Brandon Morrow for League and Chavez

Q.  What's the bottom line on the trade?

A.  Most World Series winners have lockdown, HOF-type closers.  Apparently Jack Zduriencik felt it was time to add this piece of the World Series puzzle.

The value of a KRod, Rivera, or Papelbon is completely invisible to base-out metrics.  It is an example of Zduriencik's feel for the game of baseball.

Bavasi shared this belief, that a championship team begins in the bullpen.  The 2004 Angels had three terrific lockdown short relievers.

Pat Gillick believes this, also.  The 116-win Mariners had Rhodes, Nelson and Sasaki.  His Jays had Henke and Ward.  His Orioles had four great relievers, two right hand and two left.  Gillick's Phillies brought in Brad Lidge, who saved 41 games with a 1+ ERA.

Last year's Mariners bullpen was a lot more fragile than it looked and good GM's value lockdown relievers more than WAR does.

Maybe Zduriencik is wrong.  But if League stays in the pen, we can assure you, this is Capt Jack's idea:  "A World Series winner has a great reliever."


Q.  Morrow for League would work under what circumstances?

A.  Like we say, if we start hearing about League to the rotation -- well, I'll bet on League over Morrow for 2010. 

For sure.  Brandon League's devastating sidearm changeup is fully locked and loaded.  Announce League as the #4 starter, and on draft day, I'll grab League for the BABVA roster even if Morrow is still out there.

If League's arm could take it, I think I'd rather have him in the rotation than Edwin Jackson.


If he's a closer -- or, even more important, a fireman putting out rallies -- well, the Riveras and Papelbons are key, KEY components to their teams' championships.

Supposing that Boston had traded Clay Buchholz for Jon Papelbon.  You think the WAR calculations would sway them about Papelbon's value?

KRod got a lot of $$$$$, you might notice.


Q.  But League right now is just taking Sean White's place in the 6th and 7th.

A.  Don Wakamatsu very, very quickly identified Lowe and Aardsma as the two guys in his bullpen who could win tough games for him.

It's going to take Don Wakamatsu about three weeks to make League his go-to reliever.  :- )


Q.  So if it's a TOR rotation project, for a great reliever, do you like that?

A.  Like we sez, my uncomfortable feeling about it, is that it is about clearing out Bavasi's glamor projects.   In 2004, Bavasi got a lot of credit for the Angels' championships.  He'll get no such credit on this one.

Objectively speaking, and on the field, a super-reliever like Brandon League is a big part of a World Series winner.  I think this is a good example of how Jack Zduriencik's feel for baseball is opaque to base-out metrics.


Most World Series winners have lockdown closers.  Zduriencik may just feel that's it's time to get one.   That's all.

We can analyze the trade based on that paradigm -- Brandon Morrow for a closer-in-waiting.  Is it worth defying WAR gravity, to go get a short reliever who can wipe teams out?  That is the argument here.  GM's are agreed on the answer.


Dr D


Taro's picture

I'm just shocked that acquiring League cost us Morrow straightup (after the Ed.Jackson ordeal). I truly thought that we'd be able to steal him for a whole lot less.
Stewart would have been a great prospect to acquire. Arencibia would have been decently solid. Chavez is depressing.. hes a significanly worse prospect than either of those guys.


If you wanted League that badly, why Morrow?
On that one, I've got zero answer.  Especially after Edwin Jackson.


Good link from Jon Shields re the 2010 swing-and-miss data.
As he notes, Brandon League's splitter dropped off the chart entirely, but Brandon Morrow's slider jumped in at No. 5 among the more-frequently-used pitches.
Felix is there with the changeup at No. 17 on the more-frequent chart.
And, second from the very bottom is Luke French's inviting fastball with a .066 whiff rate.  Only Livan Hernandez was less-whiffable.
(As to this thread from 09, it's interesting how Johermyn was pretty much irrelevant at the time.)

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