Friday, November 06, 2009

Twins Trade Gomez for Hardy

Bill Smith made his first big offseason splash today, sending Carlos Gomez to the Brewers in return for shortstop J.J. Hardy, who was a suggested trade acquisition in my offseason blueprint. The deal swaps two players who both saw their value drop with rough seasons in 2009, though surely Hardy has proven more at the major-league level.

My initial reaction is that I'm very sorry to see Gomez go, as he was a personal favorite, and I'm very concerned about the team's outfield defense over the next few seasons. But perhaps the writing was on the wall during a month of September in which the Twins were making a fierce charge and Gomez was seeing virtually no playing time.

I'll have plenty more analysis of the move, and a more thorough breakdown of Hardy, on Monday.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have got my wish, Hardy, but at what a price! Gomez was one of my favorite Twins...this is a real disappointment. All indications were that the Brewers were looking for SP (thus Perkins).

Outfield defense is a major question mark now. Does this mean that the Twins hope for Revere to be ready soon? Cuddyer will be most likely out of Minnesota by 2011. Delmon is absolutely terrible in LF, and CF is not Span's best position.

Casilla will be traded as well, I am sure. Gomez and Casilla were really good buddies and Casilla will be making loud complaints. Casilla and Perkins should be traded now!

Brady James said...

Cuddyer isn't going anywhere. He wants to stay in Minnesota, he's one of our core players.

I predict that Casilla will be traded soon.

As far as Delmon Young, he's still only 24. His offense seems to have come along, and his defense won't be to far behind. 2010 will be a big year for him. 20+ bombs.

J. Lichty said...

Brady - too much faith in Young - doubt his offense will anythign much more than it has been - slow starts, short hot streaks with loooong periods of suck. Horrible defense too.

Cuddyer - yes option will be excercised - no qustion.

JMMVP - "Casilla will be making loud complaints" - Casilla is not in a position to complain about anything and he has never been a complainer to boot. He has been shuttled back and forth all with a smile on his face. I agree that he is not long for the team, but its not because he is a complainer - its because he is in Gardy's doghouse and because overall he has not produced.

Anonymous said...

I'm a Twins fan who lives in Wisconsin. All my friends are Brewers fans, I hear Brewers talk on sports talk radio whenever I'm in the car and I see a lot of Brewers games. My question is: Why are the rest of you in love with Hardy? Is it because you don't see enough of him? The guy is BAD.

His career line is .262/.323/.428 and that's after five seasons in the NL. Once he starts facing tougher pitching, you can watch those VERY pedestrian stats briskly precipitate.

I've seen this guy play and I know this guy carries a good UZR 150 grade, but I don't see him doing anything on the fiels that Punto can't do. About the only tool this guy has that Punto doesn't is power. And trust me, I'm not a Punto guy or anything.

I'm just saying this is a bad trade. I've seen enough of Hardy to know he is not the long-term answer for the Twins at short. The Twins were uncharacteristically bad on defense this season. So what does Bill Smith do? He trades his best defensive player for an ostensibly average defensive shortstop who will provide the same offensive production as Gomez.

Another affect this trade has is Span, who is not as good defensively as Gomez, has to play center now. That change moves Young into a permanent role in left. Great. More unwatchable defense.

Bill Smith continues his string of awful, awful transactions. Thanks, Bill.

Ian said...

Anon-

Gomez only started 86 games last season in CF, Span started there 75 times. (Gomez was a defensive replacement in another 51 games). So, while Gomez is a better defensive CFer than Span, the Twins weren't hurt by it. When they made thier late season charge Gomez was glued to the bench.

Hardy's a better offensive shortstop (by a lot) over Punto. And Punto's defense has been overrated the last few years (although he graded out pretty well at second this year).

Brian 4 Twins said...

Gomez does not have a BAT. Defensively, the twins will be FINE. Denard Span offers as much defensive prowess in centerfield as Gomez did and his ability to cover ground takes much of the pressure off Cuddyer and Young who both still have cannon arms out there keeping runners in check.

