Day for Pena?Scuttlebutt is that Bowden is seriously considering a trade with the Reds that would involve Zach Day and the struggling Wily Mo Pena. Jim Bowden denies it, saying that Rauch and Patterson aren't sufficient if Day were to go, because he absolutely expects injuries in the rotation. That would require more than one injury at once, and it would mean they're not willing to give Hinkley a try if they had to do so. I think that's just talk to raise the asking price. But, there may be some truth to it, considering how big a problem injuries were in the rotation last year, especially since Patterson missed a start due to a hip injury. He'll probably be fine for opening day, but it's just another piece of straw on the camel's back.
Will Mo doesn't want to go, either (free reg required). He wants to play his whole career in Cincinnati.
Let's compare Pena to Chavez. Pena's 2004: .259/.316/.527. Projected 2005: .281/.351/.528. Chavez' 2004: .277/.381/.371. Projected 2005: .272/.321/.382
I don't care if Chavez has a better OBP, he absolutely can't hit for power. Going from an OPS of .752 to an OPS of .843 is a pretty big jump, and so I probably wouldn't hesitate to do the deal. OPS tends to be a highly accurate correlation to performance in subsequent years. Wilkerson had a .872 last year and Guillen had a .849, so Pena compares pretty well.
Defensively, Chavez doesn't look nearly as good as Pena, based on every metric I can find. For example, BP gives Pena a +4 as a CF for 2004, and Chavez a -6. Both are fast, but Pena seems to know how to get a jump and track the ball better.
I think giving up Day for Pena makes sense, considering our relative strengths and weaknesses. I personally wouldn't mind going into battle with Hinkley in a pinch, and I do think that Day should rightfully be 5th in our depth chart, but as long as Loaiza is placed above him, I'd knock him to 6th. And, as far as upside goes, I think Pena's the only one of the three who is a serious breakout candidate.
The BP summary of Day is almost prophetic on the matter:
...the Expos might do well to move Day for full value soon, before their defense starts making him look bad.
I think Bowden is definitely going after Pena. I wouldn't be surprised if he's trying to unload Patterson or Rauch. I think Patterson instead of Day is probably good, but I'd rather give up Day than Rauch. I saw some speculation about Hinkley, but I think that's crazy talk.
By the way, Vidro's MRI came back fine. In similar news, hyper-extended his knee, but his MRI came back fine as well.