This double sucks for me. I’m a Mariners fan and am going to really miss watching Diaz pitch. I’m also a Braves fan and now I have to see the Braves face him a bunch next year.
This seems like positive steps, inasmuch as you can tell from a press release.
Really fascinating story in today’s P-D from Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold on how the Cardinals came too close for comfort to making a disastrous, franchise-altering trade.
It goes back to the summer of 2000. The Cardinals knew their starting catcher – a fellow named Mike Matheny – had logged a ton of innings that year behind the plate. Manager Tony LaRussa was hot for the team to try to acquire someone before the trading deadline on July 31st to back up Handsome Mike behind the plate, just in case.
The Cardinals talked to a number of teams, but had focused on Padres catcher Carlos Hernandez as one of the guys they most coveted. The Pads were open to a deal for Hernandez, and so as teams will do, San Diego began scouting the Cardinals organization. Their focus: the Cardinals middle-A ball team in Peoria. That team had some future major leaguers on it: Coco Crisp patrolled the OF. A decent catcher, Eli Alfonzo was behind the plate. A prospect the team was high on, Ben Johnson, manned a corner outfield spot and had obvious pop in his bat.
There was also this 3b prospect there named Albert Pujols.
The Cardinals for much of that summer of 2000 weren’t quite sure what they had in Pujols, but they were finding out quickly. Pujols was mashing. And the Padres area scout was paying attention. A little too much attention to El Hombre. And the Cardinals manager there had noticed and let the team’s minor league director know. “Get him outta here” was the instruction. They didn’t want an A-ball prospect they still weren’t sure about to be the make or break for a deal for Carlos Hernandez. (And Goold doesn’t mention it, but then-GM Walt Jocketty showed plenty of readiness to deal prospects out for fill-in players at the trade deadline; it’s likely that he might’ve considered it.)
And so the Cardinals “hid” Pujols from the Padres and their scouts by promoting him out of A ball. He went to A+ for a week or two, and then to AAA to be a bench bat for Memphis in the AAA playoffs that year. Ben Johnson ended up being the player who helped fetch Carlos Hernandez that summer.
For the Cardinals’ part, they don’t seem to have fully realized what they had in Pujols until Albert showed up in spring training the next season with a minor league invite and started knocking around Major League pitching like it was easy.
It makes absolutely no freakin’ sense. Why not hang onto Nicasio, see if he can put together a decent first half and then trade him when his value is higher?
I mean, Segura is pretty good. Weird that they had to add a useful piece like Nicasio to get it done.
Plus you get some great music out of the deal…
From the vantage point here in Philly, this is wonderful. First of all, signing Santana last year made little sense, since it bumped Rhys Hoskins out of first to OF, where he had little experience. Rhys proved to be a horrible outfielder and I think his batting suffered. Now, with Santana gone, he can move back to 1B.
Next, we get an upgrade defensively at short, can move Scott Kingery back to his natural position at 2nd (maybe they can trade Cesar Hernandez now for a bullpen arm or something).
Then, I think the front office had become convinced that JP Crawford was not going to live up to the hype, and is injury-prone, so they wanted to unload him before he lost his prospect luster.
And of course moving Hoskins back to first frees up a spot in the outfield, in case there’s a certain free agent outfielder available…
You’re telling me Segura is a better defensive shortstop than Crawford? Segura is average at best so this is dissapointing to hear.
After the All-Star break there was a fight in the Mariners clubhouse.
The speculation is that in addition to clearing out the expensive and aging contracts and rebuilding, part of the reason for all these moves is to fix the clubhouse.
The jury is out, but it was really about his bat. This take on Crawford from the Phila. Inquirer sums it up: the team’s viewed of him dimmed last year:
At some point, you have to acknowledge that a player simply did not develop into the hitter he had the potential to be. Maybe Crawford does in Seattle, but he didn’t in Philadelphia, and there were very few signs that a breakout was imminent. He was pretty much the same hitter at every level of the minor leagues: good OBP, good approach, but lacking the sort of pop that a big-league hitter needs in these modern times. He was a career .267/.366/.388 hitter in the minors. The only level at which he had an OPS higher than .769 was rookie ball. He just never improved.
If you squinted, you could talk yourself into thinking that he showed signs of emerging last season. In his last 28 games, he posted a .394 OBP and a .472 slugging percentage with seven extra-base hits in 53 at-bats. But that came almost exclusively against right-handed pitching, and in select spots. Crawford was just abysmal against lefties. He would finish his Phillies career with exactly four hits in 40 at-bats against southpaws. Nearly half those at-bats ended in strikeouts.
Granted, Crawford will be just 24 this season. Maybe he’ll end up adding the strength to the frame that he needs to be a legitimate part of a contending lineup. You can understand why Seattle might think he offers some untapped value. But if we told you a couple of years ago that Crawford would end up being traded for Segura, you’d have been disappointed.
I’m not worried, the Mariners have recent history of developing great hitters like… Kyle Seager?
I appreciated what Santana did this year, doubly so as he infuriated the diabolical element of the fan base that wanted to fire Kapler after one week. But being able to move on from that contract and not have to take some pain to go with it is quite something.
I’m rooting for Crawford, it was a bit of a lost season for him, and I am still bewildered why the franchise seemed to see Kingery as a better SS. Hope he makes something of himself in Seattle.
Sounds like talks may be heating up for Goldschmidt to STL. It’s a really interesting move because the Cardinals were hoping the middle of the order bat they could deal for would be lefty (they’re a right-handed heavy lineup), and Goldy would move Matt Carpenter – who is a competent but not great 1st baseman – over to third, where he’s a bigger defensive liability.
I guess my perception of that deal (and I like Goldy a LOT) will depend on what they give up and whether the deal involves a contract extension.
Uh oh, if another team makes a trade then Dipoto is going to feel the need to make one too. Some rumors earlier that he was working on a deal to trade Felix and Seager to the Rays for a 24oz bag of those hot cheetos.
I may have mis-heard, but apparently one complication in trading Seagar is that his final option year – which is a team option with Seattle – reverses and becomes a player option if he’s traded. That would put a potential trading partner on the hook for at least $15m or so if that hypothetical trading partner doesn’t want him to exercise that option.