Thursday, May 5, 2011

12 comments Can Anyone Write for Bleacher Report? Is Doing Research or Using Logic Not Required?

I have nothing against Bleacher Report or their writers. I'm not sure the site employs editors though. Sometimes I read the articles I take the risk of looking at and am pleasantly surprised they aren't bad. Other times I read articles and they are the opposite of fine. Like not good at all or perhaps the result of an insane delusion. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but when a person's opinion is crazy, I have to comment. Gary Burzell, who writes for Bleacher Report, has five trade hypothetical trade offers for Andre Ethier. I am assuming he is a Dodgers fan because there is no way a neutral observer believes Andre Ethier is worth what he believes the Dodgers would get in return for Ethier. If you are a Dodgers fan, you will love these trades. If you are not a Dodgers fan, then you will get a good laugh.

First let's meet Andre Ethier, the subject of these fake trades:

He is a 29 year old right fielder who is either going to be a free agent or due for arbitration this offseason. So he is in line to get his one really big major league contract. He has a career line of .295/.367/.493. He is not a great defensive outfielder, but has averaged 27 home runs and 94 RBI's the two seasons previous to this. He bats left-handed and throws left-handed. He is probably one of the better outfielders in baseball and will be expensive for the Dodgers to keep around after this year. I really like Andre Ethier, but there are certain future financial realities that go along with trading for him, like he probably is going to want to get double digit arbitration numbers after this year and then test the free agent market.

Let's see what trade offers Burzell suggests in return for Ethier.

1. Andre Ethier and James Loney for Jason Heyward and Tommy Hanson

Yes, this is a serious trade idea. I didn't think Burzell was serious about this at first. In fact, I laughed about this when I wrote about it in my diary just last night.

Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves has a good arm and above-average range and is a good defensive outfielder —and I think he would fit right in with the Dodgers.

He would fit in with any Major League team. I am going to go on a limb and say Jason Heyward would be wanted by any Major League Baseball team that doesn't currently have a right fielder or a left fielder...or maybe even a center fielder. So his "fit" for the Dodgers is irrelevant.

Let's continue quickly for further proof Bleacher Report doesn't care if your column ideas involving potential trades have merit in reality or not.

Of course the Braves know they have something special in Jason Heyward. Many in the Atlanta Braves organization believe they need to give Heyward a large contract extension to lock him up.

"Many" in the organization believe the Braves should give Heyward a large extension? I would love to meet those in the Braves organization who think he doesn't deserve a contract extension. Anyone who doesn't agree with this in the Braves organization (barring a major injury to Heyward) should be fired immediately. Whether the Braves do offer to buy out Heyward's arbitration years remains to be seen, but I think it will happen soon and everyone will agree it is a good idea.

Would the Dodgers be able to afford a contract extension that Heyward would be happy with, considering their current financial situation?

I'm going to ask the question everyone is thinking. Why would the Braves trade Jason Heyward? Why would the Braves trade Jason Heyward for an outfielder who is 8 years older and not statistically worse than the guy they are trading for? In 2 years, there is a good chance Jason Heyward will be a better player than Andre Ethier. More importantly, does Bleacher Report drug test?

Maybe to sweeten the deal the Dodgers would have to throw in James Loney.

Yes! This will definitely work. Throw-in James Loney, a barely above-average first baseman, because there is nothing any MLB team would want more than an above-average first baseman who isn't under contract for next year. It's not like the Braves' top prospect is a 21 year old first baseman or anything. Of course not, why would the Braves not want a backup first baseman for their 21 year old rookie first baseman.

Before suggesting trades, wouldn't it make sense to actually look at each team's roster to see if a trade would work. Otherwise, you are just naming random trades that have no chance of succeeding.

But it gets worse. For the throw-in of James Loney, who do the Braves give up?

and in return the Dodgers could get Tommy Hanson from the Braves.

So to sweeten the deal and get James Loney, and the opportunity to try to sign him after this year, the Braves only have to give up a 24 year old pitcher with the most potential and the best pitching makeup on their current staff? Hanson has a career ERA of 3.10, WHIP of 1.166, and ERA+ of 128. He is also not eligible for arbitration until 2013. I wouldn't trade Tommy Hanson and Jason Heyward for James Loney and Andre Ethier in a million years. This sweetens no pot and I am embarrassed this was even brought up. I probably would not trade Tommy Hanson for Andre Ethier at this point. Hanson is cheaper, younger, and a pitcher...not a corner outfielder.

