Monday, August 15, 2011

Remember Sam Fuld?


Well, he hit a walk-off triple (scoring on a throwing error) this last week for the Rays.

In the off-season, the Chicago Cubs traded Sam Fuld, Robinson Chirinos, Brandon Guyer, Hak-Ju Lee, and Chris Archer to the Tampa Bay Rays for Matt Garza, Fernando Perez (since released), and Zach Rosscup.

The Cubs wanted Garza because they were obviously just one pitcher short of a World Series run, while the Rays no longer needed Garza (or his ballooning contract) because they had prospect Jeremy Hellickson ready to take his place.

Typically it takes a few years for a trade of this nature to show the true value returned, bit in this case, I think we can easily ascertain this much: It was a bad move for the Cubs.

Yeah, the Cubs got a high quality starter in Matt Garza — and he's young and under team control — but the Cubs are certainly in no position to compete this year and have little chance of competing next year (not to mention they now need to replace Carlos Zambrano too, so they've basically gained no ground in the starters position).

For reference, 2.0 wins is an average MLB starter, assuming he gets 2 WAR over about 600 PAs. A player worth 3.0 to 5.0 are above average and possibly All-Stars. Guys worth 6.0 or more are All-Stars for sure, and possibly Hall of Fame material if they keep it up for a number of season.

Sam Fuld, in just over 300 plate appearances with the Rays this year, has put up 1.6 wins above replacement (WAR). For comparison's sake, Marlon Byrd with 330+ PAs has 1.9 wins, Alfonso Soriano with 370+ has 0.8 wins, and Kosuke Fukudome in 340+ PAs with Cubs had 0.2 wins.

The only bright outfield spots have been Reed Johnson (180+ PAs and 1.3 WAR), who is playing way over his head, and Tony Campana (110 PAs and 0.9 WAR), who is a young version of Sam Fuld — but both have been relegated to part-time duty.

Anyway, what I'm getting at here: The Cubs traded Sam Fuld, who was good enough to be a starter in Chicago, and a half-dozen high-tier prospects for a pitcher who does not really fit the Cubs timeline (peaking while the Cubs crater, and then declining when the Cubs have a chance).

What a bummer.

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