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Bay Area Baseball

Trader Who's?

At some point, I didn't really know the difference between Trader Joe's, Trader Vic's and Trader Sam's. Not that I had thought about it much. Anyways, you too can be excused if you have no idea who these journeymen were who got moved at baseball's trade deadline. First, what happened with the A's and their competitors for the Wild Card?

Athletics: No deals. They had previously traded for Jay Payton, Jay Witasick and Joe Kennedy to smooth out some small holes in the outfield and pitching staff.

Yankees: Picked up Alan Embree, Shawn Chacon, Hideo Nomo and Al Leiter. This makes them a better team, how?

Twins: No moves. Bret Boone was supposed to be released, but the Kevin Millar and Bill Mueller deals went nowhere. Torii Hunter just suffered an ugly leg ligament tear, so the Twins may try to make some waiver deals.

Rangers: This beat goes on. There were many rumors surrounding Alfonso Soriano, but no…

Indians: Stood pat. They were thought to be sellers (of poor starting pitchers to the Yankees) but decided not to make any deals. They previously swapped under-performing outfielders with the Cubs – Jody Gerut for Jason Dubois.

Blue Jays: Nothing doing.

Orioles: Traded OF Larry Bigbie to Colorado for OF Eric Byrnes (who was an Athletic not so long ago. Remember?) This isn't going to do much for the O's.

Detroit: Closer Kyle "the animal" Farnsworth will take his bodyslams to Atlanta in exchange for minor league prospects. They're seven games back of the Wild Card, and that, combined with enough injuries to veterans to make excuses in the offseason means they can trade their closer and stop pretending that they're in the race.

How boring was that? The Yankees picked up every washed-up pitcher on the market, and everybody else passed Eric Byrnes around like an unwanted goofball. But nobody got better. With so many teams feeling lucky this year, there just weren't enough sellers on the market.

The Bay Area's teams made only one deal: the Giants traded C Yorvit Torrealba and P Jesse Foppert to Seattle for OF Randy Winn.

I am happy for Yorvit Torrealba. He was, for whatever reason, bumping up against a glass ceiling in the Giants organization that has kept him on the bench for what could have been three productive years. He goes to an organization that not only has a slightly better team than the Giants, but also has a power vacuum at catcher. He certainly figures to get more playing time. It was too difficult to erase the Mike Matheny mistake, and if the Giants were only going to play Torrealba once a month, this was the best value they could get out of him.

As for Foppert, it's a low-risk move for the Mariners. If he doesn't turn out, then they lost very little in both personnel and salary. If he does, then the Giants look like fools for giving up a solid pitcher. The Giants have given up Jerome Williams, David Aardsma and Foppert this year, and have decided to (sort of) go with Brad Hennessey, and, if they're feeling like it, give Kevin Correia a shot to make the rotation. The only discernable goal here seems to be to trade away all of their young players before they have a chance to be any good.

The impact on the Giants roster is that Jason Ellison grabs some bench while Randy Winn becomes the everyday centerfielder. Some comparisons:

2005 OPS: Winn 735; Ellison 725.
Fielding Runs Above Average in CF: Winn 2 in 505 games; Ellison 1 in 78 games.
2006 salary: Winn $3.75 million; Ellison $300,000.
Age: Winn 31; Ellison 27.

Not much of an improvement?

To be fair, Ellison has thus far hit around his 70th percentile projection (fueled by an enormous April), while Winn is at his 50th. So we can expect Ellison to decline a bit more over the rest of the season. In all, Winn is probably worth 1.5 extra wins for the Giants over Ellison. Incremental wins can be had more cheaply than the extra $3.45 million spent on Winn's 2006 player option -- and if the Giants want to spend within their means next year (a given) they'll need to pick up extra wins much more cheaply.