It's rough right now. Tailspins always suck and they're particularly draining this time of year. While it sure looks like the b*tch known as regression has stomped out those dreams of an underdog playoff run, there have been some good story lines:
R.A. Dickey's magical run. Though his performance of late sounds like the creaking of the "doubter door" beginning to open.
Ruben Tejada's development. I thought he'd be pleasant surprise, but with each passing day he's looking like a guy who could be a plus on both sides of the ball for a long time.
But the one that's currently captured my imagination is Jordany "my pockets are flappin' but I ain't nappin" Valdespin.
I have no idea what to make of him. Is his career arc going to resemble Mike Jacobs, Alfonso Soriano or our recently departed shortstop? Is he a second baseman? Could he turn into a defensively sound center fielder? Is he going to be a big-time bust after the league sees him a couple of times? Will he harness his raw speed and translate it into stolen base skills? Should he be trade bait while he's new, shiny, and hitting?
There's been a lot of talk about trades lately but the guys folks wouldn't mind shipping out aren't the kind of guys that will net any kind of return. Scott Hairston, TIm Byrdak, Andres Torres, Jon Rauch . . . are spare parts who won't yield much. Chris Young could return a little more but he ain't gettin' us another Zach Wheeler.
Now if they're packaged with a dynamic or established young player then you might be able to get something back for your trouble.
So who could be paired with our excess vets to sweeten the pot? I'd part with Kirk Nieuwenhuis or Matt Den Dekker in a minute - they're the same guy. Unfortunately their strikeout rates suggest neither is the guy to man center field for a championship club and their sweetener value is probably more like Equal than cane sugar.
Lucas Duda's value is low, Ike Davis has regressed and with Duda struggling (and now demoted to Buffalo) we're left with no replacement. Bobby Parnell might be interesting to other clubs but unlike the center field twins there's no AAA clone waiting in the wings.
That pretty much leaves Valdespin playing the role of "major league ready potential dynamo" and Dan Murphy as the proven/professional hitter. And if you don't buy Valdy as a center fielder - they're redundant.
I'd like to have seen the club throw Valdy into center field a week ago, play him every day, make their talent evaluators watch his every inning, and see if they can come to a consensus on whether he's a long-term option there. If so, great - 15+ HR/speedy center fielders are a valuable commodity and young/cheap ones are precious. Then send Kirk to AAA where he hopefully gets his numbers pumped up and trade him and/or Den Dekker in the offseason
If you don't think he's at least defensively average in center field then have those same evaluators make a decision on whether he can competently man second base. If not, then you've got two weak glove second basemen in Valdy & Murph - pick one and trade the other.
There are others at this site that can better project the type of return we could get packaging one of them with one of the vets mentioned earlier but I'm hoping a young, controllable major league ready closer-to-be or a B+ prospect. I'm always down for more pitching. If I've (re-)learned anything this year it's that 10 good starts from a pitcher mean nothing. They visit the disabled list (Dillon Gee), get old/fatigued (Santana), are fragile (Young), and can run out of fairy dust from time to time (Dickey). We'll be lucky if two of Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia, & Jenrry Mejia = Jon Niese's development - get more arms if you can.
Am I the only one who can't decide if Valdy is a guy you gotta keep or a flash in the pan riding a wave that's about to break?