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The Blue Jays, Reds, A's and Diamondbacks have completed the first big deal of the winter meetings. Oakland got the guy they wanted -- Erubiel Durazo, who Billy Beane called his "Holy Grail" -- and Toronto will receive at least one terrific prospect, an excellent return for Felipe Lopez, who didn't fit into the Jays' plans anyway. The identity of the Oakland prospect(s) can't be officially revealed until after tomorrow's Rule 5 draft, but it's no secret. There have been several conflicting reports; ESPN first made it sound like the Jays were getting three youngsters, and it's still unclear whether it's one or two.

In BB #59 I already stated my enthusiastic endoresement of Jason Arnold and John-Ford Griffin, as reasonable value for Orlando Hudson, who was then rumoured to be going to Colorado. When the big Matt Williams-for-Larry Walker deal collapsed, so did that three-way plan. Give J.P. Ricciardi and Billy Beane credit for keeping this one alive, and selling it to their gullible counterparts in Arizona and Ohio.

In fact, this is better news for Toronto fans than the previous idea. The Jays still have Hudson, instead of the undisciplined (on and off the field) Lopez.
Felipe Lopez Trade | 37 comments | Create New Account
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_jason - Sunday, December 15 2002 @ 07:02 PM EST (#101142) #
There seems to be some debate at this point if Toronto got both Arnold and Griffin or just Arnold. I would imagine both, but espn and seem to be contradicting each other at this point.
Pistol - Sunday, December 15 2002 @ 07:11 PM EST (#101143) #
I think that of Lopez and Hudson I'd rather have Hudson. While Lopez has the higher upside, I think Lopez is more of a sure thing and will end up with the better career.

I assume since JP wanted him badly Arnold is highly regarded, but does anyone have specifics on him?

If Griffin is involved does that indicate that Cruz, or Stewart, are more likely to be traded now?
Pistol - Sunday, December 15 2002 @ 07:24 PM EST (#101144) #
A little more research and theft from a previous thread.....

"OF Griffin hit over .400 three years in a row at Florida State, where his coach compared him quite favourably to former Seminole star J.D. Drew. RHP Arnold toyed with FSL hitters (7-1, 2.48, 83 K and just 22 BB in 80 IP) while still a Tampa Yankee, and handled the jump to AA for his new organization without missing a beat -- 5-1, 2.33, 53 K in 58 IP. Griffin and Arnold wouldn't help the Jays in 2003, but could be stars for a very long time once they arrive."
_jason - Sunday, December 15 2002 @ 07:29 PM EST (#101145) #
If Griffin is involved, I know he plays RF, I would imagine that Cruz will become expendable. Decent leadoff guys like Stewart are a hard commodity to come by in this day and age.

The Jays were trying to add Matt Stairs, presumably as their 4th outfielder but he ended up signing with the Pirates.
Coach - Sunday, December 15 2002 @ 07:46 PM EST (#101146) #
Even the Transaction Oracle is confused by the conflicting reports. Dan says there's some doubt Griffin is included, and I'm wondering if a Sunday staffer at ESPN didn't misunderstand Jayson Stark. If it's "just" Arnold and a PTBNL, who happens to be Griffin, I wouldn't be surprised. But since I'm thrilled with Arnold-for-Lopez straight up, anyone else is a welcome bonus.

Hey Jordan -- does your warning to all other clubs not to do three-way trades with Beane extend to four-way deals? In this one, I think there are two clear winners, and a couple of NL clubs who will look back on this with regret. Before I give Toronto the edge (which would make it Pupil 4, Master 0) I'd like to know just who else the Jays will receive.
_Jordan - Sunday, December 15 2002 @ 08:26 PM EST (#101147) #
Well, all things considered, I'm relatively happy with this deal. I spoke out earlier against dealing Hudson for these two, and I stand by that: Orlando is the right player on the right team at the right position, and I saw no reason to trade a sure thing in the majors for two lower-minors maybes. Lopez, on the other hand, I was more willing to see dealt for that kind of return, prospect for prospect. The Blue Jays clearly decided that Felipe was a tools goof who wouldn't grow into his potential for many years, and who, like his predecessor at the position, might simply hope to level off at a .250 EqA for his career. At this point, it's a gamble on who'll turn into the better player, Arnold or Lopez. JP Ricciardi says it's Arnold, and from a talent hound like him, that opinion should count for a lot. The Jays essentially swapped a high-ceiling middle infielder, of which they have lots, for a high-ceiling starter, of which they have not quite enough. As I say, I'm relatively happy with that, though I do hope Ricciardi's assessment of the two new guys is on the money. As the saying goes in these parts, in JP we trust, while reserving the right to worry a little.

