R-U-M-O-R C-E-N-T-R-A-L: Sledge To Padres?
[December 6th] -- Jim Bowden may be ready to deal. USA Today and rotoworld.com are reporting that the Washington Nationals and San Diego Padres are discussing trading outfielders.
Terrmel Sledge, who missed most of last season due to a hamstring injury, may be going to San Diego in exchange for Dave Roberts. Roberts was to be part of a trade that would have brought David Wells back to the Padres, but it now seems likely that other players will be involved in that deal.
Sledge, slow afoot but with decent power and good baseball instincts, would become the Padres' primary leftfielder. Roberts would take over centerfield in Washington, giving the Nationals the leadoff hitter they have been searching for since 2003.
Roberts had a good 2005 campaign, batting .275 with 8 homers and 38 RBI's. He stole 23 bases, but has swiped as many as 45 in his career. He had a decent .356 on base percentage. Unlike current leadoff hitter Brad Wilkerson, he makes contact, striking out only 59 times. Wilkerson struck out 147 times in 2005.
Upside on this deal: Roberts is fast and is a true leadoff hitter. Downside: He has never played more than 127 games in his career and is 32, five years older than Sledge.
If Bowden pulls the trigger on this deal, it would most certainly spell the end of the Brad Wilkerson era in Washington. Wilkerson could be packaged with another player, perhaps Junior Spivey, for a power hitter or a quality starting pitcher.
I like the deal. Brandon Watson deserves the chance to play, and Robert's history of not playing everyday gives the youngster the opportunity to start 50 or so games, allowing the team to groom him to replace Roberts in the next 2-3 years.
Now, let's compare Sledge's WS. One must discount his 2005 stats due to the injury, so let's go with 2004, when he accounted for 15 WS in 133 games. Considering Sledge is 5 years younger and $750K cheaper, I'd take youth and potential over Roberts, though admittedly Roberts is probably the better player right now.
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