Thursday, August 11, 2005

Cardinal Trades - 2001

2001 was a fairly low activity year in regard to trades. The team was coming off of a trip to the NLCS the previous year and felt as if they were somewhat loaded and ready to go. There were a couple of key moves, however.

The Cardinals send Fernando Tatis and Brit Reames to the Montreal Expos for Dustin Hermanson and Steve Kline.

This trade brings back some memories. I personally remember thinking the Cardinals were stupid for giving up on Tatis so quickly. He was, after all, hurt in 2000, thus his lower production. Shows what I know - it ends up that his work ethic really wasn't cut out to every really come back from that injury. Either that, or something more sinister in his make-up scared off the Cardinals. Whatever the case, they made the right call. Ditto that on Brit Reames, who was probably the 2nd best pitcher on the staff during the playoffs the previous year.

Tatis ended up playing for the Expos (and in the majors) for 3 seasons after this trade. In those seasons, he only totaled 208 games, 701 at-bats, and 19 home runs. His batting line was .225/.295/.357. Obviously, something changed with Tatis after he left the Redbirds, since he had hit .281/.381/.530 over the previous two years. In light of recent scandals in baseball....well, you never know.

Brit Reames had a similar, albeit more expected, fall back to earth after his stellar year in St. Louis. After going 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA over 40.2 innings for the Cardinals in 2000, he was shipped north, much to the displeasure of some Cardinal fans. Of course, when the dust cleared Reames, like Tatis, only spent 3 more years in baseball. In those 3 years, he went 5-12 with a 5.53 ERA over 164.1 innings.

Steve Kline gave the Cardinals a solid, durable left handed pitcher for the bullpen. He was especially awesome in both 2001 and 2004, while being serviceable the other two years. Overall, Kline went 12-11 with 21 saves over 4 seasons, posting a 2.69 ERA over 247.1 innings.

Dustin Hermanson was a bit of a disappointment in St. Louis. He came over to be the #3 starter behind Kile and Morris, but in reality finished the season behind both Bud Smith and Woody Williams on the depth chart (more on Williams shortly.) He was still solid on the year, however, going 14-13 with a 4.45 ERA over 192.1 innings. He was traded away after the season.

Win Share Totals

Steve Kline - 30 (4 years in St. Louis)
Dustin Hermanson - 8 (1 year in St. Louis)

Fernando Tatis - 8 (3 years)
Brit Reames - 3 (3 years)

The Cardinals send Ray Lankford to the San Diego Padres for Woody Williams

This was another strange trade. I always felt like Ray Lankford was used as a scapegoat, even though he was still putting up decent numbers (.235/.345/.496 with St. Louis in 2001). I guess the batting average was too scary for those afraid of OBP. Whatever the case, Lankford and Williams both cleared waivers, thus were swapped in a basic salary/change of scenery swap.

Lankford actually flourished after the trade, hitting .288/.386/.480 over 125 at-bats. However, his production really nose dived in 2002, as he was only able to hit .224/.326/.356 over 205 at-bats. Once again, Walt traded before the value was completely gone. Overall, Lankford only played those 2 seasons for San Diego, hitting .248/.344/.403 for the Padres before getting an exit tour with the Cardinals last year. (He took 2003 off.)

Williams was perhaps the most surprising return in a trade in my lifetime. He kicked things off in 2001 by going 7-1 with a 2.28 ERA, leading the Cardinals back to the playoffs for the 2nd year in a row. Personally? I thought it was a fluke, but was happy to see it happen. Of course, as you all know, he proved me wrong over the next few years. Overall, Woody spent parts of 4 seasons in St. Louis, going 45-22 with a 3.53 ERA. Not bad for a waiver pick-up.

Win Share Totals

Woody Williams - 39 (4 years in St. Louis)

Ray Lankford - 15 (2 years)

2001 Totals

Win Shares acquired by St. Louis - 77

Win Shares given up by St. Louis - 23

Net Win Shares gained - 54, or roughly 18 wins.

