Thursday, September 21, 2006

More thoughts on Wickman

After reading Erik's take over at Papa Cass, I wanted to flesh out my Wickman thoughts.

At the time of the trade, I agreed with the move, and honestly, I still do.

Most Indians fans didn't like the guy to begin with; he had a great save percentage, but his saves were always nerve racking. I listen to too much talk radio, and trust me, this guy wasn't exactly loved here.

Everyone assumd that this was Wickman's last year; he was going to retire and he didn't seem as sharp this year. When you play with fire as much as Wickman does, it doesn't take a whole lot of slippage from completing a save with 2 men on and blowing a save with those two men scoring.

The idea of trading Wickman I agreed with; the result? Meh. A low level catching prospect? We have Victor Martinez, an All-Star, Kelly Shoppach, a great defensive catcher, and Ryan Garko, who can hit and emergency catch. Why just a catching prospect?

But fine, this kid, Max Ramirez, could have a high ceiling, so I bought into it. That being said, the trade was kind of iffy; this wasn't exactly an easy deal to defend.

What made matters worse was right after the trade, the Indians bullpen imploded. No one could get guys out and the Fausto Carmona closing experiement was a complete and utter disaster. (Why would Wedge keep throwing him out there? Why? I'm not a big Fire Wedge guy, but his handling of Carmona is a great way to convince me).

So now Wickman re-signs with Atlanta, and we're all kind of confused. But I think if Wickman had stayed here he would've retired after the season. I think the only reason he is around for next year is because he was traded to the Braves.

It looks like Braves GM John Schuerholz has been trying to get Wickman for the past few years now:
"I was very close to signing with this team twice, to the point where I was scheduled to report to Atlanta the next day for a physical before Cleveland came back to sign me," Wickman said following the July trade.

I think if the Tribe traded Wickman to Houston or Florida or any other team, he'd be done. I don't think he'd have signed with Atlanta for 2007 without having played there.

Wickman had some success in Atlanta, had thought about signing there before and when offered a chance to re-up (for almost $7 mil) he decided to stick around.

Also, don't overlook the fact that Atlanta is in the NL. A lot of pitchers go to the NL as their career winds down. Look and Clemens and Pedro? These guys were pretty good in the AL, but they went much than 6 innings. However, in the NL, with the weaker lineups, they could last longer.

In my opinion, Wickman wouldn't have been an Indian next year, so the trade is still justified. In retrospect, I still would've liked a better prospect but what can you do. The real revisionist argument against trading Wickman is that if Wickman was still around, Fausto Carmona wouldn't have been abused by Boston.

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