Give It Away, Give It Away, Give It Away Now

Started yesterday morning with a delicious loco moco breakfast at the hotel. Watched the koi in the pond get fed.

Walked over to Ala Moana and had malasadas (portuguese donuts) filled with haupia (coconut custard). Then ate a plate lunch with kalua pig, lau lau (pork wrapped in spinach), chicken long rice, and lomi salmon. Wandered around the mall–found a great ukelele shop and briefly fantasized about plugging one of the electric models into my Marshall amp and cranking out “Purple Haze” or some other similarly inappropriate tune. Strolled along the beach, then caught House of the Flying Daggers at the local theater. And of course, we always finish up with a dinner buffet with various brothers-in-law. In Hawai’i, it’s all about food and family.

I could get used to this.

Today’s photo is of a little peninsula near Ala Moana beach park. I don’t know what it’s called, but it looked nice.

Peninsula near Ala Moana beach park

What doesn’t look so nice is the Padres giving a bunch of potentially useful resources to the Red Sox for painfully little (painful because I was wrong about the petroleum jelly; the Sox supplied none).

My wife thinks that the “petroleum jelly” remark could offend some folks. I tell her that I agree but that it isn’t as offensive as this trade. Let’s take a closer look at just how bad it was.

The first question I ask myself is, What were the Padres trying to accomplish here? What was the motivation for this deal? They moved two useful big-league position players, a legit pitching prospect, and cash for a 33-year-old outfielder with a career 679 OPS. Why?

I’ve been wracking my brains and there are only two possibilities I can conceive:

  • Kevin Towers had grown tired of referring to Woody Williams for Ray Lankford as his worst trade ever.
  • Theo Epstein is a Jedi Master who convinced Towers those weren’t the players he was looking for.

Unfortunately neither of these hypotheses helps us (although neither hurts as much as the trade itself). So we ask other questions. Such as, Was Roberts worth any of the resources San Diego coughed up? (Never mind whether he was worth all of them.)

Dave Roberts vs Jay Payton

         Age   AB  BA OBP SLG OPS+
Payton    32 2382 285 335 443 100
Roberts   33 1294 259 335 344  82

Payton is a year younger and has a career OPS nearly 100 points higher than Roberts. Neither one is particularly adept at getting on base, but Payton has a lot more pop. Roberts hit .175/.238/.246 against southpaws last year. Not sure how he’s done historically in that regard but the guess here is that he’ll be platooned on the basis of his 2004 performance. Defensively, it’s tough to compare the two because Roberts primarily played left field last year. His range factor in left was about middle of the pack. Same in center, although it was much higher in Los Angeles than in Boston.

Bottom line: Significant offensive downgrade. Negligible defensive change. I wouldn’t trade Payton straight up for Roberts.

Dave Roberts vs Ramon Vazquez

         Age   AB  BA OBP SLG OPS+
Roberts   33 1294 259 335 344  82
Vazquez   28  995 262 334 344  85

Vazquez is 5 years younger, hits about the same, and has greater defensive utility. Even with arbitration impending, Vazquez should be less expensive than Roberts. Both of these guys would make excellent bench players. Neither is great in a starting role, although at his age, Vazquez seems more likely to improve.

Bottom line: Pretty much a wash. The one other thing this does is forces the Padres to use Geoff Blum in the role Vazquez would have occupied. Indirectly, this constitutes a minor downgrade. I could see trading Vazquez for Roberts straight up if I had a better option than Blum to replace the former.

Dave Roberts vs David Pauley

This one’s a little tougher to judge because Pauley hasn’t yet pitched in the big leagues. Hasn’t come close, even. But entering 2004 he was the Padres #8 prospect according to Baseball America. Pauley ranked higher than, among others, Justin Germano and Chris Oxspring. Does Pauley have huge upside? No. But he could be a solid mid-rotation option in a year or two. Think Brian Lawrence.

Bottom line: Pauley isn’t a great prospect, but the Padres system isn’t all that strong right now, and he’s got enough potential to make this look real bad soon. I would want more than a bit player for a guy like Pauley. I wouldn’t trade Pauley straight up for Roberts.

Dave Roberts vs $2.65M

Roberts is eligible for arbitration. I don’t know how much he’ll end up getting, but he made $975k last year so I’m guessing it’ll be in the $1.2 – 1.5M range. Assuming it’s $1.5M, this would essentially be giving up $4.15M in exchange for Roberts’ services. Richard Hidalgo signed for $5M this year. Is Roberts worth about 80% of Hidalgo?

Bottom line: I’d rather have the money.

In short, I could almost see trading Vazquez for Roberts. Actually, I don’t have a huge problem with that. But Payton, Pauley, and $2.65M is pure profit for the Red Sox. When this rumor first reared its ugly head, I said Red Sox fans should be happy if it happened. Now that it’s happened and Boston has picked up a solid prospect and cash (BTW, does it strike anyone else as odd that the Red Sox need the Pads’ money?) in addition, they should be downright delirious. Their GM moved a spare part for a starting position player, a solid utility player, a solid prospect, and a chunk of change. Folks, it really doesn’t get much better than that.

Unless, of course, you’re a fan of the Padres.

What Others Are Saying

  • sdwebguy has some nice things to say about Roberts, but likes the deal for the BoSox.
  • Dan at BTF thinks Boston did just fine on this one.
  • U-T gives the facts and this irritating quote: “This is not a deal we did to save money,” said Towers. “By the time we sign Dave, the money will be close to equal.”
  • Another BTF thread mostly comes down in favor of the Red Sox.
  • Transaction Guy weighs in and–oh go read it yourself, this is depressing me.
  • offers a little info on Pauley as well as the role former Padre minor leaguer Henri Stanley played in all this. (Hint, the Red Sox sent Stanley to LA straight up in a deal for Roberts last summer. This was just months after the Padres had traded Stanley to Boston for a PTBNL and cash. That’s right, Boston used a Padre castoff to acquire three more Padres and some money. Angry yet?)
  • Rich at San Diego Spotlight seems pretty neutral on the trade.

I’m sure all the Red Sox blogs have something to say as well. You can go find those on your own if you’re so inclined. I don’t even want to look at those right now, let alone link to them.

Meantime, I stand by my original assessment of the trade: Ugh.

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