Monday, January 20, 2014

Trading Miggy

Bye, Bye Miggy - as Crusaders prepare for future.
So after I got hired to take over the franchise Severn Express, I renamed the team the Traverse City Crusaders. The Crusaders? Because I am a huge, die-hard Batman fan (as in the "Caped Crusader") and also because I am on my own crusade through life.

I got word that I was the owner of the greatest player in the game today in Miguel Cabrera, but as I looked at the rest of the roster, there really wasn't much else, or not a lot surrounding him. I checked out my fellow division rivals, and noticed two teams that were easily better than my team. The Express won 87 games last season somehow, but at the same time they finished 30 games behind the Hollywood Werewolves, and in 3rd place. The Southbend Lynx (2nd place) finished 19 games ahead of me as well, so I knew I had my work cut out for me. The Virginia Sluggers looks like they are ready to pass me, so it's time to rebuild & retool this franchise.

Unfortunately, that means trading Miguel Cabrera. Now I am a huge Detroit Tigers fan, who is also a big Braves fan as well. Why in the world would anyone trade a once-in-a-generation player such as Cabrera? Well, I can bring in some good pieces and draft picks to help build a foundation. I also happened to have Brian McCann, Matt Holliday, Joaquin Benoit, and a rotation that needs some work led by oldies Tim Hudson and Mark Buerhle.

The roster stood as this:
C - Brian McCann
C - Yan Gomes
C - Carlos Corporan
C - Ramon Hernandez
1B - Carlos Pena
1B/3B - Eric Chavez
2B - Tony Abreu
2B - Angel Sanchez
2B - Jemile Weeks
SS/2B - Pedro Ciriaco
SS - Aldaberto Mondesi*
3B - Miguel Cabrera
3B/IF - Donnie Murphy
OF - Matt Holliday
OF - Marlon Byrd
OF - Drew Stubbs
OF - Angel Pagan
OF/2B - Ryan Raburn
OF/1B - Tyler Moore
OF - Ronald Guzman*
OF - Elier Hernandez*

SP - Mark Buehrle
SP - Yovani Gallardo
SP - Tim Hudson
SP - Stephen Fife
SP - David Phelps
SP - Tyler Skaggs
SP - Jon Garland
SP - Roy Halladay
CL - Joaquin Benoit
RP - LaTroy Hawkins
RP - Scott Downs
RP - Dale Thayer
RP - Jonathan Broxton
RP - Evan Scribner
RP - Jose Mijares
RP - Mike Gonzalez
RP - Brayan Villarreal
RP - Ryan Mattheus

It was funny, because when I was introduced to the league as a new owner to the rest of the owners of the MWBL, I got a lot of emails saying "Welcome to the MWBL, and... hey, I noticed you have Miguel sitting over there, we'll be in touch." hahaha. My first thought was "thanks & you wish", and then I looked at the roster and the reality of the situation hit me, I need to move Miggy. Sure, I could have held on to Miguel, and continue to suffer 4th place finishes, while not bringing any youth and draft picks to better my situation. It would have been the equivalent of the most part to Barry Bonds with the San Francisco Giants, for the most part (not counting 2002 & 1997), Barry was surrounded by a team not going anywhere.

I felt I had to take the approach of that I NEVER owned Miguel Cabrera. Sure, I still sat there hanging over emails, hours on end debating possible trades. When I put the initial email out to the league that Miguel Cabrera is on the block, I ended up getting offers from about 8 to 10 teams, basically a third of the league -- I was in talks with two owners exclusively on the most part, one owner (the one that would get him eventually in the end) for about half-of-the emails. We traded emails at least 20 times, or close to that, tweaking & changing things. Did I get exactly what I wanted? No. Am I happy overall with the trade? Yes. The thing is this, I felt I couldn't truly move forward until I ripped the band-aid off of the situation -- so I went with the team that was going to give me the best options. I tried another owner to see if they would bite on giving me solid options at 2B, SS & 3B, but he wasn't willing to give me all those options and I felt I had bigger fish with the main option that I was working with.

