Wow, so there have been a couple big trades for NL Central teams with the Brewers obtaining Cleveland’s CC Sabathia and the Cubs getting Rich Harden from the Oakland A’s. Like the Pirates need to do even worse.
In addition to some mid-level prospects, Cleveland picked up a great hitting prospect in Matt LaPorta, who projects to be a power bat at a corner outfield spot or 1B. He could also fill in for the collapsed Travis Hafner, though I according to Keith Law, LaPorta’s 1B defense projects as a plus. He is a TTO (three true outcomes) player who is demolishing AA at the respectable age of 23. Given how poorly Ryan Garko has performed, as well as the fact that the Indians don’t respectable corner outfielders, LaPorta would probably start 2009 in the big leagues.
Oakland picked up Sean Gallagher, Eric Patterson, Josh Donaldson, and Matt Murton in exchange for the “AL Mark Prior” and Chad Gaudin. Actually, I must disagree with that nickname. While Rich Harden has been hurt a great deal, Harden still obviously has overwhelming stuff, while Prior has lost his. Josh Donaldson lit up A- last year, but is flirting with the Mendoza line in 2008 at A ball. Still, as a catcher with offensive upside, he is a valuable commodity. As for Corey Patterson’s brother, I don’t understand why Billy Beane wanted him. He has a mediocre track record in the minors and is already 25. Not bad for a 2B backup, but not much more. I’m legitimately happy for Matt Murton. Now that an intelligent organization has him, hopefully he will finally get some deserved playing time. Rather than poking around AAA, he should immediately replace the entirely replaceable Emil Brown in the OF. Most scouts seem to have labeled Sean Gallagher as a #4 starter, which doesn’t seem in line with his minor league numbers. He has a solid K/9 of about 9 with a respectable walk rate. He’s obviously not up to the prospect level of Clayton Kershaw or Max Scherzer, but I think dismissing an MLB-ready 22 year-old with a solid minor league track record as a back of the rotation starter is selling him short.
So with trades on the mind and discussions between the Dodgers and Pirates heating up, I think now is a good place to say that the Bucs should definitely try to acquire Andy LaRoche. The Dodgers have really screwed with LaRoche’s development. After a good minor league career, he has faced inconsistent playing time in the bigs and has been replaced by the scrapper Blake DeWitt, who doesn’t project to have a 3B-type bat. If the Pirates end up trading Jack Wilson or an OF to the Dodgers, I hope they manage to acquire LaRoche, who the Dodgers seem to have unfairly soured on. For the Pirates, Jose Bautista continues to be unspectacular at third in the majors and Neil Walker has been even less impressive in AAA. I’m not at all worried about LaRoche potentially blocking Pedro Alvarez. By the time Alvarez makes it to the majors, the other LaRoche should be on his way out if he isn’t already. Besides the Pirates aren’t really a team that should be worried about having too much talent. As an aside, I really don’t understand how Adam LaRoche makes any sort of contact with his loopy swing. I guess the fact that he can is a testament to… something?
I’m excited about my next post: a review of The Orb’s most recent album, The Dream, which was released relatively recently in the U.S.
Arbitrary song of the day: Cates & DPL – Living In A