From Robin To Rickie

March 17, 2006

Trade Fun

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jamie Herbst @ 11:18 am

I was surfing for baseball news today and came across this quote from’s baseball rumor page:

Trading Dallas McPherson with other young players to acquire a proven hitter is a possibility for the Angels, but no moves appear imminent. — Orange County Register

I’ve always thought McPherson had a lot of potential but that the Angels- as with Casey Kotchman- had just been reluctant to play a young guy regularly for a perenially contending team. At this point, the Angels are rumored to be following the same trend, looking for a proven bat in the lineup. Adding to the urgency are the current injury concerns with Garret Anderson.

My question is- would the Brewers benefit by giving up Carlos Lee in a deal for McPherson?

We all know that third base has been a weak spot for the Crew for quite a while. I have no problem with Bill Hall, but his production is much more beneficial to the team at other positions than at a power position like third base. And Corey Koskie seems to be a short-term solution until 2005 1st round pick Ryan Braun is ready (we’ll get to him in a minute).

Put the “package deal” thing aside for a moment and let’s just make the deal Lee for McPherson straight up. Even straight up, I think I would like a deal like this a lot. In the present, McPherson would become our third baseman and Corey Hart would likely take over for Lee in left. Let’s look at how this would change our offense using BP’s PECOTA median-level 2006 projections.

Carlos Lee, 2006 PECOTA projection: .282 average/.347 on-base/.506 slugging, 29 homers, 96 RBI, 28.7 VORP, .128 MLVr (BP’s marginal lineup value).

Dallas McPherson, 2006 PECOTA: .261/.330/.515, 24 homers, 68 RBI, 26.4 VORP, .107 MLVr

Corey Hart, 2006 PECOTA: .272/.337/.475, 19 homers, 65 RBI, 16.6 VORP, .061 MLVr

Corey Koskie, 2006 PECOTA: .251/.351/.431, 13 homers, 49 RBI, 13.5 VORP, .012 MLVr

Using Marginal Lineup Value, Lee in left and Koskie at third (the current situation) gives you a total of .140, with a combined VORP of 42.2.

Put Corey Hart in left and McPherson at third, and you have .168 MLVr and 43.0 VORP.

Almost a wash, right? But for added benefit, you’ve found a starting third baseman and you’ve opened up a lineup spot for Hart, while clearing Lee’s payroll from the books, adding more wiggle room for trade deadline deals to improve the team as well as in next offseason’s free agent market.

I’d be willing to bet the Angels would be interested in a deal like this. Lee seems like the kind of player they’re looking for. If he worked out, they’d quickly sign him to an extension. And with Anderson nursing an injury, they could easily form a LF/DH platoon between the two. Chone Figgins is penciled in at third for them in ’06, and young stud prospect Brandon Wood is on his way, projected by many as a third baseman in the majors.

Now, what about Ryan Braun? First of all, let me just say that these things have a way of working themselves out. What’s seen as a potential logjam at third a year or two down the road may very easily be a non-issue in 2007-08. Guys get hurt, guys don’t live up to their potential, both offensively and defensively, etc. I’m not saying I don’t think McPherson and Braun have very bright futures (I think they do), I’m just saying you need to think about what’s best for the team now and let the future sort itself out. In a scenario where Braun and McPherson are both knocking the cover off the ball and are both deserving of the third base spot, the trade market for either would be huge. Braun is also very athletic, and many scouts think he could even handle center field, opening up yet another possibility.

I believe there’s one thing (one man actually) that could hold this deal up in the Brewers’ minds, and that man is Bill Hall. Making this deal would ultimately put Hall in a situation where he has nowhere to play. As it is now, he’ll get a lot of playing time all over the field, but McPherson would lock up the final question mark for the Crew and would be expected to play every day. J.J. Hardy and Rickie Weeks also will be playing every day, so where does Hall play? I can’t see any way of this working out short of dealing Hall as well, whether it’s this year or in the 2006 offseason. I have no problem with that, since I think Hall would fetch a lot on the trade market. The Brewers are good to their players, but I think Melvin would do something like this if he felt it was best for the team.

It’s times like these that I wish I could get inside the mind of Melvin to see why he wouldn’t do a deal like this. I’m sure there are many reasons I haven’t thought of, but man, I’d love to see Dallas McPherson in a Brewers uniform.


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