I realize I'm beating a caballo muerte a little bit here, but for one last time I'd like to address the question of what we got in exchange for Carlos Lee. I bring it up again for two reasons:
- Now the trade deadline has passed, we know we're keeping Kevin Mench and Francisco Cordero for the remainder of the year, and
- Since info about possible Alfonso Soriano deals has leaked, we might have more information about what a prime-time slugger was worth on this year's market.
Not only is Kevin Mench possibly not better than Nelson Cruz (certainly, 1.5 years of Mench isn't better than 6 years of Cruz!) but Mench may not be any better than Hart. To think: we gave up equal value for a player who is redundant.
So let's look at some of our other options. The Dodgers were known to be in the running, rumored to have offered a package built around Andy LaRoche. LaRoche alone would've been worth considering, but instead of focusing on him, look at what the Dodgers gave up for rental of Julio Lugo: Joel Guzman and Sergio Pedroza. Pedroza isn't much (though he is intriguing), but Guzman probably has more upside than LaRoche, and the Dodgers organization seems to have lost some interest in him. Guzman is 21 and hitting well in AAA--he's moved around in the field, but numbers like that are Corey Hart-like.
Clearly, the Dodgers aren't afraid to trade prospects; as Marc Normandin points out, they've already sent many of their good ones to the Devil Rays. In the long run, it may well turn out that Logan White knows which prospects to use as trading chips, and they're keeping the best, but I think it's more likely that Ned Coletti learned his lessons well in San Fran, and is ready to mortgage the farm for a shot at this year's Wild Card.
Perhaps more importantly, the Angels put together meaningful offers for Miguel Tejada and Alfonso Soriano. The Tejada offer has been reported as Ervin Santana and Erick Aybar; Will Carroll claims that their Sori offer was the same. This article reports a different offer for Alfonso:
From what I know, Willits and Murphy are 4th OF-types, so they don't really count here. But Aybar would be mighty useful to this team, now and in the future, and Arredondo and Mendoza are quality pitching prospects; Arredondo may be comparable to Yovani Gallardo. His numbers are a little worse, but he's been pitching in the Texas League: adjusted for league and park, they're comparable.
Of course, we don't know that the Angels made that offer to the Brewers. But we don't need to know exactly what was offered to get an idea of the value that Doug Melvin could've gotten had he decided to go the prospect route. In Aybar or Guzman, he would've gotten a Major League-ready talent (or close) who would've slotted into the Brewers system among the top five prospects. In the additional prospect, especially if it was Arredondo, a pitcher who would also fit in among the top ten in the organization. It wouldn't be a win-now move, but then again, we're not going to win now.
I also wonder whether Melvin made a mistake in pulling the trigger three days before the deadline. Jim Bowden appears to have been difficult to deal with; I have to imagine that it was frustration with the Soriano negotiations that led the Dodgers to get involved with Julio Lugo. If Melvin had been dangling Carlos Lee when, yesterday afternoon, it became apparent that Sori was off the market, perhaps one of the available packages--say, Ervin Santana and Erick Aybar--would have been offered to Caballo. We'll never know, but it seems naive to think that offers wouldn't have changed as the market changed on Monday.
As I say, this is the end of my rantings about what we could've/might've/should've gotten for Carlos. I'm officially done dreaming about having Guzman, Aybar, Mathis, Arredondo, or Boof Bonser in our system. I just wish I had more to pin my hopes on than...Julian Cordero.