Friday, October 20, 2006

The Ricciardi Project Part 1

Well here's part one for those patient people, I'm out for the weekend but will come back early next week with part two :).

J.P.'s Christmas list...Three new pitchers, two minor leagues, onnnnnnnneeeeeeeee third baseman.
Ricciardi began his General Manager career by making three trades in the span of one week. All three trades allowed the Jays to cut payroll and changed the complexion of both the middle infield and bullpen. Traded were closer Billy Koch and setup man Paul Quantrill along with middle infielders Alex Gonzalez and Cesar Iztruis. Received were career minor leaguers James Deschaine and Chad Ricketts along with INF Eric Hinske and pitchers Justin Miller, Luke Prokopec, Felix Heredia.

1st trade: To Oakland: Billy Koch, Received: Eric Hinske and Justin Miller
Ricciardi's first trade was with his former team as he traded the Jays' former closer, Billy Koch for two 24 year old players minimum wage players. The trade saved the Jays over $2 million in the first year and actully made Ricciardi look quite wise. Koch was successful in his first season as the Oakland closer and put up a VORP of 24.2. The Jays utilized former starter Kelvim Escobar as their closer for the 2002 season and he established a value of 13.2. The tradeoff between Koch and Escobar was a small value in his first year as closer. This is without considering what the difference in value from what Escobar's value could have been as a starter and whoever replace him in the starting rotation. However, Eric Hinske had an incredible season at third base, winning the Rookie of the Year award and establishing a VORP of 55.4. Justin Miller was below replacement level during his first season as a Jay.

Billy Beane traded Koch during the 2002-2003 off-season, acquiring Keith Foulke in the process. Hinske put up above replacement level numbers for 3 of his next 4 seasons with the Jays but was given a multi-year contract that went undeserved and was finally dealt for a Player to be Named Later in 2006. Even with the drop in Hinske's performance, Ricciardi wins this trade when it comes to VORP, but when it comes to total value, it must be accepted that Koch along with Neil Cotts was traded for Keith Foulke(essentially although it was a six player deal). This table presents the data of Koch's one year in Oakland along with Foulke's one year and seems to make this trade not just more even but also I would say gives the advantage to Oakland. Foulke was signed by Boston as a free agent which gave the A's a compensatory draft pick utilized to draft Huston Street, although this is offset by the fact that the Sox got Neil Cotts in the Koch deal.

Name Total VORP VORP/year Win Shares WS/Year
Billy Koch 24.2 24.2* 19 19*
Keith Foulke 37.0 37.0* 21 21*
Eric Hinske 70.2 14.04* 58 11.6*
Justin Miller -3.4 -1.7
*Value added for the addition of players through trades/draft pick compensation

2nd trade: To Chicago Cubs: Alex Gonzalez, Received: James Deschaine and Felix Heredia
Gonzalez was always better known for his defense than his offense and Ricciardi felt that his lack of offensive performance made his salary unsuitable for the team. The 29 year old was shipped to the Cubs for leftie reliever Heredia and career minor leaguer Deschaine. The trade saved the Jays over $2 million for the one season alone, but Gonzalez performed better than Heredia by over 10 VORP in the first season and unlike Heredia, he played a second season with the Cubs(although at a VORP of 9.5). Alex S. Gonzalez had Win Shares of 13 and 16 in his two seasons with the Cubs while Heredia had 3 win shares in his season with the Blue Jays. Although Ricciardi lost the trade when it came to VORP and Win Shares, the salaries seem to offset the gain in VORP for the Cubs. This trade is made more successful by the play of Chris Woodward, the player who replaced Gonzalez at SS for the Jays and established a better VORP by more than a run during the two seasons Alex played for the Cubs. However, he only established Win Shares of 10 and 9 in those same two seasons.
*Editor's Note...Alex Gonzalez had $12 million left on his contract, therefore the Jays saved closer to $10 million because of this deal.

3rd trade: To Los Angeles Dodgers: Paul Quantrill, Cesar Izturis, Received Luke Prokopec and Chad Ricketts
This is probably not a trade that Ricciardi enjoys re-visiting. Prokopec was expected to be a major part of the rotation for the Blue Jays but never materialized(one season, VORP of -9.4) while Ricketts did not have an impact. Quantrill had two excellent seasons in Los Angeles, establishing VORPs and Wins Shares of 18.8, 8 WS and 30.3, 11 WS and after two below average years, Izturis broke out in 2004 with a VORP of 29.7, only to return to averageness until his trade to Chicago in exchange for Greg Maddux. The positive thing about the trade is that the Jays did save over $2 million per year because of this trade. However, this is not a deal that allows much confidence in Ricciardi's trading expertise and it took a long time for the Blue Jays to find someone to perform as well as Quantrill as a setup man.

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