Making Sense of Dodgers’, Angels’ Giveaways, and Moore

Now that some of the dust has settled from the end of the non-waiver trade deadline period, one can look back at the some of the mysterious deals made, especially those made by the Dodgers and Angels, and a couple of others.

The most mystifying deal of all, totally impossible to comprehend, was the Angels dealing their number one healthy starter, Hector Santiago, plus prospect Alan Busenitz, for Ricky Nolasco, a third-rate at best journeyman starter who is five years older than Santiago, and a 26-year-old underachieving former prospect, Alex Meyer, who has now been traded

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twice without ever doing much of anything through five minor league seasons. Once a top-twenty prospect from all the respected services, he has now dropped out of the top 100, as he has been switched back and forth from the rotation to the pen, and back again.

True, the Angels outlook this year is horrid, and it’s no better for next season as their trio of top starters, Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano, all figure to not see a mound before 2018, with C.J. Wilson also a question mark for 2017. But if they’ve thrown in the towel and
decide to trade the number one remaining pitcher, GET SOMETHING OF VALUE IN RETURN.
Meyer is 6’9” and is a power pitcher with a high 90s fastball, but the facts and stats don’t lie: Over five seasons at about every minor league level, he’s compiled a 3.40 ERA, 1.309 WHIP and a 26-22 won-lost record. Starting 78 times and relieving in 31 others, he’s recorded one save. He has struck out 511 in 447 innings, but has walked a totally unacceptable 193, right at 4 walks per nine innings, as well. In six major league innings, he’s allowed 10 earned runs, and walked seven.

I’d rate this trade below zero and give Meyer about a 10% chance of ever becoming a dependable major league pitcher. Nolasco, he of the 4.59 lifetime ERA over 11 seasons, gave up five earned runs in six innings in his first start for the Angels, and I expect nothing better from him, ever. Wait for him to follow Tim Lincecum to the DFA list by the end of the month.

And then we have the Dodgers, who despite the loss of Clayton Kershaw, likely for the rest of the season, who have severely mortgaged the future in what looks like a totally half-assed bid to go for broke this season. The Dodgers sent three top pitching prospects to Oakland in the deal for two veterans who can, and likely will, say bye-bye to the Dodgers after the season.

The Dodgers traded away TOP quality young pitching prospects Frankie Montas, a potential number one or number two starter or closer, Jharel Cotton and Grant Holmes

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the deal for currently injured veteran starter Rich Hill (who’s LA debut set for today has been postponed because he is not yet able to join the active roster due to his latest in a long, long line of injuries) and lefty outfielder Josh Reddick.

Reddick is a solid player and a demon against right handed pitching (.323 this season). He’s an excellent outfielder and figures to get extensive playing time now in right field, despite his inability to hit lefty pitching (.171 this season and .214 over
the last three seasons). But, he is an unrestricted free agent who can, and likely will, move along after the season.

Hill, also an unrestricted free agent after this season, is much more of a complete case, given his history and what, unlike with the solid and significantly younger Roddick, is unprecedented success this season. Hill is 36, and as I wrote before the start of the season (“2016’s Worst Free-Agent Signings”):

“He’s a journeyman fringe pitcher who seems to get his outright release once per year and who has hardly even pitched in the majors over the last few years (34 innings over the last two seasons, 88 over the last six). He was Washington Nationals’ property last spring but was released near mid-season without ever throwing a pitch for them. He then spent some time in the independent Atlantic League, and then went back to the minors in the Red Sox organization and eventually was called up to Boston where he did a fine job, but in four games and 29 innings. Somehow, that got him a $6 M GUARANTEED contract with Oakland for 2016.”

Granted, he’s pitched very well this season (9-3, 2.25 ERA, 1.09 WHIP) but that is only when he actually pitches. As the above history shows, he does not pitch much, which fits in so well with the laundry list of generally injured starters that the Dodgers have employed over the past several years. 9-3 sounds good, but he’s pitched in 14 games over two-thirds of the season, and the 76 innings he’s pitched this year are the most he’s pitched in a season since 2007 and represents the third highest total of his career. He’s hit the 100 innings pitched threshold exactly once over his 12 years in the majors.

So, if he pitches here and there, and not up to his early season success, he may want to stick around, and at a reasonable salary. But if he gets healthy and does well the rest of the year, he’ll be this off season’s Zack Greinke, wanting and likely receiving from someone, a contract for way too much money and for more years that anyone could ever expect to be completed successfully.

Bottom line as far as the Dodgers are concerned: In a season with likely no Kershaw the

rest of the year, no Hyun-Jin Ryu, no Brett Anderson, now with Bud Norris, Louis Coleman, Adam Liberatore and Chris Hatcher all joining the team’s long, long list of injured pitchers, and with a return this season from Andre Ethier seeming more and more unlikely, throwing away the bright futures of Montas, Cotton and Holmes seems like a cruel joke.
One final word, for now, on recent trades, and that is about what the Giants accomplished. The Giants made the single most important deal of the season in acquiring lefty starter Matt Moore. It is astounding to me how so-called “experts” have dismissed Moore as just another pitcher and failed to see the import of this deal. Sure, Moore has average stats for the full 2016 season (7-7 4.04, 1.34) but just four years ago, he was THE number one pitching prospect in baseball, and in his second year as a starter, in 2013 at 23 years of age, he went 17-4 for Tampa Bay. But then in 2014 the infamous torn elbow ligament occurred, followed by Tommy John surgery and the following two-year recovery period. Moore came back late in 2015 to pitch 63 ineffective innings, and started out poorly in 2016, but his recovery has been progressing, and he’s gotten better and better as 2016 has worn on (ERA by month: May – 7.36, June – 3.72, July – 2.41). The Giants gave up a lot in third baseman Matt Duffy and top shortstop prospect Lucius Fox, but in Moore they have solid starter who will be number two only to Madison Bumgarner for the next several years in the Giants’ rotation.

Winner – Giants, LoserDodgers, BIGGEST loserAngels.

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