Sunday, November 8, 2009

This Is Really The Best We Could Get?

J.J. Hardy was never one of my favorite Brewers. Between the "J.J. Makes Me Hardy" nonsense, the pink No. 7 T-shirts that dotted the crowd, his periodic sub-zero streaks at the plate, the fact that he got to (approximately) three balls hit to his left during his time in Milwaukee, and his "I'm a shortstop and I ain't playing anywhere else" hissy fit this year, I was never on board the Hardy bandwagon.

That said, I wasn't blind to the fact that he had some value. While he's nowhere near Alcides Escobar in terms of range, J.J. is a solid defender with a plus arm -- and, most importantly, he's shown the ability to put up 25-homer, .800-ish OPS seasons at a position that (right now) is offense-poor. Of course, Doug Melvin didn't do anything to help that value with his short-sighted decision to demote Hardy in August (whatever value was gained by the loss of service time and resulting extra year of team control was, in my opinion, more than canceled out by the fact that 'Stache stamped: "NOT IN NEXT YEAR'S PLANS: MUST TRADE" on J.J.'s forehead by sending him to AAA), but, still, you had to figure that J.J. was worth more than a back-up center fielder.

With the trade for Carlos Gomez, though, it seems that I figured wrong. This is Worst Nightmare stuff, folks.

Yes, I know that Gomez was a prized prospect in the Mets' system, and that he was one of the centerpieces of the Johan Santana trade -- but doesn't that immediately raise a red flag in your mind? This was (apparently) the guy the Twins wanted in the Santana trade, and now they're giving up on him after two years? That doesn't give you pause?

And, yes, I've heard/read that Gomez is a phenomenal defender. My response to that point is: he fucking better be, if he's going to put up Kendall-esque slash stats of .229/.287/.337.

And, finally, yes, I've heard/read that Carlos Gomez is very fast. I have a two-fold response to that point. Response One is: "So was Alex Sanchez." Response Two is: he had all of nine infield hits last year, and five bunt hits. That's it: fourteen infield hits/bunt hits in 349 plate appearances. Essentially, from an offensive standpoint, we got a very, very, very poor man's Juan Pierre. Out-fucking-standing.

But hey, you say, we freed up some payroll! Hardy is going to get a bump in arbitration, and Gomez won't make nearly as much. And, since we've got our center fielder now (either Gomez on his own or in a righty/lefty platoon with Jody Gerut), we can let Cameron walk, and there's another $10 million! That's, like, $15 million to sign a free agent pitcher, you exclaim emphatically.

And ... who, exactly, do you want to sign? Here's the list. Go ahead, peruse at your leisure. I'll wait. Done yet? After reading that, is there any doubt in your mind that we're signing Doug Davis to a three-year, $30 million contract in the next couple of months? I'll start pouring battery acid on my eyeballs right now.

In the end, what disappoints me the most is what this trade says about next season. Depending on what happens with Kendall, there are potentially three eight-hole hitters in this line-up. I love Escobar, but, at this point in his career, he has to hit seventh or eighth. It would be suicide to plug Gomez (and his career .292 OBP) anywhere in the top half of the line-up. And then there's Kendall. Or Jon Lucroy. Or Angel Salome. Or Mike Rivera. One of those four is going to be in your everyday line-up.

It's altogether conceivable that your 2009 line-up could look something like this:

1. Weeks
2. Hart (ugh)
3. Braun
4. Fielder
5. McGehee (please trade him) / Gamel (please don't trade him)
6. Gomez
7. Kendall/Rivera/Lucroy/Salome
8. Escobar
9. Pitcher


I've gone on far too long already, and I don't know what point I'm ultimately trying to make, so I'll end here. This is not the start to the off-season I was hoping for.

(A total aside: Is anyone else concerned about what's going to happen the first time Joe Mauer and J.J. Hardy make eye contact? The Vortex of Beauty might cause the end of the universe.)


Softball's Tony Gwynn said...

I'm confused Rubie...what exactly did you think we could get for mr hardy?

See report from Boston:

Also, why do you want to trade McGehee? I'm not saying we should trade gamel now either but I wouldn't let go of McGehee when we can be a serivcable 3b/2b who was just a rookie and is dirt cheap. Gamel didn't exactly tear the cover off the ball last year.

FPMKE said...

I'm with SbTG on McGehee... unless we get a ridiculous return for him, it's not worth trading McGehee. We've got too much risk with Rickie Weeks still in the lineup; it benefits us to keep McGehee to either play 2nd if Weeks gets injured or play 3rd if Gamel can't cut it.

Rubie Q said...

I don't want to trade either one. However, if we're serious about getting pitching help, Gamel and McGehee are the two biggest chits we've got left. And I'd rather keep Gamel. I think McGehee hit his Podsednik-ian high this year, and I think he's going to have a major regression next season.

Master Reid said...

I don't love the deal, but I'm ok with it. Hardy's value took a nose dive because he hit for shit this year. The front office did what they could to salvage what was left. We got a young player, that fills a postion we need. As a prospect he was highly regarded enough that the Twins were willing to make him the center piece of their deal for Johan Santana. I know the numbers, but I also know that plate discipline is something that can be learned. Gomez will only be 24 next year, is already considered a plus defender and one of the fastest guys in baseball.

I know he's not pitching help, but we weren't getting major league level pitching help for Hardy regardless. I don't know how a guy that is going to have to spend the next year at AAA is going to help. I'd rather have a prospect that's scuffled in the bigs than a career minor leaguer that is coming off an unexpected "break-out season". And I'd much rather have an actual center-fielder (and by all accounts a pretty good one) playing the position than everyone else's favorite idea, move Rickie Weeks out there. Besides all of that, you know this isn't the last move the Brewers are going to make this offseason. We've only just begun.

Softball's Tony Gwynn said...

amen Reid!