Thursday, May 3

Spinning the Wheels

First off, my apologies for not posting here in a while; I was out of town and out of touch for a few days this past weekend, and the last couple of days have been lost to studying for finals. Updates will be semi-sporadic for a few days as finals continue and graduation stuff kicks in. (We'll address late May when we get there.)

Anyway, getting back to the topic at hand, it's gotten around the wires and blogs by now, but Chris Snelling has been traded for Ryan Langerhans, who ended up on the A's. Mariners fans can now immolate themselves when Snelling does well against them, and Braves fans can now do the same when Langerhans ....nah, who am I kidding. My initial reaction to the deal was somewhere solidly in the "WTF?" territory; that can be blamed on my perceptions of Snelling (not quite as rose-colored as USS Mariner, but probably not too connected with reality either) and Langerhans (bad). Admittedly, I didn't know much about Langerhans beyond he was one of those multiple Braves' OFs last year - I didn't even know he was pawned off to the A's.

Now that I've had a chance to process the deal, I'm coming up with ...well, treading water. Maybe it's a step forward, but it's not a giant step forward - maybe it's just a small step back. I don't know. Langerhans brings multi-positional defense and (depending on who you talk to) either a slightly worse bat than Snelling's or one approximately equal. In addition, he's under contract for another year than Snelling was. In it of itself, that's not bad - and if he can do something to keep one of the two Black Holes of Suck out of the lineup, then I can't blame him too much for that. (He can play CF; it remains to be seen if he will.)

Of course, we don't know how Langerhans will be used. If he's used like Snelling-plus, then I really can't complain; he wouldn't be actively sapping Church or Kearns of ABs beyond what they'd need for a rest period, he'd be a good late-inning defender (one that actually would be a defensive improvement), and he ...well, unless they teach him to switch hit, he won't be a righty bat off the bench. Can't win them all, I guess. In addition, if he's platooning in center then that will - as implied earlier - keep Logan out of the game, which has to be a good thing.

On the other hand, this isn't a gamebreaking trade. This looks like the equivalent of changing a font style. You can do it - and some people may like it a little more, which is good, right? - but it doesn't change the content. It won't turn the page you're designing into a masterpiece, and it won't turn this team into a contender. That's okay - if you think the team's going to compete this year, you're nuts anyway. However, making too many of these trades just seems like Bodes is shuffling the deck. One? Sure. Two? Eh, maybe. But unless this is going somewhere, it's not really that worth it.