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November 12, 2006

Chris Britton Trade

From the Baltimore Sun -

The Orioles have agreed to trade reliever Chris Britton to the New York Yankees for starting pitcher Jaret Wright and cash, according to two team sources.

While the specifics of the deal have been worked out, the trade won't be official until it gets the commissioner's approval, which is necessary when more than $1 million in cash exchanges hands in a deal. That could happen as early as today.

Along with Wright, a 30-year-old right-hander with a 68-57 record over 10 major league seasons, the Yankees have agreed to send the Orioles $4 million, according to sources. That is the amount it would have cost New York to buy out Wright's 2007 option.

Britton, a 23-year-old right-hander who was the Orioles' eighth-round selection in the 2001 draft, was possibly the team's second-best reliever as a rookie this past season behind closer Chris Ray . Britton was 0-2 with a 3.35 ERA and one save in 52 games.

However, team officials were concerned about Britton's lack of command of a second pitch behind his fastball, and they also were worried about ongoing conditioning problems.

I like this trade. Wright is a tough guy with heart - but, he is limited in talent and carries risk. It's no sweat to see him leave the Yankees.

Britton's weight could be an issue. By some reports, he's gained around 50 pounds in the last year. That's never good.

But, in terms of "stuff," he has some tools: mid-90's fastball, an effective slider, and a change. He has good - but not great - command. And, reportedly, he's got a bulldog attitude on the mound.

It's somewhat proven that you can pitch out of the pen and be fat. See Bob Wickman, Ray King, Bobby Jenks, etc. While I would like to see Britton lose around 40 pounds, I think he can still be effective in 2007 at his current Jumbo-weight.

Again, this is a good deal here for the Yankees.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at November 12, 2006 10:02 AM

Comments

I like this deal very much. Britton's strike-out rates in the minors are unbelievably great. Plus, they got him for nothing. I wonder now if the Yankees feel that they have enough power arms in the bullpen to deal Farnsworth.

Given the way that teams act about "proven closers," I bet that the Yankees could do quite well for Farnsworth.

Posted by: jonm [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 11:12 AM

We got pig-boy! Wow, unreal. The thing I remember best about Britton is that he continually blew his fastball by A-Rod.

Why is everyone so eager to trade Farnsworth? He fixed his walk problem in the second half of the year, and his numbers overall (outside of ERA, which is useless when judging relievers) weren't that bad. The only issue with him was his back. But getting rid of Farnsworth -- who can step in and close if you need him to -- is just dumb.

Also, Steve... c'mon, dude! Just the other day you were burying Joba Chamberlain about his "weight problems" and now you dismiss Britton's weight problems. Joba is ten times the pitcher Britton is (only 3 walks versus 40-plus strikeouts in 32 innings in the HBL).

Why are pig-boy's weight problems a non-issue and one of our best pitching prospect's weight issues of great concern?

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 12:30 PM

I don't have any problem with Farnsworth, but I think that Torre has soured on him. If they can get maximum return for him (which I'm convinced Cashman can do), there's a good incentive to trade him. If Rivera gets hurt, Proctor could close. Closers are made/developed not born. I am not at all convinced that Farnsworth would be a better closer than Proctor.

Posted by: jonm [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 12:46 PM

the things that I and Torre dont like about Farnsworth are his fragility. not injuries, but the fact that he almost never pitched back-to-back days, and never more than 1 inning.

but i hope Britton doesn't surpass the other RH relievers. Bruney, Proctor & Farnsworth are proven. And I hope he doesn't surpass JB Cox in the organization. but it's definitely better than having '5-and-out-Wright' another year, and letting a young guy pitch.

Posted by: Travis G. [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 01:35 PM

I cant believe that people believe this is a good deal. Look at the Yankees starting rotation....As of right now, they have Wang, an injured Johnson who might not be ready for spring training and possibly, Moose if he resigns. So basically the Yanks can count on one pitcher to be in the rotation for certain next yer. Who else are they gonna count on? Pavano? HAHA. Karstens and Rasner? Even worse. The best hope is for Hughes to come up and be effective right away but that might be too much. Maybe the tooth fairy will come and deliver us 3 or 4 starters we can count on next year but as far as I see it, we gave up a reasonably effective starter for a loster reliever when our major need is depth in the starting rotation to account for injuries.

