Here are the most prominent trades that have gone down in the last week or two. In most cases, the team giving up the prospects overpaid.
That's not to say these are all bad deals for the contenders. The Cliff Lee trade probably makes sense for both teams, for instance. But despite all the talk of the economy putting a damper on trades, teams have been giving up very, very good value for in many cases very ordinary vets.
Take a look. Where relevant, the Baseball America prospect rankings are listed in parentheses:
- Tim Alderson (4) for Freddy Sanchez
- Daniel Cortes (3) and Derrick Saito for Yuniesky Betancourt
- Brett Wallace (2), Shane Peterson, and Clay Mortensen (6) for Matt Holliday
- Jeff Clement (1 in '08), Ronny Cedeno, Aaron Pribanic (27), Brett Lorin (28) and Nathan Adcock (24) for Jack Wilson and Ian Snell
- Scott Barnes (9) for Ryan Garko
- Josh Bell (8) and Steve Johnson (15) for George Sherrill
- Carlos Carrasco (2), Jason Knapp (10), Jason Donald (4) and Lou Marson (3) for Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco
- Brandon Allen (6) for Tony Pena
- Cole Gillespie (9) and Roque Mercedes for Felipe Lopez
Reports have been that the Nationals, like during the Jim Bowden error, have simply priced themselves out of the market and are without a chair when the music stopped. Rizzo evidently is trying to fleece someone when he should be just seeking solid value for a rebuilding effort.
In fact, there was a report from San Francisco that the Giants wanted Willingham but that Rizzo simply made him untouchable.
If true, I can't possibly explain it. We'll see what's happening today. Maybe Rizzo has the best deal yet up his sleeve. But more likely we're seeing one of the reasons why the Nationals will still be losing 100 games in 2011 and 2012.