Revisiting the Blake Hawksworth/Ryan Theriot Trade

Today, I’m going to revisit the Blake Hawksworth/Ryan Theriot trade. On July 31, 2010 the Dodgers made a trade with the Chicago Cubs. They traded second baseman Blake DeWitt to the Cubs for Pitcher Ted Lilly, and infielder Ryan Theriot. As we all remember, Theriot gave us two useless months at second base. Theriot hit a paltry, .242, with 1 home run, in 54 games for the Dodgers in 2010. After the season the Dodgers were looking to dump Theriot. Then on November 30, 2010, the Dodgers would trade him to the Cardinals, for righty relief pitcher Blake Hawskworth. Lets take a look at the Theriot/Hawksworth trade. Did the Dodgers get the better of the deal? Let’s think back and take a look…..

Blake Hawskworth

Blake Hawksworth-Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

2011-2-5 4.08 ERA 17/43 BB/K BB.9 2.9 SO/9 7.3

Career- 10-13 4.07 ERA 67/124 BB/K 3.3 SO/9 6.1

Hawksworth had been a starter, but the Dodgers only used him out of the bullpen. The Hawk pitched in 49 games for the Dodgers in 2011, posting a 2-5 record, with a 4.08 ERA, 43 whiffs, and 17 walks, in 53 innings. When looking at Hawksworth’s numbers, he had a pretty solid first half, but we remember him struggling in the second half. Hawksworth held batters to a .194 batting average against, in the first half, and a .599 OPS. Hawksowrth had his best month in June, when he held batters to a paltry average of .147, and a .430 OPS. Hawksworth had decent control, and had a decent strikeout rate. Hawksworth had a walk rate of 2.8 batters per nine, and a whiff rate of 7.3 per nine. A hip injury sidelined Hawksworth in June, and could have played a big part in his second half struggles. Batters hit .261 off of Hawksworth in the second half of 2011. His control went south, and his line drive percentage went up. We weren’t sure if he was fully recovered from the hip injury.

In August batters hit .273 off of him, and in September, batters hit .292 against him. Those were his two toughest months of the season. He blew a few games down the stretch, including a game in Atlanta, that cost Clayton Kershaw a win, however to be fair, there was a costly error by Aaron Miles that was committed behind him.

Hawksworth never could get back on track, and only appeared in six games down the stretch. While Hawksworth only allowed six home runs, his splits were concerning though. Hawksworth pitches much better against lefties. He held lefties to a .193 average, and a .593 OPS, while right handers, hit .250 off the Hawk, with a .704 OPS. Hawksworth recently had surgery on his elbow, and was expected a recovery time of 4-6 weeks. Hawksworth has said he thinks he will be ready by spring training, but the Dodgers aren’t so sure. Just in case, the Dodgers signed Mike MacDougal, and recently Todd Coffey. The good thing about Hawksworth, is that his numbers are going in the right direction. His career strikeout rate has gone up each year, and his walks have decreased each year.

Overall Hawksworth had a decent year, despite getting hurt, and struggling down the stretch. Hawk has good stuff, a strong fastball, and is still fairly young enough to improve at age 28. Hawksworth has always put up better numbers as a reliever than a starter, and I would recommend the Dodgers only using him in that capacity.

 Ryan Theriot

Ryan Theriot-Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

2011- .271/.322/.342 1 HR 47 RBI-.662 OPS.

Career- .282/.344/.353 17 HR 229 RBI- .697 OPS

The Cardinals needed an infielder, primarily someone at shortstop, so that is what drove the Cardinals to make this trade. Theriot is 32 years old, and had played his entire career with the Cubs, before being traded to the Dodgers. For the Dodgers he was generally useless at the plate, while playing surprisingly good defense at second base. But the problem was the Cardinals didn’t use him there, they played him at shortstop. Looking back this wasn’t the best of choices. Theriot played poorly at shortstop for the Cardinals, while providing little to no offense at the top of the lineup.

Actually Theriot has never been that bad of a hitter, and he even hit .300 one year. However with him being older, his numbers began to decline a few years ago. He was clearly a downgrade from Blake Dewitt, so we were never happy with him, and no Dodger fan expected him to stay with the club for very long. He didn’t, and was traded after only two months with the Dodgers. At shortstop position Theriot just isn’t very good, he posted a -8 total runs below average for the Cardinals in 2011. At the plate, he wasn’t much help. He finished the year batting .271, with a .322 OBP, 1 home run, 47 RBI, and only 29 walks.

