It’ll be really interesting to see how this trade ends up going for both teams. This was clearly a shrewd decision making process by both teams that considered risk/reward and positional scarcity. However, it wouldn’t be too much of a surprise if one of these moves severely backfires.
I’ve never paid any attention to Jordan Walden delivery before, but holy hell that looks both awkward/inefficient, and blatantly illegal. He’s hopping forward and then replanting before he delivers, what the heck?
Comment by CheeseWhiz — November 30, 2012 @ 3:39 pm
You do what you got to do so maybe both teams could benefit. Jordan Walden will join the list of relievers who the Angels were down on, usually because of injury risk, that go on to succeed for other teams. Darren O’Day and Jose Arredondo are the most recent successful examples. The point is, the Angels usually seem paranoid about being patient when they see injury concerns to relievers. They’ve also made it known this offseason they need to trim payroll before Albert’s yearly salary goes through the roof (From 12 last year to 16 this year to 23 MM in 2014). It’s also time to start saving for down the road when Mike Trout needs a fatter wallet. Dan Haren was sent packing and no doubt they knew what was wrong with him, but on the flipside they trade for Hanson hoping he’s a better option than Haren or Santana would have been. Yes, Hanson is cheaper, but cheaper won’t matter if he’s getting his teeth kicked in or is chilling on the DL. It will look further silly if Dreamy Dan finds enough health to enjoy success with another team. Last offseason was fun and games and the Angels still came up short. Jerry DiPoto is definitely going to have to earn his money this year. Maybe he’s making all the right moves. Time will tell.
Comment by rdj3video — November 30, 2012 @ 3:48 pm
Because relievers who log 40 innings in a season are so much more valuable than starters? Walden has horrible mechanics. The only reason his arm hasn’t fallen off is that he isn’t good enough to pitch more than 40 innings in a season. Now Kimbrel and Walden will race to see who joins the DL first.
Another option would be to simply re-sign Michael Bourn, whose market value seems to be about the same as Swisher’s, in which case the Braves’ outfield defense will continue to be completely spectacular.
If we are going to see significant inflation of players’ salaries over the next few years as a result of all of this new cable money, then the Braves, who have the worst cable money situation in MLB, seemingly by far, might want to jump on Bourn (or Swisher) at these prices, because it’s only going to get worse in the very near future. Further, the Braves are looking like the possible World Series favorite by re-signing Bourn or signing Swisher, which presumably allows them to increase ticket prices in 2014, allowing them to generate at least some additional revenue.
Comment by Robbie G. — November 30, 2012 @ 4:00 pm
Aside from the weird hopping on his delivery, it looks like Walden will run into elbow/shoulder issues in the future. His pitching forearm is parallel to the ground instead of perpendicular when his front foot plants which is putting extra stress on his arm to compensate for being late on the arm action. It also looks like he has an inverted W style as well.
No mention of Hanson deplored SB’s allowed stats? The AL is going to crush him. I’ve been his biggest fan since he came up, but watching him pitch was truly painful.
He’s the poster boy for “Wins have zero to do with evaluating a pitcher”. The 777 game was one hell of an example 7ks? Nice! 7BB and 7!SBA and still get the win thanks to the Braves offense.
It’s a sad day for me being such of fan if him and seeing him leave my Braves, but the time has come to cut bait before he ended up like Jair. Throw in Boras as his agent and I would have taken the ghost of Bobby Abreu for him.
It’s funny that you think Walden is the huge injury risk when the player on the other side of the deal is Tommy Hanson, who’s gone to the DL twice in the last two seasons alone. And, no, good relievers are not more valuable than good starting pitchers. In this case, however, there isn’t that much reason to believe that Hanson will be anything more than a 4th or 5th starter. When you factor in the money factor, this was a good move for the Braves.
“Cocking the gun” (Scap retraction, pitching arm parallel to ground at foot strike) is common.
It’s correlated with both increased velocity and arm issues.
It’s a trade off many pitchers take.
Last I read there are questions as to whether it’s really as dangerous as many pitching “gurus” claim.
