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  1. Ben is fleecing people. just got 2 very good relievers and replaced the pieces he gave up for them.

    Comment by Thomas — December 28, 2011 @ 7:21 pm

  2. I don’t know much about Raul Alcantara and Miles Head so I’ll wait before passing jugement, but it looks like another win for Boston.

    Comment by Expos67 — December 28, 2011 @ 7:25 pm

  3. judgment*, pardon my french hehe

    Comment by Expos67 — December 28, 2011 @ 7:26 pm

  4. Alcantara is going to start in short season ball next year and dosen’t get many K’s. Head had a great season at Low A but definitely slowed down at high A. Alcantara’s ceiling is a 2 or 3 but he’s so far away, and he dosen’t throw that hard right now, his upside is based of projectability. Head and Alcantara have decent upsides but are very far away and won’t come close to any top 100 lists. I don’t think they’d make a top 200 list, probably a top 300 list, but maybe somewhere from 300-400. They were ranked 17th and 25th respectively on

    Comment by Thomas — December 28, 2011 @ 7:29 pm

  5. Why would a pitcher’s K/9 and BB/9 be so heavily affected by a pitcher’s park? Can a pitcher take greater risks knowing it’s that much less likely a hitter can hit it out of the park?

    Comment by David — December 28, 2011 @ 7:29 pm

  6. I agree, but like you I don’t know much about the two prospects but it still seems like Oakland could’ve gotten more from Bailey. But Beane isn’t dumb so I guess I got to trust his judgement until proven otherwise.

    Comment by Dwight S. — December 28, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

  7. That’s most likely it. I’ve heard a bunch of interviews with Bailey and he constantly talks about just going after hitters and seeing if they can hit his stuff. I think his ability to do this was definitely helped by knowing what ballpark he was playing in.

    Comment by Danmay — December 28, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

  8. That’s what I was wondering as well. I thought maybe the hitters background may effect things(it may determine how well the hitter sees the ball)but other than that I don’t see how it really could effect things. Maybe a player takes a bigger swing or changes his approach at the plate in a bigger/tougher ballpark which effects things but I wouldn’t think it would be that drastic.

    Comment by Dwight S. — December 28, 2011 @ 7:34 pm

  9. I’m kind of disappointed to see Sweeney leave Oakland. He was the absolute epitome of an A’s hitter: no power, little speed, replacement level, and very boring.

    Comment by Oscar — December 28, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

  10. As an A’s fan: Ouch!

    I guess the writing was on the wall.

    With Cahill and Gio, the A’s got high-ceiling major-league-ready prospects. It was possible that the moves were going to help the A’s in the short and long term, and you could rationalize it as rebuilding.

    This is just pure fire sale.

    Besides Riddick making less money than Sweeney, there’s no substantial value difference between them, so call that a pass.

    As for Andrew Bailey… the rookie of the year… and 2 time all star… who’s under team control for the next two seasons… The A’s got:

    (john sickels 2012 preseason grades)

    Miles Head, 1B, Grade C+: Ineffective in the New York-Penn League in ’10, but something clicked last year, hit for power and average in Low-A. Power carried forward to High-A but he’s got contact issues to work out, and right-handed hitting first baseman have an uphill battle. Could rank much higher next year.

    Raul Alcantara, RHP, Grade C+: Live arm with good results in rookie ball, still refining his secondary pitches. High ceiling.

    Essentially, a sack of baseballs. A guy of Bailey’s value should have netted at least one odds-on major league contributor and not merely a couple of long-shot A-ball players.

    Comment by rory — December 28, 2011 @ 7:41 pm

  11. Sweeney is comparable to Reddick? Not really.

    Reddick 2011 has twice the ISO of Sweeney against RHB alone (he’s much worse against LHB), in every year except Sweeney’s hyper-career year in 2009.

    He’s injury prone, and absolutely should never hit against a LHB.

    Right now, there isn’t much to suggest that Sweeney isn’t a near-replacement level player entering his 2nd year of arbitration.

    Comment by BX — December 28, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

  12. Reddick is much better than Sweeney. He’s younger, cheaper, has more power, and plays great defense (Sweeney is only average defensively). Don’t be so hard on yourself, rory.

    Comment by Cap — December 28, 2011 @ 7:50 pm

  13. This is a worst firesale than the Marlins after their World Series title….Call me crazy, but I think Andrew Bailey will be the better closer from here on out between him and Papelbon…the guy is just absolutely lights out…always felt comfortable with no fear whenever he came in to save games…he does not make things interesting which is a phenomenal trait from your closer….this really hurts as an A’s fan. What is our payroll at now? 23 million!? Jesus H Christ. I’m happy for Bailey though. He is going to be a superstar pitching for the Sox in the A.L Beast….the world can finally give this guy the recognition he deserves. Sox got a gem.

