Capt Jack's Trades

My least-favorite Zduriencik trades, in order:

1.  Aaron Heilman for Ronny Cedeno and Garret Olson.  Cedeno and Olson were, in my view, immediate write-offs, as we said at the time.  We don't often say this, but it shouldn't have been hard to realize that these two guys weren't going to contribute.

2.  Jarrod Washburn for Luke French and Mauricio Robles.  Baseball was aghast at the alternatives turned down, were aghast that Capt Jack liked Luke French, and IMHO they were right.

Granted, G-Money thinks Robles is the key to the deal.  I understand and respect this position.

Problem is, everybody agreed that the M's were offered more -- and Zduriencik himself said that he preferred Detroit's offer "because French can help right now."  He won't.

3.  Brandon Morrow for Brandon League and Johermyn Chavez.  I've written about how good League is.   What I don't like, is my (purely subjective) suspicion that it's mostly about clearing out the last of Bavasi's glamor projects.

Geoff Baker wondered, hey.  2006 Clement, 2007 Morrow, 2008 Aumont -- can Josh Fields be sitting comfortably?  Does San Diego need a lockdown closer?

When Anaheim won the World Series in 2004, there was a lot of arguing about how much credit Bavasi (the previous GM) deserved.  There will be no such arguing about the Mariners' pennant.  Is it fair to wonder whether this is a factor, or is that unfair?  



Trades that go in the middle laundry basket, in no order:

Morse for Langerhans was nowhere near the stroke of genius that cyber-Seattle billed it as.   Langerhans is a fringe ML player who fit the M's well -- and then they cut him that winter.  Zduriencik did, evidently, do a good job negotiating a low cost.  That's fine.  It's not more demonstration that GM A has an IQ thirty points higher than somebody else's.

Williamson for Aardsma worked out well, but Aardsma had DFA/waiver value at the time.  It wasn't so much a trade as a waiver pickup.

There are any number of arms around baseball like Aardsma, and Jack Zduriencik is not the only GM who believes in "low risk medium reward" waiver-type pickups.  Every GM throws spaghetti against the wall, boys.

What I *do* like, is the tendency to value Special Talent, even when it has warts.

Flores for Hall is an ehhhhhh trade.  I'm not super happy about having Hall's contract, and not super happy about the over-emphasis on NL Central players.   We should know the whole league, right?



Trades I liked very well:

Clement and many pitchers for Wilson and Snell is an interesting move, panned by cyber-Seattle, which I think shows a very fine feel for molding a pool of talent into a contending ballclub.

I think Jack Wilson is a prime example of Zduriencik's obvious feel for a winning ballclub, as opposed to a random collection of $/WAR commodities.


Betancourt for Cortes and Saito was cool, though IIRC, the M's paid much of Betancourt's salary, and it's nice to get a power arm back for our $$$$.

What I liked was not that Zdurienik could throw in a couple of extra million and get Cortes; what I liked was that Zduriencik decisively powerflushed an Entitled Veteran who was an on- and off-field problem.  The deal put "paid" to the last remnants of the Entitled Veteran odor around Royal Brougham.


Putz and change for Gutierrez, Heilman, Carp, Vargas, Chavez, Carrera, and Cleto was a career-making, Galaxy-class move that was inspired on MANY different levels.

The trade is beloved mostly because it reinforced the recent over-emphasis on defense that we see on the internet.  

What I like about it, even better than that, is that (1) it recognized the "Shibboleth" nature of the modern-day Mr. Magic Closer, (2) showed hair-fine talent judgment (on Vargas, Carp, etc) as to which "spaghetti" players could help, and (3) accelerated Zduriencik's replacement of the franchise scaffolding.


Aumont, Ramirez and Gillies for one year of Cliff Lee is the type of trade that stamps Zduriencik as Stars & Scrubs.   The deal is conceptually the same as the one that brought Erik Bedard in, and I love it for the same reasons.


That's a superficial overview. 

It does lay out my own reasons for believing that -- except for the Putz trade -- what characterizes Zduriencik's admin is mostly decisiveness and coherency, as opposed to an IQ-driven ability to separate "correct" from "incorrect" trades.

