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BCB Mailbag 7: Getting Mad About Miguel Diaz

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Answering the burning questions from you, the reader.

Milwaukee Brewers v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Good morning y’all, happy weekend! Let’s get right to it:

great198 asks:

I know the Scooter trade post was just written...

But let’s dig a little deeper.

Let’s say the Angels are the top candidate for a Scooter trade. Who specifically in their system would you want that would be of equal value to Scoots (say, two fringey prospects for one limited Major League-second baseman)?

Maybe someone like Grayson Long coming back would work. 2015 3rd-rounder, back-end starter profile, sits 91-93 MPH with an average slider and slightly better changeup, has some command issues. That makes him a top 10 prospect in the Angels system per both MLB Pipeline and Baseball Prospectus, but he’d be ranked in the 20s or lower in Milwaukee’s farm.

drezdn asks:

Who is going to close for the Brewers next year?

My favorite in-house candidate is Jacob Barnes, but I’ve also seen Corey Knebel’s name mentioned a lot which wouldn’t be surprising. Ultimately though I think they end up signing someone off the free agent market. I’ll say Sergio Romo.

KegelExercise asks:

How do Rule 5 pick trades work?

Specifically, the PTBNL/cash we are supposed to get from the Cubs for Caleb Smith. Do they owe us a return no matter what? Does Smith have to make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster to get a return? Or, does he have to last part of or all of the season on their roster?

Also, regarding Miguel Diaz, even though the Twins traded him to the Padres, SD would still have to return Diaz to MIL if they parted ways with him, correct?

The deal for Smith has already been completed, according to Tom Haudricourt it was just for cash. My best guess is that the cash from the Cubs covered the cost of the Rule 5 selection ($100K) plus maybe a little extra.

Regarding Diaz, should the Padres decide to drop him, he would be placed on waivers first so that any team in the league has the opportunity to claim him. If any organization does place a claim, then they assume the same Rule 5 restrictions as San Diego - he has to stay on the active roster or disabled list for the rest of the season, o be placed back on waivers. If he were to clear waivers then yes, San Diego or whatever other org he may be a part of would have to offer him back to the Brewers for the price of $50K.

nullacct asks:

What retired former Brewer would you most like to see in a coaching job somewhere in the Brewers organization?

I have my favorite in Teddy Higuera

Geoff Jenkins. I became a Brewer fan in 2005 right as he was in the middle of one of the best seasons of his terrific career. I’ve irrationally loved his insane leg kick and left-handed uppercut ever since.

drezdn asks:

What's your opinion of the Chapman contract with the Yankees?

I wouldn’t give a five-year contract to a relief pitcher, even though Chapman is the most dominant closer in the game. I would’ve felt comfortable going with a high AAV like he got on a two year term if my team was ready to compete, but I don’t think he’ll still be throwing 102 when he’s 33-34 and getting paid $17 mil in the final season of that deal.

Saltdog asks:

If I'm looking to purchase a jersey for the upcoming season

Is there anyone to choose beside Arica? Someone who is guaranteed to be around in 2018?

I’d guess Eric Thames or Jonathan Villar.

The_PZP asks:

Is there any realistic chance we get Diaz back?

Padres are terrible and have the room for him. Plus they must have paid a lot of cash to get the number one overall pick.

I’ll say no. Let’s examine the case of Luis Perdomo, the 3rd overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft last year by Colorado who was then immediately dealt to the Padres. He was a similar prospect to Diaz: smaller frame (6’2”, 160 lbs), mid-90s fastball and good slider, developing changeup and command, was 22 when drafted and had only made 7 appearances in high-A ball.

Perdomo started the year in the bullpen for the Padres and was godawful, posting a 10.97 ERA in April, 9.39 ERA in May, and 7.00 ERA in June. Yet the Padres stuck with him and he actually wound up posting a decent 4.30 ERA in 81.2 innings as a starter in the second half. He’ll now begin 2017 in the Padres rotation, but even if he hadn’t pitched well down the stretch the Padres would’ve almost surely stuck him back in the bullpen to hide him and then continued his development back in the minor leagues this year after securing his contractual rights.

If there’s ever been a team that’s tanking, it’s the 2017 Padres and of their three Rule 5 picks, Diaz should be the easiest to be able to keep on the roster all season.

I was highly critical of Stearns when he chose to leave Diaz and Wei-Chung Wang unprotected and it turns out my fears were warranted. WCW is still here, but when an organization loses the number one overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft, something got screwed up. A.J. Preller arranged a deal with the Twins to choose Miguel Diaz not because Diaz will be their #1 starter next year, but because Diaz has the profile to be an impact player in the future and can be a part of the competitive core the Padres are building towards.

There have been a lot of people justifying the move to leave Diaz unprotected - from “oh, he’ll never get drafted” to now “oh, he’ll never stick” or “oh, we’ve got so many other pitching prospects” or “but his option years!” While I respect those opinions I simply vehemently disagree with them. Since taking over, Stearns mantra has been to acquire, develop, and RETAIN controllable young talent. I’m sorry, but allowing one of your upper-tier pitching prospects to walk away for nothing doesn’t jive with that and is simply inexcusable.

There are ways that Diaz could have been retained and a roster spot could’ve been kept open to allow Stearns to keep plucking random guys off waivers. Don’t play roster roulette with Adam Walker and Steve Geltz, who both are no longer in the organization. Don’t hang on to David Goforth for a couple more days to DFA him for another middling reliever in Blake Parker. Pick one of these myriad redundant, older, low-ceiling right handers - Parker, Michael Blazek, Tyler Cravy, Damien Magnifico, Rob Scahill, Taylor Jungmann - and try and sneak his ass through waivers, instead of gambling and losing with a prospect praised for his “plus-plus fastball”, “advanced command for his age”, number three starter upside, and high-leverage relief floor.

And finally, if you buy into the idea that it would be foolish for us, with the limited information we can get, to condemn what Stearns does - then I never want to hear another critique of Ted Thompson or any other general manager, public figure, politician, or president-elect from you ever again. Question my credentials all you like, but no one is above reproach simply because of the position they hold.

Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs