Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Dumping Encarnaci-suck & Blooper?

*** DISCLAIMER: The following rumor originates from a website, which although quasi-reliable, is often too quick to mistake rumor for reality (link).

Cardinals Trade (to DET): Juan Encarnacion, Braden Looper, $ (?)
Cardinals Receive (from DET): Mike Maroth, Marcus Thames

Normally I wouldn't comment on one of the many Cardinals-related rumors that inevitably floats around during the offseason, but this one in particular caught my attention. My gut tells me that this is, in fact, only a rumor, because at first glance, it doesn't make much sense for the Tigers. However, upon further inspection, there may be a chance, albeit small, of this trade becoming a reality ... my rationale is quickly jotted below.


Reasons for STL to trade:

-Benched during World Series due to ineffectiveness (ex. Kenny Rogers in WS Game 2) and subsequently skipped parade; upset STL fans and rumored to have upset LaRussa
-Even before WS benching, far from a fan favorite; streaky hitter (much like a magnified version of Jim Edmonds) who can disappear for stretches and at times seems to lack hustle in the field and focus at the plate
-Still has 2 years left on his contract for $11.5 M ($5M in '07 and $6.5M in '08); too expensive for a 4th outfielder (if that's what he would be on the 2007 Cardinals), but a relative bargain for a starting outfielder in the current offseason (ex. $9 M/year for Juan Pierre and $10 M/year for Gary Matthews Jr.)

Reasons for DET to want:
-Despite his flaws/streakiness, Encarnacion is an above-average defender capable of playing center field, is durable, and annually consistent at .270-.280, 15-20 HR's, and 70-85 RBI's. While the Tigers currently have 4 outfielders already (Monroe, Ordonez, Granderson, Thames), if Monroe were to be traded along with Rodney (as has been widely rumored) for a big bat/pitcher, Encarnacion would provide an affordable, consistent alternative to the free agent market
-Jim Leyland has coached Encarnacion before in FLA and may be able to bring the best out of Juan


Reasons for STL to trade:

-The emergence of Kinney, Johnson, and Wainwright (presuming he remains the closer) have relegated Looper to a 7th inning, middle-reliever type; expensive for that role at $4.5 M in '07 and $5.5 M in '08.
-Trading would free up some money to be used towards rebuilding the starting rotation

Reasons for DET to want:
Again, if Rodney is traded, and with the loss of Walker, could be used as a 7th or 8th inning guy or even a closer, depending on the health/status of Zumaya/Jones
-Has been a consistent, durable mid-3 ERA bullpen cog throughout his career that can throw mid-90's for multiple innings
-Will be two years removed from shoulder surgery and should thus have improved velocity/movement compared to '06
-Closed for Leyland on his '97 champ Marlins


Reasons for DET to trade:
-4th outfielder/part-time DH; essentially benched during postseason
-Low-average outfielder with some pop; batted around .200 in second half of 2006
-Not a spectacular platoon player, as he actually hits righties slightly better than he hits lefties
-Average fielding outfielder

Reasons for STL to want:
-Would be a cheap Encarnacion replacement (5 more years of control, next 2 under $1 M/season), would again free money for starting pitching
-Would add right-handed pop to the Cards outfield/bench; 26 HR's in limited appearances was 2nd on Tigers in '06
-OBP and OPS actually higher than Encarnacion (just not a contact hitter)
-Could potentially platoon with Duncan or start in left field


Reasons for DET to trade:
-Essentially lost 5th starter spot to Miner/Ledezma/Tata/Miller combo
-Cheap pitching (even if mediocre) a valuable trading chip in the current market

Reasons for STL to want:
-Need to fill 3 starting pitching vacancies in currently overpriced market; would be a perfect fit for a competition along with Narveson for the #5 slot and would guarantee a lefty in the '07 rotation
-Would save money to address other two rotation holes ($2.95 M in '07)
-Relatively young (29), durable, prototypical Duncan reclamation project

$ (?)

-I imagine some transer of money from the Cards to Tigers would have to be involved (or perhaps a Cardinals lefty like Flores). If not, the Tigers would be trading 6 years of MLB service (1 Maroth/5 Thames) for anywhere in between $6 and $10 M for 4 years of MLB service (2 Encarnacion/2 Looper) for $21.5 M. Just for '07 and '08, the difference would be $5 and $11.5 M (presuming Maroth was not resigned) respectively.

