Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Mike Hampton Question

Mike Hampton is entering the 2007 season as a healthy pitcher wanting to get back to his winning ways. I've only read about his offseason workouts, that seem to be going nicely. Say, he gets back to 100% and pitches as expected if not, better. I think that by the end of July teams could be calling for him. Now I know that I'm playing the whatif game and I know that Hampton hasn't seen live action since 2005, but seriously how should the Braves handle the situation? It all depends on this...

1. Where does the team stand in July? Are the Braves in the thick of a pennant race or struggling to stay above .500. I like the first answer and say the team is fighting for the division, there lies this question..?

2. How does the pitching depth look? Every year someone goes down for a period of time. If there are 2 or more starters out of the rotation, then the team could be in trouble. This also depends on how well the other pitchers are performing. If Hampton is pitching better than most of the starters and the team is in a pennant race he should remain with the team. For our case, everyone is healthy and were getting strong starts while winning. This leads us to...

3. Is their a need for another positional player? Say, our LF is struggling and since our pitching has been strong, let's shop one of our starters for an OF. Hampton is a lefty and lefty starters are more of a commodity in today's game. So, does the team trade Hampton for another desired player? For our purpose, Yes.

4. What about the salary? Hampton is due $14.5M in 2007 and $15M in 2008. The Rockies are paying for the 2009 buyout of $6M. This year and next the team doesn't recieve any help from the Rockies and Marlins to cover his salary. This is all on the Braves books. I'm sure mgmt would love to free up some money for next year, possibly to go towards an Andruw extension? We also know that some teams are big spenders and would buy anything if they want it. Although I don't think the Braves could walk away w/out having to pay maybe 1/3 of his salary.

5. Trade partners? By default the Red Sox and Yankees, but I would like to add the Dodgers and Angels to the mix. Prospects, prospects, prospects. The Dodgers and Angels are loaded with prospects that could appeal to Atlanta. Of course the first two teams mentioned might be more willing to pickup more salary if they find Hampton to be a need to their cause.

6. Conclusion. Pitchers and catchers report in three weeks and the first sign of life on the diamond appears, but I can't help to think about Hampton and the possibility of a trade sometime down the road. Like I said this is just a whatif game, and I'm just playing it.

No comments: