On Saturday, the Miami Marlins
freed traded old friend and unironic #ForeverGiant Sergio Romo to the Minnesota Twins. This is of interest to Giants fans because Sergio Romo will have a shot for another ring. Just imagine Romo striking out Cody Bellinger looking at an 88-mph fastball to close out the World Series. More immediately (and less improbably), this also shows just how little the Giants will get back for Tony Watson.
The Twins were interested in Romo because he’s still nails against right handers. Here’s what Romo has done when he has platoon advantage this year:
.200/.238/.387, 27.5 K%, 5.0 BB%
Here’s what Tony Watson has done against righties this year:
.207/.252/.345, 21.0 K%, 3.2 BB%
It’s weird that Watson has had reverse platoon splits, and I wouldn’t expect that to continue. Regardless, Watson and Romo have had had around the same level of overall production. Watson has a 4.13 FIP in 42 innings and Romo has a 3.88 FIP in 37 2/3. It’s tough to say who has actually been better this year. Maybe Watson because he doesn’t walk as many batters, but that difference doesn’t explain why Watson is making $6.5 million before incentives while Romo is making $2.5 million.
Romo is cheaper and just about as effective as Watson, yet it took the Marlins sending over Chris Vallimont, a 22-year-old starting pitcher with good numbers in High-A, and a player to be named later to land Lewin Diaz from the Twins. Diaz, a 22-year-old first baseman, was destroying the Southern League this year, but FanGraphs had him as the Twins’ 26th best prospect and just a 40 FV. Baseball America had him as the Twins’ tenth-best prospect, so Diaz isn’t without his upside. But even Baseball America concedes that prospects traded at the deadline rarely make an impact.
Maybe this is a case of the Marlins stepping on a rake and giving away a decent reliever and a lottery ticket for a lottery ticket, but it’s hard to imagine the Giants getting back even this much. Romo is cheaper and roughly as good as Watson. The only thing separating Watson from Romo is the possibility of Watson exercising his player option for 2020. A team would have to be absolutely certain Watson would want to stick around next year to want to offer anything worthwhile.
With the Giants still within striking distance of the wild card, they won’t be making any trades unless the return is significant. They won’t be trading away a good player now for a player who might not ever stick on a major league roster. The odds of getting to the playoffs may be long, but the odds of getting a player back who would make the Giants better may be longer.