Tagged: hot stove

So much for AL East parity





/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;

The bulk of this year’s winter meetings were pretty
uneventful, but it was certainly bookended by some craziness out of Beantown.

After officially acquiring superstar first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the San Diego
Padres on Monday in a blockbuster deal, the Boston Red Sox again turn heads by
unexpectedly signing
one of the preeminent five-tool players in the game in outfielder Carl Crawford
.  The deal is worth a staggering $142-million
over the next 7 years and when combined with the expected extension for
Gonzalez, the Red Sox have unofficially committed around $300-million to two
players.  I guess John Henry isn’t
hurting from purchasing Liverpool.

Crawf.jpgThe surprising part of this deal is not that Boston signed
Crawford, nor is it that he was signed to the second richest contract ever to
be awarded to an outfielder.  The
surprising part is the timing.

<– “Look what I caught,  $142-million, BITCH!!”

While most teams interested in Crawford (such as the Angels,
Yankees and Rangers) were waiting for Cliff
to make his decision before committing funds to Crawford, the Red Sox
stepped in and made the deal happen. 
They were the only team said to have real interest in the athletic
leftfielder who did not have interest
in Lee, allowing them to swoop in a steal Crawford from under their noses.  Something Crawford will be doing a lot of in
Boston.  Oh yes, I made a pun.

But this was supposed to be the year that the AL East evened
out a little.  The Rays were/are expected
to take a giant step back and both the Orioles and Jays were supposed to be
rising teams ready to take the next step toward contention.  Reality has set in quickly.

The Red Sox, at least right now, have to be considered the
favourite while the Yankees will become co-favourites if they’re able to sign
Lee.  If the Yankees don’t sign Lee,
there could be an opening for one of the other three teams to jump into Wildcard
contention (probably not Baltimore), but they still have to be considered at
least the second favourite team even if they lose out on him.

By the way, the Red Sox projected lineup as of right now:

  • ·        
    CF  Jacoby
  • ·        
    LF  Carl
  • ·        
    1B  Adrian
  • ·        
    3B  Kevin Youkilis
  • ·        
    DH  David
  • ·        
    2B  Dustin
  • ·        
    RF  J.D.
  • ·        
  • ·        
    SS  Marco

Not to mention that they still have Clay Buchholz, Jon
Lester, Josh Beckett, John Lackey, and Daisuke Matsuzaka as their projected
5-man rotation.

That’s just not fair, dammit!

There’s one more negative aspect of the Crawford deal from
the perspective of the Jays; the Red Sox are still interested in lefty reliever
Scott Downs, who is, like Crawford,
a Type-A free agent.  If he signs in
Boston, the Jays will not get the Red Sox first round pick as compensation as
that now goes to the Rays.  And, oh yeah,
the Jays STILL have to face Crawford 18 times this upcoming season.  Bad day.

This by no means tempers my excitement for the 2011 season,
it just seems to signal another 3rd or worse season for Toronto.

Apparently the Angels made an offer to Crawford of 7 years and $108-million
according to a Tweet by Mark
of the New York Daily News.  Werth definitely
drove up that market.  Way to go Rizzo.

Apparently Ken Rosenthal
that Lee received a 7 year offer from the Red Sox.  Signing Crawford does make that unlikely, but
apparently I was wrong about their interest in Lee.


Hot Stove log, November 19th: Jays make strong push for Upton





/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;

Isn’t this just
the cat’s *** (not sure what that means; kind of disturbs me).  When new first broke that the Diamondbacks were shopping young
superstar outfielder Justin Upton,
all I kept hearing was Red Sox, Yankees and maybe Marlins, Rockies.  I said to myself, “Self, why aren’t the Jays
dipping their toes in these proverbially bluest of blue waters?”

Turns out, Alex Anthopoulos was way ahead of me. 

