Saturday, August 25, 2012

Revisiting the Wilson Valdez trade

Quick, what do you consider the best trade Ruben Amaro has made in his tenure as GM?  

Stumped? There's really not many good ones to choose from. Most likely the Roy Halladay trade comes to mind. Even with his struggles this year, I still like the trade. The first Cliff Lee trade ultimately probably will get the nod above all others. How about a trade that was panned almost universally by Phillies fans? Imagine trading a player loved by almost all of the fans who some even regarded him as team MVP. You would think we just traded Carlos Ruiz or Chase Utley. No, I am talking about Wilson Valdez.

Some, such as Bob Vetrone, Jr., suggested he wasn't that far off from Jimmy Rollins. Of course, when you lack the understanding of just how far apart these players were offensively, I can understand. I remember the outcry like it was yesterday. They would incessantly shout, "RabbleRabbleRabble!" Google "Wilson Valdez traded to Reds," look at a few articles, and read the comments yourself to view the disappointment.

On the other hand, I enjoyed it from the beginning. The only thing I knew I would miss was the "Grounded into a Valdez" tagline. The fact is, Wilson Valdez was the epitome of a replacement-level player. In his two seasons with the Phillies, he accrued 1.1 fWAR and 0.0 bWAR. That's not difficult to replace.

As for Jeremy Horst, I didn't expect much at the time. However, I believe in building bullpens with cheap, team-controlled players. Jeremy Horst fits that mold. You see it time and time again. General mangers make costly mistakes overpaying for relievers. If you are reading this as a Phillies fan, you are a witness to this. Baez, Lidge, and the seemingly endless Ed Wade deals for middle relievers come to mind.

Talent wise, Horst was decent in the minors but far from dominating. With relievers, it's hard to tell whether they continue that success in the majors or flame out quickly. I was completely fine with taking that chance.

Now to the present day. Horst has pitched very well for the Phillies. In 18 innings, he's had a microscopic 1.00 ERA(small sample size alert) and a still impressive 2.79 SIERA and 3.54 xFIP. I don't believe his true talent is of a 30.1K% pitcher, but it's still encouraging.

On the other hand, Wilson Valdez has been nothing short of awful. He's been the double whammy- bad in the field and bad at the plate. If you put up Michael Martinez's numbers next to Wilson Valdez's, you would not know which is which.
Player A: .148/.200/.246
Player B: .197/.224/.219

For those guessed Wilson Valdez was Player B, you are correct.All in all, Wilson Valdez's value has been leaking more than the Exxon version circa 1989. His -1.1 fWAR and -1.4 bWAR are among the worst in baseball.

So kudos Ruben Amaro Jr. on a transaction well done. I don't get to say that much so soak it up while you can.

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