Saturday, January 30, 2010

Trading Fausto Carmona to sign Orlando Hudson is ridiculous

So let me see if I have this straight:

The pitching starved Cleveland Indians were exploring "the idea of trading right-hander Fausto Carmona to clear money for free-agent second baseman Orlando Hudson." I don't even know where to start with this one. Surely, the team that declared Jake Westbrook its ace in October wouldn't be thinking of dealing it's #2 starter, would they? Not with Westbrook having thrown about as many innings over the past two seasons as Bob Feller. Not with a #3 starter in Justin Masterson who has been much more effective as a reliever throughout his career. Not with a #4 starter that won 11 games last year, but did it with a near 6.00 ERA. Not with a bunch of #5 starter candidates who have either failed over and over again, or had injury issues.

If you look past the fact that the Indians couldn't possibly be thinking of dealing away a commodity they don't have, do they really need a second baseman? I know that you can never have too many middle infielders, and Orlando Hudson would be an upgrade. Still, the Indians turned to rookie Luis Valbuena at second base last season, and the promise was obvious. He has some pop in his bat (10 homers) and is a solid fielder. He can't hit a lick against lefties (.205) yet, but at 23, he's got room to grow. The Indians will be, and should be, looking for a player that can potentially platoon with Valbuena for the time being, but even if Valbuena goes through a trial by fire, he's still a solid prospect. If he fails, put Cabrera back over there. Who cares. The point being is that this team has far more needs than second base. I like Hudson, but there are other players that the Indians could have signed for the same money that would have been much more effective.

Hudson has been ont he Indians radar for several years, but as I mentioned a couple of days ago, Hudson is looking for a deal somewhere between five and ten million a year. Even if Hudson decides to sign a smaller deal at say, three million a year, the Indians wouldn't be in the market. Remember, their biggest signing this offseason that wasn't a manager or coach was Mike Redmond, to the tune of $850,000. Mark Shapiro and the Dolans have been preaching that there's no money in the hopper, so the only bargain the Indians would take will cost them in the realm of a million. Yeah, hard to take after dumping millions and millions over the past year and a half, even with escalating contracts.

Even if you find yourself on the side of the fence that believes Carmona's monster 2007 season was his one-hit wonder, his upside and relatively team friendly contract over the next two years of $4.9 and $6.1 million makes him a nearly a must-keep player. Add the fact that he's at the top of the rotation, and the only pitcher in the near future that has the type of stuff that can make him a legit ace, and you have to hold onto him. If you go on the market with that kind of money, the starters you get in return are a lot like the starters that are already here. You can role the dice with Carmona this season with new pitching coach Tim Belcher. If it pays off, you have an ace at an affordable price, or a trade commodity that brings in better prospects.

If Mark Shapiro is legitimately thinking about dealing Carmona now, it's just another one of those head scratchers. Carmona would be a sell-low right now, having given up more walks than strikeout over the past two seasons. After signing him to a long-term deal, he'd be giving up on another player. Add a strike to the column.

I wouldn't mind the Indians making a move for a starter or a left-fielder, but dealing a pitcher for likely nothing, to acquire a second baseman just isn't that move.

This is what happens when your major league team is in a trading and signing vacuum. What's next, a deal for Albert Pujols?

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