Just before
writing my update yesterday, there were rumours that a ‘mystery team’ had
stepped forward with interest in Upton that pushed the Red Sox to the ‘back-burner’.  I thought, “Self, it couldn’t be the Jays,
could it?”

It was the
Jays.  Anthopoulos continues his
aggressive nature this offseason (which I love
by the way, it’s been a long time since the city of Toronto has seen a gutsy
and savvy GM for any of its major
sports teams) and has stepped forward with interest in one of the game’s
brightest young stars that has knocked the financial pantheons of the game off
the trail.  Even if he doesn’t pull off a
deal, well done, sir, well done.

So, let the speculation begin: Who would the Jays have to part with to land
Upton.  Dave Parkes over at thescore.com has a great piece wherein the
comments throw some things back and forth.

For my part,
knowing the D’Backs want the farm in return for Upton, the Jays will likely
have to give up prized young outfielder Travis
in the deal.  Parkes
speculates that they Jays would also have to include one of their three
prospect catchers in the deal, either J.P.
, Travis D’Arnaud or Carlos Perez and then they would likely
have to round out the deal with pitching; one major-league ready starter and
one prospect.

That is an
awful lot to surrender, but let’s consider just how much Upton would mean to
the Jays.  He’s signed through 2015 at
just under $50-million.  Reasonable for a
guy who most think is about to step up into superstardom and is already
considered one of the better five-tool players around.  23-year-olds with his pedigree, talent, and
resume never become available.

The Jays have
serious depth in pitching and could afford to give up some pieces to get
Upton.  Snider is the piece that would
admittedly be hardest to give up, but really, if you could start Snider or
Upton at one of your corner outfield spots, I think the choice is obvious.

People say
that Arencibia is untouchable, but here’s something to chew on:  The Jays are reportedly still very interested
in signing catcher Miguel Olivo, who
would likely receive a 2 year deal with an option.  The fact that the Jays are considering
signing Olivo shows me that they could consider moving Arencibia.  They would have Olivo and Jose Molina in the fold for next year
with promising prospects Travis D’Arnaud
and Carlos Perez on their way.  Arencibia becomes expendable if Olivo is

If the Jays
were to offer a deal centered around Snider and Arencibia, they might not have
to give up as much pitching.  Throw in Shaun Marcum (easily the most tradable
of the big four, not that I like saying that) and either Josh Roenicke or Zach
and I can see the D’Backs seriously considering a deal.

Having said all that, I still think it’s a very
small possibility that Arizona deals Upton at all and we’re all ignoring that
Upton does have a four-team trade veto list. 
If I was a betting man, I would suggest T.O. is on that list.  American players tend to not want to come
here when they’ve had no real experience in Canada.

Like I said
at the outset, the fact that Anthopoulos is being so aggressive for top-tier
(but still financially-feasible and young) players shows me that this guy knows
what he’s doing.  He rebuilt the Jays
sorry farm system in less than a year and is using it to entice teams to trade
their superstars.  Upton, Uggla, Greinke,
the list goes on and will likely get bigger.

There were
also a couple small trades yesterday and some minor moves today…


The New York
trade 1B Juan Miranda to
the Arizona Diamondbacks for RHP Scott Allen.

Miranda isn’t
exactly a bonafide everyday player, but there is some talent there.  He was being blocked at first base in New
York by Mark Teixeira and with Jorge Posada moving to DH, there was
literally no room for him in the Bronx. 
In Arizona, he’ll potentially have a spot playing first if the D’Backs
can’t fill the hole.  If not, he could be
a quality bench player.

Allen is a
19-year-old who was drafted by the D’Backs in the 11th Round in 2009
draft and has some upside, but he’s a long way from the majors.

Colorado Rockies trade INF Clint Barmes to the Houston Astros for RHP Felipe Paulino.

