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The Sports Daily > Firebrand AL
WHAT IF: Is It Time To Trade Trot Nixon?

That’s right. You heard me. Is it time to trade Trot Nixon? Nixon is coming into the final year of a 3-year, $19.5 million contract he signed in the winter of 2004. Since then, he’s been hobbling around with injuries. He saw 48 games in 2004 and 124 in 2005. There is no question that Trot Nixon is a good hitter, as evidenced by his 3-year OPSs of .975, .887, and .804. There is also no question that he simply can’t hit left-handed pitching.

Having to find someone to hit left-handed pitching to alternate with Nixon is a pain. You have to find the right person, and you’re also giving up someone who can play the outfield. Basically, your fourth outfielder (and more often than not, your only backup outfielder) has to be a right-fielder who hits lefties. That restricts yourself pretty well. There is no question that Nixon can hit. Up until May 16, he was hitting .343/450/.588. But then when he aggravated his knee, he then hit .252/.323/.399. Then when his oblique acted up in August, he continued his decline, hitting .229 the rest of the way.

There is no dout that when healthy, he can mash. None at all. If we trade him now, his trade value is lower than his talent, no question.

But what if we can get a good bullpen arm in return, or a good second baseman? Or Nixon and Arroyo for Lyle Overbay and a mid-level prospect? Or for a centerfielder, allowing us to sign someone for right field (Jeromy Burnitz, Brian Giles … there are more options for RF than CF on the free agent market)? The thing is that Nixon is entering his free agent year. If he returns to .975 OPS stature, then I’m sure we’ll attempt to resign him. But what if his injury woes continue, or he middles out at a .825 OPS? The older he is, the less he can get around right field (a second centerfield for us, which would make us trading him attractive to teams whose right fields are normal) and the more he gets hurt … perhaps it’s time to trade Nixon.

This club has shown the willingness for roster turnover, to keep bringing in fresh faces. Some work, some don’t. Nature of the business, but they’re applying the right methods, not holding onto people just for the sake of having a long-tenured member of the organization back. Nixon is still a quality bat, but is he as quality as he appears? I’m saying no, not with his inability to hit lefties, with his ever growing injury concerns, the need at other positions with no way to fill them (center?) … perhaps it IS time to trade Trot Nixon. It’s food for thought. We’re sort of in a in-between phase with being out of the playoffs. Not much is happening, not many rumors are happening because of the playoffs.

So I offer this to you. Would you trade Trot Nixon? Who would you trade him for? What would other events would happen as a product of this? Think of it as a fun way to pass time.

WHAT IF … Theo Epstein tells you, his assistant, that he has decided to trade Trot Nixon. He wants you to speak to other teams and get the best offer. He then wants you to map out that offer to him, and draw up possible future events (strictly on the field, discount fan reaction which does factor in, by the way) stemming from this trade. Don’t get carried away with the future events, just “replace” the holes the Red Sox have as a result of this trade (including current holes).

I’ll start it off.

  • The Boston Red Sox trade OF Trot Nixon, SP Bronson Arroyo, and C Kelly Shoppach to the Milwaukee Brewers for 1B Lyle Overbay and CF Brady Clark.
  • The Boston Red Sox then sign RF Brian Giles to a 2-year contract worth $15 million, with a team option of $9 million that automatically vests if he recieves 1200 plate appearances over the two years.
  • The Boston Red Sox announce Jonathan Papelbon will move to the rotation. Mike Timlin is signed to a 2-year, $5 million contract. Mike Myers is re-signed to a 1 year, $800,000 contract. Chad Bradford and the Red Sox avoid arbitration with a 1-year, $1 million contract. Several relievers are brought in to compete with Manny Delcarmen and Craig Hansen for the final two bullpen spots behind Keith Foulke, Mike Timlin, Mike Myers, Chad Bradford, and Lenny DiNardo.
  • The fourth outfielder is signed to a one-year deal with $1 million – Dustan Mohr.

Have at it!

Comments

  1. What is with everyone lusting after Lyle Overbay? The guy is a .270, 15 HR, 75 RBI first baseman. In other words, he’s Millar. Does he have amazing upside or something? Fill me in, please.

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  2. Brady Clark’s a good pinch hitter. I don’t think he could hold up for a full year.
    Don’t be so quick to trade him…if the surgery actually fixes what ails him, he should be good for a full season.

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  3. I’m not quick to trade him. I’m just broaching the thought for discussion, then I’m playing a game of what if we were asked to trade Nixon, then what?
    I do think we need to at least consider trading him.
    Also, this year in 599 AB, Clark hit .306/.372/.426. No, he’s not just a pinch-hitter. He’s a .300 hitter. (Career .283/.361/.404) and with his above average speed, I’ll take that.

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  4. I think there’s another solution for Nixon that goes a ways towards solving both the injury problem and a significant lineup hole: move Nixon to first. He has the power to hold the position up, it would be a lot less stressful on his back and knees, and it would allow us to sign Giles (who I think would make an excellent Fenway hitter AND an excellent leadoff hitter). A platooning RHH at first is even easier to find, and can you imagine having Giles and Youk – whose combined OBP at a conservative estimate would be in the neighborhood of .400 – hitting in front of Ortiz and Manny? You thought they drove in a lot of runs THIS year, wait until you get a load of that lineup.

