"The San Diego Padres continued their firesale today, trading Khalil Greene to the St. Louis Cardinals..."
If there was ever a reason to disregard the baseball coverage from network media in Canada, this is it. The Padres continued their firesale today? Continued? As in, this is the first move they have made? As in, the final details of the trade (at the time of the comment) are yet to be announced meaning we don't even know exactly what the Padres are receiving for Greene to be certain this actually is a firesale, and not simply a trade?
The fact is, the Padres are looking to cut payroll. This is presumably a trade that signals a step of that process. But to have the ignorance to suggest that this is a part of the firesale, is to simply ignore the facts.
To this point, the Padres have directly been responsible for sending three players to free agency (Josh Bard, Chip Ambres, and Shawn Estes). Let's face it, only Bard has a chance to truly be missed and could be termed as a cost cutting move-albeit minimally.
The Padres also declined to offer arbitration to Trevor Hoffman. While Hoffman is still an effective closer, it's tough to argue with the Padres' front office deciding against bringing him aboard. Even still, this wouldn't be considered a 'firesale' move in the least bit.
In what is arguably the most 'non-fire-sale-y' move of the offseason, the Padres picked up the 2009 option of Brian Giles. This was a fairly easy move to make, and when everything is all said and done, Giles may be with another team on Opening Day, but the fact remains, he is still with the club.
So too is Jake Peavy, one of the hottest discussed names of the 2009 Hot Stove League. While one can't blame the Padres for not backing down from their current asking price of Peavy, if they were truly involved in a 'firesale' this move certainly would have been made by now.
With all of that being said, how can anyone suggest that the Padres have continued their firesale? It's debatable whether the Padres are legitimately involved in a firesale.
That rant withstanding, the Padres and Cardinals have officially come to terms on a deal that will send Khalil Greene to St. Louis in exchange for relief pitcher Mark Worrell and our favorite PTBNL (Player to be Named Later).
Let's take a look at what is clearly a win for the Cardinals.
Khalil Greene is coming off of a down season, which is typically the perfect time to act on a trade. While Greene has never been one to display an incredible amount of patience, his power and league average contact rate is enough to overcome what will otherwise be a pathetic on base percentage.
Much has been made about Greene's move away from PETCO Park, and how much better he performed on the road then at home. Similar to the case with Matt Holliday, it is lazy analysis to suggest that Greene will perform up to par with his road measures, although the deviation does give us a footing to begin with.
EQA is a statistic that takes into account league and park factors. The statistic is meant to read similar to batting average, in that a mark over .300 is considered good to great, and a mark under .260 is considered worse then league average. The one thing EQA does not consider, however, is if a player was simply unlucky.
Looking at Khalil's career EQA, we see a player that rates as slightly worse then a league average hitter, owning a career mark of .258. However, as we all know, statistics can oftentimes not tell an entire story.
That is, if we see a hitter with a .258 EQA, a simply assumption is that he has performed as frequently above league average, as he has below that mark. This, however, is not the case with Khalil Greene. Looking at the seasons where Greene was a full time member of the Padres, we can see that in four of his five seasons, Greene's EQA has been above .258, only once did his mark fall below that line-well below at that.
Can we then consider this figure to be an outlier? Certainly. While Greene did increase his strikeout rate in 2008, he also provided a line drive rate higher then his career mark. In other words, while we may have expected his batting average to be slightly lower then in previous season's, his .215 mark this year was well below where it should have stood, and subsequently lowered his EQA.
However, if we are going to eliminate a low outlier, should we not eliminate an otherwise high outlier? Of course. In 2004, Greene's rookie season, he provided a career high EQA of .281. While this is not as much of an outlier as his 2008 season, it is far enough from his next best season to predict that it will be a career high. Whether a weakness was noted in Greene, or something altered in his approach we truly do not know, but the fact remains that this is a season that was potentially a career best.
All that being said, we now have 3 seasons of data to look at, 3 nearly identical seasons in terms of EQA. From 2005 to 2007, Greene posted an adjusted OPS of .759, .781, and .813, good for an average of .791.
Entering his age 29 season, it is doubtful that Greene will begin a downward spiral so soon, thus, one could predict that his adjusted OPS would be around .791. Compare that to a 2008 league average OPS of .714 and we have one of the better short stops in the majors. In fact, only 6 teams had a cumulative short stop OPS above that figure, including St. Louis' 26th ranked .635.
A .791 OPS is probably wishful thinking for Greene, but there is little doubt in my mind that he won't exceed his non-adjusted 2005-07 OPS of .745.
As for Greene the fielder, he's probably closer to being a gold glover then an iron glover. That said, he's still a middle of the pack fielder that may surprise a few inching into the top 7.
In exchange for Khalil Greene, the Padres will receive right-handed, sorta side-arming reliever Mark Worrell. This certainly is not a bad pickup by the Padres given Worrell's Minor League track record, however, this can't possibly be as much as they could have received for Greene.
While repeating triple A, Worrell posted a dominated line of over 12 strikeouts per nine innings. At 25 years old, Worrell is a borderline old prospect, although being drafted at age 21 is partially to blame for such.
After being drafted in the 12th round of the 2004 first year player draft, Worrell signed quickly and showed that he was more then capable of handling Minor Leaguers. In 37 innings split between rookie and A ball, Worrell allowed 10 runs, while striking out 55.
The 2005 season saw Worrell facing high A hitters for the duration of the year. While Worrell's strikeout rate took a marginal step back, his walks were down and Worrell was displaying the tools that allowed John Sickels at Minor League Ball to rate him as a C+ prospect, citing his 'live arm' as evidence.
2006 was Worrell's first action against men. While Worrell's ERA took a step in a negative direction, his strikeout and walk rates both improved. Sickels again rated him as a C+ prospect, again sitting as the 16th best prospect in the Cardinals organization.
2007 saw another promotion for Worrell, but one that he appeared not ready for. Worrell posted a worse strikeout and walk rate then he had in the previous two seasons despite lowering his FIP. His work in the 2007 season knocked him from Sickels' 2008 prospect list.
Despite being promoted to the Major Leagues at the end of the 2008 season, Worrell's walk rate again rose. This time, however, he coupled an increasing walk rate with a tremendous spike in his strikeout rate. It was because of this spike that Worrell has again become an interesting prospect.
Worrell should flourish in San Diego. As a pitcher who throws 89-90mph from an unusual angle, he should have just enough to provide the Padres with a nice long term arm out of the bullpen. With some decent fielding behind him, and a spacious PETCO outfield, Worrell will never have more value then he does entering the 2009 season. He does, however, have options remaining, which means the Padres have the luxury of not having to carry Worrell on their 25-man roster.
What this also provides San Diego with, is a bit of salary relief for the 2009 season. The $6.5M they save on Greene can now be used to help justify keeping Jake Peavy around for a while, or simply helping with the handful of arbitration eligible players the club has.
In all, for $6.5M and a slightly above average young reliever, the Cardinals picked up a top half short stop. Also, consider that if the Cardinals do not extend Greene-something I would begin working on immediately-there is a very good chance that Greene is at least a Type B free agent, which would net the Cardinals a compensatory draft pick, inside the top 100.
Considering that Worrell had little value to the Cardinals for the 2009 season, and that they flipped a 12th round pick for a potential 3rd rounder is reason enough to consider the Cardinals winners in this deal. That they received a top 12 short stop at a below market price is further evidence of victory for the Cardinals front office.
What I would like to know, however, is what the Orioles and Tigers were doing during these negotiations?
Oh, and TSN, from this point forward you can now refer to moves made by the Padres as part of a firesale.
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