Fisking DOB on Betemit

Well, the Braves interest in trading Wilson Betemit for Scott Proctor seems to be somewhat legitimate. Braves beat writer David O’Brien likes the idea, I don’t. I like reading Dave’s stuff, and this isn’t a true Fisking, but I just happen to disagree with DOB on this.

DOB:

Someone very familiar with the discussions confirmed to me today that the Braves and Yankees are discussing a deal that would bring reliever Scott Proctor to Atlanta for Betemit, first reported this morning by the New York Post.

Oh crap, the Braves are actually considering this horrible deal.

DOB:

While my first reaction was — who will play third base if Chipper is hurt? — the more I looked at this potential deal, the more I liked it.

Please, don’t encourage them.

DOB:

First off, let me tell you that Martin Prado would probably be brought up to back Chipper unless and until the Braves acquire another who can fill the role, which they’re also pursuing right now.

Yikes! The same Martin Prado who’s posting .296/.324/.352/.676 in Richmond?

DOB:

Proctor is 3-2 with a 3.94 ERA in 50 appearances this season, with 60 strikeouts, 23 walks and a .226 opponents’ average.

He’s also given up 9 ding-dongs in 64 innings, that’s 1.27 per 9. And giving up long balls is not something he just started doing. He gave up 15 homers in 69 2/3 innings in the two prior seasons. His career HR9 (1.6) is higher than Jorge Sosa’s (1.3). I’ll admit, he’s got a decent K/BB, but so did Travis Smith.

DOB:

He’s 0-for-5 in saves, but that’s not really pertinent because he’s a setup guy and hasn’t been used in traditional save opportunities.

Blown five leads, oh boy.

DOB:

What’s most attractive is the shut-down stuff he’s had lately. He’s been devastating on hitters since the All-Star break, allowing just three hits and no walks with 12 strikeouts in nine scoreless innings over seven games. Opponents have hit .103 against him since the break.

I’ll chalk it up to a Festivous miracle. That sample is too small to generate much excitement.

DOB:

Betemit, who turns 26 on Friday, is having a strong season, but is blocked behind Jones at third base and Giles at second, at least for this season.

This is when it’s time for the sports writers to step in and RIP the management a new one if they don’t find a place for Betemit to play. Blocked by Marcus “.249 /.344 /.370/.714″ Giles? I like a lot of things about Marcus, but he’s been Wally Pipped. Betemit has put up .284/.341/.503/.844 in 214 PAs. He’s won the job. Furthermore, a true blocked player shouldn’t be given away.

DOB:

The Braves don’t see Betemit as a natural fit at second base — he’s a bit oversized for the position — especially when they have Prado at the ready.

Oversized, what does that mean? I think I’m starting to smell the Pravda (aka, Braves PR Dept.) talking points.

DOB:

In Proctor, the Braves would get a reliever who appears to be a late bloomer just now coming into his own, at 29. The former Florida State standout is only in his second full season in the majors and wouldn’t be eligible for arbitration until after the 2007 season, which makes him that much more attractive to a Braves organization….

Darn it, stepped right in it…”coming into his own”? Translation from Russian: Only at the peak of his career is he able to bump into the majors for a brief moment. I do like cheap relievers, but in this case you get what you pay for. It’s not like they’re getting the good stuff before his contract balloons at age 34. And when you give up the really cheap Betemit, you’re overpaying.

DOB:

Proctor’s recent surge followed a rough stretch in the month before the break, when he allowed 23 hits, 14 runs, five homers and seven walks in 18-2/3 innings over 17 appearances.

A few days’ rest at the break apparently rejuvenated the right-hander, who has been a key part of the Yankeees’ bullpen, rated fifth in the AL.

I’m not sure the past two weeks are a better indicator of his usefulness than the entire rest of his career. I don’t think the rest had much to do with it.

DOB:

Proctor has good numbers in areas the Braves need them, including a .194 opponents’ average by first batters (18-for-93), a .224 average with runners in scoring position, and a .210 mark (22-for-105) in late-and-close situations.

Ok, you win this round; though I normally ignore such splits because they involve mostly luck.

Anyway, don’t hate me DOB :-) (yeah, like he actually reads Sabernomics). Just trying to have a little fun. If you want to make fun of me, I publicly supported Adam Bernero last year. I do like your stuff, but I think this deal is a bad one. The Braves will lose more runs on offense than they gain on defense from this deal. Chipper needs to go to first next year, and LaRoche’s value in the offseason is going to be good. Let’s hold off and get relief help then.