Barmes was a
long-time Rocky who had earned the respect of his teammates and is considered
one of the “good guys” in baseball.  He
was likely going to be non-tendered by Colorado with their crowded infield
situation so the deal made sense for the Rockies who turn it into a quality
young starter.  Barmes will likely get
the chance to play every day at short for the ‘Stros and shouldn’t see his
number drop off because of leaving Coors Field. 
Houston’s band-box may be more hitter-friendly.

27-year-old Paulino owns a career 6-21 record with a 5.83 ERA over parts of
three seasons in Houston, but has always had talent.  His biggest problem could be his conditioning
at 6’2″ and 270lbs.  The Rockies will
wait and see if his talent develops and he’ll likely get a shot at the rotation
in the spring.


& Ends

is not the only big name potentially on the move away from the desert; The D’Backs
have reportedly receive a lot of interest for slugging 3B Mark Reynolds.  The A’s have
been linked, but Reynolds has the right to reject trades to Oakland.

Twins are reportedly interested in retaining Carl Pavano and one of his former teams, the Marlins, are also
interested, as are the Rockies.  Pavano
reportedly wants “Lilly money”, i.e. 3yr/$33-million, which likely prices out
the Fish.  I find it hard to believe he’ll
get that money and if I were a GM, I’d be running away as fast as I could.  Talk to the Yankees if you need confirmation
on that.

President Nolan Ryan expects the
Yankees to outbid them on Cliff Lee.  It’s looking more and more like he’ll be
wearing pin-stripes next season.

the Yankees and Phillies are interested in the bevy of left-handed relievers on
the market: Pedro Feliciano, Scott Downs, J.C. Romero, Brian Fuentes,
Hisanori Takahashi, and Arthur Rhodes.

Jayson Werth is pretty certainly not coming back
to Philadelphia.

Nationals will likely trade OF Josh
before next year.

teams are said to be interested in trading with the Red Sox for Marco Scutaro and they are looking for
bullpen help in return.  The teams right
now are the Cardinals, Reds, Padres, and Giants if they can’t bring back Juan Uribe.


More tomorrow
on Derek Jeter who is about to
receive a low-ball offer from the Yankees of 3yr/$45-million.  I’m going to wait for this one to develop
more before I comment.

Also tomorrow, I’ll
try to fit in some talk on Zack Greinke
and the trade talks with him.  Do the
Jays have a chance?  Should they want

Hot Stove log: November 18th





/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;

Only one
major move to speak of yesterday in terms of transactions, and it involved the
Jays.  We’ll get to that in a
second.  First off, I’d like to
congratulate Ron Gardenhire on
finally winning the AL Manager of the Year. 
He’s been the runner up for the award five times in eight years and could have won the award any one of
those years in my opinion.  He routinely
takes a Twins team with moderate
talent on paper and makes them into perennial contenders.  The things he gets out of his teams are
nothing short of amazing. 

Bud Black took home the honours in the NL for
leading the Padres to a completely
unexpected season and but for a late season swoon, could have won the NL West
title over the eventual champs.

Now on to the

Toronto Blue Jays acquire OF Rajai Davis from the Oakland Athletics for RHP Trystan Magnuson and RHP Danny Farquhar.

The Jays add
some outfield depth by acquiring speedster Rajai
from the A’s for two Double-A relievers.  Acquiring Davis is likely more of a depth
move than anything else as he can effectively play all three outfield positions
and is easily the Jays’ biggest stolen base threat going forward. 

This does
mean that Fred Lewis‘ days in
Toronto are likely numbered as he does not appear willing to accept a fourth or
fifth outfielder role; don’t expect the Jays to tender him before next week.

If I were John Farrell (which I fairly certain I
am not) and the current Jays roster was my opening day roster, Davis would be
my starting centerfielder.  He’s much better there than Vernon Wells who if slotted in either
right or left field would become an above-average fielder again, something he
has not been in centerfield for a few years now. 

