The trade value post

DMZ · June 28, 2008 at 11:23 am · Filed Under Mariners 

During yesterday’s game thread, I mentioned that I might try and crank out a giant trade value megapost, and someone mentioned “won’t you get depressed putting “no value” over and over?”

And that’s pretty much what happened. In response, I’m scaling back my ambitions.

Hitters with value:

Ichiro. Don’t. Just don’t. Ichiro’s why I tune in every game, why I still drag myself to Safeco to buy tickets. Don’t do this to me.

Ibanez. Including his defense, he’s a wash in spacious Safeco Field’s left, but you might be able to mitigate somewhat in a smaller park. Generally, though, you’re looking to move him to a team that needs a LH DH. His contract, in its last year at $5.5m, makes him an attractive pickup for a team that wants the stretch drive help. So who could use him? Unfortunately for our purposes, the teams you can see contending and needing an upgrade at DH are more likely to hold out hope for their current guys (like Sheffield, for instance). Similarly, I don’t see a team with an LF hole they might swap Ibanez in at.

Beltre. He’s got another year at $12m on his contract. Here’s a really interesting one to think about. First, we’ve been arguing for ages that Beltre’s been a fine signing, a bargain when compared to what his peers are getting, but because his defense is largely unappreciated and that first year was such a drop from his 04 it created this whole “Beltre’s contract was a bust” belief that seems to circle endlessly around the national baseball media circles. And we’ve seen articles with anonymous front-office types claiming he’s not a good pickup (or whatever) — though I’d encourage everyone to always heavily discount those kind of blind quotes for reasons that should be obvious — and if there’s a perception in front offices that he’s overpaid, that’ll affect his trade value.

Smart teams though will recognize the potential value and may see opportunity — you get him for the stretch and you get the 09 year which is still a good deal — and with so many teams out of the bidding, maybe it doesn’t take much. But then what teams are smart, need a third base upgrade, and willing to take on that kind of salary? I don’t see a good fit.

Lopez. This is very nearly the opposite of the Beltre argument. Now we’re looking for a team that likes the high average and doesn’t see (or doesn’t care about) the defensive questions. He’s got three more really cheap years if you count the team option (seriously, it’s $1.6m in 09, $2.3m in 10, and a $4.5m option for 11)(actually, it may be more than that, but that’s complicated and it’s still cheap). The problem is that you’re still looking for teams that need a second base upgrade. Cano’s collapse in New York might open that door, but it’s hard to believe that as unbalanced and crazy as that team is they’d give up on Cano like that. Would the Mets give up on Castillo as they try to get back into it? I don’t see a huge market here, either.

(and Clement, but they’re not trading Clement if they’re rebuilding)

Hitters with potential valueL

Betancourt. He’s young, undeniably talented, and can hit some — why, just look at last year’s line! Sure, his defense went from great to abhorrent, but pay no attention to that. We’d like to get out from under his contract before he puts some more weight on and gets even less mobile, and you, uh, you have a good conditioning coach and nutritionist on hand you think he’ll listen to. It’s a perfect match.

Reed. He’s had two great years in the PCL and he’s cuffed pitchers around since he came up, which might validate those performances in the eyes of some teams that would otherwise have dismissed him. There’s always some attraction too in former top prospects who seem to be coming back into glory. Plus, unlike Ibanez, he’s not defensively limited.

Hitters without trade value:
Sexson. Expensive and worthless. Even if they have some brain parasite that makes them deranged and impulsive, they’ll give up nothing.
Vidro. Expensive and worthless. Expensive and worthless. Even if they have some brain parasite that makes them deranged and impulsive, they’ll give up nothing.
Johjima. Expensive and no one’s going to trade for a catcher hitting this badly, just signed to an extension and in the process of losing his job.
Bloomquist. He’s a good enough spare part, but no team’s going to give up anything of importance when they almost certainly have someone somewhere in their system that can provide the same skills for free.
Oh yeah, and Burke.

Pitchers with value:

Felix. This is difficult for me to say, but this might be the best time ever to trade Felix. If the M’s can get a huge haul in blue-chip prospects, it’s worth thinking about. Felix is a tremendous talent, but we’re a couple years in seeing him at the major league level and in a way we’re asking the same questions we did about Garcia in the day. Felix’s best pitch isn’t his fastball, as we saw with Freddy, but over and over he chooses not to go with his best pitch to get outs, insisting on trying to throw the fastball. This year we’ve seen his game take a big step back in every way but the most widely accepted stats like ERA. I worry he’s not ever going to learn to harness his ability, and we’ll see exactly that Garcia path.

