Thursday, December 16, 2004

I Still Want Stinnett

The trade is done - the Pirates sent Leo Nunez to the Royals for Benito Santiago and some cash to pay part of his salary.

With regard to my last post comparing the Diamondbacks' situation to the Pirates', a couple people have pointed out that Stinnett is coming off Tommy John surgery. I have no idea why that wasn't mentioned in any of the stuff I read about Stinnett before I posted, and more to the point, I don't know why it didn't occur to me to try to figure out why Stinnett only played 20 games last year. That's my fault.

Still, I'd much rather have him. Stinnett is supposed to be ready to go in time for spring training, so for all I know he's still a better bet to be healthy than a 40-year-old catcher with a jillion games caught and a complex injury history. Santiago is fragile and no longer terribly effective on offense or defense.

Also, Stinnett himself is not the point. He was a convenient guy to use for the purposes of my post because of the similarities between the Diamondbacks' situation and the Pirates'. But there are lots of guys who will perform at the sorts of levels we might expect of Stinnett and Santiago next year, and you don't need to give up prospects or money or even roster spots to get them.

By picking a suspect guy in Stinnett to focus on, though, I give supporters of this trade an easier time, and they really should be having a very hard time making arguments, because this trade stinks. Does anybody out there think that Santiago represents more than a minor upgrade over House and Cota? In my mind, one would be hard-pressed to prove there's an upgrade at all, but just to give the benefit of the doubt, let's say Santiago improves the Pirates by ten runs over House and Cota this year. That will never, ever be the case, but what the heck?

Keeping in mind that the Bucs aren't going to contend this year, does anyone really feel that upgrade is worth keeping one of the Pirates' best prospects at a level he's already mastered? Is that upgrade worth losing one of the team's best pitching prospects for? How are the Pirates ever going to contend if they keep dumping prospects like this?

Instead of continuing to repeat myself here, though, I'll just point you to WTM's bio of Santiago, which explains the problems this trade poses for the Pirates in the short term and the long term (aside from the cost of losing Nunez, which is bad enough). It's a really, really bad trade.

* * *

Also, check out Mike Berquist's analysis of the Pirates' two Arthur Rhodes deals as his Phillies blog. He argues that in addition to screwing up the Pirates' offense, these deals also make their already-bad defense even worse.


Blogger Wilbur Miller said...

Funny, if you look at Lawton's fielding stats compared to AL leftfielders, he looks like the mirror image of Craig Wilson's stats as compared to NL rightfielders. The Pirates have no trouble acknowledging Wilson's defensive shortcomings. Do you suppose they'll be able to figure out how bad Lawton is?

10:17 AM  
Blogger Charlie said...

probably not, since lawton's not nearly as good as wilson on offense, and if lawton's not great on offense, he must be great on defense, right?

11:31 AM  
Blogger Wilbur Miller said...

Sorry, I meant "fielding stats."

12:04 PM  
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