Unconventional Wisdom: Yankees' gains small in Pudge deal
It got very quiet for a couple of days, at least on the transaction wire. The rumor mill went nuts, but there were just three trades, two of which involved the Yankees, and just one of those affecting a contender.
Wednesday's big news was a surprising deal in which the Yankees replaced
When you look deeper, though, you can see that this trade isn't quite that special for the Yankees, although the price was right, and it wasn't that bad for the Tigers, who won't miss Rodriguez and who desperately needed bullpen help. Consider that Rodriguez and Molina are very similar players in type: excellent defensive catchers with little speed, middling power and a tendency to swing at everything. Molina hasn't hit lefties very well this year, but he has a fair track record of doing so -- .268/.311/.405 career, and over .300 with good power since 2004. It is a skill he possesses, and in a platoon role, would be acceptable.
Pudge has produced nine runs above replacement this season in 328 PAs, Molina five runs below in 218. Over the last two months, the offensive upgrade for the Yankees won't be worth more than that 14-run gap, and with the defense a wash, this trade is a one-win upgrade, not nearly enough to get excited about. Rodriguez makes the No. 8 spot in the lineup a little better, especially against righties, but the idea that adding him is a coup is misguided, largely because he has a reputation and Molina doesn't. The skill sets are similar.
The Yankees didn't really need a guy like Pudge. They needed a left-handed-hitting catcher with some OBP skills.
Farnsworth goes from a forgotten man behind
The Tigers replace Rodriguez with
I guess I took long enough in writing this for
The funny thing is, you might make a similar claim about Griffey and the White Sox. Griffey, like Rodriguez, comes with the reputation as a superstar forged during the Clinton Administration. Now, though, he's an aging, fragile hitter with a slowing bat and no ability to play a big defensive role. The White Sox' three best hitters play DH, left field and right field.
Now, there are a lot of permutations here, and not a single one looks attractive. Neither Dye nor Quentin is equipped to move to center field for more than an inning or so. Griffey isn't remotely a center fielder any longer, and an outfield featuring those three in any configuration, well, you probably can hear
The Sox gave up so little that you can't fault them for making the deal, but it's not clear what it does for them. Griffey would make a neat pinch-hitter and occasional starter for any of the players involved, but he's inferior to almost all of them, and as such shouldn't be playing regularly over any of them. The optimal alignment here is probably a Griffey/Konerko platoon, with Griffey playing first base. Anything else, anything that takes Swisher -- who himself isn't
On Tuesday, the shortest auction in history ended when
Teixeira steps into the Angels' lineup and changes it considerably. He's a 20-run offensive upgrade from Kotchman, plays comparable defense to his predecessor and relegates
The pitching prospect in the deal,