MLB Trade Value for 2007
About a year and a half ago, I did a post on who has the most trade value in the major leagues, blatently stealing off an idea from Bill Simmons of a column he’s been doing for a while on NBA players. It was pretty popular, so last summer, I did something similar for just the AL West.
Since it’s been a while and people keep asking, plus the fact that the M’s have been rained out yet again, I’ve now updated the MLB Trade Value list for how I think things stack up today. Once again, let’s borrow from Simmons’ rules, slightly modified to fit baseball.
A. Salaries matter. Would you rather pay David Wright $55 million for the next six years or Lance Berkman $85 million over the same period?
B. Age matters. Would you rather have Roy Halladay for the next five seasons or Scott Kazmir for the next 12?
C. Pretend the league passed the following rule: For 24 hours, any player can be traded straight up for any other player without budget ramifications. So if Team A tells Team B, “We’ll trade you Player X for Player Y straight up,” would Team B make the deal or not?
D. Concentrate on degrees. For instance, neither the Mariners nor Cardinals would pull the trigger on an Pujols-Hernandez trade. But at the very least, the Cardinals say, “Wow, Felix Hernandez is available?” while the Mariners would say, “There’s no way we’re trading Felix, but Albert Pujols…” That counts in the big scheme of things.
E. Make the list in reverse order (Nos. 40 to 1). So if Ryan Howard comes in at No. 14, players 1 through 13 are all players about whom Philadelphia would probably say, “We hate giving up Howard, but there’s no way we can pass up that deal.” And they wouldn’t trade him for any player listed between Nos. 15 and 40.
So, now that we have those issues out of the way, try to remember that this whole post is for fun. Try not to get all bent out of shape if you think I have Grady Sizemore two slots too low or Nick Markakis ten spots too high. It’s a water cooler discussion post. Take it as such. So, without further ado:
|2||Albert Pujols||1B||St. Louis|
|4||Jose Reyes||SS||New York Mets|
|5||Joe Mauer||C||Minnesota Twins|
|9||Delmon Young||RF||Tampa Bay|
|10||David Wright||3B||New York Mets|
|11||Scott Kazmir||LHP||Tampa Bay|
|18||Alex Gordon||3B||Kansas City|
|22||Carl Crawford||LF||Tampa Bay|
|23||Philip Hughes||RHP||New York Yankees|
|26||Matt Cain||RHP||San Francisco|
|32||Jake Peavy||RHP||San Diego|
|36||Robinson Cano||2B||New York Yankees|
Okay, so, there’s the list. On to the notes.
You can argue where Felix ranks among the best pitchers in the game, considering he’s been spectacular in spurts before and hasn’t shown the consistency required of a true ace. But you can’t argue that he’s making $400,000 this year and is under club control through 2011. There’s still the problem of attrition with young pitchers and the risk is high, but the reward is worth it. Felix is the most valuable property in the game.
I went back and forth on Cabrera and Pujols for the #2 spot. In the end, the fact that Pujols is signed through 2010 with an option for 2011 won me over. With Cabrera, you’re getting a great young player that could walk away after 2009, and with the inflating market, won’t be cheap even if you manage to get him under contract. That hurts his value enough to push him down to the #3 spot, even though he may outhit Pujols this year.
Reyes, Sizemore, and Mauer are basically interchangable. All three play up-the-middle defensive spots, and all are legitimate MVP candidates before they turn 25. I give the slight edge to Reyes because he has the fewest questions about his ability to remain at his position and he’s the most athletically gifted of the three, but you don’t have to argue very long for either of the other two before I shurg and say “okay”.
I might have Johan too high at #7, since he’s only under contract for another two years. But he’s been so consistently unbelievable that almost any team in baseball is a contender by adding Johan to the front of their rotation, and he’s been willing to discuss an extension with the Twins, so theoretically you could keep him off the open market by getting a deal done soon.
Despite the fact that he’s all the way at #14, I might actually be overrating Ryan Howard. He’s already 27, and his body suggests he won’t age gracefully. 2006 will go down as his career year, and if he regresses too far offensively, then he’s just a good player instead of a great one. However, since he’s heading into just his third year, he’s still very cheap, so his contract pushes him up the list.
I’m going to get a lot of grief for having Hanley Ramirez 20 spots below Jose Reyes, but I’m not sold on Hanley repeating his 2006 year on a consistent basis. I’m also still not sold on his defense. But he’s cheap and still clearly one of the best shortstops in the league, so 24 is as low as I could put him.
Nick Markakis at #27 is something of a hunch pick, but I love his swing, he’s a pretty good defensive player as well, and he’s heading into his second season in the majors, meaning he makes nothing. That’s a valuable asset, and if he takes the step forward that he’s capable of, he could easily crack the top ten next year.
If there’s one guy who could make me look really bad for having him way too low, its Cole Hamels. If he stays healthy this year and pitches up to his talent level, he’s a top five guy. He’s that good.
Guys who just missed the cut: Francisco Liriano, Justin Morneau, Matt Holliday, Adam Loewen, and Scott Olsen.