Revisiting the Blake Hawksworth/Ryan Theriot Trade
By Scott Andes
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…..
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.
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.
(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.