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Why You Should Turn Sports Radio Off

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First of all, because they're breathlessly trying to make scoops for themselves, spouting off nonsense which masquerades as news or reality.

I like to think that the discussion on BCB is not only more civil, but more intelligent and more educational than the drivel that often spouts out of the airwaves on the Score or ESPN 1000.

Example: yesterday's bleatings about the alleged Prior/Patterson/Hill for Tejada/Bedard deal that was "on the table".

Whose table that was, wasn't stated. As correctly stated in today's Daily Herald, no such deal has been proposed or discussed (and my sources confirm this). Not that I wouldn't make it if it were.

The reason I mention this article is that it goes on to note several high-profile deals involving pitchers traded for hitters, and why they went wrong.

Of the deals mentioned, none of them are really comparable to the proposed trade of Mark Prior. Let's take them one by one, in chronological order:

April 21, 1966: The Cubs got Fergie Jenkins, along with Adolfo Phillips and John Herrnstein, from Philadelphia for Larry Jackson and Bob Buhl. Jenkins went on to make the Hall of Fame for his contributions to the Cubs, which included six straight seasons of 20-plus wins.

The Cubs did their homework here. Buhl was about done, and I have no idea what the Phillies were thinking, except that after their collapse of 1964, and failure to progress the following year, they must have felt some "pressure" to win now, and thought that a veteran presence would help. It didn't, although Jackson did produce three fine seasons for them before retiring.

I hesitate to mention this, but you also have to realize the context of the time. Jenkins and Phillips were black, and there were still many racists in baseball in 1966 -- and Dick Allen was a Phillie at the time, and had already been involved in controversy.

Dec. 10, 1971: The New York Mets traded 24-year-old Nolan Ryan to California for shortstop Jim Fregosi. Ryan pitched 22 more seasons, struck out more batters than anyone else in baseball history, and threw 7 no-hitters.

This was a poor deal only in retrospect. At the time, Ryan was viewed as a nicer Kyle Farnsworth. Fregosi was a 29-year-old six-time All-Star who was one year removed from a season only a little bit short of Miguel Tejada's 2005 (Fregosi 1970: age 28, 22 HR, 82 RBI, .278/.353/.459. Tejada 2005: age 29, 26 HR, 98 RBI, .304/.349/.515). He'd been hurt part of '71 and never recovered.

June 15, 1977: The New York Mets traded Tom Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds for Pat Zachry, Steve Henderson, Doug Flynn and Dan Norman. Seaver won 75 games for the Reds over the next 6 seasons.

This is disingenuous. Seaver was dealt because the Mets determined they could not afford him. And while the players acquired turned out to be not much, again, that is only in hindsight. Zachry was the reigning NL Rookie of the Year, and Henderson was a top hitting prospect who went .297/.372/.480 in 350 AB for the Mets. He never again did better.

Jan. 10, 1991: The Orioles get slugger Glenn Davis for outfielder Steve Finley and pitchers Pete Harnisch and Curt Schilling. Schilling eventually won World Series titles with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox.

This is just silly. Fourteen years later, this deal looks stupid. But again, in 1991 Davis was one of the most feared sluggers in baseball; at the age of 29 he had 176 career HR, and though he wasn't a great 1B, it was felt he'd have a long career as a DH in Baltimore. Schilling was a headcase who had great talent but one career win, and had consistently pissed off his coaches, managers and teammates with his attitude.

Nov. 19, 1993: The Los Angeles Dodgers traded rookie Pedro Martinez to Montreal straight up for Delino DeShields after Martinez went 10-5 in his rookie season. Martinez won the Cy Young for the Expos in 1997 before being traded again, this time to Boston, for Carl Pavano and Tony Armas Jr. He won 2 Cy Youngs with the Red Sox and is now with the Mets.

I don't think anyone could have predicted that Martinez would do all of that for other teams. Yes, he was a good-looking young pitcher, but it seemed reasonable to deal a 21-year-old pitcher for a 24-year-old second baseman who had had three solid seasons as a major league hitter. This one didn't work out for the Dodgers.

Feb. 18, 1999: The Toronto Blue Jays traded Roger Clemens to the New York Yankees for David Wells, Graeme Lloyd and Homer Bush. Clemens has won 108 games and 2 Cy Youngs over the last seven seasons for the Yankees and the Houston Astros.

Disingenuous again. The Blue Jays couldn't afford Clemens after two stellar seasons there. Bush was viewed as a good 2B prospect, though he failed, and Wells did have two good years for the Blue Jays.

So as you can see, some of the reasons these pitcher-for-hitter deals didn't work out can be seen only in hindsight. Looking at them solely from the knowledge had at the time, they looked like sure things.

What about this trade? Would you do it? There was a team that had a 24-year-old outfielder who'd had over 1000 career at-bats. He had great potential, but never hit for the power that the club had hoped for, and struck out a ton, and had regressed badly in the last year and a half.

That team got an offer for this outfielder: a 27-year-old starting pitcher coming off a season in which he'd won 18 games and finished in the top ten in league ERA. He'd been consistently solid, had a previous 20-win season, oh, and the offering club also was willing to throw in a respected veteran relief pitcher and a 24-year-old outfield backup, and all they wanted apart from the outfielder was a couple of castoff relievers.

You'd make that deal, right? That pitcher sounds like gold, right? Sounds like you're getting Barry Zito for Corey Patterson, right?

I'm describing the Brock-for-Broglio deal, of course.

What I'm trying to say here is that it doesn't always work the way you think it will at the time, and trading a "sure thing" pitcher for a "take a chance" hitter isn't always what you're going to get.

And getting Miguel Tejada isn't "taking a chance". It's getting a former MVP who's a perennial All-Star. Would it be better to get him without giving up Mark Prior?

Sure it would. And maybe Jim Hendry can engineer such a deal. But sometimes you have to be bold.