Theriot is nothing much more than an opposite field singles hitter, with no power. What makes his lack of production even worse, is all of his TOOTBLANs he will rack up during the season. You see while Theriot was with the Cubs, he was constantly thrown out on the base paths. This happened so frequently, that the Cubs fans, coined a special stat in his honor called the TOOTBLAN, a stat that counts all the times a Base-runner was thrown out on the bases, or made a reckless base-running mistake. The Cubs fans believe Theriot to be the worst base runner in Baseball. Theriot was caught stealing 13 times in 2008, 10 times in 2009, and 9 times in 2010. To make things even worse for Theriot, his speed all but disappeared. He once had four consecutive seasons of 20 or more stolen bases. He had only four steals all year in 2011 for the Cardinals.

TOOTBLAN DISCLAIMER

(The TOOTBLAN was created by Tony Jewell Twitter of wrigleyville23.com  please refer to My TOOTBLAN Article  on the modern day TOOTBLAN, if you are unfamiliar with the TOOTBLAN.) Also please refer to the TOOTBLAN twitter account TOOTBLAN Tracker Twitter Account that keeps track of all TOOTBLANs across the majors. We now return you to our regularly scheduled trade recap.

Anyways, Theriot wasn’t much of a hitter, was bad in the field, and makes a ton of TOOTBLANs. He was so bad that they had to stop playing him at shortstop. Yet he was even so bad that it drove the Cardinals to make another trade for the Dodgers for shortstop Rafael Furcal. Once Furcal was acquired, Theriot was pushed to the bench, and when he did play it was at second base. Although he did win a World Series ring with the Cardinals before moving on. Theriot spent most of the postseason on the bench. Theriot recently moved back to the NL west, on January 27th, he signed a one year 1.25 million dollar contract with our hated rivals, the San Francisco Giants. This of course gives us many opportunities to make fun of him, and watch all of his TOOTBLANs. Also Theriot reunites, with former teammate, and friend, Mike Fontenot. Yes the Giants now have Ryan theriot, and Mike Fontenot, so Ha! Although Fontenot did do this Fontenot game winning home run recap  to Ted Lilly, and us last year, so Uggh.

So which team came out ahead? I think you can say that the Dodgers got the better end of this deal. Theriot provided little to zero value to the Dodgers and Cardinals, while Hawksworth is about an average middle reliever that has a good fastball and some upside. I think we can all say there is little to no upside with Ryan Theriot. Even if Hawksworth has a bad season in 2012, I think the Dodgers still come out ahead on this trade. Getting any player that can walk in return for a player as useless as Theriot is a win-win. Especially if that players is a young pitcher with good stuff. Here’s to Blake Hawksworth having a great year, and make sure to keep an eye on the TOOTBLAN twitter feed when the Giants are in town.

Topics: Aaron Miles, Blake Dewitt, Blake Hawksworth, Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers, Mike MacDougal, Rafael Furcal, Ryan Theriot, Todd Coffey

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  • robhurtt

    Cards won 1 World Series with Theriot.

    Dodgers still haven’t won even an NL pennant since…. umm… Gibson’s HR off Eck?

    I’d say the trade worked out just fine for STL, which was overloaded with RH relievers and had no room for Hawk. In exchange, they got a middle infielder who contributed positive WAR.

    • LasordasLair

      @robhurtt

      Yes you are correct, the Dodgers havent won a pennant since 88, and yes the Cardinals won the world series last season, but im not sure how much Theriot contributed. Was it his blistering .662 OPS? The 17 errors he commited at shortstop during the regular season? Or maybe it was his 1 for 10 performence in the NLCS, and his 1 for 13 .077 average in the world series? Im showing his WAR at exactly zero for the 2011 season. Im not saying Theriot is Bum list terrible, but just generally useless. Just saying.

      • robhurtt

        @LasordasLair I won’t argue that Theriot is a good SS — he’s totally inadequate at the position defensively. He’s certainly not lethal offensively, either. (Although without him coaxing a bases-loaded walk out of Carlos Marmol in the final Sat. game of the season, the Cards don’t rally in the 9th, and without that win, they don’t make the playoffs, they don’t go on a crazy October run, they don’t win their 11th world championship, etc….)

        But the point is Theriot was traded straight up for a similarly subpar player who plays an even less important position. (I liked Hawk while he was with STL, but c’mon, mediocre RH middle relievers are a dime for 2 dozen… or at least they should be if your organization’s scouting department knows what it’s doing.)

        If you’d like to think of that swap of marginal players as a ‘win’ because the Dodgers still have Hawk while the Cards have since upgraded over Theriot, that’s fine. My point is the Cards got infinitely more value out of Theriot filling their SS hole (till the Dodgers sent an upgrade in Furcal) than the team would have gotten out of Hawksworth (who wouldn’t have been good enough to crack their 2011 Opening Day roster).

