Sunday, March 20, 2005

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.


At 9:07 AM, Blogger Basil said...

Amazingly, in his BP chat, John Sickels said that Pena was worth Hinckley + another minor leaguer. Since Sickels considers Hinckley an A- prospect, I guess that's partly TINSTAAPP talking.

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Chris Needham said...

I'm not as up on Pena as you, simply because of that atrocious K/BB ratio. Then, when you factor in how few ABs it took him to get all those Ks, it's even worse. He has no plate discipline at all. But, the power potential is tantalizing, that's for sure.

Pena is an amazing defensive centerfielder and some of the numbers back that up.

I'm playing amateur scout here, but I was in Cinci last year and saw a few games. He was all over the outfield: against the wall, into the gap, coming in. He made some catches he had no business making.

I'm not convinced that the defense is going to be atrocious. I don't think it's going to be gold-glovers at every position like FRobby was glowing about early in spring, but on the infield, Castilla's way above average. NJ's decent. Guzman's metrics are way up and the scouts have always raved --so we'll see. Vidro stinks, even before the knee surgery.

All-in-all, it's not a horrible infield. And if Guzman's right, it could be very good.

At 10:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind that deal -- Pena has weaknesses, but he's got loads of potential, and with solid defense and power his low OBP isn't a deal breaker (as long as they don't decide he should lead off). And BP LOVES him for this year (although they predict worse defense, for some reason).

But why on earth is Bowden so obsessed with outfielders? That's a position where the Nats already have talent and where there's plenty of cheap league-average to replacement-level talent out there to fill in whatever holes arise. If he has to deal with the Reds (which apparently he does) how about Edwin Encarnacion rather than Pena? Castilla isn't going to be around after next year, and there's a good chance that we'll want to replace him before that.

At 10:36 AM, Blogger Chris Needham said...

Ideally, Brendan Harris will fill that role. They don't view him as a second baseman, so hopefully, they'll see him as the third basemen of the near-future.

At 10:50 AM, Blogger Ryan said...

I'd do Pena for Day in a second. Yeah, the Nats have a lot of outfielders, but the only one who should be playing center shouldn't be playing.

BTW, You've got Endy's 2004 OBP messed up. A .381 would have been nice, though.

At 2:28 PM, Blogger tmk67 said...

At the end of the day, I see Day as a soon-to-be-expensive good long-reliever. Pena is one of the better power-hitting center fielder prospects that would be an All-Star star with a career like Bernie Williams (with better defense) if he learned how to take a walk. I like Day, but he's not a rotation regular and therefore nothing special. I'd do the Day-Pena trade in a second, and I'd even give them Blanco (the Rule 5 OF draftee from the Reds that is doing quite well this Spring) back for it.

We won't be able to pull Edwin Encarnacion from the Reds. Not even Hinkley+Church (which I regard as our two best prospects) would get him.

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At 9:31 PM, Blogger The Spike Owen Express said...

Pena for Day is a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned.

Ultimately you're looking for upside here. Pena has the potential, based on the first 500 PAs of his career, and the fact that he rotted on the pine the previous two seasons, to be a star in this league. He's still a pup, still learning to hit, and he already has an .800+ OPS season under his belt. I find it hard to believe that Day will be anything more than a 3rd to 5th starter. And perhaps Pena turns into a 4th outfielder, but I believe the potential is there to be a star. You can't say that about Day.

I say pull the trigger, we're not going anywhere this season anyways.

At 9:54 AM, Anonymous ellis rena burks said...

Can we assume this deal is dead now?

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