Giving Away Phillips

What the heck, I haven’t done a good rant in a while. Okay, there was the Junior Seau riff the other day but when you get down to it, that was just football.

So, if you missed it, the Pads acquired Rondell White from the Yankees. Yep, Kevin Towers finally found a taker for Bubba Trammell’s contract and he managed to pick up a decent outfielder in return. Not bad, right? Certainly no cause for a rant.

There was one other player in the deal: Mark Phillips. Honestly, when I heard there was a minor leaguer involved, I figured it was a lesser propect, like Bernie Castro or J.J. Furmaniak. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it would be Phillips. Seems to me a lefty with a power arm should fetch more than a gimpy corner outfielder.

The Padres are seriously working the experience angle in trying to sell this trade, but it’s pretty much a money thing. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but the basic idea is that the Pads take on additional salary this year while freeing up money for next year. The theory is that they’re setting themselves up to make a run at one of Kazuo Matsui, Miguel Tejada, or Vlad Guerrero.

Favorite line:

White helps to solve the right-handed power deficit the Padres are currently experiencing with the loss of left fielder Phil Nevin to injury.

How, exactly, does he do this? I won’t even bother making you guess which is which:

White    494 240 288 378 14  62  35.3  7.97  138
Trammell 465 243 333 414 17  56  27.4  8.30  171

White    3946 288 343 471 134 503  29.4  7.84  183
Trammell 1973 263 341 464  82 280  24.1  7.05  201

So in White the Padres get a guy who historically hits homers and drives in runs at a lower rate than Trammell, who has a lower ISO, who has bad knees, who costs more this year, and who has played in as many as 140 games in a season exactly once in his career. Again, I ask, how does White help to solve anything? He’s a more expensive, more injury-prone version of what we already had. Oh, and he doesn’t have as much power.

Then again, more people probably have heard of White than Trammell. I guess that counts for something.

Baseball America gives their take on the trade. Basically the Padres get White for a year, lose Phillips, and save either $2.5M or $12M over the next three seasons. I’m trying, but I can’t find a way to make this palatable. My only hope is that the Pads land one of the big three free agents next winter.

I realize I may not be the most objective person when it comes to talking about Phillips. I’ve seen him pitch on several occasions and I even once had the chance to chat with him while he was charting a game at Elsinore. But beyond the fact that he seemed like a nice enough kid, he has a serious arm. You just don’t see a lot of young lefties with that kind of fastball/curve arsenal.

The bottom line is this: The Padres and Yankees exchanged mediocre outfielders. The Pads saved themselves a little cash, the Yanks picked up a damn good prospect.

I’ll probably have more to say about this in my next post, but right now I’m just bummed. Sometimes it stinks to be a Padre fan.

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