Yet the perception of Felix as a rising star is as strong as ever, and his superficially impressive stats make people drool.

Set aside plausibility for just a second and just consider this. Tampa Bay calls tomorrow and says “Did you read what Hank Steinbrenner just said about us? We’ve been up all night drinking Red Bull and planning revenge and we are going to mess that guy up. We’re making a run at this thing, and we want Felix. We’ll give up Evan Longoria, two of our ML-ready mid-rotation guys, and one of our top pitching prospects — take your pick. Come on, help us stick it to the Yankees.”

That’s how it was pitched to me. And If you’re like me, you didn’t have a ready answer, and you’re going to have a lot of confusing and dismaying thoughts for a while. I was surprised my answer wasn’t an immediate “no” when confronted that way, and the more I thought about it… I know, but there it is: the M’s are so deeply screwed right now, my worries about Felix are substantive enough, and his value is high enough that there are trades I’d make for Felix and, what’s more, those trades may well be out there this coming month.

Bedard. Sure, call him inconsistent, fragile, a baby, a horrible interview. He can pitch, and he can be a legitimate ace. Teams making the playoff charge may well look to that as a gamble with a huge potential payoff. Plus, you can always do the PTBNL thing, where they say “We’ll give up two decent prospects for him now. If he does well and we get to the playoffs where he does well, you can pick a guy off list A. If he does well and we miss the playoffs, list B. If he pitches horribly, list C.” Plus he’s cheap.

Pitchers with possible value:
Washburn. He’s got another year on his deal and he’s not very good but he’s left-handed, an innings-eater and so on, and there could be teams out there that get fooled into thinking he’s turned it around. Please, let there be teams that get fooled.

Pitchers with no value:
Batista. Not right now, that’s for certain.
Silva. There’s no rescue from this deal.

And I’m assuming that they won’t consider moving Morrow, and the young pitchers who’ve been effective in the pen (like Green, and Lowe) won’t be moved either. Rhodes possibly, but I don’t see that either.


80 Responses to “The trade value post”

  1. justinh on June 28th, 2008 4:41 pm

    [this is off-topic for this thread, but I’ve reposted it to the most recent GM candidate thread here]

  2. LewLegend on June 28th, 2008 4:51 pm

    Why would we want to get rid of #1 starters like Felix or Bedard when we have no one in our system that is even close to that level? I know Bedard is this and that but he has #1 starter type makeup.

    I guess it is kinda like buying a house. You buy the house because you like it but you should always think of resale. We have no one to take these guys’ spots if we trade them. I would take Felix and Bedard over CC right now.

    I’m for getting rid of Washburn and his 10 mill. We are out of Richie, Raul, and Vidro’s contracts at the end of the year which gives us approximately 25 mill (35 mill w/o Wash) to start shopping. If we keep Ichiro in right and put Reed in center, we would need to get power in LF, DH, and 1B. I’m all for resigning Raul to play first or DH. Heck, we’d probably have enough money to sign Raul, Tex, and CC.

  3. Jeff Nye on June 28th, 2008 4:57 pm

    I’d have a really hard time with a Felix trade, too, as much as I reinforced Derek’s questions about him in my prior comment in this thread (missed the boat for a while, fencing tournament woo!).

    I’d be pretty upset about losing a guy that we’ve watched grow up, and is a very good pitcher even on his off days, who has occasionally flashed potential to be mentioned in the same breath as some of the game’s all-time greats.

    But I think that if you WERE to trade Felix, the haul you would get for him could be of unprecedented proportions, and could change the future of the franchise for the next ten years.

    Felix himself, as awesome as he is, only pitches every five days.

    You won’t get anywhere near the haul for Ichiro that you would for Felix; you might get one or two shiny prospects.

    And how do you replace his production at the top of the order, on a team that already has one of the worst offenses in baseball?

  4. Tree on June 28th, 2008 5:02 pm

    I agree. It’s hard to talk about trading people without actually knowing what you could get, and it seems that Felix is more likely to get an offer that you can’t refuse than Ichiro.

  5. sealclubber253 on June 28th, 2008 5:13 pm

    Washburn. He’s got another year on his deal and he’s not very good but he’s left-handed, an innings-eater and so on, and there could be teams out there that get fooled into thinking he’s turned it around. Please, let there be teams that get fooled.

    Well, now they know.

  6. praetor on June 28th, 2008 5:16 pm

    trade bedard ,not felix, felix has been heard yelling “I want to pitch” in the clubhouse, while bedard has been a pretty quiet guy. We just need a better rotation to take pressure off of felix. I think it’s time to try morrow

  7. Steve T on June 28th, 2008 5:20 pm

    I wake up every morning fully expecting to hear that Ichiro has been traded for Barry Zito, and that “our guys” think Zito’s most recent talk with Moyer or delivery tweak has turned things around for him, and that we now have six number one starters and are a lock for the playoffs next year.

