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With Sabathia traded AJ Burnett becomes one of the more attractive pitchers to trade for.

And Ricciardi apparently has no issues with publicly talking about it.  (Did we see Shapiro discussing trading Sabathia prior to that trade?)

Jeff Blair covers most of the bases in an article and blog post.

A few snippets:
The Blue Jays have a pretty clear game plan with Burnett: in order to trade him, they will need to receive what they believe will be the equivalent of two compensatory draft picks. Otherwise, they will keep him.
I hope this is just translated or worded poorly, because the Jays shouldn't consider trading Burnett unless they get something clearly in excess of the value of those two picks.  If a team is just giving up the equivalent of two draft picks they're essentially renting Burnett for nothing but cash.

"We're not sitting here thinking we're going to trade for a specific need we're going to trade for the best player available," Ricciardi said, dismissing the idea he has scouts scurrying to look at minor-league shortstops.
Good.  That should always be the mindset.  Too bad that wasn't the case in the 2005 draft.

"We think the fact that we have two players at Double A who have already moved quickly Brett Cecil and J.P. Arenicibia means we know how to identify a player who is capable of moving through the system quickly."
This is really amusing to me.  One, it sounds like the voice of an insecure man - "hey look, we actually have a couple prospects - the farm system is a-ok!".  Two, is that really an accomplishment?  Polished college players taken in the top 40 of the draft should be in AA at this point.  And there's plenty of examples of players reaching AA quickly and never working out.  Ricciardi continues to reiterate that the farm system is fine, but other than Travis Snider the Jays don't have a minor leaguer who would rank in a consensus top 50 prospect list.  And, at best, the Jays have 3 players in the top 100 - which is no more than average, particularly when 3 of the 4 teams in your division have more.

Said another way, if Burnett is traded a prospect coming back better at least be the team's second best prospect.

Blair's final sentence is about Burnett, but is pretty much how I feel about Ricciardi:  "Hope for the best, prepare for the worst."

The O's are in town tonight.  Dan Cabrera faces off against Dustin McGowan.
8 July 2008: Burnett on the Block | 22 comments | Create New Account
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Mike Green - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 10:00 AM EDT (#188527) #
AJ and BJ are linked forever in my mind.  I wonder who has more actual value, and more perceived value, now.  Ugueth Urbina netted the Tigers Placido Polanco a couple of years ago.
TamRa - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 10:20 AM EDT (#188528) #
I disagree that getting players who are as good as the players we would draft is a wash. If we got, for instance, Hu from the Dodgers and he can play SS in 2009 for the Jays, he's of more value to us than drafting an equally talented SS in next years draft and seeing him in the majors 3 or 4 years after that.

Gerry - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 10:25 AM EDT (#188529) #
Baseball trades are based on supply and demand.  Other than Hardon or Blanton, who might not be available, Burnett is one of the best, if not the best pitcher available.  If you believe the pundits the Phillies were going hard after Sabathia.  The Cubs will also need to react to the Brewers move and who knows what the Mets will do.  If the Jays can get into a bidding war they could do OK from a trade.
Paul D - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 10:26 AM EDT (#188530) #

Interesting article over at primer today, about the TV viewership for the Nationals - apparently they get about 9,000 viewers per game (or average households, so I suppose the number of viewers is higher, although I'm not familiar with this stuff).  They're drawing okay in terms of attendance, but they don't really seem to be that better off than they were in Montreal.   Toronto numbers weren't available.

Primer Article here


Mike Green - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 10:27 AM EDT (#188531) #
There is an interesting analysis of the Sabathia trade in today's THT. It seems that from a monetary perspective, the thing of greatest value to the Brewers (even more than Sabathia's intrinsic value and the increased chances that the club will make the playoffs) is the first round pick that they get when he leaves. Awfully cold, isn't it?
John Northey - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 10:41 AM EDT (#188532) #
BJ Ryan is an interesting addition to the trade bait discussion.  He is a very good pitcher, 'proven closer', and with the depth in the Jays pen an expensive luxury.