I’ve said all
along that Jose Bautista is more
valuable as a third baseman because quality defensive third basemen with formidable
bats are much harder to find than corner outfielders.  Playing Travis
, Wells and Davis in the outfield would give the Jays a legitimate
leadoff hitter in Davis who when combined at the top-of-the-order with Yunel Escobar could be just what the
Jays need for the power-heavy middle of the lineup.

If however,
the Jays acquire another infielder (they are apparently at least showing
interest in Adrian Beltre, although
the price tag is likely way too high
as I’ll explain soon), conceivably Bautista would stay in RF with Davis
becoming a viable fourth outfielder with speed off the bench.

The Jays gave
up two arms that both have realistic shots at being quality major-league
relievers in Canadian-born Trystan
and closer-type Danny
.  Chances are only one of
them will stay in the majors for any length of time so this deal is a solid one
for the Jays who have a wealth of quality relievers in their system.

Now on to the
rumours, and there are a lot…


Justin Upton
As I mentioned yesterday, D’Backs GM
Kevin Towers has floated the idea of
trading young future superstar Justin
.  If I were the GM of the D’Backs,
I would never consider such a brash move, but it’s clear that Towers wants to
shake things up in the desert.

surprisingly, there is interest from half
the league
.  The most serious four
teams from what I can tell are The Red
, Yankees, Rockies, and Marlins.

SI’s Jon Heyman tweeted yesterday that one
AL exec. told him, “what [the Diamondbacks] want is ridiculous”.  As Heyman acknowledged, it should be.  He’s a future superstar!

What the D’Backs
want is a package of four to five players that would include two young and
controllable major-leaguers and two to three high impact prospects.

According to
Heyman, although the Rockies and Yankees have both “kicked the tires” about
Upton, the Red Sox have the most logical shot at landing him.  The package would start with Jacoby Ellsbury
and Daniel Bard and would likely
also include Casey Kelly among

There were
rumours that the Marlins showed serious interest and were said to be considering
parting with Rickey Nolasco and Logan Morrison to get the talks
going.  I haven’t seen anything else that
would suggest the Fish are any closer to a deal with Arizona.

The Yankees
are unlikely to part with the talent Arizona is looking for, which is smart as
they would butcher their already mediocre (at best) farm system and likely
would also have to part with Phil Hughes.

As for the
Rockies, Arizona would likely have to receive even more compensation for Upton
to consider trading him within their division. 
Colorado has been persistent though, so maybe they’re willing and able
to make a deal.  Multiple sources have
confirmed that Colorado is still inquiring about the young outfielder.

Adrian Beltre
Yesterday started off with the A’s apparently formally making an offer to free
agent third baseman Adrian Beltre
reportedly worth $45-million over 5 years. 
However, the Red Sox are said to have a ceiling of 4 years and
$52-million on Beltre so that deal would fall short.  Later in the day, it was revealed that the A’s
would go as high as $60-million over 5 years for the slugger, but Beltre’s camp
is reportedly using Torii Hunter‘s
deal as a blueprint (i.e. $90-million over 5 years!!!).

Needless to
say, it’s doubtful that Beltre will get that kind of money, especially since
the only team interested in him that could offer that amount is the Red Sox, or
maybe the Angels.

The Jays were
reportedly interested in Beltre, but even at $9-million a season (which appears
to be the absolute lowest being
offered to him), the Jays will likely be out of the running, at least for a
deal lasting 4 to 5 years.

Here’s my
take on Beltre:  The guy only seems to
perform at a truly elite level in contract years (remember when he hit 48
homers with the Dodgers and then cashed in long-term with Seattle?) so I find it hard to believe that anyone would give him
the kind of money he’s asking for, nor should
they consider it.  More than likely,
Beltre’s numbers will fall slightly in the coming years.  Note to Alex
: STAY AWAY!!!!!

Other teams reportedly
interested in Beltre include Baltimore,
the Angels, Cleveland, San Francisco,
Colorado and Pittsburgh, but most if not all of those teams will be out of the
running for the kind of money that will land him.

