Tag:Casey Kotchman
Posted on: November 28, 2009 10:50 pm

GM for a Day: Boston Red Sox

second I'll do the enemy, the Boston Red Sox.
Prospects:  Clay Buchholz, Casey Kelly, Ryan Westmoreland (can't be traded), Junichi Tazawa, Michael Bowden, Ryan Kalish, Josh Reddick, Lars Anderson

Potential major losses: Jason Bay

Major Free Agents after 2010: Josh Beckett, Victor Martinez, Mike Lowell, David Ortiz (club option)

Infield:  Victor Martinez, Kevin Youkilis, and Dustin Pedroia put together a very good infield.  But Mike Lowell is on the decline and I doubt that Jed Lowrie is the long term answer at SS either.  The Sox would love to put Youk at 3B and move Lowell's contract.

Outfield:  Despite the possible departure of Jason Bay, the Sox outfield would look decent if the season started today.  Ellsbury may have become the best leadoff man in the AL, Drew has been solid for years and maybe a change of scenary and a hitter friendly ballpark could turn Jeremy Hermida into the superstar he was always projected to be.  But with Hermida's uncertainty and Drew's potential for injury at the least they'll bring back a solid fourth option.

Rotation:  Beckett and Lester are grest at the front.  DiceK is right with them if healthy (although reports of him and the organization fighting over conditioning can't be good).  Buchholz has all the talent in the world if given the chance.  Wakefield is always around, although he's probably better suited for the bullpen at his age.  Tazawa and Bowden are ready for the majors as well giving the Sox one of the deepest crops of starting pitching in baseball. 

Bullpen:  Papelbon is Papelbon in the 9th.  Bard should be the 8th inning flamethrower.  Okajima is solid but should probably see less innings this year.  Delcarmen is consistent and Ramirez really got the job done last year.  I'm sure they'd love a veteran setup man back there as Saito and Wagner are both departing

Holes to fill: 3B, SS, OF.  SP isn't really a hole with their depth but you know that Boston will be looking to upgrade.

Bad Contracts:  If Mike Lowell can stay healthy his $12 million contract isn't bad.  Similarly if David Ortiz rebounds he would be a steal at $12.5 million.  I never liked the JD Drew deal, and $28 million over the next two years is a lot for him.  I'm not thrilled with what DiceK is still owed but the equivalent of $9 million a year isn't that bad considering the price of free agent pitching.  I just don't think he has three good years left in a major league uniform. 

Salary Increases:  Lester gets an extra $3 million, Victor Martinez and Varitek make a combined $5 million more than last year.  Pedroia gets $2 million more.  Hermida is probably at $4 million after arbitration.  Papelbon will probably get a $4 million raise in arbitration.  Youk gets an extra $3 million this year.  Beckett an extra $1.5 million but Wakefield takes a paycut that cancels it out.  Kotchman is likely to get $5 million.  Delcarmen and Ramirez probably cost an extra $3 million combined.  If my math is right that's an extra $27 million.  For Penny, Smoltz, Bay, Saito, Baldelli and the other FA I have the costs at $20 million, meaning that Boston is already $7 million over last year's payroll before resigning Bay or bringing in somebody like Halladay.  I really can't see them adding a big contract and ending up spending an extra $20 million in this economy so I'm going to have to start with cost cutting moves...

The Moves to Make:

1.  Sign Josh Beckett and Victor Martinez to extensions.  Get your ace and the second best offensive catcher in the league signed long term before they hit the open market. 

2.  Non-tender Casey Kotchman.  He's not an everyday player and shouldn't be paid $5 million to sit on the bench. Victor Martinez will be getting a little time at 1B/DH anyway.

3.  Trade Matsuzaka to the Brewers for Corey Hart and prospects.  I don't trust Drew to play more than 130 games and you don't know what you are getting from Hermida.  I do not think that paying $18 million a year for Bay is the right move and Hart should only cost about $5 million this year.  He had a bad 2009 but two good seasons before and will only be 28.  The Brewers need pitching and the Red Sox have young arms ready to stand in for Matsuzaka.   As I alluded to earlier, I don't think Matsuzaka can hold in the longer MLB season if all this talk about his conditioning is true.  Pick up an outfielder you can use now and reload on prospects you can use for trades later.  I had a few other options with this including to Colorado for Brad Hawpe or to Texas for Nelson Cruz but I see Hart as the best option. 

4.  Trade Lars Anderson, Casey Kelly and other low/mid level prospects for Adrian Gonzalez.  Jason Bay isn't worth the money but Gonzalez is an absolute steal making a combined $10.25 million in the next two years.  He hit a combined 50 HR in his last 160 road games and would be a lock for 45 in that park.  He's not only cheaper than Bay but better.

5.  The most controversial of my moves.....  Trade David Ortiz to the Oakland Athletics for prospects.  I think he's done as being an elite player and you need to cut salary.  Adrian Gonzalez will easily outproduce him this year anyway.  Oakland traded for Holliday last year and may be willing to make a move again, but I really don't see another fit for Ortiz.  You can probably still get a pretty good return including an extra arm for the bullpen (Wuertz?).  You know they are going to try and move Mike Lowell but I view him as untradeable at this point.  You'd have to eat 3/4 of his salary to find a taken and if you are only saving $3-4 million you are better off with Mike Lowell in the lineup. 

