At the trade deadline the biggest problem is that everyone, from GMs to fans, generally overvalues their own assets. Fans are told about their own prospects and come to have an attachment to them, so when traded they tend to be irrationally upset. Proven major leaguers have value and if your team gets back a prospect that you have never seen or heard of it was a salary dump or your GM got duped. And certainly those scenarios are true at times.
But it's the irrational arguments that kill me. I don't mean to be on the PG guys, but I wrote about Smizik's article yesterday and now it's DK's turn. This morning in PG+ he wrote about a possible trade of Paul Maholm:
The rest of this season is not important in terms of the standings, but advancing the cause of the younger position players is critically important. They have nothing to gain from the brains-beaten-in scenario, not collectively or individually. At the same time, they have everything to gain from doing some kind of winning.
Trust me on the latter. I have spent a fair amount of time with the three main kids on this trip, and these guys love it when the Pirates win, hate it when they lose.
First, he's right about the rest of the season not being about the standings, but about the development of the young guys. I think we all agree on that. I'm not sure what "advancing the cause of the younger position players" means, but I'll assume it's a good thing. But, how exactly is a Paul Maholm going to effect that? Let's take a look.
In Maholm's last nine starts the team is 2-7 and he is 2-5. Included in his last seven starts are these three outings:
1 IP, 7 hits, 7 runs, 5 earned, 4 BB, 0 K Final Score: 13-3
3 IP, 10 hits, 8 runs, 7 earned, 2 BB, 1 K Final Score: 12-4
5.1 IP, 11 hits, 8 runs, 8 earned, 3 BB, 3 K Final Score: 9-3
Talk about about getting your brains beaten in. All three games were basically over by the third inning. When DK waxes poetic about stuff like this or veteran leadership and those kinds of things that don't align with actual performance, it drives me crazy. Maholm is going to make 12 more starts this year. He may make a marginal difference of a win or two versus the pitchers the Pirates would use to fill those starts if Maholm is traded.
The idea that a trade "has to bring the Pirates some pitching back," as he writes earlier, is a nice one, but not necessarily true. As always the should seek the best and highest value return possible, pitching or not. Yes the 2011 starting rotation is a huge issue. A trade of Paul Maholm isn't going to solve it and may in the short-term make it even more of an issue. But, let's be clear about one thing, Paul Maholm's impact in "advancing the cause of the younger position players" the rest of this season is going to be the same whether he's wearing a Pirates uniform or someone else's.