Kevin Towers made a great trade today, acquiring promising youngsters Chris Young and Adrian Gonzalez (plus Terrmel Sledge) for Adam Eaton and Akinori Otsuka. I didn’t think a deal was imminent yesterday, but I also didn’t think Jon Daniels would surrender a comparable, younger pitcher in the trade.
In what way is Adam Eaton better than Chris Young? Putting their numbers side by side, I’d say Young is already the preferable pitcher. Their strikeout rates are comparable, and Young’s superior control results in fewer baserunners. Young’s durability is an unknown, but it couldn’t be much worse than Eaton’s. Eaton’s had a nice assist from Petco, while Young threw well in his initial exposure to the pitchers’ hell that is Ameriquest. Throw in the fact that Young is four years away from a big payday while Eaton is right around the corner, and this looks like Jon Daniels’s first misstep.
What’s more, Adrian Gonzalez is a better bet than Akinori Otsuka. Gonzalez hit .338/.399/.561 in his third crack at Triple A this year. He never stuck with the Rangers, but only received 192 at-bats in the Majors. He’s a useful player at his current level, and at 23 years old he can certainly improve.
Otsuka showed some serious signs of decline in his second Major League season. He’s 33 years old and had a dangerously bad walk rate in ’05. Strikeouts were down as well. He still may be helpful to the Texas bullpen, as he appears to keep the ball in the yard. But keep in mind that’s based on just 66 non-Petco Major League innings.
The Otsuka-Gonzalez part of the deal is still fairly reasonable in light of each team’s needs. Replacing Eaton with Young, however, heavily favors the Padres.