The value of a name

Posted by Steve

I spent a good portion of yesterday morning reading about the Peavy trade to the White Sox that he ended up vetoing, so I was caught off guard by the Tony Gwynn Jr.-Jody Gerut deal.  When I first heard about it, my thought was, “Who else besides Gwynn did they give up?”  I couldn’t believe the Brewers could land a solid outfielder for Gwynn.  The only way to describe the trade is a slam dunk.  It rivals the Corey Koskie trade a few year ago in which Melvin got Koskie for non-prospects while getting Toronto to pay the vast majority of Koskie’s salary.

To be blunt, Gerut is much better at baseball than Tony Gwynn Jr.  It isn’t even remotely close.  You know those so-called AAAA players, the guys who bounce between AAA and the majors but aren’t good enough to keep a steady MLB job?  Gwynn is even worse than that.  He has spent four years at AAA and his OPS that entire time was .720.  Gwynn cannot hit!  I don’t understand why he would have any value to any team for a baseball-related reason.

Gerut, meanwhile, brings a lot of value to a major league team, particularly the right-handed heavy Brewers.  Gerut had an .845 OPS last year (while playing at cavernous Petco Park).  He’s now going from perhaps the most extreme pitcher’s park in the league to a hitter’s park in Miller Park.  Gerut can play all three outfield positions, and is now the second best defensive outfielder on the team outside of Mike Cameron.  He is a left-handed hitter, and he hits righties better than Mike Cameron or Corey Hart– Against RHP: Gerut .816 OPS, Hart .773, Cameron .771.

Chris Duffy has technically been the Brewers’ fourth outfielder, but he’s hardly been used.  Gerut will be a fourth outfielder who should be used quite often.  I liked the way a BF poster said it: Gerut is basically Duffy with more pop, which is funny because Duffy is basically Gwynn with more pop.

I’d like to see Gerut get 2-3 starts a week, spelling mainly Cameron and Hart against tough right-handers.  He should get a plate appearance almost every game off the bench when he isn’t starting.  He even gives the Brewers a realistic option as a full-time center fielder for next season if they end up not bringing back Mike Cameron.

I really can’t say enough good things about this trade.  I should add that I don’t actually believe the Padres are happy to have Tony Gwynn Jr. the baseball player.  At this point, there shouldn’t be one team in the league who would be.  What proves this is the fact that the Padres, or any other team could have had Gwynn before the start of the season when he was DFA’d by the Brewers.  The Padres did this strictly to dump salary.  Gerut will earn 1.7 million this season, so they save about a million bucks in the deal.  They literally gave Gerut away, but bringing in the big name in Tony Gwynn Jr. allows them to save face and get some positive PR for awhile (before San Diego fans realize he can’t hit).

Gwynn went straight to the majors, which gives you an idea of how little the Padres care about trying to win this season.  He received a standing ovation before his first at-bat, drew a walk and scored the winning run.  Good for him, but I really don’t see things ending well for him.  He’ll have a ton of pressure on him, and Padre fans will realize soon enough he isn’t a fraction of the player his dad was.

It was annoying that Gwynn Jr. was drafted so high based on name recognition, but at least the same name recognition still managed to eventually bring in a good player.  I know I’d be irritated if I rooted for the Padres.  Gerut almost certainly could have brought back an actual prospect, but they chose to go for the name instead of talent.  As a Brewer fan, I won’t complain one bit.

Two players are in hot water at the moment:  Jorge Julio and Chris Duffy.  I imagine one of these players will be removed from the roster to make room for Gerut.  The Brewers already sent Hernan Iribarren back to AAA and brought up R.J. Swindle, which is a move I like.  Swindle should be much more effective than Julio; I continue to be confused as to why Julio has lasted this long.

More good news:  we’ll get to see Mat Gamel in three games over the weekend.  I was pretty irked that Bill Hall got the start over Gamel against Roy Oswalt last night, which seems to indicate that they won’t give Gamel much of a chance at third.  Hopefully he’ll rake over the weekend and force the Brewers’ hand a bit.

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2 responses to “The value of a name

  1. I’m also a fan of the trade. We’ve been handcuffed for so long without a 2nd lefty-bat in the lineup with any pop, other than Prince. Now all of a sudden we’ve got 3 as long as Gamel is up.

    Apparently Hall was “promised” a chance to produce in the Houston series by Ken Macha because Billy wanted a chance to prove that he could hit righties. I didn’t keep any official stats, but I think he played himself right into a full-time platoon.

  2. Yep, Hall might have played his way out of playing time more than Gamel played his way into it. Hall has some of the most extreme lefty-righty splits I’ve ever seen; everything about him screams “platoon.” With Weeks out, I think the best option will be to keep Gamel up and let him have third on most nights.

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