I'm not sure Gary Burzell understands the idea of "sweetening the pot." It doesn't mean a team throws-in a player and then the team who needs to have the offered sweetened gives up a better player than the second player offered.

Because the Dodgers cannot afford to trade Ethier for another big name player, a trade for Heyward is very unlikely, but it wouldn't be bad for the team.

No, it wouldn't be bad for the Dodgers. For the Braves, trading for two players who are either arbitration eligible or eligible for free agency after this year in return for two players who aren't eligible for arbitration for two years and are in their early twenties, would pretty much be one of the dumbest trades over the last decade. There's no point in even mentioning this trade or bringing it up. It won't happen. This isn't really an "idea," it is a pure fantasy. What would make a person propose this trade, other than being a Dodgers fan?

But most likely the Dodgers would have to trade Ethier for upcoming prospects that haven't had the chance to prove they can play at the major league level like Heyward has.

So basically, this entire fantastic trade would never happen. Great, glad it was brought up.

In fairness, Gary Burzell at least he stops proposing trades where the Dodgers get back currently quality major league baseball players after this first fake trade. After this, he just robs an entire team's farm system with abandon and ignores the needs and organizational philosophy of the team he is trying to trade Andre Ethier to.

2. Andre Ethier for Josh Reddick, Anthony Rananudo, and Brandon Workman.

While Ethier quickly downplayed those reports, perhaps the Dodgers and Red Sox could come up with a trade that would benefit both teams.

One of the most promising minor league prospects the Red Sox have is Josh Reddick.

My first question is what the Red Sox would do with Andre Ethier and where would he play? I know that's just a minor detail when beginning to name fake trades. What's the fun in reality? He really wouldn't DH would he? The corner outfield spots are taken up by Carl Crawford and J.D. Drew.

John Sickels has Reddick ranked 4th in the Red Sox system and Rananudo is ranked 1st in the Red Sox system by Sickels.

In his first season with the Red Sox Class A affiliate Greenville Drive, Ranaudo is 1-1 with a 0.46 ERA and has pitched 19.2 innings in four games.

He has a 0.46 ERA. Well, since Rananudo's ERA is so damn high I think the Red Sox would have to trade another player into the trade. Just a "throw-in" though.

If the Dodgers could get the Red Sox to throw in Brandon Workman—who is considered a future workhorse starter—the Dodgers would get two prospective pitchers and an outfielder with power.

Here we go again with another "thr0w-in" to a trade for Andre Ethier. This "throw-in" is also known as the #8 player in the Red Sox system by John Sickels. So Burzell thinks the Red Sox should trade their #1, #4, and #8 minor league players in return for an outfielder they don't have room for and is a free agent after this year.

Also, notice how Brandon Workman is "considered to be a future workhorse starter" as stated by Burzell. Let's see what John Sickels describes Workman as:

8) Brandon Workman, RHP, Grade B-: Future workhorse starter.

Either this is a huge coincidence or I am getting the feeling Gary Burzell just went down the list of Red Sox prospects and just started naming a few he thought would be good for the Dodgers to get in return for Ethier.

3. Andre Ethier for Chris Archer/Jeremy Hellickson and Jake McGee

Yes, this is another serious trade. I say "serious," but there's no way a rational person could actually think the Rays would accept this trade. For one, when are the Rays ever looking to take on extra payroll? The amount they would have to pay Ethier in arbitration or free agency would make him on a one-year rental, which is not something they would give up two of their most promising young pitchers for. So in a pretend world where the Rays are taking on additional payroll, changing their entire organizational philosophy around, and trading their best young pitchers, this trade makes a ton of sense. In the real world, where most fake trades involve logic and some sense of reality, this trade fails miserably.

Considering the Dodgers' current need for pitchers, Chris Archer and Jeremy Hellickson would probably be good additions to the team.

Considering the Hellickson is considered one of the best, if not the best, pitching prospect in baseball then he alone would be a good addition to any team. Not just the Dodgers. Any team in Major League Baseball would like to have him. Chris Archer, who I am sure is considered a "throw-in" by Burzell is ranked as the #5 pitcher in the Rays farm system by John Sickels and is the centerpiece of the trade that sent Matt Garza to the Cubs. Naturally, the Rays will be eager to trade the centerpiece of this trade in an effort to land a 29 year old outfielder who is due for a huge raise in free agency or arbitration. Why wouldn't they?

The Dodgers could also ask for young prospect Jake McGee, who is being touted as a possible major league-level closing pitcher.