This is a GREAT move for the twins, Time to GO-GO, GO-GO nice to know ya! Now that you've been given the organizational nod, Mr. Delmon Young, time to produce and make geniuses out of them.

You may not like the move Nick but you will be proved WRONG when Delmon has an entire year to sick or swim, he's gonna take off next year! I can feel it. BTW who had a greater impact during the twins Division push this past season, Gomez or Young, YOUNG.

Nibbish said...

"when Delmon has an entire year to sick or swim"

Let's not act as if Delmon just hasn't been given a chance around here... He's been given 260 games and 960 at bats to prove that he's a middling bat (with no patience) and a terrible fielder.

We can look at those last 100 or so at bats, where he picked it up on offense (while still providing awful defense), or we can look at the first 800+. I'd think that the second option will provide a clearer look at what his future holds.

Nick N. said...

You may not like the move Nick but you will be proved WRONG when Delmon has an entire year to sick or swim, he's gonna take off next year

I don't think I ever said I didn't like the move. I'm disappointed to see Gomez go, but that doesn't mean this isn't a good move overall.

He trades his best defensive player for an ostensibly average defensive shortstop who will provide the same offensive production as Gomez.

As much as I love Gomez, his defense wasn't doing the team much good while he was plastered to the bench. And Hardy isn't "ostensibly average" defensively. I don't understand why I hear so many complaints from Brewers fans about his defense; I've seen him play a fair amount and I've been impressed. He has good range (as just about every metric will attest), he's got a much stronger arm than Punto or Cabrera and he doesn't commit many errors. What isn't to like, exactly?

His career line is .262/.323/.428 and that's after five seasons in the NL. Once he starts facing tougher pitching, you can watch those VERY pedestrian stats briskly precipitate.

Given that Twins shortstops combined to hit .263/.309/.374 this year and they haven't had a SLG north of .400 from that position in nearly a decade, that would be a pretty valuable line. And Hardy has been significantly better than that in two of the past three seasons. Whether you believe he can bounce back from his rough 2009 campaign or not. But if he hits for his career averages, which you mentioned, he'd be a pretty big upgrade.

Anonymous said...

Does nobody understand that The NL is an inferior league and there is no way to support a statement such as, "Hardy's a better offensive shortstop (by a lot) over Punto"? What are you basing that on? Hardy has power, yes. That's it. YOu'll see in April.

The Scruffy Rube said...

Since everyone else has already analyzed the baseball ramifications of this trade, I will ask the truly important question: just who will step up and offset the loss of crazy wackitude that Gomez brought to the ball park every night?

74% of Gomez's appeal was the off chance that you might see him let loose a primal scream, try to eat his own bat, or jump into the baggie just for the hell of it. Without such bizarre behavior what will stop us from becoming like the "regular Joe" baseball teams like the Houstons, Torontos and, god help us, Cincinattis of the league?

Sure, we may be a better team now: but are we as absurdly entertaining to watch?

lookatthosetwins said...

Anon,

The Nl is an inferior league, but the effect on one player's stats are a lot less than you would guess. This has been studied a lot, and at most, you can take away about 20 points of OPS for moving to the AL. Also, your stat line you put out there .262/.323/.428, is not bad at all. Its actually almost exactly league average. You can compare that to Punto's .248/.322/.344. How you can compare the two with a straight face (I'm assuming this isn't a joke) baffles me. As far as defense goes, he was just written about as one of the best defensive players in the league according to UZR http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/highs-and-lows-of-uzr-2007-9-hardy

This is a huge upgrade for the Twins. If you watched him so much that you realize that he's BAD, that means there's a huge problem with your player evaluation skills.

Anonymous said...

Risk on both sides of this deal, but good risk. One underperforming player for another based on positions of need.

I'm really torn on Gomez. He's in that area where he hasn't shown enough to convince you that he should be your regular CF, but he has shown enough to make you hesitate on giving up on him.

I'll miss his OF defense, too I really liked havin both him and Span out there; that kind of speed at multiple OF position was an undervalued advantage.

