Dodgers Finally Say Goodbye to Chin-Lung Hu

Finally, some news to break the holiday doldrums. According to the official Dodgers Twitter feed, Chin-lung Hu has been traded to the Mets for minor league lefty Michael Antonini.

This comes as no surprise, of course. Hu is out of options and had done little to force his way into a big-league roster spot, though it must be noted that the Dodgers often let useless veterans get chances before him. Between the need to open up a 40-man roster spot and the very small likelihood that Hu was making the big club, he was almost certainly going to be moved before the season started.

That being the case, you wouldn’t expect to get back much of a prospect, and Antonini, an 18th-round pick in 2007, isn’t great. He wasn’t even mentioned in Baseball Prospectus’ look at the Mets top 20 prospects last week, and while the Dodger tweet mentioned his “4.04 career ERA”, much of that was accumulated at the lower levels. In two brief tastes of AAA the last two seasons, he’s been lit up, allowing a 1.556 WHIP and 12.4 hits/9. I can’t find much scouting info on him, but considering he’s a lefty with good control (7.0 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 over his career), I’m guessing that means he’s a soft-tosser. Albuquerque will love him, and he’s basically a non-entity.

Still, as far as mediocre non-prospects go, you may prefer the lefty starter with good control over the slick-fielding shortstop who can’t hit, if you have a preference at all. Really, this is a low-impact trade, as trades come. The only worry here is that with Hu gone, and assuming that Ivan DeJesus does not make the team out of camp, is this another step in the direction of wasting a roster spot (not to mention oxygen) on one of the worst players in big league history, Juan Castro?

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Totally unrelated,  but the Brewers signed former Dodger Takashi Saito to a one-year deal for a base salary under $2m today. Saito will be 41 soon, and his arm is held together with jelly beans and masking tape. He also had a lower WHIP and more than double the K/9 rate that Matt Guerrier did last year. So tell me this, would you rather have given Saito ~$2m for 2011, or Guerrier $12m for 2011-13?  Especially when ESPN’s Buster Olney spends half his column today talking about how three-year deals for relievers, especially non-elite ones, almost never work out?