Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Gagne with a spoon

Hope everyone's having a nice summer. Here are some reflections on a particular summer activity of great importance.

I see the Red Sox couldn't let the trading deadline go by without doing something. Unfortunately, I'm not sure they did the right thing. What they did was trade starter Kason Gabbard to the Rangers along with a couple of minor-leaguers, for closer Eric Gagne. Now Gagne is a fine closer, no doubt about it (as the Red Sox noticed when they faced him earlier this season and failed to score). But they have a fine closer already, not to mention a set-up man with an ERA of 0.87, plus a number of other quality relievers (they lead the majors in bullpen ERA). So I'm not sure that Mr. Gagne won't be a bit redundant. On the other hand, they did announce that Brendan Donnelly won't be returning after all, but will instead undergo season-ending elbow surgery. Plus they traded Joel Pineiro to the Cardinals for a player whose identity, in this context anyway, has yet to be determined. So there's that. Still, Gabbard had done very well, and while it seems that when Curt Schilling rejoins the team this weekend, there won't be a place for Gabbard in the rotation (what with Jon Lester's return), I hate to lose him. If any starter goes down, they'll be stuck with Julian Tavarez, a man who has Middle Reliever written all over him (10.80 ERA in his last three starts). Tavarez starts tonight, in Gabbard's place – let's see how he does tonight.

Now the Sox had also apparently been trying to land Jermaine Dye from the White Sox, who is admittedly having an off year, but he still runs rings around the Red Sox reserve outfielders Wily Mo Pena and Eric Hinske, both of whom have spent the season hovering limply around the Mendoza Line. (The former in particular fails to impress me. So he's a big guy and can hit it a long way on the rare occasions that he happens to tag one. Big deal. IIRC, even the time he went 5 for 5, 4 of them were seeing-eye grounders.) I think I heard they had even settled on Pena plus X for Dye, but they couldn't agree on X. Too bad; they need some more pop from the outfield bats, given the off seasons from Coco Crisp (gotta love that name though) and J. D. Drew.

So they went with the Gagne trade instead. It may all work out, if the hitting picks up, or if Hideki Okajima gets hit by a meteorite. At least it won't be as bad as the infamous L**** A******* – J*** B****** trade (*shudder*). But if Gabbard wins the 2010 Cy Young, don't come crying to me.

UPDATE [8/2]: Tavarez did okay, 3 runs, 7 hits through 5 innings. Back to the bullpen with you though! As for Wily Mo Pena, the man is an LOB machine:

3rd: man on first, no out: pops up
4th: first and second, 2 out: grounds into force
6th: first and second, 2 out: grounds into force
7th: bases loaded, 1 out: pops up, infield fly rule

Total LOB: 8


N. N. said...


I certainly hope Gabbard wins the 2010 Cy Young. He's about to get his first start in Arlington. At any rate, thanks for the prospects. Between the Gagne deal, sending Tex to Atlanta, and Lofton to Cleveland, the Rangers managed to collect a pretty good lot of young talent (the Braves, for instance, gave up the top three prospects in their system). I would have liked to trade Young as well. If you're fire-selling, why not trade it all. But I guess there has to be at least one All-Star to bring the young guys along.

As for the rationale of Boston trading for Gagne, perhaps they're trying to have a 3-man closer system a la the Yanks when they had Nelson, Rivera, and Wettland. You pretty much knew against that team that if their starter held a lead through six, the game was over.

Duck said...

Yes, it looks like the Rangers did pretty well. Good point about keeping a few veterans around. I do appreciate that the Sox front office was good about holding on the top prospects (unlike in certain *other* years). Would have been nice to land Dye though (and unload Pena; see post update). I wonder who else the Pale Hose wanted.

Watching the scoreboard as I write this, I see that Gabbard is doing well against the Tribe (2 runs, 6 hits through 5). Unfortunately, the Rangers have no hitters left, so he's behind. Oh well. I see as well that the White Sox sent 14 men to the plate in the second inning against the Yankees, scoring 8 runs against Clemens. Sweet!

You are of course right about the 3-man closer strategy, clearly what they have in mind. That could be very nice. I remember thinking at the time, that guy Rivera is as good as I've ever seen (alas), and he's not even the closer. On the other hand, Beckett, Schilling, and Matsuzaka often pitch into the 7th or 8th.