Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Benuardo...Reunited At Last

Benny Broussard has strapped his 6-string on his back and is headed to Seattle to try to capture some of the magic of Jimi Hendrix in his music career. Oh, yeah – he’ll be playing baseball a little as well, alongside his old platoon-mate Eduardo Perez (though likely as a DH platoon).

The Indians were able to move Broussard (a strict platoon 1B due to make $5M to $6M this year in arbitration) for a legitimate prospect in Shin Soo-Choo, a Korean corner OF who has good OBP numbers, good speed, and could translate into a nice addition to this lineup for next year, or even this year…as well as another prospect, who will arrive by August 31st, with indications it will be more than just a throw-in.

At first glance, the one thing that stands out about Choo is that he has terrific number against RH pitchers, while his numbers against LH pitchers are underwhelming.

So, Choo hits RH well…wait, doesn’t Michaels hit LH pitching? Can someone smell a platoon in LF next year with Casey moving around from 1B, RF, and anywhere else on the diamond?

Looking deeper, the way that Choo’s numbers look in the minors (and they are just minor league numbers), he could translate to a leadoff hitter who settles in at RF, due to his strong arm. Acquiring a player who, right now, represents an upgrade over Gutierrez (particularly for Broussard) is nothing short of a coup for the Indians.

Before the local media decries the continuation of the “Fire Sale”, let’s make a distinction:
Trading Josh Beckett for prospects constitutes a Fire Sale; shopping Bobby Abreu and Pat Burrell constitutes a Fire Sale. Moving 2 part time 1B and a closer who’s going to retire at the end of the season is not a Fire Sale. As we’ve said here before, this is a Rummage Sale – the Indians are hoping that their pieces that are no longer useful can pull them in a decent return.

The fact that the Tribe received AstroCab (a 20-year-old SS at AAA) and an ML-ready OF in Choo for Benuardo is nothing short of remarkable. Spin it any way that you want to, but Broussard (like Perez and Wickman before them) was not going to be a part of the 2007 Indians (even at the beginning of 2006), so how is it bad that they received productive players for 2007 and beyond for them?

Another aspect of this deal is money-related, but not how the Dolan-bashers think. The Indians save $5M-$6M that Broussard would’ve been rewarded in arbitration and can move that money into giving Cliff Lee a deal, or extending Pronk, or going after a RF in the off-season. Would you rather throw that money at Broussard, or put it towards a legitimate “core” player?

I’ll get into this more tomorrow, but this team is not as bad as its record indicates. Seeing how these players fits into the 2007 plans is what’s becoming crucial – so add Choo to the list of Inglett, Sowers, Carmona, the bullpen arms, and (hopefully soon) Garko and Marte to evaluate over the last 2 months of the season.

Interestingly, Broussard may be in Seattle’s lineup on Friday night at the Jake. I just landed tix behind the Visitors’ Dugout, so I’ll let you know what the reaction is to Benny in a new uni.

My guess is not very much. It would be comparable to a Paul Sorrento return. If it weren’t so recent, the prevailing reaction would be, “Remember when Broussard was on the Indians?”


t-bone said...

anyone see a little inge in inglett?

Paul Cousineau said...

I like the little inge in inglett...nice wordplay.

From Ken Rosenthal on the Broussard move:
The Indians asked the Angels for Class AAA shortstop Erick Aybar before settling on Mariners Class AAA outfielder Shin-Soo Choo and a minor leaguer to be named for first baseman Ben Broussard. Choo, 23, figures to be a significant upgrade over Todd Hollandsworth as the team's fourth outfielder next season; his addition also gives the Indians the flexibility to move right fielder Casey Blake to first base. ...

Had they gotten Aybar, I would've knelt at the altar of Shapiro again, current record notwithstanding.

T-Bone, how about that Keith Law's biting criticism of the M's on the Insider?

t-bone said...

ask, and you shall receive... (below from Keith Law blog)

Another bad move for Seattle
posted: Wednesday, July 26, 2006 | Print Entry

The emptying of the cupboard continues in Seattle as GM Bill Bavasi trades another position-player prospect for a part-time bat in Ben Broussard. Sure, Broussard is hitting for average this year, but he'd never hit above .275 prior to this season, can't hit lefties (although the Mariners now have Eduardo Perez for that) and has below-average power for a first baseman.

But the real issue here is the continued moral hazard at work with a GM whose job is widely believed to be at risk trading decent prospects for marginal major leaguers. The Mariners are in last place and they are 34-48 within the American League; they're a bad club and not a playoff contender in any sense but a mathematical one. They continue to make bad decisions with their roster and with parceling out playing time, some of which is on the GM but a good chunk of which is the work of manager Mike Hargrove. This is not a club that should be trading prospects for complementary players like Perez and Broussard.

