It's been only a couple of weeks since the non-waiver trade deadline, which is not really sufficient time to evaluate them. But everyone forms opinions about people with limited initial contact, whether it be a lady in a bar sizing up the guys to see if even one is worth her time, someone in human resources looking over candidate applications, or teachers in the first week of school deciding which students will need more attention or more encouragement.
You can kind of do the same thing with new players acquired in trades, especially with young players. You can't tell exactly what you have talent-wise or what will be the precise impact they will have on the team, but you can get at least some good initial impressions.
Here goes for the moves that the Diamondbacks made ...
Player to be named later: This guy is awesome. He replaced Chad Qualls. He could eat the whole wheel of cheese and then poop in the fridge and no one here would even get mad. The fact that Tampa Bay was willing to pay the rest of Qualls' salary is enough to send him away for a rotten gallon of milk (and I would have offered to drink the rotten gallon, too).
Good old Qualls and his cup adjustment are faring a little better in Tampa. His ERA is "only" 4.76 after a pair of scoreless appearances. But you can be sure that the Tampa faithful will be booing him when he goes in and cheering him when he gets pulled in games before the season's end. It just seems a shame that he will get rewarded with postseason pitching opportunities after he basically took a big dump in the middle of Chase Field every other outing.
Sam Demel: He's had a really nice past couple of days. First major league win on Monday, first save on Tuesday. He looks like what Chad Qualls should have been. With a very respectable ERA (for this team) of 4.13 in 24 innings, he is a solid ground ball pitcher with the cojones to challenge good hitters.
Meanwhile, somewhere in Oakland, Conor Jackson is (wait for it) on the disabled list (gasp). I almost forgot that he was once a baseball player.
Daniel Hudson: The young pitcher acquired in exchange for Edwin Jackson has initially been campaigning in the "Ace Watch 2011" race. He has been spectacular so far, winning his first three starts with an ERA of 1.59 in almost 23 innings - certainly better than what Jackson contributed consistently during the season. It makes me wonder why they traded him. (Wait, I know why. They gave Arizona Chris Young for a useless Javier Vasquez. I liked that trade, too.)
Jackson, meanwhile, has been great in his two starts as a member of the Pale Hose. A return to the American League and a change of scenery to a contending team will be good for him.
DJ Carrasco, Ryan Church, Bobby Crosby: In the trade for Chris Snyder, we got two dead men walking (Church and Crosby), as they will most certainly will not be back next season and a possibly serviceable reliever in Carrasco.
In his playing time filling in for the woozy Mark Reynolds at third, Crosby looked like me trying field the position. In his defense, he is a shortstop. Nevermind, he had no defense, which was the problem.
Church has been a guy on the bench who pinch hits once in a while. It's too bad he's possibly the best talent we have for left field.
Carrasco, in four appearances has an ERA of 9.00, more or less has been like the rest of the relievers. Not that I'm surprised. It seems as if Mariano Rivera were to somehow join that group, he would turn into Byung-Hyun Kim.
While I was sad to see Snyder go, I am glad to see him get a chance to play regularly. Thus far, he's still Chris Snyder. He didn't suddenly turn into Joe Mauer. In his time in Pittsburghatory, he's batting only .217.
Joe Saunders, Rafael Rodriguez, Pat Corbin, and Tyler Skaggs: Saunders looked great until his last outing, when he got knocked around for five runs in six innings. He was an early favorite in the "Ace Watch 2011" race, but has dropped a bit in the polls. In 22 innings as a Diamondback, he has an ERA of 3.27.
Rodriguez, like Carrasco, has been equal to his peers - two innings, two runs allowed. Corbin and Skaggs have not given any impressions. Skaggs, though, is the super student that teachers fight over for their next class.
Over in La-La land, Dan Haren just got his first win with the Halos, and is pitching better. Too bad the team is pretty much out of the race this year. He is 1-2 with an ERA at an even 3.00 in 27 innings, something more like what Arizona fans had hoped to see all year.
Barry Enright: No, he didn't come in a trade, but a failed trade led to his glorious arrival. The team dealt the homerun-serving Billy Buckner for D(railed)-Train Dontrelle Willis, who was later released, which led to Enright's promotion from AA.
Enright, El Colorado (the redhead), has had a Brandon Webb-like rookie year. I know he is a different type of pitcher, but I can't help but remember Webb's '03 rookie year and how he quietly was arguably the best rookie pitcher in baseball. Enright's 3-2 record and 2.64 ERA in eight starts should at least be getting his name mentioned in the Rookie of the Year conversation.
Overall impressions: I never would have thought that blowing up a team and getting rid of the team's best pitchers would leave me feeling better about the team. But, you know ... it did and does. The young pitching talent has me excited.
Things are looking up, but was there really any other direction?