Again, I think the chances of this becoming a reality are low, but it does make sense for both teams. I would make this trade in a heartbeat if I were Walt Jocketty.


At 4:13 PM, Anonymous donald said...

i love this blog you have here, and i would like to have thames on the team hes got power and he doesnt flail around the plate like juan encarnacion does and mike moroth is a durable end of the line starting which is one of our needs

At 4:25 PM, Blogger KardiacKiehl said...

Thanks for your comments. Out of curiosity, did you find the blog through Viva El Birdos or elsewhere? We're trying to publicize the blog so more people will actually know it exists. With regards to the proposed trade, I think Thames and Maroth both have upside (I agree with you on the durability of Maroth), but I like it more because of the money we could potentially save to upgrade 2B, SP, etc.

At 4:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, nice blog and good stuff. can you please add my blog to your blog roll? i'll do the same for you guys. i'm at:
and my blog is called "Redbird Ramblings"

if you want to publicize your blog more, just leave comments on established cards blogs asking them to add you to their respective blogrolls. that usually gets people's attention.


At 5:44 PM, Blogger kindredwinecoff said...

hey, saw your comment at VEB and followed you over here. the place looks nice.

i've posted a few places about this trade. my thoughts about it are basically this:

It doesn't really make much sense on the face of it. the two things that Detroit does NOT need is a mediocre-hitting OF and a mediocre right-handed bullpen guy. unless they were planning a trade. i doubt they'll ditch Rodney, but they might trade Jones, which would bump up Zumaya and Rodney into the 9th and 8th innings, and create a need for a solid 7th inning guy. like you said, it would make a lot more sense for them to ask for Flores or Johnson in addition to Looper, or instead of him. this would help balance out the money gap as well. StL has a plethora of so-so lefties and not enough roster spots for all of them, so somebody's got to go.

The Cardinals, in my view, would be insane not to go after this. the move gives them a lot more flexibility to work in this insane market. they could after a Dave Roberts type (which would probably require about 3 yr/15 mil) to replace Enc, or they could go whole-hog after Lee or Lugo (or Drew?) or a trade for Manny. plus, they get 1 of the three starters they need at very low cost, and he would certainly represent an upgrade from Marquis/Mulder/Ponson/ and even from regular-season Weaver.

it seems too skewed; it doesn't really seem like the Tigers have much to gain. but they don't really have anything to lose, either: Maroth's spot in the rotation is essentially gone, and Thames was barely seeing any action towards the end of last year, and that was before they picked up Sheffield to be the DH. if they can't get a better offer someplace else, they might do the deal.

At 6:04 PM, Blogger KardiacKiehl said...

Just a couple of things in response to your post. Because Rodney is younger, has better stuff, and could potentially be a closer (I'm not sure he has the makeup) vs. Jones, who is older, more injury-prone, and a Jim Leyland favorite, I truly believe that the Tigers will be more apt to trade Rodney (because he can bring back a much bigger chip). I agree that adding a lefty would make more sense for the Tigers, but I can't see the Cards including a high-ceiling guy like Johnson in a trade for just Maroth and Thames, so we'll see. Again, I only think this will go down if the Tigers are looking to turn around and make a second trade. If this doesn't go down, though, I think the Cards should still look at a trade for Maroth by himself (shouldn't cost much) as opposed to signing a Kip Wells/Woody Williams type for 5th starter (might save a couple million dollars, which could be used on 2nd base, etc).

At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good looking blog. I saw your post at VEB. How often do you guys plan on updating throughout the off season?

I don't see this particular trade going down but I can see the Cards making a move for Maroth. i believe I remember rumblings a few years ago around the trade deadline that we were interested in him. He would be a decent #4.

I think we have no choice but move Wainwright into the rotation this year. The market is too crazy. I honestly think the best thing for the Cards is give Schmidt 13-14 mil/year and fill in the rotation with Carp/Reyes/Wainwright/Narveson. Carp is obviously still our #1 in that scenerio. Our bullpen is set. We can even keep the same lineup make moves by trades, but stay away from the FA market.