Comment by CircleChange11 — November 30, 2012 @ 5:20 pm
Surely the point of that rule is to make sure pitchers start their throw from the rubber (as opposed to some other spot) and not that they are toeing the rubber when the ball leaves their hand. That would seem almost impossible given the nature of the wind-up.
Comment by bradsbeard — November 30, 2012 @ 5:44 pm
Can someone who knows more about deliveries tell me if the fact that in the gif walden’s entire back foot comes off the rubber and he ends up airbourn for a split second? Is that normal? Seems like that would beget terrible control problems.
Comment by the humber games — November 30, 2012 @ 5:51 pm
Even if Hanson misses an entire year due to injury, this is still a ridiculous steal for the Angels. I find it strange that Jeff Sullivan wouldn’t note in his piece that Tommy’s 2012 BABIP was over thirty points higher than his career mark, and his HR/FB was a career high as well. Both of those will normalize, so unless the decreased velocity starts affecting his contact rates (and thus far it hasn’t), Hanson will go back to being an above average starting pitcher.
Comment by Matty Brown — November 30, 2012 @ 6:23 pm
I disagree, Timothy.
Even if Hanson throws only 160 innings at 3.82 FIP (Bill James’ projections listed here on Fangraphs), he’d still be an approximate 2.5 WAR pitcher it is an upgrade over Walden. Walden has been worth exactly 2.5 WAR in his three seasons as an Angel – and he won’t be pitching the high leverage innings with the Braves that he was throwing as an Angel.
It’s a back-end starter with middle of the road potential for a front-end reliever with back-end of the bullpen potential…and both have bad mechanics.
No, but he did mention Hanson’s control issues. He fell behind over half the hitters he faced last year, and BA goes up in hitters counts, so it’s somewhat disingenuous to say his arm issues aren’t affecting his batted ball profile.
“Bill James’ projections listed here on Fangraphs”
There’s your first problem.
Comment by hason jeyward — November 30, 2012 @ 11:11 pm
Hanson’s first strike percentage of 62.8% was the second highest of his career behind his rookie season, and while he did allow more walks than before, neither the increase or the rate itself were particularly alarming. Time for a different rationalization.
Comment by jdbolick — November 30, 2012 @ 11:19 pm
I agree with you, but that’s actually a fairly big “if.” Doesn’t mean it was a bad move for LA–they gave up almost nothing, and there’s a small chance that Hanson becomes a #3 type pitcher for them. But I think the more likely scenario is that he either blows out the shoulder or at least gets somewhat worse results.
After 2012, how sure are we really that Venters will still be penciled in as the #2 guy in the Braves pen? I’d thought that was probably up in the air at this point. He was pretty brutal prior to his minor league stint.
Maybe if you’re going to talk down a guy like Hanson, maybe show a .gif that doesn’t show him throwing a perfect pitch.
I don’t think the Braves should’ve quit on him unless they think shoulder surgery is inevitable. Velocity drop can happen without surgery though and Hanson’s workload could preclude this noticeable drop. I think he could be a solid #3 for the Angels if he doesn’t go Johan on the bit.
Good trade for the Angels. If they can get 50-60 starts out of Hanson over the next 3 years he’ll be far more valuable than an erratic reliever IMO
Comment by Tanner John 22 — December 1, 2012 @ 5:06 am
Yeah, I think bradsbeard hits it on the head. If you remember there was an incident involving Ted Lilly (vs the cubs?) where he was *starting* 59 feet close to home. That’s when that rule is in play.
Yep. This is a salary dump for the Braves–small as that salary may be for other teams (like the Angels). Let’s just see who the Braves get to plug into LF or 3B before we judge their end of it. As it is, this move may also allow them to deal one of their more expensive relievers, like O’Flaherty, who could earn them both more salary relief and an asset. This move kind of makes sense for the Braves in baseball terms, but it really makes sense in financial terms.
