2008 Trade Deadline Deals

We’re going to take the time machine all the way back to July of 2008, assessing some of the deals made around the trade deadline.

Dodgers receive: LF Manny Ramirez
Red Sox receive: LF Jason Bay
Pirates receive: RHP Bryan Morris, 2B/3B Andy LaRoche, OF Brandon Moss, RHP Craig Hansen
Winner: Red Sox, Dodgers

It was time for Manny to leave Beantown, and although the deadline seemed to have passed, these three teams were able to work a deal that would shake the baseball world. Jason Bay found the postseason in Boston and had a huge 2009, putting up 5.0 WAR. Manny said hello to L.A.-L.A. land and was unstrasburgly for the Dodgers, hitting .396/.489/.743 for the boys in blue in 2008. The Pirates, well, they decided to go with quantity over quality, and it bit them. After a nice year from LaRoche in 2009 (2.6 WAR), he’s been awful this season (-0.6 WAR), and doesn’t project to be the line drive hitter he once was. Craig Hansen has had health issues and Brandon Moss was below average, but Bryan Morris does seem to be a promising prospect. Still, Pittsburgh could have done better for Bay.
– – –

Angels receive: 1B Mark Teixeira
Braves receive: 1B Casey Kotchman, RHP Stephen Marek
Winner: Angels

The Braves thought they had found Teixeira’s semi-replacement in Kotchman, but instead they got someone who’d hit .267/.346/.378 at first base, never giving Atlanta anything of much substance. Stephen Marek is 26 years old and floundering in Triple-A. Teixeira? He hit .358/.448/.632 for the Angels and helped get them to the playoffs in 2008. They also used his compensation draft pick to take OF Mike Trout, one of the brightest young outfield prospects in the minors today.
– – –

Dodgers receive: 3B Casey Blake
Indians receive: RHP Jon Meloan, C Carlos Santana
Winner: Indians

Poor Paul DePodesta is an Assistant GM while Colletti gets to make moves like this. While Casey Blake has certainly been valuable for the Dodgers, this one has to hurt LA in the long run. Blake racked up 4.6 WAR last year, but his defense has dropped and his offense is stagnant. He’s on the downside of his career. Santana, meanwhile, is a switch-hitting catcher with a stance just like Victor Martinez and serious power. Blake has been a nice player for LA, but Santana looks to out-WAR him over the next few years, and then some.
– – –

Phillies receive: RHP Joe Blanton
Athletics receive: 2B Adrian Cardenas, LHP Josh Outman, OF Matthew Spencer
Winner: Push

For now, the Phillies generally win because flags fly forever. This one is likely to change in the next few years, but the guarantee isn’t enough there that I’ll give it to Oakland quite yet. Outman has produced a 4.09 FIP and 1.6 WAR for the A’s in 2008-09 (he’s been hurt this year). Cardenas is a slick middle infielder who may be a star one day, but until then is no sure thing. At 22, he’s crushed Double-A pitching, but has stagnated in Triple-A, hitting .242/.305/.337 there in 82 games, and just .228/.285/.281 this year. However, he has time to adjust, and once he does he can be dangerous.
– – –

Brewers receive: SP CC Sabathia
Indians receive: OF Matt LaPorta, LHP Zach Jackson, RHP Rob Bryson, OF Michael Brantley
Winner: Brewers

As well as Mark Shapiro made out in the Blake deal he underperformed in the Sabathia trade. CC helped bring Milwaukee to the playoffs via the Wild Card by throwing seven complete games in seventeen starts with a 1.65 ERA. He was simply outstanding. LaPorta, meanwhile, has struggled in adjusting to the big leagues. In 87 combined games in the majors during his age 24-25 seasons, LaPorta has hit just .240/.301/.377. An OPS of .678 just will not get it done for a guy who was touted for his massive power, especially when he’s a DH trying to play a mediocre outfield and first base.
– – –

Yankees receive: OF Xavier Nady, LHP Damaso Marte
Pirates receive: OF Jose Tabata, RHP Ross Ohlendorf, RHP Jeff Karstens, RHP Daniel McCutchen
Winner: Pirates

While Nady hit pretty well with the Yankees (.270/.319/.469), Marte’s inability to stay healthy and his mediocre pitching gives this to Pittsburgh. The Pirates decided to go with both quality and quantity here, getting a bunch of players who will help them in the long run, highlighted by Jose Tabata. At worst, Pittsburgh can always put Ohlendorf, who majored in Operations Research and Financial Engineering at Princeton, in the front office.



