December 7, 2005

Thoughts on the Casey-to-Pittsburgh Deal

OK, after almost 24 hours, I'm finally in a place where I can talk about this. I'm very sensitive, you know.

As you've probably heard by now, the deal to send Reds' first baseman Sean Casey to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for 26-year old left-handed starter Dave Williams is all but complete. In completing this trade, the Pirates bring a home-town boy in to help out at first and the Reds do a little something to improve their woeful rotation.

Losing Casey stings just about all Reds fans, regardless of whether they admit it. It's not that losing him will be a huge hit to the offense: ironically, our first baseman was one of the light power hitters in this line-up. In fact, he provided so few of the fireworks that it seems like sort of a strange move for the Reds who didn't deal from their strength. Plus, if the Reds don't make any further moves and just replace Casey with Wily Mo Peña, they're definitely downgrading the defense, at least in the short term. Not only that, but Casey is the leadership of this team and the shining face of the organization.

On the other hand, perhaps this team could use a change in leadership. They haven't exactly been on fire these last few years. And the buddy-buddy culture of the Reds' clubhouse, which might explain why so much losing has been acceptable for so long, can almost certainly be traced back to the amiable Mr. Casey. Perhaps an opportunity for him to play the role of “new talent” instead of “voice of experience” will be a good thing for everyone involved.

The more I think about it, the less I mourn the end of an era and the more I look forward to the next one: who will step up for the Reds now? Will Casey bounce back before the friendly faces of his home town? For what it's worth, I think he will. Plus, it'll give us all a reason to go to those games when the Reds host the Pirates, (above and beyond the cynicism that says they're the only games the Reds can win).

I think the one person for whom you can't explain all this away and make it better will be “Ben,” the little brother that Casey talks about having adopted with his wife, Mandi, through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.

From what I've seen in Internet Redsland, people are not super-psyched about Mr. Dave Williams, whom we'll see in return. But I think that's because he's average. And though Casey has also been average lately, he doesn't feel average. He feels special. Ideally, the Reds would have gotten some big name in exchange for Casey, but that just isn't realistic. At least we can be happy to know that they've dumped some payroll and somewhat improved the starting pitching. I mean, he can't be as bad as what we had last year, can he?

Oh crap, now I've jinxed it. Everyone knock on wood in hopes that GABP doesn't suck all the quality out of young Williams like it has out of so many other pitching hopefuls.

One thing that is interesting about Williams is that he contributed 10 of the Pirates 67 wins last season. His ERA away from home is also encouraging. I wonder how Williams lost the games he lost. Was he the victim of a lack of run support? Because the Reds can give him that, should they be so inspired. Or did he hand out one homerun after another? Or even one hit after another? With the defense dropping even further in quality, that could be a pretty big issue.

I could look up the answers to these questions, but instead I think I'll go see if I can convince some Pirates bloggers to come over here and tell me the answers. In the spirit of starting up conversations with strangers. That's what Casey would have wanted.

To wrap up, I hope we see more trades. This one hurts, but it doesn't feel this pain alone will provide all the gain we need. However, a couple more like this, and we may be getting somewhere.

I'll miss Casey, though.

12 comments to “Thoughts on the Casey-to-Pittsburgh Deal”

  1. lackeyp says:

    Hi RHM,

    Just saw your comment on my blog [url=]Where’s Van Slyke[/url] and I’d be happy to give you some opinon on Dave Williams.

    He’s actually your pretty standard soft-tossing lefty. His year last year was kind of what we hoped Mark Redman would give us when we traded for him, mostly solid starts that ate up some innings and kept us in games. He’s had shoulder problems in the past but he seems to be past those (though he did miss most of September with some kind of rib cage strain).

    He was actually a pretty pleasant surprise last year. That being said, his K/BB numbers weren’t very good and though I don’t know the groundball/flyball ratio off the top of my head I don’t think very good either. Because of that, he doesn’t seem like the type of pitcher that would be well suited for Great American. I’ve heard people call him a second Eric Milton, and while I don’t think he’s that bad, 16 of the 20 homers he gave up last year were at home and 13 of those 20 were to right-handed hitters. That means a decent amount were probably hit to left field at PNC Park. I don’t know how much you know about PNC, but left field is pretty big (as a comparison Jason Bay hit 23 of 32 homers on the road).

    I know that all sounds negative, but still he’s only going to be 27 next year and he finally seems to be healthy. Like you pointed out, he did win 10 games for us and we certainly didn’t score a whole ton of runs for him. Aside from a few bad (OK, some were flat out awful) starts here and there, he was pretty consistent most of the year, and his last three starts (which I think he pitched with that rib cage strain) kind of skewed his stats a little (his ERA was under 4 before those last three starts). If he can cut down on the awful starts he should be a solid middle of the rotation guy, though I guess pitching in GABC could be a bit of a concern, though as you say I can’t imagine it would make him worse than some of the guys you trotted out to the mound last year.

    Hope this all helps, though I don’t imagine it will entirely, in the ‘Burgh all knew Jason Kendall’s numbers had dropped off and most people were still upset to see him traded last year. And he definitely was not nicknamed "the Mayor."


  2. lackeyp says:

    Eh, that link didn’t work. For anyone interested, my blog is [url=][/url] Sorry about that (and for the link-whoring, but hey, what can a guy do?).


  3. al says:

    why does tony larussa say that williams is one of the best left handers in the NL, that’s what i want to know. Is he just trying to be the wildcard manager who keeps everyone guessing?

  4. lackeyp says:

    Williams wasn’t one of the best left-handers on the Pirates last year (Duke and Maholm were both better and Perez has the potential to be better, though he didn’t show it last year), I don’t know why LaRussa would say that except that he talks out of his ass a lot.


  5. "soft-tossing lefty"

    Crapola. STL can’t hit those to save their lives.

  6. Red Hot Mama says:

    So, what do you think about TLR’s love affair with this guy, bellyscratcher? Is he trying to be mysterious again, or has experience burned into him a respect for the soft-tossing lefty?

  7. redsrbetter says:

    I truly think that this deal could mean that casey’s money will be used to sign a pitcher in free agency.

    humm humm…Matt Morris.

    Oh and thanks a lot for coming over here and posting that insight on Williams Pat!

  8. Oh, he probably shut out the Cards at some point and TLR never forgot (or forgave).

    BTW, Tony Womack? Yeah, good luck with that.

  9. Red Hot Mama says:

    Yeah, I’m really not sure what to think about the Tony Womack deal, BS. I kept hoping something else would come of it, like he’d be traded immediately somewhere else or would perhaps start laying golden eggs, but no news on that so far.

    RRB, are you really interested in Morris, or are you being sarcastic? It seems like we ought to set our sights higher to me, but then again, we’re talking about a rotation that currently features Milton.

    Pat, yes, thank you very much for your insight. Please come back and share any other tidbits. It’s always a pleasure.

  10. redsrbetter says:

    definitely being sarcastic. I completely agree with you that we need to set our goals higher. I think our only way of actually getting the pitching we need is through a trade. This is something that DanO has been proclaiming to need to do and he has not done it yet. he has had plenty of tests to prove his worth and has failed nearly all of them. So, it is scary to consider what we may end up with come February.

  11. Pat says:

    Thanks for all the kind words guys, I’ll make sure I find my way back here the next time the Bucs and Reds cross paths (which will probably be sooner rather than later).

  12. Red Hot Mama says:

    Drop by any time, Pat. And should you find yourself in the mood to exchange some [url=]mud slinging[/url] during those Reds-Pirates series, but I’m sure we can accommodate you.