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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Montreal Expos

Signed P Livan Hernandez to a 3-year contract extension worth $21 million.

They won’t keep Vlad.  Or Bartolo.  Or Vazquez.  Or Cabrera or Vidro when the time comes.  But Expo fans can rest assured that Livan Hernandez will remain.

Livan was excellent last year and he’s been good in the very brief season to date, but $7 million a year?  Unlike the Angels case with GA, it can’t be argued that the Expos wallets are open and the $7 million won’t prevent other signings.  For a team that’s investment goal is to spending nothing and making it retroactive, this contract could look pretty ugly in 2 years.  And if the plan’s to spend a lot prior to a move to DC, I can think of better players on the team to spend a lot on.

Dan Szymborski Posted: April 17, 2004 at 01:38 PM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 23, 2004 at 08:36 PM (#571984)
I think Lopez has an outside shot at a bench job. He'd be no worse than Jamey Carroll, anyway.
   102. SM in DC Posted: March 25, 2004 at 10:03 PM (#573012)
To me this looks like both teams trading from a position of marginal strength (Montreal's bullpen vs. Arizona's rotation) to bolster themselves in another area.

Patterson, to me at least, seems to be Armas Jr. Insurance (always a handy thing to have). He should go north to Montreal after this spring.

I think Choate would have been better of (READ: gotten more work) in the Montreal 'pen, but at least he's out of New York and away from Joe Torre's lack of confidence in him.
   103. Robert S. Posted: March 26, 2004 at 01:32 AM (#573014)
This sure doesn't help the D-Backs talent-wise. How big is the salary gap? Probably doesn't matter much when you voluntarily give money to Steve Sparks.
   104. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 26, 2004 at 04:25 AM (#573016)
I wouldn't be shocked to see Patterson turn into a decent starter.

Man, it feels weird approving of one of Minaya's trades.
   105. Robert S. Posted: March 26, 2004 at 05:13 AM (#573017)
I wouldn't be shocked to see Patterson turn into a decent starter.

That's why I'm curious how much money they are saving. Patterson has upside. Choate doesn't.

This is typical D-Back treatment of younger players: they grossly misdiagnose the talent they have, pout when they don't meet absurd expectations (Durazo, Overbay, Patterson, Spivey, Kim) and give them away for "veteran presence."

What are the odds that Spark or Reynolds, much less both, put together a more valuable season than Patterson? Especially for the money?
   106. NTNgod Posted: March 26, 2004 at 07:44 AM (#573019)
That's why I'm curious how much money they are saving.

I suspect they're probably both making closing to minimum.

If you're a team looking to dump a guy's salary, you sure as hell don't trade him to the EXPOS.
   107. Noffs Posted: March 26, 2004 at 04:12 PM (#573022)
The irony is that Patterson was originally drafted by the Expos, but became a loophole free agent. So now they get him when he's major league ready without having to pay the $6M. Nice.
   108. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: April 02, 2004 at 03:33 PM (#573025)
JPatt can take his $6M signing bonus to Montreal, where he can spend it all on falafals along St. Denis street

Damn, I hope he buys me one. I could really use a falafel right now.

He'd also be smart to blow some of that cash on Chinese food from Le Gourmet Hot & Spicy. That's some good eatin'.
   109. Ziggy's screen name Posted: April 17, 2004 at 02:48 PM (#573519)
I don't think we can assume that the Expos have any more than $7mil to work with, so Vlad, Colon, and Vasquez were out of the picture. Vidro would have been much better, and it really may be a toss up between Cabrera and Hernandez. They certainly could have done worse.
   110. Walt Davis Posted: April 17, 2004 at 03:38 PM (#573520)
The contract also reduces his pay this year from $6 to $4, so those 3 years will actually cost $23 M. The contract expires in 2007, just in time for the Expos to be contracted.

I don't think we can assume that the Expos have any more than $7mil to work with,

Hard to say. Don't forget they also added Everett for at least 2 years (assuming he exercises his option for 2005) at $7.5 M and Tony Batista for one year at $1.5 M. Vidro is currently at $9 M, Cabrera at $6 M. Rocky Biddle is making nearly $2 M and Joey Eischen a stunning (to me at least) $1.3 M. (I assume somebody else is picking up most of Einar Diaz's $2.6 M)

Just looking at Everett, Batista, Biddle, and Eischen, that's about $8 M this year tied up in not a lot of talent. Take that $8 M, trade Cabrera, and that's $14 M with which they could have kept Vlad. I'm not saying that would have been the best use of those resources, but it could have been done and it's hard to see how the team would have been substantially worse off.

Perhaps more importantly, they could keep (say) Vidro and Cabrera (neither of whom is likely to make much if any more than they're making now). Making matters worse, Ohka, Armas, and Day will be getting more expensive. But they'll have $23 M tied up in the next 3 years of Livan.
   111. Will B. Posted: April 17, 2004 at 03:41 PM (#573521)
I don't know why the Transaction Oracle is so down on this move. Livan is still young (29 wink wink) and since changing his arm slot last year has been extremely effective. Even if he reverts back to the San Francisco Livan, you still get 220+ innings of league average pitching. If he comes anywhere near repeating last year's performance - and the small sample size this year indicates he will - he's an absolute bargain at $7mill/per.

I'd much rather put the money towards Livan than to Jose Vidro. They're the same age, but Vidro is a much bigger injury risk.
   112. jeff angus Posted: April 17, 2004 at 05:21 PM (#573522)
A hunch. I suspect they signed him to make him more trade-able to a contender come July. And the way the contract is backloaded reinforces that hunch, since he's very cost-effective this year (at $4.X MM).

He's got playoff/Series experience and is a (medium-good) horse. He'd be a great innings-eater for a team on the bubble but not for a team in the rubble.
   113. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: April 17, 2004 at 08:11 PM (#573523)
Livan likes his money...also I agree with the idea that that they save short term and then trade him to...gee I dunno the Cardinals?
   114. fra paolo Posted: April 17, 2004 at 10:09 PM (#573524)
I think it?s a defensible signing, for the trade option described but also for a player relations factor. IIRC, the Expos were offering Vlad 5 years at $70m/75m, which got turned down. They didn?t just sit on the money after Vlad rejected it. Basically they?ve given it to Everett, Batista, and Livan. I think it shows a degree of commitment to players prepared to join the club, which may be appreciated in future contract negotiations. After all, Montreal has not exactly been a popular destination for free agents over the years.
   115. Dr. Vaux Posted: April 18, 2004 at 01:09 PM (#573526)
I think it's pretty obvious that this contract makes him less tradable, except to the Yankees if (when?) they get desperate. But they don't have anything valuable to give for him, so it's pointless. Well... the Angels might have a pitching panic in a couple of months, and their checkbooks seem open. Still, the contract makes him less moveable, no two ways about it.
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