Unless that fleeting Escobar-for-Bellhorn rumour resurfaces, it looks like a Woodward-Hudson DP combo for the foreseeable future (i.e., until Russ Adams is ready). I'm content with that also: Woodward may himself level off to a .260/.320/.430 shortstop with mediocre defensive skills, but for less than a million a year, I'll take a league-average shortstop for a while. There's enough pop in that infield to justify Woodward's presence for the time being.

I doubt this is the end of the dealing. As much as the Expos may be holding things up, I think the Blue Jays might well be waiting on Jeff Kent. If he resigns with the Giants, then I think the odds are that San Fran will deal Russ Ortiz, and Toronto should still be a contender to acquire him, though it will take more than simply Jose Cruz Jr. I really don't think JP wants to go into the season with Cory Lidle as his #2 starter, and I don't think he will. I'm just glad someone made a trade already!
_Jordan - Sunday, December 15 2002 @ 08:50 PM EST (#101148) #
Kent, just to address your thought: I still say Beware of Beanes in Three-Ways, and that ought to apply to quadrangular deals as well. In this case, there are reasons to be concerned: once again, Beane emerges from a multi-team deal with the best major-leaguer, and the other teams either have prospects or lowre-quality ML players (what the hell is wrong with the Diamondbacks?) I'm also a little concerned that Beane shipped out two of the guys he just received from the Yankees several months ago, and one has to wonder about that.

However, I think these worries can be allayed. The difference here, to my mind, is that Beane really wanted Durazo, the way only a true sabrmatician could. In my experience, the guys you deal with are the ones who simply have to get what they want: works in Roto, works in real life. Beane is usually the one engineering other teams' desire to fill a perceived need (e.g., Roberto Hernandez in Kansas City); here, it was the other way around. Beane went to a tremendous amount of trouble to get Erubiel Durazo, and I have a feeling JP might well have taken advantage of that.

I should also add that whether or not Griffin is part of the deal isn't terribly important to me: I never thought that highly of him in the first place. Arnold is clearly the superior prospect of the two. And speaking of Griffins, let me be the first to predict Richard Griffin's upcoming tirade about how the Blue Jays just gave away the next Nomar Garciaparra. It's possible, of course, but it's also possible they just acquired the next Mike Mussina. Richard can safely be counted on to accentuate the negative, however.
_Kent - Sunday, December 15 2002 @ 08:58 PM EST (#101149) #
ESPN has finally got around to correcting their initial report, which made it sound like Toronto was getting three players, and amended Jayson Stark's comments so that we are now told Griffin "could be" included. Originally, we were told it was the Reds sending money to nearly-bankrupt Phoenix, but the update says each of the other three teams tossed in a third of a million.

In other deals, the Red Sox gave up promising RH Josh Hancock for slugging problem child Jeremy Giambi, a deal that might backfire for Theo Epstein because you can't quantify irresponsible behaviour.

Tampa Bay gave up two prospects to be named after the Rule 5 draft for Rey Ordonez, the Mario Mendoza of OPS. Anything I said elsewhere about the D-Rays getting smarter with Lou Piniella in town was wrong. This would be insane if Rey was free, but at $6 million, I can't find the words. Heat up the Chris Gomez-to-Toronto rumours again, boys.

The Padres sent Brett Tomko to St. Louis for Luther Hackman and a prospect; San Diego needed to save some dough and the Cards' rotation is gradually improving; a win-win.
_Geoff North - Sunday, December 15 2002 @ 10:09 PM EST (#101150) #
It's so hard to analyze a trade until you know all the particulars... it seems part and parcel of trade analysis however to always want to crown a victor and a loser, and usually there is one. The best trades seem to be the ones that work out well for both teams, and I think there's always room for that in MLB. To my perception, Beane and JP's deals usually appear to be more of the friendly let's both improve our teams type of deals rather than let's fleece the other for all they're worth. In many stories of those two GM's, they are frequently described as best friends, and with such a friendly background, I can imagine a little give and take on both sides. I don't mean this as a detractor or qualifier of JP - I think he's a fine GM, who is capable of making excellent trades. Hell, just the unloading of Mondesi (anyone else chuckling at how frequently the Yankees are mentioned as having to unload contracts, especially Mondesi's now? And wonder how badly off the Jays would be, if they still had him?) is something to be acclaimed. Oppinion of Lopez appears to be split, and JP really does need to improve pitching depth.

