Word on the street is the Dodgers just traded reliever Danys Baez and infielder Willy Aybar for Atlanta Braves backup 3B Wilson Betemit. I’m not seeing this on the newswires yet, so if your reading this soon after I post you’re almost certainly seeing it here first.

To me this trade is a wash at best at third base for the Dodgers, and a definite subtraction when you count the loss of Baez in the bullpen – a very usable part at a time when set-up men are commanding a premium. Aybar and Betemit are essentially the same player – you give up a bit of Aybar’s OBP to get a bit more power with Betemit – except that Aybar is two years younger and OBP is slightly more important (and harder to teach) than SLG.

So even if it were Aybar for Betemit alone I would be a bit unhappy as a Dodgers fan. Now when you give away Baez as well, it becomes a downright foolish trade, because you have to imagine that Baez could have gotten somebody pretty useful if he were traded on his own (considering how the Nats got Kearns and Lopez for two similar setup types).

I am quickly souring on on Ned Colletti as a general manager. He seems way too enamored of the “big names” as evidenced by the ridiculous contract he gave to Furcal and the decision to sign career downsiders Bill Mueller and Kenny Lofton when the Dodgers were rich with big-time prospects at those positions (Nomar was a big name that could have gone bust as well, but that gamble happened to work out so far). And for the past several weeks, he has insisted on playing “experienced veteran” Cesar Izturis (.601 OPS) at third base over Aybar (.770 OPS) or coveted triple-A stud Andy LaRoche.

Finally, at a time when the Dodgers walk-year veterans to load up on young talent (They are 7 games out of both the wild card and the division), Colletti is insisting that the Dodgers are still in it and that he is going to instead do the opposite and trade away young talent for veterans.

Colletti is continuing the longstanding pattern that has led to the Dodgers only winning 1 playoff game since 1988 – no vision, no planning for the future, and constantly trading away valuable young prospects only to watch them bloom elsewhere while creaky veterans “help” the Dodgers limp to 85 wins each year.

As an aside, as I write this, Vin Scully has the call for the 1-for-their-last-14 Dodgers against the Nationals: “There’s a single driven up the middle, Martin goes to third, and the Dodgers are on the attack!” Pause. “Gosh, when is the last time I said those words?”

3 Responses to “Dodgers "Snag" Betemit”

  1. Coley Ward says:

    Nick, I see your point. But AJC sports columnist Mark Bradley sees things different. Here’s what Bradley wrote today:

    Essentially the Braves swapped young infielders — Wilson Betemit goes, Willy Aybar arrives — for the purpose of hiring a set-up man. When you’re six games under .500 with 60 to play, where’s the percentage in giving up on Betemit, who’s further along than Aybar? Where’s the percentage in dealing away a guy who can play third and second base when your third baseman keeps getting hurt and your second baseman is having a lousy year?

    As if on cue, Chipper Jones tweaked his oblique against the Mets on Friday, necessitating an in-game call to Betemit. Who, two hours later, was no longer on the team. The Braves had held out hope of getting reliever Scott Linebrink from San Diego for Betemit, but they settled for Danys Baez instead. Where’s the percentage in settling for anything? Isn’t the smarter move simply to let this season play out and not offload any more youngsters?

  2. Nick Kapur says:

    Coley, Bradley’s point is predicated on the notion that Betemit is clearly better than Aybar, and I don’t think that’s very clear at all. Aybar *already* has a higher OBP than Betemit and a higher career OPS, and he is two years younger.

    Plus Aybar is also noted for his ability to play all infield positions (he has actually been playing second recently), so that point is moot as well.

  3. Nick Kapur says:

    This trade just keeps getting worse. Today, the LA Times is reporting that the Dodgers are paying all of Baez’s remaining salary as well!

    I’d say that Ned Colletti got fleeced.

    The other thing that really bothers me is, why are the Dodgers so desperate to get a third baseman anyway???  In addition to Cesar Izturis and Willy Aybar, arguably their best two prospects at Triple-A are both also third basemen – i.e. Andy LaRoche and Joel Guzman.

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