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About Jon
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1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
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5) discussing politics
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Trade of Ishii to Mets Rumored
2005-03-18 17:30
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Domino: Steve Trachsel injures his back.

Domino: Kaz Ishii strikes out 10 batters in seven spring training innings.

Domino Effect: A potential trade of Ishii to the Mets for catcher Jason Phillips.

Phillips isn't exactly a top prospect anymore - and he had a pretty poor season in 2004 following a good 2003. Kind of like David Ross on a different scale. Phillips might not be that much added value. Then again, he would give the Dodgers another body to choose from and keep them from needing to rush Dioner Navarro.

Perhaps more importantly, a trade of Ishii would also have to be considered a vote of confidence in the starting pitching left behind.

And finally, although I'm among the minority that thinks Ishii is not completely without value, there are better ways to spend the salary he is going to earn this year. The dividend of an Ishii trade might not be just in the journeyman catcher that comes in exchange, but in the dollars that could be parlayed into another acquisition down the 2005 road.

Anyway, as of this writing, it's just a rumor. Ironically, Ishii is the lead item in Ken Gurnick's notebook on MLB.com.

Comments
2005-03-18 17:48:25
1.   Bob Timmermann
If the Dodgers don't have Kaz Ishii pitching, how will the offense know that it's OK to score 8 runs in the game?

And if Ishii leaves can pass on that secret to Odalis Perez?

2005-03-18 17:53:32
2.   Berkeley Doug
My first reactions is that I don't think it would be a good trade. With the injuries to Penny and Perez, I think it is better to have another healthy starting pitcher around (especially one who has had success) then to acquire a catcher who probably will not be much of an improvement from Ross or Bako.
2005-03-18 18:14:02
3.   Tom Meagher
Phillips is waaay underrated! He was probably the unluckiest hitter in baseball last season. My article in THT today (actually written way before this trade rumor) illustrates that point.
2005-03-18 18:23:52
4.   molokai
To put Philips in the same class as Ross and Bako is not right. As Tom noted Philips was a very unlucky hitter last year. It would be a nice pickup for the Dodgers.
Castro is having a decent spring for the Mets so they may not mind trading Philips since Castro can back up Piazza.
2005-03-18 19:05:22
5.   checkityahla
Tom, do you have a link to your article where you wrote about Phillips?
2005-03-18 19:09:55
6.   Jon Weisman
Good to know, Tom - thanks. I did notice that Phillips' walk and strikeout rates were better than Ross', but didn't know he had that other stuff going for him.

I never said Phillips was another Bako, though!

2005-03-18 19:11:24
7.   Woody
Not knowing a much about Jason Phillips and his lack of luck, should we be trading a pitcher even one with Ishii's inconsistency until we see how the rotation will pan out with the injuries? So far the spring has brought some some pleasant surprises (Scott Ericson, Derek Lowe and even Edwin Jackson to a lesser extent), but also some legitimate worries with Penny, Perez, and Gagne's injuries. Can this trade be made a month or so into the season or is it a such a "once in a lifetime" deal that it must be made immediately.

I read that Gagne may be making his debut Monday in Vero, and I'm excited about the prospect of seeing him. I hope he does better than Kevin Brown did a few years back when he pulled a leg muscle in the first inning of an exhibition vs.the Mets and was out for quite awhile.

2005-03-18 19:12:49
8.   Tom Meagher
http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/all-batted-ball-types-all-the-time/
2005-03-18 19:13:44
9.   Jon Weisman
I think the idea is that almost anyone in the organization can provide, for $300,000 or so, what Ishii provides for millions. I think most everyone is convinced that Ishii is a below-average pitcher.
2005-03-18 19:20:24
10.   checkityahla
Good point Jon I was looking into that right now and Ishii got 2.5 million and Phillips is more at the Werth/Jackson contract amount of 300,000.
2005-03-18 19:21:23
11.   Bob Timmermann
If Phillips joins the Dodgers, I can't wait for the Freeway Series and see the exciting pregame race between Phillips and Bengie Molina.

The winner would be Jon's third child.

