Trading Value

Dave · July 6, 2005 at 7:48 am · Filed Under Mariners 

In one of the threads yesterday, there was a discussion about the pros and cons of trading Raul Ibanez. Considering how strong we came out against the Ibanez signing and how easy it is to find a servicable designated hitter, one would probably expect that we would support shipping Raul out of town. After all, he’s 33 years old, under contract for $4.3 million next year, and he doesn’t walk that often or hit the ball out of the park very much.

Well, despite our protestations against the signing, Ibanez has just hit, hit, and hit some more since signing. He’s currently sporting a .298 EqA, highest on the team, and his VORP puts him 4th in baseball among DHs behind David Ortiz, David Dellucci, and Travis Hafner. If you want to compare him to left fielders, his EqA puts him in the same league as Pat Burrell, Ryan Klesko, Carlos Lee, Kevin Mench, and Cliff Floyd.

We talk a lot about replacement level and how easy it is to find a DH to play for peanuts. But if you trade Raul Ibanez and replace him with a guy like Josh Phelps, you’re losing around 30 runs over the course of a season. The 2006 Mariners cannot afford to lose 30 runs off their offense, and even if they wisely spend the $4 million that trading Ibanez would free up, the odds of them finding another player capable of posting a .300 EqA in Safeco Field for that kind of cash are somewhere between slim and none.

The M’s stink, there’s no question about that. But they can’t waive the white flag on 2006 right now. After two abysmal seasons, they have to be at least decent next year. Trading Raul Ibanez for a mid tier prospect will almost certainly make the 2006 Mariners a worse team, and the kind of player you’d expect to get back for him doesn’t justify making that maneuver.

We were against the Ibanez deal when it went down, but there’s no question that we were dead wrong. He’s been way better than advertised, and right now, he’s an indispensible part of the offense. The organization doesn’t have a good way to replace him internally, and its unlikely they could match his performance at his salary level in the free agent market.

Trade Randy Winn. Trade Eddie Guardado. But hang on to Raul Ibanez. Two years ago, I’d never have imagined saying this, but he’s too big of a bargain and too valuable to let go.


103 Responses to “Trading Value”

  1. Evan on July 6th, 2005 3:10 pm

    Right. Anyone with a negative VORP has hurt his team beyond what you’d expect from some random minor-league free agent.

    Examples of players with negative VORP are such luminaries as Wilson Valdez, Willie Bloomquist, Pat Borders, and Miguel Olivo.

    Incidentally, by VORP, Olivo is no longer ranked 791 of 792. He’s now 806 of 807 (still ahead of Guzman, still just behind Womack)

  2. strong silence on July 6th, 2005 3:59 pm

    I believe a scrub is a replacement level player, so theoretically, his VORP would be 0.

    A .230 EQA is replacement-level (.260 is league average).

    If this is true, who are the players from the 2004 Red Sox that can be characterized as Scrubs?

  3. Jason Lake on July 6th, 2005 9:57 pm

    David McCarty (3.2 VORP), Dave Roberts (1.7), Gabe Kapler (1.2), Brian Daubach (0.9) and Doug Mientkiewicz (-4.5) were in that +5 to -5 range.

    The thing about Scrubs isn’t that you necessarily want a replacement-level player out there. You just want someone cheap that doesn’t suck. If he turns into pre-injury Clint Barmes, even better.

    You can spend $7.5 million on Winn-Ibanez (34.6-30.1 VORP in 2004), or you can spend it on Beltre-Madritsch (89.1-28.0), for example. Plus the spots have to be open for the Scrubs to develop into Stars. Even if you trade Ibanez for nothing (which I don’t advocate), you open a spot for Bucky and you can spend the cash later on a much, much, much-needed pitcher. Same with Winn and Sir Doyle.

    Aw, man, Nate McMillan’s going to Portland. Craptastic.