After a ton of buzz from my previous blog on the worst five trades made by Doug Melvin, I figured it was time to honor Doug for some of his greatest moves as GM. Here was some of the hype from people on Facebook in regards to my five worst trades.
Eric writes, “If this is as bad as it gets, I hope that Doug Melvin stays in Milwaukee for several years!”
Joshua says, “ Terrible topic. He’s done more good than bad…unless you loved LaPorta and Cruz, who are pretty much done and passed through waivers multiple times before being picked up.”
Sam writes, “I guess 3,4, and 5 have to be there to have a top 5 list, but if those are in your top worst list, you aren’t doing bad as a GM.”
Kurt complains, “Instead of writing blogs, Joe should work on his updates. Getting them right.”
- You’re right, Kurt. I have a lot to improve on my updates. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Luckily, I’m done with school, so I have more time to work on updates and blogs!
Without further ado, here are Doug Melvin’s five greatest trades to date according to Radio Joe. Let the debate begin!
5. Brewers acquire Closer Francisco Rodriguez from the Mets for pitchers Adrian Rosario and Daniel Ray Herrera.
This was a tough choice. There were so many smaller trades that paid off in big ways between 2008 and 2011. I was also leaning towards the move for Jerry Hairston Jr. or the Nyjer Morgan deal. You guys may say differently. By bringing in K-Rod, it was an insurance policy for John Axford. As we all know, Axford was explosive in 2011. Some believed, including yours truly, that Axford was due for some blow-ups. Oddly enough, it never happened (until Game 5 of the NLDS). Although K-Rod was upset not to be the teams dominant closer, he was near perfect as the setup man. Most baseball analysts would agree that K-Rod and Axford were the best one-two punch in the back end of the bullpen last season. With strong outings from your starters, you knew as a fan that K-Rod and Axford were going to hold the fort down in the end. Furthermore, what have Rosario or Herrera done for the Mets?
I know people hate K-Rod now. I don’t need to get into that. However, he was just another piece of the puzzle from last year’s extraordinary postseason run. That trade has to be documented as a successful one.
4. Brewers trade 1B Richie Sexson, P Shane Nance, INF/OF Noochie Varner to the D-Backs for SS Craig Counsell, 2B Junior Spivey, 1B Lyle Overbay, C Chad Moeller, and pitchers Chris Capuano and Jorge De La Rosa.
This was Doug Melvin’s first blockbuster trade as GM for the Brewers. While the deal did not put the Brewers into the postseason, Doug acquired six decent players with six decent careers in Milwaukee and beyond. That trade allowed him to fill a bunch of holes in that ugly infield. Plus, the D-Backs ran into some bad luck when Sexson got injured early on in the season. Sexson was never the same after that injury. Kudos to Doug! He dealt Sexson at his highest stock and prevailed with some fan favorites (Counsell, Overbay, and even Capuano).
It’s very difficult for me to rank who was the best player in the deal – I’ll leave it up to you. I can say this at least – it wasn’t Chad Moeller (hitting for the cycle doesn’t count).
3. Brewers acquire SP Shaun Marcum from the Blue Jays in exchange for 2B/3B Brett Lawrie.
I don’t care what your opinion is about Shaun Marcum. He was the best pitcher in the Brewers rotation for about 75% of the 2011 season. Yes, he pitched horrendous in the postseason, but if it wasn’t for him, we would not be in the postseason. That’s a fact. This year has was going well for Marcum (3.39 ERA in 13 starts this season), until his elbow injury.
Think about this – Marcum is losing money every single day because of that elbow. His value to teams around the MLB is plummeting. This gives the Brewers the upper hand to resign him. Besides, after going through Tommy John surgery back in 2009, Marcum followed with a great season in 2010 for Toronto. In my opinion, I would have no problem resigning him this offseason for the right price. I’m not sold on guys like Mike Fiers or Marco Estrada just yet.
As for Lawrie, I wish we called the guy up sooner to the Big Leagues. I agree with Tim Allen that Melvin and Co. spent too much time grooming him in the minors. This guy had star potential, and he was ready to prove it immediately in the major leagues. Toronto has a nice piece for the future (they just need to control his hot-temper). Would I make that trade again? Absolutely.
2. Brewers acquire SP Zack Greinke and SS Yuniesky Betancourt from the Royals for SS Alcides Escobar, CF Lorenzo Cain, RP Jeremy Jeffress, and SP Jake Odorizzi.
1. Brewers acquire SP CC Sabathia from the Indians for OF Matt LaPorta, OF Michael Brantley, and pitchers Rob Bryson and Zack Jackson.
Let the real debate begin!
First of all, who’s the better pitcher? CC or Zack? It’s CC in my opinion. Sabathia has better career numbers than Zack. He showed more consistency than Zack. He was flat out unstoppable for Milwaukee in his short time here. Meanwhile, Zack cracks a rib due to basketball, misses Spring Training, has a slow start for the first couple of months, but fortunately catches fire late in the season. As a fan, you knew every time Sabathia took the mound, it was going to be another game in the win column. CC Sabathia got this team to their first postseason since 1982. As for Doug Melvin, it was the first premier name he’s brought to this city via trade. It was a signal to the rest of country that this team was ready to contend. While it didn’t give us a World Series, it was a hell of a run…no question.
As for the prospects Doug departed with, it’s obvious which package hurts us the most. Batting .307 with 4 HRs and 36 RBIs, Alcides Escobar is having his best season to date. Lorenzo Cain has been prone to injuries, but has shown positive signs in the Royals’ offense as of late. He has a .269 average with 3 HRs and 15 RBIs in 78 at-bats. Jeremy Jeffress hasn’t done a whole lot at the big league level for KC. Considered to be the crown jewel of the trade, pitching prospect Jake Odorizzi continues his dominance for Triple-A Omaha. Odorizzi is 8-1 with a 3.09 ERA in 12 starts for Omaha. He’s going to be stud in that organization. Ned Yost should be proud – “Jake pitched great!” or “Odor pitched great!”
Examining the Sabathia deal, the results are good on our end. Matt LaPorta has made numerous trips between Triple-A and the Majors. Bryson and Jackson never panned out. The only guy that could have been worth losing was Michael Brantley. Brantley bats .291 with 4 HRs and 46 RBIs. How many Michael Brantley fans are there? I rest my case.
Honorable mentions in no particular order:
Brewers acquire OF Nyjer Morgan from the Nationals for 3B Cutter Dykstra.
Brewers acquire OF Carlos Lee from the White Sox for OF Scott Podsednik, RP Luis Vizcaino, and 1B Travis Hinton.
Brewers trade OF Erik Komatsu to the Nationals for INF/OF Jerry Hairston Jr.
Brewers acquire RP Solomon Torres from the Pirates for pitchers Kevin Roberts and Marino Salas.
Brewers trade OF Darren Ford and pitcher Steve Hammond to the Giants for switch-hitting 2B Ray Durham.
Brewers trade Enrique Cruz and cash to the Rangers for RP Brian Shouse (perhaps the most underrated trade by any means). Shouse was one of the best left-handed specialists I’ve seen play for the Brewers in my lifetime. I could be wrong, though.