Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Only Constant Is Change

Hey, if there's one thing the current management is good at, its the art of the deal. After all, practice should make perfect, right? Here's the MLB moves they've triggered in the past twelve months:

Jose Bautista, Jason Bay, Sean Burnett, Eric Hinske, Adam LaRoche, Damaso Marte, Nate McLouth, Nyjer Morgan, Xavier Nady, and Ronnie Paulino have been traded.

RHPs Casey Erickson, Craig Hansen, Joel Hanrahan, Jeff Karstens, Dan McCutchen, Bryan Morris, Charlie Morton, Ross Ohlendorf and Hunter Strickland; LHP Jeff Locke; third baseman Andy LaRoche; shortstop Argenis Diaz; outfielders Eric Fryer, Gorkys Hernandez, Lastings Milledge, Brandon Moss and Jose Tabata; and catchers Robinzon Diaz and Jason Jaramillo are who the suits got in return.

Demoted or waived from the 25-man roster during that span: Jimmy Barthmaier, Denny Bautista, TJ Beam, John Van Benschoten, Brian Bixler, Raul Chavez, Jason Davis, Tom Gorzelanny, Yoslan Herrera, Jason Michaels, Doug Mientkiewicz, Craig Monroe, Frankie Osoria, Luis Rivas, Marino Salas, Romulo Sanchez, Ian Snell, and Ty Taubenheim.

More additions: Free agent signing: Ramon Vazquez. Rule 5 draft: Donnie Veal. Picked up on waivers, as minor-league free agents, and in minor-league trades: Steve Jackson, Garrett Jones, Jeff Salazar, Virgil Vasquez, and Delwyn Young. Called up from Indy: Luis Cruz, Steve Pearce, and Andrew McCutchen.

No wonder scorecard sales are at an all-time high!

Even GW is impressed. Inheriting a farm system that only a mother could love, with Andrew McCutchen and Brad Lincoln as the only guys with star-power, there's now a smattering of potential difference makers sprinkled around, thanks to the draft and a couple of deals that netted some players with baggage but upside.

They gave away their better chips, guys with some power, and bet on the future value of Moss, LaRoche, Tabata, Milledge, Alvarez, and company. It's a process that accountants and Billy Beane love.

The transformation in the pitching has been night and day from last year, with a more consistent starting five and a vastly improved collection of bridge pitchers coming out of the pen.

It's still thin overall, but getting there. They're noticeably shy in the front-end of the rotation, and without a true stopper, those bumps in the road turn into free-falls in a hurry.

GW hopes they keep it up - and that the suits stay the course, with the goal to reel in some talent, not dump some salary. So far, so good.

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