Of course the ideal when trading is to always maximize the return you receive on every player, but that's probably much easier to say than to actually do.
_Richard - Sunday, December 15 2002 @ 11:32 PM EST (#101151) #
Well count this as one Richard who actually likes this trade....!

For me it comes down to roster management.I have faith that Woodward is a .800-.850 OPS guy.I also believe that eventually F.Lop will be pretty good as well.With Hudson and Adams on the way one of them needed to be moved.Lopez had the better "reputation" and hence trade value.The bottom line is "darnit" this team needs pitching and this need was addressed.
Craig B - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 12:01 AM EST (#101152) #
Arnold is clearly the superior prospect of the two.

I agree, Jordan, that Arnold has more talent than Griffin, but I think a pitcher, no matter how good, cannot really be a better "prospect" than any good hitter at the same level. I personally have taken the view, on seeing some of the eye-popping evidence that has been forumlated recently about the survival rate of top pitching prospects, that except in unusual circumstances there is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

In terms of discounted future expected value, I think the Jays gave up the most in this deal and got the least.

They also got the least in terms of expected value in 2003 and 2004, where Beane has been the big dog here. Durazo will likely do much more in the near future than Jason Arnold here... and since this is a one-for-one deal, it means that the team who won 103 games last year got another two or three games better.

But this is baseball, not finance. In baseball, high-risk, high-upside investments are sold a premium to their expected value, instead of a discount. So the Jays paid a little more to get the chance for something very special. I am not in favour of spending one of the six or seven most precious assets the organization has, in exchange for one young pitcher who has probably a 50% chance of pitching less than one full season in the majors... but if you're hell-bent on getting that asset, as JPR clearly was with Arnold, you're going to pay for it. If you had to land Arnold at any cost, this was far from the worst cost you might have to pay.

By the way, all available sources including Sportsnet, TSN, Pravda, and the Star's CP-AP hybrid story, have the Jays receiving one player, and Marty York (who *usually* is right about these things) as well as everyone else who ventures an opinion says is Arnold - it can't be announced because minor league rosters are frozen until the Rule 5 Draft tomorrow. So it's pretty clearly Arnold only.

It's easy to forget how good a prospect Lopez is, especially from the stathead-ish point of view. Lopez is a shortstop, who can clearly handle the position (for now, anyway). Now Jayson Werth is an outfielder, and I think people who watch the Toronto organization have a pretty good opinion of his potential as a hitter.

Lopez has outhit Werth at the AAA level. Not only that, he's done half of that hitting at 21 and half at 22, while Werth did it at 23... which is a MASSIVE difference. Cincinnati paid a lot for him, as Dessens is a pretty good pitcher, but he should pay them handsomely over the next three or four years.

Also, the Mets are apparently picking up 75% of ReyRey's contract, so Tampa picking him up at $1.5 million to fill in their execrable infield doesn't look quite so awful. He'll be an upgrade defensively and even offensively from Felix Escalona, who they were probably going to have to start otherwise. Those better be C- prospects, though.
Pistol - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 12:15 AM EST (#101153) #
From Gammons:

"The Blue Jays will get pitcher Jason Arnold from Oakland in the four-way trade and the Jays also will eventually get outfielder John-Ford Griffin, but that will be part of a future deal."
robertdudek - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 12:28 AM EST (#101154) #
Hi guys,

Felipe Lopez might become an excellent hitter, but I'd much rather have Orlando Hudson. Felipe doesn't have great range for a shortstop and doesn't seem to have the instincts to play the position well defensively. He may need to be shifted to 3rd (or 2nd) within a few years.

He could certainly develop into an above average hitter, even if he were moved to third, but a guy with his K/W ratio is a huge risk IMO.

