Damn these juicy trade rumors! How am I supposed to get any work done now that this is all I can think about? As many of you have probably heard, there's a fairly legitimate sounding rumor that the White Sox and A's are working on a trade of Joe Crede and Brandon McCarthy for Eric Chavez. The question is, would that help our team?
Well, first of all, Chavez is actually playing worse than Joe Crede this year, which is mind-boggling, when you think about it, but as any good statistician will tell you, his numbers should regress toward the mean, and the mean he's established in the last five years is of course a very good one. He's also reported to be incredibly unhappy in Oakland with the A's performance this year and the constant rebuilding, and isn't comfortable being expected to lead a team of youngsters. So it's reasonable to think that some of his struggles are mental, and that being injected into a winning atmosphere would energize him. Based on his career averages, that would translate into approximately .280, 20 HR, 65 RBI if the deal was made now (about half those HR and RBI totals if we wait until the trade deadline). We haven't had that kind of production from the left side of the plate since Ventura left town. And of course, like Ventura, Chavez is a Gold Glover at third base, no matter what he's doing with the bat.
So, is the gamble that Chavez rediscovers his game on the South Side worth trading McCarthy? (I'll leave Crede out of the discussion since even his own mother would probably trade him if she were a Sox fan). It's a tough call. If the Sox believe McCarthy will be anything less than a very solid #2-caliber starter, I'd say yes. If they think he'll be an ace one day, I'd reluctantly say no. I'm no expert, but McCarthy's penchant for giving up the longball seems like a fixable problem for a young pitcher, and if he could correct that, he seems like he'd be lights out. But who knows?
The other thing to consider when pondering this trade is the money involved. Chavez is in the second year of a back-end-loaded 6 year, $66 million contract. And I don't think Jerry Reinsdorf's arms have gotten any longer or his pockets any less deep. I think he'd okay the extra money for this year, but you'd almost certainly be able to kiss Konerko goodbye next year and hope Ross Gload can be an everyday first baseman. Same goes for any other offseason signings. It would also likely mean that any bullpen help the Sox might need would have to come from within the system (Jeff Bajenaru anyone? Ryan Meaux? Or, call me crazy, but could we call up Gio in September as a lefty reliever and then stick him on the post-season roster [knock on wood] if he works out, a la KRod on the 02 Angels?).
Personally, I'm fairly comfortable with those things. What I'm least comfortable with is rolling the dice that the starting five, particularly El Duque, will stay healthy the rest of the year. If you trade McCarthy and then a starter goes down, we're suddenly back to the 5th starter black hole of 04, praying that Josh Stewart of Felix Diaz or Sean Tracey can do the job. Not a good spot to be in as you head down the stretch in a pennant race.
All that said, I'm with Kenny Williams: Fuck the future, let's go for it this year. If the deal's on the table, I make it.