The Dodgers could also ask for BJ Upton, Evan Longoria and $25 million in cash, but it doesn't mean they would get it. Either Andre Ethier became Albert Pujols and I just missed it happening or Gary Burzell has a VERY high opinion of Andre Ethier or Burzell is quite possibly terrible at hypothesizing potential trades for Andre Ethier. Fake trade possibilities for a player don't have to be completely accurate, but generally they at least have to make logical sense in terms of the organizational philosophy of the teams involved in the trades.

I say "generally" because Bleacher Report apparently prints anything. Of the three hypothetical trades so far, the only one that has made any logical sense when not even delving into the actual players involved but merely on organizational philosophy is the Red Sox trade. Even then, the Red Sox really don't have a great spot to put Ethier in the lineup or the field.

In 2009, Tommy John surgery derailed McGee's progress. But he seems to have come back from that to be a legitimate major league prospect.

McGee is "a legitimate major league prospect," or as he is better known as, the 4th best player in the Rays system as determined by Baseball America and is generally considered a Top 50 prospect in MLB for 2011. So I guess, yes, he is legitimate.

Considering Jonathan Broxton's current problems, this move might be something that could help the Dodgers down the road.

And naturally, the Rays will be eager to trade their #1, #2, and #5 prospects in their system for Ethier. Why wouldn't they?

4. Andre Ethier for Kyle Gibson, Denard Span, and Oswaldo Arcia/Aaron Hicks/Miguel Sano

Kyle Gibson of the Minnesota Twins is another young pitcher the Dodgers might want to look at.

Gibson is the top prospect in the Twins system according to John Sickels.

Of course, there is no way the Dodgers would trade Andre Ethier for one minor league pitching prospect.

Well NATURALLY, the Dodgers wouldn't trade Andre Ethier for just one minor league pitching prospect. That would be crazy to trade Ethier for just one pitching prospect, even if that prospect is the best prospect in a team's farm system. Hell, according to Burzell the Dodgers wouldn't trade Ethier for a team's top 2 pitching prospects (see: Tampa Bay Rays trade).

The Twins would have to cough up at least two other minor league prospects or a current player on their major league roster.

One player that comes to mind is outfielder Denard Span.

To complete the deal, the Twins could toss in another minor league prospect like Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks or Miguel Sano.

I wonder how "toss in" is related to a player who is a "throw-in" in a trade? I bet Burzell will give the Twins James Loney, but they have to give Justin Morneau in return.

I'm kidding of course. This prospect that is a toss-in for this trade is either the #3, #4, or #7 prospect in the Twins system. You know, the typical "toss-in" player that projects to be better than the major league prospect included in the trade.

Sadly, this Twins trade is probably the most realistic of those Burzell proposes. The only real issue, and it is just so tiny, is the Twins don't seem to be the type of team to add payroll and trade away top pitching and other prospects for a player who is eligible for free agent or due for arbitration after this year. Just a minor detail I know.

One drawback of this deal is that by trading for a pitcher like Kyle Gibson, the Dodgers would of course lose a big bat in their lineup. And outfielder Denard Span is not as talented a player as Ethier—but the Dodgers would be better off completing this deal as opposed to losing Ethier to free agency.

I love how the analysis in all these trades is focused on how the Dodgers will benefit. How will the Twins benefit in the long-run from this trade again? Other than having Ethier on their team in the short-term?

And if they were able to get a couple more minor league prospects in the deal they may find a hidden gem that could help them down the road.

Again, a hidden gem that also just happens to be a Top 5 prospect in the Twins system.

5. Andre Ethier for Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters, and Trey McNutt.

So here we have a trade proposed for Ethier for the Cubs #1, #2, and #7 prospects. I'm going to be kind and say maybe, MAYBE, a trade of Ethier for Brett Jackson and another prospect would work. But requesting the Cubs #1 and #2 prospects (as determined by John Sickels), is that realistic at all? I guess any person who writes the Braves would give up Tommy Hanson for the privilege of having James Loney on the roster as a backup may think this is realistic.

I also love how Burzell writes. He seems to put two prospects in a trade for Ethier and then throws in another guy at the end as a "throw-in" or someone he believes the Dodgers can hoodoo the other team into giving up.

The Dodgers could also try and get Trey McNutt from the Cubs in this deal—they are giving up an established MLB star in Ethier, after all.

(Dodgers executive) "It sounds like we have the parameters of a trade worked out. How about you give us Trey McNutt as well."

(Cubs executive laughing) "That's a good one. Should we go ahead and send the trade to the commissioner's office?"