    Yes, I know Bavasi’s gone.

  8. scott19 on June 28th, 2008 5:26 pm

    Oh no…I just knew we were gonna start seeing the “let’s go get Mark Texiera” talk again.

  9. seadiv88 on June 28th, 2008 6:19 pm

    No way do we trade Ichiro. Willie McGee, Tony Gwynn, Paul Molitor, Lofton, Butler. . . Ichiro takes care of himself better than any of those guys ever have. He has several years left, imho.

  10. zackr on June 28th, 2008 6:21 pm

    There’s not a chance that an interim Gm known to be a company man who wants the full-time gig next year trades Felix. Thank God too, I love watching home grown talent do well for the M’s. Felix is family to me.

    At next year’s trade deadline, though, it seems depressingly plausible.

  11. Steve T on June 28th, 2008 6:22 pm

    Do you get some kind of bonus points for yelling “I want to pitch”? How about “I am Sherlock Holmes’s only living heir” or “I’ve got blisters on my fingahs!”?

  12. Jonathan on June 28th, 2008 6:27 pm

    w/r/t emotional attachment to players, I’m pleased to see everyone fessing up to their respective Ichiro/Felix/all of the above issues. DMZ, it’s comforting to know that even primo analysts like you are susceptible to this. And it’s part of what has kept me a lifelong baseball fan, despite moving from the Phillies to the Mariners. 1980 notwithstanding, I know something of pain. I also know of pulling for my guy(s) through the pangs of summer disappointments, and tuning in again despite yesterday’s drubbing. Great post, and I’d shed many a bitter tear if either Ichiro or Felix were traded.

  13. msb on June 28th, 2008 6:37 pm

    fencing tournament woo!)

    {tap} bzzzzzzz

    {tap} bzzzzzz

  14. edgar for mayor on June 28th, 2008 6:46 pm

    42 snapper –

    Here is what you should look at.

    FB SL CB CH XX PO Pitches

    65.7% (94.9) 12.2% (87.6) 8.8% (82.1) 13.3% (87.3) 2.3% 0.1% 1631

    To break it down. Felix’s second best pitch is his curveball, and he simply isn’t using it. 70% fastballs?

  15. edgar for mayor on June 28th, 2008 6:48 pm

    Also, as much as I would hate to see either player go if i have to pick I am keeping Felix. 🙁
    Mel isn’t helping with Felix’s fastall problem, he encourages it.

  16. AFRanger on June 28th, 2008 8:16 pm

    As much as everyone likes to harp on the possibility of Felix and Ichiro, I see the obstacles to trading them (i.e. management attachment, likely trading partners with enough to give, and money in Ichiro’s case) as too great to make any trade likely. In looking at the situation, I think that Ibanez and/or Bedard could go, but the most likely to go would be in a place that has hardly been mentioned: the bullpen.

    As teams approach the deadline, there will nearly always be one or two players in the bullpen that, for whatever reason, just haven’t worked out. Many teams have bullpens that just plain stink. The M’s, however, find themselves with a pretty solid bullpen as a seller at the deadline. There, you have quite a few guys that would have value, be replaceable, be very movable moneywise, and could bring a few good pieces in return.

  17. The Ancient Mariner on June 28th, 2008 10:51 pm

    Honestly, if the Rays called up offering that for Felix el Rey, I’d do it. The potential for three starting pitchers who deserve the job instead of one, still with a young potential ace, plus Longoria on the position-player side? As many holes as we have, you have to do it.

  18. samregens on June 29th, 2008 6:01 am

    Bravo Derek! You are the man.

    As a fan, I also can’t accept that Ichiro could be traded away. I love watching that guy out there every day in a Mariner uniform. Just simply love it and appreciate it as a baseball fan.

    And you made (for me) an eye opening comment about Felix. I imagined your scenario with the Rays and much as I think he’s awesome, surprisingly agreed with your response.
    Felix is indeed Freddy+. Freddy’s reputation is way down now but in 2001 he was just a slightly “less” version of Felix, an up and coming bonafide ace. And we saw how that finally panned out.
    If we had traded Freddy earlier than we did, we could have got a much bigger haul of talent.
    But in any case, I can’t imagine the FO trading Felix. (Although the offers might be jaw-dropping indeed).

    Finally, it always seem funny to me that the people who loudly want to trade Ichiro away saying he’s old, declining, selfish (lol), blah.. usually always seem to think they can get a king’s ransom for him.
    Something funny about that.

