Would you trade Strasburg for Lincecum?
Because it's late May, a great number of online writers have picked up on Steve Phillips's insistence that he would trade Stephen Strasburg for Roy Oswalt. None seem to agree with the former Mets GM. They're all taking a hands-off approach to that suggestion, which maybe Phillips might wish to emulate in future endeavors.
Also, he should try not to date interns.
But anyhow, if you really start to think about it, Phillips's segment might make you wonder which Major Leaguer you would trade Strasburg for. Are there any? They'd have to be young. They'd have to be headliners, able to put bodies in seats. They'd have to have many controllable years in their future. And, I'd argue, they'd have to have a bit of the mystique that Strasburg has already conjured, a sense that they could change an entire franchise's fortunes.
Phililps's successor with the Mets, Jim Duquette, tackled this very topic on Sirius XM's MLB Network Radio on Tuesday, after first scoffing at his former boss's idea.
"It's not even a thought on the radar, you know what I mean? It just didn't make any sense at all," Duquette said of Oswalt-for-Jeezus. "Usually I don't even like to respond to something that's kind of off the wall like that, but it does bring up an interesting point. All right, if you were the Nationals, who would you trade him for?
"Not necessarily Roy Oswalt or not even Roy Halladay or Johan Santana. It would be a young starting pitcher, a top-of-the-rotation starter that is maybe established a little bit more but you have control over him, or a position player. If I'm the Nationals and I had a conversation with [Tampa exec] Andrew Friedman, and they wanted to make Evan Longoria available for Stephen Strasburg? Yeah, right now, and I'll figure out a way to put Zimmerman over at first base, you know what I mean? You find a way for guys like Longoria. Would you do a Ryan Braun? It has to be young, controllable, quality talent, because that's what Stephen Strasburg is. That's the only way to even consider it. Longoria? Yeah, sign me up, I'd do a Longoria, but again, it's probably gonna be a short list of position players that I'd trade for him as well."
Does Longoria put bodies in Nats Park seats the way Strasburg does? Does he turn around the franchise? Well, does Ryan Zimmerman? Maybe we can do the position players discussion next week, but for now, let's talk pitchers. Your tour guides will be Duquette and Kevin Kennedy.
Duquette: I've got a number of scouts and people who were in baseball that listen to this show. A few texts, a few instant messaging, and they were all like are you crazy? Who in their right mind would trade Strasburg for Oswalt?...It's not even a question that you wouldn't do it, but the thought process around it, let's think about the type of player, if you were the Nationals, and you were gonna ever even consider trading Strasburg. Now first off, let's even say this, the Nationals aren't one pitcher or one player away from going to the postseason. Would you agree with that statement?
Kennedy: Absolutely, no question.
Duquette: We both agree with that....Is there a guy that if you were with the Nationals, is there a guy that you would say all right, I would trade Strasburg for that starter?....Would you take straight up, Strasburg, even trade, for let's say [David] Price, [James] Shields or [Matt] Garza?
Kennedy: Well, maybe David Price would be a name. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. Because David Price has dominant upside, he could be a true number one, he can pitch at 97, he's got the whole arsenal now, he's smart, he's athletic, he's got a repeatable delivery. He can be one of the real dominant pitchers in the game, as Strasburg possibly can. And he's young, he's very young, and he;'s already had some time in the big leagues. But maybe. Maybe.
Duquette: Maybe David Price. But if you're the Nationals, you wouldn't trade him for Garza. Would you trade him for Shields? The answer is no.
Kennedy: I like both of those guys very much, but no.
Duquette: Is there another pitcher out there that you'd even consider trading Stephen Strasburg for, other than Price. Would you do Lincecum? I would. I would for Lincecum, because he's still young, he's still dominant. How about Greinke, would you do Greinke?
Kennedy: No, uh uh.
Duquette: Would you do Lincecum?
Kennedy: Yeah, because he's a dominant guy and he's young. And if you think his delivery is gonna break down, well so far it hasn't. Maybe they all break down in five years, who knows? Repeatable deliveries, all those type of things help, but he's a dominant guy, yeah, you'd think about that.
Duquette: How about Halladay? Would you trade him for Halladay?
Kennedy: Probably not at this point
Duquette: I would agree with you. And I'll tell you why, I guess the point is, we're coming up with young controllable starting pitchers that are at the top of their game or almost at the top of their game. Felix Hernandez, would you do Felix Hernandez?
Kennedy: Well, Felix is a different animal. Possibly. His struggles these last few weeks are not good, but yeah, he was coming into his own last year. In fact most managers thought he was the Cy Young award winner, that I talked to in the American League, that he was the toughest guy they faced. So there's another one.
Duquette: There's so few names that you'd consider. And again, what Strasburg is now, how good he is, how good his talent is, and how young he is, you're gonna control him for over six years if you're the Nationals. The only way in my mind you can consider a trade that's even close to equitable is a guy that's similar, maybe he's a couple years ahead at the Major League level and is proven, but you're still gonna control him for four or five more years....
Kennedy: ...I think Jon Lester is one of the better pitchers in the game....He's tough, yeah, and he's a young guy, he's left-handed. There's four or five guys.
Duquette: We can only come up with four. Right now anyway. Oswalt, as much as we talked about him yesterday, as good as he is. He's got back issues, 32 years old, he's on the decline, serious back issues....They only control him for a year-and-a-half more, he's on the backside of his career. Why would you ever give up a pitcher of Strasburg's ilk that you're gonna have for six years for a guy that you'd have for two, or a year-and-a-half. It makes no sense to me. It makes no sense. None. None at all.
Kennedy: You wouldn't. You wouldn't. You wouldn't.
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