Friday, June 10, 2005

Roster Shakeup

An hour after hearing about the Ohka-Spivey trade, I have some initial reactions.

Ohka's had some decent starts this year, but he doesn't look anything like what he has in the past. His strikeout and walk numbers have been abysmal, and since he's a contact pitcher, he can't really afford to give up too many free baserunners or free outs.

He has also been unhappy with his role on the team. When sent to the bullpen earlier in the year, Ohka indicated he wanted to be traded. When Frankie came out to yank him Thursday, he turned his back on the skipper - in an already well-publicized incident.

Spivey is a former all-star second baseman with a career average of .272 and a career OPS of .794. He started slow in 2005, but is a great addition for a team with no middle infield depth. Carroll needs some days off, and Baerga is no more than an emergency starter. He'll get a lot of playing time until Vidro comes back. And when Vidro does come back, Spivey is a great guy to have on the bench - which would also free up Carroll to be a utility player on the left side of the infield.

Ryan Drese, who was picked up on waivers, is a solid addition to replace Ohka. He was Texas' Opening Day starter. Apparently, he's a power pitcher who was forced to learn a sinker in order to succeed in the bandbox ballpark in Texas. Throw him in the NL with half the games at spacious RFK, he has a chance to be a very serviceable #4 starter.

Think about it this way:
-- Ohka, who wasn't pitching particularly well, didn't want to be here. He's gone.
-- Spivey gives us good middle infield depth as a backup for Vidro. That frees up Carroll to backup SS and 3B. It also frees up Baerga from having to play the field.
-- Drese didn't do so hot in Texas as the #1 starter. But he has the potential to be above average in the #4 or #5 role. Zach Day's return would give us some rotation depth.

Two things concern me. First, I wonder if this means Vidro's injury is worse than reported. I sure hope not. Second, this doesn't bode well for the big league prospects of Brendan Harris and Rick Short, at least in the near future. We'll have to see on that.

All in all, it's not a roster shakeup that I'm in love with. But it has the possibility of working out very well.


EDIT, 1:57 AM, Saturday:

The posters at Capitol Dugout are going bananas over this trade. There's plenty of rational arguments against it, but they're being ridiculous. I posted a long reply, which crystalizes my thinking about this. I've posted it below:

Most of you are being Chicken Littles about this trade.

We had depth at second tier starting pitchers. Sure, it's nice to have starting pitcher depth, and guys do get hurt.

But we had ZILCH depth at middle infield, something we desperately needed to fix. Trading Ohka, a guy who did not want to be here, is a good way to get middle infield depth.

Maybe Ohka is more valuable than Spivey by the pure numbers. But the goal is not to collect the best 25 players. The goal is to get the best team. I think the Yankees have proved so far this year that a bunch of great players does not make a great team.

And let's not forget Ryan Drese. He's not a bad pitcher. Texas designated him for assignment, hoping no one would take him so they could send him to AAA, tweak his mechanics, then bring him back up. Before they could send him down, he had to clear waivers. The Nats claimed him. Jim Bowden said on the radio that Randy St. Claire thinks that he can help Drese with his mechanics. Drese, who was hurt by the small park at Texas, added a sinker recently to help him throw less fly balls. Now that he has the comfort of spacious RFK, he won't have to rely on the sinker as much, and he'll be able to mix his pitches.

So here's what happened today. We gave up Ohka, who has a decent ERA, but also has walked more guys than he has struck out. That's not good for a contact pitcher like Ohka. He also has been losing confidence and motivation.

We gain Spivey, a guy who's seen better days, but gives us much needed depth in the middle infield.

And we get Ryan Drese for free, a guy who with a little work has a lot of potential.

Trust me, the sky is not falling!


Blogger Farid said...

head over to the beltway boys [ ]and read what Bowden told Kevin Kennedy and Ron Dibble this afternoon on XM radio. He does clear up some of the questions.

5:20 PM  

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