Friday, December 09, 2005

Superstar Swap?

With Miguel Tejada wanting out of Baltimore, and the Red Sox now in need of a Shortstop, it was only so long before speculation began about a trade to Boston.

Buster Olney at ESPN did a good job of summarizing Tejada's situation (I'd link, but the article is behind the ESPN Insider wall). He's right in that the O's have failed to improve their club at all, and are looking at another 4th-5th place finish, barring a major surprise in the AL East. While Baltimore never seemed to be in the running for BJ Ryan, they did make an offer to Paul Konerko, and send out feelers to AJ Burnett, so you certainly can't say that their result is completely because of a lack of effort. On the other hand, you can't really blame guys like Konerko and Burnett for rebuffing the O's. While there's some talent in place, they still seem to be more than a couple of players away from contending with the Yankees, Sox, and Jays, and don't have the same young talent base as the D-Rays. So the O's are in a tough situation. They're not rebuilding, and they're not talented enough to contend with the big boys in the AL East. Furthermore, it's likely that they won't have that collection of talent during the four years that they have Tejada under contract for. So given that, I say the preferable course is to gut and rebuild in Baltimore. You don't have enough talent to contend, and you're not a desirable location. But there is some young talent in place, even at the major league level. So go with that, and build with an eye towards contending in a few years.

When talking baseball with my friend Ray earlier this afternoon, he raised the idea of a Tejada for Manny Ramirez swap. It's an interesting idea, but I can't see why Manny would agree to go to a mediocre team like Baltimore. But Tejada does make a lot of sense for the Red Sox (fills a need position, and can come close to replicating ManRam's production). So if I'm Mike Flanagan, and/or the Quartet of pro tem General Managers in Boston, I'm on the phone seeing if we can find a third team to make a swap work. Here's what I came up with:

A three-team trade with Boston, Baltimore, and the New York Mets

The Mets have cooled on Manny, but I think it's mostly a bluff to try and drive his price down. They'd still take him if they could get him at a decent price. Here are the details:

To Boston: SS Miguel Tejada, OF Cliff Floyd
To New York: OF Manny Ramirez, RHP Jorge Julio
To Baltimore: 2B Kaz Matsui, OF Lastings Milledge, RHP Aaron Heilman, Prospect from Boston

What each team gets out of this trade:
An All-Star to replace Manny and fill a need at SS, plus another bat to plug into Manny's old spot in Leftfield.

New York
Another superstar bat for their lineup, and a reliever who they've had their eye on (they nearly acquired him for Kris Benson last week).

A middle infielder they can plug into Tejada's old spot for the short term, a blue-chip outfield prospect, and another promising arm to add to their collection of young starters (Bedard, Cabrera, Loewen, Penn), and another prospect (ideally a relief pitcher).

I see this trade strengthening the 2 contenders, and helping to put together a young nucleus for the O's. If they're ever going to contend and consistently attract free agents to their club, they first need to build a potential contender from within. And by dumping Floyd and Matsui, the Mets won't be adding too much in salary. This trade is a win-win-win, and I hope that even though the winter meetings have come and gone that these three front offices haven't shut their cell phones off for the weekend.


At 5:09 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

That is actually a good solution. How come no one at ESPN has thought of this? Maybe we should start branding ourselves as "The World Wide Leader of Creating Trade Rumours"?


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