Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. was on 97.5 The Fanatic with Mike Missanelli this afternoon and mentioned that the Wilson Valdez trade was “foolish”. Of course, looking back at the Michael Martinez injury–which now leaves a hole on the bench that Valdez could have filled quite easily–it’s easy to say that it was foolish to get rid of Valdez. He’d be quite valuable to the Phillies right now.
But that doesn’t mean that trading him was foolish at all. The fact of the matter is there are many, many Wilson Valdez’s out there. Contrary to the belief of many fans, Valdez was below average at the plate. In his time here, he hit at a .254/.300/.351 clip. Ben Francisco, a guy that we all grew to dislike after his underwhelming offensive performance, hit at a .254/.335/.396 clip over the same time period. Sure, Francisco’s expectations were much higher, but facts are facts–Valdez was easily replaceable. The only thing that wasn’t replaceable about Valdez was his constant shenanigans on camera that made us all laugh.
He would have been a better option than Michael Martinez, but Valdez in 2012 will make about double what Martinez made last year. The differences in the two aren’t that great, so the cheaper option in Martinez was the right decision. There’s no reason to feel foolish about that.
In addition, the Phils got a young pitcher in return for Valdez that pitched to a 2.93 ERA in 15+ innings in Cincinnati last year in Jeremy Horst. Chances are that Horst may never even pitch for the Phils at the MLB level, but it never hurts to have a young pitcher that maybe, just maybe, turn out to be a good player in the future over a replaceable bench player.
It’s always easy to see 20/20 in hindsight, and Amaro is mistaking hindsight vision for actual vision. The trade itself, at the time, wasn’t a mistake. He can’t control injuries–at least I don’t think he can–but he can control player movement and moving Valdez was the right call.