Monday, December 08, 2008

Laird for Moscoso (and Melo)

The long rumored Gerald Laird trade finally happened last night. After worrying about the cost (especially after hearing the names Matt Joyce and Jeff Larish thrown around in the Jack Wilson discussions), giving up just Guillermo Moscoso and Carlos Melo is a bit of a relief.

Even despite the incredible ratios this year, I'm really not that high on Moscoso. He started out the season missing some time with a shoulder issue and was assigned to Lakeland when healthy. There, as a 24 year old, Moscoso struck out 72 in 54 innings while being used both in relief and in the rotation. He moved to Erie and posted a 50/8 K/BB ratio in 34 innings. That is out of this world. However, there are some problems.

He is a big time fly ball pitcher, posting an abysmal 29% ground ball rate in Erie. Actually, that's an okay fit for the Tigers so long as Curtis Granderson's average defensive season was a fluke. However, the Rangers may regret acquiring him, as the ball simply flies out of Ameriquest Field. It also remains to be seen if he'd be able to keep the ball in the park against MLB hitters, who punish mistakes up in the zone much more than his minor league brethren. Also, Moscoso does have a history of shoulder issues, and reports of fatigue have come out of his time in the winter leagues. While I will admit I said this about trading Jair Jurrjens, this could be a very good time to trade Guillermo. Overall, this isn't as big of a loss as one would think.

Now, to Carlos Melo, a guy who I honestly don't know much about. This was his first year in the Tigers' organization, and I'd be remiss if I didn't point out how similar his final line looked to Moscoso's. It may sound like a cop out, but Melo is so far away that I have a hard time seeing his loss affecting the Tigers.

As for Gerald Laird, I can live with him. Given the options on the free agent market, this is an okay pickup at a reasonable rate. I don't think he's anything close to a long term answer at catcher. So long as there is a reasonable time share between him and Ryan, I am okay with this trade. If Laird is hitting .220/.280/.320 and chucking only 15% of baserunners out in the middle of July, my hope is that Leyland realizes he may be better off using Dusty Ryan. If not, like the Sean Casey and Neifi Perez trades before, this one could backfire.

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