Print This Post



Pat Andriola is an Analyst at Bloomberg Sports who formerly worked in Major League Baseball's Labor Relations Department. You can contact him at Patrick.Andriola@tufts.edu or follow him on Twitter @tuftspat


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
ChadMOKM
Member
5 years 11 months ago

Small correction.

Casey Blake’s WAR last year is actually irrelevant to the trade, because the Dodgers had to sign him to a three year deal to get that.

Carlos Santana and Jon Meloan for Casey Blake in August/September/Odctober 2008. That’s it.

Boxkutter
Guest
Boxkutter
5 years 11 months ago

The Indians also got Michael Brantley (OF) as a PTBNL in the Sabathia trade.

Gold Star for Robot Boy
Guest
Gold Star for Robot Boy
5 years 11 months ago

More about the Blake trade:
1. That was Colletti’s deal; DePo had been fired in October 2005.
2. The Indians also threw in the balance of Blake’s contract. Some $3MM, iIrc.

Gina
Guest
Gina
5 years 11 months ago

He wasn’t saying it was Depo’s deal, he was saying it’s a tragedy Depo was fired for the brilliant Colleti.

MSTI
Guest
MSTI
5 years 11 months ago

Also, Paul DePodesta? He was long gone by the time the Blake/Santana deal went down.

Miles
Guest
Miles
5 years 11 months ago

I hate thinking about this deal so much. Just knowing that if the Dodgers were willing to pay for Blake to play, we’d have Santana… it hurts. Josh Bell would be a nice 3B play after Blake leaves, too. Tony Abreu would be nice at 2B, but I suppose that might be overvaluing him.

Also, could the Pirates have gotten better for Bay? LaRoche at the time was still considered a promising prospect, and Morris was the kind of SP the team was trading for at the time. While I dislike evaluating trades in hindsight, if Morris becomes even a back-of-the-rotation guy in the majors, I think the Pirates do ok in this.

Gina
Guest
Gina
5 years 11 months ago

Agreed, I don’t think it’s fair at all to use the fact the prospects disappointed in hindsight to downgrade the trades. That’s why their prospects, these teams couldn’t have held onto the guys regardless so it’s not like they lost a chance for their production. At the time they were perfectly reasonable deals.

Ivdown
Guest
Ivdown
5 years 11 months ago

Why does no one understand that line? Ned Colletti is a GM and made this stupid trade, while Depo is not a GM and he is actually a good GM who got scapegoated for the awful awful 2005 Dodger’s season.

Mel
Guest
Mel
5 years 11 months ago

Marte was lights out in the playoffs last year. That has to be worth something that is apparently not taken into account here.

Miles
Guest
Miles
5 years 11 months ago

4 IP, 2H, 5 K, 0BB, 0R – lights out

But the real reason that the Yankees won the deal is that they won the World Series in 2009 with these guys on their squad. They’re winners, which means more than any stat can tell you.

Steve
Guest
Steve
5 years 11 months ago

Well, not really. They could still have lost a particular trade and won the WS. That’s pretty obvious, right?

The only guy the Yankees might miss is Tabata, but he had been suspended twice from the Yankee’s affiliate in 2008, and was becoming a discipline problem. He hit well after the trade, but it’s hard to say if he just needed a change of scenery or a wake-up call. None of the pitchers they traded would crack the Yankee rotation, so even if they may have been able to extract more from Ohlendorf in a different trade, his destination was always going to be on another team.

But to Mel’s point, Marte was indeed a crucial contributor in the WS last year, taking care of the Phils’ powerful lefty bats time after time. The Yankees may have won it without him, but he did deliver some key outs in big spots.

Mel
Guest
Mel
5 years 11 months ago

I don’t appreciate the sarcasm and your implicitly assigning me to the pre-saber dark ages. Hope your straw man makes you feel better.

As a matter of logic and reading comprehension, I did not assert his playoff performance “means more than any stat can tell you.” I suggested he performed well in high-leverage situations, which has value — yes, even subjective value to a fan.

