Saturday, June 21, 2008

Daryl Thompson and Wayne Krivisky Will Have Their Revenge On The Kearns Trade Haters

Bleacher Report said:
Did anyone know who Daryl Thompson was before today's game against the New York Yankees? I don't think so.
Well, I beg to differ. Here's me over a year ago:
Daryl Thompson: This guy looks interesting. Despite being injured for much of his rookie league season, he's currently overpowering the competition in low-A ball less than six months after his 21st birthday: 4 starts, 23 innings pitched, 19 strikeouts, 1 walk, an ERA of 0.39, and a 4-0 record. Small sample size? Sure, but his K/BB ratio was pretty sweet in limited play last year as well. I haven't seen him pitch, which is inexcusable given that his home park is only about an hour away from Chez Shyster, but he smells legit to me. He needs to be promoted, like yesterday, and assuming he continues to mow them down in Sarasota, he should end the season in AA. Depending on how he does there, he could potentially compete for a slot in the rotation as early as next year, though more likely in 2009. Unless it's all smoke and mirrors, he alone could tip the trade ridiculously in the Reds' favor.
As you can tell from the context, that was from a post in which I rehashed the Kearns/Lopez trade from 2006. I and my designees have done that a lot actually, and it usually goes down like this:
Me: You know, the Austin Kearns trade wasn't the disaster everyone makes it out to be.

Everyone else in the world: No, it was awful! The Reds needed bullpen help for a playoff run, and that blew up terribly! Plus Krivsky could have gotten eleventy-seven blue chip prospects for Kearns because he's, like, so dreamy!

Me: Fine, but you have to close the book at some point, right? You have to take a look at the talent that was actually exchanged, and see if, original intent aside, it was a good deal or a bad one, don't you?

Everyone else: Lalalalalalalala! We can't hear you!! Lalalalalalala!
I usually shut up at that point, because sometimes you're just not going to win.

But I'm not shutting up this evening because Daryl Thompson made his Major League debut today and shut the New York Yankees out over five innings. No, it wasn't the best performance ever -- he walked four guys and threw 96 pitches in those five innings -- but it's better than anything Austin Kearns or Felipe Lopez have contributed to the Nats recently.

Oh, and Bill Bray -- also a part of that deal -- relieved Thompson and picked up the win. Bray has an ERA+ of 176 in 21 innings for the Reds this year. Probably also worth noting that Gary Majewski has only given up two earned runs in seven innings as well. If Royce Clayton takes a job cleaning the clubhouse or something, the trade becomes a landslide in the Reds' favor, doesn't it?

Does any of this mean that Wayne Krivsky was some kind of visionary? No, at least not unless he can prove that he really wanted Thompson instead of lucking into him (and even then, Thompson would have to, you know, keep it up). But it does mean that (a) Daryl Thompson didn't just appear out of thin air around lunchtime today; (b) people should stop claiming that the Kearns trade was a disaster; and (c) all of those Mets fans citing the trade as they worry about their team hiring Krivsky today should relax a bit.


themarksmith said...

When it first happened, I wasn't sure why he would trade away his young shortstop and outfielder, but they needed relievers. Who knew Majewski would all the sudden be horrible? I thought it was a purely need-for-need trade that would be about equal for each team. The main problem I had is that they essentially traded two everyday guys for two relievers and a shortstop on the decline. I don't like reliever for position player trades because I don't think the value is equal. Yet, with this trade, I felt that Majewski was underrated and would really help (... but alas he didn't).

Crawdaddy said...

I guess. Maybe the Gulf of Tonkin was the right move because Oliver Stone's Platoon rocks.

Pete Toms said...

"Did anyone know who Daryl Thompson was before today's game against the New York Yankees? I don't think so."

Well, I did and Craig did and I bet a lot of ball fans did. If you are a BA reader you should certainly know who he is.

I watched part of this game and I didn't think he was all that impressive...but then again he's only 22 so maybe I should cut him some slack.

Anonymous said...

hate to say it so bluntly, but you measure trades at the time they are made, based on the logic and thought process at that time. no 20/20 hindsight allowed. at the time of the trade it appeared (to the outside world anyway) that kearns and lopez could have fetched much more than they did. krivsky basically traded for need, which usually means you don't get top value in return.

Craig Calcaterra said...

telling: That's ridiculous. You can judge actions at any number of times for any number of reasons.

Short term: the trade was not good based on perceived purpose (short term bullpen help). While there is a sense -- that many people have said hundreds of times -- that they should have gotten more for those guys, no one has ever identified a better offer he had. That he could have gotten more is pure speculation.

