why the athletics, half a game out of first place, would trade their ace. . . . the mets, like the cardinals, continue to long for dontrelle and hope the price comes down before the deadline. other rumors, all culled from pro sports daily's rumors page (i hereby disclaim any credit or blame for the veracity -- or lack -- of these items):
  • the red sox would deal trot nixon, and maybe coco crisp, for the right starting pitcher
  • ditto the rangers vis-vis brad wilkerson
  • the yankees are right in there with the cardinals checking out philadelphia's merchandise
  • the dodgers, astros, and twins are the leading suitors for soriano
  • anaheim's bill stoneman, like jocketty, has kicked the tires on jeff conine
finally, the pittsburgh gazette has the bucs' dave littlefield desperately trying not to become the new chuck lamar; maybe that impulse will drive the price on his free-agents-to-be down into reasonable territory.

this morning's trade-deadline update from strauss names philadelphia's outfielders and lh relievers, as well as the dbacks' two veteran lh outfielders. miklasz says jocketty's focusing on pitching and closing in on a LOOGY. the strauss article also focuses on the status of adam wainwright, who is officially "untouchable" . . . . a lefty reliever appears fairly likely; beyond that, it's pretty murky.

the cards are virtually guaranteed to make a move today, because i'll be totally out of pocket -- taking the kids on a choo-choo train ride through the royal gorge.

the convergence of the trade deadline with bruce sutter's impending HOF induction has me thinking back to that famous trade, the 2d of 3 consecutive blockbusters ol' whitey pulled off at the 1980 winter meetings. the previous day, herzog had aquired rollie fingers and extras for catching prospect terry kennedy and extras; then he picked up sutter for leon durham and ken reitz. if the trade were made today, all we stat geeks would hate it. durham was a can't-miss hall-of-famer, coming off a rookie season in which he posted a league-avg OPS at the tender age of 22. sutter, meanwhile, bore all the marks of a pitcher in decline; his k/9 dropped off a cliff in 1980, and his hits/9 ballooned to almost 9.0; he had thrown 100+ relief innings four years in a row and looked to carry a high burnout risk. durham did live up to his billing -- for four years, anyway; he finished top-5 in league OPS twice in that span. but his catastrophic 7th-inning error in the deciding game of the 1984 nlcs apparently ruined him; he was good not great for three more years, then vanished. sutter, meanwhile, never regained the dominance he'd displayed from 1977-79, but he did remain very effective -- and he was the 2d-best pitcher (behind andujar) on the cards' last world champ'ship team.

if you added up the raw values involved on each side of the deal, you'd say the cubs got the better end of it -- 7 years of everyday play at 1st base, 4 of them at an all-star level, vs four years of relief pitching, two of them all-star caliber. but that illustrates one of the fallacies of assessing trades in isolation; you'll never convince me that st louis would have had a better decade if they'd kept durham and never had sutter. they might have received more raw value from durham, but it wouldn't have been the type of value that addressed the cards' most pressing needs. it's all about allocating resources, all about getting the roster to balance out as well as possible.

good pitching performances from two good prospects last night: jaime garcia mowed 'em down for 7 innings in high-a last night. unfortunately, his manager sent him back out there for the 8th and he tired, lost the lead (palm beach ultimately lost the game). at springfield, mike parisi minimized the damage against the texas league's best offense and got his 6th win of the season.