You can’t trade bad players just because they’re bad. If baseball were that easy, Padre fans would never have the pleasure of telling the thrilling tales of Mark Bellhorn. You trade players when their perceived value is greater than their actual value.
-Melvin Nieves, 08/11/08
Following Khalil’s MVPadre winning season of 2008, we at The Sac Bunt made the case (cases, really) for why he should be moved. His value was at an all-time high and it wasn’t really representative of his actually production. For all of his power prowess, and Khalil hit 27 home runs that year, his complete inability to draw a walk more than evened things out, leaving him with a wOBA that season of .322. Yet the Padres attempted to sign Khalil to an extension, one that he fortunately turned down, and now he’s working through his problems both on-field and off, in St. Louis.
Lesson learned, right?
In a recent blog entry on Kevin Kouzmanoff, Paul DePodesta aptly quoted Mark Twain, saying, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” DePo was using Twain’s words to discuss Kouzmanoff random success after May 14th, but it might work better if used to talk about the third baseman’s current trade value.
In his discussion, DePo points out the tear Kouzmanoff’s been on since May 14th, which includes 9 home runs in 140 at-bats. Stretched out over a full season, that’s more than 30 home runs, an especially impressive feat playing in Petco. But DePo noticeably fails to mention Kouzmanoff’s 27 strike outs and 5 walks over the same stretch. That’s a BB/K of 0.19, which is consistent with Kouz’s 0.17 mark in 2008. It’s also lower than Khalil’s 0.25 in 2007.
At the time, trading Khalil wasn’t as simple as simply finding a trade partner. There was no one in the system to take his place, so the team would have to go outside to find a replacement. With Kouzmanoff, the same problem does not exist.
As we’ve discussed, Chase Headley has become a bit of an enigma in this organization, though he’s been hot over the past couple of weeks. He’s also a more-than-viable option for this team at third base. And it would seem that a decision is begging to be made, with the outfield becoming suddenly stuffed. Along with Headley, the Padres have the newly unretired Tony Gwynn, Scott Hairston, Brian Giles, Kyle Blanks, and Will Venable. While it seems that the sand in Giles’ Padres hourglass is just about out, there’s no benching an active Hall of Famer or the team’s best non-Adrian hitter. And Towers has also pledged playing time for Venable, while Blanks’ presence demands some as well.
(For our coverage of Blanks’ call-up, search ‘Chase Headley’ in our archives and look for articles from June of last year.)
The best reason to trade Kouzmanoff, though, is because this team isn’t any good. We’re currently 32-41 and something like seven games out of the Wild Card. We also have a Pythagorean of 28-45 and are absent our two best pitchers (although Kevin Correia has really turned it on as of late). While some of the young talent are playing surprisingly well, the aforementioned Tony Gwynn and Everth Cabrera leading the pack, by no means should the team think that this dinner party is going end without someone getting piss drunk and saying something inappropriate about someone else’s wife. Let’s just take it easy, explore what the market for Kouzmanoff is (the Indians recently traded Mark DeRosa for Chris Perez and a PTBNL, for instance), and get ready for 2010 and beyond.