3-for-3 in blogging in 2011.
The first day back at school went well. It's funny because I always feel like it takes forever to get to lunch the first day back. I get so hungry probably because I eat the last lunch period (a little before 1:00) and when I'm home for an extended time, I get used to eating earlier.
Not much else going on, but figured I'd put some words down to keep the streak going. One thing that I didn't follow up on from a few weeks ago was a trade proposal that I would love for the Pirates to make. This will never happen, but I can at least make a coherent argument in favor of it working on both sides.
MY DREAM OFFSEASON TRADE
So, here's the trade - The Pirates acquire infielder Michael Young from the Texas Rangers in exchange for Ryan Doumit, Paul Maholm, and a player to be named (among a list).
What got me thinking about this was, back in early December, Young was rumored to be on the block as the Rangers were trying to acquire Cliff Lee and also 3B Adrian Beltre. Well, Cliff Lee ended up signing surprisingly with the Phillies. So I figured it wasn't worth writing about any more. However, the Rangers look like they're going to sign Beltre, creating an expensive logjam in their infield. Also, Young has a history with new Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. Hurdle was the hitting coach for the Rangers the past few years. That's gotta count for something.
Why would this be a good trade for the Pirates? I think they could put Young back at shortstop and get similar defensive results with much better offense. Young has been at 3B the last two years, but was a shortstop before that. While his UZR from 2008 was -4.6 (negative isn't good) and he's now two years older (35 for 2011), Ronny Cedeno was a -3.6 in 2010, also subpar. So, you're not losing much there either way--both below average.
However, Cedeno's OPS in 2010 was a tiny 0.675 while Young's in 2010 was 0.774 (and in 2009 0.892). Imagine a right-handed slugger to protect the lefties Alvarez, Jones, and Overbay (not really a slugger) and the switch-hitting Walker.
Or, you could even put Young at 3B and make the inevitable move of Alvarez to 1B under the tutelage of Overbay some time within the next three years.
Doumit has fallen out of favor with the Pirates, but he's a perfect fit for an AL team. Maholm's days are numbered as there are cheaper alternatives on the way that will hopefully be up later this summer (how exciting that it's the new year and I can say 'later this summer')
Why would this trade be good for the Rangers? Money. Young is due $16 million per year in 2011, 2012, and 2013. They are going to sign Beltre, also a third baseman, for somewhere in the neighborhood of $90 million for 6 years ($15 million/year). They will also have players like Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, and Neftali Feliz all reaching Free Agency in the next few years. The Pirates can certainly absorb some payroll right now.
Also they would be buying low on Ryan Doumit. A perfect AL player--he can "adequately" play catcher, 1B, and RF. He's had decent OPS years but can't stay healthy. Doumit is due $5 million for 2011 with options of $7 and $8 million for 2012 and 2013, respectively. If Doumit doesn't work out, get rid of him after this year with no long term ramifications (allowing you to focus money on all the other guys outlined above). If he finally lives up to his potential, he's a bargain.
Maholm would be a solid #4-5 starter for them since they lost out on Lee. The PTBNL would depend on how much cash was going in which direction. If the Pirates absorb all of Young's contract, it would be a lesser minor leaguer. If Texas would through in some $$, then perhaps one of the AAA pitchers.
So, I say be bold and make a trade. It would benefit both teams and would give the casual Pirate fan hope that the turning of the corner may be closer than you think!
1B FREE AGENT PICKUP
Also, on the front of being bold, why couldn't the Pirates have paid $3million more for Derrek Lee (who's reportedly getting $8-$10 million) to play 1B instead of Lyle Overbay? A 0.972 OPS in 2009 for Lee (but 0.774 in 2010) while a 0.762 OPS in 2010 for Overbay. Both are solid defensively, but Lee has more pop and his right-handed bat would have balanced out the left-handed power. Disappointing for a team that did very little through free agency this off-season. I hope the young guys continue to get better, but they need a better supporting cast.