Saturday, January 14, 2006

Baez Beware

The Dodgers traded promising young starters Edwin Jackson and Chuck Tiffany to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays today for relievers Danys Baez and Lance Carter.

Immediately, many will be enamored with Baez's 41 saves last year without realizing that all it takes to save a game is to pitch one inning without giving up one or two runs. His secondary numbers are nothing special, as he averaged 6 K/3.75 BB/9 IP with an usually low 8 HA/9 IP for someone who doesn't blow hitters away. These numbers suggets to me that Baez has been very fortunate and is likely headed for a reversal of fortune.

I campaigned last week to plug Edwin Jackson into the departed Duaner Sanchez's role and feel he could produce what Baez is now expected to. He just doesn't have the sexy track record that DB does. Giving Jackson a shot to do this, though, would just give Dodger fans a reason to grimace that "the farm system hasn't produced any pitching in a long time". This ignores the fact that from a logical standpoint it doesn't mean it cannot or will not happen. The Braves system didn't produce a solid major league pitcher for a long stretch until along came Glavine, Smoltz, Schmidt, etc. I feel Jackson could have contributed roughly what Baez would, but that's just me.

If this trade was a poker hand, Baez is pocket jacks while Jackson/Tiffany is King-Queen suited. Baez is better now, but Jackson and Tiffany carry many more possibilities to win out in the long run. Ned's in the lead now, but he has to dodge the flop, turn and river in order to win and that's a lot of bullets to weave through. Of course, when you have a lot of chips (prospects), you can gamble on marginal hands. It will be interesting to see if Baez, who surely doesn't want to set-up heading into his FA year, even stays in a Dodger uniform come spring training.


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