One of the rumors that has surfaced at the Winter Meetings involves Brian Roberts and possibly Hayden Penn or some other combination of players coming to Atlanta for Marcus Giles and/or Tim Hudson and/or Adam LaRoche. While the perception of Roberts out in the baseball world may be high, is he really that much better than Giles?
As an on-base guy, Roberts had a .347 OBP last year and Giles had a .341 OBP last year. Roberts has a career .345 OBP, but Giles has a career .361 OBP. The thing that worries people about Giles is that he has been trending downward the last four years in OBP:
.390 in 03
.378 in 04
.365 in 05
.341 in 06
But Roberts may suffer from an even more dangerous problem - one year wonder syndrome. The last four years Roberts' OBP has done this:
.337 in 03
.344 in 04
.387 in 05
.347 in 06
I honestly don't know which guy I'd rather have. Giles' numbers indicate that he's due for another 10 to 15 point drop-off in OBP, but who really knows how Roberts would respond to a change in leagues and which Roberts would show up - the one we saw in 05 or the other one.
Another stat that is a wash between the two players is runs scored. While Roberts has more speed and a willingness to use it than Giles (of course that could be a symptom of the manager not the player), both second basemen have averaged 100 runs over a 162 game span in their Major League career.
Giles might have slightly more power than Roberts, but both players' power has come and gone from year to year. Not only that, but they have both averaged 40 doubles per 162 games played, so their gap power is a wash between them as well. Roberts is a slightly better fielder than Giles, but not more than three to four errors difference per year. They also made about the same in terms of salary this year and should be in line for similar salaries next year.
I just don't see any advantage in a trade of this nature, or even including the Giles-Roberts swap in a larger Braves-Orioles trade. What usually happens with these one for one trades is that one team ends up getting burned. Ozzie Smith for Gary Templeton, Juan Samuel for Lenny Dykstra, they weren't exactly one for one, but these were the main pieces and hopefully you get the idea. I'd rather keep Giles than swap him for someone like Roberts. And while Roberts may be dynamic in some parts of his game, so is Giles. I may be one of those people who criticized Giles this past year for his bellyaching about batting lead-off, but he did a decent job of it. Now that's not to say that I want him to bat lead-off again, because I don't, and by Giles' own admission he doesn't either, but would Roberts really be any better. If we replace Giles we need an "upgrade" at the lead-off position at the same time.