Albert Pujols
Here’s an interesting tidbit:  Heyman
also talked to Cardinals President Bill DeWitt yesterday about the looming
contract talks with Albert Pujols.  DeWitt reportedly told Heyman that using Alex Rodriguez‘s 10yr/$275-million deal
as a blueprint was out of the question and apparently when Heyman asked about
an 8yr/$240-million offer, DeWitt questioned the $30-million salary that deal
would imply.

I would
suggest that any other team interested in acquiring Pujols (i.e. the BoSox,
Mets or another large market team with deep pockets) will be perfectly willing
to offer Pujols, the game’s best player by far, $30-million a season.  Allegedly, the Cards are not willing to spend that. 
This s**t’s about to get interesting.

Odds and Ends
In other news, the Rays appear
to be willing to part with shortstop Jason
but are less likely to move Matt
or B.J. Upton (Ken Rosenthal)

The Padres will likely tender arbitration-eligible
outfielder Ryan Ludwick who had been
pegged by MLBTR as
a non-tender candidate.  This means San
Diego has a lot of depth in the outfield, especially with the recent
acquisition of Cameron Maybin.  Expect more trades from SoCal.

The White Sox and Tigers appear to be leading the charge for free agent OF/1B/DH Adam Dunn.  The Sox are also pursuing Hideki Matsui.

The Phillies and free agent OF Jayson Werth are reportedly very far
apart on a deal.  So far apart that
Philadelphia is looking at short-term replacements in Carlos Quentin, Jeff
and even the exiled Jermaine
.  Also, the Red Sox, who are said
to be frontrunners for Werth, are apparently not willing to pay him his requested $100-million.

According to Troy Renck of the Denver Post, Colorado is looking to upgrade at third base.  Ty
, Jorge Cantu, Jose Lopez, Kevin Kouzmanoff and Beltre are all rumoured.  Also according to Renck, Washington, Pittsburgh and Baltimore are all aggressively pursuing Jorge de la Rosa.  It’s likely, however, that he will wait until
after Cliff Lee signs so that more
large market teams become interested.

The Yankees
are reportedly about to offer Derek
a 3-year contract somewhere between $45-million and $60-million.  They are willing to go over market value for
their captain, but only for three years. 
Jeter apparently want four or five years.

Danny Knobler of CBS Sports reprted that a baseball official (whatever the hell that
means) says he could see Texas, Milwaukee and Toronto becoming involved
in talks for Zack Greinke.

Finally, according to
Jayson Stark of ESPN, the Marlins intend to spend the money they saved on Dan Uggla on an established starting
pitcher such as Javier Vazquez or Carl Pavano who had his best year in
South Beach.

Hot Stove log, Part I





/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;

With the GMs
convening in Orlando this week for the annual Winter Meetings, the Hot Stove
season is in full swing.  For me, this is
as good as it gets.  I love the rumours
and speculation that come out of this time of year, so much so that I finally
signed up for a Twitter account just to follow the rumours as they happen.  I’ve never been a fan of twitter in the past,
but simply for this reason I think it’s a great utility.

So let’s get
to the happenings in the last few days. 
I’ve already gone over the David
trade so let’s start with the next major move from November 13th.


The Florida
trade OF Cameron Maybin
to the San Diego Padres for RHP Edward Mujica and RHP Ryan Webb.

I like this
deal a lot for the Padres.  They have a
ridiculous amount of depth in their stellar bullpen and giving up Mujica and
Webb doesn’t effect their expected performance in that department for 2011 all
that much.

People are
down on Maybin because he’s been around for a few years and has yet to live up
to the massive promise he once had in the Tigers’ system, but let’s not forget
that he’ll still only be 24 next year.  I
think the Marlins gave up on him for immediate bullpen help and that this deal
may bite them hard in the future.

