I like my trades like I like my women

Like most single men in their mid-20s, my knowledge of women sits somewhere between “little” and “none.” But one night, while enjoying a round-table discussion with some people after a game this season, a bolt of real genius struck. Genius which sent at least a dozen people into utter hysterics. And it was this: Single dudes assume the average single girl gets asked out on dates hundreds of times per day, at least a dozen times by male models. This is not true. In actuality, we dudes don’t have to be some suave ladies’ man. We just have to be generally nice people and NOT elicit the response, “Uh, what?” (Note: Since hatching my theory, it has been confirmed as true by multiple female sources.)

The same philosophy applies to building a baseball team. You don’t always have to pull off blockbuster deals. You just can’t make moves that make people react by saying, “Uh, what?”

So when the Padres grabbed three minor-leaguers and a player to be named later for Adrian Gonzalez and signed Aaron Harang to a one-year, $3-million deal, I thought Jed Hoyer had a pretty good weekend. Because, especially when you’re operating on a $40-million payroll, you have to make consistently good deals. And since he took over, I can’t think of any “Uh, what?” moves.

Can you quibble with the trade? Sure. I don’t think the Padres have anybody in the minors who looks like a big-league shortstop (Drew Cumberland looks like a second baseman to me), so Jose Iglesias would’ve been a nice addition. And it would have been nice if the power hitter in the deal (1B Anthony Rizzo) hit right-handed to fit Petco Park better, but in San Diego, there’s much more to life than home runs.

The way I look at it (not that it matters) is this: Adrian Gonzalez was not going to be a Padre in 2012. If even the best prospects are far from sure things in the major leagues, then what does that make the two draft picks San Diego would’ve gotten for Gonzalez leaving as a free agent (if they even would’ve gotten them; a new collective bargaining agreement could change the landscape of compensatory picks)? Hoyer and most of his top assistants used to work for the Red Sox. Jason McLeod drafted all three of the players the Padres are getting. I doubt the Padres could’ve gotten more had they waited for the trade deadline. This deal might not make you stand up and applaud, but it doesn’t make you throw batteries, either.

Now… about those “Uh, what?” deals. Meet the Washington Nationals. Jayson Werth was going to torpedo any team not named the Yankees or Red Sox, and it looks like that’s about to happen. Here’s why: Werth is a very good player who put up very good numbers in Philadelphia, but he’s not $18 million a year until he’s 39 years old good. In other words, he’s not face-of-the-franchise good. Especially when he’s leaving the ideal surroundings in Philadelphia to the not-ideal surroundings of Washington. The Nationals have to overpay to get good players right now, but it doesn’t make sense for a bad team to give up all payroll flexibility, especially for a guy on the wrong side of 30. This has the Aaron Rowand stench all over it.

Random thoughts:

  • Baseball America‘s recap of the Gonzalez trade and just who the heck these prospects are.
  • Peter Gammons weighs in.
  • More on what the trade means for the farm system.
  • And where it leaves the major-league roster. Hint: They need infielders real bad.
  • The Padres have multiple holes on the MLB roster, but don’t forget about the Rule 5 Draft coming up this week. I’m pretty surprised the Orioles didn’t protect Wynn Pelzer from being taken. The Padres traded him to Baltimore for Miguel Tejada and could get him right back.
  • Second-biggest trade so far: RHP Shaun Marcum from the Blue Jays to the Brewers for minor-league 2B Brett Lawrie. Looks good for both sides. The Brewers need pitching in the worst way and Marcum is good. Lawrie goes home to Canada and looked like one of the best prospects in the MWL at the plate last year. He’s still blocked at second base by Aaron Hill, though.
  • Fat Elvis to the Cardinals. Low risk, potentially big reward.
  • Mark Reynolds supposedly traded to the Orioles. Good move for the Diamondbacks; they seem to set the intergalactic record for strikeouts every year. From the Orioles’ perspective? Ehh.
  • As Jayson Stark points out, it’s amazing how it seems like, every year, everybody waits for the top free agent to sign and the dominoes fall from there.
  • Gammons says similar things. He also says the Werth contract might not be as bad as it looks.
  • The Mariners’ Top 10 Prospects list is up for you sickos out there.
  • The Colts are a .500 team now. Call me a hater, but now you know how the rest of the world lives.
  • You deserve to hear the story of my Sunday: Abby Naas and I watched the Browns-Dolphins game, which the Browns won despite Jake Delhomme. I cooked delicious mahi mahi (which isn’t really dolphin meat, but it’s dolphin fish, which is close enough) and acquired the services of accomplished bakers to make brownies (on which I wrote “Fins suck” in orange frosting). You’d think someone would take a joke and just eat the food. Not Abby. Oh well. More for me.
  • The rest of the world supposedly jumped on the Grace Potter bandwagon last night thanks to a VH1 special. I’ve been trying to get her to marry me for years. Won’t return my calls. Something about a restraining order.

Musical guest… the Black Crowes!

Take care!


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