WTNYDecember 10, 2004
The Minors in the Major Moves
By Bryan Smith

I?m a little late to get this up today, but I wanted to give you guys something to read over Winter Meetings weekend. I?ll be back on Monday with a full Rule 5 breakdown, but for now, let?s look at the Major League world, and see how it might be affecting some our favorite young guns.

- In the last few days, the hot name on the block has been the disgruntled Tim Hudson. I?m not sold on the fact that Beane will trade his star right-hander, but I wouldn?t put it past him either. Beane will only, and I mean only, make a trade that improves Oakland from a baseball perspective. He?s good enough to not let his economic handicap get in the way of winning. And this coming from a guy that doesn?t like him.

With that being said, do not expect the Baltimore Orioles to be landing Huddy this weekend, or any weekend in the near future. The Baltimore Sun (sorry, no link) was talking about a deal in which two pitchers and one hitter would go the A?s in exchange for Hudson. The rumor I heard was B.J. Ryan, Erik Bedard and Nick Markakis. While Ryan and Bedard make sense, as would Jerry Hairston, to think the O?s are going to be parting with the former Junior College Player of the Year is ludicrous.

Very few prospects in the minors should be considered as ?untouchable? as Markakis. This isn?t necessarily solely reflective of his talents, but surprisingly also his heritage. Like owner Peter Angelos, Markakis is Greek, and was a part of the Olympic team that Angelos helped fund and put together this year. He is a favorite of the ownership, which like the Mets runs the franchise, and will not soon be dealt.

The rumor that does make sense for Oakland is the Marcus Giles and Dan Meyer rumor that the Atlanta Journal Constitution speculated to. Even though Mark Ellis is coming back, Giles would put a solid bat in the one spot in the lineup that is really missing a lot of lumber. Meyer would go into the rotation, likely putting up similar (if not better) statistics to Mark Redman, 2004 version. The only scary aspect of this trade for Oakland is that it would make their rotation have two rookies, Meyer and Joe Blanton. With the problems that Oakland pitching had last year, are they really ready to trust Curt Young with two rookies?

As for Atlanta, I?m not completely sure whether I think this trade makes sense or not. Hudson would immediately be put on top of the rotation, being the best starter in Atlanta since Greg Maddux of old. If JC is right, and Mazzone makes the .55-.85 difference in ERA, the two could put up some sick numbers next season. I would then let Smoltz move back to the rotation, and have a staff look like this: Hudson, Smoltz, Hampton, Thomson, Ramirez. Then, move Capellan to the bullpen, where he and Juan Cruz can duke it out for the closer spot.

- There is no question that a few of the signings this week will have a major impact on the future of a few minor league stars, at least within their organization. It should come as no shock that one of the teams I am talking about are the Yankees, who don?t exactly look within their own system for help too often anymore. While two million dollars per season isn?t too much, the Yankees sent a resounding message to Robinson Cano (playing quite well in winter ball) that he?s not wanted here. I can guarantee that Cano would put up similar, if not better numbers, than Womack if given the chance. Same can be said for Brad Halsey and Eric Milton, but who listens to me?

Troy Glaus to Arizona, who had that one guessed right? Last year they expected a little controversy at third base with Chad Tracy and Shea Hillenbrand, but I guess they went with option C here. Glaus is great, but like Luis Gonzalez, might be needing a move over to first base. If they both do that becomes quite the problem, no matter how many outfield prospects they have. I can?t really see the Diamondbacks trading Tracy anywhere, but if you are Arizona, what do you do with him?

Philadelphia looks to be realizing their chances at winning a pennant, and much less a division, are slowly slipping away, and are currently executing the now or never approach. The offense should slip a bit every season, as their horses (Thome, Lieberthal, Abreu) are on the inevitable downward path of their career, though no one told Bobby yet. Jon Lieber?s signing shows Ed Wade?s now-or-never approach, one that will leave Gavin Floyd in AAA to start the season. If it?s really all or nothing in 2005, why not try and make Randy Johnson work by offering Howard, Byrd, and Floyd/Myers?

Finally, the jaw-dropping Jermaine Dye to Chicago move actually does have an effect on Brian Anderson, the White Sox best prospect. If the team does not trade Carlos Lee, which is of course a possibility, then Anderson appears to be a bit blocked. I think the hole will open up in 2006, when Anderson will be ready anyway, but this definitely will keep a chain on him this season. Slow and steady wins the race though, so this might be the best thing for Anderson after all.

I know this week has been a bit cheap on content people, but come back next week, as I?ll be much better about the number and the length of articles. Enjoy the Winter Meeting Madness.


Anybody know if the Kent signing in L.A. will open the door for Chris Burke in Houston? Or are the Astros going to shop for a veteran replacement?

Last I heard, Burke is going to take over in Houston.

Today's Houston Chronicle--
"Purpura spoke with veteran Craig Biggio, and said he doesn't think Biggio will serve in a "super utility" role. Biggio will either play the outfield or second base, and Purpura said Biggio told him he is no longer concerned about the knee problems he had in the past.

Purpura is leaning toward letting Biggio return to second base, where prize prospect Chris Burke could help if Biggio is needed in the outfield."

Bryan, what do you make of the fact that the Phillies turned down an offer from the A's of Hudson for Utley and Madson? I personally think they're crazy, a rotation of Hudson, Lieber, Padilla, Wolf and Floyd with Polanco at second base I think is worth the extra expense and the loss of Madson, especially given that the Phillies' window of opportunity with Thome and Abreu may be fading. I don't know that much about Utley, or whether Madson's likely to continue to be as good as he was in 2004, so what's your opinion on the two and would you have the pulled the trigger on that deal?