Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Broussard Deal

I'm lovin' this trade, because it's the first time I can recall one team acquiring both halves of another team's platoon in two trades within a month of each other. The Mariners now plug Cleveland's first base platoon in at DH.

What's more is that Cleveland's haul is pretty similar this time, even though Broussard is a more valuable player than Perez. But this is a very logical deal, since Cleveland has Garko and a mess of similar collegiate first base prospects, none of whom are particularly impressive. Garko is good, but doesn't look like an actual star. Still, that describes Broussard, and Garko is the cheaper option on the better side of the age curve. On the other side, Seattle probably doesn't have an awful lot of use for Choo with Ichiro, Reed, Snelling, Balentien, and Jones all around. Seattle deciding to make a push for the division is fair, and Carl Everett was predictably a major impediment, so upgrading to the average production they can get from Broussard is pretty meaningful.

That being said, I don't think Broussard is really fair value for Choo, who projects as an average or better player, while Broussard will be a little below average as a 1B/DH over the 2.3 seasons they'll get him at arbitration prices. And though Broussard is obviously having the better season of the two so far, I'm getting a projection for Broussard that only amounts to a few runs better than Choo over the remainder of the season. Given that they're both lefty bats, I'm not sure that there's a point to this deal outside of the PR angle. If the idea is that using Choo at DH for two months would hurt his development in the field, then that's foolhardy on a few different levels. More likely, the Mariners are just using baseball's time-honored season epistemology, where a player's performance during the current (or, in the offseason, previous) season is afforded a level of Truth far out of proportion with the actual size of the data sample. With Broussard's 2006 $H well above his previously-established levels, it shouldn't be hard to see the flaw in that methodology.

So the glib analysis is that the Mariners panicked - rather than just coolly shoving Everett aside - and Cleveland benefitted. But if I were to be glib, I'd give in to the temptation to speculate whether Choo's the kind of player Seattle would destine itself to trade for not much anyway, and also to speculate that Cleveland has a habit of acquiring middling young talent and surrounding it with mediocre has-beens, outside of the Bartolo Colon deal anyway. Neither charge is warranted, but both would be more fun. But I'll leave that approach to the people getting paid to write.


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