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The Shakeout

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A-Rod, Glavine, Schilling, Maddux, Posada, Rivera, Lowell: All have signed or will soon sign contracts. Other free agents have narrowed their own choices — it’s the Bronx or retirement for Andy Pettitte — or have had their choices narrowed for them.

As names come off the table, don’t think of them as players the Giants might have signed. Think instead of the teams that haven’t signed those free agents and whose needs are that much more acute. The faster the free-agent shakeout, the sooner the Giants can get down to making trades. 

For example, the Mets look like a prime candidate for starting pitching. Glavine is gone. Right now the Mets’ rotation consists of John Maine, the mercurial Oliver Perez, the 57–year-old El Duque, a possibly fragile Pedro Martinez, and perhaps Pelfrey or Humber. The Mets might be more interested in Noah Lowry than trading half the farm system for Johan Santana or shelling out 4–and-40 for Livan Hernandez or Carlos Silva. 

Here’s another market marker, hot off the presses: the Angels traded shortstop Orlando Cabrera to the White Sox for Jon Garland, a serviceable but unspectacular starting pitcher. I’d be curious to hear how baseball insiders compare Garland and Noah Lowry. Garland has a track record of 200 innings pitched every year and has never had the ugly BB/K ratio Lowry displayed this year. But he’s also earning $12 million in 2008; Lowry is making $2.25 M.

Today’s question: What is fair trade value for Lowry? I don’t want fanciful trade possibilities, a la “Lowry and Brad Hennessey for Carl Crawford.” Take off the rose-colored spectacles and assess what Lowry is worth. Lastings Milledge? Evan Longoria? Nomar Garciaparra, Ching-Lin Hu and a bag of baseballs? Miguel Tejada and $5 million?

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