    Comment by Mike — December 28, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

  14. I think a big part of Bailey’s home and road K/9 and BB/9 discrepancy has to do with the relatively small sample size his career yields. He’s only thrown about 80 innings for each home and road sample. His numbers next year settle in somewhere between his home and road numbers. It would be very foolish to simply expect his road numbers to be his true talent level.

    Comment by Cap — December 28, 2011 @ 7:56 pm

  15. No offense, Mr. Cwik, but projecting from his road splits is a terrible way to estimate how someone will do in a new environ. Especially when you’re working with a sample size of 80 IP.

    If you want to simplify things, look at park factors. Or simply look at his xFIP, which is already adjusted for park, including normalizing HR rate.

    … I guess you probably know this. But that just makes it weirder that you went with a simplified-to-the-point-of-inaccuracy method!

    Comment by Ari Collins — December 28, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

  16. Disclaimer-I’m a RS fan.

    From our side, we got a very useful piece for a replaceable piece. As the article implies, Bailey might not be all that great, but we are unlikely to miss Reddick.

    On the A’s side, I think Reddick might be useful. He had a .785 last year, hit lefties decently (in a very SSS), good defensively, and was ranked as high as #75 in the minors.

    I think the A’s scored at least some value, though without knowing the other offers out there, it’s tough to judge its adequacy.

    Comment by Joey B — December 28, 2011 @ 8:04 pm

  17. Being an A’s fan hasn’t been any fun in years.

    Comment by T-Baggy — December 28, 2011 @ 8:05 pm

  18. Bill James Projections 2012:

    ave obp slg wOBA
    Sweeney: .285 .352 .392 .325
    Riddick: .249 .312 .457 .331

    When Sweeney was a rookie, John Sickels rate him as a B.
    When Riddick was a rookie, John Sickels rate him as a B-.

    major-league career:
    ba obp slg ops
    Sweeney .283 .342 .378 .720
    Reddick .248 .290 .416 .706

    UZR/150 OF
    Sweeney 9.2
    Reddick 21.9

    But, UZR aside, I know from watching him play that Sweeney is a far above average defender, and it’s hard to believe that Reddick is going to be much of an improvement wither way.

    Even if Riddick was a substantially better defender, it wouldn’t be enough to create a substantial value difference. Riddicks only real value over Sweeney is that he’s cheaper.

    This is a plain old salary dump.

    Comment by rory — December 28, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

  19. Lowrie for Melancolm is fleecing?

    This deal is a head scratcher for Beane, but let’s go easy on the deification of Ben.

    Comment by Joe — December 28, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

  20. yea, it is, look at Lowrie’s stats, look at Punto’s stats. Wash at best for Lowrie, then the Red Sox get Melancon, a very good reliever.

    Comment by Thomas — December 28, 2011 @ 8:14 pm

  21. Yes I agree w/ Cap. Actually I like this deal for Oakland. While I thought the A’s would get back an MLB ready prospect w/ a higher ceiling than Reddick, this is by no means a bad deal for the A’s as they got essentially what they needed: position players with the potential to put up decent slugging numbers.

    If you look at the A’s outfield next season, IMO it’s already an improvement over last year as they will have Reddick and Cowgill in RF and CF

    I know it’s odd to say but with these fire sales the A’s have gotten substantially better, at least potentially.

    Sweeney’s a good player but he was surplus in Oakland. The Sox could actually use a good defensive OF so that was a good pickup by Cherington

    Comment by MC — December 28, 2011 @ 8:18 pm

  22. Bailey had a 5.17 ERA over his last 17 appearances suggesting he may not have been healthy to finish the season, and is likely the reason the A’s did not ask for much or wait until the trading deadline in 2012 to deal him when they presumably could get more for him.

    If he is healthy, it’s a steal for the Red Sox, but thats a big if.

    Comment by pft — December 28, 2011 @ 8:19 pm

  23. this

    Comment by Alan — December 28, 2011 @ 8:26 pm

  24. don’t cherry pick. there is more to a hitter than just his ISO

    Comment by Alan — December 28, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

  25. Head’s being put back at 3B from 1B, FWIW.

    Comment by BX — December 28, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

  26. The value of Lowrie/Weiland vs value of Melancolm…. that is a fleece?

    So I’m clear Houston getting Lowrie and Weiland for Melancolm is a terrible deal for them? (which is what getting fleeced means)

    Last I checked Punto was a free agent signing and has nothing to do with Houston’s evaluation of a trade.

    You are seemingly arguing that Ben made a good move replacing Lowrie, not that he fleeced Houston in a trade.

    Comment by Joe — December 28, 2011 @ 8:33 pm

  27. This is very true. Outside of 2009, there just isn’t much else to suggest that Sweeney is better than Reddick though, since his most recent years are significantly worse than his earlier years.

    Comment by BX — December 28, 2011 @ 8:33 pm

  28. Pretty disappointed that this wasn’t acknowledged in a FG article.

    Comment by Welp — December 28, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

  29. Sickels is pretty out of touch with those reviews, FWIW. And James’ projections are openly unscientific; they tell us nothing.

