I clumsily tried to sum up all my thoughts in the title, but here, one by one for the 4 main players traded — David Phelps, Nathan Eovaldi, Martin Prado, and Garrett Jones — is why I love this deal.
1. Phelps won’t be missed. If you look up “replacement-level starter” in a dictionary, Phelps might be the photo you see: WAR of -0.1 in 2013, 0.0 in 2014; career (2012-14) ERA of 4.34 as a starter (average A.L. ERA in ’14: 3.82). If you did the surgery from “Face-Off” and put Phelps’ mug on Bryan Mitchell or Chase Whitley, their own wives couldn’t tell — which basically is the definition of replacement-level: you can lose the guy, and sub in an above-par AAA’er, with little to no difference.
2. Eovaldi, not Phelps, is the rarely available commodity. He’s a SP who (a) is 24 (25 by opening day), (b) throws hard (avg FB of 95.7, 4th in MLB), (c) has control (2014, 1.9 BB/9), and (d) has improved his control a lot (3+ BB/9 to 1.9 in 2014), K rate somewhat (1.5 yrs at 5.9-6.0, then 6.6 and 6.4), and overall performance a ton – his yearly FIPs form a straight downward slope: 4.35, 4.13, 3.59, 3.37.…