Mariner Trade Value

Dave · July 11, 2006 at 9:44 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Last year, I did a post on players trade value across MLB, an idea stolen from Bill Simmons annual NBA trade value article. The basic gist of the idea can be summarized like this; if a team called you and asked for a player in return, who would you rather give up? Service time, salary, and performance all factor into the equation.

In essence, who has the most trade value in the Mariners organization? We’ll count down the top 25 in reverse order. Because this is what we do during the all-star break when you take real baseball games away from us for four days. Jerks.

25. Steve Uhlmansiek, LHP

Working his way back, mostly throwing well. Could be a breakthrough guy in ’07.

24. Greg Halman, OF

A younger, better version of Balentien. Has less value around the league, but more to me.

23. Wladmir Balentien, OF

He’s an all-or-nothing prospect, but his power is legitimately rare. I’d cash in before he busts.

22. George Sherrill, LHP

Lefty one out guys aren’t tough to find, but good luck finding one this tough on LH hitters.

21. Jeremy Reed, CF

His stock has tumbled a long ways. Hasn’t adjusted to majors, looks to be on the outs.

20. Justin Thomas, LHP

Better stuff than other southpaws in organization, missing bats like crazy.

19. Emiliano Fruto, RHP

Stuff is good, command is not, results are mixed. Needs to take a step forward.

18. Mark Lowe, RHP

Transformed himself from a thrower into a pitcher in less than a year.

17. Francisco Cruceta, RHP

Fantastic waiver claim a year ago. Command needs work, but stuff is good enough to help team.

16. Matt Tuiasasopo, SS/3B/RF

Organization has pushed him fast, but it would be nice to see results eventually.

15. Ryan Feierabend, LHP

Makes the most out of average stuff. Scouts love his make-up and approach to pitching.

14. Shin-Soo Choo, OF

Does everything well enough to play in majors, none of it well enough to start regularly.

13. Gil Meche, RHP

His value will likely never be higher, but ironically comes when club needs to keep him the most.

12. Raul Ibanez, LF

What a weird, weird career path he has taken. But we’re enjoying the fruits of that.

11. Chris Snelling, LF/DH

Every time he’s healthy, we get excited. When he gets hurt, we cry. Please stay healthy.

10. Brandon Morrow, RHP

With future rotation totally up for grabs, organization is hoping he comes fast.

9. J.J. Putz, RHP

Hurts me to have him this low, but closers are easy to find. But man, he’s good.

8. Rafael Soriano, RHP

Still has the potential to move back to the rotation at some point.

7. Jeff Clement, C

How badly could this team use a guy who can hit .280/.400/.500? He might be that guy.

6. Kenji Johjima, C

Already an above average catcher and signed at way below market value.

5. Adam Jones, CF

Establishing himself as the premier prospect in the organization.

4. Yuniesky Betancourt, SS

Hard to find another league average shortstop making as little as he is.

3. Jose Lopez, 2B

All-Star second baseman at age 23, doesn’t make anything for several years.

2. Ichiro, RF

If he was willing and eager to play center field, he’d be untouchable.

1. Felix Hernandez, RHP

Obviously, he’s not going anywhere.

Guys who have value to the team, but not value in the trade market, include Richie Sexson, Adrian Beltre, and Jarrod Washburn. While the team would be instantly worse if they were removed, let’s be honest, we’d gladly unload their contracts if we could.


135 Responses to “Mariner Trade Value”

  1. mln on July 11th, 2006 11:14 pm

    Hey, where is Joel Pineiro on this list? Jo-el has got to be worth something, anything… Doesn’t he?

    Seriously, I hope the Mariners are aggressive at the trade deadline, and aren’t afraid to deal some of their more established players with big contracts, although they would have to find some big market team that doesn’t mind taking on a proven veteran with a bloated contract as a desperation move to make the playoffs (cough, Yankees).

  2. The Ancient Mariner on July 11th, 2006 11:14 pm

    Regarding that list of names, Dave — anyone you wish the M’s actually had dealt Betancourt for?

  3. CCW on July 11th, 2006 11:15 pm

    Ichiro at #2 seems highly debateable to me. At $12.5mm per year, I’d say the Ms are actually overpaying for his services, at least from a pure baseball standpoint. Why on earth would a team give up anything of particular value for a right fielder who’s 33 years old and has a career line of .333/.380/.442? Other than the fact the he’s Ichiro!

  4. Mr. Egaas on July 11th, 2006 11:55 pm

    Ichiro has more intangibles than his batting line suggest. He’s a premier defensive outfielder, has a high baseball IQ, steals bases, and is one of the most marketable guys in the league.

