Monday, December 26, 2011

Dissecting the Bill Smith era: The Hardy-Gomez trade

Carlos Gomez: Eye-popping range, head-shaking decisions.
When: Nov. 6, 2009
What: The Twins acquired shortstop J.J. Hardy from Milwaukee in exchange for center fielder Carlos Gomez.
Value: Hardy had 10 win shares and 1.3 WAR in 2010, his sole season in Minnesota. Gomez, still with the Brewers, has had 11 win shares and 1.3 WAR in 2010-11.
Twins motivation: Fill the shortstop hole and unload Gomez.

This trade came quickly, just days after the Giants wrapped up their World Series title.

J.J. Hardy: One and
done with the Twins.
Gomez had clearly fallen out of favor with the Twins. The most obvious piece of evidence for that: In September 2009, with Justin Morneau out of the lineup with a stress fracture in his back, Ron Gardenhire could have put Denard Span in right and Gomez in center. Instead, he filled the right field gap opened by the shift of Michael Cuddyer to first base with Jason Kubel and the DH spot vacated by Kubel with a platoon of Brendan Harris and Jose Morales.This was a far weaker defensive alignment, and the Harris/Morales platoon wasn't much at the plate either.

ABG -- Anybody But Gomez.

Hardy had also fallen out of favor with the Brewers, The shortstop had bopped 26 homers in '07 and 24 more in '08, but never got his bat going in '09. He got optioned back to Triple A in favor of prospect Alcedes Escobar (now with Kansas City) late in the season in a transparent move to halt his service time calendar and make him more attractive trade bait.

So the two teams traded their disappointments in hopes of filling lineup gaps.

Gomez, who lost the center field job in Minnesota after being given it, didn't hang on to the center field job in Milwaukee either. Hardy hurt his hand early in the season, started just 95 games at short and slugged under .400 for the season -- nothing that increased his value. The Twins traded him after the 2010 season; we'll deal with that trade later.

I daresay both teams were dissatisfied with the results of this trade.

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