Shin-Soo Choo has solid tools across the board, with nothing below average, and as a center fielder who makes a lot of contact and has slightly above-average (grade 55) power, he could start for about a dozen teams right now. He was boxed out in Seattle, with Ichiro Suzuki and Raul IbaƱez signed long-term and Adam Jones their projected center fielder of the future. But that should only have impacted their willingness to trade Choo, not their expected return on a player who is major league ready and set to only earn the minimum salary for the next three years.

With Grady Sizemore entrenched in center for Cleveland, Choo becomes the team's right fielder against right-handed pitchers as the Indians don't have a solid corner outfielder in the upper levels of their system. The Indians could also try to move him to a team that needs a center fielder and try to acquire a better hitter to play right or try to address the team's pitching needs for 2007.

t-bone said...

also, from the Macon Telegraph, just mainly putting this in because of the Doug Jones reference...

Posted on Tue, Jul. 25, 2006
email this
print this
Notebook: Wickman prides himself on routine

In the sixth inning Sunday, prior to his Braves debut in the ninth inning, Bob Wickman made his march from the dugout to the bullpen.

Upon arrival, he went down the row of Atlanta's relievers, shaking everyone's hand. At the end, he gave Atlanta's 67-year-old bullpen coach, Bobby Dews, a hug fitting of a grizzly bear.

If you're at a game this week at Turner Field, watch. He'll do it again.

Atlanta's new closer is a creature of habit. From the beginning of his day to the end, it's all set.

Wickman has had a routine, he said, since he earned the ninth-inning role in Milwaukee in the late 1990s. Former Brewers closer Doug Jones showed him those ropes.

"It's just the way I carry myself," Wickman said. "I know what I'm doing. When you do something, act like you've done it before."

Sure, the pattern has evolved as he has racked up his 229 career saves, but it was essentially the same Sunday before he worked his first inning as a Brave.

Fostering confidence from teammates is one reason for the routine, Wickman said. Say he blows a save one night, he wants teammates to know he's the same dependable pitcher the following day.

"When you come to the ballpark, you better be coming in looking the same way because you've got 24 other guys that are going to notice, and you don't want them wondering what's going to happen," Wickman said. "You've got to put up a pretty good front about it. ... I carry myself with confidence. I say, 'Hey, if I let you down tonight, I'll pick you up tomorrow.' "

His three-up, three-down inning Sunday - although it wasn't a save situation since the team was up four runs - certainly got the Braves' attention.

Manager Bobby Cox said it was "a great feeling" when Wickman entered. Wickman likewise said it was nice to have the debut behind him.

"Coming to a new place, you want to show them what you can do," he said. "They're working so hard to get back in the (playoff) race, you want to go out there and contribute yourself."

t-bone said...

Updated: July 27, 2006, 10:38 AM ET
Browns center Bentley hurts knee first day of camp news services

LeCharles Bentley

BEREA, Ohio -- Pro Bowl center LeCharles Bentley sustained an injury to his left knee during the Browns' first 11-on-11 drill of training camp on Thursday.

Bentley got tangled in a pile of players as he was blocking on a running play for Reuben Droughns.

Bentley screamed, "No," before remaining on his knees as the Browns moved their scrimmage up the field so trainers could attend to the 6-foot-2, 309-pound player.

He stayed on the ground in a seated position for several minutes before Cleveland's medical staff immobilized his left knee and carted him to the locker room.

Bentley covered his face with a towel on the short drive to the field house as Browns players and fans looked on in shock.

The extent of Bentley's injury is not yet known.

Bentley, a five-year veteran, signed as a free agent with the Browns in March.

Cy Slapnicka said...

If Choo makes the big league club and they don't blow a train whistle (think "CHOO-CHOO!, chug-a-chug-a, chug-a-chug-a-") after his steals, the guy running the jumbotron should be fired.

Baltimoran said...

even the Choo Choo train couldn't cheer me up after hearing about Bentley...if he's out for the year...I'M GONNA GO BANNANNAS!!

Cy Slapnicka said...

Better put on the Gorilla costume Bax...he's done for the year.

I think its safe to say we can blame Bud Shaw for this one. He writes an article on Bentley and BOOM goes the dynamite.

t-bone said...

from today's uniwatch blog...

More news about Bob Wickman’s plus-sized physique, courtesy of Patrick Lindsey: “When Wickman got traded to the Braves last week, the team was in Philly. The Braves didn’t have any uniforms in his size, so they had to call Majestic and have someone drive his uniform down to the ballpark from the factory, which luckily was in Bangor, Pennsylvania, which is only a short trip. As for the pants, he wore a spare pair of Chad Paronto’s.”

Rockdawg said...

Bently is just par for the course. Unbelievable....I mean, really.