Monday, February 07, 2005

Good-Case Scenario 

So, with the news that lefty pitcher Casey Fossum has been traded to the Devil Rays for outfielder Jose Cruz Jr., what's left to do? Well, if you're a D-Backs fan, the first thing you do is exhale a huge sigh of relief. Somehow, we managed to make it through an offseason with a Diamondbacks management seemingly preternaturally disposed to veteran players and determined to compete for a playoff spot without losing a single key prospect. Quentin -- still here. Jackson -- still here. Santos -- still here. And even though we have no way of knowing if any of those players were actually being considered for a trade, they clearly would be the most attractive prospects to opposing GMs.

After that, I'm not sure it really matters that much. Cruz is an OK player -- 15 Win Shares, -1 WSAA, 19.5 VORP -- not as good as Burnitz, Byrnes, or Cameron perhaps, but with just one year left on a $4 million contract (with the D-Backs reportedly getting some of that in cash from the D-Rays), the risk is acceptable in my mind. Should August come around and the D-Backs find themselves 15 games out of first, Cruz could probably be dealt to a contender for a middling prospect.

I like Casey Fossum as a pitcher and think that he could probably be a good fifth or even fourth starter somewhere (including the Devil Rays). But the D-Backs clearly had decided that he had little future as a starter, and so it is somewhat surprising to me that they managed to sell Fossum's strengths as a starter to the Devil Rays. Fossum's trade does narrow down the list of 5th starters for the D-Backs (Gosling, Villareal, perhaps Pena remain), and I've got to believe that his trade makes it more likely that Halsey makes the team as a second LOOGY.

With that, it's something like 9 days until pitchers and catchers report.

Of course, I had a brain-lock and forgot that Gosling was also a lefty. But for whatever reason, I think that Halsey has a better shot to make the team as a LOOGY. I'm not sure that's the role the D-Backs want Gosling for.
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