Tuesday, December 26, 2006

So Long, and Danks for All the Fish

I figured that if I was going to join the parade of bad puns arising from the White Sox' Brandon McCarthy for John Danks trade, then I might as well be more obscure than everyone else. There seems to be a fair amount of hand wringing about this deal. After all, wasn't the point of the Freddy Garcia trade to make room for McCarthy in the starting rotation? But I'm actually pretty pleased with this move.

I do think that Kenny Williams was thinking about McCarthy's future in the rotation when he dealt Freddy. But I also think he was blown away by the chance to add Danks, and to a lesser extent Nick Masset, and decided to change plans. Williams has always, above all, been about adding value. And, he won this deal.

I've never been fully sold on McCarthy. I think he has tremendous potential, but for now he is far too prone to the gopher ball to be any one's ace. For his career he's given up 1.3 home runs per nine innings in the majors. That number is consistent with his minor league numbers, and with scouting reports that he is too prone to making mistakes with his fastball and curve ball up in the zone. US Comiscular is a tough place to pitch for a homer-prone, fly ball pitcher (not that trading McCarthy to Arlington did him any favors on that front). I'm not sure if the rumors that McCarthy was stubborn and refused to work with Don Cooper to address this problem are true, or just post-trade rationalization and spin control by the Sox. But if that is true, then it's a serious warning flag about McCarthy's future.

Danks meanwhile has had home run problems of his own. He put up a mediocre ERA in two levels of the minor leagues last year. But he's Baseball Prospectus's #5 ranked lefty prospect in all of baseball. He's two years younger than McCarthy, and because he's about as good as McCarthy today, probably therefore still has more upside. He has tremendous strikeout per nine and strikeout to walk ratios. Plus, he's less likely to be insulted by starting the season in AAA, which means the Sox can give the 5th starter job to the whoever looks the best among Danks, Gavin Floyd, Charlie Haeger, and Lance Broadway, instead of handing it to McCarthy to soothe his ego. Add in Masset's value, and the Sox win this trade.

At the end of the day, the Sox now have two of the top-10 lefty prospects in the league, with Danks and Gio Gonzalez, acquired from Philly in the Garcia deal. Gonzalez was only 20 last season, and like Danks he strikes out more than a batter an inning thanks largely to a curve ball that can put batters away at any level. Danks, Gonzalez, Broadway, Haeger, Floyd, and McCulloch give the Sox impressive young pitching depth, which can be used to protect the team against the absurd, spiralling cost of league average pitching (see Lilly, Ted), or to acquire established players at positions of need (see Field, Out).

I'm excited to watch the young guns duke it out for the 5th starter slot next season, and vie to establish a future pecking order over the next few years. Plus, honestly, I was starting to worry that the Sox were built for a dramatic fall within a couple of years. Now, they may still experience a fall, but they're built to sustain long-term success. And that's an exciting new position to be in.


Blogger jamesmnordbergjr said...

Douglas Adams would be very proud of that pun.

I too like the trade and the long term ramifications considering the market value for mediocre pitching these days.

If and when KW addresses the OF situation, then we'll see the true rhyme and reason of his moves.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You read too much Baseball Prospectus. This *might* be a good trade, but it is speculative at best. McCarthy was a known quantity, worth much more than a couple of prospects. Besides, I have been telling you all year that McCarthy throws his fastball too straight and too high, and you always disagreed. Now, the great KW trades him, and its, "oh, he does give up a few too many homers." At this point in the off season Williams should go the way of his South Park namesake. If he has something up his sleeve, we'd better see it soon. Our offense is only good for another year or two.

8:33 AM  
Blogger Criminal Appeal said...

I think Scalia's Gavel (publishing anonymously here due to technical difficulties) is becoming cynical. I still like McCarthy. I'm just saying that he's not perfect, nor is he an "established" big leaguer. And, Danks is a better prospect. Who wouldn't trade a prospect for a better prospect? Especially when we can afford to wait a year, if need be, for Danks to be ready. I do have one developing concern though. As much as I like this plan of accumulating the most valuable commodity in baseball -- young starting pitching -- I wonder if Gonzalez was really the best we could get for Freddy.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

find our new blog -

[url=http://trailfire.com/hoodia] hoodia message board [/url]

[url=http://trailfire.com/hoodia] hoodia message board [/url]

5:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

find my best site -

[url=http://trailfire.com/allegra] allegra 180 mg [/url]

[url=http://trailfire.com/allegra] allegra dosage [/url]

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

learn our video site -

[url=http://trailfire.com/vicodin1] symptoms vicodin addiction [/url]

[url=http://trailfire.com/vicodin1] buy vicodin without a prescription [/url]

4:37 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home