(Dodgers executive) "No really, let's put McNutt in this trade. We are giving up an established major league player here."

(Cubs executive) "Which is why we are giving up our top outfield prospect and a 21 year old third baseman. You want our top pitcher as well? No thanks" (hangs up the phone)

(Dodgers executive yelling) "Fine, we'll sweeten the deal then! We will give you James Loney for McNutt, but we need Matt Garza in return."

If these players produce, the Dodgers would definitely have time to get the ownership situation cleared up before they have to worry about large contracts for them.

I actually like this trade scenario the best, as all three players seem to be good MLB prospects.

Yet again, there is nothing in here about why the hell the Cubs would make this trade for Ethier. Yes, they could use another bat in the lineup, but at the expense of their top 2 prospects and Josh Vitters, even as underwhelming as Vitters has been so far? That's just crazy to think about.

Trades have to benefit both teams and as great as Andre Ethier is, he isn't the type of player an organization would empty their farm system in order to acquire. This is the type of stuff Bleacher Report is famous for, crazy lists. There is nothing wrong with making this list, but some reality has to go into it. Before making a list of 5 trades the Dodgers would make in getting rid of Andre Ethier, wouldn't it make sense to see why the hell another team would make the trade and if Ethier fits on the team and if it fits in the organizational philosophy? Apparently not.


Rich said...

Has Burzell actually followed trades that have followed in baseball? Because it really feels like he fired up MLB2k10 and made these trades.

Last off-season, the best pitcher in baseball was traded for Taylor, Drabek and d'Arnaud. At the time, Taylor was the second ranked OFer in the Phillies system, Drabek was the top pitching prospect and d'Arnaud was the second or third catching prospect.

At the time of the trade, only two of these players were in the top 50 prospects in baseball (Drabek and Taylor) and neither were in the top ten.

Again, for the best pitcher in baseball.

While these are certainly good prospects, if the Phillies only had to give up those guys to get the best pitcher in baseball, is there a snowball's chance in hell anyone gives LA three of their top ten prospects to get Ethier?

However, as a Phillies fan, I would absolutely love to see Heyward and Hanson get traded for Loney and Either. It would be one of the worst trades in the history of baseball and I would love for it to actually happen, but it won't because it is so sensationally stupid.

Martin F. said...

Yes, the Dodgers should trade 1 of only 2 guys on their team who can hit, so they can go 52-110 with 300 runs scored.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I am not sure how he came up with the trades. It seems like it isn't grounded in reality though.

I like Ethier, but that's a hell of a lot to get from him in return. The bottom line is Ethier is a great hitter, but teams that trade for him are going to need to want to either (a) take on payroll to re-sign him (b) be willing to go to arbitration to keep him. That takes the Rays and Braves out of it. Also, the Red Sox really have nowhere to put him. NO team would give up that much for Ethier. I think a package of one of the prospects with others may work, but that's about it.

You aren't getting rid of Hanson and least not until they sign with the Yankees. That would be the worst trade in the history of the Braves organization. By far.

Martin, I think Burzell was saying if the Dodgers hand gets forced and that's why they would make the trade. Not sure how that would work or why the Dodgers can't re-sign Ethier. I have read they want to make a run at him. Yeah, the Dodgers probably shouldn't trade Ethier this year unless they can actually get a team to "throw-in" a Top 10 prospect in the trade or make one of the trades proposed here.

Anonymous said...

I would think the Sox would rather use those prospects for a SP were they to try and deal them

Matt said...

me thinks the author was high on ethier when he wrote that article.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, seriously? You think the Red Sox would try to use prospects for an actual need on the roster? You must not write for Bleacher Report. Those prospects could get back a pretty good pitcher, which seems to be an actual need.

Matt, ah yes a pun. Of course by the end of this hit streak who knows what kind of prospects Burzell is going to try get off teams. It may require the Red Sox also throw in Adrian Gonzalez (for James Loney of course) in order to sweeten the pot.

Martin F. said...

So I went through Bleacher Report, and the topic I looked at was Andrew Luck, because I had a thought that there was something that bothered me about Bleacher Report and him. Bingo, I was correct.

Bleacher Report is so bad at screening articles that it published a couple "He was stupid for not being drafted, he's going to lose $70 million cause the Rookie slotting will happen to him now." the fact that the CBA was expiring this year and the salaries would be set for the kids drafted this year was completely beyond the writers. Sadly it was also beyond 90% of the commenters, and upon furthur research, tha majority of sportswriters. It got me to thinking...

