During this week’s podcast, which should be available soon, we talked a little bit about the stylistic and content rules at Getting Blanked. (Don’t worry. It was just a mention. We didn’t dive down a meta hole or anything.) Just behind always posting an exclamation mark after mentioning the name Ichiro!, the most oft used rule is refraining from using any trade made by Los Angeles Dodgers GM Ned Colletti as proof of anything.
The second rule comes up most often when discussing the value of relievers on the trade market because of Colletti’s history of overpaying for new additions to his bullpen.
While few might have faulted him for acquiring George Sherrill at the cost of third baseman Josh Bell and pitcher Steve Johnson after winning the NL West in 2009, Sherrill’s performance in the playoffs (giving up four runs over three hits and four walks in four and a third innings) and the subsequent year (6.69 ERA and a 5.94 walk rate) quickly made people forget about his value to the team down the stretch in 2009. It certainly didn’t help matters much that Bell was on several of the top 100 prospect lists heading into the 2010 season, even if his stock has since dropped since then.
More recently, and even more egregiously, the Dodgers traded pitcher James McDonald and outfielder Andrew Lambo to the Pittsburgh Pirates for reliever Octavio Dotel at the 2010 trade deadline. Although he’s struggled at times this year, McDonald figures to be an important part of the Pirates rotation moving forward. Meanwhile, Dotel didn’t even finish the season with Los Angeles, getting traded to the Rockies for a player to be named later in September, as the Dodgers’ hopes for a division crown faded even faster last season than their attendance numbers this year.
Speaking of their problems this year, with Dodgers ownership in serious trouble, we’re unlikely to see Colletti attempt to solidify the Los Angeles bullpen with an ill advised swap. But fear not reliever salesmen, another team is emerging as a candidate to send your weak, tired and veteran relief pitchers.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, currently second place in the NL West, two and a half games behind the San Francisco Giants, have plans to increase their payroll ahead of the 2011 trade deadline. According to D’Backs President and CEO Derrick Hall:
We’ve got the flexibility. Our ownership group is willing to invest in this team. We’ve told [Kevin Towers], ‘If we’re in it, we’ll do whatever it takes to support you.’
FOX Sports Jon Paul Morosi hints that “whatever it takes” most likely means bullpen support, informing us that:
The team with the most relievers to auction appears to be the San Diego Padres – the organization that fired Towers as its GM after the 2009 season. A number of San Diego executives previously worked for Arizona, and vice versa. But in this instance, that would probably hinder, rather than help, the consummation of a deal. In addition to that, the teams play in the same division.
Morosi goes on to name Minnesota’s Matt Capps (no stranger to being costing teams too much on the trade market) as an alternate option to Mike Adams and Heath Bell.
If I’m Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos, with relievers Octavio Dotel, Frank Francisco, Jason Frasor and Jon Rauch all theoretically available, I’m buying a phone card and using it to save on long distance charges while I hound Towers with trade offers.