TT said...

Lets be clear, Hardy is replacing Cabrera, not some mythical average. By that measure, he will almost certainly an improvement defensively. But his career offensive averages are not going to be improvements. And if he hits like last year ...

As I have said before, Hardy is a huge gamble. But Gomez was, at best, the Twins 5th outfielder. I don't see how the Twins were going to give him enough playing time to develop into anything more than that. He didn't play even when Cuddyer moved to first.

And the Twins have Pridie who is out of options. He doesn't offer Gomez-level defense and he is never going to be a star, but he can play all three outfield positions.

Of course if Delmon Young is a dud and Gomez turns into a star, we will all complain about this trade. But right now it looks like the Twins unloaded an unproven player for a player who has something to prove. That is not a bad deal. Certainly better than some of the proposals to trade two or three pitchers for Hardy.

Anonymous said...

Quick question: Has Bill smith really earned the benefit of the doubt? It seems like everyone is just taking for granted that this is a good trade. When have we seen Smith make a good trade?

For the record; the effect of moving from the NL to the AL will cause more than just a 20-point drop in Hardy's OPS. I would expect him to hit just above .200 and put up an ops around .700.

For example, when David Eckstein switched from the AL West to the NL Central in 2005, his line went from .276/.339/.332 to .294/.363/.395. He then left the NL to play for the Blue Jays in the AL East and his line went from .309/.356/.382 to .265/.343/.349.

That's just one example from one SS I could think of off the top of my head who swtiched leagues multiple times. If you want to get more general and llok at the hitting lines of other position players who've switched leagues in the last 10-12 years, you'll find overwhelmingly (about 85% of the time) that guys who switch to the Al from the NL suffer greatly offensively. More than just 20 ops points.

lookatthosetwins said...

For example, when David Eckstein switched from the AL West to the NL Central in 2005, his line went from .276/.339/.332 to .294/.363/.395. He then left the NL to play for the Blue Jays in the AL East and his line went from .309/.356/.382 to .265/.343/.349.

For the record, you are giving anectdotal evidence to prove a point. And David Eckstein no less. The fact is that when you take ALL of the players that switched leagues and look at the difference in OPS production, 20 points is actually a HIGH estimate. You can make up numbers like 85% all you want, but you are wrong. I know 20 points doesn't seem like a lot, but when EVERY player on your team loses 20 points, it is a lot. Enough to explain the difference between the leagues.

Has Bill smith really earned the benefit of the doubt?

Why do we need to give Bill Smith the benefit of the doubt? He's made mistakes, but we are basing this trade on the players, not on the GMs.

Hardy is replacing Cabrera, not some mythical average. By that measure, he will almost certainly an improvement defensively. But his career offensive averages are not going to be improvements. And if he hits like last year ...

Average is not mythical. Its average. Anyway, he won't just be replacing Cabrera, he'll be replacing Cabrera and most of Casilla. That will be a huge lift defensively, and should be a life offensively also.
Cabrera 2009 - 284/316/389
Casilla 2009 - 202/280/259
Hardy Proj 2010 - 250/310/400

This is a pretty conservative estmate for Hardy, yet still a clear upgrade. Defensively, the upgrade is even more substantial. I'm obviously assuming also, that Punto and/or someone else that we sign takes over at second and Casilla plays sparingly if at all.

You can assume Hardy will hit like last year, but any decent projection will be at least slightly above last year's numbers. It would be absolutely silly to take one year and ignore the rest. You have to use all of the evidence you have, to make the best prediction you can for a player. That prediction should be a slight upgrade offensively over Cabrera and a huge one over Casilla, and also a huge upgrade defensively over either of them.

Hardy might not hit at all this year, but either might Micheal Cuddyer. The evidence points to him being a big upgrade, and I'll take that.

Anonymous said...

Hey Lookatthosetwins -- I suppose if Garrett Jones came back to the Twins, he'd have just as much success with them as he's had with the Pirates (according to you).

Like I said, You'll just have to see what I mean about Hardy beginning in April.

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