  5. CCW on July 12th, 2006 12:12 am

    I’ll admit I have a very difficult time quantifying Ichiro’s marketability in terms of his trade value, and I suspect that that’s the most important of the factors you list. I’m curious how much Dave figured that aspect into his rankings. Dave?

    However, his defense and base-stealing are quantifiable, and they don’t amount more than a win or two per season. I’m not saying Ichiro isn’t very very good, but $12.5M per season for a 33-year old that can do what he does does not seem like a bargain to me.

    I know Ichiro keeps himself in pretty good shape, but he’s 33. A lot of his value – defense, steals, batting average from infield hits, etc. – derives from his speed. Isn’t he a candidate to get worse fast? Isn’t now precisely the time to cash in?

  6. DMZ on July 12th, 2006 12:32 am

    However, his defense and base-stealing are quantifiable, and they don’t amount more than a win or two per season.

    Okay, a, that’s not a very good quantification. And b, a “win or two a season” from defense and baserunning is pretty huge.

  7. eponymous coward on July 12th, 2006 12:36 am

    And c: go look at Lou Brock, Rickey Henderson and Tony Gwynn. Fast players lose a step, but Ichiro’s not going to turn into Carl Everett.

  8. BelaXadux on July 12th, 2006 6:00 am

    Very crisp capsule descriptions of the boys, Dave, some quite telling. That’s the best description of Shin-Soo Choo I’ve ever heard, for instance.

    —Reed: He hasn’t been able to adjust and the League has. He’s probably better than his numbers this year, but not better than his numbers last year. An average CF, too. I wouldn’t have bet that he would even be in the organization next year if he hadn’t hurt his hand, which zeros out his trade value such as it is until and unless he plays again.

    —Matt Tui: He was a high schooler with very little time playing baseball when drafted. Even for his age, he’s behind on development, and the org is pushing him damn fast, and at the wrong position until they moved him to 3B in the middle of this year. Yeah, I’d love to see results, but he’s a guy who will have a big breakout year at somepoint below AAA. I’m by no means sure that it will be even _next_ year, though, and folks may give up on him a bit before he puts it together. He’s still really learning to be a ballplayer.

    —Balentien: I will be very, very interested to see what he does next year. He’s made some strides learning the strikezone and taking the walk this year, but he’s as high risk as a non-injury guy can be for sure. I would rather _not_ see him dealt, though. You couldn’t get anything for him that approximates his value if he makes good, and if he makes good his kind of sock is damned rare. This one I’d rather keep and see how it plays out. If he busts, meh, he didn’t cost the Ms a bunch, and you have to see how some guys develop. He’s not blocking anybody, and the org isn’t built around him succeeding, so keep him and see.

    —Feierabend’s value is higher, but I like Thomas more; stuff has it’s virtures. I don’t disagree with the rankings at all, though, since Ryan is more advanced. RyanF is the guy I’d be happy for the Ms to move in the next few weeks in the right deal. Far more so than the dumbass dealing of Cabrera. Moving Asdrubal is the classic example of an organization undervaluing talent when they have multiple guys with it at the same position. “Shortstop? Oh, we alreadh have AGoodOne. We can move ThisOtherGuy to fill a need, and we won’t be hurting.” Dumb. Ass.

    —Tulowitzki: Wildly overrated and quite unimpressive really; your fingernail in thread on him maybe even overrates him, to me. He does nothing exceptionally well expect wow (some) scouts. I can’t see him being even as good as Crosby or Khalil Greene. Betancourt could whisk his socks off, make the play, then put them back on the guys feet before TT made his first move. The Betancourt signing just looks better and better, to me. And he’s here, right, now.

    —Sherrill: He’s got that sidearm sling from the left side like Nelson had from the right side, and LH batters get water in their eyes trying to pick it up coming in from behind their ears. But he’s good enough to get RHers out most of the time, too, though Hargrove overmanaging like crazy won’t use him an inning at a time like he could. I don’t want to see him go, but there may well come a day when some other team gets a brain cramp on needing a lefty-killer in a way equivalent to the Ms deal for Eduardo Perez, and the Ms get offered a sweet prospect for him. At that point, take it sez me.

    —Doyle: There are very few pure hitters in the minors as good as he is, very few. If the Ms released him, I’m sure 27 organizations give or take would offer him a shot to see if he could make it. I look at a guy like Michael Young, and I look at Doyle, and I like Doyle better ’cause he’s a LH hitter. Because of the injuries, you couldn’t remotely get for him in a deal what he’s worth if he still makes it. I hope to see him up soon, though handled with care even so.

