Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Offense for Defense?

Up and about at 3:00 a.m., as per usual lately, there is really nothing on the radio except a steady flow of Ozzy and GnR on 92.3 and the rotating overnight guys on WFAN. So, considering I own most everything Ozzy and GnR, listening to mediocre sportscasters deal with out of their minds callers is the obvious choice. And, as with most sports radio, the airwaves are cluttered with guys who think they know better than the GMs in the front office. Yours truly has been guilty of that on multiple occasions lately – hell, even twice yesterday.

But today’s trade talk didn’t really come from the callers. Jerry Recco, my personal favorite overnight guy who is stuck rattling off last night’s scores every 20 minutes, announced that Brian Cashman and Omar Minaya were in the “infancy” stages of a Mike Cameron (and a lil something something, a.k.a. Miguel Cairo) for Gary Sheffield. Jigga what?!?

I realize that the team is in need of some defense in the outfield, but really, Cashman can’t be serious about this. How can you trade away your three hitter? Furthermore, how can you trade your three hitter for a lifetime .250 hitter? I know Cameron came back from the DL with some fury and put up some great numbers in May. And yes, his .298/.399/.536 constitutes a pretty damn good season thus far, especially when compared to Sheff’s .300/.396/.502. A quick look at the slugging percentage says that Cameron’s power numbers are actually superior to Sheff’s.

Oh, but then we have the nasty business of splits. After a monster .372/.476/.686 May, Cameron is looking much more like himself this month, posting a .200/.293/.338. Oh, and he’s been injured for the second time this season.

You want one more split? To embolden Cameron’s drop off, in the last seven days, he’s been a monster, hitting .198/.267/.308.

The tradeoff of offense for defense here is, well, indefensible. Nothing short of a Kazmir-esque pitching prospect can even this trade out. Not even Miguel Cairo, who should be a Yankee anyway, can even things out here, especially considering there’s nowhere for him to play at this point.

Oh, and this little tidbit makes me feel a bit safer about the deal. From the New York Times:

"I'm not going anywhere," said Sheffield, who is signed through 2006. "If I have to go somewhere, I won't go. If they said, 'Wouldn't you want to get paid?' I'd say, 'I've got plenty of money.' I'm not playing nowhere else. I can promise you that."

If I’m Minaya and I see a quote like that from a player I’m in trade talks with, I’m canning the deal right then and there. And rightfully so. In fact, this statement may save Cashman from making a grave mistake.

Now, if you want to talk about trading Sheff, the only remotely feasible move the Yanks should/can make is for pitching. There is no way that Cameron’s defensive contribution will equal Sheff’s on offense. And it’s not like Sheff is biggest problem in the outfield. He’s in right, and therefore has the least ground to cover out there.

And why trade Sheff for Cameron when there are other defensive center fielders on the market? Let’s not forget about Mark Kotsay here. Or even Juan Pierre, who is up for arbitration following this year. These guys offer defense in center, and will come at a lesser price than our number three hitter.

I’m going to say it one more time today. Number three hitter. I’d like to find out the last time the number three hitter was traded away from a contender mid-season.