Now on to yesterday…

Florida Marlins trade 2B Dan Uggla to the Atlanta Braves for UTIL Omar
and LHP Michael Dunn.

Trade rumours
began to surface for Uggla last season when the Marlins seemed to be dragging
their feet on a long term deal for their slugging second baseman and they
caught fire about a week ago when Uggla reportedly turned down a 4-yr/$48-million
offer from the team. 

Uggla was
reportedly seeking a 5 year deal with Chase
-type money (just under $15-million a year).  After he rejected the deal, Uggla came out
and said he wanted to stay with the Marlins long term, but that they had
stopped the negotiating process, leading to further speculation that Uggla was
on his way somewhere else.

The Blue Jays showed some serious interest
in acquiring Uggs with the idea of moving either him or Aaron Hill over to third base. 
According to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal,
the Jays offered a package of prospects headed by relievers Josh Roenicke and Danny Farquhar with a third prospect (either SS Ryan Goins or OF Darin Mastroianni) also in the mix.

Although the
Fish were looking to upgrade their bullpen in the deal, they were looking for more
proven major league arms and were also looking for a major-league infielder in the
deal.  That’s where the Braves come in.  Reportedly, the Marlins wanted Martin Prado but settled instead for Omar Infante along with lefty reliever Michael Dunn. 

This deal
confuses me a little.  I understand that
the Marlins don’t have a lot of money to throw around and that Uggla likely had
to go, but let’s not forget that not only is Uggla probably the best and most
consistent offensive second baseman in the game (aside from maybe Robinson Cano), he’s one of the most consistent
sluggers at any position. 

Over the last
five years (after being selected in the Rule
draft) he’s averaged 31 HR, 93 RBI and a respectable .349 OBP.  He’s also coming off career-highs in almost
every category including batting average which he increased to a .287-mark.

deserves Chase Utley money and will no-doubt get it after this year if he has
another consistent campaign, but it seems to me the Marlins could have held out
for a lot more returns for the rare power-hitting two-bagger.

The Florida
sign C John Buck to a
3yr/$18-million deal, pending a physical.

The Marlins
are busy.  To replace some of the power they lost in
giving up Uggla and to bolster their backstop situation, the Fish ink Buck to a
3 year deal.  Buck spent last year with
my Jays and was an all-star, but didn’t figure into the team’s long term plans
with catching prospect J.P. Arencibia
appearing ready to take over next year. 

In Buck, the
Marlins get a dependable starting catcher with plus power and improving
defense.  He also proved very adept at
handling the Jays’ young pitching staff and should do the same on South
Beach.  I like this move for the Marlins
as I think last year’s version of Buck is the version you’ll see from now on.

The St. Louis
re-sign RHP Jake Westbrook
to a 2yr/$16.5-million deal.

The Cards
re-upped Westbrook for two more years after he pitched well for them down the
stretch posting a 3.48 ERA in 12 starts. 
Westbrook proved his long list of arm injuries were behind him in 2010
pitching in over 200 innings for the first time since ’06.

The Indians reportedly had interest in
bringing Westbrook back, but never formally made an offer.

I think
Westbrook is a quality middle-of-the-rotation arm when healthy so I like this
move for the Cards.  He has post-season
experience and should be an asset.  Any
more than two years would have been foolish given his injured past so I think
the Cards did the right thing.

And now on to

The Detroit Tigers
sign RHP Joaquin Benoit to a
3yr/$16.5-million deal.

The Tigers
remain busy early in this offseason.  After
re-upping infielders Brandon Inge
and Jhonny Peralta for two years
each, the Tigers go outside the organization to help bolster their bullpen with
Joaquin Benoit.

The second
happiest person in this deal besides Benoit is Rafael Soriano, who just saw his market-value sky-rocket as a
result of this deal.

