The Rangers are asking for a young, MLB ready, back of the order starter for closer Akinori Otsuka. By all indications, they are going to get their asking price too.
Let’s compare Mike Gonzalez to Otsuka:
Otsuka projects to lose half his value over the next four years where Mike Gonzalez projects to lose just one-quarter. That’s to be expected considering Otsuka is six years older than Gonzo.
No matter how you look at the two pitchers, they are very similar, despite different approaches. Gonzalez is more of a flyball pitcher – Otsuka more of a groundball pitcher, although Gonzo does have a career 1.29% GB/FB ratio.
The main difference is value five years from now. Gonzalez will still be extremely effective while Otsuka projects to be back in the pen, having lost his closer role.
Now if Otsuka can command a #4 pitcher then Gonzalez can command a premiere prospect with a tad thrown in to sweeten the pot. Gonzalez for LaRoche is a ripoff.. Gonzalez for Tracy is a ripoff.. Gonzalez for the Diamondbacks Chris Carter might even be a ripoff, but I would consider taking him and his weaker defense. I still say Kotchman should be the target.
That leaves the outfield. The market for free agents has dried up leaving Huff and Nixon as the two basic alternatives. Although Nixon’s defense and arm in right-field is more of a threat than Trot’s projected offensive power at PNC, he still wouldn’t be a bad one-year stop gap by any means as we wait and see how McCutchen and Walker do this year. I assume he would sign for around $6m.
I hate the idea of taking AB’s away from McLouth who is just primed to breakout if he got steady at bats, but Nate will be around a few years so he’ll still have his chance. Plus if Duffy chokes, Nate will have to be the his replacement.
I would then go after Suppan at $14m/per over two and release Chacon as I noted in yesterday’s post. By July 2008 it is a good bet Johnny V or Bullington will finally have touch and feel and be ready for the show so I would trade Soup off for a can of corn at the deadline in 2008 to bring his total cost down to $11m per year.
But I wouldn’t stop there. I would consider trying to sign Marcus Giles on a 2-year $5m per deal instead of adding a Jose Hernandez type. He won’t hurt us on defense but he will contribute significantly on offensive by putting the ball in play. He can also play 3B if we need him too and he is a decent leadoff hitter if we need him to be one.
Nixon, Suppan, and Giles would eat up $22m in 2007 and $16m in 2008. Carter or Kotchman would cost us Gonzalez(+).
The 25-man for the 2007 Pirates could be:
That is about a 600 – 650 run lineup before the bench adds their contribution.
Just a thought —
Did you see Perrotto’s latest and greatest revelation?
"Baseball sources indicated Friday that Yankees are willing to part with left-handed hitting outfielder Melky Cabrera straight-up in a trade for Gonzalez. But the Pirates reportedly want a second player included.."
Yeah – the second player better be A-Rod for God sakes. "Baseball sources indicated" .. hehehehe .. Perrotto’s sources must be little league players.
Read my lips – Littlefield wants Cabrera with his poor D and Craig Wilson’ish bat about as much as a hole in the head. This rumor is a no-brainer.
Then he goes on to announce:
"Meanwhile, it appears the Pirates now have almost no shot at trading for Atlanta first baseman Adam LaRoche.."
Duhhhh.. maybe he finally listened to our podcast the other night?
Good Lord – it is amazing how out of tune Pittsburgh’s beat reporters are with the heartbeat of this team.