Monday, March 20, 2006

Arroyo for Pena

Good baseball trade, but it hurts a little. The Sox have just sent Bronson Arroyo, he of the hometown discount, to the Cincinatti Reds for young slugger Wily Mo Pena. The move makes perfect sense: one of the starters had to go, and Boston needed power-hitting depth. People say Arroyo was a great fit for long man in the bullpen, but let's be realistic. How often does a rotation with 5 quality starters go to the pen in the 5th inning? Maximum, once a week. And in those cases, the game is probably already lost. So to pay a starter 4 million bucks to pitch in a loss every seven days is foolish, especially when Papelbon is perfectly equipped to handle that role (and others). On top of this, Wily "One L" Pena is quite a young man, hitting a remarkable amount of home runs per AB. In his lat 650 AB's (approximately one season), he hit 45 homeruns, scored 87, and knocked in 117. And he's 24. He's got problems, but he's exactly the sort of guy worth a risk. So on the field, terrific. What hurts here is the human resources. Arroyo took one on the chin with his most recent contract, all so he could play in Boston for three years. Now he's cast off, mostly because of that reasonable contract, and to Cincinnati of all places. Look, he's a big boy, and knew full well what he was getting into by handing the Sox such a trade-worthy deal, but does it have to be the Reds? Ouch. Arroyo was told by his agents not to sign the deal, and Boston by all accounts gave him no outright promises about his longevity with the club, so this isn't a shock. It's a good deal, the Sox should've made it. In an ideal world though they could've found him a better home. Bronson is now heading to one of the great baseball wastelands: a terrible pitching staff, an unproven offense, and a non-existant bullpen. Something tells me this won't send his record sales through the roof either. There's no crying, but The Ninth feels bad for the guy. Plain and simple. Sorry, buddy.

One interested side-note here, but the Sox have acquired 2 DH-ready players in the last 24 hours. Pena's defense has received mixed reports, but it sounds like he's somewhat of a butcher at not one, but three outfield positions. The Sox also signed Juan Gonzalez, who couldn't play rightfield even when he played rightfield. Based on the mediocre showing of Mike Lowell this spring, could Boston be preparing itself for a little Papi at first base? Youkilis could move back to third, but the Sox have no other offensive first baseman. Maybe Boston is considering 30 or 40 games of Ortiz at first and one of their new sluggers at DH? Just a thought. Either way, good move today, the team is better.