    Comment by Welp — December 28, 2011 @ 8:40 pm

  30. Agree.

    Comment by Welp — December 28, 2011 @ 8:41 pm

  31. No it isn’t.

    Comment by Welp — December 28, 2011 @ 8:42 pm

  32. I’ll just note that Fenway isn’t much better as a HR park than Oakland is. Cameron did say “flyball” and not “home run”, which in Boston can mean balls off of the Monster of course.

    Comment by John DiFool — December 28, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

  33. Wow, I really thought I would come down to the comments and see a bunch of takes on Beane stealing Reddick. If I’m not mistaken, Keith Law really likes Miles Head. So earlier in the offseason Chicago got a guy who has had 5 starts at AA for their closer, but somehow Bailey fetching a projectable corner outfielder who might be able to play some games in CF, with MLB experience, is a loss for the A’s? I guess this is a case where I couldn’t care less about the numbers. I didn’t see Reddick play a ton, but I thought he had a ton of upside. Love this deal for Oakland.

    Comment by Paul — December 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

  34. Huge Sweeney fan here; he is essentially J.D Drew Light in my opinion; the power being the main deficiency.

    Comment by Matty Brown — December 28, 2011 @ 9:10 pm

  35. No way dude. Sweeney is no JD Drew. Sweeney has no power and he can’t get on base like Drew. The only thing Sweeney does well is make contact and play defense.

    Comment by MC — December 28, 2011 @ 9:15 pm

  36. I’m not sure what to make of the LOB%. Closers typically start an inning with nobody on base and no outs, then they leave the inning after getting 3 outs. They rarely leave the game with someone on base and let another pitcher clean up their mess. I’m thinking the sample size is extremely small for this, or the typical closer usage is different home vs. road and that leads to the LOB%.

    Comment by vivalajeter — December 28, 2011 @ 9:18 pm

  37. I’m a RS fan, and I like Reddick, but I have absolutely no qualms with trading him for Bailey. He’s valuable, but most of that value comes from glove/arm. He does have good bat speed/power, but you have to wonder how much it’s going to play because he swings at EVERYTHING. Don’t get fooled by the increasing walk rate, from watching him game after game you can tell that his approach isn’t great. I think a big part of his late season slump was a result of pitchers getting enough tape on him to realize that there’s no need to throw him strikes because he’ll get himself out. In any case he’s expendable because Boston has a better young RF in Ryan Kalish.

    Alcantra is at least four years from even sniffing the majors. Head is a decent hitter, but he’s also a long ways away and he’d have nowhere to play even if he got there. Adrian Gonzalez is entrenched at 1b for the better part of the next decade and even though there’s talk of the A’s moving him to 3b the Red Sox have a glut of 3b prospects ranging from excellent to decent in: Bogaerts (not sticking at SS), Middlebrooks, Cecchini, and Vitek.

    In my mind this is a very good trade for Boston. They dealt from a position of surplus and turned a hole into a strength.

    Comment by Clown Baby — December 28, 2011 @ 10:03 pm

  38. Where’d you hear that? He’s below average defensively at 1B (with a ceiling of maybe-average), how do they think he’s going to able to handle 3B? Nobody who has seen him has said that he would be able to handle 3rd.

    Comment by KyleL — December 28, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

  39. What I should have said was, even if those road K/9 and BB/9 were an indication of his true talent level, I would still expect him to be an effective pitcher.

    I realize I didn’t express that in the piece, however.

    Comment by Chris Cwik — December 28, 2011 @ 10:17 pm

  40. sweeney hitting against a LHB, what, like they hit each other with their bats until one of them falls over. no, you’re right, that probably shouldn’t happen. look what they did to offerman out on long island

    Comment by wily mo — December 28, 2011 @ 10:37 pm

  41. This woe is me offseason is working perfect for the A’s. Fire sale and get a ton of great prospects, while the idiots in the media lament that you aren’t getting anything for your players in these “salary dumps” which forces MLB to let you move to SJ, where you refuse to raise payroll anyway. PROFIT.

    Comment by wat — December 28, 2011 @ 11:03 pm

  42. No he’s not. Don’t overrate Bailey. I think this is a fair deal from both ends.

    Comment by Phils_Goodman — December 28, 2011 @ 11:34 pm

  43. Splits happen.

    Comment by Phils_Goodman — December 28, 2011 @ 11:34 pm

  44. I hadn’t heard that he’s being moved back to third, but KyleL, you’re absolutely wrong. In a poll of league managers by Baseball America, he was voted the best defensive 1B in one of his leagues this year. I don’t recall whether it was the Sal league or the Carolina, but either way the point stands that he was actually good at 1B.

    Comment by Greg — December 28, 2011 @ 11:41 pm

  45. If I were Billy Beane, for laughs, I’d try to ship the Red Sox the Andrew Bailey who pitched in relief for the A’s short season Vancouver squad last year.

