ASK ROTOMAN: Holliday for Machado? Blame It On Cain.

Hey Rotoman:

I have Longoria as my 3B, and have Manny Machado. I want to trade Machado to improve my outfield.

What do you think of this trade: I get Matt Holliday for Machado and Matt Cain?

“Machado Man”

Dear Macho:

Some music while we think about this.

First off, I don’t have enough information to judge. It sounds like you won’t miss Machado much, playing Longoria instead, but whose working week does Holliday end? And who is filling Cain’s shoes?

The problem here is that Cain has not been a Top-20 starter so far this year, and that makes it easy to undervalue him after a few bad outings. I recently l0oked at last year’s slow starting pitchers and found that pitchers who were expected to be good usually did okay after a bad start. Matt Cain was one of those guys last year, and he recovered, at least part way. A bad start doesn’t mean the rest of the season is a disaster.

Still, over the five months after his bad start Cain wasn’t the Cain anyone who bought him last year hoped for him to be. And it has to be disturbing that he’s starting this season in similar fashion. So I can understand disenchantment.

Okay, another musical interlude.

But I can’t really judge your trade because I’m not seeing all the pieces. The two parts that stand out are: It’s a great idea to upgrade your outfield by dealing a reserve corner. Not that it isn’t valuable to have a solid backup like Machado, but to win you probably have to maximize even if that’s a little risky. So that makes sense if Holliday is a nice bump on the guy you’re replacing.

But Matt Cain shouldn’t be a throw in. If you have a great staff without him, making him expendable because of his poor start, I don’t have a problem with that. But if you’re dealing him because you’re expecting him to be replacement level the rest of the way, I think there’s a fair chance you’re selling him a little short.