I don't really have time to say a lot, but I'll drop a quick line about a recent trade. The Nationals traded 3B Vinny Castilla to the Padres for P Brian Lawrence. My first reaction is: Good move for Washington. Bowden signed two silly big-$ contracts last year, and Castilla was one of them. Lawrence isn't much, but he's something, whereas Castilla was bascially nothing (319/403/253) last year. It seemed odd that the Padres would get the lesser AND more expensive player (in Castilla), but then I figured the Nats might have taken on some of Castilla's salary ($3 mil). So I checked the story -- and the Padres actually paid the Nationals money. They traded Lawrence and cash to get Castilla -- an over-the-hill, well below-average third baseman. This was a silly move by San Diego. They could have signed a serviceable free agent (Rich Aurilia, say) for much less than what they paid for Castilla -- and still had Brian Lawrence. Lawrence is no great shakes (4.10 career ERA, and not likely to improve at age 29), but he's a guy who can pitch innings. And the Padres need guys who can pitch innings, because they ain't got anything after Jake Peavy in their rotation, whereas Washington now has a very cheap, low-level innings-eater in Lawrence. What's next? Trading Cristian Guzman to the Cubs for Todd Walker and cash?
Kevin Towers' reaction was pure Stupid GM: he said that he thought Castilla was one of the best defensive third baseman in baseball, which is an asburd notion. Castilla is not a very good 3B, and since he turns 39 next year, he's not apt to get any better. Towers also said that it seemed like Castilla was always hitting homers against the Padres. Well, maybe 6 or 7 years ago that was the case, but here's a hint, Kevin: Vinny hit 12 HR all last season, and you play in the most pitcher-friendly park in baseball. I don't think he's REALLY that much of a threat.
I'll keep you posted on all the other silly moves. My next update will probably be a look at the free agents this offseason; what I think will happen, and my analysis of such.
I also recently completed a nifty little spreadsheet that charts run production throughout baseball history. My studies have revealed some interesting facts, and I've drawn a few conclusions as well. I'll be sharing soon.