Just recently, last tuesday 30 Jan 2007. It was reported in the Union Tribune a possible deal between the Padres and Phillies, involving RHP Scott Linebrink for CF Aaron Rowand. If you take a step back and analyze this latest rumor, it doesn’t make any sense from a baseball or financial standpoint. Though, one possibility scenario had entered my mind, that is perhaps signing CF Mike Cameron to a multi-year contract has hit a wall and the Padres are looking for possible replacements after the 2007.
If the sole purpose to make this trade for the betterment of LF, I highly doubt that is the case. A comparision between Dave Roberts, Terrmel Sledge and Aaron Rowand will provide some insights as to why I felt this trade should not occur. The following are statistical numbers of the players in question for 2006:
AVG .293 | HR 2 | RBI 44 | OBP .360 | SLG .393 SB 44
At Bats: 398 | Flyball: 26.1% | Groundball: 58.5% | Strikeout: 15.3% | GIDP: 1.3%
VS. LEFT: .292 / .725 VS. RIGHT: .293 / .756
AVG .262 | HR 12 | RBI 47 | OBP .321 | SLG .425 SB 10
At Bats: 331 | Flyball: 32.3% | Groundball: 44.7% | Strikeout: 23.0% | GIDP: 3.9%
VS. LEFT: .222 / .748 VS. RIGHT: .275 / .745
AVG .229 | HR 2 | RBI 7 | OBP .308 | SLG .357 SB 0*
At Bats: 62 | Flyball: 27.4% | Groundball: 45.2% | Strikeout: 27.4% | GIDP: 1.6%
VS. LEFT: .400 / .800 VS. RIGHT: .215 / .655
Dave Roberts, clearly out performed the other two players in question. But, remember Terrmel Sledge only played in 26 games for the Padres in 2006, combined with the factor Terrmel was still healing from a horrible injury in the first half of 2006 season. I did not like the fact Aaron Rowand had a 3.9 % rating in Ground into Double plays as well striking out 23 % of the time. Granted, Terrmel Sledge had a higher rating of striking out (27 %), though his 1.6 % ground into double-plays is fairly close to Dave Roberts. I believe given a shot at full-time duty in LF that Terrmel Sledge will pay enormous dividends for the Padres and will surprise many people in San Diego. So trading Linebrink for Rowand does not make any sense in regards to an upgrade at LF. Unless, the Padres braintrust do not think they can sign CF Mike Cameron to a long term contract after 2007 season.
What this latest Linebrink rumor has done, is open channels for possible other avenues to explore. If the Padres are willing to depart with Linebrink, perhaps they should package RHP Tim Stauffer and LF Terrmel Sledge or OF Paul McNaulty to Tampa Bay Devil Rays for LF Carl Crawford. Now, this makes sense and gives the Padres a franchise player who is 25 yrs old and has a proven record. Here is a detailed look at Crawford’s statistics for 2006:
AVG .305 | HR 18 | RBI 77 | OBP .348 | SLG .482 SB 58
At Bats: 509 | Flyball: 31.0% | Groundball: 52.3% | Strikeout: 16.7% | GIDP: 1.6%
VS. LEFT: .288 / .776 VS. RIGHT: .311 / .850
Several categories stand out after reviewing Crawford’s statistics such as: Avg, OBP, SLG, SB, Groundball percentage, Strikeout percentage and Grounded into DP. Now, you can clearly see that Crawford’s statistics are fairly close to Roberts, given the fact we are comparing a 25 yr old to 34 yr old player. I would hedge a bet to say, Crawford has more upswing potential that hasn’t been tapped yet. If the Padres do not wish to invest a package of players for this all-star caliber player. There are other alternative scenario’s and a possible one exists with the Cleveland Indians. Yes, I know the Josh Barfield deal is still having some profound affect on a few fans in San Diego. But, there is an OF on the Indian’s ballclub that could possibly be had for a package of two players, like RHP Tim Stauffer and OF Paul McNaulty or Terrmel Sledge. That player happens to be OF Ben Francisco, UCLA graduate who happens to be tearing up the Minor’s. Just take a look what Ben had done in 2006 in the Minors:
AVG .278 | HR 17 | RBI 59 | OBP .345 | SLG .454 SB 25
Those are good numbers, especially for a 25 yr old who happens to be caught in a logjam of OF’s on Cleveland’s major league roster, though he has been invited to participate as one of the 40 players for this upcoming spring training 2007.
Either way, I would prefer that if the Padres have to trade RHP Scott Linebrink, just trade him to the American League where the Padres will not have to face him on a consistent basis. I do feel, the Padres have alot of relievers and some surprises on the pitching staff. Remember, four years ago Scott Linebrink was released by the Astros and basically unknown to the Padres fans. There might be another Linebrink/Meredith in the making on this 2007 season. Stay tuned Padres Fans…..