        BTW, fwiw, Fangraphs has Theriot’s 2011 WAR as 0.7 vs. Hawk’s 0.1.

        • robhurtt

          .” screen_name=”undefined” provider=”lf” class=”namespace reply lf” jid=”[email protected]” ns=”true”> also not clear how you consider Hawksworth (turns 29 next month) to be a young player with upside.

        • robhurtt

          also not clear how you consider Hawksworth (turns 29 next month) to be a young player with upside.

        • LasordasLair

          @robhurtt

          I saw his war at 0.0 on Baseball Reference, but I dont remember what it was on fangraphs. I can somwhat understand what your saying. and yes a shortstop is worth more valuer than a relief pitcher who might only pitch in one or two games a week. Still I think theriot is a terribly useless hitter. I suppose as a bench piece he would be ok, but not as a starter. Why else do you think the Cardinals traded for Furcal? I still would rather have Hawksworth than Theriot, but thats my opinion. All the Cardinals got out of Theriot was about 92 singles, where 25% of those were negated from his TOOTBLANs. I can see your point though.

        • LasordasLair

          @robhurtt

          Well hes still in his 20′s. He still has time to improve. Theriot is older, and already in decline. his numbers have been declining steadily for the last few years. His walks have decreased, his whiffs have gone up, and his speed has dissappeared. Either way, the Cardinals should be thanking us.

        • robhurtt

          @LasordasLair True enough… STL doesn’t win the WC w/o adding Furcal.

          Speaking of, it’ll be interesting to look back on the winner of that trade in a few years — Castellanos was in a similar position as Hawk in that the franchise parted with him largely because of an excess at the position. (Cards have a decent supply of corner OFs in the majors and high minors.) But he could have a nice big league future — should be up in LA this year, I’d think.

          Any way, enjoy the blog… keep it up.

        • LasordasLair

          @robhurtt

          I agree. I think hes going to be a good player too. He might break onto the big club next year. I guess having too many good outfielders is a problem many teams would like to have. Thanks for visiting, and thanks for the comments!

        • mdenton84

          @LasordasLair @robhurtt

          We never had much of a problem with his offense. Yes, he has almost zero power (but neither did Ozzie Smith), and he could’ve drawn a few more walks, but he does hit a lot of singles, his OBP was OK, and he rarely strikes out. His lack of steals last year is more a factor of hardly anybody stealing bases in recent years for the Cardinals (especially with Pujols, Holliday, and Berkman coming up) than his speed disappearing (plus fewer SB attempts means fewer TOOTBLANs, right?).

          Besides, you admit that Theriot has about 5 or 6 TOOTBLANs a year, so how does that equal 25% of 92 (while not even counting his 28 extra-base hits)?

        • LasordasLair

          @mdenton84 @robhurtt

          A TOOTBLAN can be a number of different stupid baserunning plays. He could be thrown out trying to score on a groundball, or being thrown out trying to go from second to third when the ball is hit in front of him. Some of his caught stealings can be considered a TOOTBLAN, but not all. Im factoring in all the other times he gets thrown out on the bases. I know in 2010 they counted him having 19 TOOTBLANs. It’s still a very raw subjective stat, so Im sure its not entirely accurate. but if he averages about 20 TOOTBLANs a year at the least, then we can probably assume, maybe 25% of his singles get erased by all of his TOOTBLANs? We need to go back and recount all of his TOOTBLANs and figure out his exact average. I think the methods we use to track TOOTBLANs will eventually improve enough for us to have official counts of all TOOTBLANs.

          Anyways, Ill admit hes not terrible, but still pretty lousy.

        • mdenton84

          @LasordasLair @robhurtt

          Oh, you meant in 2010 alone. I thought you meant 19 total up to that point in his career.

          Anyway, you can’t count being thrown out trying to score on a ground ball as a TOOTBLAN when the runner is told to run on contact, and you can’t count being caught stealing on a failed hit-and-run attempt. Also, you have to balance out the TOOTBLANs with the times a baserunner shows good skill in taking an extra base that a good majority of baserunners wouldn’t. Sure, someone like Theriot won’t have many of those, but the few times he does still need to be counted to cancel out a few of his TOOTBLANs.

