Welcome to the first installment of Point/Counterpoint on 35th Street, in which we examine two sides of a news item, idea, proposal, historical slant, player, executive, rule, t-shirt, collectible coaster, bobblehead, theoretical cage fight, sports bar or any other vaguely relevant topic. Today’s presenters are baseball acolyte and fictional GM Mike Stickann on one side and your editor on the other:
I like Jermaine Dye to the Rays for Akinori Iwamura. Dye has only one year left on his contract at 11 million per and Iwamura is strong defensively up the middle, less expensive and a possible leadoff candidate for the White Sox. Not to mention, pairing him with Alexei Ramirez at SS would make for a formidable, quick and nimble middle infield.
Next I like Swisher and Fields to the Giants for Matt Cain. Swisher had a down year, but he is versatile, still had very solid OBP numbers and hit 23 home runs, power being SF’s biggest need. Fields also regressed this year, but he put up 23 home runs in only 100 games in 2007 and could fit nicely at 3B for the Giants for years to come. Cain is the perfect compliment to the formidable lefties the White Sox have currently and coming through the system soon: Buehrle, Danks, Poreda and Richard.
Lastly, I like Adrian Beltre for Gavin Floyd and Gordon Beckham. I understand Floyd had a big year, but room can be made for Poreda and Richard and with a trade for Cain, Floyd could be considered expendable for a 3B like Beltre. Beltre is still only 31 years old and the damage he could do in the Cell along with Quentin, Ramirez, a healthy Konerko and Thome is an intimidating prospect.
To fill Dye’s void, I’d negotiate a two year deal with an option for a third with Raul Ibanez. He still gets the ball pretty well, he hits for power and he hits from the left side, which the Sox need. These all seem feasible to me, and look like the improvements the Sox need to secure an A.L. Pennant in 2009.
These are pretty interesting, and definitely more logical than most of the crackpot ideas out there. Most of these moves might help from a pure numbers standpoint, but in light of the state of the Sox it’s hard to justfiy at least two of them.
Dye/Iwamura: Dye is coming into his walk year and Tampa Bay would then need another 2B to replace him. Likewise, Ibanez is 37 years old, and the Sox are already old and slow enough as it is. This would represent a huge downgrade in right, especially while Dye seems the logical replacement at DH after the end of Jim Thome’s contract after ’09.
Swisher/Fields/Cain: If the Giants would do it, yes, in a heartbeat. Anything to get Swisher out of town, and the addition of RHP Cain clears the way for Javier Vazquez’ exit. However, Fields is still a highly unproven commodity, and Swisher is coming off possibly the worst individual season by any centerfielder in the past 20 years. Shipping out Cain would leave a gaping hole in the Giants’ rotation – one they might not be able to fill even with their seemingly reckless payroll practice. Likewise, given Cain’s salary, talent and age the Giants could easily land a much better return.
Beltre/Floyd/Beckham: No way. Yes, Floyd’s trade value may be at its peak right now, but quality pitching is very, very hard to replace – especially pitching that can hold its own against the AL. Beltre’s numbers have also dropped suspiciously since PED testing went into effect and I’d be wary of him suddenly falling victim to strange muscle tears. If the M’s would send him as a salary dump I’d be okay with it, but Floyd and Beckham is a bit steep. Insert Fields in place of Floyd, however, and I’m on board 100%.
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