The Padres have traded shortstop Khalil Greene to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-handed reliever Mark Worrell and a player to be named later. Worrell, no relation to ex-Padre Tim Worrell, has has put up some nice numbers in the minor leagues. Then again, so has Carlos Guevara, and nobody ever gave up the best shortstop in franchise history (damning with faint praise, I know) to get a piece of that action.
Paul DePodesta talks about Worrell’s repertoire (sounds a little like Cla Meredith) and acknowledges that clearing Greene’s $6.5 million salary for 2009 was a factor in the deal. Quoth DePo:
This move provides us some flexibility in our other dealings, which could be very helpful going forward through this winter and provides us some more definition as we approach next week’s Winter Meetings.
Tom Krasovic suggests that the Greene trade “could improve the club’s chances of retaining ace pitcher Jake Peavy or gaining leverage in trade talks involving Peavy.” If Krasovic is correct and this in fact helps the Padres keep Peavy, then that’s a sacrifice you make every time.
Still, if you’re going to dump salary, it would be nice to move players with actual value. Greene is coming off a career-worst season (.213/.260/.339) that ended prematurely thanks to a self-inflicted fracture of his left hand. In retrospect, getting rid of Greene last winter would have been the better play. However, we didn’t know — and had no way of knowing — three things at the time:
- Greene would stink in 2008 and injure himself in a fit of rage (really, you saw that coming?)
- The Padres would stink in 2008
- John and Becky Moores would file for divorce after 40+ years of marriage and throw the ownership situation into complete and utter chaos
In a perfect world none of these things happens and the Padres don’t need (or feel the need — makes no difference in the end) to give away Greene for a home version of the game and some car wax. I wish the Padres could find another way to recoup the $6.5 million owed Greene this year — getting the Cardinals to refund their money on the defective product they shipped to San Diego last December immediately leaps to mind.
On a personal note, I hate to see Greene leave. I’ve enjoyed watching him play over the years — the three diving stops in one inning while wearing the throwback uni, the dramatic homer off Chad Cordero, the crazy piroutte play to rob Ryan Theriot of a base hit — and I always appreciated his presence on the team. I’m not sure I’d want to see every ballplayer carry himself the way Greene does, but a few more wouldn’t hurt.
I also think that if healthy, Greene has a chance to do some serious damage in St. Louis. Before last year, when he played poorly everywhere, he’d been a beast (.280/.334/.511) away from Petco Park. Assuming he isn’t one of those freaks whose career is essentially over at age 28, I’m liking Greene’s chances to rebound in a big way.
Anyway, he’s gone now. In his place we’ve got Luis “I Will Lay Down a Sacrifice Bunt in the First Inning” Rodriguez at shortstop, with Sean “Less of a Hitter in the Minors Than Luis Rodriguez” Kazmar waiting in the wings. Pretty exciting, eh?
We’ve got a 25-year-old right-handed reliever with 5 2/3 innings of big-league experience under his belt who wasn’t happy in his previous organization. Because if there’s anything a 99-loss team needs to do, it’s shore up (or in this case, maybe shore up) the bullpen. (And to be clear, the Padres had a terrible bullpen last year, but seriously… without much of a rotation, it hardly makes a difference.)
Oh, and of course, a Peavy deal has been “imminent” for months now. So there’s that, too.
Did I miss anything? No? Very well, then; that’s enough of my boundless optimism for now. Happy Friday. Watch out for… stuff.