I’m not sure
about this one, though.  My philosophy is
to never spend a lot of money on your bullpen as it’s so unpredictable what you’re
going to get from one season to the next.  Giving Benoit 3 years and $5.5-million a
season seems foolish, even if he steps into the closer role with the
Tigers.  Benoit had a terrific year last
year, but he probably won’t do it again. 
Anyone who has a breakout year at 33 terrifies me.  I don’t think this deal will work out for



the Red Sox are considering trading
former Jay Marco Scutaro after only
one season in Boston.  Scutaro’s OBP (his
main selling point for signing with the Red Sox) dropped back closer to his
career-average (shouldn’t have been a surprise) and the BoSox are weighing
their options. 

Scutaro is
set to make $5-million in 2011 and has a three-pronged option for 2012.  The Red Sox have a $6-million option, Scutaro
has a $3-million option and there’s a $1.5-million buyout.  This means that Boston is currently on the
hook for at least one year and $6.5-million and more likely two years and
$8-million given that Scutaro will likely enact his end of the option if he has
another disappointing season. 

This contract
could prove difficult to trade unless someone out there believes he can get
back to his ’09 form.

Jon Morosi reports that only the Cardinals have shown even mild interest
and that the Padres, Pirates, and Reds could use an upgrade at the position and could be potential suitors.

Finally, the Diamondbacks are said to be open to
trading Justin Upton and Stephen Drew.  Arizona’s new GM Kevin Towers has said he would have to be blown away to trade
either one, but reports indicate that Upton is becoming a stronger possibility
for a trade because of the high interest in him from other clubs. 

The Marlins are rumoured to be involved and
could possibly give up Rickey Nolasco
and Logan Morrison.  The Red
and Yankees are also testing
the waters and the Rays are expected
to weigh in soon.  This could get
interesting, stay tuned.

On the DeJesus-Mazzaro trade




/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0cm 5.4pt 0cm 5.4pt;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;

The other day, the Oakland
and Kansas City Royals
pulled off the first major trade of the 2010-11 offseason.  Headed to Oakland is long-time Royals
outfielder David DeJesus, who was in
the midst of a career year before a thumb injury stopped his season in its
tracks.  The Royals snag two pitchers in
highly-touted Vin Mazzaro and minor-league
lefty Justin Marks.


On the surface, this looks like a trade of necessity for
both clubs.  The Royals exercised their
2011 option on DeJesus on October 2nd and will make
$6.0-million.  Given that this is a
reasonable amount for a potentially above-average outfielder, the Royals likely
thought it was better to exercise the option and try to get something in a
trade, than let Dejesus go via free agency.


The A’s seem quite focused on playing to their spacious park
and instead of spending money on big, cumbersome slugging outfielders; they are
attempting to create an athletic core of players with moderate power and
above-average range.  Ryan Sweeney, Dejesus, Coco Crisp, Rajai Davis, and Conor
are all under contract or in control for next year and are all very
similar players; athletic fielders, solid contact hitters, average to below
average power.  Overall, DeJesus is
definitely a player who’ll fit in nicely in Oakland for 2011.  He’ll likely jet via free agency after next


That’s what makes this deal perplexing.  Clearly the A’s are a team that sees
themselves contending next year, and certainly they could in the unpredictable
AL West, but DeJesus is a 31-year-old injury-plagued player with one year left
on a deal.  Mazzaro, on the other hand is
a potential stud.


His numbers in the majors aren’t terrifically impressive,
but they aren’t bad either; he got significantly better last year over his ’09
rookie performance.  His minor-league
number were solid and has all the makeup of a pitcher who could eventually be a
top-of-the-rotation talent.


Marks, like Mazzaro, is a former third-round pick, however
he has yet to show anything at the minor-league level that would lead me to
believe he’s a major-league player.


Overall, I think the A’s didn’t need DeJesus enough to give
up a pitcher like Mazzaro.  On the other
hand, they are probably the best equipped organization to give up some pitching
talent given the wealth of it they possess.