Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Revenge of Glenn Davis

By The Common Man

This went so well the first time around that The Common Man decided to try it again.

Glenn Davis was a power-hitting first baseman, who starred for the Houston Astros in the late 1980s. In 1990, he suffered a strained ribcage and had a down year. He still wanted a multi-year extension, and Houston wouldn’t give it to him, given that they had Jeff Bagwell waiting in the wings. So they dealt him to Baltimore in what became one of the worst trades of all time. Because of a bad back, the Orioles got exactly 185 games out of Davis over three seasons, in which he hit .259/.332/.467, while paying him $10.5 million. That kind of production would still be a bust today.

The Astros, meanwhile, received Curt Schilling, Steve Finley, and Pete Harnisch in the deal, who would have 120.4 WAR between them ove the rest of their careers, to Davis’ 0.1 WAR.

Not that the Astros got much of that benefit, mind you. They only got 22.2 WAR from the trio and, frankly, got nothing for either Curt Schilling or Pete Harnisch. That said, the legacy of the Davis deal still remains in the Astros system. Consider Davis’ very incestuous family tree, which was so complicated it needed to be color-coded (red denotes the end of a line because a player was either released, waived, or became a free agent and there was no compensation):

The Glenn Davis Family Tree
 The Astros loved big trades in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and especially loved dealing with the Tigers and Padres. So you can see they used Finley in a package of six players to acuire anothing six, including Doug Brocail, who was packaged with another three players to bring in five more, including Brad Ausmus and Jose Lima. Alas, none of those five players brought back anything of worth to the Astros, and those lines petered out.

On the other hand, in 2000 they put Derek Bell together with Mike Hampton to pull in Roger Cedeno and Octavio Dotel. In 2001, Cedeno was dealt with Chris Holt and Mitch Meluskey to reaquire Brocail and Brad Ausmus. Brocail broke down, but Ausmus would catch for the club until 2008. Dotel became one of the best setup men in baseball for a few years before he was used with John Buck in 2004 to bring in Carlos Beltran for the stretch run. Beltran wouldn’t resign with the Astros in 2005, but they smartly offered him arbitration, and netted a couple compensation picks.

And with their compensation pick in the 3rd round of the 2005 draft, they selected Tommy Manzella, a shortstop out of Tulane. Manzella made the club out of Spring Training last year, but was pretty horrible, hitting .225/.267/.264 in 282 plate appearances. Chances are not good that he’s going to net anything of value for the Astros, but you never know. He’s currently hitting .275/.354/.391 as a 28 year old at AAA Oklahoma City, the last vestige of the Glenn Davis deal.  Somewhere, surely, Davis is laughing, greatly pleased that he is finally responsible for a little bit of the pain felt by the organization that cast him aside.  Indeed, The Common Man wouldn't wish Tommy Manzella on anyone.