14 April 2008
Reviewing the 2007 Steve Trachsel Trade
Posted by Jon Shepherd
A celebrated past time of mine and other fans is to just to speak ill of bad moves by the front office. Rarely does anyone bother to fact check as tearing down the leader of a bad team is a good way to relieve tension and relish in dark humor. This piece is the first of many meant to concurrently evaluate all of Macphail's trades with Baltimore. Today we will look at the Trachsel trade of 2007 (the distinction is there for I hope there is a Trachsel trade of 2008):
August 31, 2007
Steve Trachsel, SP
Scott Moore, Inf
Rocky Cherry, RP
Jake Renshaw, SP
I imagine Jim Hendry hit the bottle and blacked out on August 31, 2007. Or maybe MacPhail knows how to forge his signature and still had some Cubs stationary. Typically, guys who have a 1.6 WHIP and a 45-69 k:bb ratio just do not get much attention. Still, the Cubs wanted him enough to ship a blocked and somewhat tarnished 3B prospect (Moore) and a dime a dozen fringe relief pitcher (Cherry). There was also a clause that stated if the Cubs made the playoffs, we would also recieve Jake Renshaw.
Trachsel bombed for the Cubs and was basically discarded unceremoniously after the September playoff race. He gave them an 8.31 line in 17.1 IP. We then signed him back. So, for a one month junk rental, we received three fringe prospects. Let's take a look:
Moore was the 8th overall pick in the 2002 draft. He was a top flight SS from Long Beach with plus power. He debuted that year in the GCL and disappointed in the field, but showed promise offensively. He spent two more lackluster seasons in the Tiger system at A and HiA. During the 2004 offseason, he was traded to the Cubs with future Oriole Roberto Novoa and Bo Flowers for Kyle Farnsworth. That deal seems to have benefited the Tigers more. Anyway, Moore repeated HiA and put up 20 homeruns along with a higher contact rate. He repeated his numbers at AA at age 22 and saw some time with the Cubs. Last year, he improved his walk rate slightly at AAA and showed glimpses of power at Baltimore. This spring, he hit solidly and was left on the opening day roster. For a young guy, he needs reps and could not find enough even though he was used as a utility man. Currently, he is playing SS at Norfolk. It will take a few weeks to see if it is going to be long project or if he could come up immediately and take the job away from Luis Hernandez. I think keeping him at Norfolk and letting him learn SS and 2B would be beneficial. More so, than shuttling him around at the MLB level. When he can supplant Hernandez or replace Mora or Roberts, he should be welcomed back. Offensively, he doesn't have much left to learn at Norfolk.
Rocky has had it tough. Before the 2002 draft, he suffered a partially torn rotator cuff, which caused him to take a below market deal. Drafted in the 14th round, he would have gone higher with his 90s fastball. After struggling for several seasons in the Cubs farm system, he has to have Tommy John surgery in 2005 and passed time working part-time in the paint section of Home Depot. At AA (age 26), he came back and completely owned the competition with his fastball topping off at 97mph. The next year, he struggled at AAA and was somewhat league average. In 2007, he looked good for the Cubs and was awful for the Orioles. He has the chance to be a righty specialist, but it remains to be seen if there is a place on the roster after he rehabs. He might have a good year or two somewhere, but it probably won't be here.
Renshaw appears to be on his family's radar and no one else. He seems to be starting on a similar career path as Rocky Cherry. I think his potential, at best, would carry him as a righty out of the pen. Sickels ignored him among his C listings. He has logged in 2 years in the Cubs system as he was selected in the 10th round of the 2006 draft. He was wanted 2 years prior by the BoSox in the 26th round, so he wasn't a highly sought after guy. His minor league line at Rookie, A, and HiA, has shown he is decent at striking guys out, but gets hit way too much. I do not know what his hang up is. Maybe his material is flat or he needs another pitch. If he emerges to be something . . . it will be from out of nowhere. Right now, nowhere is Frederick, MD. So far, he is doing alright. He has appeared in two games, with one being a start, logging in 6 IP. He has only given up one hit, but it was a homerun. He has 5 k's and 3 bb's. Anyway, I have included a video showing two pitches. I know little about evaluating pitching mechanics, but I do not like how he opens himself up. It looks a little violent on the front.
It wasn't a bad trade, per se. No one the Cubs traded really will mean much to their success this year or in the future. Moore was blocked at third by a superior player. If he can play short or second and develop his bat . . . then this trade will look bad. Rocky Cherry will probably not last the 2009 season with the Orioles. He was of little loss to the Cubs. Renshaw? Maybe he gets a cup of coffee, but I doubt it. He may breakout and surprise everyone, but I doubt it. That being said, we did not get much, but the Cubs received nothing. Maybe we get lucky and someone breaks out. Or maybe not. I would call it a big win for MacPhail in principle, but it probably won't result in much of anything.