On the whole Marte’s performance with the Yankees has been mediocre. His K rates have historically been good but appear to be declining. He tends to have pronounced lefty/right splits. His BB rates are bad and he’s definitely not worth the $4m per annum.

Otter
Guest
Otter
5 years 11 months ago

While I agree winning is THE important thing, Marte is also fairly easy to replace (I think the Yankees still win last year with, say, the pretty average/below average Grabow). So you could argue that the Yankees would have won without Marte. I think it’s much more difficult to argue that the Phillies win without Blanton.

Nick
Guest
Nick
5 years 11 months ago

Phillies get a reliable 4th starter that helped them win the World Series for some guys who have struggled in the minors or have been injured. PUSH?

BX
Guest
BX
5 years 11 months ago

Push = too early to tell.

TJS is pretty common these days, and its feasible for Outman to continue and pitch the way he did pre-surgery. If that happens, and Outman pretty much is Joe Blanton, this deal could swing the other way. But it was necessary for the Phillies, that’s a known.

Steve
Guest
Steve
5 years 11 months ago

I think the write-up acknowledges your point. The Phillies got what they wanted out of the trade, and the A’s have also gotten some value. Sometimes a trade is win-win.

Paul
Guest
Paul
5 years 11 months ago

Actually, I don’t think any of these deals is a winner for the doormat, and this continues to show that teams like the Indians or Pirates taking C level prospects at the deadline instead of taking their extra draft picks is why they continue to struggle.

Santana is considered a win for the Indians because we think he will be a good player in the future while Blake has helped the Dodgers win for 2+ years? Sorry, doesn’t pass the laugh test for me. They could have had a shot at players like Mike Trout or Will Myers in the late first and supplemental first with those picks instead of Santana. Since we’re talking about projection, I think I’d take the latter.

But we’ll see it again this year. A savvy organization like the Red Sox or Yankees will lowball some team like Cleveland or Pittsburgh (whose fans will scream on talk radio that they must get SOMETHING for their veterans) instead of taking a draft pick or two. Then that team will get into the post-season and let the FA walk and take the picks. Sorry, this is the definition of insanity for the doormat teams and they are doing it to themselves.

MarkInDallas
Guest
MarkInDallas
5 years 11 months ago

I’ve studied the choice between taking the picks or doing a trade, and the only way the picks are worth more than prospects received in a trade on average is if a type A free agent is signed by a team who has a pick between 16 through 20.

That’s unlikely, and tough to bank on. What if they are signed by a team like the Mets this past year, who had a protected pick? Then you get a second rounder.

Brad Johnson
Member
Member
5 years 11 months ago

I think you might be overvaluing those draft picks a bit. While they “could” be good players like Trout, usually they aren’t. To do an informed analysis, you have to consider the expected value of the pick, not the best available player on the board. On July 30th 2008, the Cleveland Indians have no idea who will be available at pick #31 in the 2009 draft. It’s too early for even a rough draft board that deep into the draft, so clubs are forced to draw mostly on the historical value of those picks.

Gina
Guest
Gina
5 years 11 months ago

At the time Laporta was much more valuable than draft picks. I don’t see how anyone can even attempt to argue anything differently. Did he work out? No, but those picks had a lesser chance of working out than a top 50 prospect.

Not to mention they wouldn’t have even got a first rounder for Sabathia because the Yankees signed Tex the same off-season. I definitely don’t see how you argue a comp and a 2nd rounder is a better risk than a top 50 prospect.

Gina
Guest
Gina
5 years 11 months ago

yeah trout was picked with tex’s compensation pick, so I’m not sure why you’re even bringing him up when there was no way the Indians would have gotten that pick.

Dan
Guest
Dan
5 years 11 months ago

You always go for the more advanced prospects – they’re far more of a sure thing. Is Trout awesome now? Sure. But he’s in the Low-A Midwest League. Carlos Santana is in the major leagues. It’s remarkable to look back at a draft and see just how many upper-round flops there are. It’s just the way things are.

Further, if you’re going to get a talent like Trout in the later portion of the first round, that means you typically have to pay a signing bonus that amounts to a top-of-the-first-round slot. In getting prospects, you don’t pay them until they reach the major leagues (unless you pay the salaries of your veterans and get even better prospects, which the Indians did and look what they’re rolling out there as their catcher now… a monster).

isavage
Guest
isavage
5 years 11 months ago

Blake was a type B free agent, worth 1 supplemental round pick. Not 2 picks. When they made the trade in July of ’08, Santana was already the MVP of the California League. By the beginning of ’09, after playing for a month in the Indians’ system, Santana was already ranked as their number 1 prospect. You think a supplemental round pick is going to beat that?

