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Bartolo Colon has been traded to the Chicago White Sox in a three-way deal involving the Yankees. The Expos receive Jeff Liefer, Rocky Biddle, Orlando Hernandez, and cash to pay some of Hernandez's salary.

Details are here.
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_Mick - Wednesday, January 15 2003 @ 01:08 PM EST (#99240) #
Writing as Yankees fan (if you didn't know that about me already, well, sorry to disappoint you!) ... I love this deal. Rant forthcoming. Read, skim, tell me to shove it. Whatever piques your fancy.

Duque is not 34. Nobody has ever really believed that. He's more like 39 or 40, and is about to collapse into a quivering heap of ineffectiveness (no matter what he did for me fantasy team last year, when healthy, this is simply true).

Osuna is a great pickup for a 2003 bullpen that genuinely concerns me. I don't think you can overestimate the loss of Mendoza and Stanton, and from what I've seen of Osuna on TV and live, he is just a notch below their effectiveness level and generally healthier. With Karsay a mental question mark and Rivera still battling health problems, I like having a guy who got some experience closing last year, too.

Never wanted Colon. Have you seen him recently? The press reports that he has ballooned to 260 are very generous. I was actually hoping the Red Sox would overpay for him; now they're unlikely to get Vasquez, either, unless they pony up every prospect in their farm system. (Oh, wait ... they don't have any. Scratch that.)

The Bronx rotation, even with the remaining seven guys -- six, really, I mean who counts Hitchcock in that group? -- will require depth. Now with Clemens, Mussina, Weaver and Contreras from the right side and Pettitte and Wells from the left, you can worry less about Clemens' inevitable dropoff, Wells'inevitable injury or arrest (or one leading to the other) and the complete unknown that is Contreras.

And the bullpen now has two solid RHP (Karsay, Osuna) and two decent LHP (Hammond, Hitchcock) to set up Rivera.

The minor-leaguer the Yanks get, Delvis Lantigua, I know nothing about -- but he was on the Chicago 40-man, so there's something there.

Thus endeth the rant. Fire away, Yankee-haters.
_jason - Wednesday, January 15 2003 @ 01:16 PM EST (#99241) #
I was surprised the Expos only picked up Leifer and Biddle in addition to Hernandez. Maybe they got a generous amount of cash. I hope so, I dont see how this trade addressed any of the Expos needs. ie. 1st base, another outfielder.

Osuna is a good RP and fairly young, its a good pick-up by the Yankees.

As for the White Sox, time will tell what kind of shape Colon is in, but for all the skepticism around his health, he hasn't shown any ill effects from carrying extra weight in the past. If he pitches up to his ability, it could make the White Sox contenders in the AL Central.
_EddieZosky - Wednesday, January 15 2003 @ 01:47 PM EST (#99242) #
Did the Yankees really do this because they wanted Colon in their starting staff, or was this more of a move the thwart the Red Sox?
Craig B - Wednesday, January 15 2003 @ 03:07 PM EST (#99243) #
Jason, I think Liefer really is going to be the 1st baseman or leftfielder. (Whichever Wilkerson doesn't want). He had a bad '02, but has hit well at AAA and in 2001. I think they're going to roll the dice on him.

As for Biddle, he's a useful reliever, especially now that Herges is gone.

Hernandez is a crapshoot, but the Expos need to take risks. All in all, not what they would have received had they pulled the trigger two months ago, but acceptable for them given how things have turned out.

I share Mick's doubts about Colon; but Chicago have put themselves in a much better position to challenge Minnesota nonetheless.
Coach - Wednesday, January 15 2003 @ 04:35 PM EST (#99244) #
Jason noted on an earlier thread that there seem to be more multi-team deals than ever. I agree, and much of the reason is the difficulty of matching up needs between just two teams. The Expos got what they wanted here; three less-expensive players including a rotation regular, but mostly relief from Colon's salary. Talent-wise, I can't say they are better, but their present ownership couldn't care less about competitive balance anyway.

Mick, one of the reasons you were invited to join us here was to bring an outsider's viewpoint to the Blue Jays love-in. I can't remember the other reasons, but they seemed valid at the time. :) Batter's Box was always intended to be about baseball, with special emphasis on the local team, and we Canadians tend to be polite and tolerant, even of Yankee fans.

I understand your excitement. In essence, the Yanks exchanged a declining Cuban RHP for one in his prime, added depth to the bullpen, and all it cost them was millions of dollars, which (unlike most other clubs) doesn't seem to matter to them. I'm imagining a very smug GMS III, enjoying the additional fringe benefit of steering Colon away from the hated BoSox.

Not sure what the Yankees see in Delvis Lantigua -- he wasn't bad in AA Birmingham last year (6-2, 3.48, 35 BB, 66 K in 85.1 IP) then got rocked in AAA Charlotte, but he's only 23 and has a great name. His former teammate Gary Majewski, who the Jays Rule 5-ed, looks as good (actually better) on paper.

The White Sox, despite Colon's girth and his violent delivery, which somehow hasn't caused his arm to fall off yet, have improved; their one-man rotation (Buehrle) automatically becomes twice as good. They can go into any series with a chance to win, and with Minnesota standing pat, have certainly closed the gap in their division. I had them rated in a virtual tie with Toronto as the 7th-best AL team, so "we" may have just slipped a notch.

So call it a win-win-win, except that for the 'Spos, it's more of a improvement on the bottom line than in the standings. El Duque is a candidate to be traded to a contender at the deadline, unless Montreal is in the thick of a more wide-open NL East race than usual. If they end up with a couple of prospects, plus Liefer and Biddle, while saving millions, that's a good deal under present circumstances.
_jason - Wednesday, January 15 2003 @ 08:06 PM EST (#99245) #
From Dave Campbell's breakdown :

"Jeff Liefer holds the key to this deal for Montreal. Some observers believe that if he gets 500 at-bats, he could produce some big numbers. He played both outfield and first base with the White Sox -- and the Expos certainly need a first baseman." - Dave Campbell, ESPN
_Scott Lucas - Thursday, January 16 2003 @ 02:28 AM EST (#99246) #
Colon's tough to figure out. While calculating some early predictions of fantasy-league performance for 2003, I "red-flagged" some pitchers who appeared headed for a fall. Declining rate of strikeout was one red flag. For example, Colon:

2000: 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
2001: 8.1 K/9
2002 5.8 K/9

Yikes! A 43% decline in strikeout rate in two years! But, in contrast:

2000: 4.7 walks per nine innings
2001: 3.6 BB/9
2002: 2.7 BB/9

A 42% decline in walk rate in two years. Hmmm. As I said, tough to figure. Perhaps he's "evolving" rather than declining.

Prior to his monster 2002, Colon had a steady ERA between 3.71-4.09 in a hitter's park for four years. Not spectacular, but good. Comiskey is also a hitter's park. Assuming 2002 was an anomaly, I'd guess he'll merely be good rather than exceptional for the Pale Hose. If they're expecting brilliance, Chicago will be disappointed, but if they'll settle for good, they'll be satisfied.
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