Monday, November 10, 2008

BP's Christina Kahrl talks about the Jacobs-Nunez trade

Eric Sanlnocencio of Blog Talk Radio recently interviewed Baseball Prospectus's Christina Kahrl about, among other things, the Mike Jacobs-Leo Nunez trade. No, this topic will not die. You can hear the entire show here, or scroll to the 43-minute mark, where Kahrl comes in:

My initial reaction was really kind of just disappointment, because while Mike Jacobs had value and is probably one of the 30 best first baseman in Major League today, and while it would be easy to make a comparison and say, "Yeah, he's an improvement over Ross Gload" -- but there again, then you get into there are probably a dozen people, like in the minor leagues, who would be an improvement over Ross Gload, so that's really kind of a straw man, you can't make that comparison and just say, "Wow, they got Mike Jacobs and they've upgraded at first base." Well of course they had, it would almost be impossible to do worse.

So that's really I think the basis of comparison you have to go on, which is, in the entire universe of potential first baseman, why would you go get Mike Jacobs? It's a combination of factors that are involved, but really just makes you wonder what they were thinking. I mean, between the amount of depth they have at first base in the organization -- I mean, it's one of the only poisitons where the royals have a glut of talent, is first baseman on the way up -- and beyond that, Jacobs is now arbitration eligible...

She goes on for a while to list all the cons of this trade we've already heard. Here's the thing: when you're talking about basis of comparison, shouldn't that be between Mike Jacobs and Leo Nunez? Says Kahrl later on: "What is Mike Jacobs's worth? Well he really probably is worth only about a guy like Leo Nunez, who is just another live-armed right-hander who got a good fastball, but he isn't striking people out with it, and maybe he turns into something and maybe he just becomes a reliable middle reliever."

One more line:

Okay, so you're gunning for someday getting to 77 wins? Is this really the master plan?

Of course not. But baseball GMs seem smarter these days, or if not smarter, at least not as dumb. Sure, ideally we'd have Josh Hamilton, but there aren't too many Hamilton-types who can be plucked for cheap. And the Royals have problems: years of mismanagement have depleted their farm system and there just aren't that many tradeable parts. So, again, allow us to say: giving up a middle reliever for a power-hitting lefty is not a bad trade.

But I don't want to sound cantankerous. Kahrl does a great job over at BP, and her article (subscription only) on the transaction was actually quite fair and balanced, weighing pros with cons and analyzing the trade from the Marlins' perspective as well. And as we're all about optimism over here, we'll excerpt Kahrl's concluding paragraph:

Finally, to touch base on the waiver claim as Moore raids his former employers in Atlanta, Cuevas might represent an easy one-for-one replacement for Nunez. He may be a reliever in the making—he's a beefy guy with a violent delivery that perhaps exacerbated the labrum issues that shelved him much of the season. His fastball sits in the 91-93 mph range and touches the mid-90s, but his curve and changeup aren't great. If the Dominican's lack of a solid secondary pitch, the health woes, and the fact that he'll be 25 all add up to a change in roles, it wouldn't be entirely surprising, and if it pans out, it would rate as a nice little free-talent find. If it doesn't, consider it a case of nothing ventured, nothing gained.

That's Jairo Cuevas, claimed from the Braves last month. Raid away, Dayton.

POSTSCRIPT: The Royal Tower's analysis of Dayton Moore's trades from the past two seasons.

UPDATE, 11/26: Damn!
Cuevas was claimed off waivers from Atlanta on Oct. 24 but, on Wednesday, the Braves claimed him back off waivers from the Royals.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for the plug.

    DM makes building a bullpen look ridiculously easy, which makes this trade look a bit better. Watch them plug Rosa or Tejeda in Nunez's role and perform equally well.

    Here's hoping Jacobs will take a few more walks in '09. Really, with his BABIP coming back to the norm + like 10 walks, all of a sudden that OBP wouldn't look so bad at all. And my goodness who wouldn't take a .270/.330/.500 hitter on this team...