MLB Trade Value for 2007

Dave · April 12, 2007 at 1:11 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

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:

Rank Name Position Team
1 Felix Hernandez RHP Seattle
2 Albert Pujols 1B St. Louis
3 Miguel Cabrera 3B Florida
4 Jose Reyes SS New York Mets
5 Joe Mauer C Minnesota Twins
6 Grady Sizemore CF Cleveland
7 Johan Santana LHP Minnesota
8 Brian McCann C Atlanta
9 Delmon Young RF Tampa Bay
10 David Wright 3B New York Mets
11 Scott Kazmir LHP Tampa Bay
12 Chase Utley 2B Philadelphia
13 Brandon Webb RHP Arizona
14 Ryan Howard 1B Philadelphia
15 Ben Sheets RHP Milwaukee
16 Jeremy Bonderman RHP Detroit
17 Travis Hafner DH Cleveland
18 Alex Gordon 3B Kansas City
19 John Lackey RHP Anaheim
20 Daisuke Matsuzaka RHP Boston
21 Howie Kendrick 2B Anaheim
22 Carl Crawford LF Tampa Bay
23 Philip Hughes RHP New York Yankees
24 Hanley Ramirez SS Florida
25 Roy Halladay RHP Toronto 
26 Matt Cain RHP San Francisco
27 Nick Markakis RF Baltimore
28 Brett Myers RHP Philadelphia
29 Ryan Zimmerman 3B Washington
30 Justin Verlander RHP Detroit
31 Prince Fielder 1B Milwaukee
32 Jake Peavy RHP San Diego
33 Rickie Weeks 2B Milwaukee
34 Jeff Francoeur RF Atlanta
35 Cole Hamels LHP Philadelphia
36 Robinson Cano 2B New York Yankees
37 Jason Bay LF Pittsburgh
38 Lance Berkman 1B Houston
39 Erik Bedard LHP Baltimore
40 Dan Haren RHP Oakland

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.


264 Responses to “MLB Trade Value for 2007”

  1. Criminal5 on April 13th, 2007 6:52 pm

    I’ve just never seen Pujols or Reyes so totally dominate a game like we’ve seen Felix do in his last two starts.

    Pujols has 3 3-homer games, 90 games with 3 or more hits (3 with 5, 16 with 4), 30 games with 2 or more doubles (2 with 3), 32 games with 4 or more RBIs (1 with 7, 8 with 5) and 34 games with 3 or more runs (3 with 4).

    It takes a lot for an elite pitcher to be as valuable, in terms of runs, as an elite position player. Even Santana is ten or more runs behind Pujols’ average year in terms of production.

    Pujols is absolutely “once in a generation” talent, and has been for at least four years.

  2. colm on April 13th, 2007 6:59 pm

    I think you’re both correct. Pujols can’t dominate a game in the same way as pitcher who can be involved in EVERY one of the 27 outs; nor can a starting pitcher, who only plays in every fifth game, dominate a season in the fashion of a Pujols.

  3. DMZ on April 13th, 2007 7:03 pm

    Why not? In total, they’d be involved in the same number of plays, right?

  4. Jeff Nye on April 13th, 2007 7:03 pm

    Oh, sure. And I think you absolutely can make a legitimate case to swap Pujols and Felix on this list.

    I just wouldn’t make that swap, myself.

  5. colm on April 13th, 2007 7:07 pm

    Brian Rust: That’s what I thought at first too – that we ought to have 2 or 3 hitters every season who fall outside of the 3 standard deviation range (which I’m still wary of since I don’t think the range of major league hitters follows a normal distribution).

    But what ChrisSavage said in 197 was that a career .340 average was 3 standard deviations ABOVE the mean, or outside of a 6 SD range. (S/He has since amended that comment by the way.)

    Interesting discovery that they didn’t teach me in business school: The Six Sigma business analytic tool only refers to a 4.5 SD range. Apparently they rounded it up to six just to make it sound better.

  6. colm on April 13th, 2007 7:09 pm

    Hmm lemme see:
    Felix = 27 outs every fifth game
    Pujols = five times five plate appearances = only 25 plays!

    DMZ is right! Felix is more valuable!

  7. terry on April 13th, 2007 7:20 pm

    rumor has it that Pujols also plays defense too….

  8. _David_ on April 13th, 2007 7:23 pm

    Rumor has it that Felix isn’t human.

  9. chase035 on April 13th, 2007 10:24 pm

    246- by bad rap, i mean that people write him off defensively. But I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins a “Derek Jeter style” gold glove one day.

  10. Dave on April 13th, 2007 10:55 pm

    so you think he’ll be the worst defensive player at his position in the game and still get fawned over by the NY media and Tim McCarver?

  11. Jeff Nye on April 14th, 2007 8:54 am

    Derek “Just Past A Diving” Jeter!

  12. chase035 on April 14th, 2007 11:28 am

    Buck and McCarver hate the Yankees. There’s a reason NY fans despise those two. But I agree, he’ll be smooth like Jeter, which will get him some undeserved gold glove one of these years.

  13. chase035 on April 14th, 2007 11:37 am

    it seems he gets an accurate rap as a not-so-good defender. Maybe he can improve, but judging by his consistent lack of stolen bases and low PECOTA speed score, quickness doesn’t seem to be one of his assets.

    Not quite as bad as you think. In fact, I’d call that very good.

  14. colm on April 23rd, 2007 3:10 pm

    and if anyone cares 9 days after the thread flickers and goes out, Rich Harden goes on the DL.

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