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Kennedy to Oakland?

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Rumors are starting to float around that Joe Kennedy could be traded to the Oakland Athletic's for a minor league outfielder and reliever. Some have speculated that this means Barry Zito's time in Oakland would soon be up, and he would be dealt at some point afterwards. Also, Eric Byrnes salary ($2.2 million) is the same as Joe Kennedy's. I see alot of things falling into place here, but let's take a look:

Eric Byrnes 2004
VORP: 33.1
WARP: 5.1
MLVr: .071
EqA: .289

Eric Byrnes 2005
VORP: 3.8
WARP: 1.3
MLVr: .001
EqA: .266

Byrnes looks like a completely different player so far this year, but maybe getting out of Oakland would help somewhat. If Byrnes can get back to his 2004 form he would be a great help to the Rockies, who just recently lost Clint Barmes to injury. Barmes problem? He doesn't hit on the road (.390/.432/.650 at Coors; .255/.296/.353 on the road) so if Byrnes can revert to previous levels of play he would help more than Barmes.

As far as the A's receiving Joe Kennedy goes, let's take a look at some of his numbers:

Kennedy 2004
K/BB: 1.75
BABIP: .307
HR/9: .943

Kennedy 2005
K/BB: 1.15
BABIP: .368
HR/9: 1.30

A worse walk rate, a much higher BABIP, and an increased homerun rate have led to Kennedy's problems this season. Let's look at the Rox Defensive Efficiency for the past two years, and the A's current Defensive Efficiency:

Colorado 2004
.6809 (16th in NL)

Colorado 2005
.6655 (16th in NL)

Granted, both seasons they were in last. But check out the difference between those last place standings in the rankings; this year's squad is far, far worse.

Oakland 2005
.7032 (6th in AL)

A move to Oakland would help Kennedy in many respects; a lower homerun rate probably just by getting out of Coors, a chance to avoid the plague of high walk totals that seems to occur in Denver, and a chance to play in front of a capable defense. Oakland's rotation would then look something like this (with Harden in the fold anyways):

  1. Zito
  2. Harden
  3. Haren
  4. Kennedy
  5. Blanton
Saarloos out of the rotation, and no more worries about Etherton (6.62 ERA) as a starter. This would improve the rotation greatly if Kennedy adjusted as I think he would to Oakland, as they would then have an ace in Harden, three capable #3's or #2's, depending on how you want to look at it, and Blanton in the 5 hole trying to remember how to strike people out.

We all know how moving Byrnes to Colorado would help at home, but what about on the road? This year he is hitting awful on the road (.162/.276/.311) but last year the lines were pretty similar:

2004
Home: .283/.353/.467
Away: .283/.341/.468

Byrnes is also slightly above average in left field for his career, with a 103 rate. This year he sits at 106 (6 runs above average defensively per 100 games). He is 1 FRAA, and 7 FRAR. Matt Holliday's Rate is 100 in left this year, and Brad Hawpe's is 103 in RF. Preston Wilson is the centerfielder, but is doing an awful job offensively and defensively. Sadly, I think this is going to have to be either a 3-team deal to move Wilson to somewhere else while Oakland gets Kennedy, which may be difficult, or it is not going to happen, because Byrnes will have nowhere to go in the outfield.

If the Rockies have no interest in Byrnes because they can't move Wilson, here are the outfielders in the A's system Colorado might come knocking for, with John Sickels' grades for them as well:

Javier Herrera, B
Danny Putnam, B
Richie Robnett, B+

Herrera hit well in limited action for Sacramento's Triple-A club, but has spent most of his time in Class A:

.250/.348/.412
AB: 136
HR: 4
2B: 8
SB: 11/12
BB: 19
SecAvg: .375
Iso: .162

Danny Putnam is playing for the Class-A advanced Stockton team:

.295/.359/.432
AB: 227
HR: 5
2B: 10
SB: 0/2
BB: 24
SecAvg: .233
Iso: .137

Richie Robnett is also playing for the Stockton team:

.242/.317/.416
AB: 149
HR: 5
2B: 11
SB: 3/4
BB: 17
SecAvg: .302
Iso: .174

I'm not really sure what kind of players Colorado are looking for right now, but I'm also not sure if they know either. They were pretty close to getting Zach Day for Preston Wilson, something I advocated awhile back, but besides that have not tried to move forward too much this year. It will be interesting to see if they try some more progress by trying to acquire Byrnes or a young good hitting outfielder rather than pay Kennedy more and more to start as time goes on, never know what the results will be. I've said it before, so I'll say it one more time: Good defense (especially in the outfield) and great--make that excellent hitting, with a stronger bullpen than rotation is all that can let this team in Denver win. Trading for Byrnes by dealing a pitcher who by Coors standards is/will be overpriced is a good step in the right direction, albeit a baby step.