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Some good reading from a great piece on Lastoria's site about the players we got for Lee, Garko and Betancourt. The Baseball Prospectus guy talks about the Lee deal...and Indians Assistant GM and Director of Scouting John Mirabelli talks about the others. Great read about not just the players, but the development process too.


Lee Trade A Sign Of More To Come

Posted by Tony at 3:07 AM




I had a chance to talk to Kevin Goldstein last night of Baseball Prospectus, and we discussed at length the players the Indians received in the deal. In his preseason rankings of the Phillies prospects, he had Carrasco #1, Marson #5, Donald #6, and Knapp #10, and when asked about where they would fall in a midseason update Carrasco would move down a little, Larson would be ranked about the same, Donald would be down a tiny bit, and Knapp would be way up. Here is what he said about the four players acquired in the deal:


On his initial reaction to the trade: "It took me awhile to kind of stomach it and digest it and figure out everything going on there. It's funny in a sense that none of the big names that were associated with the Halladay deal went to Cleveland. But I do think it is kind of a different situation because we don't know what he is worth because there has not been a Halladay trade. I think it is a good deal for Philly because they keep those guys and get Cliff Lee, and it is a good deal for Cleveland on the surface as they got guys who are going to play in the big leagues and got an incredibly high ceiling arm in Knapp. Sure, he is a bit of a lottery ticket, but the payoff could be huge."


On Jason Knapp: "Knapp is one of those guys where if you catch a scout who has been to the Sally League and seen that Lakewood team, everyone will say ‘what about this Knapp guy, have you heard about him?' His name just came up a lot all year, and that says a ton. He was definitely a guy generating buzz in a huge way as at least once a month someone was [asking about him]. There is just an incredible raw package of abilities there, and that is something the Phillies have always been known for drafting. Their draft focus is on upside more than any other team in baseball. Knapp is an upside guy where you are talking about a 6'5" pitcher built like a rush linebacker. A power frame and power arm that sits mid 90s up to 98 MPH, and is raw. He is not a kid from Texas or California, he is from a cold weather state and so he is not a kid who did a ton of showcase and national circuit stuff. He came to the Phillies as a very raw product where you were just excited about his size and strength in his arm. He lights up a radar gun as his fastball is an overwhelmingly powerful pitch. His secondary stuff is raw, and the command is raw, but just the package that he starts off with is incredible and so the upside is huge with a guy like that. What he turns into, who knows, he could end up as an elite power starter as he certainly has the body and frame to be a starter and eat up innings, or he could end up as a guy who just has two pitches and is a ninth inning closer. Guys that big who throw that hard do not grow on trees. They are valuable commodities. He has done a lot of good things this year at Low-A and been very dominant at times and has scuffled at times when things are not working out for him. You have to take upside guys because I think you turn trades into lopsided ones down the road. But you need a lot of patience as you are probably talking at least 2012 before he makes it to Cleveland."


On Carlos Carrasco: "He is an interesting guy in the sense that the age is good and the stuff is good, but the numbers are not so good. A lot of it is because he has a tendency - and this has been the book on Carrasco for a long time - he has an incredible knack for making bad situations worse. If you look at the game logs and the games where he did not pitch well you will see a tendency for those runs to all happen in one inning. He turns one run innings into three or four. His splits are pretty horrible with runners in scoring position and various pressure situation splits and that has been the story with him a lot. Whatever that is, whether it is an ongoing emotional thing or him trying to get too cute with his pitches, if you can correct that I think you have a pretty solid major league starter. He has average to above average velocity. It is a 50 to 55 fastball just on velocity, and I think it plays up a bit because of his ability to locate it. It also plays up a bit because of the quality of his changeup, which is a true plus offering."


On Lou Marson: "He is very athletic for a catcher, and defensively he is a pretty good defender. He is an on-base kind of guy. He hits for average and draws walks. He uses the entire field and sprays a lot of line drives. He does not have a lot of power and he is not going to fall into a lot of power as it is just not in his game and not in his swing. He definitely has an approach that is oriented towards contact, but he is a good hitter and nice prospect. Is he as good a catching prospect as Carlos Santana? No. But, he is a guy where scouts have him as a big league catcher. So something has to budge there one way or another. I don't know if Victor [Martinez] is going to move or they are just going to do what they maybe should have done awhile ago and just make Victor the first baseman. But, Marson is either going to be flipped or hold the job down for a year until Santana is ready."