    Beane (to Cherington): “Oh, so you guys wanted to acquire THAT Andrew Bailey.”

    Comment by reillocity — December 28, 2011 @ 11:54 pm

  46. This is not a steal for the Red Sox. This is Billy Beane recognizing that “closers” are extremely over valued and he stole a top notch prospect for a great pitcher, who will be used incorrectly. I wonder what Bill James would think?

    Comment by Baseball Insomnia — December 29, 2011 @ 12:02 am

  47. Yes, it is. Look at his medicals the last two years.

    If he pitches like 2009, absolute steal for Boston. If he’s got another injury-marred season like 2010-11, it looks better for OaklandSomewhere like 50 years .

    Comment by BX — December 29, 2011 @ 12:13 am

  48. Who is the “top notch prospect” that Beane stole? How is Bailey going to get used incorrectly as closer for the Red Sox? Bottom line from the RS perspective is they acquired a high quality closer for very little. They traded out of a position of organizational depth where they already have superior options. They didn’t have to overpay for FA closer (i.e. Papelbon or Madson) and in doing so acquired draft picks in addition to getting a younger guy under substantially more attractive contract terms. This is a great deal for the RS. An added benefit no yet mentioned here is by getting Bailey the RS have effectively added a SP as it allows them to commit to converting Daniel Bard into a starter – which again creates substantial value as starters in the FA market demand significantly higher salaries than RPs.

    Comment by Top Prospect? — December 29, 2011 @ 12:49 am

  49. I was actually surprised when I originally read that they had voted for him because all of the actual scouts who had ever talked/written about him had said that he was below average at first and average was pretty much his ceiling defensively. And anyway, it was managers and coaches who voted, I’d prefer the opinion of scouts personally.

    Comment by KyleL — December 29, 2011 @ 1:24 am

  50. The “closer” or “ace reliever” position is outrageously misguided and poorly understood. The most critical situations in a game are those in which a team is either tied or a run ahead/behind. These innings (6,7,8) will determine the course of the game. Why would you use your most valuable relief pitcher in the 9th inning of a game you are winning by 3? Regardless of who is pitching, those situations result in wins 9/10. It’s nearly impossible to find consistent relievers in the MLB. It’s a volatile position, just ask Brad Lidge. I suggest you review the Bill James Abstracts and brush up a bit. Or you could follow the link.

    Comment by Baseball Insomnia — December 29, 2011 @ 1:38 am

  51. I’ve probably watched two thirds of Reddick’s ML career (Sox fan…), and I think he has tremendous potential. The question is whether his plate discipline will ever be good enough for him to realize it. He’s a great defender and his power is legit, but he’ll swing at pitchers’ pitches.

    Comment by nv — December 29, 2011 @ 1:51 am

  52. Beane “not being dumb” doesn’t mean he made a good deal in this case. He has made plenty of questionable deals in his time.

    As someone else said, I would have thought Bailey would have yielded a bit more than this but Reddick could be a decent regular for a while. The others are farther away and no sure thing to even make the bigs.

    Comment by seymour — December 29, 2011 @ 1:52 am

  53. that guy that Chicago got for their closer was actually the Jays #2 prospect in their whole deep system.

    Comment by seymour — December 29, 2011 @ 1:57 am

  54. that’s the issue here… unless one really likes Reddick (some do), then this is more quantity over quality for a guy who may be a top 5 closer making peanuts.

    Comment by seymour — December 29, 2011 @ 1:59 am

  55. that is a little bit misleading. regardless of how Bailey has been used, he’s still a very good ML pitcher. The RS will use him in their pen however they see fit. Unless you value Reddick highly, the Sox didn’t have to deal any of their top ten prospects (let alone top 20) in this deal.

    Comment by seymour — December 29, 2011 @ 2:03 am

  56. Don’t forget health, the big factor that few people talk about. Sweeney has consistently missed time with injuries, as has Bailey. Assuming Reddick stays in the field, there’s plenty of reasons to like this deal for Oakland. It’s not like closers for the A’s have been hard to come by.

    Comment by PaddyG — December 29, 2011 @ 4:14 am

  57. As both an A’s and Red Sox fan, I feel compelled to say that you’re over-valuing Bailey. Billy Beane’s approach to closers has always been to plug in a decent pitcher, let them accumulate saves, trade them away, and repeat. Surely somebody else will put up good numbers in the 9th for Oakland.

    Comment by PaddyG — December 29, 2011 @ 4:19 am

  58. Well, both get slapped with the ‘underachiever’ tag.

    Comment by PaddyG — December 29, 2011 @ 4:22 am

  59. I think you’re preaching to the choir a bit here. Most Fangraphs readers are aware of bullpen use criticism. However, there are certain baseball conventions that are just hard to crack. The line-up order not mattering is another one of those ideas that has a tough time breaking in. The psychological effect of having a good closer (or a perceived good closer) is going to die in half-lives due to the inherited conventional wisdom.