Doing a quick check of division leaders and their closers...
Not looking for a closer
Tampa: Troy Percival - 115 ERA+ with 19 saves but injury issues/fears, their pen has 5 out of 6 guys over 100 for ERA+ and their 7th guy has 27 K's in 17 2/3 IP.
White Sox: Bobby Jenks - 220 ERA+ with 18 saves but just 19 K's in 32 IP.  Pitching is their strength with 13 out of 15 pitchers being over 100 for ERA+ with the other two being at 98 and 29, but the 29 is over 6 2/3 IP.
Angels: F-Rod - 217 ERA+ with 35 (!) saves (wow, could break the record) but 22 walks in 38 IP is a warning sign.  Speier is the only guy with significant innings under 100 for ERA+ (80)
Phillies: Brad Lidge - 444 ERA+ with 19 saves (have 2 dead zones in rotation though with sub 90 ERA+'s).  Deep pen but just one left hander with over 5 IP
Cubs: Kerry Wood - 154 ERA+ with 22 saves. All guys in the pen have ERA+ over 100 with 20+ IP, but not a lot of LHP depth.
Diamondbacks: Brandon Lyon - 176 ERA+ with 18 saves.  Again, just one LHP in the pen.

None when it comes to closers.

Huh.  Normally one division leader has a closer with issues but not yet this year.  However,  lots of teams have a lack of LHP in the pen it looks like.  With a reasonable contract and a career year might this be the best time to trade Scott Downs?  Gotta figure a LHP with an ERA under 2 and a proven track record in the pen and the ability to come in as a starter if needed has some value.  I know if someone out there feels like giving the Jays a quality prospect for Downs I'd take it in a second.  We have 4 LHP in the pen in Downs, Ryan, Tallet and Carlson with only Carlson below 30 and non-arbitration eligible so I'd put all of them on the block and see if someone bites.  I suspect to most teams in playoff contention Downs would be the top choice (contract & willingness to be setup rather than closer) followed by Ryan then Tallet (teams always want vets rather than rooks in a playoff race).

So, for trade bait....
#1: AJ Burnett - starter with golden arm and leaden head
#2: Scott Downs - LH setup man having great year and low contract
#3: Eckstein - SS and 'proven winner' who is a 'dirtbag' with a contract ending at seasons end
#4: BJ Ryan - proven closer, LH, expensive but not to a crazy degree for a closer
#5: Tallet - solid LH in the pen but not with an amazing pedigree or rep, no more than a B prospect in return I suspect and only from a desperate team

Time for JP to cash in some of that pitching credit he has built up the past few years. 
ayjackson - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 10:50 AM EDT (#188533) #
BJ might be a good option for LAA.  F-Rod is a FA after this season and the Angels were unable to extend him last winter.  They play a lot of close games, so a quality lefty would help to preserve leads.  They also have a buy-low prospect in Brandon Wood.
FisherCat - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 10:55 AM EDT (#188534) #

Said another way, if Burnett is traded a prospect coming back better at least be the team's second best prospect

When saying this do you mean that team's 2nd best prospect OR a player that would become the Jays' 2nd best prospect?  BIG difference between the 2, me thinks!

With the following teams being the most likely suitors (Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers, Tampa Bay Rays); is there an easy place to look at each teams' top 10 prospects?

My wish list would have to include a fireballer as a throw-in.  The Jays' system seems void of a true gunslinger that can throw in the upper 90's and could possibly be groomed as a setup man / closer.  League was supposed to be that guy, but his window of opportunity is closing.

Mike Green - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 11:08 AM EDT (#188535) #
Perhaps, the Braves might be interested in a closer. Frank Wren is not John Schuerholz; that much is clear. 
John Northey - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 11:12 AM EDT (#188536) #
Interesting stuff on the ratings and average viewership for teams.
#1: Yankees: 325k households
#2: Red Sox: 233k households
#3: Mets: 204k households
#26: Pirates: 34k households
#27: Orioles: 33k households
#28: Royals: 28k households
#29: Washington: 9k households

How appropriate that Washington is getting about what the Expos used to get for viewership eh?  Interesting that the Orioles are also down there but that Tampa is somewhere above them (not listed).

