Monday, July 31, 2006

Guzman, Pedroza for Lugo

This is a very good deal from the Devil Rays' perspective, and I think it's difficult to argue that Guzman isn't likely to be more valuable than the two picks in the 16-65 range the Rays would get from keeping him. I doubt that the Red Sox or Blue Jays had more impressive packages, although getting a couple of eventual average major league starters might have more value for the Rays than betting on Guzman. Pedroza could turn out to be relevant, too, although his defense is likely bad enough that the margin for failure with his bat is quite low.

On the other hand, it's perhaps disconcerting that the Rays have so many high ceiling hitters with reported 'makeup' issues. But I can't really see how stockpiling that type really hurts. Guzman might find himself playing first base for the Rays given their attempts to move Bankston to third, and perhaps that's where he should be.

From the Dodgers' side, I don't really like the trade, but it's not as offensive as most of their recent moves. I'd like to think that the Dodgers have made a scouting decision based on sound empirical research in deciding that Guzman just won't ever amount to much because of his poor command of the strike zone. If the Dodgers have decided that they need to get something for Guzman before his value shrinks, then this isn't too bad of a way to do so. On the other hand, though, there's reason for concern that the Dodgers made this move either because a) they felt they simply had to add somebody and/or b) they've panicked because Guzman hasn't been that impressive in 2006. Any prospect holding his own at age 21 in AAA - and Guzman is certainly doing fine - is very likely to be a good major league hitter. Unless he's just completely indifferent as a fielder, you'd have to think that someone as athletic as him would be able to be an average major league corner outfielder in the majors within a few years. Six years of that at low prices is, in all but extraordinary cases, more valuable than two months of a very good but not great shortstop. I'm tempted to take this decision on faith, but don't really think I should.

Given that the Dodgers do have Ethier, Drew, and Kemp in the bag and fringe regulars like Jason Repko and Delwyn Young already on board (and, hopefully, Jayson Werth), it's certainly fair to say that Guzman doesn't have as much value to them as he does to another team. While Guzman's path might be another year in AAA followed by a year as a RHB platoon partner and injury fill-in, the Dodgers don't look like they're starved for that particular piece, and Guzman would probably have a better shot at developing as a major league regular elsewhere.

The value beyond Guzman and the two to three months of Lugo evens out, since I think Pedroza's value covers the draft picks the Dodgers would get; he was a 2005 third rounder who's done well so far, and the Dodgers already paid his bonus. And given that the Dodgers already have a full infield (outside of first base) under contract for next season - with both Betemit and LaRoche legitimate options assuming Mueller isn't back - I don't think there's any meaningful value in the right to negotiate with Lugo a bit more. Sure, they might end up signing Lugo and trading Furcal, but that's a long shot and that little bit of flexibility isn't worth all that much.

So for the Dodgers the question is whether Lugo's contribution playing out of position for a third of a season is more valuable than 6 or so years of Guzman. Lugo is worth maybe 3-4 wins per season above Robles and Martinez, but then again Kent may be back with the team before too long. I'd say he's worth about one win, although I do agree that one marginal win has substantial value to the Dodgers this season.

I think I know what the answer is, but this time I'm willing to hope I'm wrong.


At 3:04 PM, Blogger DodgerRoger said...

You said Drew was "in the bag" but he has an option to leave after this year , right?

Losing the guy who was widely considered our top prospect at the beginning of last year certainly leads to some charged conversation.

I'm going to use a poker analogy to illustrate my feelings. Guzman is like AK. Before the flop he looks great, but once the flop comes and no ace or king or straight draw comes up your hand suddenly doesn't look so good. Despite all of the hype surrounding guzman, look at what he is now - a power hitting outfielder with no plate discipline, questionable work ethic, and unimpressive numbers in an extreme hitters park in Las Vegas.

The real question, in my mind, is if we could've gotten more for Guzman.

I agree with you though, Tom. It's the trend of moves that is somewhat scary. Almost all of our hopes lie with Logan White. One prays that he has Colletti's ear and that colletti consults with him VERY closely regarding our prospects. It is possible that White is not as high on these prospects as fanboys are. In particular, tiffany's shoulder? blew up.

by far the worst deal Ned's made so far is the Navarro one.

Anyways, glad you are blogging again tom.

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Fifth Outfielder said...

That sounds about right. It's hard to relate to these moves, because on the one hand I'd like to believe LA is working with additional information and has better insight on the players involved, with White's presence the main reason to believe. On the other hand, I simply have no faith in Colletti's ability to assign value to players; I don't think his concept of the relationship between player performance and team wins is accurate.

I doubt Drew will leave, but if he does, that $11m per season can be leveraged to get an above average outfielder relatively easily, so counting him as on board is a decent shorthand.

At 6:15 PM, Blogger Andrew Shimmin said...

Do the charges of bad makeup include more than that he didn't run out one ground ball, once, and that he was sad about being demoted? Those are the only two I've read, and they always seemed like garbage.

At 6:54 PM, Blogger Fifth Outfielder said...

I don't really know about anybody's 'makeup.' I have no pipeline for reliable info on that front, nor am I sure that anybody does. But I've certainly noticed that a number of people think Guzman is not a hard worker. I don't put any significant stock in that, but if the Dodgers have reason to then I hope they've acted judiciously.

At 8:18 PM, Blogger Bobby said...

Great analysis. I think it really came down to the point that the Dodgers didn't think they had a position for Guzman, and that he had greater value in a trade than as a reserve / insurance policy.

Of course, if that's the case, one has to wonder why we couldn't have moved him for something more than a two month rental (who isn't even really star caliber, for that matter).

The big fear I've always had with Guzman is that for all his tools, we've seen this so many times with Dodger prospects who never make it because they lack rudimentary pitch selection and plate discipline. I'm not sure if he'll ever develop into a star player because of that weakness alone, although he can certainly make my words and, again, the reality is that we should have been able to exploit his strengths to get a much better player back.


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