    Comment by PaddyG — December 29, 2011 @ 4:28 am

  60. What??? I heard he was being turned into a lefthanded relief pitcher.

    Comment by RobNen — December 29, 2011 @ 5:09 am

  61. This, as we all know there is nothing special about “closers” so it’s funny to see teams overpay for them.

    Comment by DodgersKings323 — December 29, 2011 @ 6:54 am

  62. I want to see a manager one day bat his pitcher 1st or maybe 3/4 one day just for the lulz. People will ask “Why?” and he will say “because lineups don’t really matter” imagine what they would say..

    Comment by DodgersKings323 — December 29, 2011 @ 7:02 am

  63. Maybe managers can’t predict the future and know they will be up 3 runs in the 9th?

    While I agree in principle the highest leverage often comes in the innings before the 9th, you often don’t know that until after the fact… If you bring your “closer” in in the 7th in a tie game, the game may be still tied in the 9th (and be a higher leverage situation)

    I think one of the things lost in the “the highest leverage is not always the 9th” meme is that you can’t always assess that fact until after the game is over.

    Comment by Joe — December 29, 2011 @ 7:46 am

  64. Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prosectus has this to say about the ML guys the Sox gave up:

    The A’s got a young, everyday right fielder for Bailey, but Alcantara and Head are both very real prospects.

    While Alcantara comes with the risks that apply to any 19 year-old who spent to majority of 2011 in the Gulf Coast League, he’s an impressive arm with considerable polish for his age. At 6-foot-3 and a skinny 180 pounds, he has projection and already throws in the low-90s, touches 95, and displays highly advanced control, walking just six in 48 GCL innings while limiting the league to a .147 batting average. He’ll flash a plus curveball which should become more consistent with experience, and he has some feel for a changeup. His 2012 full-season debut will give us a much better feel for just how good he is, but the upside is considerable.

    Miles Head gets widely varying reviews from scouts. He was great in the first half at Low-A but struggled in the second half following a promotion to the Carolina League. That said, age is certainly on his side, as he doesn’t turn 21 until this coming May. He combines bat speed with excellent hands and a good contact rate for a player with plus power, but there are questions about his profile, as he’s short, squat and right-handed—a combination that has produced few impact first basemen in the big leagues. He could put up some big numbers in the California League next year, but Double-A will be the true test for him.—Kevin Goldstein

    Comment by The Dude — December 29, 2011 @ 8:35 am

  65. Is Sweeney a toss-in for this deal? I can see him being projected at negative value for this year (replacement level, $1.4M contract) looking at his stats.

    I have a hard time believing that he has declined to the point where he is average/below average in RF though, since he was just playing all 3 OF positions not long ago.

    I think he makes for a real good 4th OF for us, since he can backup all 3 positions + average D + get on base around 35% of the time.. the only problem is the team seems unwilling to spend to get a RF in there thats worth starting and doesn’t exactly seem committed to playing Kalish. Either way, I like this for the Sox.

    Comment by Jim Lahey — December 29, 2011 @ 8:56 am

  66. Try being an O’s fan. You’ve been to 5 playoffs since 98.

    Comment by Greg — December 29, 2011 @ 8:57 am

  67. According to who? He was not in BA’s top 10.

    Comment by Paul — December 29, 2011 @ 9:12 am

  68. I’d say this is a classic deal for Beane where he deals a guy with legit value but who on his team is completely replaceable, i.e., a throw-in, and gets a legit talent upgrade coming back by doing it.

    I don’t have any problem with Boston’s end of this deal, because they have the depth, but I love the deal for Oakland with what they’re trying to do.

    Comment by Paul — December 29, 2011 @ 9:17 am

  69. As Top Prospect wrote, I like the deal as much because with the Sox stockpiling live arms for the bullpen, it signals to me that they really are going to give Bard a fair chance at starting. I’m wondering if Aceves will also get that chance. The Sox don’t need their 5th starter to be excellent, they don’t even need him to be league-average, if he is not record-settingly awful, it will be an improvement over last year.

    While not as definitive as the Shoppach’s signing was for Varitek’s playing career with the Sox, the Bailey trade is one more move toward closing out Wakefield’s career with the Sox.

    I like Reddick and I hope he helps out the A’s. I would have been fine going into this season with Reddick and Kalish holding down RF/4th OF duties.

    Comment by Dan G — December 29, 2011 @ 9:28 am

  70. Sickels recent ranking.

    Comment by seymour — December 29, 2011 @ 10:09 am

  71. No, but holding a reliever out of a high-leverage situation because a higher-leverage situation MIGHT happen in the next couple of innings is a bad bet.

    Comment by Ari Collins — December 29, 2011 @ 10:21 am

  72. Agreed that he’s NOT fleecing the teams. What Ben is doing is trading his young players with upside who are currently second-stringers with actual second-stringers, and getting some bullpen pieces in return for losing that upside.