Checking Jays ratings from an old Star article - - dated May 6th 2008...
On Sportsnet during a weekend vs the White Sox: 257k to 320k viewers.  This was against the NHL playoffs.  I couldn't find more recent or alternate data points, but given the Sox aren't a big draw and the viewing competition this seems like a good number to get.

Since the US uses households not number of viewers (or at least that is what it shows) it is worth mentioning that 2.5 people per household is the average.  Thus, if everyone in each house watched the game each time (extremely doubtful) the Orioles would've had 33k x 2.5 = 82,500 viewers per game while the Yankees would've had 325k x 2.5 = 812,500 viewers.  So if we take the #2 and #28 teams (cutting the Yankees and Nationals) we get 130.5k households on average x 2.5 = 326,250 viewers maximum, 130,500 minimum.  The middle of those two extremes is 228,375 viewers which sounds reasonable and suggests the Jays are an above average viewership draw in MLB terms.

cascando - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#188537) #

it is next to impossible to know the equivalent value of those two compensation picks.  It could be #17 and another pick in the low 30s, or it could be a low sandwich pick and a third rounder, depending on where Burnett signs and where he falls in the ELIAS rankings. 

 think JP would be right to take a reasonable deal at the deadline where he can control the outcome, rather than wait for free agency and hope for the best.  If Burnett signs with a team with a protected pick in the first round (first 15 or 16?) and if that team signs another solid FA, the two compensation picks might be real longshots.

ayjackson - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 11:57 AM EDT (#188538) #
I just don't believe Burnett will be an "A" ranked free agent.  He wasn't last year, and 2008 isn't looking too spectacular, and his last healthy season (2005) is losing weight.
Ducey - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 12:17 PM EDT (#188539) #

I have had it with JP and his "move quickly" BS.  His idea for years was to draft college guys who would "move quickly".   He got Bush in 2002, Hill and Marcum in 2003, Lind, Janssen, Litsch in 2004, nothing in 2005 (despite the 6th overall pick), until he actaully went for a "slow mover" in 2006 (Snyder) in 2006.

I love those guys but none of them are superstars.  They are good players, maybe even above league averge, maybe Marcum and Hill will make all star game or two, but you need to draft top end guys not "fast movers"

Hey JP here's an idea.  Get the best fricken player regardless how close he is to the majors!

Thomas - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 12:18 PM EDT (#188540) #
Mike Gonzalez is looking very good so far for the Braves now that he's finally recovered from Tommy John. Of course, he could easily be moved into the setup role if the team acquired a name closer. As for Atlanta in general, they're in a tough spot as soon they'll have to decide whether they're buyers or sellers. They're not too far out of the race in the NL East, but the Wild Card is looking like less of a possibility after Sabathia and Atlanta's looking up at Philly and the Mets. It's not likely they'll be able to sign Teixeira at the end of the season, so there's a chance they'll put him on the market.
PeteMoss - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 12:20 PM EDT (#188541) #
The one team that's a contender or likely to act like a contender that needs bullpen help is Detroit.  They traded a ton of prospects to get Cabrera/Willis but they need pitching help all over.   Zumaya and Rodney aren't looking like the saviours they were thought to be.  Rodney is sitting with an 8.79 ERA and Zumaya is allowing over 2.00 baserunners per inning.
Pistol - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 12:42 PM EDT (#188542) #
I disagree that getting players who are as good as the players we would draft is a wash. If we got, for instance, Hu from the Dodgers and he can play SS in 2009 for the Jays, he's of more value to us than drafting an equally talented SS in next years draft and seeing him in the majors 3 or 4 years after that.

No, I agree with you.  I just assume a discount for the level of a player (although didn't necessarily say that).  Said another way, Brett Cecil today is worth more than a Brett Cecil clone next draft.

The expected return of two picks actually isn't that great.  It's probably equal to one average major league player so it shouldn't be that hard to meet that minimum in a trade.

And to clarify, when I said 2nd best prospect I meant a player acquired for Burnett (or any traded A player that won't re-sign) should become the Blue Jays second best prospect.

