July 31, 2010

Lilly and Theriot (YES! YES!) traded to Dodgers, other trade deadline mania

Our long national nightmare is over - Ryan "TOOTBLAN" Theriot is no longer a Chicago Cub. However, as much as we love to bash Theriot for his low baseball IQ, he was a useful player for the Cubs for several years, and we should make note of that. Here are his wOBAs, defensive numbers, and WAR for his years with the team

2006159.416 0.8 (UZR) 2 (DRS) (2b)1.6
2007597.309 2.2 (UZR) 6 (DRS) (ss)1.4
2008661.338 1.7 (UZR) 5 (DRS) (ss)3.2
2009677.318 3.7 (UZR) 3 (DRS) (ss)2.4
2010412.291 -3.3 (UZR) -5 (DRS) (ss)-0.1
total2520.322 3.4 (UZR) 7 (DRS) (ss)8.5

Those numbers are nice when you're paying a guy league minimum, but once his arb years hit then he's out the door. Add in his incredibly frustrating baserunning gaffes and his too-frequent 2 pitch PAs, and the decision is even easier. Overall he stole 100 bases with teh Cubs and was caught 35 times, but fangraphs doesn't include non-CS TOOTBLANs in their stats yet (we can dream).

The Cubs picked up Blake Dewitt, who's left-handed and 5 years younger than Fontenot and Theriot. He's only 25 so he has room to improve, and the Cubs don't have to pay him as much. I would not be surprised to see Fontenot traded if not non-tendered in the next 8 months, with Darwin Barney as the new backup SS.

Lilly's gone too, and that's a little hairier. It looks like the Cubs were not planning on offering him arbitration, which is a bad decision. An even worse decision would be if the Cubs resign him in the offseason, which is a definite possibility since the Dodgers are likely smart enough to offer him arb.

The Cubs got 2 minor league pitchers in the deal as well - an A ball RHP starter named Brett Wallach, the Dodgers 3rd round pick last year, who has a big slider and iffy command. According to Matt Swain of Wrigley Bound he's the kind of all around athlete that the org loves (he played SS in college). So maybe the Cubs will move him to SS (dying laughing). They also picked up a 22 year old A+ relief pitcher named Kyle Smit who is having a fantastic season so far. Reliever prospects are essentially worthless, so I don't have much to say on Smit.

Honestly, it's a lot more than I thought the Cubs would get for a 2-month rental of Ted Lilly and the decaying remains of Ryan Theriot's career. You have to wonder why the Dodgers did it too. DeWitt is cost-controlled, so it's not like they were shedding salary. They're also 7 games back of the Padres with only 2 months left in the season (4.5 in the WC). They could still catch up, and the sudden surprising slide the Rockies have had in the past 2 weeks improve their chances a bit, but still.

Here are the biggest winners and losers in this year's non-waiver trade deadline:

1. Kerry Wood (Yankees). I'll be more than happy to see him get a ring. He's earned it.

2. The Nationals They absolutely stole a top prospect from MIN, in exchange for a closer that was non-tendered last season. Great, great move by the Nats.

3. The Padres. They picked up some much needed offense in former castoff Ryan Ludwick in exchange for a C pitcher (to StL) and a great looking prospect in Klubner (to CLE). But if anyone can develop pitching, it's the Padres.

1. Minnesota. Maybe my ignorance of the AL is shining through here, but were things that desperate in the Twins bullpen? I was under the impression that their starting staff needed a lot more help. Though for what it's worth the prospect they traded was a catcher, and he's blocked by one of the top 10 players in baseball. Still, that's not a trade chip you spend on a non-tendered relief pitcher. Capps sucked last year, and has been good this year, but no one should mistake him for an elite closer.

2. St Louis. They badly needed a pitcher, given the injuries to Lohse and Penny, and getting rid of Ludwick saves them some money. But I'm not sure if they have enough offense to make up for this. Jon Jay is the heir apparent to RF, and he's been hitting extremely hot (.439 wOBA). Not surprisingly that comes with a .446 BABIP. CHONE had him at .275/.331/.398 going into the season, and he's really just a platoon guy.Furthermore, it saves them some money that they'll need for Albert Pujols in the 2011 offseason.

3. Arizona, for the craptastic haul they got back for Haren. Though they balanced it out with a great trade for Edwin Jackson. Who would have thought Jackson would have netted a better trade package?