    Comment by Ari Collins — December 29, 2011 @ 10:24 am

  73. Mike Newman must have been pretty giggly seeing Molina ranked 7 spots ahead of Anthony Gose. Let’s just say Sickels had the guy ranked at least 10 spots higher than anybody else. Not to mention that even with that optimistic ranking, it makes him more valuable than Reddick? I’m not seeing it.

    Comment by Paul — December 29, 2011 @ 11:13 am

  74. Statistical analysis of any closer deals with small sample sizes. They typically pitch no more than 60 innings in a season, and no more than one inning per appearance. A closer who has one outing where he walks two batters and then surrenders a three-run homer will endure an FIP and ERA implosion. It could take a month of appearances to soften the effects.

    Walk rate and K rate are valid metrics for evaluating closers. You don’t want your pitcher walking batters late in a close game. And you want a closer who can miss bats if he gets into a jam. Aside from those metrics, we are dealing with a lot of obscurity. We are evaluating pitchers who typically face no more than four hitters per appearance. I’m not sure that the metrics we use to evaluate starters who may face more than 900 batters in a season and who routinely face 25 to 30 batters per outing are as helpful when evaluating closers.

    Comment by Greg — December 29, 2011 @ 11:30 am

  75. Trade breakdown from Baseball America –

    Comment by George — December 29, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

  76. I agree.

    The Astros did very well in the Lowrie for Melancon deal.

    Comment by chuckb — December 29, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

  77. Has to be hard for As fans…by trading away three (most?) valuable MLB assets, it’s as if the front office and ownership is saying that if a move to San Jose (and presumably a greater revenue stream) is being held up/stopped by MLB/Selig, then “we” will remain in perpetual cost-cutting mode.

    Comment by George — December 29, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

  78. Reddick’s home splits kind of sucked offensively (~.690 OPS at Fenway). His road splits were much better (over .800 OPS). Only 2 career games at Oakland, though.

    In a smaller sample size, Sweeney was also rough at Fenway, OPSing .613.

    Also, Sweeney’s career numbers in right are much better defensively than at other positions.

    Comment by SiddFinch — December 29, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

  79. i will not listen to you people whine

    try being 5 the last time your team made the playoffs. Let’s go Bucs!

    Comment by Mingy — December 29, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

  80. That’s pretty much the complete opposite of what the SoxProspect guys say about Alcantara:

    “Does not hold velocity deep into his outings, but he’s still in the early stages of building arm strength and stamina. Projects to add higher sitting velocity as he matures. Has trouble spotting up on both sides of the plate. Tends to leave his fastball in the middle of the zone. Below-average fastball command. Also mixes in a 82-83 mph slider and an 83-86 mph changeup. Slider can show tight rotation and tilt, but he’s inconsistent producing hard snap and depth with the offering. Tends to roll to the plate arm-side with loopy break. Potential to be a plus pitch with refinement and evolve into a power slider. Creates similar arm-speed to fastball when throwing changeup, but still learning how to feel the pitch in his hand. Solid-average-to-better potential. Does not command secondary stuff well, but both have solid foundation to become swing and miss offerings.”

    The potential is there, but the command is supposed to be one of the drawbacks, not something he’s currently good at. The walk rate in the GCL isn’t something to look at to judge a players control (batters in the GCL love to swing at absolutely anything and he walked as many guys in 17 innings at Lowell as he did in 48 innings in the GCL).

    Comment by KyleL — December 29, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

  81. I’ll say again, as always, what has Billy Beane ever won?

    Comment by tonysoprano — December 29, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

  82. agreed

    Comment by Baseball Insomnia — December 29, 2011 @ 6:52 pm

  83. Replied to the wrong comment. “agreed” was meant for you PaddyG. I just take issue with the OLD SCHOOL baseball writer like Heyman who claim the A’s got robbed, it’s just not so.

    Comment by Baseball Insomnia — December 29, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

  84. Several AL West Division championships?

    Comment by Seideberg — December 29, 2011 @ 7:36 pm

  85. See next comment

    Comment by Baseball Insomnia — December 29, 2011 @ 7:39 pm

  86. Exactly.

    Reddick and Sweeney are equals defensively (according to metrics) and Reddick is already a MUCH better hitter. Add to it that Reddick will cost the league minimum through 2013 and Sweeney will cost 1.4M this year and MORE in 2013 and you have a MUCH more valuable player in Reddick.

    Comment by Socrates — December 29, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

  87. Like I said originally I would’ve thought Bailey could’ve fetched more too but that is just a guess. Who really knows what the market was for him? Maybe he shopped him around and this was the best that he got. And also like I said, personally I thought it was a bad deal for Oakland but Beane is alot smarter than me and I would guess most of the critics on here so I don’t think it’s fair for me to criticize the deal just yet. These prospects may very well be better than what other people think. I will say though that I don’t like Reddick that much at all.

