Do players like A.J. Burnett owe it to their teams to waive their no-trade clauses when a suitable swap presents itself?
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
As the Yankees try to find a taker for disappointing starter A.J. Burnett while persuading him to waive his no-trade clause, revisit Derek's examination of the ethical issues facing a player whose team is trying to trade him, which originally ran as a "Breaking Balls" column on July 8, 2004.
The Blue Jays' GM discusses his organizational philosophy, his love of scouting and how it plays a role in his work, and competing in the AL East.
He’s too humble to admit it, but Alex Anthopoulos has done an outstanding job since replacing J.P. Ricciardi as the general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays in October 2009. He has orchestrated high-impact trades, most notably deals involving Roy Halladay and Vernon Wells, as well as prudent, if not as newsworthy, free-agent signings. Just as importantly, he has been placing a huge emphasis on scouting and player development, which should come as no surprise given his background as a scouting coordinator. A 33-year-old native of Montreal, Anthopoulos has an economics degree from McMaster University.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Albert Pujols leads the roster of players newly anointed with "10-and-5" no-trade rights.
For Albert Pujols, the 2010 season was his 10th year in the majors, meeting the requirement for election to the Hall of Fame. With the end of the season, he also earned full no-trade protection as a "10-and-5 man": a 10-year veteran who has spent the last five seasons with the same team.
Roy Oswalt wants to be traded, but the Astros aren't under any obligation to deal him.
Over the weekend news broke that Roy Oswalt’s agent, Robert Garber, had gotten in touch with Astros owner Drayton McLane in order to request that the veteran ace be traded to a sunnier situation. Oswalt is in his 10th season with the Astros, having spent his entire major-league career in Houston, but likely realized that his time as an elite hurler is running out and his current employer has no true direction or blueprint for success. It is truly a dreadful situation in Houston: the Astros have a terrible farm system and the valuable pieces on the major-league club realistically needed to be traded two years ago in order to extract a return capable of seriously enhancing their talent level. Now, in order to receive anything of value for players like Oswalt or Lance Berkman, the Astros will have to eat a heftier chunk of the remaining change on their contracts. Consider this to be a rant on the Oswalt situation to be used as the foundation of a brief transactions primer.
Locked in place with nowhere to go, some players are locked in place for the duration of their current deals.
The few, the proud, the... untradeable? When the Padres' Jake Peavy exercised his right to torpedo a deal that would have sent him to Chicago's South Side to try and help keep the White Sox' bid for a successful title defense going, there was plenty of gnashing of teeth. That said, with a deal on the table, it was Peavy himself who elected to make himself untradeable. While that doesn't make him less desirable to add for an aspiring contender looking for an ace, it does provide a gateway to the question of which players might be even more deeply rooted in place on their rosters. Who's truly untradeable?
As much as we might start off with a group of names driven entirely by salary considerations alone, we've already seen Alex Rodriguez, then as now the most expensive player in baseball, dealt once, and that was while he was in possession of a no-trade clause. We can also probably count out equally obvious fan favorites, whether that's Ichiro Suzuki in Seattle or Derek Jeter in the Bronx or Albert Pujols in St. Louis. Were any of those men traded, the subsequent riots would probably make tearing down the Bastille look like a tea party. No, if we want to talk about who's untradeable, we should talk about the players who their employers might wish they could deal, but effectively cannot.
Some veterans who may get moved this month, umpires dodging lightning bolts, disgruntled Venezuelans, and more developments on the diamond.
While most of the heavy-duty trading is over now that the deadline to make deals without securing waivers passed on July 31, there are still potential swaps to be made. A couple of relievers cleared waivers and changed teams this past week; the Rays acquired right-hander Chad Bradford from the Orioles, and the Phillies picked up left-hander Scott Eyre from the Cubs. The Red Sox had a deal in place to add to their already impressive arsenal by trading for Padres outfielder Brian Giles, but the San Diego native invoked his no-trade clause, preferring to remain in his hometown with the last-place Padres rather than join the contending Red Sox.
I wrote a whole column last Thursday about how players don't owe it to their teams to waive their no-trade clauses. One weekend later, Randy Johnson comes out and says that if, maybe, he were to think about leaving Arizona, well... "The only way I'd probably want to leave is if a trade would benefit the Diamondbacks by my leaving. And maybe the way to do that is if they wouldn't have to pay my salary and it could go to some other players that would help them--and if I got to a situation that was going to work for me."
Randy's now saying he'd require that:
The Diamondbacks wouldn't have to pick up his salary
They would have to get players back who'd help them
His new team would have to be contending
Sure, there are players who have emotional ties to an organization and a city such that they'd like to see their soon-to-be-old team do well. Some players have tried to make sure that their new team doesn't give up too much. The most obvious example of this was Ken Griffey, Jr, who when demanding a trade from the Mariners to the Reds seemed to be actively involved in who'd be traded for, which is kind of weird since he instigated the whole thing. It'd be cool if us average people could do that for our jobs. ("I've decided you're going to offer me $125 grand to watch baseball and drink beer in the comfort of my house, and you're going to pay for the recliner." "Remember not to put your breakable mugs on the bottom of the box when you clean out your desk, because you're fired.")
There are going to be a lot of trades and trade rumors in the next month. More players will be approached, and more will be confused. I want to see this looked at evenly for once, that's all. It's not an issue of players being selfish; sometimes, when they're choosing between their families and a chance at a ring, it's an issue of them being unselfish. I'd like to see the story covered that way, just once.
This is important because those teams--Arizona, Baltimore, Colorado, Kansas City, Montreal, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Tampa Bay (though they're the hottest team in baseball, as you'll hear 20 times a day if you watch as much baseball coverage as I do), and Toronto will be trying to peddle their valuable parts to contenders (and anyone else shopping). On those teams, veterans will be discreetly approached to gauge their interest in heading to other squads, or they'll find out the team's looking to trade them when they settle down at a nice watering hole where "Baseball Tonight" is on.
With the Juan Gonzalez trade still up in the air, Joe Sheehan urges the Rangers to play hardball with their reluctant slugger: accept the deal or grab some pine.
The deal isn't the blockbuster it's being presented as. While it's fun to
again see the Expos making a deal to improve their chances of making the
playoffs, Gonzalez's reputation far outstrips his performance these days. He's
fragile, poor defensively, and has posted OBPs below the league average in
three of the last four seasons. He'd be an improvement on the Wil
Cordero/Ron Calloway situation for the Expos, however.