Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Reds Reported to Trade Sean Casey for....

Dave Williams. Marc Lancaster of the Post put this on his blog, and that's where the story started.

We'll see what pans out, but here's my reaction. First, from a strictly internal POV, many are saying that it frees $$ to get a pitcher, and gets WMP in the lineup everyday. Of course, there aren't many pitchers available even if you have money, and if you don't get a good one you end up overpaying for Eric Milton, or someone like him. (Note: late reports say that we are paying half of his salary on top of it).

Williams is an average pitcher. Not much return, and certainly not up to the hype we heard about how we could move one of our bats to get a pitcher. Don't get me wrong. If he pitches at league average, that's a huge step forward for our team, especially if we keep scoring runs like we did last year. And I'm not sure you do better for Casey, who is doesn't hit for power, is injured a lot, and just isn't the type of 1B teams building World Series contenders are looking for.

Of course, the Reds blogosphere is rocking and rolling. Here are some thoughts:

JD at Red Reporter likes the deal, but feels he is apparently in the minority.

A lot of the other criticism of the deal that I'm seeing revolves around Dave Williams. I've seen him compared in various places as another Luke Hudson or Josh Hancock. That's absolutely absurd. The last time I checked neither Hudson or Hancock has ever pitched more than 10-50 innings of decent baseball at the major league level. Williams pitched 138.7 innings of league average baseball last season. In the major leagues, not at AAA. At the age of 26, an age that is just before a pitcher's traditional peak. The Reds have exactly two guys who are anywhere near as good as this guy, and their names are Aaron Harang and Brandon Claussen.

Williams is an upgrade for the starting rotation. Period. That might be a sad commentary on the Reds starters, blah, blah, blah, but what I see is the starting rotation being improved without a corresponding knock to the Reds offense. If no outfielders are traded then Cincinnati probably just traded Sean Casey's nine homeruns for 30+ Wily Mo Pena homeruns. I'll take that.

Its safe to say the brigade is homicidal over the deal.

We'll look at Williams' stats later. I'm still undecided.


SteelSD, on, broke down the stats as well as I could have, and here is what he says. (I am particularly worried about him being another soft-tosser).

Re: Casey to Pirates deal close

Williams sure is a screwy guy. Got beat like a rented Milton at home last season. Very good on the road. Gave up a ton of HR at home, but the HR Park Factor for PNC was .868. The guy is virtually a straight-up 1:1 GB/FB guy and got slightly BABIP-lucky in 2005 (.281 BABIP) while putting up a pedestrian WHIP (1.41). Williams OPSA would have ranked him 83rd (of 94) among MLB ERA qualifiers had he pitched enough Innings to qualify. He's got a history of allowing too many longballs. He's not a strikeout pitcher and I'd want to go over his medical records with a fine tooth comb considering that a torn labrum (2002) put him on the shelf for well over a year. His arbitration clock is ticking.

Let's just say that Dave Williams does not profile as a pitcher I particularly care for. Worse players than Casey have been moved for more. However, I'll keep myself open to revising that take if there's a prospect of value also coming over from the Pirates.

There's value in moving the 8.5M left on Casey's contract if that money is used to actually benefit the club. But that's about the extent of the potential benefit if Williams is the only name involved from the other side and it's quite possible that those funds will be chewed up by a mediocre-to-bad pitcher once he hits arbitration.

Good GM's find undervalued players to acquire in deals. Dave Williams doesn't project to be one of those, meaning that you're trading mediocrity for mediocrity at a cost savings. That's not the worst thing in the world if you don't spend the newly-found payflex on mediocrity, but this IS Dan O'Brien talking about.

So there you have it. Both sides of the deal. JD loves it, SteelSD doesn't. I guess I'm somewhere in the middle. I can see some positives, but its mostly just that having Williams at $1M or so is less negative than having Casey at $8M. That's not really a motivating, warm and fuzzy way to look at your team, is it?

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