A's also get cash or player later

Updated: November 19, 2003, 1:32 PM ET
Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Athletics traded left-hander Ted Lilly to the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday for outfielder Bobby Kielty.

The A's also will get $100,000 or a minor league player to be named in the latest moneysaving shuffle of their small-market roster.

FANTASY FOCUS
For fantasy purposes, it looks like the trade helps Kielty, not Lilly. However, I'm not as high on Kielty as I was a year ago. Sure, give him 500 at-bats and he'll walk 100 times, which seems to fascinate Oakland, but Kielty hasn't shown run-producing ability or much speed. Kind of like the rest of Oakland's lineup. Can Kielty swat 20 homers, knock in 80, steal 10 and hit .300? All those numbers are possible eventually, but the Coliseum isn't a good hitter's park, and Kielty isn't even assured of 500 at-bats. Look up Scott Hatteberg's average numbers; they might be Kielty's. Fantasy owners should not overrate the high on-base average and assume the stats translate to fantasy. As for Toronto, don't forget the name Jayson Werth. This is a potential 20-20 guy who put up numbers in the minors and could emerge. As for Lilly, if he gets 200 innings he's capable of 15 wins and close to 200 Ks, but this deal doesn't make him more fantasy attractive. Toronto is a far better park for hitters, Lilly has always been prone to giving up homers, and he's been very inconsistent. He salvaged last year with a strong finish, but his ERA was 4.96 at the All-Star break. Oakland dumped Cory Lidle on Toronto, and see how his numbers adjusted in the same move (ERA was up nearly two runs). Now instead of being a No. 4 or No. 5 starter, Lilly's likely slotted right behind Roy Halladay as a No. 2. That means he faces tougher pitchers.
-- Eric Karabell

Lilly went 12-10 with a 4.34 ERA and 147 strikeouts as the Athletics' fourth starter last season.

Lilly was 6-1 with a 2.06 ERA in his final seven starts of the regular season while emerging as the most consistent starter in Oakland's powerful rotation during the team's drive to the AL West title.

"It's not a painless trade, because Ted was a major part of this club," A's general manager Billy Beane said. "He's going to be a difficult guy to replace, but just like everything we do here, we have to sort of mix and match."

Though Lilly was surprised by the trade, he looked forward to being a key member of the Blue Jays' revamped rotation behind Cy Young winner Roy Halladay. Earlier Tuesday, Toronto signed right-hander Pat Hentgen.

"You never know in this game. I've come to realize that," Lilly said. "It's part of the business of baseball. I don't believe they didn't like me. Each club thought they could improve. Oakland thought they would improve their club by adding Kielty. It's certainly something you learn not to take personal."

Kielty hit .244 with 13 homers and 57 RBI last season with Toronto and Minnesota. The Twins traded him to the Blue Jays on July 16 for Shannon Stewart.

Kielty has 27 home runs, 117 RBI and a .367 on-base percentage in three major league seasons, and he's the type of disciplined hitter favored by the A's.

"I feel like this is my opportunity," Kielty said from his offseason home in Canyon Lake, Calif. "I didn't feel like I had a really huge opportunity with the Twins. This offseason, I've felt motivated that this is my chance to have an everyday job.

"I am very patient at the plate and I do draw a lot of walks. I make the pitchers work. It just seemed like Minnesota didn't really care too much for that. They're more of a free-swinging club. I feel like I mold a lot better with a club that values what I try to do."

Meanwhile, the A's and San Diego agreed to a deal Tuesday that would send All-Star catcher Ramon Hernandez and disgruntled outfielder Terrence Long to the Padres for outfielder Mark Kotsay, ESPN's Peter Gammons reported.

Kielty has long been a favorite of Beane, who swung the deal with Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi, his close friend and former assistant. Kielty also isn't eligible for arbitration, which will keep his salary down to Oakland-friendly levels.

Kielty could provide pop to one of baseball's weakest-hitting outfields. Though they've made the playoffs four straight times, the Athletics' run production has declined in each of the last three seasons.

"We felt like we needed some help in the outfield," Beane said. "It's been written where we had the least-productive outfield in the major leagues, or close to it. Like many players, he has shown a propensity to get on base at a high rate when he plays."

Kielty was thrilled by the prospect of having an everyday job. That job could be at any of the three outfield spots: Incumbent right fielder Jermaine Dye and center fielder Eric Byrnes will jockey for playing time with Kielty, who's mostly been a right fielder in the majors, and possibly Kotsay, a longtime center fielder.

Beane expects right-hander Rich Harden to step into Lilly's spot in the rotation. Harden went 5-4 with a 4.46 ERA and 67 strikeouts in just 74 2/3 innings after joining the A's following the All-Star break.

If the season started this week, Oakland's fifth starter would be Justin Duchscherer, the PCL's pitcher of the year with Triple-A Sacramento. But Beane said the A's might sign a free agent starter.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press

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