Orlando is great on the DP and has pretty good range. He's obviously the type of guy who could become a perennial .280-.300 hitter - squarely in the Ray Durham mode. The fact that he did so well in the AFL (and World Cup) last year and then exceeded expectations in his rookie campaign bodes well for his future (IMO).

As for the guys coming our way, if it is to be Arnold and Griffin, I'd be surprised if neither of them contributed something to the major league team.

At this point I don't think Felipe has a better chance of becoming a star than A+G (combined), so the long term outlook should favour the Jays a bit too.

If it is only Arnold coming the other way, well, he does become the #1 pitching prospect in the organization by default. I'd probably want a little more in return, though.
Craig B - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 12:35 AM EST (#101155) #
Interesting that Griffin might be involved later on... which means another deal is to be done. So we will in fact be losing more than Lopez.

I like Griffin, he has the sort of great doubles power that sometimes resolves into great home run power as a player matures.

Like Robert, I loooove Orlando Hudson. I think he's probably a slightly better hitter right now than Lopez, but of course as a 2B and not a SS he doesn't have the positional advantage. Still, I like his makeup, and he seems to have what it takes to be a star. From a distance, I'd rather have Hudson than Lopez as well... so at least we didn't trade him. But as I recall, the Hudson deal was supposed to be for both players, and Lopez only drew one. If Griffin is coming in a future deal, maybe we'll get the better of that one.
_R Billie - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 02:15 AM EST (#101156) #
While I agree with the caution about pitching prospects, there's something to be said about having NO upper level pitching prospects at all in your organization.

If you go through the Jays' minor league team totals from 2002 (except for short season Auburn and low-A Charleston), the Jays' teams all ranked at or near the bottom in just about every major pitching category you can think of...ERA, walks, strikeouts, etc.

The Jays organization isn't just thin on prospects at the AAA and AA level...outside of *maybe* Chulk and Smith who have little upside, it's nearly devoid.

The only real concern with Jason Arnold is the injury factor. If he can stay healthy though, he's one of the best righthanded pitching prospects in the game according to John Sickels. Fastball in the 91-93 range and has been clocked as high as 97, and a very good slider and a very good changeup (the latter being rare in pitchers these days). Perhaps most importantly, he has the equivalent of the "sixth tool" for position players...intelligence.

I don't know if he's Roy Oswalt or Tim Hudson, but he could be given his stuff and relatively quick minor league success to this point...he has yet to fail through AA and through a no-hitter in his first pro season. JP even went as far as to say that he could make the team sometime in 2003.

So we'll have to see with this guy...and this is coming from a guy who actually thinks Lopez will do a lot better than many people do. Those concerned about his poor K/BB ratio need only look at the improvement he made at the AAA level this year and at winter ball (although hitting and power wise his winter ball hasn't been great).

When your organization depth in pitching is as bleak as the Jays' is, you have to take some risks sometimes. I would have loved Griffin in this deal and I'm disappointed he wasn't included...but despite the risks I like Arnold's potential a lot.

Last year JP said "don't look at our deals individually...look at them all as a whole". He's established he'll pay the price to get the guys he wants and sometimes it will work out (Koch for Hinske/Miller) and sometimes it won't (Quantrill/Izturis for Prokopec/Ricketts). And before you say it...yes I know the one that didn't work out was a deal for young pitching.
_R Billie - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 02:17 AM EST (#101157) #
Also, I think some are assuming that Hudson will not be dealt now which is not the sense I get. If JP believes he's getting a good pitcher in return, I think he'll deal Hudson and make a trade for a guy like Bellhorn.
_dp - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 05:57 AM EST (#101158) #
I'm with you on Lopez. All you Hudson boosters, think what he was doing at 21- not much. Lopez was holding his own against major league pitching. And I'll say the same thing about Russ Adams from now. Lopez was a special prospect. The Jays called him up during a desperate time for the organization in an attempt to fill a hole created by its own incompetence (after losing Bautista). They stuck him at a position where he had no experience, and advanced him without having taught him plate discipline. They handed him the SS job this season, despite still not having learned plate discipline. Reportedly, he fell in with Raul and gained some bad habits. At 22. I'd be willing to overlook that, call it a mistake instead of an indication of future behavior. They sent him to Syracuse for it, which was probably the best thing for him. Assuming they said "go there and to draw some walks," he did what they wanted, and put up a great half-season. His reward? Sitting on the bench all September while career lamers Dave Berg and Tom Wilson took AB where he could've showed management he'd learned something.

