May 08, 2009

Gathright traded for Freel

According to the Baltimore Sun, Joey Gathright has been traded for Ryan Freel. I like this trade because Freel has similar speed but more flexibility, position-wise than Gathright. Gathright plays better D in the outfield of course (especially CF), but after the rash of injuries the Cubs had last month they really could have used an extra infielder. I think though that Freel sees about as much time in the OF as Gathright did, and Lou's going to use Johnson when he feels like he needs a defensive replacement for Bradley or Soriano. We're more likely to see him taking ABs away from Aaron Miles and spelling Mike Fontenot/Aramis Ramirez than anything else. Hopefully it also means that Fontenot spends more time playing 2b, where he is a plus defender, rather than at 3b.

I don't really understand this deal from the Orioles perspective. They already have a plus defensive center fielder (and ex-Cub) who can't hit in Felix Pie. Gathright is ticketed for AAA, but still, I don't see what Baltimore has to gain from this.

Bonus! Per Robothal, the Cubs are paying Gathright's (800k) Salary and the Orioles are paying Freel's (4mm) salary. Awesome! I like this even more for the Cubs and even less for the Orioles.

Projected wOBAs:

Freel: .315
Gathright: .308
Miles: .310

Freel's been all over the field for the past few years, so he doesn't really have a big sample at any position. He plays about average defense at CF, 2b, and 3b. Now if only the Cubs tried to use Fontenot to back up Theriot at SS, we could get rid of Miles...