Brad or the Big Puma?
Kenny Williams is no longer screwing around with Mike Rizzo, and Prince Fielder will be staying in Milwaukee. Time for Plan B.
The latest rumors say that the Sox’s attention is now directed on a couple of ailing sluggers, Lance Berkman and Brad Hawpe. This is tacit admission that the team screwed up royally by not re-signing Jim Thome, but that horse has been beat to death.
So here’s a quick look at the two:
Brad Hawpe’s power and walk numbers are way down. He’s hitting for just a .337 wOBA, but ZiPS expects him to bounce back to the tune of a .378 wOBA for the rest of the season. He’s been nicked up with rib and leg injuries, which explains partly why he’s having a down season. He’s an absolute mess in the outfield, but he’d be the DH. He’s due $2.85 million the rest of the season and has a $10 million club option for next year, with a $500K buyout.
Now for the fudgery. Hawpe has never had a worse season, so that drives his value down. On the other hand, the Sox are in a pennant race, so that might drive Hawpe’s value back up. Here I have the Sox picking up his option, which might make sense if he can bounce back, and then I also have them offering him arbitration when he walks and getting Type A compensation. So do all that haggling and finagling in your head and adjust accordingly.
How about Berkman?
Fat Elvis has missed time with knee and groin injuries. His strikeouts are up a tick or two and his power is down, but he draws a ton of walks. Berkman is hitting just .245 but he has just a .279 BABIP. His career BABIP is .318 and his expected BABIP is .316. So Fat Elvis has lost his “Good Luck Charm” this season. I’m so sorry for that lame pun. He has just a .356 wOBA now, but ZiPS projects him to bounce back strong to the tune of a .383 wOBA for the rest of the season.
Berkman is owed about $5.5 million the rest of the season, a steep price. He also has an option of $15 million next season with a $2 million buyout. So he’s not cheap, but we’ve seen today that Ed Wade is willing to eat a chunk of cash when trading away his expensive veterans. So a lot of variables are going on here, but here’s Berkman’s trade value using the cold, hard calculator.
This again assumes the Sox pick up his option, which is definitely no slam dunk. If they declined his option and offered him arbitration, that put his value at $2 million; the same price. But this is a pennant race, with the increase of odds in reaching the playoffs that drives Berkman’s value up some. Pretty much almost all of his value is in the increase in playoff odds.
I think for either player the White Sox should have to trade Flowers or Hudson. A few C grade prospects and I think they could get it done.
Let it be known I prefer Berkman to Hawpe, just because Berkman has actually been showing signs of life, especially lately, (.392 wOBA in July) while Hawpe is still in his funk and may still be hurt, but who really knows for sure. Both at least on paper offer similar production, and aren’t miles and miles away what Dunn or Fielder offer (just going by projections, don’t stone me!) at a fraction of the cost. Or at least it should be at a fraction of the cost.
We’ll see what happens over the next couple of days.