This isn't the type you give up on. If Felipe came up in JP's minor leagues, he probably wouldn't have gotten beyond high-A without learning the value of a walk. He wouldn't have hit the bigs until he was proven ready. But just because he was Gord's mess doesn't mean he wasn't worth the investment of effort. Cincy got a good one, and will be rewarded for having patience JP did not. I'm pulling for Woodward and Hudson this year, but long term, I think Lopez will be the better player, and by a lot. Woodward seems like a mistake hitter, and that type will do well against Baltimore and Tampa Bay, but not the better staffs in the league (the ones you hope to play in the playoffs).

Anyway, I hope I'm wrong.
_Ryan Adams - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 09:34 AM EST (#101159) #
From the Star:

Both Griffin and Arnold had been mentioned as heading to Toronto in the days leading up to yesterday's deal. Ricciardi offered a "no comment" to questions about why he wound up with only one of the prospects.

From the Sun:

Ricciardi said "there will be a further deal involving one of the clubs we dealt with today." That would be the A's and Griffin.
Dave Till - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 10:11 AM EST (#101160) #
I'm wondering whether this trade is a continuation of the Lidle deal. The Jays got Lidle for very little, and this trade seems to balance things a little.

I can see why the Jays traded Lopez, but I'm worried about the deal. Felipe is clearly a major talent: he basically tore up AAA after being sent down, and he's still only 22. Ricciardi and Tosca must have decided that he's uncoachable, or that Adams is the real thing.

Still, it would have been hard to fit Lopez into the roster. He's not a particularly good defensive shortstop, and Hudson's a much better defensive second baseman.

Chris Woodward and Orlando Hudson have got to be pretty happy campers this morning. And I am looking forward to seeing the two of them work together again next year - they turn the double play better than any Jays combination I can recall. (Alomar was a good second baseman, but he wasn't especially good on the pivot.)

So, who will Richard Griffin interview first? Chris Carpenter, or Felipe Lopez?
_Jordan - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 11:09 AM EST (#101161) #
Well, the Griffster has weighed in, and he wasn't as harsh as I thought he'd be, though of course he got in his few mandatory digs at JP & Co. It's hard to argue the point about Lopez's trade value being low, but query whether it was going to get any higher at Syracuse, or if the return JP wanted would have been there in July. Bottom line, Felipe was going to go this winter and that was that.

Ricciardi's and Tosca's comments in this article make it abundantly clear that Lopez was traded because of his attitude towards the game: poor work habits, little discipline, little maturity. There's an echo here of Jeremy Giambi, whom Ricciardi's mentor Beane gave away to the Phillies for what appear to be very similar reasons. That trade spraked a massive, and bitter, conflagration at Baseball Primer at the time, as statheads grappled with the hard reality that their hero traded an OPS machine because of the Dreaded Intangibles. That argument, which is still a bit of an open wound at the site, decided nothing, but two facts are indisputable: (1) Giambi was far more talented than John Mabry, and (2) the A's turned around completely after that deal and won 100 games. Make of that what you will, but I think Ricciardi made a similar deal here and got better talent in return than Beane did.

The only results that matter are on the field. It's now up to Chris Woodward this year, and Jason Arnold two years from now, to justify Ricciardi's faith. As for Felipe, I hope the trade rattles his cage a little and helps him continue to turn his career around. He has tremendous talent, he had a rough childhood, and he's very young; it would be churlish to hope he flops in order to make the trade look better.
Coach - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 11:32 AM EST (#101162) #
My initial delight at getting three prospects for Lopez was barely diminished when I thought it was two, and I still prefer the potential of this particular RHP to this particular SS. But I'll rescind my call of "win" for J.P. over Beane -- as Geoff suggests, that's just a rhetorical device anyway. Arnold and Griffin (to me) was a better return for Lopez than Durazo is for A & G; but as the deal appears to stand (thanks for nothing, ESPN) it's an obvious coup for Oakland in the short term and a possible turning point for the Jays.

I like Dave's speculation that Ricciardi and Beane have a balancing act going, and since both Gammons and Stark are hinting that Griffin will be eventually coming to Toronto, it may be J.P.'s turn next time; the Hudson-to-Colorado triangle may not be a dead issue, and the Jays still covet Russ Ortiz, but the Giants won't do a direct cross-bay deal. It's a long way to March 31.