Posted by: Chewbacca [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 01:48 PM

I don't have any problem with Farnsworth, but I think that Torre has soured on him. If they can get maximum return for him (which I'm convinced Cashman can do), there's a good incentive to trade him. If Rivera gets hurt, Proctor could close. Closers are made/developed not born. I am not at all convinced that Farnsworth would be a better closer than Proctor.
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You're exactly right -- closers aren't made, and Proctor CANNOT close. Don't you remember this year what a disaster it was when they asked him to close? He couldn't get the ball over the plate and he gave up a huge home run. Proctor came into games with total confidence this year. When he came in to save the game, he was a wreck. Proctor is a good pitcher, but he is NOT a closer.

Farnsworth, on the other hand, actually WAS a closer in Atlanta and he got six saves with this team (one of those saves was closing out the 2-1 game five in the Boston series, which was huge). The idea that Proctor would be a better closer than Farnsworth is absurd to me, since Farnsworth closed for a team and Proctor has exactly ONE major-league save. Basically that theory flies in the face of the facts.

I'll agree with you that Torre doesn't like Farnsworth -- and this "no back-to-back days" thing was more about Torre than Farns -- but I wouldn't want to go into the season leaning so heavily on Bruney or Proctor (who still has to prove he wasn't a fluke).

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 01:58 PM

I think Cashman might be close to getting Zito to replace Wright in the rotation. Just a hunch, and the Yankees will have to pay a bit more.

Posted by: rbj [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 02:30 PM

I cant believe that people believe this is a good deal. Look at the Yankees starting rotation....As of right now, they have Wang, an injured Johnson who might not be ready for spring training and possibly, Moose if he resigns. So basically the Yanks can count on one pitcher to be in the rotation for certain next yer. Who else are they gonna count on? Pavano? HAHA. Karstens and Rasner? Even worse. The best hope is for Hughes to come up and be effective right away but that might be too much. Maybe the tooth fairy will come and deliver us 3 or 4 starters we can count on next year but as far as I see it, we gave up a reasonably effective starter for a loster reliever when our major need is depth in the starting rotation to account for injuries.

====================

Well, look at it this way, Karstens, and/or Rasner can be used as the 5th starter out of spring training. Both can easily put up the numbers Wright would have put up...and both have a better chance of going 6 innings than Wright. Hughes and/or Sanchez and/or Clippard can come up midseason and provide even better production.

I think everyone is aware that we didn't just trade away a number 3 starter...we traded away a number 5 starter...who we have replacements for in the minors.

I agree, there are other holes in the rotation, but retaining Wright would not close those holes.

Remember, the reason this was even an option year for Wright is because of the amount of time he spent on the Disabled List. That in itself doesn't make Wright a guarantee for 30 starts.

Posted by: Jeteupthemiddle [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 03:36 PM

It's somewhat proven that you can pitch out of the pen and be fat.
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You can start and be fat too; David Wells, Rick Reuschel, Jeff Juden, Curt Schilling come to mind.

The Britton's problems has more to do with the fact that he doesn't have a secondary pitch, than it does with his conditioning.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 04:02 PM

Remember, the reason this was even an option year for Wright is because of the amount of time he spent on the Disabled List. That in itself doesn't make Wright a guarantee for 30 starts.
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That, and the fact that since 1997 he has made 30 starts twice; 1998 & 2004

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 04:05 PM

You're exactly right -- closers aren't made, and Proctor CANNOT close.
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Ah, the old "Proven Closer" theory rears its ugly head!
I won't convince you otherwise, but you are condemning Proctor to a life of non-closerhood based on a tiny sample size. I like Farnsworth, but if the Yankees can get another team that subscribes to the proven closer theory to overpay, I say that they should go for it.

Posted by: jonm [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 05:52 PM

Jon, let's be serious for a moment. What would other teams actually give up for Kyle Farnsworth? No one is trading starting pitching for a setup man. So why trade a valuable commodity that served the team well and can spell Rivera when needed for less than his worth?

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 06:04 PM

MJ,
A fair question, but the team that would overpay is not a team that would use him as a setup man but a team that would use him as a closer. Off the top of my head, I think that Cleveland is the only team that needs a closer. Farnsworth is cheap -- for a closer. So, you go to Cleveland and offer Farnsworth for Westbrook if you want a proven starter or Adam Miller if you want potential. I would do either of those and I'm sure that there are other teams in the same boat. It has to be remembered that middle relievers (non-closers) are fungible commodities.

