Friday, August 8, 2008

RYAN WORLD TRADES: Burlington fire sale

Burlington made its first big splash in the Ryan HBD world last week with it's trading frenzy. Here's a look at the team's deals so far this year:

DEAL 1: Burlington sends Keith Einertson to Baltimore for Pete Bedard

This is a curious deal in that Einertson is a cheap, 21-year-old catching prospect with a MLB-calibre bat and excellent on-base potential (current 87 batting eye, projected 93). He's nothing special defensively, but he probably doesn't need to be. Bedard, 28, excels neither with power nor with patience at the plate. His defense is average at best. This alone would make the trade questionable, but Burlington's decision to then waive Bedard is even more puzzling.

DEAL 2: Burlington sends Harry Vosberg to Oklahoma City for David Candelaria and Tim Watson

Vosberg is a 28-year-old second baseman who has no elite skills but does almost everything well. He crushes lefties and is coming off an impressive .331/.397/.618 line last year. Still, at 7.4mil for this season and next he's probably somewhat overpaid. Canelaria is a Major-League ready backstop with immense power. He's put up a solid .848 OPS so far in Season 9 to replace Vosberg's production and is doing so at league minimum. Watson's AAA numbers are somewhat impressive despite the fact that the 24-year-old righty has been stalled at that level for since debuting there in Season 7. He scouts pretty well, but a 50 split against lefthanders might curb his ultimate ceiling. Still, a pretty nice haul here for Vosberg. This trade undoubtedly makes Burlington a better team in the future, and possibly even right now.

DEAL 3: Burlington sends Graham Green to Houston for Rigo Granados, Clint Gonzales, Dan Embree and $2.0mm cash.

Embree's awesome mustache aside, there are few benefits here for Burlington. In the worst of Green's seven HBD seasons he posted a 4.14 ERA. He's consistently posted ERAs in the upper 3s and WHIPs around 1.30. Perhaps not ace starter stuff, but he's a very useful No.2-3. Granados at 29 and with a career-low MLB ERA of 3.47 last year is back of the rotation filler. His struggles against lefthanders will keep him from ever being much more than he is now. At 29 he's not getting any younger and likely won't be much of a help in Burlington's rebuilding process unless the team plans on flipping him elsewhere in another deal. Gonzales' poor L/R splits (proj. 51/47) will probably keep him from being much more than a solid AAAA starter. At 28, Embree is a little too old to still have a sub-.700 OPS in the Majors and he doesn't project for much power or patience. At a power position like RF, that's poor. It's worth noting that Burlington saved a few bucks in this trade, but other than that the team probably missed the mark trying to cash in Green.

DEAL 4: Burlington sends Tony Kelly to Kansas City for Donne Witt, Willis Ryan, Cesar Batista and $2.2mil.

In six-plus Major League seasons Kelly has posted a 1.017 OPS at first base. The guy can hit. Witt is a 23-year-old first base prospect who doesn't project to fill Kelly's void entirely, but can be a productive, above-average 1B. Batista is over the hill at 32, but he gives the team a decent placeholder until Witt's ready to rake. Ryan projects mostly as a long reliever and doesn't add much to the deal. Still, the thought process from Burlington here is a strong one, breaking Kelly into a lesser player for now and a significant prospect down the road. That combined with the money saved from moving Kelly's contract makes this deal worthwhile for the Busters.

DEAL 5: Burlington sends Omar Segui to Washington for Benny Mercedes and Nerio Canizaro.

Segui's ratings and numbers suggest he's been a little unlucky to post ERAs around 4 for much of his career and he's a nice middle of the rotation starter. Mercedes has a great name. Seriously. Awesome name. Unfortunately he tails off after that with projected L/R splits in the 40s. Canizaro is defensively limited to LF even if he hits his projections with the glove and his poor power will keep him from ever really being a useful ML corner outfielder. Other than the $5 million salary dump there's not much to get excited about here for the fans in Burlington.

All in all ... there's a lot to consider here. Depending upon how you look at this firesale, you can like it or hate it. Altgoether Burlington moved about $21 million dollars in payroll. But did the Ballbusters miss their mark on a few of these? Well, probably. The team undeniably made itself younger though, and cheaper, and for a new owner making his first deals, the Ballbusters GM brought in a decent haul.

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