Friday, 18 July 2008

Trade Talk

Colour me somewhat surprised by the Phillies trade for portly righty Joe Blanton yesterday if for no reason other than the fact that it was done on the down low without any word filtering through to the rumour mongers. Billy Beane could have sold higher on him in the offseason, but keeps with the plan of moving arms before they get too pricey.

The 27-year-old Kentuckyian is a proven eater of innings (and coconut creme donuts? No?), but he's not really the sort you'd really want to take into the playoffs as your number two starter. He's controllable for a couple of more years and didn't cost the farm, so I suppose Pat Gillick is abiding by the campsite rule in his final year as Phillies GM. Personally, had I been in his shoes I think I would've gone for the higher upside that is AJ Burnett and gambled all on a deeper playoff run this year, but what are you gonna do?

Turning homeward, Mark Zwolinski at The Star is reporting that Burnett most definitely does not want to be traded. The Cubs comments, the sarcastic hat tip? I guess we all read too much into that.

"It seems like there's only bad things get written. ... I'm always saying that I'm a Blue Jay and my loyalty is to this team and you still see some people writing stuff like my heart's not in it," Burnett said.

"I think I had a quote in the paper last weekend about I still had a Blue Jay on my chest and on my hat. Then a writer wrote, `Yeah, but not in his heart.' And when you got a guy pitching on three days' rest, you got a guy that came in the day after his bullpen to pitch an extra-inning game, take the ball and throw, I don't want people to question that (heart). You know I'm here.

"Just because my name's out there and all this stuff, and I made one mistake talking to a Chicago writer ... I enjoy being a Blue Jay and that's where I'm at. That's where I plan on being."

But hold the phone, "I'm a Blue Jay and I plan on being here for the rest of the season"? I don't mean to over-analyze these words, but nowhere in this profession of loyalty to his current club does he address the opt out issue and his status for next year. He's still got one foot out the door.

lists the Mets, Cardinals and Chisox as teams that could still be interested in AJ, but JP won't be actively shopping the enigmatic righty because it will supposedly drive down his value. And I guess there's nothing wrong with waiting until the very end of the month when there's absolute empirical evidence as to whether the 2008 Jays have any Hail Mary shot at doing anything significant this year before making a move.

But let's not lose sight of the fact that an Burnett trade:

* would provide $4 million of salary relief
* open a slot in the rotation to audition a younger arm that will actually be with the team next year
* and most importantly, probably net the club something better than a very late 1st round pick in the 2009 amateur draft that you'd get as FA compensation after an opt out

It still makes sense, people.

-- Johnny Was


Jay K. said...

Joe Blanton is fun like me. Not fat, fun.

Jay K. said...

ps. Tacoma is the most unfriendly, suckiest place I have ever been. Don't ever come here.

The Southpaw said...

Ya know, I begin to wonder if Our Man AJ is juuuuust flakey enough to NOT opt out if we don't trade him?

I mean, I know that objectively it would make no financial sense at all for him but...I just get this kind of nagging sensation that the guy is just that goody.

And, for the record, I DON'T think it would be a bad thing if he stayed unless it meant we could not afford to make a splash for the big DH we all crave.


sp said...

Speaking of DHs, I'd like to hear your take on possible players that could fill that role next year. Who are the FAs and other attainable boppers that will be on the market in the winter? Any under-the-radar guys that could break out next year? Other than our very own Adam Lind of course.

The Southpaw said...

Depending how much Raul Ibanez wants I think he'd be a nice guy to stick at DH. He's a liability defensively, but with other big bats in FA (Dunn, Tex, Delgado, Thome, Abreu, Burrell) he'll probably be the cheapest of them all. And as a DH you won't have to worry about defense...

He's usually a good bet for an 850-900 OPS vs RHP, although this year he's better vs LHP than RHP which is weird.

His 3 year split has him hitting 287/353/478 (831 OPS) but he hits 299/369/518 (887) OPS against RHP. Just sign a lefty masher or keep Mench and you've got the DH platoon right there.

I don't know how much he'd cost, but I've always been a big fan of Ibanez.