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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Hurry up, please. It's time

According to Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Blue Jays have struck again and signed starting pitcher A. J. Burnett, their second premier free agent of this offseason. This comes relatively hot on the heels of the Jays signing relief pitcher B. J. Ryan to be their closer. The Ryan deal (5 years, $47 million — the most total dollars ever given to a reliever) has been widely criticized. I'm sure the Burnett deal (5 years, $55 million) will be too. Yet I can't help but think these are the best deals the Jays have made since they traded Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez to the Padres on December 5, 1990, for Joe Carter and a young secondbaseman named Roberto Alomar.

Why do I think these are good signings when it seems like a lot of years and a lot of money in both cases? A few reasons (the stats are based on the the last three seasons):

  1. Both pitchers are entering what should be their prime years. Ryan will be 30 when the 2006 season starts, Burnett will be 29.
  2. Ryan murders opposing batters. He has struck out 12.23 batters per 9 innings pitched. That's a high ratio even for a reliever.
  3. Burnett is no slouch with the Ks either. His ratio is 8.41 K/9. Considering that 7 K/9 generally points to an effective starter, Burnett is already looking good (Roy Halladay's ratio is 6.77).
  4. Neither Burnett nor Ryan allow many home runs, their HR/9's respectively are .68 and .37.
  5. Why so few home runs? Maybe it's because they give up more ground balls than fly balls: Burnett's G/F ratio is 1.73 (it was 2.42 last season), Ryan's is 1.34.
And one more reason: these two signings now allow the Jays to trade some pitching for two more hitters their offense sorely needs. It won't be long (spring at the latest) before we see Miguel Batista and some combination of Ted Lilly, Gustavo Chacin, David Bush, Dustin McGowan, Russ Adams, Aaron Hill, and Orlando Hudson traded for home run power. (I'm pretty sure the Burnett signing rules out a Hudson trade, he'll be needed for all those ground balls that Halladay and Burnett induce).

Burnett and Ryan. As a Jays fan down here in the Maritimes I feel roight foine today. I ain't been this excited about the Jays since '93. I'm hungry to see who the hitters are that Ricciardi comes up with to complement these pitching moves. I'd love to see Jonny Gomes in Jays uniform. I'd do Batista for Brad Wilkerson in half-a-second. Would JP? How about about Chacin and Alexis Rios for Wilkerson? I'd do that one even quicker. But what do I know? Nothing, that's what -- except that JP ain't done and I ain't gonna bitch and moan about who he trades and whoever the hitters are that he comes up with until I see how the '06 season plays out. I do believe I learned a little from the Hillenbrand deal. The Jays are halfway to where they need and want to be and I don't think the GM is geared for halfway measures. Might be spring before we see how the lineup and rotation shake out. I can wait, and I'll be waiting with anticipation rather than trepidation.

I only have one question. With Halladay and Burnett at the top of the rotation, how often is the the infield carpet at Rogers Centre scheduled to be changed?


J Lavigne said...

John, before your Blue Jays can win a game you need to win a Fantasy League with the big boys. In all serious, I like Ryan, he's very solid. I don't know about Burnett though. You can draft him next year. How about Loretta for a bum backup catcher? thats a real trade. Oh, Beckett is better!!!!!

MackJohnny said...

Hey, Josh. I actually worry more about Ryan than Burnett. I see just now that the Jays just got better offensively and defensively at first base by trading Bush, Gabe Gross and Zach Jackson to the Brewers for Lyle Overbay and the ever-popular player to be named later. That means at least one, and hopefully, two, of the trio of Hinske, Hillenbrand and Koskie can now be thrown into a trade for another bat -- one with more home run power than Overbay.

As far as Beckett goes, yeah, he's good. But I'm sure the Red Sox are praying his shoulder holds up. Apparently they almost canceled that trade when got a look at the MRI of his right shoulder. I'm sure Loretta has one more decent year in him, but I wonder who's going to catch Wakefield's knuckleball?

Fantasy league -- you know, Josh, we should really deepen the rosters next year. I'd like to add an MI, CI, OF and util spot, a couple or three more pitching spots and 200 more innings. You think we could talk the boys into doing that?

Anonymous said...

So many deals the stove is piping hot. I can't wait to see the fantasy bbl impact of these.

I might be interested in deeper rosters. It would dampen the luck factor for sure.

I'm more interested in the idea of a keeper league. But of course have little desire to run it. I'd like to eliminate trade veto in a league like that. Well I think we should scrap trade vetoes entirely.


MackJohnny said...

Speaking of deals, Dyl, how about Renteria to the Braves for Andy Marte? How the hell did the Sox pull that one off? It's like Epstein never left Boston.

A keeper league means a lot of detail work for the commissioner. The ideal candidate for the job would be a non-abrasive obsessive-compulsive self-starter. Do we even have anyone in the league who fits that first criterion? Maybe we should take out an ad.

J Lavigne said...

i'm totally in for a keeper league. I think Graeme is the ideal most trust worthy guy to put in the commish position. We should get a move on this right after Christmas to sure up 12 solid owners to make the keeper league worth it.

Now about baseball again. I can't see H. Ramirez working out, i watched him 3 times last year and I think Dustin will be a better infielder. Josh Beckett's shoulder at 4 mil over two years is worth Burnett's 11 mil over 5yrs. I may regret saying that in 5 years or I could be dead on. You gotta love them getting a top prospect with power for a aging ss who has no power. Executives over the weekend stated that he is a playing you could build a team around. WEEI is going crazy on the rumor that Theo was the man who put in the imput on the trade today (Rent/Marte).

I like Overbay, he's solid.

J Lavigne said...

You gotta love when Tejada demands a trade and the Red Sox are shopping Manny ramirez and just got a top 5 porspect that could be moved. I'll stop taking up so much space on your blog now john, i just had to get that one in.

Anonymous said...

well if the Red Sox can get Tejada it would be insane. But I thought division rivals tried to steer away from big trades. I figure the Sox will just get Nomar.


Anonymous said...

omg Troy Glaus a Blue Jay but no update on your take on the deal. Goddammit.


MackJohnny said...

I like both the Glaus and Overbay deals. I'll post about them sometime in the next day or so.