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  5. Unlike most armchair GM’s, those are pretty reasonable deals. The Brewers might want a minor league pitcher, but no one who’s untouchable. They’re a pretty savvy organization now.
    Also, you’ll need more guranteed cash than that for Giles. A lot more, unless he specifically wants to come to Boston. I’m pegging him to go for 3yrs, 24 million at the minimum, and he might go to 27. He’s the #3 or #2 hitter on the market this year, depending on whether you peg Johnny Damon. Of course, as a White Sox fan, we’ll have to say goodbye to Konerko…it’s a shallow free agent market with lots of cash floating around, and the big fish free agents will CASH IN.
    Otherwise, that’s a good plan. I’m not high on Overbay, but then again, I’m not high on Nixon either. He’s always ‘kind of’ done it, only once for a whole season, and teams like complete players, not those who have to be platooned.

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  6. Mike, I’m not sure that’s the case. Giles may be an excellent hitter, but his power – PETCO or no – is slipping, and he’s not as fast as he used to be. The OBP is amazing, and his OPS, at least on the road, was great this year. But despite the influence of OBP in baseball, it is I think still undervalued for big contracts (as opposed to supporting staff). Giles signed a contrat for 8 mil with the Padres two years ago, and since then his stock – not to mention average market value – has slipped. I’d peg him at no higher than 8, but more likely around 7, and I think a two year deal with option is perfectly doable.

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  7. Andrew, I think that’s a great idea. Move Nixon to first, sign Giles. Youkilis/Nixon at first, Graffanino/Cora/Pedroia might be nice to ease Pedroia in. It’s a nice idea.
    MikeQ – Yeah, I tried to stay reasonable. You have a good gripe about Giles and reasoning of Konerko, but let me just continue what Andrew said …
    When Giles signed his previous contract (6 years/$45M (2000-05)) he made 3, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7, M each year. He signed that contract when he had an OPS of over 1.000. He only did that once again, two years later and since then has been slipping. I doubt he’ll go for 9-10 per.

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  8. You’re right on talent and age, but perhaps wrong on the market. If the Red Sox, Cubs, Padres (Perhaps?), Braves and others are going for him, this could turn expensive. You might be right, it could be that it only takes two years, third year option to get him. Then again, with Damon and Konerko going for four years…?
    And that’s really the contract he signed? 6 yrs, 45 million? That’s low for a player of his stature, at the time. You’re probably right on cash–he won’t get a raise with such low power numbers. So around 7 or 8 million it is, with a two or three year deal. You should hope that the Cubs don’t decide to weigh in and start throwing cash around–sammy sosa’s 18 million dollar contract with a 5 million dollar buyout comes of the books this year, and they already sunk 15 million for 3 years of Ryan Dempster. Beware.

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  9. DO NOT TRADE ARROYO.. he had the most quality starts, and they need him in the pen or as a starter… this other kid you think they should trade for isnt as good as everyone is making him out to be…
    Nough said!

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  10. Someone check the stats for me, but I seem to remember that after Kapler went down, and Nixon suddenly was allowed to bat against those big bad lefties, he started to acquit himself quite well. At least compared to how his injured self was doing against righties. I also do feel that he represents much more than his share of the ‘soul’ of this club, gimme 9 guys with his passion and clutch ability and I’ll show you another ring ceremony.
    Furthermore, before we allow ourselves the luxury of making any grandiose roster moves, we had better sign the real MVP; Theo. For what they spend on Manny in a week, or maybe about 5 days, they are letting the only GM to actually DO what he SAYS (be competitive, stock the farm–sound familiar to anything DD ever promised?..), (not to mention winning that little World Serious thing last year), walk away. And how many nanoseconds will it take for George to sign him up after that happens? Does anyone else remember the look of absolute smug glee on his evil little face when he signed Tiant? You know he’s sitting somewhere right now, drooling in the dark and softly clapping his hands together, thinking of parading his new crew-cutted Johnny Damon in fresh pinstripes for the cameras. Taking Theo and telling him to begin raping our farm system at every turn will be his first order of business. The yankees are like the Borg.

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  11. Dave, as much as some people overvalue our prospects, you’re undervaluing Shoppach. He’s a 25 year old catcher with a great defensive reputation, blossoming power, and a good bat, and he’s cheap. He’s ready to step in as a starter right now. He’s quite possibly the most valuable – not the best, but the most valuable – prospect in the Sox system. Arroyo is a cheap starter with a track record of solid work, and is consistently above average. Nixon when healthy can be a force. The deal as outlined above is likely skewed in the Brewers’ favor, not ours.

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  12. Methinks that “toaster” is going to be a big key to our offseason strategy, one way or another.
    So no offense, dave, but I hope you’re speaking from ignorance on this one. Because if the GM’s from the 29 other teams are evaluating Shoppach the same way you do, Red Sox Nation is going to be very disappointed next year.

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