2005-03-18 19:27:09
12.   checkityahla
Thanks Tom!
2005-03-18 19:41:51
13.   Tom Meagher
Started writing more comments here, but they got too long. You can see more of my thoughts at Fourth Outfielder.
2005-03-18 21:30:11
14.   dzzrtRatt
Speaking of links...Jon don't they let you put links on your site anymore? I clicked you first because you're the best, but also because I could launch from your old site into the best baseball blogs on the planet. No more!
2005-03-18 21:35:36
15.   Jon Weisman
The links should be installed by Monday or so. Remember the whole thing about this being a work-in-progress? Hang in there ...
2005-03-18 22:58:25
16.   LAT
I am one of the few who agree with Jon that Ishii has value. Although he has gotten run support that makes Perez green with envy, he has never had a losing season in Blue. While he is lucky, at some point (after 3 years) there is something more than luck to it. The Ishii tightrope act is maddening but we are getting an average catcher that would appear to be the Mets third stringer. We are already loaded up with mediocore catchers and a prospect. Why do we need another behind the plate project in exchange for a winning pitcher? I can understand if this losens up $$$ for mis-season deal. But for now I don't like the deal.
2005-03-18 23:05:32
17.   LAT
BTW, I know this is the wrong thread but I feel bad for McGwire. He is getting ripped because he refused to lie. Sammy and Mr Vigera lied. Mac didn't. We all know all three used but who cares. He doesn't hold any meaningful records anymore. He doesn't play anymore and he wants out of the public eye. Leave the guy alone and don't humiliate him because the oath meant something to him and he would not lie under it.
2005-03-18 23:30:52
18.   dzzrtRatt
Trading Ishii makes sense for two reasons: His salary, and the obvious, evident, unavoidable, and apparently unchangeable fact that Jim Tracy does not like seeing him on the mound. Tracy would accept a box of mound dust for him. A third string catcher is gravy. If he can hit better than Bako or Ross, more gravy.
2005-03-18 23:36:19
19.   Tom Meagher
>an average catcher that would appear to be the Mets third stringer

What does his position on the Mets' depth chart have to do with anything?

Phillips is probably an above average catcher. Every offensive projection system I've seen pegs him as pretty much .260/.335/.400, which is a dead average offensive line in Shea. Phillips' defense would have to be pretty bad to swamp the positional adjustment for catchers.

2005-03-19 01:04:21
20.   Doug N
dzzrtRatt;
Tracy & I have something in common then.

Woody;
RE: "Can this trade be made a month or so into the season or is it a such a "once in a lifetime" deal that it must be made immediately"

All it will take is a couple of bad starts in that month to make Ishii untradeable to all but the wealthiest, and most desperate, teams. On the other hand, the Mets have money & desperation in abundance.

2005-03-19 06:21:01
21.   Wayne Wei-siang Hsieh
I just read 4OF's analysis, which sounds about right. I agree with those that think Ishii is far from worthless, but I still like this trade. And although Kaz does have value, his inconsistency does cause special problems for a manager in the midst of a pennant race or who is setting up a post-season rotation. If you're fighting for a playoff spot, it's probably too risky to send out a pitcher like Kaz, who is either great or so bad as to make the game unwinnable. And his ritual Lo Duca-like second half fade doesn't help on this front.

Phillips may not be a huge upgrade over Ross, but I think he is an upgrade, and even with Penny's questionable health, I think we have the SP-depth to deal with Kaz's absence. Alvarez can at least spot start, while I think Erickson and perhaps even Houlton can fill Kaz's slot in the long term adequately. The former in my view should also be at least as good as Kaz in serving as a fill-in for Penny, if he doesn't recover from the nerve injury. And Jackson, Ketchner, or Billlingsley may be ready for the show sometime late in the season, probably around the time when Kaz would have had his usual second-half fade.

WWSH

2005-03-19 08:25:39
22.   Dr Love
I like it. First off, it gets Ishii off the roster. That's a plus. Second, it's an upgrade over Bako, that's a plus too. Apparently ESPN Radio is reporting that DePo wants Heilman as well. If so, and if it goes down, that's even better. Heilman's not going to set the world on fire but I can't see how that doesn't make the trade better. I like it, and hope it gets done, Heilman or not.
2005-03-19 16:57:18
23.   Suffering Bruin
The typical Dodger fan will have the same reaction to this trade as the one I had upon finally saying goodbye to the computer virus that's haunted me for the better part of a month: exhaustion and relief.
2005-03-19 17:19:57
24.   Jon Weisman
So, who thinks it will actually happen?
2005-03-19 17:52:29
25.   Suffering Bruin
I do.

The Mets need a starting pitcher and Ishii, who from what I understand has had a good Spring, fits that bill (I might've been a little harsh on him in my previous post).

If I were the Mets, I would do this trade. And if the Mets want him, and if we can do this without money changing hands, then the Dodgers should say yes, yes, a thousand times yes. We save, what, five mil in salary? And we get a catcher who hits better than Ross and Bako (granting such a group is hardly exclusive).

I'll be surprised if the trade doesn't happen.

2005-03-19 19:27:49
26.   SubAlum41
> The dividend of an Ishii trade might not
> be just in the journeyman catcher that
>comes in exchange, but in the dollars that
> could be parlayed into another acquisition
> down the 2005 road.