Interestingly, there were only two trades made all year - but they almost improved the team (18 wins) as much as the multitude of trades pulled of the previous year (27 wins). What's more, Walt gave the team a solid #2 starter in Woody, as well as a solid left handed reliever in Kline for the next 4 seasons - key parts of the 2001, 2002, and 2004 playoff teams.

Here is how the win share matrix shakes out, including the 2001 trades.

1996, -5, -2
1997, 9, 3
1998, -5, -2
1999, -4, -1
2000, 32, 11
2001, 34, 11
2002, -24, -8
2003, -4, -1
2004, -3, -1

Just like 2000, the Cardinals ended up being 11 games better in 2001 than they would have been by simply building with their farm. What's more, you can see that future talent given up to that point wasn't having much of an impact, at least in 2003 and 2004.


At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Andy said...

Nice to see you picking back up with this trade analysis.

I was one of the fans upset about trading Brit Reames. I thought he was going to be $$ for sure! I guess that's why I'm not GM somewhere...

At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Eleven said...

I thought you were in favor of the Reames/Tatis trade when we were on the ESPN boards...

I thought at that time that trade was one that we would not know the winner for a couple of years. It didn't take nearly that long, and Kline easily became the best part of the entire deal.

Many of us thought that selling "high" on Reames was a no brainer, and there were those of us that thought that we paid too much for Tatis' one good year.

The Woody for Ray trade was just a straight up "ho hum" trade.... until Woody showed up and blew EVERYONE away... and to be the clubhouse leader that he was at the time was huge.

At 1:46 PM, Blogger KEN said...

I like this analysis, Robb. I'm just curious...where are you getting your Win Share data from?


At 1:47 PM, Anonymous FredBird said...

I enjoy your analysis. I'm just curious as to why you use "classic" measures such as W-L, ERA for pitchers when you use more sabermetric evaluations for hitters and the trades in general.

At 1:58 PM, Blogger Robb said...

Eleven - I was vervous about the trade back then, as I thought Tatis had much more trade value. In fact, I'm still not 100% sure they couldn't have gotten more out of him, but it worked out.

Ken - the Win Share data is largely from the original book by Bill James, with extra data coming from the internet in recent years. Obviously different web sources have different methods, but I assume that anything that is "off" between seasons more or less evens out for a given year.

Fredbird - I use good old fashioned ERA dn W/L record simply because he's easy for me to calculate over a multiple year period, as opposed to ERA+, VORP, or something like that. Especially in regard to partial seasons (like Woody in 2001, for example) averaged into his entire stint with the team.

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At 11:05 AM, Anonymous Zubin said...

What the f***, we now have to deal with blog-spam?

Nice job again. I remember being surprised by the Tatis trade and rather pleased with the Lankford trade. Lankford's OPS was nice, but as I reall he struck out a lot. Power hitter who strike out a lot tend to have much steeper declines than those more willing to take a free pass.

At 6:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, this blog spam seems to be popping up a lot now. Quite annoying.

I remember Ray striking out frequently (like Ron Gant frequently) in 2001, prior to his move to San Diego, and if certainly frustrated me, but I was still disappointed by the Cardinal fans who booed him. I figure Ray deserved better than that.

I admit, I didn't like the Tatis trade, because of Reames. I had been fairly impressed by his work in 2000, and I didn't see Dustin Hermanson being much better. Of course I also thought they shouldn't have traded Bottenfield to get Edmonds, so clearly I'm an idiot, and Walt is much smarter than me (thank goodness). I didn't really miss Tatis, he always seemed to swing for the fences and he struck out too much, especially with runners in scoring position (although that seemed to be a teamwide problem during the McGwire years, I always thought too many guys were trying to be like Mac). Anyway, I'm glad to see a continuation of the "Walt Jocketty rules" years.


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