        • LasordasLair

          @mdenton84 @robhurtt

          I agree with you on this one. Thats why I was saying the TOOTBLANs are subjective. Ive never liked the “go on contact play”, but its only a TOOTBLAN if the runner has no business trying to score and is thrown out by a mile. Thats the whole thrown out like a nincompoop part of it. Thats a TOOTBLAN. When a runner tries to advance from second to third, with less than two outs, nobody on firts, AND the ball is hit in front of him, and he is thrown out by a mile. TOOTBLAN. Its a very raw stat. Im hoping our methods of counting TOOTBLANs improve as the modern day TOOTBLAN evolves. I first thought that there is no way Theriot can have that many TOOTBLANs. Then Theriot’s third game with the Dodgers, no joke he was thrown out trying to score from third base on a groundball by litterally twenty feet. He went on to commit several more TOOTBLANs over the next week, and when he returned to Dodger Stadium while playing with the Cardinals in 2011, he was recklessly thrown out on the basepaths, a total of FOUR times during the four game series, thats a TOOTBLAN per game. I can provide links if you dont beleive me.

        • mdenton84

          If you’ve got links to video of Theriot in the Cards-Dodgers series, sure, I’ll take a look.

        • LasordasLair

          @mdenton84

          Sure, let me find the links, and I’ll post them up here for you

        • LasordasLair

          @mdenton84

          http://mikesciosciastragicillness.com/2011/04/16/dodgers-drop-another-laugher/

          Here is one link with animated GIFs. This is just two, only two of Theriot’s TOOTBLAN’s form that four game series. two in one game!

          In only his fourth game with the Dodgers. http://mikesciosciastragicillness.com/2010/08/05/vicente-padilla-keeps-on-rolling/

          heres a recap from last year on our old blog. Theriot commits a TOOTBLAN, getting tagged out between secoond and third. He had at least three TOOTBLANs in that four game series, possibly four or five. It was pretty hilarious.

        • LasordasLair

          @mdenton84

          Woops sorry heres our link from our old blog

          http://dodgerblueforever.blogspot.com/2011/04/more-of-same.html

        • mdenton84

          @LasordasLair

          Yeah, the first one was definitely a TOOTBLAN. The second one technically wasn’t, as he wasn’t “thrown out” like a nincompoop but didn’t slide when he should’ve. If he had slid, the play could’ve gone either way.

          That description from the 2010 Dodgers game depends on whether or not he was going on contact (although I agree that running home on contact is a stupid play; it results in a lot of thrown out runners and hardly ever allows someone to score when they wouldn’t have scored anyway; still, it’s the manager’s fault when he uses it, not the baserunner’s).

        • LasordasLair

          @mdenton84

          Not sure if the third base coach sent him or not,on that one play but one of those plays that he ran on contact, he was thrown out by about 20 feet. That one was definatly a TOOTBLAN. There was a couple of them that were borderline. You bring up a great question though, if the third base coach sends the runner on a play he is clearly getting thrown out on, do we credit the third base coach with a TOOTBLAN? Or the manager too? Its very subjective still. Man we gotta create a stat just for the third base coach. Any ideas?

        • mdenton84

          @LasordasLair

          For the last time, if a runner is going home on contact, it can never be a TOOTBLAN no matter how close (or not) the play is, because by the very definition of “running on contact,” the runner has no idea how the play will turn out when he starts running. Blame the managers and coaches for making him run completely blind but not the runner.

        • LasordasLair

           @mdenton84
           I disagree,
          Just because a third base coach tells the runner to go on contact, doesnt automatically exonorate them from receiving a TOOTBLAN. If a runner goes on contact regardless of whether he was ordered from the third base coach or not, AND he is thrown out by more than ten feet, that is still a TOOTBLAN. Because it is still a foolish choice. I have seen Theriot thrown out at home plate by 20 feet. I dont care if Walter Alston returned from the dead and ordered him to go on contact, it still can be a TOOTBLAN. In my opinion, whether you are ordered or not, and yes I understand the point of the going on contact play is to try and cause the fielder to make a poor throw, or the catcher to drop the throw, it is still a poor choice, falling under the nincompoop part of the TOOTBLAN.

        • mdenton84

           @LasordasLair
          The runner has no idea how the play will turn out when he starts running!  He has no way to know in advance if it’s a good choice or a bad choice!  It could just as easily be a double in the gap or a weak grounder back to the pitcher as far as the runner is concerned.  What do you expect him to do, disobey his coach and/or manager everytime he’s given that sign?  I suppose if he’s going to be thrown out by 20 feet, he can turn around and get into a run-down, but that’s hardly any better.

        • LasordasLair

           @mdenton84
           That is not necessarily true. Alot of baserunners dont follow the sign their third base coach lays down, or runs through signs etc. If a ball is hit in front of him, or on the ground he can at least see the play and can stop, or turn around, or at the very least not just run blindly with head down, when its obvious he will get thrown out by 20 feet. All i am asking for is not just putting head down and running without looking at where the ball is hit. and or not taking a huge lead off third base when it is not necessary. TOOTBLAN

        • LasordasLair

           @mdenton84
           The One thing we can agree on is that the running on contact play is stupid. TOOTBLAN