If you look at this trade in a vacuum, i.e. w/o looking at the teams involved and just player 1 for player 2, the Angels definitely win. But from the Braves perspective they’re not only getting better in the bullpen with this trade, by trading Tommy, theyre getting better in the rotation as well. This frees up Randall Delgado as a fulltime starter, as opposed to just a fillin while Beachy, and hes younger, more effective (limited sample) and cheaper and obviously has immense upside. Not to mention Teheran waiting for his chance, and the rest of the guys, Gilmartin, etc.
People need to realize that the top experts that work for major league teams don’t know enough about about mechanics to tell what causes injuries for sure. Even the bio-mechanical breakdown of mechanics that measure the torque on certain body parts have a error of +/- 12%. A lot of the “experts” online use gimmicks to make money and they don’t know what they are talking about.
The best mechanics are ones that allow the individual to stay healthy and be productive. Walden may have some control and injury issues but they may not be caused by his delivery. Hanson may also have some injury issues that may not be related to his delivery. Verlander has a delivery that according to a lot of “experts” opinion on mechanics would cause injury, yet he is a workhorse. Neftali Feliz had near perfect mechanics that were effortless according to many “experts”, yet he just had TJ and had multiple minor arm injuries the past few years.
We don’t know yet what causes injuries. To make a realization on the mechanics because of someone that looks unusual doesn’t have much validity. Walden’s and Hanson’s delivery may be causing their problems and maybe even likely are, but we don’t really know. And always be weary of anyone who claims to know “perfect mechanics.”
Comment by Are you even serious? — December 1, 2012 @ 11:29 am
I’m no fan of either team, but the Braves are that much better than the Angels that they traded a guy who was going to have to battle two younger, more highly-regarded prospects for the 5th spot in the rotation for a reliever who throws 100…but Angels fans are acting like they got a stud?
Hanson = 6th or 7th on the depth chart in ATL
Hanson = #3 in the Angels rotation. OUCH.
Not to mention he’s due for shoulder surgery and his velocity has dropped alarmingly. Plus, going to the AL West with the juggernaut offenses of Texas & Oakland, and the Mariners are almost there as contenders too with the Big 3 pitching prospects about to arrive….I guess LAA could just have him strictly throw against the Astros, lol.
There’s no guarantee that Hanson’s BABIP, or HR/FB rate will normalize. If he’s throwing more hittable balls at a lower velocity, then the increase in HR/FB and BABIP mean that he’s now a bad pitcher. Those rates will now be his ‘normal’ rates.
Who knows, though? As a Braves’ fan, I wish him the best.
Agreed, I’d think its pretty safe to assume they’re not going to be satisfied with going into the season with this highrisk, injury prone guy to round out their 5-deep starter group, regardless of where they see him as far as a #3 or #5-type.
I’d bet the Angels have some variation of the following in mind – land Greinke or someone else as a #3 or better starter, add another backup/innings eater type guy for depth, then have Hanson as most likely your 4/5ish level starter, with potential (granted, low potential) to rebound/get healthy and perform at a #2 starter level like he used to.
I think it clearly is worse for long-term health than the alternative, but as you mention it also seems to increase velocity. When you’re talking RP, I’ll take the extra MPH and a few good seasons, over long-term health and replacement level performance due to the reduced velocity.
Comment by Nitram Odarp — December 1, 2012 @ 1:11 pm
This is such a bad position to take. Newsflash, there are never going to be scientific studies on pitching mechanics and how they relate to injuries because there is no money in it and no one is going to fund the research. In the end, it is going to be the mechanics “gurus” you’re mocking who will make the real breakthroughs, just like it was golf instructors, and not scientists, who made the breakthroughs with the modern golf swing.
Comment by Nitram Odarp — December 1, 2012 @ 1:13 pm
Not to the extent that he does it (most guys go out instead of up like Walden), but it isn’t that strange. Guys like Lincecum and Bauer (off the top of my head) disengage from the rubber and at most only have theur back toe touching the ground right before foot plant.
Comment by Nitram Odarp — December 1, 2012 @ 1:19 pm
1.0 fWAR and -0.9 bWAR is the definition of a descent starter?
Comment by Nitram Odarp — December 1, 2012 @ 1:21 pm
decent… Freudian slip perhaps?
