I contemplated trying to rewrite the lyrics to the Bryan Adams song in the title to satirically fit this post but that would mean I’d have to listen to Bryan Adams and . . . ya, that’s not going to happen.
In 2009, the Cardinals made a pair of massive trades shipping off 5 of their more prominent prospects in exchange for Matt Holliday and Mark DeRosa. Obviously, the Matt Holliday trade and subsequent signing has gone pretty well for the Cardinals. Equally obvious was the unfortunate, injury flop that Mark DeRosa turned out to be.
But what about the prospects the Cardinals traded away? Where are Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen and Shane Peterson? How about Chris Perez and Jess Todd?
Brett Wallace is currently playing 1B for the Astros and is putting up some rather mediocre numbers. He’s corrected some of his walk rate issues from previous years drawing bases on balls about 11% of the time. He’s hitting like Adam LaRoche but without the plus defense. Wallace’s current trajectory makes him a 1WAR first baseman this year. Perhaps more worrisome for Astros fans is that ZiPS actually thinks Wallace is performing at expectations offensively — which is not a good sign for a prospect once billed as a big bat.
Clayton Mortensen put together a good season for the Athletics AAA affiliate but was released traded in the offseason before catching on with to the Rockies. He’s been a replacement level player for the Rockies including some spot starts despite some bad luck on home runs. With a strikerate around that of Kyle McClellan, Mortensen hasn’t exactly been blowing his fastball by hitters. Indeed, it’s a little troubling to see a 3 mph drop in his fastball velocity compared to last year. The last thing I’ll mention about Mortensen is that I think some team needs to teach him a cutter. He’s got a functional slider and changeup that he can rely on but his fastball, despite getting some groundballs, doesn’t quite cut the mustard. Even if everything breaks right and the velocity loss is temporary, Mortensen still looks to be middle relief or a back of the rotation type arm.
The last piece of the Matt Holliday trade, Shane Peterson, remains with the Athletics in AAA. He’s hitting .293/.377/.479 which is good but not great (113 wRC+) for his league and park after a similar effort in AA to start the season.
The primary piece to the Mark DeRosa puzzle was Chris Perez, now the Indian’s closer. Perez has a shiny 2.55 ERA that helps distract from his ugly peripherals. A strikeout rate under 6k/9IP and a walk rate that remains alarmingly high, Perez has never quite developed into the two pitch dominant closer that was promised. With worse luck, he’d be a middle reliever on another team.
The last player was Jess Todd who now finds himself back in the Cardinals organization. Todd has performed well at every stop he’s been for a significant period of time maintaining K/BB ratios near 3. Todd has quickly accumulated innings in Memphis this season appearing in 23 games and striking out 21 batters against 7 walks in 25.2 IP. Todd’s path is a bit odd to me as he’s bounced around from the Indians to the Yankees to the Cardinals despite performing reasonably well. This may be a matter of scouts versus stats but Todd still has a shot at contributing to a bullpen in the majors, imo.
At the end of the summer, the Cardinals have moved a lot of commodities that were perceived to have future value at the time. The team clearly made out like bandits for Matt Holliday and the only thing preventing the same assessment of the DeRosa trade was a wrist injury. All in all, not a bad bit of trading for GM John Mozeliak during the summer of 2009. Will he pull off a similar move in 2011?