Monday, February 07, 2005

I'll trade you some cookie dough for your spoiled milk

Ken Rosenthal dishes the details of the could've/would've/should've Sosa-to-DC deal

Per the hardest workin' man in the biz:

The Nationals were willing to part with former Cubs IF Brendan Harris, a player such as OF Terrmel Sledge and possibly a minor leaguer in a trade for Sosa but balked at giving up premium young talent. The Cubs probably
would have agreed to pay nearly all of the $25 million remaining on Sosa's
contract if the proposal had included OF Brad Wilkerson or a comparable player.

The Distinguished One has already chimed in, if on a tentative basis so far:

I'll have further commentary tonight, but my quick take is that Bowden's offer was not unreasonable. I don't think much of Sledge, they're not going to use Harris, and the Nats don't really have any minor leaguers worth

As I see it, there are a number of ways to evaluate a trade (or almost-trade):

* by perceived value (i.e., "trade value" on the market) at the time of the trade;
* for its future ramifications (i.e., prospects-dependent);
* in hindsight (e.g., "Man, that Glenn Davis really sucked it up, and look at Schilling---yeah, he really became a horse!---and Finley---look at all that power he developed!!!");
* economically (i.e., "not bad for a salary dump");
* through the eyes of the actors.

It is this last manner that Ryan's comment regarding Brendan Harris comes closest to describing. Essentially, it turns "Well yeah, Harris might turn into something, but Bowden doesn't want him anyway" into something resembling excusable neglect.

I'm not certain I'd be so accepting. Harris is no bet for stardom---really, he's no sure bet to be an MLB regular---but he's a fine prospect, and in light of 1) the sometimes-rumors that Vidro might not be long for the Nats, 2) the possibility that Castilla might go mulletted-pumpkin on us, and 3) Ryan's prescient recognition that, well, we ain't got much else, I'm thinking 4) Harris might be worth keeping, i.e., close to Pokey Reese "untouchable" status. Bowden, of course, knows something about proclaiming ordinary players as untouchable, and I suggest he implement the policy with Harris, if only out of a dearth of alternatives.

As for the rest of it, well, Ryan's more down on Sledge than most of us, but that doesn't mean that we are---or I am---all that "up" on Terrmel. The more important point is that Sosa is altogether pointless. The Nats don't need a novelty player or a "face" or whatever Kornheiser advocates. Hell, the team is the novelty; if it can't draw based on its own nascent existence in the Nation's Cap, then DC shouldn't have a team. And 18,.000 season ticket holders (and counting) say otherwise.

So we get down to brass tacks, in my opinion, at least: Even "for free" (and don't even get into Wilkerson), Sosa is at best a "Jeffrey Leonard acquisition" and at worst an unmitigated disaster. While I'd bet on the former overwhelmingly, this team doesn't need to resort to pointless stunts yet.

My small pony is sleepping now, so I can spend a time in the Internet :). Hello!
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