  19. unkrusty on June 29th, 2008 10:10 am

    What about the Twins as a potential suitor for Ibanez? The twins lineup is pretty right-handed aside from Mauer (who has completely lost his home run power) and Mourneau, and they are pretty slap-happy. Ibanez could give them a little sock and, I dunno, veteran grittiness for the stretch run.

    And with Liriano possibly coming back they may have some young, major-league-ready pitching to give us. Scott Baker, perhaps?

  20. jlc on June 29th, 2008 10:38 am

    I love watching Ichiro! and don’t want him going anywhere. I do think he has trade value, however, because of his reputation among other players and coaches.

    My fear is that he will want to go somewhere else to have a chance at going to the Series.

  21. beckya57 on June 29th, 2008 2:07 pm

    Frankly, I think this is a good time to trade Ichiro. His skills are heading downhill, but he still has marquee value. It’s an obvious move for a team that desperately needs to rebuild.

    I share your concerns about Felix, but really. Do you think this FO would make the right trade, the one that justifies giving up an exceptional talent? I think they’d be much more likely to go for a bunch of “proven veterans” that they would delude themselves into believing would allow them to contend next year. I’d be for it with a competent FO, but am dubious with this bunch.

  22. beckya57 on June 29th, 2008 2:31 pm

    I’m totally for trading Bedard, BTW. I never liked that trade (to get him here) to begin with, largely because he’s so injury-prone, and also because the M’s were never a realistic playoff team this year. Teams that are looking at the playoffs, however, always want more starting pitching, and the M’s could potentially get a good deal for him (though my caveats about this FO’s lack of smarts still apply).

  23. beckya57 on June 29th, 2008 2:33 pm

    Re my lack of sentimentality re Ichiro and Felix: I’m a baseball fan. I want to see good baseball played by a winning team. I like getting attached to certain players as much as anyone else (I totally loved Edgar), but what I really care about is good baseball and winning. If trading Ichiro or Felix helps this team become more of a winner, I’m for it.

  24. The Unkown Comic on June 29th, 2008 6:25 pm

    The Mariners have worn me out and drained me of any irrational sentimental attachment to individual players and I now view individual players like a stock that you trade and when you have made a bunch of money on them you kick them to the curb and move on to a better stock without remorse or lingering attachment.

  25. mymrbig on June 29th, 2008 8:59 pm

    Ibanez – the M’s should definitely move him for even any decent prospect. Here’s the problem as I see it. He’ll probably earn Type A status this offseason, meaning the Mariners could get decent draft picks if they hold him and then offer him arbitration, but he signs elsewhere. Problem is that arbitration might be the best offer he gets since he’s a solid-but-not-great player who is getting up there in age (37 next year) and has negative defensive value. So the M’s would honestly be foolish to offer him arbitration unless he’s already signed with someone else because they’d just end up as a rebuilding team with an aging, overpaid vet. So given the alternative, I think they need to trade him for any prospect they can get. Better something than nothing, and someone should offer something, right?!? Rays probably aren’t interested, their priority is a guy who hits right-handed and can play right field. Maybe the Braves if their internal options keep failing? A fallen prospect like Brent Lillibridge would be great, but the M’s would probably have to settle for someone less. Maybe the D’Backs if Byrnes keeps struggling or ends up back on the DL. They have some interesting prospects. I could see Oakland having some interest, but both teams would have to get over the idea of trading intra-division.

    Bedard – I think the M’s gave up way too much for him. At the same time, I think he still has pretty decent value (especially if he strings together a few more good, healthy starts). There are tons of potential suitors out there. I’d love to see the Rays get involved, but seems like they would be better suited going for a rightfielder with plenty of pitching prospects that might help. My perfect scenario would be Bedard for Hellickson, Niemann, and Sonnastine. Then they could have Price replace Jackson at some point and would have an unbelievable rotation through 2009 (Kazmir, Shields, Bedard, Garza, Price). Another ideal scenario would be if the Brewers and Cubs got into a bidding war. I don’t really like what the Cubs have to offer, though getting Rich Hill (and praying he either finds his control or can hit like Ankiel), Murton (ML-average outfielder who is dirt cheap), and a few prospects (Vitters, Ceda, and a few others) might end up being the best offer. Still, it would be great to see the Brewers get heavily involved in talks for Bedard. I would ask for Laporta, Jeffress, and a 3rd prospect, knowing the M’s would probably have to settle for Laporta or Jeffress, then 2 other prospects. Jeffress, Gamels, and a 3rd good prospect would be a very nice return. Phillies don’t have a strong farm system, but something starting with Carrasco and/or Adrian Cardenas would be very interesting (this would almost amount to emptying out their system). Braves could also be an interesting trade partner, but I don’t know if they have the budget flexibility for Bedard. Really, what team can’t use an elite pitcher in a playoff run?