6.  Trade Bowden, Kalish and prospects from the Ortiz and Matsuzaka trades for Josh Johnson.  There is no way it's worth it for the Red Sox to give up prospects for Halladay and then pay him $20 million a year with the extension.  I do not believe any of the hype.  Johnson is younger and cheaper.  Theo has a great relationship with the Marlins.  It all makes sense.

7.  Sign Marco Scutaro to be your SS. 

2010 Lineup
c. Victor Martinez/Jason Varitek
1b. Adrian Gonzalez
2b. Dustin Pedroia
3b. Kevin Youkilis
ss.  Marco Scutaro
lf. JD Drew/Cory Hart
cf. Jacoby Ellsbury
rf. Jeremy Hermida/Cory Hart
dh. Mike Lowell/Cory Hart

1. Josh Beckett
2. Jon Lester
3. Josh Johnson
4. Clay Buchholz
5. Tim Wakefield
extra:  Junichi Tazawa

Closer:  Jonathan Papelbon
Major Bullpen Arms:  Daniel Bard, Hideki Okajima, Manny Delcarmen, Ramon Ramirez. Michael Wuertz

Final Notes:  The only thing I really had in my head coming into this was some kind of trade for Josh Johnson.  I simply didn't think it was worth trading for Halladay if the price is as high as reported.  Plus if they extend Halladay and give him $20 million they probably can't afford to keep Beckett next season who will be making at least $15 million a year.  That's effectively giving up Beckett and Buchholz for Halladay which is just stupid.  In the scenario I've laid out, Beckett signs a four or five year extension and the Sox control their first four guys, all of whom have ace stuff for three years or more. 

I realize there is probably no one behind the trading Ortiz idea and trading Matsuzaka would have mixed reactions at best but that saves a lot of cash and gives you enough in extra prospects to bring in both Adrien Gonzalez and Josh Johnson.  Probably every Sox fan on here is going to say there is no way you can trade Bay but I can't see how they can afford him.  Even with me getting rid of the $20 million from Ortiz and Matsuzaka, payroll would still increase about $10 million with the Scutaro signing and Josh Johnson's arbitration raise.  I do expect them to raise payroll some this year, but the most they could possibly add on is $10-15 million, which with the salary increases really only leaves about $8 million to work with.  That's basically only enough for Marco Scutaro and a 4th outfielder.  I honestly wouldn't be surprised if signing Scutaro was the biggest move the Red Sox make this year.  It's tough when you have payroll restrictions. 

To sum things up.  Gonzalez and Martinez are replacing Bay and Ortiz as the big bats.  Josh Johnson replaces Matsuzaka in the rotation.  Hart and Hermida replace Bay and Baldelli in the OF.  Scutaro is a big upgrade at SS.  Added a power arm in Michael Wuertz in the bullpen to replace the departed Saito.  Basically just made moves to get younger and cheaper but leaving the team with a similar makeup.  You still keep your best hitting prospect in Ryan Westmoreland and best pitching in Clay Buchholz.  I choose to keep Tazawa over Bowden first because I think he's better and second because I think the Sox are trying to keep Japanese players on the team to be a more attractive destination for Yu Darvish in a few years.

This was kind of a rush job, I might edit more of it later.  I'm sure I'll take a lot of heat for saying that neither the Yankees nor the Red Sox should go after Bay, Holliday, Lackey or Halladay.

Posted on: November 25, 2008 4:11 am

GM for a Day: Atlanta Braves

This won't just serve as my Braves edition of GM for a Day but as my forum to bash Frank Wren.  Two awful trades both involving Mark Teixeira may have ruined the franchise for the next few years.  The first was technically under Schuerholz, but as the assistant GM and obvious successor he could have blocked the deal. 

Trade 1.

The Braves send Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Beau Jones and Matt Harrison to the Rangers for Mark Teixeira and Ron Mahay.
The Braves also recieve a compensation pick for Ron Mahay going to the Royals, they take Brett DeVall with the 40th pick. 

Trade 2

The Braves send Mark Teixeira to the Angels for Casey Kotchman and Stephen Marek.
The Angels will also recieve two compensation picks in the 25-35 range if Mark Teixeira signs somewhere else.

I really don't mind trade one if they would have only given up one of Feliz and Andrus.  Feliz wasn't as highly regarded at the time, but he was a 19 year old pitching lights out with ace potential.  He's the type of player that you either put off limits are count as a marquee prospect when you move.  You don't add him in as a throw in player.  He is now considered one of the top 10 pitching prospects in the game. 

I can see why they gave up Andrus when they had Escobar and Lillibridge in the system, but why Andrus of the 3?  He had the highest ceiling as a player.  If I'm a GM he is the guy I want to keep above all else.  Escobar is overrated to begin with.  He's all defense, has already topped out in the SB department, and you are looking at a max of 12-15 HR for his entire career.  Plus Escobar had more value because he was major league ready.  Lillibridge is a good prospect but nothing special.  Andrus is a great defender with plus speed and projectable on base skills.  He is now arguably the best SS prospect in the game.