For dp and anyone else who is strongly pro-Lopez and disappointed, I agree that in general, a player of his age and accomplishments is worth keeping, but in this specific case, it's a very difficult call. Even if the kid grows up, becomes more responsible, improves his work habits and develops plate discipline, the fact remains that he's better off in another organization. These Blue Jays have clearly demonstrated a preference for consistent, unspectacular middle infield defence from high-OBP types, and would also consider a power guy; they might not have moved Batista to third, or traded him. And while I'm #1A to Craig's #1 as O-Dog's biggest fan, he's another guy who might be a better fit in a lineup built around tools, and while it won't be as exciting for local fans, there are several inexpensive replacements available at that position, but not many stud pitchers.
_R Billie - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 12:50 PM EST (#101163) #
I don't know why people are assuming that the Jays "gave up" on Lopez or think he won't amount to much. I'm very sure JP feels the same about his potential as he did last season. But guess what...a trade is made when both sides agree to it...JP has to make it worthwhile for other teams to give up their premium young pitching prospects in a very pitching thin environment.

Is Lopez too much? Possibly. Was Koch too much for a third baseman who had never seen the major leagues and had defensive question marks? Most certainly at the time. We won't know until the deal pans out.

One things for certain, the Jays have a true starting pitching option that could be up with the team this year that they didn't have before. And Woodward provides them with competent (if not star level) production at short.

I'm still waiting to see how the Griffin transaction is completed and if Cruz or Hudson are dealt. I get the sense that one more major league arm is desired.
_dp - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 01:53 PM EST (#101164) #
My pessimism is about Woodward and Adams as compared to Lopez long-term. I know Wood's got the "right attitude" (white guy who says the right things) going for him, but he's also been extremely prone to nagging injuries. His breakthrough consisted of 3 good months, and in September, he fell off the planet with a .579 OPS. Again, I just didn't see the urgency to deal Lopez. Even if he spends a year in AAA, he still gives them insurance against a total collapse by Wood or Hudson. Wood posted a sub-.600 OPS in 200 ML ABs coming into this year, and IMO the Jays made a short-sighted move based on a couple of hot months by a utility infielder. Wood hasn't looked competent for too long, and when he gets hurt, there's no one really to back him up.

The Jays pitching looked OK before the deal, but JP seemed wed to Arnold as opposed to exploring a Cruz/Escobar deal for a similar calibur prospect. The differences between the Koch deal and this one IMO are the salary issue and the on-hand talent one. The Jays had every reason to believe that Escobar could perform at least as well as Koch for less money. I think they feel the same about Woodward, but I just don't agree, and I'm not totally sold on Adams as his replacement either. That said, if Adams could really come to the majors hitting .300/.400/.400 with speed, that'd be awesome- pretty much my favorite type of player, espcially if the Jays allow him to use his running game.
_jason - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 04:02 PM EST (#101165) #
"I like Dave's speculation that Ricciardi and Beane have a balancing act going, and since both Gammons and Stark are hinting that Griffin will be eventually coming to Toronto, it may be J.P.'s turn next time; the Hudson-to-Colorado triangle may not be a dead issue, and the Jays still covet Russ Ortiz, but the Giants won't do a direct cross-bay deal. It's a long way to March 31." - Coach

I would think it would be more likely that the Jays would hold on to Hudson at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if the future deal bantied about with Oakland doesnt involve Cruz, being that Justice has retired and Long is really inadequate in CF. I'm not suggesting that JP would trade Cruz for Griffin straight up but only as part of the return for Cruz. Perhaps a multi-team/multi-player deal in the works with a team whos name we haven't heard mentioned yet? Montreal? Atlanta? Intresting stuff.
_jason - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 04:11 PM EST (#101166) #
More random speculation on my part:

With Kent now "unlikely" to return to the Giants, the Dodgers might be able to snag him now to play 1st base but to do so they would have to clear some payroll, meaning they would have to shed some of their pitching I would imagine.
Craig B - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 04:33 PM EST (#101167) #
I guess the Dodgers, without anyone being willing to take on Brown or Dreifort, might look to dump Nomo. But at $7.25 million in 2003 (and then a $1.5 million buyout in 2004, or an $8 million option) he's awfully expensive for the Jays' meagre budget. Ishii is a better fit financially but he turned into a pumpkin after the 8-1 start. After the ASB (mind you, in only 53 innings) he had an ERA of 5.57 and a nifty 43-42 K/W ratio.
_R Billie - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 04:42 PM EST (#101168) #
The Dodgers may dump Nomo or Ashby as both have high salaries. If some kind of three-way could be worked where Cruz goes to Oakland for Griffin, a player from Oakland goes to LA, and either Nomo or Ashby come to the Jays with LA eating enough dollars to bring the salary down to Cruz territory...that could be a possibility.

I don't think LA is going to have much luck getting anyone to take on either Nomo or Ashby at their $7 to $8 million salaries.
Dave Till - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 04:42 PM EST (#101169) #
Re Woodward versus Lopez: I think what has happened is that the Jays have decided that Lopez's defense isn't good enough to play shortstop in the major leagues. If you remove Lopez from the SS picture, everything becomes much clearer: Woody is the shortstop by default, and it comes down to Hudson versus Lopez at second. And Hudson is better defensively than Lopez, and isn't as much of a long-term project.

It's also not clear that Lopez can actually play second, either. If Lopez can't play short or second, he runs the risk of becoming the next Felipe Crespo, as his bat probably isn't good enough for third or the outfield. Perhaps J.P. is smart enough to realize this, and is cashing in on Lopez's value while he still has some.
_jason - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 04:45 PM EST (#101170) #
For some reason Lopez reminds me of Junior Felix.
_dp - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 05:55 PM EST (#101171) #
"It's also not clear that Lopez can actually play second, either. If Lopez can't play short or second, he runs the risk of becoming the next Felipe Crespo, as his bat probably isn't good enough for third or the outfield. Perhaps J.P. is smart enough to realize this, and is cashing in on Lopez's value while he still has some."

It is also possible JP made a huge mistake here. The Crespo comparison is totally inaccurate; Crespo never had potential of F-Lo.
If he flashes the same type of stick he did at AAA this year, his bat is good enough for 3B or CF, and we have yet to see if he can play 2B, but there's nothing to suggest he can't.

"If you remove Lopez from the SS picture, everything becomes much clearer:"

Yeah, but if there's a competition between Ordonez and A-Rod, and you remove A-Rod from the picture, then it becomes much clearer too, but clarity doesn't make it better.

His composite AAA line, posted at age 21/22:
531 AB, 20 2B 9 3B, 59 BB, 131 K, 26/5 SB/CS 35 E .363/.490/.292

I'm not sure the bias against him, but those numbers are pretty tough to just push aside. For all the knocks on his plate discipline, he was pretty good in that respect, and was a high % base stealer. The strikeouts and errors are troubling, but there've been a lot of SS who have cut their error totals as they get older and more focused. It isn't like he's Wily Mo Pena or Drew Henson- all talent and ML numbers boosted by an occassional HR. The Jays treated him horribly, and it'll probably come back to bite them in the ass. I was reading Sandberg's entry in the NHBA, and it reminded me of Lopez- unspectacular major league numbers at a young age. James looked at players who've performed similarly at such a young age, and found that most of them turned out to have good-togreat careers (i'd cite it verbatim, but my books are all packed- mid-december moves are fun!).
robertdudek - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 06:31 PM EST (#101172) #
Another shortstop's AAA line (age 21):

AB 437 H 124, 2b 22, 3b 4, HR 12, W 53, K 92, SB 23, CS 6, .284 AVG/.361 OBP/.435 SLG

Less power, but better strike-zone judgement (lower K rate) and a bit younger than FLopez' composite listed above. I can add that the aforementioned shortstop was regarded as well above-average defensively.

Q: Who is the better prospect, F-Lo or the guy above?

It's a close call, but I'd take the guy above.