I eventually traded....
3B/1B - Miguel Cabrera
SP-Tim Hudson (37) 
& my 11th Rd DP (298th overall)

.... to the Hollywood Werewolves, who won our division last year with a 117-45 record, and fell short in the American League Championship Series, for...

SP - Travis Wood
3B/OF - Todd Frazier
3B - Matt Davidson
RP - Luke Gregerson
P/RP - Jeanmar Gomez
# 3 DP (Hollywood) - #82 overall
RP - Heath Bell
RP - Cesar Ramos

Travis Wood, coming into his own at 26 for Cubs.
Todd Frazier would automatically start at 3B, play a little OF, with Eric Chavez backing him up. Matt Davidson is slated to start for the White Sox in 2014 (acquired in a trade with the Arizona). The most exciting part of the deal for me is Travis Wood, he really turned a corner in 2013, I think when he first came up, he came up to Cincinnati and they were a division/post-season contender, and maybe he was overwhelmed in that situation; with the Cubs, he was part of a huge media market, while the team went nowhere, allowing Travis Wood to develop into a tough big-league starter, who by the way is only 26. Plus I got a guy, who will be over 200+ innings year after year. Add him to Mark Buerhle & Yovani Gallardo, with their innings totals, I have at least a 1-2-3 with some bulk of innings, even if those two pitchers are declining. If I can get another starter in that rotation with some innings, I will at least have a pitching foundation of sorts, my bullpen is pretty good with the addition of Luke Gregerson (one of the best set-up men in the game, now with Oakland) and a young Jeanmar Gomez. Heath Bell & Cesar Ramos were basically toss-ins to the deal, so any plus from them would be bonus.

My Draft outlook looks good

  • 1st Rd pick (18th overall)
  • two 2nd Rd Picks (#46 & #49)
  • two 3rd Rd picks (#74 & #82 ) -- just traded one of my three 3rd Rd picks & a 12th Rd (#336) pick for two 5th Rd picks.
  • 4th Rd Pick (#102)
  • three 5th Rd Picks (# 122, #130 & #139)
  • 6th Rd Pick (#158)
  • Re-acquired a 7th Rd pick - #176 (I traded a 7th Rd pick for John McDonald & a 12th Rd pick (#336) -- that 12th rd pick would be traded in the deal above for the two 5th Rd picks, while my reaquired 7th Rd pick, was for Pedro Ciriaco. McDonald can play multiple positions, and is a defensive wiz, he'll give me versatility for this season at least). We do the 930 PR for some guys in this league, so that we can maintain positions in a league with 28 teams, it's good to do this... so we are all able to field a team. Basically think of it as a position placebo).
  • 8th Rd Pick (#214)
  • 9th Rd Pick (#242)
  • 10th Rd Pick (#270)
  • My normal 12th Rd Pick (#326)
The first five rounds, gives me 9 picks in the first 139 picks available. I also have 9 spots to draft uncarded players, which gives me an option to draft any player available that has yet to make their MLB debut. The league has 38 normal spots for Carded/non-carded players (players who already have made their MLB debuts at any point, and happened to be hurt, etc) & 12 spots for uncarded players (players yet to make their MLB debuts). The uncarded players can stay on their roster, but need to make their MLB debuts within 3 years or you lose them to free agency/re-drafting. My three un-carded players that I own are OF-Ronald Guzman, OF-Elier Hernandez & Raul Mondesi's son SS-Adalberto (Raul) Mondesi (Jr.).

It's obvious by my team roster that I am going to have to address the infield situation, I have options at catcher with Yan Gomes stepping up, which can make McCann a trade option with that of outfielder Holliday & closer Benoit. 

The scary thing is that I will have to deal with Miguel with his new team during the second series of the season, plus the fact that he will be making a great 1-2 punch with 1B-Paul Goldschmidt. Cabrera will likely play DH during the 2015 MWBL Season, since Miguel is moving back to first for the Tigers, now that Fielder is gone. With Cabrera's addition, the Hollywood Werewolves should be the favorites to represent the American League during the MWBL World Series in October 2014.

Draft day is February 22nd, I'm pretty excited to see who we can land, as we prepare for an interesting, first season in the Mid-West Baseball League.

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