Ben and Dylan write reasonably well. When they aren't sure of something they ask, or mention that they were to busy to look it up, and that can anybody verify. If they were getting paid, I'm sure they could spare the extra ten minutes of aggravation to look up a few more facts, which is something these "professional" writers can't. Typo's and brain locks aside, how is it that so often the guys writing these columns get SO much stuff wrong. Usually stuff that is the center piece of their article. It's one thing to keep typing in Brett Farve instead of Favre, but another to talk about all the money someone is going to miss out on because he's going to be screwed by the next CBA, when it's of no matter if he came out this year or next. I'm convinced more then ever that the internet killed sportswriting because it was so easy to find out how wrong these guys have been. I don't care how pretty the sentence structure is when basic facts are ignored for sake of storyline.

Bengoodfella said...

Martin F, it is not guaranteed there will be a rookie cap, but all indications are there will be one. So saying he passed up on $70 million is a huge overestimate. No matter when he came out, this year or next year he would be slotted under the rookie cap. It's just basic research like that which annoys me.

I can see the argument the Internet has ruined sportswriting (I may see it improved it) because those who write something have to be subject to the knowledge others have to research the same issue. I like it because a person has to know what they are talking about and when they don't (Gregg Easterbrook) they get called out on it. This is probably why the whole "you had to be there to judge a player" and "he has intangibles" arguments have become so popular among some. When you can't argue on the merits that's what happens.

Anonymous said...

He left out the most obvious trade offer that would benefit the Dodgers the most: Ethier to the Nationals for Strasburg and Bryce Harper. Oh and the Dodgers can also include Loney to sweeten the pot. But then the Nationals to toss in Drew Storen and Ian Desmond in as well. Boy, coming up with these trades is easy!

I love how the nature of writing has changed with the internet. 5 to 10 years ago I was still looking at local newspapers for most of my sports reading. And many of those writers love to stress drama and craziness over logic and solid reasoning/analysis. But those were my only choices unless I wanted to pay more money for other sources. But now with the internet and blogging, I can weed out the garbage from the worthwhile stuff and stick to reading the stuff that is thought provoking and logical and insightful. Of course I love to check in on the goofy stuff too, like the JoeChats and Murray Chass and other writers of his ilk. Ultimately, the internet content is wide enough for me to really customize what I want to read, and I don't see how that can be a bad thing. And I can still pay to read what Keith Law or Baseball Prospectus or others have to say, if I really feel that their material is worth it.

It's kind of like how with the advent of cable there was much more programming to choose from. Sure there was lots of junk, but you had control of how much of the junk you choose to expose yourself to. And you could pay extra for some of the juicier stuff. I would much rather have a huge range of choices, even if that means there is more junk to wade through, rather than being stuck with just a few options.

And that Hanson and Heyward trade is the worst "serious" trade idea I've heard of in a long time. Anybody who has a decent sense of baseball should know this. You don't trade two currently above average (at worst) players who are dirt cheap for a very good hitting but also very expensive outfielder. Hanson might already be one of the 15 best pitchers in baseball, and he has the upside to be even better than this and become a dominant rotation anchor for years. And I wouldn't be surprised at all if Heyward is better than Ethier by the end of the year once defense is taken into account. And of course going forward, Heyward will likely be better than Ethier as soon as next year. You don't trade even one of those players for Ethier (and

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, they'll only give up Desmond and Storen if they can get Loney back as well. That sounds like a great trade idea.

There is a lot of junk out there on the Internet for sure. I would wade through the crap to get to the good stuff, as opposed to being handed something and being told it is good. That's actually a good comparison to cable television. There is more junk, but there is also more good stuff out there as well. I don't pay to read anyone's stuff on the Internet. That's just me though and I know people who do pay for material and I am sure it is worth it.

The Hanson/Heyward trade was absolutely terrible. Worse than terrible. The Braves would be trading two young team-controlled players for two players that are at their peak. I am not quite as optimistic as you about Hanson, probably because I don't want to sound like a homer fanboy, but I wouldn't trade him for Ethier straight up.

I don't have a huge problem with fake trades, but they HAVE to make sense. Why would Atlanta give up two team-controlled players in return for two pending FA/arbitration eligible players? Mostly, why would the Braves want Loney when they have a 21 year old first baseman?

I haven't looked at Heyward's defense, but I would say he is a 1-2 years away from being better than Ethier. That would make him 22-23 years old.

J.S. said...

I literally "lol"'d at the Heyward deal

Bengoodfella said...

I almost choked when I read it. I couldn't help but write this post, especially when I read the other deals.