WTNYNovember 30, 2003
Stupid and Speculating
By Bryan Smith

I feel like an idiot. I write a whole article Friday devoted to the Marlins signings of Castillo and Lowell, which I heard were to be announced that day. Since, neither has been announced, although the Lowell extension looks true. But the Castillo signing his a snag when the Chicago Cubs came into the fight, along with the Mets matching the Marlins 4th year vesting option move. So, the price is being dragged up by the slappin' switch hitter, and will probably settle close to $6M per season. Wow.

Now I don't want to report something before it happens, again, but there is speculation (ESPN radio 1000 in Chicago) that the Brewers have traded Richie Sexson to the Diamondbacks for Junior Spivey, Craig Counsell, Lyle Overbay, and Chris Capuano. Here, to start, are some statistics, along with my comments:

Sexson: .272/.379/.548
Vs. RH: .271/.359/.545 Vs. LH: .279/.448/.557
Home: .257/.364/.521 Road: .287/.393/.574
Pre-ASB: .263/.376/.513 Post-ASB: .285/.383/.597
3-YR OPS: .889, .867, .927
Comments: Richie plays with power, and he has some of the top 5 power in the Majors. He's absolutely huge, although Sexson has made huge strides in defense the last few seasons. He probably will sit around .275 for his average, although he walks about 100 times per season and whiffs equally as much. He improved after the break and played better on the road, which is a good indicator for the D-Backs.

Spivey: .255/.326/.433
Vs. RH: .238/.305/.392 Vs. LH: .288/.366/.512
Home: .294/.347/.525 Road: .205/.301/.317
Pre-ASB: .255/.323/.441 Post-ASB: .255/.330/.422
Comments: Spivey's 2002 stats are misleading, as his first half was much different than his second, .966 vs. .763. So, for the last three halves, Spivey has been a .760 player, which is where his value stands. His OBP may rise to .380 at one point, although .430 is about his slugging high. So, the max for Spivey OPS in 2004 is .810, while .740 is about the low.

Counsell: .234/.328/.304 in 303AB
Vs. RH: .239/.336/.319 Vs. LH: .219/.301/.274
Home: .239/.339/.317 Road: .230/.317/.292
Pre-ASB: .268/.385/.373 Post-ASB: .205/.274/.242
Comments: I hate to pardon bad play, but much of Counsell's horrible season, including a disastrous second half, can be blamed on injury. He is very eligible for improvement next season, although topping .700 on the OPS chart may be unreasonable. He'll play shortstop for the Brewers, heating the position up for J.J. Hardy, although stealing time away from Bill Hall.

Overbay in MLB: .276/.365/.402 24XBH in 254AB
Overbay in AAA: .286/.419/.479 15XBH in 119AB
Comments: Overbay has been compared to Mark Grace before, as a high average, solid defensive, doubles power first basemen. Asking 20 home runs out of Overbay is unreasonable, although 30 doubles and 15 home runs isn't. He could hit .300 very soon, and has OF in his history. The Brewers are already moving former top prospect Brad Nelson to outfield, in preparation for Prince Fielder's arrival. Expect Overbay to play first until Fielder, and then to either move to the OF or be traded/non-tendered.

Capuano in MLB: 2-4 4.64 27/33 23/11
Capuano In AAA: 9-5 3.34 133/142.2 108/43
Comments: Capuano has little minor league experience, despite the fact he'll turn 25 after the break next season. He's only had 75 minor league starts, and nearly one-third of them came in 2003. He has a good curveball, and a fastball that sits around 90mph. He pitched better than his ERA indicates, and should be in the Milwaukee rotation next season.

For his slugging first basemen, Doug Melvin has nearly built himself an infield for 2004. CBS Sportsline doesn't have Spivey as arbitration-eligible, so I'm going to assume that is true and say he won't be traded this winter. The team will play Counsell at shortstop, meaning one-time prospect Bill Hall will have to take his .300OBP act elsewhere. Spivey gives the team an excuse to not play Rickie Weeks right away, which actually should help his development. Same holds true for SS prospect J.J. Hardy, who needs some time in AAA.

I think the team will trade Spivey during next season, about the team Weeks is ready to contribute. The $3.4M Counsell will stick around though, as his value is supposedly better than sabermatricians realize.

Actually, Melvin could field a lineup that looks like:

1. Scott Podsednik- CF
2. Junior Spivey- 2B
3. Geoff Jenkins- LF
4. Lyle Overbay- 1B
5. Wes Helms- 3B
6. Brady Clark- RF
7. ???- C
8. Craig Counsell- SS

He is in need of a shortstop and possibly a right fielder, although Clark showed flashes of brilliance last season. The team's rotation will have Sheets and Capuano, and probably Matt Kinney, Doug Davis, and Luis Martinez. God, they're bad. As for Arizona, they add a big bat for their lineup, and I imagine Brenly will field this lineup:

1. Matt Kata- 2B
2. Alex Cintron- SS
3. Luis Gonzalez- LF
4. Richie Sexson- 1B
5. Shea Hillenbrand- 3B
6. Steve Finley- CF
7. Danny Bautista- RF
8. Moeller/Barajas/Hammock- C

Not a bad lineup, considering the successes of Kata, Cintron, and Hillenbrand. The rotation is a big question in Arizona, but I think Johnson, Webb, Fossum, De La Rosa, and a combination of Good, Patterson, or Edgar Gonzalez will claim the final slot. The team will realize Fossum is cut out for the bullpen about the same time that Mike Gosling bounces back from a disappointing season in the Pacific Coast League.

Overall, not a bad trade for both teams, although this is a nice move for the Diamondbacks after dealing away their ace. By taking out Counsell and adding Sexson, the team will pay Richie about $4.85M in 2004, which is quite a bargain. The team also lost $12M with Schilling, putting the team currently on the hook for about $58.4M, when considering the arbitration-eligible players. That gives Garigiola $8-11M to spend, although I don't really see where the work will be done. Maybe the team will move to sign Miguel Batista, which is the smartest option at this point.

Not bad for a weekend post, huh?