    Comment by Dwight S. — December 30, 2011 @ 2:23 am

  88. Oh and I’d just like to add, by not liking Reddick at all I mean that I don’t think he is anything more than a 4th OF or maybe a 2 win player tops. That’s obviously not bad but I don’t expect him to be a stud or even a plus regular, so if that is what Oakland is counting/banking on in this trade I think they will definitely be disappointed.

    Comment by Dwight S. — December 30, 2011 @ 2:28 am

  89. Here’s the thing though. Under normal circumstances, I bet he gets more for Bailey. However, how many teams are in need of a CP? How many are willing to take a guy who’s salary is only going to go up? You already limit the people willing to take on the trade. Plus you also have to look at teams that fit this that also have a win now philosophy (giving up prospects for “now” talent) and also teams who actually have prospects. Not only that, but Bailey is coming off 2 injury years. Beane could have kept bailey one more year, hoping he improves but he probably doesn’t think he will. Beane sees closers as mediocre pitchers who when given 1 inning with a lead, should usually be able to hold it and get the save. The save stat makes a guy look better (you wouldn’t think in 2011 that GMs would still be dumb enough to fall for it), then you trade the CP for better pitchers.

    In other words, yea, if you just look at “so and so got these prospects, Bailey should have gotten a similar package” then Beane should have gotten more. Realistically, this is a good deal for Beane.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — December 31, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

  90. Andrew Bailey was a failed starting pitcher in the minors. He had one amazing rookie season as the A’s closer, and has been effective, but frequently injured, in the last two seasons. Yes, he developed from a failed two-pitch starter into a reliable-when-healthy closer. But, the A’s can’t afford to pay a guy All-Star money to sit on the DL half the time. And, the A’s know better than anyone that there are probably five more “potential” Andrew Baileys in their farm system right now (Eric Gagne types; two-pitch pitchers who can’t be effective as SPs, but who can dominate as RPs — a guy like Tyson Ross comes to mind).

    So, the A’s packaged Bailey with Sweeney, and got (1) Josh Reddick, (2) a low-probability-of-return-but-high-upside arm, and (3) a Matt LaPorta v.2. That doesn’t sound like a fleecing to me; it sounds more like Beane capitalized on Bailey’s “closer” tag, and like teams devalued Bailey because he is injured so often.

    Beane got two decent prospects, plus an upgrade in the OF. That’s not a fleecing for a two-years-ago-rookie-of-the-year-closer-who-spends-half-the-season-on-the-DL.

    Re: the OF upgrade: Calling Sweeney a 4th OF is almost a compliment, he’s more like a defensive replacement for a 4th OF; he’s 27 years old; he’s always on the DL; he’s in his second year of arbitration-eligibility; and, he’s had a sub-1.0 WARP each of the last two years according to BP. Reddick, meanwhile, is 25, doesn’t even become arbitration-eligible until after 2013, and had a 2.2 WARP last year, and has power. That’s an upgrade in the OF.

    Comment by Dick Almighty — January 2, 2012 @ 11:07 am

  91. Half agree. Half disagree.

    Don’t think the A’s got screwed on value for Bailey. The upgrade from Reddick to Sweeney is being undersold here; that is a big upgrade (defensively they’re close, but Sweeney was a black hold offensively). Getting two decent prospects plus a current upgrade to your MLB roster is not bad for a freqently-injured closer.

    Do think the A’s are in fire sale mode. This is the front office’s way of covering up for the crap job they did of drafting/acquiring/developing hitters over the last five years; they’re blaming the fans and the city and the stadium, and claiming they have to sell all of their valuable assets because the revenues can’t support the payroll. It’s complete crap, of course; the A’s turn a profit every season, and the reason fans don’t show up is the A’s haven’t put together a decent offense since 2004 and because the owner spends more time bad-mouthing the stadium than he does attending games.

    If the A’s could find a buyer who was willing to accept the risk that goes with the potential reward of winning, they might be in good shape. But, right now, they’ve got a risk-averse weasel of an owner who’d rather turn a profit every year than lose a single dollar chasing after an AL West crown.

    No risk, no reward… always rebuilding.

    Comment by Dick Almighty — January 2, 2012 @ 11:21 am

  92. Using ISO alone would be cherry-picking, but you needn’t cherry-pick to conclude Reddick is better than Sweeney.

    He just is. Reddick’s cheaper than Sweeney, under team control for five years instead of two, he doesn’t have Sweeney’s propensity for spending time on the DL, and he has more power than Sweeney. Yes, Sweeney may put the bat on the ball more, but he hits the ball like his bat was made of sponge instead of maple. Reddick is a capable MLB OF. Sweeney is a 4th OF, at best, and even there, you better hope your top 3 don’t get injured.

