Bill Hall was just traded to the Seattle Mariners for Ruben "Buddy" Flores. Hall had been rumored in trade talks with the Cincinnati Reds, but a deal was unable to be reached.
The Brewers DFA'd Hall last Wednesday giving them 10 days to make a trade involving Hall. When the Brewers decided to make this move, they made it very difficult on themselves to trade Hall for a decent return.
Ruben Flores is a 25 year old pitcher who was closing for the Mariners Single A affiliate.
Flores was a 12th round draft pick of the Mariners back in 2003. He really hasn't been able to move through the system well. Throughout his career, Flores has shown good strikeout numbers. He is averaging just under 10 K/9 in his minor league career. He has struggled to find the strike zone, walking 5.4 per nine innings. He has been used mainly as a reliever in his professional career.
The biggest part of the this deal for the Brewers was how much it was going to cost them financially. The Brewers agreed to pay the entire remainder of Hall's 2009 salary. That means Hall will receive about $1.6 million from the Brewers this season. In addition, the Brewers have agreed to pay a "large portion" of Hall's 2010 salary. I'm hearing from a couple of different sources that this could be as much as $7 million.
By trading Hall, the Brewers saved $1.9 million off of next seasons salary.
I would think the Brewers should have been able to get a little more value for Hall. I understand that they were working around a deadline, but a 25 year old closer who is in A ball seems like a odd return. I would like this trade more if the Mariners would have picked up more than just $1.9 million. If the Reds really were willing to make a trade straight up for one of their starters, I don't understand why the Brewers were unwilling to pull the trigger. If you are going to get a lower level prospect, you have to be able to lose some of his salary.
It is tough to beat up Melvin for this move. When the Brewers DFA'd Hall, it didn't seem like a move that Melvin would make. Was he pressured into this move by management? I don't know, but DFAing Hall really forced his hand. They have to pay Hall's remaining salary this season anyway, why not just hold onto him and try to work a deal this offseason?
When an organization makes moves out of frustration (like they did last Wednesday), it puts a lot of pressure on future moves. The Brewers handcuffed themselves when they made this decision.
For the Mariners this seems like a good trade. They essentially got Hall for nothing. They gave up a pitcher who ran out of opportunities in their organization, and they only need to pay Hall $1.9 million over the next season plus. Who knows, Bill might just need a chance to play everyday. He will get that chance in Seattle with little pressure on him to perform.
In the back of my mind I thought that Hall might be headed to the Yankees. New York has been looking to shed Kei Igawa's contract for quite some time. Igawa is signed through 2011 (one more year than Hall) and is owed $9 million over the next two plus seasons. Igawa has pitched solidly in AAA for New York but is not going to break into the rotation in the big leagues. The Yankees already didn't have room for Phil Hughes so Igawa is likely never going to start a game for New York. I would have loved to see Igawa traded straight up for Hall.
It's tough to grade Melvin based on this trade. There is no telling if there was any truth to the rumors involving the pitchers mentioned above. There was said to be some interest in Hall, but how much? Hall has batted poorly for three straight seasons. He was owed a ridiculous amount of cash for the next season plus. Getting $1.9 million back might have been a great move by Melvin, there is just no way of telling.