Long term: sitting here today, the Reds are without question better off having Thompson, Bray, and Majewski than they would with Lopez and Kearns. On that basis, you cannot dispute that the trade, however initially successful it was, was better for the Reds than it was for the Nats.

Crawdaddy said...

I will agree with you that the Reds won this trade. It has been far more beneficial for them. The issue I have is that it was well reported at the time that this deal was a head scratcher for many unidentified sources in baseball as well as some talking heads. With that as a given, I assume that better deals based on a consensus opinion of talent were available.

The issue I have with this deal is that there was a specific goal in place for this deal to be made on the Reds side. This goal was not met by this trade. Based on the previous assumption, better deals may have been available to achieve the goal that drove this deal. In my opinion, the success has been somewhat accidental.

I'm not sure you can congratulate Krivsky on that point. It is like congratulate the Orioles for not signing Wade Townsend and winding up with Garrett Olson in the sandwich round the following year. I'm not sure chance is a skill.

Voros McCracken said...

I dunno. It seems like the Nationals have gotten more out of Kearns and Lopez than anyone on the Reds side of the ledger just yet.

Majewski has been just awful. Bray's been pretty good, but has only logged 56 innings or so and he's been good not great. Harris had a nice 2007 (with the bat anyway), but is having a lousy 2008 and the Nationals dumped him in 2006 anyway. Thompson's pitched one game. Royce Clayton, as mentioned, was long since toast.

On the other hand the Nationals got 800 at bats from a slightly above average outfielder before this year's disaster. They got decent output from Lopez for half a year but he's struggled since.

The Reds are definitely in position to win the trade if Thompson pans out, but so far I still think the Nationals have gotten more out of it so far, not so much because they've done so well with it, but because the Reds really haven't just yet.

Osmodious said...

The kid was good yesterday, no doubt...the most impressive thing, though, was the way he worked out of trouble two innings in a row. Granted, the Yankee batters had never seen him before, but by the 4th inning they had seen enough of his pitches to know what they were dealing with (even if he and Bako were mixing up pitch selection pretty effectively). They just had no idea how to deal with him (give Geise some credit, too...kid pitched pretty well and only really blew it on a fielding play).

To me, pitching (out of a jam) is a lot like service recovery...what you do to FIX problems is at least as important, if not moreso, than avoiding them in the first place.

Erock said...

"Me: Fine, but you have to close the book at some point, right? You have to take a look at the talent that was actually exchanged, and see if, original intent aside, it was a good deal or a bad one, don't you?"

As an original hater of this trade, I'll take this one. The answer to your question is a resounding, "no." You need to look at the context of the trade before making a decision. This trade was so bad Krivsky had to file a grievance against the Nats to save some face.

In this case, the context is overwhelming. At the start of that very same season, MLBTrade Rumors posted that Beane offered Mulder straight up for Kearns. And, at the time, he RSox were looking for SS help and had a wealth of Bullpenners. Instead of taking his time to feel out other teams interest in his two players, Krivsky got taken for a ride because Bowden told him that other people were interested.

As for Thompson, lots of people have tried to justify this trade based on his inclusion. Again, you must look at the context - at the time of the trade, Thompson was in Low-A ball, and had surgery on 2 arm problems the prior year. Everyone in the world thought he was finished. Plus, TINSTAPP.

If Krivsky ever writes a book, and says "I always liked Thompson he had great (whatever), I talked to Kremchek before the trade and knew he would be fine, and he was really the reason I made the deal," I would be more easily swayed, but that simply is not the case.

FWIW, I think hiring Krivsky as a Special Asst. to the GM is the perfect role for him. WK is very good about finding diamonds in the rough (Lohse, Phillips, Hamilton), and noticing little things, like the waiver wire mistake a year or two ago. I just don't think he gets it, like say Huntington for the Pirates.

Tim Dierkes said...

Interesting article regarding Thompson...quoting Hal McCoy:

Amazingly, Washington insiders said Thompson was included in the deal because he had major shoulder surgery in 2005 (torn labrum) and Bowden didn't think he would last. As one Bowden acquaintance said, "Bowden thought he was sticking it to the Reds with Thompson."

Craig Calcaterra said...

That's interesting, Tim. Thanks for the link. In light of what may have been Bowden snowing Krivsky regarding Majewski's shoulder at the time of the trade, there's a lot about the trade that sort of stinks separate and apart from who won it.