In the case of the Sabathia trade, Laporta was the 7th pick in the prior year’s draft. Brantley and Bryson both looked like potential decent major leaguers (and still do, to an extent). Had they held onto Sabathia, the Indians would have received the Yankees 2nd round pick and a supplemental pick, which is what the Brewers received, looks like it turned out to be the 39th and 73rd picks. Hard to find guys who’re good enough to be taken 7th with those selections. Hard to find guys who will do much more than what Laporta’s already done in the majors with those selections.

For example, take the Brewers. They selected Maxwell Walla with their Sabathia 2nd round pick from the Yankees. He hit .199 last year, and hasn’t played this year, looks like he’s already gone. They took Kentrail Davis with their first supplemental round pick, he’s currently hitting .244 in A ball

matt w
Guest
matt w
5 years 11 months ago

some team like Cleveland or Pittsburgh (whose fans will scream on talk radio that they must get SOMETHING for their veterans)

This is the opposite of what happens. Well, I can’t talk about fans on talk radio because I don’t live in Pittsburgh now, but the more ridiculous newspaper columnists tend to write about how we ought to be keeping our veterans instead of trading them for minor leaguers.

As for “C level prospects,” John Sickels had Andy LaRoche graded as an A- in 2008. To say that the Pirates deliberately chose quality over quantity in the deal is revisionism (at least unless we know what the other deals available were).

Miles
Guest
Miles
5 years 11 months ago

The common fan in Pittsburgh thinks that guys like Ryan Doumit and Nate McLouth would fetch the same pieces that Texas got for Teixera. If they don’t get that kind of quality prospects with major league impact in the next couple years, they think the trade is awful and the front office is trying to lose to save money.

Most fans want the team to approach the team as Littlefield did, sacrificing minor leauge talent to get those one or two FA’s that will put them over the edge. They seem to forget how the Pens stockpiled their talent and the similarities with the current Pirates plan…

HeyNow
Guest
HeyNow
5 years 11 months ago

Not to mention that most draft picks are 1-3 years behind top prospects, meaning your payoff is further away and you take on more risk.

Halo
Guest
Halo
5 years 11 months ago

Marc Hulet described A. Cardenas defensively as ‘average at best’ and baseball prospectus has also noted his defensive shortcomings so I would really disagree with your comment about him being ‘slick fielding’ unless by slick fielding you mean stone hands and no range. I’m not sure how a bad fielding no power second baseman could be a star someday. You’re obvious either an As fan or just anti Phils…wo which is it because there is some obvious bias with your article.

Brad Johnson
Member
Member
5 years 11 months ago

Or perhaps he doesn’t have perfect information? Just because a comment is a tiny bit off doesn’t mean it’s because of bias.

Halo
Guest
Halo
5 years 11 months ago

There is a pretty big difference between ‘slick fielding future star’ and ‘average at best’ don’t you think? Could lead someone to question his apptitude, his research, and his opinions on just about every subjective phrase in his article. Why didn’t he have the information?There is a co-worker that just spent a considerable part of the off season writing about prospects from every team. Pat could have asked Marc to peer review? It just seems lazy to me .

bflaff
Guest
bflaff
5 years 11 months ago

I have no dog in this particular fight, except to note that Cardenas carried the label of ‘good singles hitter, questionable glove’ for as long as I can remember. Which is why he’s no longer playing shortstop.

Hulet’s A’s prospect write-up on this site echoes that CW: “Cardenas’ bat will have to carry him as he is an average fielder at best at the keystone.”

PurifiedDrinkingWater
Guest
5 years 11 months ago

Harden/Cubs trade?

joser
Guest
joser
5 years 11 months ago

“unstrasburgly”

I have no idea what this painfully awkward construction means in this context (I’m not even sure what it might mean in the abstract).

Willard Noguchi
Guest
5 years 9 months ago

wow, reading this post I now understand why this approach is vital mankinds wellbeing, thanks a lot! Thanks

wpDiscuz