So if Schmidt is our only major FA aquisition, we can afford to pick up more money in a deal (Burrell?, B. Giles?, M. Giles?).

At 8:23 PM, Blogger kindredwinecoff said...

the reasons you listed for trading Rodney - he's younger, better, and cheaper than Jones - are the reasons i don't think he's going anywhere. there's still a big market for proven closers of any age... just look at what the Reds gave up for Guardado and some middle relief guys last year, or the Dotel/Beltran trade from a few years back. a lot of teams need a good closer... Atlanta, SanFran, Cinci (still), etc. i think they can get a lot of value for Jones, while still keeping Rodney and his low-cost salary.

i don't see this going down, either, although i'd love it if it did. i CAN imagine the Cards trading Johnson, because we'd still have Flores, Rincon, Narveson; we could leave Wainwright in the pen if we get Maroth, and because Johnson will not be as good as his '06 post-season. a bullpen arm is worth a lot less than a starter, especially when that bullpen arm is easily replaced with in-house talent.

again, i don't think this will happen, because i just don't see the upside for the Tigers unless they have another trade ready to go. and, if that's the case, why not just work out a 3-team deal? it could match everybody's needs better than two separate deals.

At 8:55 PM, Blogger KardiacKiehl said...

Regarding the frequency of our posts, I think that my brother and I will each try and write one post per week (so 2/week total), but that may vary from week to week.

Again, I also agree that I don't see this trade going down as rumored (doesn't make enough sense for the Tigers without other dominoes falling), but I do think obtaining Maroth would still be both a good idea and not that expensive for the Cards (Flores + prospect?).

I agree (although my brother disagrees with me) that Wainwright should go into the rotation with his pitch arsenal. I don't think he'd be as effective a starter as he was a shutdown closer, because he would have to rely less on that devastating fastball/curveball combo when batters see him multiple times, but I still think he'd be a high 3 ERA innings eater, which is worth more than 10 million dollars in the current market. However, I think Duncan will keep him as the closer, and as I will discuss in my next post, if the Cards can't get either Lily/Padilla in addition to Weaver or Suppan, I'd rather just wait until next year and get both a Kip Wells and a Woody Williams, save money, commit less dollars and years and wait until next year to sign long term pitching and yes, spend that extra money on a Marcus Giles (perfect for the 2 hole), etc.

At 9:15 PM, Blogger KardiacKiehl said...

The only reason I think that the Tigers are more apt to trade Rodney as opposed to Jones is that the Tigers are marquee players away from winning it all, not just above average players, and I think Rodney could bring a marquis player, whereas Jones could not.

With regards to Maroth, I'm not sure he's much better than Narveson, but I doubt Duncan/La Russa would feel comfortable with both Narveson and Reyes in the rotation. I wonder if it would take Johnson to get him, given what Walker just received on the free agent market. I think Flores may suffice.

At 10:01 PM, Blogger kindredwinecoff said...

i think Jones could get them a good player, but i'm not sure who they need. they don't need a "marquee" player... they already picked up Sheffield and re-upped Casey. they don't really have room for another star, unless it's a front-line starter, and there aren't any of those on the trading block.

all it took for Sheffield was one really good minor league prospect, one decent minor league prospect, and one roster-filling minor leaguer.

their starting rotation is backed up. all they really need is a LOOGY. it would almost more sense for them to just move Maroth into the bullpen.

right now, the Tigers probably have the most complete team in baseball.

At 12:05 AM, Blogger KardiacKiehl said...

I don't know. If Sheffield can't stay healthy, they may yet again have a team without a 30 HR player. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I doubt there have been many World Series champion teams in the modern era without such a hitter. A combo of Rodney, Monroe, and prospect could potentially land them a Vernon Wells type, who is a marquee player.

But I do agree, right now they are the most complete team in baseball, but maybe not the best team to win in the playoffs. Their lineup is predicated on having hitters string together hits, because they don't have a lot of huge power threats (see San Diego), and that can be difficult to do against good pitching in the playoffs. Just my opinion, though.

At 3:06 PM, Anonymous donald said...

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