On Jason Donald: "It's tough with him in a sense that when you talk to scouts he has always been a guy who has been around for a couple years now and was a high profile guy in college. I talk to scouts who have seen him for half a decade now if not longer and it is pretty varied still where some see him as a second division guy who can play everyday just not for a championship club while others just see him as a utility player. I think most of the debate revolves around his ability to play shortstop everyday, and I don't think he has the range to do it. I think he has the ability to play well in a utility role. He is an okay hitter with a very good approach and good power for a middle infield guy. He can play second, third and short, and I think that is the big thing as there is value there and I think he is gonna have a pretty long big league career."


Recapping The "Other" Trades


Mirabelli was not about to publicly comment on the players the Indians obtained in the Lee trade since it has not been completely finalized because the players involved have not had their physicals completed yet. That said, he provided some insight into the three players picked up in the past week to complete the Mark DeRosa trade (Jess Todd), for Rafael Betancourt (Connor Graham), and for Ryan Garko (Scott Barnes):


On Jess Todd: "He is probably the closest major league ready very finished product kind of guy. He is a very aggressive attack mode strike-thrower who can sink it or cut it. He throws a slider just about anytime he wants to for a strike. He is a very finished product kind of bullpen arm who has a low 90s fastball. He is not a big guy, but he does leverage the ball and does sink it down in the strike zone. He stays out of the middle of the plate, and he has a lot of versatility I think on how you can use him in a major league pen. The Cardinals used him in a little different developmental role as they used him as a closer in the minor leagues, which is something we don't do with prospects. So he needs to get stretched out a little bit because he is not coming to the big leagues to pitch for one out or two outs or one inning. He is going to provide some depth in middle relief there. So he has to get stretched out a little bit in Columbus before he is ready to come to the big leagues, but in terms of his stuff and where he is with his command and control he is pretty close to a finished product."


On Connor Graham: "We've known him since his Miami, OH days, and we had him in for a pre-draft workout right in Akron and I was there. So we are familiar with him. He is a big, massive, power-body, power-arm guy. He has a power fastball and power slider. The thing he needs to work on is developing his slider a little more consistently and developing his strike-throwing ability. He is a big, physical kid and the delivery, the body, and the arm action is something he has to work on to repeat because he is so big. We think the best way to do that is as a starting pitcher. We do want him to develop his slider, but the only way you develop your pitches is as a starting pitcher. You have to throw more pitches and you have to throw more innings. Obviously [with starting] you can throw 50-75-100 pitches when you go out there and also throw in your regular bullpen routines on the side. That's how you develop your pitches, and not in the bullpen with two innings then two days off then two innings then two days off. That's what we are going to do with the guy. Eventually could he be a bullpen guy? Sure. But for the time being we like his arsenal, and we are going to try and develop some consistency in those areas as a starting pitcher. I think he has some significant upside either way."


On Scott Barnes: "He is an interesting guy too. We think he has a chance because of his feel, his arsenal of pitches, and he is a very athletic kid that we think he has the chance to be a left-handed starter. The one thing that he has improved since last year - and I have to give San Francisco credit here - is they have developed his strike throwing ability. They have done a good job of improving that, and I think they have gotten him to be more aggressive and attack the strike zone and consequently his strike throwing numbers have really improved since college. He has got feel, he has three pitches, he is an athletic kid, and we have every reason to believe he has a chance to be a left-handed starter in the big leagues."




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  • 2 weeks later...

An interesting contrast....


Waiver deal sends Rios to White Sox


As was rumored over the weekend, the Chicago White Sox have claimed outfielder Alex Rios off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi made the official announcement before the Jays took the field Monday night, saying that the move will give the team more financial flexibility.


The White Sox haven't been shy in adding payroll this season and they'll pick up the nearly $60 million left on Rios contract and not even have to give up a player in return.




I was prepared to say "See Dolan haters! Look at that!".... But I don't know. Rios is due a Hafner-esque contract through 2015, and at this point....I wouldn't really mind giving up Hafner for nothing as long as we don't have to pay him. Some are saying this will let the Blue Jays re-sign Halladay...but I don't buy that. Interesting either way.

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