A wild rumor has surfaced on the A's page of MLB.com. According to the site:
"Late Wednesday, another rumor popped up, with the Phillies said to have offered outfielder Bobby Abreu, catcher Mike Lieberthal and pitching prospect Gavin Floyd for lefty Barry Zito and catcher Jason Kendall."
Lieberthal and Kendall had about equal value on the field in 2005. Comparing contracts, the catcher part of the deal is a big win for Oakland. Kendall's on the hook for $19MM through 2007, while Lieberthal is owed $7.5MM for 2006 only. So the A's come out a good $11.5MM ahead here, especially considering how bad Kendall could be by 2007.
Zito will be paid $7.9MM in 2006 before he hits free agency. Here's Dayn Perry's thoughts on the lefthander:
"He's a good starting pitcher who eats innings and is a safe bet to be a tick or two above average in terms of preventing runs. However, Zito's not an ace. That he might be treated as one on the trade market is part of the reason why Oakland should deal him now."
Abreu is a star, and he will be paid like one for the next two or three years. He'll get $28MM through 2007 with a $16MM club option for '08 and a $2MM buyout. So the A's would be on the hook for a ton of money, but they are getting a more valuable player. Plus, even the A's would consider signing Abreu as a free agent if he was asking for two years, $30MM. That's not a terrible price and the length is reasonable.
Gavin Floyd is kind of a throw-in to make Beane feel better about the salary he'd be taking on. Floyd had a very ugly 163 innings in 2005, and still hasn't come near mastering Triple A. 28 solid Major League innings in 2004 probably gave him a reputation he didn't deserve.
Thanks to the several emailers who passed this rumor along.
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