It’s Time For a Little Math Lesson

This isn’t even going to be the kind of math lesson you think it is. This isn’t going to be about years or dollars, although believe me, that’s a kind of math we’re going to be dealing with a lot. No, today, we’re going to deal with the simple lessons of “greater than or equal to”.
 
Last July, the Brewers gave up highly-touted minor league slugger Matt LaPorta and three lesser prospects in order to acquire one of the three best pitchers in baseball, CC Sabathia.
 
Last July, the Dodgers gave up breakout star minor league catcher Carlos Santana and minor league pitcher Jonathan Meloan to acquire one of the most thoroughly mediocre third basemen in baseball, Casey Blake.
 
carlossantanaHere’s where the math comes in.
 
We can eliminate these two variables: origin (Sabathia and Blake each came from Cleveland, and x=x) and contract (Sabathia and Blake were each free agents at the end of 2008; again, x=x). Otherwise, CC Sabathia > Casey Blake. This much is obvious. Just think of there being 400 “greater than” arrows in that equation and all of them being the size of the moon, for proper perspective. Not only is a top starter almost always more valuable than a decent third baseman, but Sabathia is way better at his job than Blake is at his. Besides, Sabathia might be nearly as dangerous of a hitter.
 
So by that logic, the value of the players moved for the immensely more valuable Sabathia should dwarf what was given up for Blake, right?
 
Oh dear God:

 Baseball America’s Top 10 Indians prospects:
1. Carlos Santana, c
2. Matt LaPorta, of

Somehow the Dodgers acquired the far inferior Indians player, yet gave up the more valuable player. Oh yeah. Because that makes sense. Let’s not even get into the idea that Meloan would also arguably be as or more valuable than the rest of the players Milwaukee sent to Cleveland if the Dodgers hadn’t tried to convert him into a starter this year; the simple fact is, the Dodgers traded more for less than another team had to. And isn’t that the way it always is? Dioner Navarro for Mark Hendrickson. Edwin Jackson for Danys Baez and Lance Carter. All trades in which the Dodgers sent away much more than was received.

I hope you don’t get tired of this one, friends. “Santana for Blake” is going right up there with “Pedro Martinez for Delino DeShields” in the annals of Dodger infamy.

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

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