I agree with trading Salty (blocked), Harrison (tops out as a #3) and Jones (probably ends up a lefty reliever).  When it comes down to it, 3 blue chip prospects is too much to give up for 1.3 seasons of Teixeira.  They could have gotten the deal done for only two of Salty/Andrus/Feliz if they'd waited a week.  There is no way another team was giving up a better 3 prospects than that group.  They bought high on Tex.....

And then they sold low on Tex a year later.  Kotchman is awful.  I'm sorry he is.  His ceiling is hitting about .300-.310 with 20 HR and 90 RBI. I honestly don't think he's going to reach those numbers with Atlanta.  Even if he does, he's a 1B, and that doesn't cut it, especially in the NL.  Can the Braves really base an offense around Kotchman, McCann and 120 games of Chipper?  Not if they expect to compete.  Frank Wren clogged what is supposed to be a power position with a below average player for the next 3 seasons.  Why?  So they could hang on to their miniscule playoff hopes last season?  A minor league journeymen 1B could have hit the .285, 18 HR, 85 RBI that Kotchman was on pace for before the trade, and replacing Tex with those numbers is throwing in the towel anyway.  Oh and Stephen Marek is failed starter converted to relief who projects as nothing more than a 7th inning guy.  Great haul.

Why didn't they just try for prospects?  They could have gotten at least one elite prospect and then a bunch of guys like Marek.  How about Nick Adenhart and Stephen Marek for Tex?  With the emergence of Saunders and Santana last year he became available.  Then they trade for someone like Hank Blalock or sign Joe Crede to incentive laden deal and move him to first to keep him healthy.  Isn't that better than Kotchman? (hel the two compensation picks and a FA would have been better than Kotchman and Marek) Then they could have tried Adenhart down the stretch, who probably would have fared better in the weaker NL than he did in his first callup with the Angels.  Maybe then the Braves only need one starting pitcher instead of two right now.

And one last point before I get to the actual intention of this article.  If the Braves don't trade for Teixeira, not only do they have the best farm system in baseball on the stregnth of Hanson, Feliz, Andrus, Heyward and Schafer, but they also likely fall a few places down the standings and their first round pick in the 2008 draft becomes protected.  Than the Tom Glavine signing looks slightly less bad when they don't have to give up their draft pick.  But really who would have thought that $8 million and the 18th overall pick for a 42 year old would have turned out bad?

OK now finally on topic and to the offseason moves

1.  Trade for Jake Peavy already.  It won't make you a playoff team, but do it anyway.  My reasoning is this.  Escobar has more value this offseason than he is likely to at any point after it.  Gorkys Hernandez will never play for Atlanta with Schafer and Heyward ahead of him.  Boyer and Morton are nothing special.  Add another prospect, upgrade one of the pitchers for someone like Kris Medlen or Randall Delgado and see if they bite.  Do something.  There is no special players in this group, but Frank Wren will be afraid to pull the trigger anyway after the Braves were fleeced in the first Teixeira trade.  It wouldn't surprise me if Wren being gunshy forced the deal to fall thru for good.  Besides, the Braves need to add someone to anchor the rotation and I guarantee they are outbid on CC, Burnett and Lowe.  It's a deal that has to be made.

2.  Sign Jon Garland.  I like sinkerballers who can eat innings, and an innings eater fits well into this team.  You can also expect a boost in his numbers in moving to the NL. 

3.  Offer Rafael Soriano to the Rays for Reid Brignac.  The Rays need help at the back of the bullpen and Brignac may have become expendable with Maddon's man crush on Jason Bartlet and the drafting of Tim Beckham.  With the rest of my moves they can't afford Furcal, and they need to spend on a power hitting OF instead of a leadoff type.  I had Renteria here for a second but changed it, his .239 average against RHP was just too bad to pay him the money he'll command.  Just let Brignac and Lillibridge fight for the spot, one of them will take over.  If that trade doesn't work Renteria is the guy to go with despite his flaws.  Something tells me he'd take less to go back to at Atlanta, and a 2 year deal would be relatively low risk.

4.  Sign Adam Dunn.  They need a power hitter in LF and I like him because he can eventually take over 1B.  In a year or two when Heyward and Schafer are both ready you play them in the OF with Francouer, move Dunn to 1B and then trade away Kotchman for whatever you get.  This could also work with Raul Ibanez, but I just think Dunn fits here better. 

I still don't think they are a playoff team in that division but they are better when they started.  Peavy, Jurrjens and Campillo are all controlled until 2013 and Tommy Hanson for longer so it at least stabilizes the rotation.  If some of the young hitters can come up and start producing they could make a few playoff runs in front of the rotaiton.  The bigger problem is that most of the top offensive prospects were HS draft picks, which normally take longer to develop at the major league level.  Really didn't know what to do with the Braves, they are in a bad spot after those two awful Tex trades.  More just picked them next so I could bash them for it.  Not sure if I did the best job, but I'm pretty confident my plan is better than Frank Wren's......
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