It's behind the subscriber firewall, but Marc Normandin over at BP breaks down Marcus Giles' career. His conclusion? Marcus has had an unlucky year. He's been hitting balls at people. His fly ball rates, popup rates and plate discipline are as good as ever. And if the Braves trade him while his value is low, they may regret it.
I think Marcus's 2003 MVP-caliber campaign has colored our perception of him. Very few players can put up those numbers. It was clearly a career year. But a 28-year-old good-fielding second baseman putting up a .286/.362/.450 career line is outstanding for a 53rd round pick -- and something about half the teams in baseball would kill for. Even in this year -- after a very slow start, Marcus is near the middle of the pack for second-basemen.
Now is not the time to trade him, when he's coming off a bad year. Now is the time to sign him cheap for the next two years. At the end of that, he'll be a 30-year-old with old player's skills. That's when you trade him to some dumb team like the Pirates.
This off-season scares me. The Braves are talking about trading away Andruw and Marcus -- two of their best players. And once you've decided you have to trade, you've lost the trade. Hard-hitting, good-fielding up-the-middle players do NOT grow on trees. They have no one who can replace these guys with anywhere near that production. This would potentially cripple the franchise.
Think about the last decade or so. The Yankees great run was partly fueled by an up-the-middle set of Posada, Jeter, Knoblauch/Soriano and Williams. The Braves built a dynasty on Lopez, Blauser/Furcal, Giles/Lemke and Andruw. Anyone can find bats for the corners -- anyone but the Braves, apparently. But we could spend five years struggling to fill the holes at 2B and CF if we make a couple of dumb trades because we're afraid of Andruw's salary and Marcus hasn't met our lofty expectation for the guy drafted 1511th.