    Felix – same story as Bedard, only the price is much higher. My problem trading Felix isn’t some deep-rooted emotional attachment. I just think he could bring the same return at next year’s trade deadline. So if my long-term plan is to trade him, I wait another year and maybe even hope he agrees to a team-friendly long-term contract (or at least through his arbitration years) that makes him even more marketable. He’ll even have the same value this offseason. So unless the M’s were absolutely blown over with an offer, they should hold him up to another year.

    Beltre – I agree 100% with the DMZ’s sentiments on Beltre’s value. One thing I think can make Beltre more appealing to other teams. Beltre 2008 at home: .222/.291/.417. 2008 on road: .274/.353/.459. 2005-07 at home: .259/.314/.425. 2005-07 on road: .273/.320/.479. Safeco pretty clearly holds back his power numbers and an acquiring team can expect an improvement. The main problem is that not many teams need a starting 3rd baseman right now. The Dodgers seem like the best fit (Laroche has battled injuries and still hasn’t really hit in the majors, Nomar has devolved into a punchline, and Dewitt doesn’t seem quite ready). I’d love to see a Beltre-for-Laroche trade (maybe even with a 2nd, lesser prospect included). Minnesota would be another obvious target since Lamb has been brutal, but the Twins have been historically frugal so its unclear whether they would take a fairly big contract. They do have a lot of interesting pitching prospects. The Astros have a horrible farm system, but they might want an upgrade over Wigginton if they laughably fancy themselves as buyers. Milwaukee maybe, but Branyan would have to cool down first.

    Washburn – I honestly think it would be pretty easy to move him. Plenty of the teams mentioned earlier will either miss out on the elite pitchers, will not have the prospects, will not have the budget space, or will not want to give up the necessary prospects. Washburn will be an OK fall-back for some team. I might even look to make a move well before the deadline if the M’s just view him as a salary dump, as this would keep more teams in play that may fall out of the race in the next month (Astros for example). Looking at his underlying stats, Washburn is the same guy he’s always been (K/9, BB/9, GB% all in line with career norms). His BABIP is .334 this year, but .283 career. Just a little bad luck that seems to be regressing to the mean lately.

    Betancourt – freaky stat of the day is that Yuniesky has managed to lower his BB% and K% each year since he debuted in 2005. His LD% has also increased every year, so its a little surprising his AVG hasn’t moved upward more. His OBP around .300 will always limit his usefulness. I’m not particularly gifted in the use of defensive measurements, but if his defense has indeed cratered, then now would be the ideal time to move him. Hopefully someone would look at his reputation more than recent results defensively, and will think he’s a cheap, glove-minded SS. Even then, I can’t see any team giving up anything significant for him. Best case (for the M’s) is that someone loses their SS to an injury.

    Lopez – AVG/OBP/SLG are all at career highs. Not by much, but still. Problem is that no one really needs a 2nd baseman that much. Maybe the Mets, but waiting to see if anyone gets injured is probably the best course. He’s not a guy to dump or build around, so really the team can keep him until they get a good offer or have a better internal option.

    Batista – At best, the M’s could probably hope to eat a few million bucks of his contract and dump the rest.

    Silva – have to eat millions and millions of dollars to move him. Better bet is to hold and hope for a miracle turnaround next year (and promptly trade him for anything or anyone).

    Sexson/Vidro/Johjima – wish I could disagree with DMZ.

  26. mymrbig on June 29th, 2008 9:04 pm

    Ichiro – I can’t imagine ownership agreeing to trade him. He’s the face of the franchise, for better or for worse. I don’t think he’s declining at all, but I just don’t think they’d ever move him. That’s why I forgot him the first time!

  27. BaltimoreDave on June 30th, 2008 8:02 am

    Wow – that Rays trade would be a steal and a half. It’s a fanciful idea, I can’t imagine they’d offer anything close. Hell, Longoria alone would be a great return.

    But the broader idea that a Felix trade is our shortest path to an injection of top-shelf talent is true and should be explored by the new regime.

  28. stoyboy on July 1st, 2008 10:39 am

    Trade value for value: (1 Mariner’s trade Beltre for Dodger’s Loney and Ethier; (2 Mariner’s trade Bedard for Cub’s Gallagher and Murton.

  29. Jeff Nye on July 1st, 2008 10:41 am

    Neither of those trades is realistic.

  30. insidetheparker on July 27th, 2009 12:48 pm

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