Looking Back at Some Pre-2009 Trades

I think it’s been enough time to give a decent amount of analysis and reflection on some of the trades that transpired prior to the start of the 2009 season:

Tigers receive: SP Edwin Jackson
Rays receive: OF Matt Joyce
Advantage: Tigers

This one will have to go in the Tigers’ direction, as Jackson sported a 3.62 ERA, 4.28 FIP, and 4.39 xFIP for Detroit in 2009, adding up to a very nice 3.5 WAR season. Jackson, who is having an even better season for the D’Backs this year, helped net the Tigers SP Max Scherzer and OF Austin Jackson. Matt Joyce, on the other hand, has been a disappointment. He produced -0.1 WAR for the Rays in 11 games last seson and has been in Triple-A for 2010.
– – –

Indians receive: RHP Joe Smith, INF Luis Valbuena
Mariners receive: CF Franklin Gutierrez, RHP Aaron Heilman, CF Endy Chavez, 1B Mike Carp, SP Jason Vargas, RHP Maikel Cleto, CF Ezekiel Carrera
Mets receive: RHP J.J. Putz, OF Jeremy Reed, RHP Sean Green
Advantage: Mariners

I don’t think there’s much doubt here that the Mariners absolutely dominated this deal. Not only did they get the incredibly valuable Franklin Gutierrez, but they also received some decent prospects and an MLB-caliber starting pitcher in Vargas. The Mets got a whole bunch of misery, although Sean Green can be a valuable ROOGY when healthy. The Indians didn’t think Gutierrez was ever going to be an everyday player and were looking at Smith and Valbuena as possible pieces to a playoff run in ’09. Unfortunately for them, Joe Smith has not panned out at all and Valbuena has been awful.
– – –

Yankees receive: OF Nick Swisher and RHP Kanekoa Texeira
White Sox receive: INF Wilson Betemit, SP Jeff Marquez and P Jhonny Nunez
Advantage: Yankees

It’s clear that Kenny Williams overreacted to a medicore year from Swisher in 2008 driven by a very low BABIP. The peripherals were still there, and in the end the Yankees have gotten 5.8 WAR out of Swisher in just 207 games. Wilson Betemit is now toying around Kansas City.
– – –

Nationals receive: SP Scott Olsen, OF Josh Willingham
Marlins receive: 2B Emilio Bonifacio, P P.J. Dean and INF Jake Smolinski
Advantage: Nationals

I understand this was a money move by the Marlins, but, man, did they get ripped off here. I wrote about this deal a little under a year ago, and it looks even worse now. Willingham was worth 2.4 WAR last year and has matched that already this year, while Scott Olsen has rejuvenated himself lately.
– – –

Cardinals receive: INF Khalil Greene
Padres receive: RHP Mark Worrell and a PTBNL
Advantage: Padres

This one seems pretty benign at first. Greene was awful in St. Louis (-0.9 WAR) and Worrell never did anything for San Diego. However, the PTBNL in the deal turned out to be Luke Gregerson, whom we have profiled a few times here at FanGraphs. Gregerson put up a 2.50 FIP last year and is at 1.99 this year entering from the Pads pen. He’s awesome.
– – –

Athletics receive: OF Matt Holliday
Rockies receive: OF Carlos Gonzalez, CL Huston Street, SP Greg Smith
Advantage: Rockies

We basically just have to compare what the Rockies gave for Holliday to what the A’s wound up getting for him. Oakland would deal him to St. Louis for INF Brett Wallace, OF Shane Peterson, and P Clayton Mortenson. Wallace was then dealt for OF Michael Taylor. Taylor has struggled mightily in Triple-A, while Gonzalez has 3.2 WAR in less than a season’s worth of playing time in Colorado. Huston Street was also fantastic for the Rockies last year, posting a 2.93 FIP.

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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

15 Responses to “Looking Back at Some Pre-2009 Trades”

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  1. Gina says:

    So we know Omar is a moron, but what was with the Indians part of the deal.

