Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Crazy Jim Strikes Again, or Does He???

I was driving home from work yesterday while listening to MLB Network Radio's afternoon drive time show, Inside Pitch. Lately the show has been a motley crew of baseball personalities, including our very own color guy FP Santangelo - though today one of the main hosts returned. Jim Bowden.

Since his "resignation" from the Nationals, I have actually found myself agreeing with Bowden more and more on a whole host of baseball issues; from steroids, to coaching maneuvers, to certain players roles. I can definitely see how he had the smarts to become the youngest GM in baseball history when he was with the Reds.

Today, while diagnosing the Angels outfield logjam with Torii Hunter, Peter Bourjos, Mike Trout, and Vernon Wells, Bowden said something that made me laugh. But then I started thinking about it- maybe it wasn't the craziest ideas in the world.

The Trade: Ryan Zimmerman to the Angels for Peter Bourjos, Tyler Chatwood, and a 3rd player.

The Players:
To Angels:
Ryan Zimmerman - 3B
- You know Zimmerman. You love Zimmerman. He is the Face of the Franchise and only under contract with the Nats for 3 more seasons (Ed. Note - The Case Against signing Zim to an extension was featured on I don't need to go into too much detail about the effect this would have on the public perception (in DC) of trading Zimmerman away - as well as the on-field ramifications.

To Nats:
Peter Bourjos - CF
- Bourjos is a 24 year-old CF with about a year and a half of Major League experience. He has proven to be one of the best fielders in the game - ranking 4th in the AL in each of the past 2 seasons in dWAR. At the dish, he sits as the prototypical lead-off hitter; speed, an improving OBP, and more speed - he led the AL in triples last year with 11. Having Bourjos in the system would mean that the Nats would have a team-controlled CF/Lead-off hitter for the next 4+ years - pushing Morse to 1B, Werth to LF, and Harper to RF.

Tyler Chatwood - RHP
- Chatwood was rated as Baseball America's 76th best prospect in all of baseball prior to the 2011 season - 3rd best in the Angels system. He was drafted in the 2nd Round (74th overall) in the 2008 MLB First-Year Player Draft - and started his career shortly thereafter. The 6'0" righty is pretty small by pitching standards, but he still possesses a mid-90s fastball and a swing-and-miss curveball. His first year in the bigs was a mixed bag, but that's to be expected from a 21 year old pitcher - he could do with a little more seasoning but has potential to be a quality big league pitcher.

- This player would most-likely be an organizational piece; bullpen arm, utility player, free-swinging outfielder, etc.

Off the bat this sounds like it could be a stupid trade for the Nats, but is it? If Rendon can show the skills that put him at the top of pretty much all pre-2011 season draft boards while staying healthy, he could conceivably be ready for MLB action by September - providing the Nats a cheap alternative to Zimmerman. From the Angels, the Nats would receive a team-controlled, top notch CF/Lead-off hitter in Bourjos, a quality arm that could be a fit for the rotation or as a cog in the bullpen with Chatwood, and an organizational piece - at the expense of an oft-injured but potential Hall of Fame caliber player that is only under contract for 3 more years.

A September 2012 Lineup could look like this:
Bourjos - 8
Espinosa - 4
Harper - 9
Morse - 3
Rendon - 5
Werth - 7
Desmond - 6
Ramos - 2
Strasburg - 1

Would you make that trade?


  1. What does the April/May/June lineup look like?

  2. Therein lies one of the tradeoffs, Mark... The question still sits - would you make that trade?

  3. I think even if you knew Rendon was the heir apparent, that is too rich of a trade for Bourjous who slashed at .271/.327/.438

    Not overwhelming numbers and is in the Coco Crisp range of production without all the steals and Crisp is an unrestricted Free Agent. Bourjos is better defensively but I also hate doing anything long-term with CF given the strong Free Agent class next year.

    Too soon to take that chance anyway until you know what you have with Rendon.

    Don't forget Trumbo is also a 1st baseman/outfielder who was filling in at 1st base due to injury.

  4. This is such an unbelievably bad/lopsided/stupid trade I don't know if it even warrants discussion. Let me emphasize again, that's a horrible trade. But here goes...

    Ubaldo Jimenez, who averaged about 5.5 WAR the previous two seasons but whose value was down after a poor start to 2011 (not too dissimilar to Zimm's current situation) netted 4 prospects from the Indians. One, McBride, was more or less filler. The other three were good to very good pitching prospects. Gardner was a 'B' prospect, and a projectable big league starter. Alex White was the 47th best prospect- ceiling of #1 type. The other Drew Pomeranz was the 67th best prospect, but absolutely destroying mid-2011 (his ranking will certainly rise this year).

    So that's two top 50 prospects (one of whom, White, was big league ready), one quality prospect, and one filler for Jimenez.

    Now, you're advocating (or not) to trade Ryan Zimmerman (~5.7 WAR avg for the last 3 seasons) for Tyler Chatwood, a guy who was pretty terrible last season in the majors (77:71 K:BB ratio, 4.89 FIP, 4.69 K/9, etc), Peter Bourjos (a good CF, but no better than BJ Upton) and organizational filler, and the hope that a guy who has never seen a single pitch of professional baseball and has serious injury concerns, becomes half the player that Zimmerman is? Are you kidding me?

    Even Mike Trout straight up for Zimmerman would cause me to hesitate.

    Players like Ryan Zimmerman do not grow on trees. Since his rookie season, there are only 10 batters better than Zimmerman. The absolute best case scenario for Rendon is that his career matches Zimm. So why trade away the known commodity for a very risky commodity and a couple of decent players.

    As Steve M mentions, Crisp will give you slightly worse numbers than Bourjos, and not cause you to give up Zimmerman. BJ Upton could be had for much less as well.

  5. Also look at the Greinke trade.

    1 fringe top 100 prospect: Jeremy Jeffress
    1 major league ready former top 10 prospect (in all of baseball): Alcides Escobar
    1 69th best prospect: Jake Odorizzi
    1 middling CF prospect: Lorenzo Cain

    It seems like at least 3 top prospects is the going rate for good players. The Angels would certainly have to raise the offer substantially for this deal to work.

  6. Don't usually post here; but have to chime in. That is without doubt the dumbest trade I have ever heard.

    I'm not sure I'd trade Rendon (#6 overall) to the Angels for Bourjos and their #3 pitching prospect.

    Zimmerman could bring back Bourjos and a back of the rotation pitching prospect at the trade deadline in 3 years if he declares he won't sign with the Nationals for all the tea in China.

  7. I agree with all of you out there, I just wanted to put it out there cause I thought it could be a fun conversation. Glad to see that it is! Keep talking!

  8. Rendon is a big "if" at this point. Once again, though, the very idea that we could possibly live without Ryan Zimmerman would have been absurd even one year ago.

  9. I love Bourjos, and have lobbied for the Nats to get him elsewhere, but I wouldn't touch that trade. Even if Rendon had shown that he is a stud, I could see how it might influence the team TO trade Zim, but not WHAT they should get for him, and to me, that is woefully short of his market value. I think Zim is one of the top 10-15 position players in the game, based on talent, position and age. Bourjos is a great fielder, but his offense last year was a surprise, given his minor league history, and repeating it has to be something of a question.

    I won't go into all the details since others have done it well above, but suffice to say if the Angels want Zim, the offer probably needs to start with Haren or Weaver.