A Look at J.P.'s Trade History

The Jays are primed to make a few more trades this offseason, so let's take a look at how J.P. Ricciardi's trades have worked out in the past. In order to evaluate the trades at least somewhat objectively, I'm going to use win shares. In short, win shares are useful because they take offensive, defensive, and pitching contributions into account. It's also important to note that each win share is a third of a win created. Therefore, if a player produced 30 win shares, he'd be responsible for roughly 10 of his team's victories. With the help of win shares, I'll analyze some of the more significant trades J.P.'s made since he became the team's GM in late 2001 (has it been that long already?).

December 7, 2001: the Toronto Blue Jays trade Billy Koch to the Oakland A's for Eric Hinske and Justin Miller. Keith Foulke, Mark L. Johnson, and Joe Valentine were later acquired by the A's for Koch.

Win shares for Toronto:
Hinske: 53
Miller: 5
Total: 58  

Win shares for Oakland:
Koch: 19
Foulke: 21
Johnson: 1
Valentine: 0
Total: 41

After the first season, the deal was more or less even (Hinske 22 WS; Koch 19 WS). However, Hinske's production tapered off quite a bit, and he is now a utility player whose salary has become a burden on the team's payroll. The A's received approximately 20 WS/season from this trade compared to the roughly 15 WS/season the Blue Jays received. The edge in this deal goes to the A's.

December 13, 2001: the Toronto Blue Jays trade Paul Quantrill and Cesar Izturis to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Luke Prokopec and minor league Chad Ricketts.

Win shares for Toronto:
Prokopec: 0
Ricketts: 0
Total: 0

Win shares for LAD:
Quantrill: 19
Izturis: 46
Total: 65

Clearly a win for the Dodgers. Quite possibly the worst trade J.P. has ever made.

December 15, 2002: a 4-team trade between Toronto, Cincinnati, Oakland, and Arizona took place. But what's pertinent to this discussion is that Toronto gave up Felipe Lopez and received minor leaguer Jason Arnold.

Win shares for Toronto:
Arnold: 0
Total: 0

Win shares for Cincinnati:
Lopez: 33
Total: 33

It didn't seem like a particularly bad trade at the time. Lopez wasn't developing as quickly as expected, and Arnold looked like a safe prospect with good upside. In the end, however, it was a big win for Cincinnati, obviously.

July 16, 2003: the Toronto Blue Jays trade Shannon Stewart to the Minnesota Twins for Bobby Kielty. Kielty was later traded to the Oakland A's for Theodore Roosevelt Lilly.

Win shares for Toronto:
Kielty: 4
Lilly: 20
Total: 24  

Win shares for Minnesota:
Stewart: 34
Total: 34  

In 2003, Stewart played a big role down the stretch for Minnesota. Toronto received 24 win shares in exchane for a soon-to-be free agent, which is a great haul by any measurement. In the end, it can't be construed as a poor deal for either team.

December 14, 2003: a 3-team trade between Toronto, Tampa Bay, and Colorado took place. Toronto gave up Mark Hendrickson and minor leaguer Sandy Nin; they received Justin Speier.

Win shares for Toronto:
Speier: 15
Total: 15  

Win shares for Tampa Bay:
Hendrickson: 12
Total: 12  

A very good trade for Toronto. Speier was fantastic last season, and he should be effective next season, as well. Hendrickson is a fungible starter for whom the Blue Jays had no use. A definite victory for J.P.

March 29, 2004: the Toronto Blue Jays trade Jayson Werth to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Jason Frasor.

Win shares for Toronto:
Frasor: 13
Total: 13  

Win shares for LAD:
Werth: 22
Total: 22  

Based on the above, Los Angeles seems to hold the edge. On the other hand, Werth wouldn't really have a spot in Toronto's lineup if he were still a member of the team. In the end, I believe more time has to pass until a conclusive judgement can be made. As of now, both teams did a good job of trading from a position of strength in order to address a positional need.

January 12, 2005: the Toronto Blue Jays trade minor leaguer Adam Peterson to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Shea Hillenbrand.

Win shares for Toronto:
Hillenbrand: 15
Total: 15  

Win shares for Arizona:
Peterson: 0
Total: 0  

An outright victory for the Blue Jays, but it was clearly a salary dump on the part of the Diamondbacks

Of course, some trades were omitted from the discussion, like the Alex Gonzalez, Brad Fullmer, and Raul Mondesi salary dumps. However, the trades listed above more or less encapsulate the significant trades of the J.P. Ricciardi era. On the whole, it's a mixed bag. On the one hand, he was able to acquire quality pitching on the cheap (Speier, Frasor, to name two). On the other hand, however, he gave up on high-upside players much too quickly, without even acquiring anything of value in return (the Izturis and Lopez trades, for example). Although, it's important to note that J.P.'s poor trades took place during his first couple years, when the roster consisted of players acquired by the ill-fated Gord Ash regime. If the Lyle Overbay trade is any indication, though, Blue Jays fans need not worry too much about another Prokopec-type deal happening anytime soon.

Win shares for 2002, courtesy of baseballtruth.com
Win shares for 2003, courtesy of baseballgraphs.com
Win shares for 2004, courtesy of bryandonovan.com
Win shares for 2005, courtesy of thehardballtimes.com

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