    —Felix: Straight up for David Wright or Miguel Cabrera if they were made available, but that’s it. The sky is still the limit for Our Man Hernandez.

  9. MarinerDan on July 12th, 2006 8:10 am

    I am intrigued — can you tell us some of the names that teams offered the M’s for Yuniesky Betancourt?

  10. msb on July 12th, 2006 8:40 am

    ah, Mitch is back — this morning re:Felix, “he’s won 8 games, but he’s been terrible!”

  11. bookbook on July 12th, 2006 9:00 am

    If Choo can have as valuable a career as Rich Aurilia, that’s quite a bit more than I thought.

    11 Seasons at 102 OPS+ at passable SS ain’t chopped liver.

    (Or did I get lost in the commutative property from TT to Choo to Aurilia? My math skills aren’t what they used to be…)

  12. carcinogen on July 12th, 2006 9:37 am

    ESPN has Neel talking about Pedro on the DL and their need for pitching. Mets, meet Gil Meche!

  13. Ralph Malph on July 12th, 2006 9:43 am

    I think it was Tulowitzki who was being compared to Aurilia, not Choo.

  14. Paul B on July 12th, 2006 9:49 am

    103, 104, 105: Did anyone notice the article where Ichiro compared the Mariners to a tree, and that the problems were in the roots?

    It seemed like he might be saying that the M’s won’t be truly good until they dump Hargrove, but he certainly wasn’t being direct about it.

  15. msb on July 12th, 2006 10:07 am

    or he was being as obtuse and zen as possible, while laughing to himself as the press all wrote it down on their slates 🙂

  16. CCW on July 12th, 2006 10:18 am

    DMZ: You’ve made my point for me. A win or two person season IS a huge amount for a right fielder to contribute via defense and baserunning. The point is that, even assuming Ichiro contributes 1.5 wins/season above replacement level by his defense and baserunning alone, that would bring him to approximately 5 wins above replacment level, assuming he stays as good going forward as he has been in in his prime (not a good assumption in my opinion). Is $12.5M/year such a good deal for that kind of production (and risk)? I’m not sure. I’m asking the question.

    Put another way – would you trade Ichiro for Abreu straight up?

  17. Dave on July 12th, 2006 10:22 am

    Ichiro’s WARP3, by year: 9.0, 7.3, 6.9, 8.6, 7.3. He’s already at 4.0 this year, so best guess is he ends up somewhere around 7.5 or so.

    Based on the $2 million per win estimate, Ichiro’s real value is something like $15-16 million per year. It’s higher than that, actually, because of the talent pyramid, and the scarcity of players who can sustain that level of performance while staying on the field all the time.

    Ichiro’s a true superstar, one of the elite players in the game, and he’s underpaid.

    And no, I wouldn’t trade him for Abreu straight up. I wouldn’t even think about it.

  18. Brian Rust on July 12th, 2006 10:22 am

    So, presuming the catcher called up to cover for Joh’s brief family leave is sent back, someone is due up. A true OFer, perhaps? Someone who shall not be named, perhaps? Number 11 from the above list, perhaps?

    Oooh, I like that. Number 11 has a nice ring to it.

  19. joser on July 12th, 2006 10:34 am

    If you’re talking about roots, you’re going deeper than Hargrove. Hargrove is just the fertilizer spread around the base of the tree. The roots run deeper than that.

  20. Christopher on July 12th, 2006 10:35 am

    Ichiro also has value based on his marketability for the team.

  21. JI on July 12th, 2006 10:37 am


    Man, I’m not even old enough to remember Fast Tony Gwynn.

  22. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on July 12th, 2006 10:43 am


    Based on what you wrote in #117, what’s the package the M’s offer to Ichiro? What do you do to keep him at the end of next year? How many years and how much per? Just curious. If the Mariners value him properly (and assuming next year is like any of the ones he’s had so far, even his worst to date) what is the right call there?

    I am assuming we need to offer him serious money (and have demonstrated that we have or are very likely to have a competitive team) to have a shot. I also think that we need to be very close to the ballpark the Yankees or other teams might offer. If he stays, it will be interesting to see if he seeks a long-term or short term deal. In other words, does he stick around only as long as there is a real commitment to winning, or does he seek security . . .

  23. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on July 12th, 2006 11:24 am

    BTW, a few months may only matter in horse-racing, but Ichiro’s not 33 until later this year.

