Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Kline/Hawkins Deal Revisited

Once upon a time, when the LaTroy Hawkins for Steve Kline trade first went down, I actually thought the trade was beneficial to the Giants. Hawkins was overpaid and not that good, and his mere appearance on the mound brought about incessant reminders of perhaps the most ridiculous, knee-jerk trade in Brian Sabean's tenure as GM. And Kline was a reliable LOOGY who could adequately replace Scott Eyre. And the Giants had freed up about a million or so to go after some goodies on the waiver wire or at the trade deadline.

Of course, I didn't do very much (read: any) research before writing about this deal, and unfortunately forming an opinion based on a lack of information can lead to an alarming amount of talking out your ass. Upon further review, this trade is looking absolutely miserable. The one facet of the deal that I took to be the sweetest plum, the fact that the Giants would free up some money by dumping Hawkins' contract, was nonexistent. Apparently the Giants sent cash over to Baltimore to even out the salaries, thus making the trade a complete washout. So, in effect, the Giants have dealt an effective reliever (albeit one with a mostly undeserved reputation as a choke artist) straight up for a just flat out crappy reliever. Makes sense to me.

But, but, but...Kline is a lefty and we need a lefty reliever after Scott Eyre signed with the Cubs! Ok, I understand the concern, but as most fans who have dissected this trade already know by now, lefties only hit .228 against Hawkins last year, as opposed to the .317 (!) lefties raked against Kline. Sure Kline's meltdown against lefties was probably a one year aberration (his career lefties BAA is .227), but Hawkins has held lefties to under .235 every year since 2001, when he became a full-time reliever. Add in the fact that he can get righties out too, and can also serve as an effective setup man, and this just turns into an absolutely asinine deal, one probably influenced by the lingering ghosts of the boobirds that bombarded Hawkins at Wrigley.

Just as an aside, if the Giants had held on to David Aardsma, and let him spend the entire 2006 season in the bulpen, does anyone really want to argue that he'd be any worse than Steve Kline (or, for that matter, LaTroy Hawkins)? I would bet some hard cash that he'd be just as good or better. Just a thought.

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