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Royals Nightly
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
 
Sweeney for Sosa
According to the Star's Bob Dutton, its a possibility, if not an actuality.

Strangely, everything other than performance seems to be floating above the prospect of this trade, specifically issues of money, race and coaching. I think its dubious to suggest that Sosa would truly be a big draw in KC, so on the level of advertising its difficult to justify the move. Secondly, there is the issue of race and ethnicity, with a speculative notion that Sammy might be happier and hence perform better playing for a Latin manager. Umm... of course I have no real way of knowing what would make Sosa happy or not happy, but the easy response is that a player so fickle isnt worth having around.

Lastly, are we saw in Oakland and New York with Rick Peterson and the Kazmir trade, a large part of the trade hinges on Sosa's ability to work with Royals batting coach Jeff Pentland, and the supposed benefits thereof. And on this point I am definetly agnostic. The Royals didn't display, as a team, great plate-discipline this season, so I'm not sold that Pentland can re-train Sammy in this regard. Further, it doesn't exactly look good that Sammy can apparently be so easily fixable just because he was stubborn and or willfully undisciplined this season in Chicago.

Some projections:

Wins Above Replacement Level

Sosa '05- 2.3
Sosa '06- 1.8

Sweeney '05- 2.2
Sweeney '06- 1.6

As you can see, at least before this season, PECOTA pegged the two players as being remarkably similar in terms of value. In 2004, Sweeney-Sosa plays out like a classic quality versus quantity debate writ small:

Sosa: .253/.332/.517 (528 PAs)
Sweeney: .287/.347/.504 (444 PAs)

Sweeney grades out to a slightly more productive player, but also one who played less (and seemingly is a good bet to play less in coming years... well, maybe).

Everything else being equal, I'd be against the trade because the upside doesn't outweigh the downside. For the Royals, the best case scenario is that Sosa has a slightly better 2005, and somehow repeats it in 2006- maybe something like a .265/.340/.550 line, while Sweeney is injury-prone and plays in 100 games for the Cubs. I'd roughly place the odds of both these events happening at around .10%. However, the worst case scenario is that Sosa doesn't improve, and his slightly injured, and that Sweeney stays healthy for a full season and plays at his established level. I think, given the age of both players, the odds of these two events happening is something greater than 10%.

Beyond a Sweeney witch-hunt, I just don't see what the true motivation for this trade would be.

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