|Saturday, November 16
Updated: November 18, 12:32 PM ET
A's trade away No. 4 starter, get two minor leaguers
Lidle was a career reliever before the A's gave him a regular spot in the rotation, but he won 21 games over his two years in Oakland.
''We're obviously extremely excited to have a guy like Cory pitching for us next year,'' Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi said in a conference call. ''We think he addresses some of the needs we have going into next season.''
Lidle went 8-10 last season with a 3.89 ERA, recovering from a terrible start before having a spectacular August, when he went 5-0. He helped the A's win the American League West before losing to Minnesota in the AL division series in five games.
The deal saves money for the A's. Lidle will make $4.8 million next season.
''I think there's no question payroll was part of the motivation,'' said A's general manager Billy Beane, who turned down an offer to be Boston's GM a week ago. ''I learned in the GM meetings that any payroll flexibility a club has is going to be very powerful in the next few months.
''No question it gives us a little more flexibility. We're fortunate we took two young players who won't have an impact on our major league payroll.''
Before trading Lidle, the A's payroll had gone up $12 million to $52 million just based on raises, Beane said.
The two prospects Oakland acquired in the trade are infielder Mike Rouse and right-handed pitcher Chris Mowday.
''You don't like to give up on young players,'' Ricciardi said. ''But, in the scheme of things, you'll take a major league player as opposed to a minor league player.''
Ricciardi was Oakland's director of player personnel before taking over in Toronto last winter and is close with Beane.
Ricciardi talked to Lidle and said the 30-year-old is excited to come to Toronto where he will be relied on more heavily than in Oakland.
''He's our No. 2 right now,'' Ricciardi said. ''He brings a lot more experience and a lot more depth.''
Aaron Harang will likely replace Lidle in the A's rotation. Harang went 5-4 with a 4.83 ERA for the A's last season. Beane and the A's have had such success developing young pitchers, he is looking forward to using another young arm in the fifth spot.
Plus, the A's can't depend on the health of left-hander Ted Lilly. He spent time on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation this season after being acquired from the New York Yankees, and also was hindered by a blister on his throwing hand.
Lidle was originally acquired by the A's on Jan. 8, 2001, as part of a three-team trade with Tampa Bay and Kansas City that also brought Johnny Damon to Oakland.
Lidle went 13-6 in 2001, with his victory total a career high.
Rouse is a left-handed hitting shortstop who played at Double-A Tennessee last year. He batted .260 with nine home runs and 43 RBIs in 71 games. Beane expects Rouse to play either Double-A or Triple-A ball next season.
Mowday split the 2002 season between Class-A Dunedin and Class-A Charleston, where he was a combined 3-2 with a 2.99 ERA in 37 games. He will likely be in high-A ball in Oakland's farm system.
The trade was Oakland's second of the week. The A's acquired right-hander Roy Smith on Wednesday from Cleveland for cash.
Beane said the A's probably weren't done dealing, either. They might consider some of the free agents on the market.
''Do we anticipate going into camp with this team? No,'' he said. ''We do anticipate doing some more things. But, as per our history, we're not going to be market setters.''
In addition, Beane said right-handed pitcher Jim Mecir will miss the first two months of the season after having surgery on his left knee to repair a torn patellar tendon. Mecir was injured while playing with his children on a hill, Beane said.