Comment by Nitram Odarp — December 1, 2012 @ 1:21 pm
Depending on which WAR you use, Hanson was somewhere between below average and below replacement level last year. Simply making starts isn’t going to make him valuable. And yes, a lot of guys can get away with decreased velocity, but generally those guys throw a good change that can make their fastball velocity play up. Hanson’s change is still mostly non-existent at this point and there’s little reason to think he’ll suddenly figure it out.
Comment by Nitram Odarp — December 1, 2012 @ 1:24 pm
Hason’s problem is his deceleration phase (which the Braves not surprisingly had him work on prior to the 2012 season). He’s an active decelerator after release, which means he’s using the posterior of the shoulder to try and slowdown his arm instead of letting it do so naturally against the body. That’s the reason you will see his arm obviously recoil after release prior to 2012, but not look nearly as bad last year. Maybe it was the proximate cause of the injury, maybe it was only playing a small role, and maybe something else is to blame, but it seems pretty obvious that’s something you shouldn’t be doing.
Comment by Nitram Odarp — December 1, 2012 @ 1:27 pm
I’m not rationalizing, I’m a Braves fan who would have rather held on to Tommy and tried to get his value back up until Beachy came back. But I saw every one of his starts last year, and what I saw was a guy who’d fall behind, and when forced to come in he’d get hit hard. The solution to that isn’t “it’ll regress”, it’s that he needs stuff he can work with in the zone, particularly a fastball.
As to his Ks, he still has great breaking stuff. He was very successful at striking guys out by getting ahead with a curve or slider, but his command isn’t good enough for him to be particularly successful that way. For instance he might get the first pitch over, then miss with the second. Now he’s gone to the breaking ball twice and has to throw a fastball at the corner. Its easy to see how he gets in trouble that way while also picking up Ks, if the breaks go his way.
Wrong, decent starter with huge injury risk from a team with pitching depth for a decent reliever with injury risk and salary relief to fill a hole. This is the braves dealing from a strength to fill a weakness.
Comment by Antonio bananas — December 1, 2012 @ 3:08 pm
Exactly. You can’t look at trades in a vacuum. If I have Peyton manning and Tom Brady on my team but no running backs, and I trade Brady for a decent back up and use the salary relief to sign a running back, that’s a good trade despite Brady probably providing more value. Because I have a better replacement and filled a hole, I come out better. Same thing here. I think it’s win/win because of atlanta’s pitching depth and finances.
Comment by Antonio bananas — December 1, 2012 @ 3:12 pm
i think the real winner is tommy hanson. he won’t have to take regular AB’s.
If you look at this in parallel to the Ervin Santana trade, you could argue that the Angels have effectively replaced Santana who has a $13m salary in 2013 and has had 3 below replacement years out of 8 including in 2012, with Hanson who will earn $4m in 2013 and is younger, still under team control. Potentially Hanson has more upside for the next few years, certainly when you take salary into account.
To achieve this they gave up Walden, who they obviously weren’t big on and who was reduced to low leverage situations this year, and replaced him with Sisk who may or may not contribute much. With the cash they signed Madson who is a significant upgrade in the bullpen, and still have a bit left over.
There are risks with both Hanson and Madson but this could work out very well for the Angels.
I don’t know if it was vs. the Cubs, but I do remember an incident in 2010 where Casey Blake (then on the Dodgers) was insisting to the umpire that Lilly (then on the Cubs) was starting his delivery from in front of the rubber. Presumably Blake was less indignant about it later that season after Lilly was traded to the Dodgers.
Why arent the opponents calling for the umpire to call that illegal each and every pitch? If its illegal, shouldnt it be enforced as such? Granted, the umpires may not take it on themselves to do so, but there are players and managers to “politely notify” the umpires about it. Then again, if he is so bad, it may be worth hitting against him… leave him in !
“Some people who think they know about these things don’t like Hanson’s throwing motion, and he does seem to begin slowly before exploding later on. It stands to reason there’s probably something deceptive about his forearm action, but maybe this has been doing Hanson harm.”