    Comment by Dick Almighty — January 2, 2012 @ 11:29 am

  93. Lowrie is a defensive liability and hasn’t had 300 PA’s since 2006. Those kinds of injury issues don’t correct themselves. He’ll go on a tear now and then – and those keep his offensive numbers respectable, but all things considered, he’s not physically durable enough to be an everyday player and he’s awful defensively making him unsuited to be a backup on a contending team. Of anything out of the Melancon deal, I’m astonished that *that many* people hold him in high regard.

    Comment by Towney007 — January 2, 2012 @ 11:42 am

  94. I love it when people throw around terms like ‘fleecing’ all the time… just stop.

    The A’s are gambling on upside – no more, no less. Head was blocked in Boston and is a gamble. Not a lot of first baseman his size make it to the bigs. Could be interesting gamble, time will tell. Alcantara is a total lottery ticket. He’ll either end up a #2/#3 or flame out by the time he hits AAA. Reddick and Sweeney is basically swapping fourth outfielders. Sweeney’s more in the mold of a guy who gives you solid defense and eats pitches. He also goes opposite field *a lot*. Reddick’s a more powerful version of Sweeney and comes cheaper with more upside – he’s the kind of player the A’s would be looking for right now. Sox get Bailey who has great stuff, could be an excellent closer, cost controlled for a number of years but is risky due to the injury history.

    It’s a gamble on both sides to a degree, but a totally fair deal. Considering closers were going in the $35-$50 million range four weeks ago and/or it was costing top prospects to acquire them – Cherington did well by waiting out the market and getting a fair price.

    Comment by Towney007 — January 2, 2012 @ 11:51 am

  95. It really isn’t. Even when Bailey is healthy, the “value” he provides to the Red Sox (he had a 2.3 WARP in 2009, according to BP; he had a sub-1.0 WARP in 2010 and 2011) is probably equivalent to the “value” they lost by downgrading from Reddick (2.2 WARP in 2011, in less than 300 PAs) to a platoon of Sweeney (0.8 in 2011, 0.6 in 2010) and McDonald (0.3, 0.7).

    The upgrade Beane got in the OF (Sweeney to Reddick) is being substantially undersold here and elsewhere. Reddick is a cheap, young, starting-caliber MLB OF, with some power upside; Sweeney is sort of a little bit of two of those things, if you’re wearing the right brand of goggles (he’s youngish, and somewhat cheap; he’s neither a starting-caliber MLB OF, and despite the fact he looks like he should have power upside, he hits the ball with the authority of a 3-yr old with a wiffle bat).

    Plus, the Sox lost two prospects, both of whom may turn out to be totally worthless, or maybe not.

    How is that a steal? Oh yeah, because they got a proven closer? Why not sign Ryan Madsen, and keep Reddick and the prospects? I’m sure that would have been more expensive, but I’d rather have Madsen and Reddick than Bailey and Sweeney, if I were Ben Cherrypicker.

    Comment by Dick Almighty — January 2, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

  96. I’m sorry, but this just smacks of ‘I read Bill James stuff, now I know everything’.

    If you kept up on him, you’d know that he’s changed his view on RP quite a bit – in fact saying that since working in a front office, his opinion on RP is the one that’s changed the most. A large degree of the criticism of the over valuation of relief pitchers had a lot to do with the fact that well… measuring their value was a challenge. As advancements have been made, it’s becoming the final frontier of sorts for front offices. So far, closers/relievers have been signed based largely on their WPA and inLI, with no attention being paid to whether there’s air in those numbers from various forms of non-predictive karma, or whether those numbers underestimate the pitcher because of the way he was used. That’s really the primary driver right now, and while it’s obviously imperfect, it’s made it easier.

    You can’t run from the fact that the Rangers, Blue Jays and Red Sox – three of the most sabermetric-friendly organization in the AL – all made deals to acquire a new closer this year and/or trade for relief help. The Rangers forked over almost $40 million for Joe Nathan. The Blue Jays gave up a pair of prospects and so did the Red Sox. Obviously, they see the value being there. From the Red Sox standpoint – where they’re losing essentially their two best BP pitchers (Papelbon to free agency and Bard to the rotation), there’s increased value. I think they did just fine relative to the market.

    Comment by Towney007 — January 2, 2012 @ 12:16 pm

  97. JD Drew Lite? JD Drew is a basically a decent power-good plate discipline OF (with decent other tools, but nothing that stands out). Without the power, all you have is good plate discipline; and, once pitchers figure out you have no power, they start pounding the plate, thereby negating the benefits of that plate discipline.

    JD Drew Lite (i.e., JD Drew with no power) basically means he’s a dime-a-dozen defensive replacement 4th OF.

    Comment by Dick Almighty — January 2, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

  98. That was a pretty easy question.

    Got anymore brain busters?

    Comment by Dick Almighty — January 2, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

  99. Ben sure did “fleece” people. Melancon has pitched 2 innings for the Sox, while Bailey has pitched none. Meanwhile, Reddick put up a +144 wRC for Oakland and Lowrie a +143 for Houston.

    Comment by leoleo — June 5, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

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