It's true that F-Lo MIGHT end up as good as Tejada, but the chances are fairly slight, since that's just about the best conceivable result. But he could end up a defensively-inferior version of the guy above (Alex Gonzalez, of course). Most likely he'll be in between and (my guess is) shaded towards the low end.
_dp - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 09:35 PM EST (#101173) #
But as a Jays fan, you've got to concede that A-Gon's lack of development was as unusual as it was frustrating. The thing about the F-Lo situation that should be different than the A-Gon situation is coaching- now, with an organizational emphasis on plate discipline and fundamentals, one would think the team is prepared to better channel such immense talents. The organization seemed fine with low walk totals from Gonzalez, batting him #2 for god-knows-why, and rewarding him with a big contract despite his mediocre numbers.
robertdudek - Monday, December 16 2002 @ 10:16 PM EST (#101174) #
No one has demonstated that an organization can teach people to take walks at the major league level. What SOME organizations do is get rid of the guys with holes in their swings and keep the guys with good W/K ratios.

Which is exactly what has happened in Toronto. Ricciardi's first order of business was to dump Gonzo for very little in return. Now he's sent Lopez packing. Lopez' K/W rate at the AAA and ML level so far has been very very bad. The only possible exceptions would be guys with great power - who usually get their fair share of walks and homers to compensate for the K's. Lopez doesn't have that type of power.

If I were to pick the type of player that is likely to "hit the wall" advancing from AAA to the majors, it would be a guy with a high K and mid-low walk rates.

Lopez is all potential at this point and potential has a tendency to peter out. I say let someone else worry about converting that potential.
Craig B - Tuesday, December 17 2002 @ 12:16 PM EST (#101175) #
If I were to pick the type of player that is likely to "hit the wall" advancing from AAA to the majors, it would be a guy with a high K and mid-low walk rates.

I agree, Robert, that that profile is worrying... but it doesn't really fit Lopez. He had 59 BB and 131 K in two years at AAA... that's a bit worrying if you were trying to plug that guy into the ML mix right away, and his ML numbers weren't nearly that good. But this player did that at 21 and 22, and Lopez was hitting the "magic" 10% mark at a level better than his age, and the ML numbers were being put up at the same time, and he didn't lose a ton of power.

(In my experience, it's the player with low batting averages who is the "least likely to succeed"; despite good walks and power, a player with poor averages whether caused by taking too many pitches or not making contact is even less likely to succeed at the MLB level than the guy with poor strike zone discipline)

Lopez has tremendous power potential. He has posted good power numbers at a young age, and his power - like most players - can be expected to get better as he ages.

If he can't really be a shortstop, then all bets are off... he's not an outstanding prospect if he can't be a SS. Lopez's fielding numbers compared to Woodward's (except for Zone Rating) aren't that good, but I think it's partially an illusion of context. Lopez was the SS in the early part of the season, when hitters were pounding the balls into the gaps and Homer Bush and the horrible Joe Lawrence were his primary DP partners. Woodward took over when the staff was better, more grounders were being hit, and Berg and then Hudson were the primary second basemen, and not surprisingly that combo turned more double plays.

He cetainly didn't embarrass himself out there.
_Craig B, who is - Tuesday, December 17 2002 @ 12:20 PM EST (#101176) #
Lopez is all potential at this point and potential has a tendency to peter out.

Which would be a great point, except the Jays got a AA pitcher for him. On the "unlikely to work out" scale, that's a much worse proposition.

I actually expect Lopez to outplay Woodward this year.
Coach - Tuesday, December 17 2002 @ 04:27 PM EST (#101177) #
Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun compares Lopez to Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra, Sammy Sosa, George Bell and -- of course, how could we have overlooked it? -- Brett Hull, in today's column. He connects the dots from Marty Janzen to Jason Arnold, ignoring the possibility that the newest Jay might be more like Tim Hudson. He conveniently forgets that 2B are available almost everywhere, and top-notch starters scarce.

Lopez is a better baseball player than Hull, otherwise not remotely comparable to the other names dropped. Well, they were all 22 once, and so is Felipe, the only one who has done absolutely nothing to warrant MVP or HoF consideration. If Steve hates this trade so much, why not try dissecting it like a reasonable person? I may disagree about F-Lo's upside because of the "Dreaded Intangibles," but at least I respect dp's opinion, which he supports with facts, not Simmons' hyperbole.
_dp - Wednesday, December 18 2002 @ 04:05 AM EST (#101178) #
Hey, thanks Coach! I think there's at least valid evidence to suggest Lopez will perform at the ML level- he's not a "tools goof" or something- you don't put up those numbers in AAA on accident. Just compare his MLE's with Hudson's or Woods's at the same age and you'll see what I'm talking about...
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