  24. Dr. Johan on July 12th, 2006 11:41 am

    Baseball analysts top prospects

    18. Adam Jones, of: Mariners (AAA)
    19. Jeff Clement, c: Mariners (AAA)
    From a fantasy perspective, Jeff Clement is the Mariners best prospect. The list of power-hitting catchers at the Major League level is a short one, and a list Clement should be adding his name to by 2008. Despite his struggles coming back from injury in AAA, Clement has given the Mariners a lot of reason for optimism about their future backstop logjam. Given how quickly Clement should rise towards the top of any fantasy catcher list, keeper leaguers should have Clement ranked higher.
    From a baseball standpoint, Jones is the better prospect. On the bases and in the field, Jones is superior. He brings a unique degree of athleticism to the game – his transition to the outfield has gone seamlessly. And if Jones joins Choo and Ichiro in a Major League outfield, it’s quite possible baseball will have never seen three stronger arms in the same outfield. At the plate, Jones has improved as the season has progressed, showing more patience and better contact skills.
    Jones shouldn’t be a superstar on the Seattle Mariners, but he’ll be a good one for a long time.

  25. F-Rod on July 12th, 2006 11:53 am

    That was just a crazy projection to give Ichiro only +1.5 wins for baserunning and defense….that is so ridiculous….he is one of the ten best baserunners in the game and one of the best defensive players in the game….why would people care about defense and baserunning if someone who is basically the best at both aspects only worth 2 games…Ichiro at 12.5 is an absolute bargain…and I dont see him slipping anytime soon

  26. JMB on July 12th, 2006 12:07 pm

    It’s not that crazy. He’s playing RF, not CF. And stolen bases are overrated.

  27. JMB on July 12th, 2006 12:11 pm

    Abreu has probably gone from underrated to overrated. For starters, he makes more than Ichiro ($13.6M). He also has a pretty big platoon split for his career (he’s hitting lefties much better this season, but given his career it seems unlikely he magically figured that out this year at age 32). Defensively he’s obviously not on par with Ichiro, and much of Abreu’s value is derived from his walk rate, an “old player” skill that doesn’t tend to age well.

  28. JMB on July 12th, 2006 12:15 pm

    Ichiro will sign a three- or four-year deal with an option year tacked on the end. I can’t imagine a seven-year contract or anything crazy like that.

    I’m on fire today.

  29. F-Rod on July 12th, 2006 12:15 pm

    I said baserunner not steals sir…..being a great baserunner scores runs and gets wins….remember that great slide Ichiro had at home in early July….being a really fast/smart runner who can slide around a tag and steal bases scores more runs than others

  30. msb on July 12th, 2006 12:16 pm

    #121– ah, skinny ‘fro’d Tony Gwynn…..

  31. JMB on July 12th, 2006 12:20 pm

    OK, baserunning. How big is the difference between the very best/smartest baserunner and the worst/dumbest baserunner? Ten plays/decisions a year, maybe? And not all of those will have run-scoring implications. And even if they did, 10 runs is basically one win.

    People remember the close plays at the plate and the great slides, of course, but most of the time runners cross the plate standing up, uncontested, and being a great baserunner doesn’t come into play.

  32. DMZ on July 12th, 2006 12:30 pm

    Tom Tippett came up at 6-12 runs on Ichiro’s superior baserunning in 2001 in the mini-study he did at Diamond Mind.

  33. JMB on July 12th, 2006 1:16 pm

    I was thinking of that study but hadn’t located it yet.

  34. darrylzero on July 12th, 2006 2:45 pm

    Ichiro’s baserunning as I recall used to be somewhat overrated because he got caught stealing more than people like Carlos Beltran, who went 38-40 or something ridiculous two years ago. But this year, Ichiro is what, 26-28? I don’t know quite what to make of that regarding his actual baserunning ability, but it seems like a dramatic improvement. I don’t know if that indicates he was unlucky before or lucky now or what, but I’d love to hear how relevant folks think this is to the discussion of his value on the basepaths.

  35. BelaXadux on July 12th, 2006 8:02 pm

    I can’t imagine why anyone would trade Ichiro under any circumstance except if he expressed a firm desire to be moved, which won’t happen. From the team marketing standpoint alone, he’s worth his contract to any team, and as Dave point’s out in just one capacity, he’s significantly _underrated_ in his impact on team wins.

    I like Abreu, and there are other Mariners I see as reasonable to deal in a swap for him, but Ichiro doesn’t make it on to the continent where they’d take that picture.

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