Wildrose - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 12:48 PM EDT (#188543) #
I thought the THT analysis of the Sabathia deal was outstanding. Thanks Mike. They  also have a fairly detailed breakdown on Marcum here.
John Northey - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 01:03 PM EDT (#188544) #
Detroit's pitching is looking pretty ugly this year.  93 ERA+ overall, 7 guys have started a game for them and just one of those 7 has an ERA+ over 100 (Armando Galarraga).  Their closer has more walks than strikeouts.  The guy with the most innings in the pen also has more walks than strikeouts.  In fact, not a single pitcher on their staff this year has had more K's than IP, with no one over 20 IP reasonably close (20 in 26 IP for Bobby Seay is the closest). 

Detroit is at 500 right now, 3rd place, 7 games out of their division lead and the same distance from Boston for the Wild Card.  If Detroit trades prospects for a rental then they either think the Twins & White Sox are going to collapse or they are just plain dumb as they still have lots of ground to make up and need a lot of help to gain it.  However, if they think they can come back next year and go for a closer ala BJ Ryan who is signed through 2010 or a setup man like Downs who is also signed through 2010 then it could make sense.  Same with AJ if they make it conditional on AJ signing an extension.

Checking some other contenders who are known for prospects...
Twins: Have 3 starters over 100 for ERA+ (two barely at 104 and a 3rd at 118), then a 92, 76, 63 and 35 over 3 very ugly starts from former golden boy Francisco Liriano.  Solid closer in Joe Nathan (1.23 ERA, 25 saves, 6 BB 40 K in 37 IP).  Ugly at SS (Brendan Harris 79 OPS+ & Adam Everett at 52) and 3B (Mike Lamb at 56).  All 3 starting outfielders have OPS+ below 100 as well.  In fact, the team OPS+ is 102 and ERA+ is just 94.  Here is the anti-Blue Jays when it comes to luck I figure given they are just 1.5 games out of the AL Central lead & the wild card.  Might be prime for trading as we have a SS in Eckstein and AJ for their rotation and they have prospects near the majors iirc.

Florida: Still within 1.5 games of the NL East lead despite a very, very ugly pitching staff (team ERA+ of 88).  Their closer and setup man have combined for 58 walks in 91 IP, and those are the best pitchers at the moment for them.  Just two guys who have started a game for them have ERA+'s over 83!  Glurg.  Here is a team with a crazy low payroll and prospects up the yin-yang.  AJ would not be a good fit I suspect given their history but who knows?  They have a different manager and coaching staff and few guys are left from a couple years ago.  Couldn't hurt to kick the tires.

Oakland: On the fringe at 6 games out, but no one between them and the Angels.  All the lefties in their pen have had issues this year, and just one has more than 15 IP thus a prime spot for one of our many lefties.  Rotation has two aces over 160 for ERA+, two solid guys in the 100-110 range, and Joe Blanton at 80 with a K every other inning (not good).  Don't know if Beane would go for AJ, but like Florida it couldn't hurt to check.

robertdudek - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 07:50 PM EDT (#188572) #
BJ might be a good option for LAA.  F-Rod is a FA after this season and the Angels were unable to extend him last winter.

Unlikely. The Angels  have internal options roughly in the following order of likelihood if F-Rod leaves:

1) Arredondo continues to impress and lands the role
2) Escobar, coming back from injury, becomes the closer
3) Shields finally gets a chance.

But my gut says that F-Rod will return for similar money to what Nathan got. The Angels believe in him and I think he would prefer to stay. He had issues with his ankles, but he's still young and will likely have several good years in the future (though he won't be as dominant as he was a few years ago).

And if they were to look outside their organisation, I think Street is a more likely than Ryan, even though Oakland is a division rival.
ayjackson - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 08:57 PM EDT (#188576) #
You're probably right about internal options, but I can't see the Angels throwing the kind of money and years K-rod is going to command at a closer.
robertdudek - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 10:13 PM EDT (#188581) #
The probability of an Eckstein trade to Baltimore just went up appreciably.
robertdudek - Tuesday, July 08 2008 @ 10:30 PM EDT (#188584) #
Along the lines of John Northrey's thoughts, I think the Tigers are an ideal destination for Burnett. The trouble is that they don't have many attractive prospects behind Porcello to catch the Jays' fancy.
8 July 2008: Burnett on the Block | 22 comments | Create New Account
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