12 Responses “Fisking DOB on Betemit”

  1. Mac says:

    Haven’t read a Fisking in a while… Horrible trade idea; if O’Brien wasn’t taking it so seriously I’d assume it’s typical Yankees BS. Proctor (as I mentioned in DOB’s comments) doesn’t have the track record of success that even a Dan Kolb had. Half a season of above-average relief? There are thirty guys a year who can match that.

  2. Frank says:

    Terrible, horrible, rotten deal–JS will probably write a self-congratulatory chapter about it in his next book. Let’s hope it somehow falls through. You’re spot on in saying play WB over Giles–WB brings the same OBP but adds 125 pts of slugging. Almost a free lunch.

  3. Tom says:

    JC,

    You’re far kinder to DOB than I would have been. The thought of losing WB for some junk reliever who, like you said, is only barely able to turn heads while at the peak of his career, is horrible to me. Giving up a Single-A catcher for Wickman was not great, but it wasn’t the end of the world. Losing Betemit now just so the Braves can add that extra year to the consecutive postseason streak (a sleight of hand I might add as it used to be a division title streak) would be very shortsighted in my opinion.

    Not that I blame DOB for this. I hope JS doesn’t pull the trigger unless he gets somebody way better than Proctor.

  4. Andrew says:

    Don’t the Braves have an entire stable full of replacement level bullpen pitchers in the minors? Isn’t that essentially what Proctor is? I hate to say it but I hope Chipper doesn’t heal until Aug. 1 so JS will be forced to keep Betemit. I mean personally I don’t even like Linebrink-Betemit proposals. We got Wickman for a low-A baller; JS can do better. And btw I was looking forward to JS’s book but it was horrible.

  5. Citrone says:

    Andrew hit the nail on the head. Why give up a Wilson Betemit for a replacement-level RP? It makes absolutely no sense.

    I respect John Schuerholz more than any GM in the game, but this trade would NOT be a good one.

  6. Frank says:

    Proctor’s performance last night–4 batters faced, 4 hits allowed–was quite timely from a Braves fan perspective. Maybe it will put the rumor to rest.

  7. Marc says:

    Well, it’s easy to criticize this (proposed) trade and I don’t much like it either, but, at the same time, if JS doesn’t get another pitcher and the Braves don’t make the playoffs, people will be trashing him for not doing anything. The fact is, the market has now been set for middle relievers and it’s pretty high. You aren’t going to get anyone worth a damn for a low prospect (unless you can find another old, fat pitcher). I wouldn’t make the deal, but I also recognize that not making a deal for a pitcher makes it less likely the Braves won’t make the playoffs. Maybe that’s not so bad, but I suspect most fans will be infuriated if JS does nothing more.

  8. Tom says:

    Marc,

    You’re right that most fans will be upset if JS doesn’t make another trade. However, he’s already made one trade for the bullpen (so they should quit whining), and it’s JS’ job to make the right call, not the popular one. He would really be mortgaging the future here, but the bigger problem is that Proctor isn’t even an upgrade. We’d basically be giving WB away.

  9. Frank says:

    I don’t follow the previous comment’s reasoning that JS’s having made one trade should stop Braves fans whining. Fan whining should continue if the Braves bullpen needs a second upgrade or even a third upgrade. Although the Proctor for Betemit trade is a bum deal and shouldn’t be made, the bullpen still has plenty of room for improvement.

  10. Mike F. says:

    If the Yankees really want Wilson Betemit, lets ask for J. Brent Cox. He looks like he could be an effective reliever right now. If he improves the location on his nasty slider he’s a future all-star closer.

  11. Marc says:

    I agree with everyone above; I would rather muddle through this year than give away Betemit for some middle reliever (although I saw stories suggesting that Proctor might be a future starter, blah, blah, blah). If these guys were that good, they wouldn’t be middle relievers. I agree that JS should (and generally does) make moves for the long-term rather than the here and now. But, there is one problem here. There is no guarantee that the Braves will be able to improve their bullpen over the winter. They might end up having to make a trade like this anyway because, based on what we have seen so far, there isn’t much in the system and the Braves don’t have much money to spend. I guess they will go back to signing guys and hoping they get better (a la Chris Hammond), but that didn’t work this year. There’s no guarantee, I’m afraid, that the Braves won’t be back in the same predictament next year.

  12. Johnny says:

    Excuse my ignorance but what does Fisking mean?

    Schuerholz looks pretty desperate to continue the legacy of playoff appearances if he makes this trade. Betemit too big to play second? Huh? Bobby should play his best 9 and now that includes Wilson at second. Liked the post. Pretty funny stuff.