Giving Away Phillips, Part Three

Don’t worry, I’ll stop flogging this horse before too long, but first I want to share some feedback I’ve received about the Mark Phillips deal:

Padres need to cut off all, ALL lines of communication w/ the Skanks. Remember, if you deal w/ the devil, you’re going to end up w/ egg on your face…wait, if you smell like an egg, you’re going to get…you know what I mean.
  –Jeff B.

Yeah, man, I’m afraid do know what you mean. One aspect of this deal I’ve overlooked because I’ve been so fixated on what a terrible trade this was for the Padres is the fact that the Yankees, in addition to having the most money to spend, have one of the best GMs in all of baseball.

For a guy who has all the money in the world to work with, Brian Cashman sweats the details a lot more than he has to. He saw an opportunity and jumped all over it. The difference between Rondell White and Bubba Trammell for his club is negligible.

Cashman essentially threw less-than-first-round money at a former first-rounder who already has professional experience under his belt and who, unlike many former top draft picks, actually has had a fair amount of success as a pro. From the Yankees’ standpoint, this wasn’t about money. This was about opportunity. Cashman saw a stud lefty on the horizon and went out and got him on the cheap.

I hate to give the Yanks credit for anything, but this was a brilliant move on their part, and most of the credit goes to Cashman.

Here’s some salt in the wound. Why the urgency of this transaction… If Towers is going to include Phillips in any trade of Trammell, why the rush? All of the big market teams would jump at the chance to aquire Phillips as part of a Trammell package. Look at it this way, we gave [Phillips] a signing bonus of $2.2M; Trammell’s contract for next year $5M would roughly be double. This is chump change to the big market teams, so why not wait? As long as you’re willing to give away a top prospect you can trade Trammell’s contract for next year anytime. My view is waiting gives both Trammell and Phillips a chance to have good years. That would increase their value in any trade, and net you more in return.

Absolutely. Four things have been established pretty convincingly with this trade:

  1. The Padres gave up on Phillips too soon.
  2. The Trammell contract was terrible.
  3. Towers, possibly under orders from above, panicked and took a bad deal to unload that contract.
  4. George Steinbrenner has a brilliant and very underrated man making baseball decisions for him.

The only excuse I can find for this trade from the Padres’ point of view is if Towers were under orders to unload Trammell’s contract no matter what; if that’s the case, then I’m grateful he didn’t part with Sean Burroughs or Jake Peavy. Look, Trammell has a fairly lengthy track record of success as a big-league hitter. As J.S. says, why not move him in May, when he’s likely to have more trade value? What’s the hurry?

Either someone was under orders to move Trammell now and took the first offer that came along or someone severely overestimates the value of Rondell White, particularly when he’s only under contract for one year. Hey, maybe White will get off to a hot start and the Pads can move him to a contender for a good young player before he hits the DL. I doubt they’ll be able to land a prospect as good as Phillips for him, but stranger things have happened. We’ll see how it all plays out.

What’s scaring me now is thinking about what Towers will have to part with to get someone to take Kevin Jarvis and/or Wiki Gonzalez off his hands. He blinked once; it could happen again.

Anyway, for the sake of my sanity, I’m officially done flogging this horse. I could complain about this for weeks, months, years, but as Bud Selig has taught us so well, nobody likes to hear someone whine about the same damn thing over and over again. Let’s move on, shall we?

The Mighty Quinn

Pads signed former Royal outfielder Mark Quinn to a minor-league deal. Quinn’s most similar player in baseball history through age 28? Bubba Trammell.

Hint: If Quinn hits 25 homers this year, do not sign him to a three-year contract.

Sorry ’bout that. Fell off the wagon for a second; I’m okay.

Anyway, Quinn is a good right-handed hitting outfielder with power. Inking him to a minor-league deal is a nice low risk, potentially decent reward move. This is actually the kind of pickup the Padres should be specializing in with their budgetary constraints. See a guy in his prime who has shown the ability to mash when healthy but who’s coming off a lost season, sign him for nothing. Great move by Towers, which does absolutely nothing to make me feel better about the Phillips fiasco.

Sorry again. My rage has a mind of its own.

And Now, the Punch Line

In spite of what’s happened this past week, I just purchased a 20-game package to watch the Padres this year. Why? First, the Q is about an hour closer to my house than Elsinore. If I can get up to see the Storm 14 times a year, I sure as heck can pop down the hill to see the Pads 20 times. Second, I want a crack at seats in Petco Park.

Amusingly, my seats are in the left field grandstand. Yep, I’ll be right behind Rondell White or whomever they stick out there when he gets hurt. It’s crucial to maintain one’s sense of irony during difficult times…

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