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    • James says:

      The thinking at the time was that Guit would hit well enough to be a 4th outfielder at best and nowhere near enough to play a corner spot with any regularity. With Sizemore playing literally every day in CF at the time it didn’t look like he was going to play all that much. Even at the time they probably grossly undervalued his defense in addition to missing the mark on his batting projections. Combine that with a desparate search for some one end the rotating door at 2B since Belliard left and there you go.

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  2. WY says:

    “Jackson, who is having an even better season for the D’Backs this year, helped net the Tigers SP Max Scherzer and OF Austin Jackson.”

    Hmmm. I wouldn’t say he’s having an “even better season” this year. His underlying numbers in terms of K’s, BB’s, and FIP are about the same, but if you account for the change in leagues as well as the fact that his ERA is a point and a half higher, it’s hard to say he’s been having a better year in terms of actual results.

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    • Steve says:

      Come on, join the 21st century of baseball analysis. Actual results don’t matter, silly!

      Yes, I am (sortof) joking.

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  3. Adam says:

    Great idea for an article; nicely done.

    I would also like to see the thoughts on the Indians in that three-way trade.

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  4. Brennan says:

    I”m not sure saying, Matt Joyce has struggled at AAA this season is quite accurate. He has struggled getting healthy this season; however, his numbers at AAA are coming along nicely now with a triple slash of .343/.470/.507.

    Looks like it may be just about time for the Rays to end the Blalock experiment and call up Matt Joyce.

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  5. Brennan says:

    Looks like I either mis-read your Matt Joyce statement or it was editted.

    Nice overall article.

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    • Pat Andriola says:


      Yup, I either initially misread his Triple-A line or he got really hot in the last three days. Thanks.

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  6. Matt Lentzner says:

    The Holliday trade is not quite as simple as you state. The A’s traded for a full season of Holliday plus his compensation value as a coming free agent (Type A, I assume). They traded away roughly half a season plus his compensation as a free agent.

    So they traded less and got less. And it’s way too early to give up on Taylor.

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    • Bill says:

      It is too early to give up on Taylor, but his ceiling is similiar to that of Carlos Gonzales. Street and the rest give a clear advantage to Colorado. Also, why do the Indians get a free pass on this site? They were badly hosed in the Putz trade, the Lee trade, and going back a little farther, the Marte trade. There needs to be a point that results force us to question the Indians process. How long can they continue to blame their problems on bad luck?

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    • suicide squeeze says:

      Here’s the way I see that set of trades as a whole:

      Oakland gave up Carlos Gonzalez to get Michael Taylor

      Oakland gave up Street and Smith to get 2/3 of a season of Matt Holliday, Clayton Mortensen and Shane Peterson.

      I consider the second part a wash. The A’s didn’t really need Street, Holliday was pretty good, etc…. The real way to tell if the deal worked is to compare Gonzalez and Taylor going forward. Colorado wins the deal thus far, but it’s way too early to make a final judgement.

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  7. Brennan says:

    Pat, In your defense, Joyce has definately heated up lately. Now if he could just translate some of that success to the MLB level.

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  8. Souldrummer says:

    Agree that the Nats won that trade. Hold off on the Scott Olsen rejuvenation, though. Olsen has been on the disabled list for awhile and has been shut down until further notice. Ironic because I think the Nats were more interested in Scott Olsen when they did the deal but Hammer has been the man since he got here and should be getting a tidy paycheck through arbitration or extension after this year.

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  9. Otter says:

    As a Sox fan, by June/July of ’08, Swisher was disliked. By October when he was complaining about not starting in the playoffs (even though he hadn’t been any good all year and at best was considered a minor failure) we openly started to hate him. I am glad to see him go and don’t miss him one bit. He created more problems than his .200 batting average and, thus imo, overrated OBP is worth. And Kenny was wise/smart enough to get rid of Wilson Betemit sooner rather than later; have to give him credit there.

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