Capt Jack might or might not be uniquely intelligent.  I don't know.  But I can definitely tell you that he knows what he wants.  Without a trace of exaggeration, that is the defining characteristic of a chess master.


Dr D




I know how far out this sounds, but... I do not believe this trade was made by Jack alone. This trade has Howie and Chuckie's fingerprints all over it.
Howie just got tired of hearing how bad Morrow was when compared to Linecum, and thus Morrow had to go before Timmy won another CY award.
There is no way that Jack and crew turn down Edwin Jackson, make the comments about said trade afterward, and trade for a reliever who has yet to have 2 healthy and above average seasons in a row, that has a career 4.09 ERA, Career FIP 4.30, has a higher HR/9 rate than Morrow the reliever, has a 3+BB/9 ratio, and by many accounts from those in Toronto has crumbled in high pressure situations. Unless something DRASTICALLY happens, there is NO WAY that League EVER becomes a closer. 


That this particular trade was driven by Armstrong & Co.
Not impossible, that Zduriencik would set up a series of trades and then, for political reasons, go "let's work Chuck's deal" also.
I'll bet you a dollar, Rain, that by June you are a Brandon League fan.  :- )


This move sort of feels like the Carlos Guillen and Rafael Soriano situations, where the brass say "Get rid of that bum!" and it's up to the GM to carry through and get whatever he can. At the moment it doesn't feel like part of a coherent plan just as those other two moves weren't either. I can see Chuck and Howie getting tired of Morrow's inconsistencies and his bouncing between the rotation and bullpen and just want to put an end to it.


Both Guillen and Soriano were bounced for off-field behavior the front pffice viewed as disgusting...
Would the top dogs powerflush a player for being baseball-high-maintenance.  Huh...


Just to be clear...I like League. He has been a fine reliever, and I definitely see potential in him. Further, I am sure pitching coach Adair had some say in this, coupled with the fact that Adair coached League before in A / AA timeframe...and Adair very really helped White and others...Yes League will be fine.
Just please stop with the comparisons to Papelbon and Riviera though, 'cuz there is no way I can make that leap now...maybe ever.
League will be as good as White was last year, and hopefully between League and Lowe and Aardsma and Kelley and HOPEFULLY a LEFTY...our pen can be as good as last year's pen.
AS to Cool Papa's post...that is also how I envision the FO works. Further, I'll bet it all got whipped up by Timmy winning Cy #2. I am sure Jack has been searching for a trade partner for a while, and when Toronto was interested in Morrow in the Lee trade...Jack just kept at it.
By the way, other players shipped out include Nelson, Cirillo, the "wife beating" reliever, and a few others that John Q Seattle public really had a problem with for reasons off and on the field. 

misterjonez's picture

and they do well in accomplishing their purpose.  The point is that there is no good measurement system for defining the value of a lock-down reliever, at least not in the mainstream internet community.  We've tried applying leverage and win probability, but thus far they haven't come up with anything that is apples-to-apples with hitting and starting pitching.
So when people are wringing their hands over the loss of a ~20% chance that Morrow could be vastly more valuable than League (using the metrics and valuation systems available to us today), the counter-point is based on how you answer "Well, how much do you think Mariano Rivera and Jon Papelbon are worth?"  If you think they aren't worth any more than their current WAR x $4.5m, that's fine.  But many people, including nearly every Major League FO, believe they're worth considerably more than that.
Papelbon or Rivera, League is not.  But that doesn't erase the point of attempting to define the *actual* value of a shutdown reliever who comes in with RISP and no outs to protect a one run lead.


I understand the hyperbola... I hate the trade. Worse yet, I do not understand WHY the trade.
Virtually the same things that Doc and others are saying about League - and I do mean the EXACT same things from lock down reliever to secondary stuff nearly ready to take him to the next level to injury prone to possible head case  - can be said about Morrow and his capabilities as a reliever.
The main differences are: a) Morrow may be a #3 starter and
b) Morrow has performed at above average level as a reliever for more than one year in a row.
Thus, Morrow is alot more valuable than League. And it is not even close.
If we really wanted League, we should have been able to trade French or even Fister for him. 
Therefore, since roughly Morrow = League, the ONLY reason the trade was made was to get rid of Morrow... which sucks as a reason.  

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