Sunday, June 13, 2010

Arb Day Trades

Another pair of trades went down during the latter part of arbitration day: one minor deal and one that was significant.

Richmond had been trying to move minor-league 2B Fred Price, probably to make room on its 40-man roster in advance of the Rule V draft. Buffalo obliged by taking Price for Aurelio Oropesa, a speedy Season 13 2nd-round OF possessed of an excellent batting eye but no particular talent otherwise.

In the largest deal to date, Oakland coaxed a Trent Diaz and Rafael Aquino out of Austin for closer Wesley Telford. The Surenos had only two SP's on their reliever-dominated staff (Ramsay and Rolls - both approahcing their mid-30's) and saw no help in FA; Austin pointed to its bullpen as the major reason for missing the playoffs last year.

Diaz is a Season 9 1st-rounder (12th overall) who has won 61 games over 4 seasons (including 22 in Season 14). He features good control, better-than average splits and an excellent 1st pitch (a 4-seam fastball). The knock on Diaz is his propensity to give up the longball (33 last year and 35 in each of hos first 2 seasons) - so the larger Oakland ballpark may be to his liking. Aquino was a promising Season 12 IFA who was set back by a devastating shoulder aneurism in Season 14. He has plus control and is tough on righties; lefties give him trouble and his array of pitches is only average for a major leaguer.

Telford was a Season 10 1st-rounder (15 overall). He has decent control, excellent splits and keeps ev erything on the ground. He projects to be Austin's everyday closer.

Analysis: Austin paid a big price to get its closer, but the deal may work out well for both teams. Telford is a nice fit for the Dwarves' cozy ballpark and stifling infield defense; Diaz will like Oakland's spacious outfield. The wildcard is Aquino and whether the Surenos can make use of his talents while hiding his limitations.

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