Chris Burke Rumors
Regular MLBTR readers know I have mostly been a harsh critic of Ed Wade's short tenure as the Astros' GM. Well, not this time. He made an excellent deal in acquiring Jose Valverde for Chris Burke, Chad Qualls, and Juan Gutierrez.
Valverde, 27, is a nasty shut-down closer with two seasons before free agency. He gets strikeouts by the bushel and can handle the ninth in a tough hitter's ballpark.
Burke was once the 10th overall pick in the 2001 draft, but he turns 27 in March. His best year was a .765 OPS in 2006. The D'Backs hope he can match that and take over for Orlando Hudson after the 2007 season. I have to think his trade value was minimal.
Qualls, 29, has three seasons before free agency. He's quietly compiled a 3.39 ERA in 284 career innings. He had a solid strikeout rate last year and also posted a strong groundball rate near 60%. Josh Byrnes is gambling that Qualls is nearly Valverde's equal, just without the fancy 40-save season.
Gutierrez, 24, didn't impress as a starter in Triple A or the bigs this year. Baseball America recently ranked him as the Astros' fourth best prospect, with an excellent heater and sometimes plus changeup. He may end up in relief, but is an intriguing arm.
This trade could definitely work out for Byrnes and Co. - they gave up two years of Valverde for 12 years of Burke, Qualls, and Gutierrez. If Qualls can be 80% as good as Valverde, the D'Backs win the deal on service time alone.
I just question whether Byrnes got the best possible package for Valverde. The Astros, meanwhile, did a nice job getting a possibly elite closer for a reasonable package.
It looks like Billy Beane has pulled the trigger on a trade for Dan Haren, sending him to the Diamondbacks for a package of prospects. The departed: Carlos Gonzalez, Brett Anderson, Dana Eveland, Greg Smith, Chris Carter, and Aaron Cunningham. The A's also sent right Connor Robertson to the D'Backs.
The D'Backs also completed another deal, sending closer Jose Valverde to the Astros for Chris Burke, Chad Qualls, and Juan Gutierrez.
Tim will be around later to share his views on the trade.
The Houston Chronicle's Richard Justice says that while the Astros and Orioles had intense discussions about Miguel Tejada, the two sides were "never, never, never" close to a deal. It's clear that Chris Burke, Adam Everett, and a prospect wouldn't get it done.
Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun said today that the Orioles believe the Astros have the young talent needed to make a Tejada deal. Zrebiec notes that a package based on Everett and Luke Scott wouldn't cut it, either. Andy MacPhail also discussed Tejada with the Cardinals, Giants, and Angels this week. The Angels haven't aggressively pursued him, and Andrew Baggarly said today the Giants are no longer interested.
UPDATE, 12-6-07 at 5:01pm: MLB.com's Alyson Footer checks in with some detail. She notes that no deal is close but it is possible. Hunter Pence, J.R. Towles, and Felipe Paulino are considered off-limits.
UPDATE, 12-6-07 at 3:02pm: Still listening to 790...the message is now that the talks are in an "advanced stage" and they do not know the names involved. There's also a question of whether Tejada would waive his no-trade. Ken Rosenthal checks in - the teams have had significant discussions and may have been on the verge at some point. But nothing is imminent.
UPDATE, 12-6-07 at 1:33pm: ESPN's Jayson Stark says Andy MacPhail has left Nashville without a deal in place. But talks about Tejada and Brian Roberts are on the frontburner. Hopefully Jeff Zrebiec will weigh in soon...
FROM 12-6-07 at 12:39pm:
790 The Sports Animal, a Houston radio station, is reporting that the Astros are close to a deal to acquire Miguel Tejada. The reported package: Adam Everett, Chris Burke, and a pitcher. Heard them saying this myself by listening online; they're talking about it now.
The package sounds light, but maybe better if Troy Patton is the pitcher. More when I have it.
Ken Rosenthal checks in with the latest buzz.
- The Astros might be "on the verge of a major deal." Rosenthal notes the availability of Chris Burke and Luke Scott plus the team's interest in Damaso Marte. He also says some clubs are after Houston's young pitching. Ed Wade spoke of two-way, three-way, and even four-way discussions before he hit the hay last night, but nothing seemed imminent.
- Rosenthal says the Padres might have a better chance of re-signing Milton Bradley than Mike Cameron. He also implies that the Friars could reach a one-year agreement with Michael Barrett and then shop him.
- Despite Hank's proclamations, Rosenthal says the Yanks are "lurking" on Dan Haren. Sounds creepy.
According to Troy Renck and Patrick Saunders, the Rockies met with Tadahito Iguchi's agent yesterday to discuss their second base opening. Iguchi prefers the idea of second base, and is looking for a two-year deal. Other teams interested in Iguchi are the Dodgers, Giants, Phillies, and Brewers.
Other second basemen on Colorado's radar include Chris Burke and Mark Loretta.
UPDATE, 12-4-07 at 9:45pm: A White Sox source told MLB.com's Alyson Footer not to look too much into their supposed interest in Burke.
UPDATE, 12-4-07 at 9:25pm: The Rockies have made a trade offer for Burke, according to the Denver Post.
FROM 12-4-07 at 8:07pm:
Just talked to a source close to Chris Burke. So far four teams have contacted Burke's agent: the White Sox, Rockies, A's, and Angels.
The 2001 first rounder is almost certain to be traded by the Astros; he just wants an opportunity to start somewhere. The Angels' could have an opening if they trade Howie Kendrick.
According to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post, the Rockies have offered shortstop Clint Barmes to the Astros for second baseman Chris Burke. Seems a reasonable swap of blocked middle infielders.
The Rockies will also meet with Mark Loretta's agent tonight. Loretta is coveted by the Mariners as well.
Talks with the Astros about Brian Fuentes fizzled, so the Rockies will probably just keep him as a luxury.
Let's keep things rolling along with a morning Odds and Ends collection.
- U.S.S. Mariner is not amused with the Ms' decision not to offer arbitration to Jose Guillen.
- Andruw Jones hasn't been getting much player, and his camp initiated contact with the Royals yesterday. The mutual interest may have been what pushed Guillen to sign.
- With the David Riske to Milwaukee signing not official, the Orioles apparently had talks with his agent yesterday. He'll be too pricey for them, anyway. By the way, the Cubs checked in on Brian Roberts, but nothing is really stirring right now on that front.
- Corey Patterson seems a little down, as he's no one's first choice in center field. The Orioles are apparently moving on. Patterson wouldn't say whether he'd take a one-year deal. As a Scott Boras client, I imagine he won't.
- Summing up the Rockies' external second base candidates: Chris Burke, Marcus Giles, and Mark Loretta. The agents for both Giles and Loretta have contacted the Rockies, and Loretta would play there at a discount.
- Evan Grant has his Rangers column up, but we already hit upon most of the points yesterday (he was the source then, too). One new note is that the Rangers don't want to give Tony Clark anything more than one year plus an option, while Clark wants a two-year deal. The Rays, Dodgers, and Twins are said to like Clark.
According to ESPN's Steve Phillips, the Astros could trade second baseman Chris Burke to the White Sox for an unknown reliever. Nick Masset and David Aardsma are both out of options, so one of them may be Ed Wade's target.
The White Sox are apparently looking to build up second base depth. Right now the internal candidates are Juan Uribe and Danny Richar.