Jim & Bob's Palatial Baseball Blog

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Trading Places?

The non-waiver trading deadline has passed. For a change, there was actually a pretty big deal that went down (Mark Teixeira to the Braves).

Not as big a deal, but just as surprising, was the Pirates’ decision to take the remains of Matt Morris of Brian Sabean’s hands. I’ll let ESPN’s Jayson Stark explain why that deal is so shocking:

The Pirates called. And wanted Matt Morris. His 7.94 ERA since mid-June? Not a problem. That $9.5 million he's owed next year (not counting his $1 million 2009 buyout)? Not a problem. And so they swooped in and finished off a deal for Morris minutes before the deadline -- for a legit prospect (Rajai Davis), a second prospect to be chosen from an agreed-upon list and absolutely zero money changing hands. Well, it didn't take long. For the next two hours, after people around baseball learned of this deal, they couldn't stop calling, e-mailing and texting reactions that could probably be summed up with three succinct words: WHAT THE BX!GRZFDQ!!!!! Don't get us wrong here. We love Matt Morris. Terrific guy. Has had a wonderful career. Should be a fine mentor to those young Pirates starters. But the Giants were just about begging teams to take Morris and offering to chomp big chunks of his money if they had to. Then this team going nowhere dropped out of the sky and took the man and the money. What a country. "That move," said one incredulous front-office man, "is so far out of left field, it's in the Monongahela."

I can understand the Bucs wanting an innings-eater. Even if the pitcher involved doesn’t eat a lot of innings because he gets shelled. But to trade a decent prospect (or two) for the privilege of running Morris out there every fifth day? And not get any dough back from the Giants to pay for that privilege?

Morris isn’t enough to make this Pirates team respectable. And Morris isn’t going to be part of the next good Pirates team. So that prompts me to ask: How does Dave Littlefield keep his job?

Some other people took exception to other deals. People more famous than I am. Major League players, to be exact.

Like Padres closer Trevor Hoffman. What did the future Hall of Famer have to say about the flurry of moves that saw the trade of Scott Linebrink, the firing of Merv Rettenmund, and the acquisition of Rob Mackowiak, Morgan Ensberg, and Wil Ledezma?

It doesn't really serve a purpose, other than there's chaos in the clubhouse, and that's not a good thing, either…Today's kind of caught a lot of people off guard. There's a bit of scrambling around, not really knowing what happened or why. I think it forces you to just kind of keep your head down and focus on what you can do to improve the club personally.

I take it he wasn’t thrilled by the moves.

And neither was Twins’ ace Johan Santana. Here’s his reaction to the Luis Castillo trade:

That's exactly how they [i.e., the front office] are. That's why we're never going to go beyond where we've gone…Why waste time when you're talking about something that's always going to be like that? It's never going to be beyond this point. It doesn't make any sense for me to be here, you know?... If you only worry about the future, then I guess a lot of us won't be part of it. I've been here for eight years, and I've seen a lot of those kind of things. I've seen a lot of those guys (like Castillo) come in and leave. (The decision makers) don't care. They always talk about caring about it. I don't think they care ... it's not enough to go all the way to the World Series.

Yikes. Sounds like Johan ain’t happy. Anything else to add?

They protect their organization, their roots, everything. But I guess I won't be a part of it. A lot of guys don't feel like they can be part of it and they have to move on.

That can’t have Twins Fans feeling warm and fuzzy.

However, all that gab made me feel a little better. With Jeff Bagwell safely retired, I was worried that there would be no players willing to step up and play GM. But if guys as rational as Hoffman and Santana are willing to speak out about their team’s moves, we won’t have to worry about this trade deadline tradition disappearing anytime soon…

UPDATE: Just saw this on Dr. Phil’s blog post – Prince Fielder on the demotion of Rickie Weeks:

It sucks. I wouldn’t have done it.

Ah…another budding clubhouse GM. Kids grow up so quickly nowadays…

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