1) Why do you call JP a "journeyman catcher"?
He might be 28 and been in the minors for six years, but he's only had two full years with the Mets - his only team in the majors.

2) Ken Gurnick on Dodgers.com:
If such a deal was pending, from the Dodgers' perspective, the trade would do more than move salary -- it would bolster the catching corps with a player DePodesta has inquired about previously.
http://dodgers.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/news/article.jsp?ymd=20050319&content_id=971871&vkey=spt2005news&fext=.jsp&c_id=la

In that article, Depo is also quoted as saying:
"[It] would take a very particular player to fit into the need we have, and there just aren't many out there. They do exist, but they are few and far between."

My conclusions, as stated on the LA Dugout board:
If Depo thought that Phillips was just a minor upgrade over Ross (as others keep noting), I don't think he'd say the last quote, nor do I think he'd continue to keep going after him (as implied in Gurnick's statement).
To me, JP is the classic example of an undervalued player Depo thinks could turn out to be a pleasant surprise.
I definitely feel the same way.

2005-03-19 19:45:16
27.   dodgerkid7
agreed, especially since Depo states there have been other teams calling and other catchers considered, yet he's picked out Phillips.

Thoughts on Edwin's outing today? Is he still another full year away?

2005-03-19 20:04:35
28.   Jim Hitchcock
Well, what can you say about Jackson? He was hammered today, convincingly. Hope his next couple of starts show us a an ability to put his last couple behind him.

What's up with Jason Repko? Wow!

2005-03-19 22:31:40
29.   Blue Crew
I have to say I like it. Phillips may not be the answer to our catcher needs at the moment, but I doubt he's worse than Ross. Plus, it's a way of getting rid of Kaz, which I think is a plus.

BC

2005-03-20 10:36:18
30.   JD in Milan
fwiw,

listening to the Mets broadcast today, they mentioned the dodgers "really, really want" phillips, and that Randolph has taken phillips out of the lineup the last two days to avoid any potential injuries.

jd

2005-03-20 11:10:55
31.   Jim Hitchcock
Note to players: It's probably not a good idea to execute boner plays when the owner is being interviewed during a broadcast...
2005-03-20 11:47:08
32.   CoffeeCake
Listening on MLB Gameday/radio. Joined late. Who is that with Monday (I keep waiting in vain for Monday to say his name)? And where's Steiner?
2005-03-20 11:54:00
33.   Jim Hitchcock
Al Downey was with Monday yesterday...
2005-03-20 11:57:06
34.   CoffeeCake
Thanks, Jim. Could be.

Whoever it was seems to be gone or muted now that McCourt's in there.

2005-03-20 12:17:00
35.   Jim Hitchcock
OTOH, if it sounds like a guy who's had too much coffee, it could be Steve Lyons.
2005-03-20 14:21:08
36.   Icaros
Al Downing, actually. Former Dodgers pitcher, gave up Hank Aaron's record-breaking homer.

The Ishii for Phillips deal is now official according to MLB.com, no mention of money being exchanged yet.

2005-03-20 15:29:31
37.   The Saul
I have to say I am a little skittish about this trade. Starting pitching is always worth something, even if it is Ishii. I mean, all the Mets gave up was a backup catcher. Granted, he will probably become our starting catcher, but nevertheless I think the Mets got the better end of this deal.
Besides, Penny is still not a sure thing to be healthy, and Jackson still looks like he needs more minor league seasoning. It seems like we're expecting Erickson to be a big part of our run this year, but has his spring been really THAT great?
2005-03-20 15:51:06
38.   Tripon
Rotoworld.com has the Dodgers sending $2.2 million to the Mets for the buyout option that Ishii has for 2006.
2005-03-20 21:20:58
39.   bubbacan
does kaz get to keep his titanium plate or does he have to give it back?
2005-03-20 21:32:36
40.   reedster
It is official, folks.

And, a great deal.

Forget Phillips last year. I'll pay attention to his .298 batting average the year before, and stare at David Ross' sub-Mendoza line last year. :)

Great news.

2005-03-20 22:05:19
41.   checkityahla
So what happenes to Ross now... we already know that martin and navarro are going to double a and triple a. Well Ross be let go or move down to triple a... any chance he'll be traded now, not sure we could get much but just wondering whats in store for ross...
2005-03-20 22:31:03
42.   Jim Hitchcock
Think I read somewhere the only option was to cut him loose. Hope I'm wrong. Really would like to see him get a chance to work through this.
2005-03-20 23:17:49
43.   Jim Hitchcock
Nope, the Times say Ross will start in Triple A. DePodesta then say's that Phillips acquisition will give them time to bring Navarro and Martin through the sytem...but doesn't mention Ross.

Reedster, I'm with you. Phillips is 11 for 20 in ST so far.

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