Some "news & notes" and musings from Baseball Prospectus
this Sunday including additional comments about the Rich Harden trade:
" ..July 13, 2008
Every Given Sunday
Into the Breach
by John Perrotto
The Brewers and Cubs upgraded this past week by trading for CC Sabathia and Rich Harden. Both were strong contenders in the National League before the deals, and adding two ace-type starting pitchers only aids their chances. But what does it say about the teams that traded Sabathia and Harden?
That the Athletics dealt Harden was a bit of a surprise, since they're still within hailing distance of the first-place Angels in the American League West, trailing by five games going into todayís finale of the teamís three-game series. As for the Indians, it seemed unfathomable when the season began that they would be trading Sabathia, the reigning AL Cy Young winner, on Independence Day weekend as the defending AL Central champs were expected to make another strong playoff push after coming within one game of the World Series last October.
Inside the Athletics clubhouse, the players admitted that losing a pitcher of Hardenís caliber was a big blow. "Heís the best Iíve ever seen, honestly, when heís healthy, and Iíve played behind some pretty good pitchers, Rich is the most dominating around,"
second baseman Mark Ellis told the San Francisco Chronicle. ..."
BP also comments on Tony LaRooster's reaction to the trade: " ...After the Brewers and Cubs both acquired front-line starting pitchers, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was left wondering when his team was going to make a deal. He doesnít seem satisfied
[ Is he ever? - SK ] by GM John Mozeliakís idea that the expected return of right-handers Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter from the disabled list in early August will be as good as a trade. "Thatís a big edge to have the help now," La Russa said. "I don't get comforted by the fact we may have guys coming back later. I think the goal and the urgency should be there to help us as long as a lot of games are left on the schedule. Your goal should be to improve your chance to win right now."
The Cardinals are actually a touch closer to first place than the Brewers in the NL Central, trailing the Cubs by 5Ĺ games while Milwaukee is six back. La Russa believes that his club, which leads the wild-card race, deserves some help as a reward for overachieving. "Theyíve been busting it for three months," he said. "They probably need the boost more than another club."
Mozeliak, a first-year GM, is stressing patience. "I can appreciate where Tony is coming from, but I'm taking a broader view where we're not going to do something that may hurt us in two, three, four years," Mozeliak said. ... "
Moseliak's comments seem to illustrate the new philosophy in St louis that lead to the canning of Jocketty. They aren't trading their kids (what few they have left) for established players. They're going to get back to developing from within. Branch Rickey style.
Speaking of Jockety: you have to wonder what the reds are going to do later this year or in the off-season? The Reds are loaded with kids and he's one of those guys who just love trading kids for established talent.
What does Aaron Heilman have to do with all this?:
" ... The Mets are willing to trade right-handed set-up man Aaron Heilman
, who many scouts believe would be better as a starter, and the Diamondbacks, Red Sox, Athletics, and Cubs have interest.
I trust BP's rumor-mongering more than most.
He's not a bad pitcher. If you get him does he continue to relieve or do you return him to starting? Are the Cubs looking for a Carlos Marmol replacement?
" ...Geovany Sotoís 16 home runs are the most by a Cubs rookie since Mel Hall had 17 in 1983, and the most by a Cubs catcher since Randy Hundley had 19 in 1966. ... "
" ... The Cubsí 37 home wins are the most by a major league club before the All-Star break since the 1975 Reds went 39-9 at Riverfront Stadium in the first half. [ Big Red Machine comparison! ]
" ... Diamondbacks right-hander Brandon Webb has 23 wins since last yearís All-Star break, most in the major leagues
in that span ahead of Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte (21), Yankees right-hander Mike Mussina (18), Yankees right-hander Chien-Ming Wang (18) and Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano
(18). ... "