Posted by: jonm [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 06:23 PM

Jonm,

While I don't disagree that middle relievers/non-closers are all fungible commodities, I also believe that in the absence of truly dominating starting pitching, a team needs to have good depth in the bullpen. So if the Yanks trade Farnsworth for Westbrook, they not only weaken their bullpen but they do nothing to strengthen their rotation. Westbrook is a league-average starter; in short, he's not making the Yanks any better in 2007.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 07:19 PM

Oh yeah, MJ? Westbrook is a league average starter? Win shares has him as the 21st best starter in the AL last year -- right behind Ervin Santana.
http://tinyurl.com/yc7grh
Win shares has its fault, but it's good at basic questions like this.

He would have been the third best starter on the Yankees last year.

Posted by: jonm [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 08:36 PM

ERA+ of 107, WHIP of 1.43. To me, that's a mediocre, league-average type of guy. Hell, win shares lists Josh Beckett right on Westbrook's tail with 12 WS. And I KNOW what kind of pitcher Becett was in 2006.

Stats can make you believe all sorts of things. Sometimes it helps to actually watch the games though and see the players for themselves. I don't mean that in an insulting way, just that no matter what stats you throw at me, I won't have my mind changed on what Westbrook has been in his career (and that is simply an average pitcher).

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 08:59 PM

~~~Also, Steve... c'mon, dude! Just the other day you were burying Joba Chamberlain about his "weight problems" and now you dismiss Britton's weight problems. Joba is ten times the pitcher Britton is (only 3 walks versus 40-plus strikeouts in 32 innings in the HBL).

Why are pig-boy's weight problems a non-issue and one of our best pitching prospect's weight issues of great concern?~~~

+++++++++

Simple, Joba is a college kid and Britton has already shown that he can get big league hitters out. That's the difference.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 09:18 PM

MJ.
Stats, of course, have to be taken in context and the potential weaknesses of certain stats should be analyzed, but, still, your position is extreme and wrong-headed. Without stats, baseball discussion becomes a matter of competing subjective claims without supporting evidence and "watch the game" exhortations. In other words, baseball discussion becomes a waste of time. Stats are necessary to any SERIOUS baseball discussion.

Posted by: jonm [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2006 09:40 PM

Simple, Joba is a college kid and Britton has already shown that he can get big league hitters out. That's the difference.
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Frankly, I don't see how that makes any sense. If you think a weight problem is a big deal for pitchers, then a weight problem is a big deal for a pitcher. What does his level of the profession have to do with it? So it's okay if a pitcher has a weight problem if he's been in the big leagues? Weight issues are strictly pre-major leagues?

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 13, 2006 01:08 AM

Hey, I'm happy to remain in the stone age where people like me watch SERIOUS baseball scholars like you debate the finer points of why Josh Beckett and Jake Westbrook were such fine AL pitchers in 2006.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 13, 2006 08:50 AM

~~~Frankly, I don't see how that makes any sense. If you think a weight problem is a big deal for pitchers, then a weight problem is a big deal for a pitcher. What does his level of the profession have to do with it? So it's okay if a pitcher has a weight problem if he's been in the big leagues? Weight issues are strictly pre-major leagues?~~~

A weight problem is a big deal for someone - unless they have proved that they can pitch at the MLB level at that weight. Britton has proved that. Joba has proved nothing yet - so, until he does, you have to be concerned.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 13, 2006 10:08 AM

Hey, I'm happy to remain in the stone age where people like me watch SERIOUS baseball scholars like you debate the finer points of why Josh Beckett and Jake Westbrook were such fine AL pitchers in 2006.
====================
Of course, had people been listening to these "serious baseball scholars" we probably wouldn't have wasted our time with Pavano & Wright.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 13, 2006 11:16 AM

A weight problem is a big deal for someone - unless they have proved that they can pitch at the MLB level at that weight. Britton has proved that. Joba has proved nothing yet - so, until he does, you have to be concerned.
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Not necessarily; there have been pitchers of all shapes and sizes that have been lit up in MLB.

I'd be more concerned with the development of his secondary pitches than with his weight problem.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 13, 2006 11:25 AM