Monday, December 8, 2008

Dodging a Bullet

Uh...not quite perfect form

So, all the talk yesterday was that the Sox were about to send Jermaine Dye to the Reds in exchange for Homer "Homo" Bailey. I'd been hearing rumors about it all week, and at one yesterday, it was even confirmed and waiting for league approval. I have never been happier to hear that a Sox trade has been hot air than I am today.

Now, this probably goes against everything I've been saying the last two weeks - I want the Sox to trade the older, more expensive players, and to pick up some young quality pitching. At first glance, the Dye for Homo trade has that in spades. Bailey was once touted as the best prospect in the Reds' system (and with as many years of losing and high draft picks that they have, that's certainly saying something), was untouchable in the minors, and is 22 with a cheap contract. Dye is 34 years old and making over $7 million a year. Win win, right?

Wrong.

Before I even rip into Homo Bailey, let's discuss Dye's real value. Dye not only comes through with leadership and post-season hitting (.438 in the 2005 WS and .375 in last year's ALDS), but he's generally the "rock" of the team. He's played over 135 games every year on the team, with at least 25 HR and is generally one of our best run-produces (including a monstrous 120 RBI campaign in 2006). Since leaving Oakland, he has shed his "injury-prone" label to play without far, making some plays in RF that helped bring back memories of Aaron Rowand. Dye is also a clubhouse presence and one of those guys that helps keep a team together. Not really someone you want to give up unless the package is going to be good.

Bailey, on the other hand, has slowly declined in value since an early debut in 2007. Once touted as the best prospect in the Reds' system in 2006, Bailey was brought up in 2007 to face the Indians and promptly fell flat on his face. Bailey never quite displayed any semblance of control, walking 28 batters in 45 innnings (which, sadly, is about on par for him, minors included). Still, he showed flashes of promise over the year with some quality starts, and gave Reds fans hope for 2008.

Fast forward to 2008, and Bailey gets decimated by the longball. Bailey gives up 8 HR in only 36 innings, and gives up 36 runs (32 earned) to compile a 7.93 ERA for the season with various demotions/callups. His strikeout rate has decreased every year since being drafted, he doesn't have much in the way of control (walks way too many guys, serves up a lot of junk), and while he mysteriously seems to thrive in the minors, he's a long way from getting this whole "MLB" thing figured out. He's no Clayton Kershaw.

This is the Joe Borchard/Brian Anderson of pitchers, everyone. A guy who destroys the minors but can't seem to get it together for the big show. For someone else, I would welcome Bailey as another promising project for Don Cooper, and wring my hands in anticipation of our future team. But for Dye? No chance. Besides, as much as Don Cooper loves pitching projects, he's already got enough on his hands with Richard, Marquez and company. Also, who would play Right Field? Or CENTER FIELD for that matter?

Here's hoping this rumor gets squashed and that if we DO trade Dye, we're getting another boatload of prospects (see: Vasquez/Swisher) with some major-league-ready help in the outfield. As much as I love prospects (or websites about prospects), this one creates more holes than it fills.

...I hear Joe Borchard is available.

1 comment:

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