Dave’s 2012 Off-Season Plan (Part One)

Dave · November 2, 2011 at 8:49 am · Filed Under Mariners 

So, I’ve been rolling these posts out every winter for about a decade now, but this year, I’m actually doing two of these posts. As you’ve probably gathered from my musings over the last few months, I’m of the opinion that the M’s should target a certain first baseman from the Cincinnati Reds this winter, and make acquiring him priority #1. However, there is the potential reality that the Reds just might not be willing to trade him, even if the Mariners put together an extremely strong offer in order to try to change their minds.

The moves in this post are all predicated upon the fact that the M’s could potentially acquire Joey Votto. The roster below really only works if he’s on it, and the rest of the moves were made with the assumption that he’s now anchoring the team’s offense. If he’s not on it, different moves would have to be made. So, we’re doing two Off-Season Plan plan posts this year – one where Votto can be had and one where he can’t. In this scenario, he can be. We’ll deal with Plan B next week.

On to the moves, many of which I’ve tried to lay the groundwork for in prior posts.

Transactions

Trade RHP Michael Pineda, RHP Brandon League, OF Greg Halman, 3B Chone Figgins (with Seattle absorbing $16 of remaining $17 million on Figgins’ contract), and SS Carlos Triunfel to Cincinnati for 1B Joey Votto and C Yasmani Grandal.

Trade 1B Mike Carp to Milwaukee for 3B Casey McGehee and RHP Marco Estrada.

Trade OF Michael Saunders and RHP Dan Cortes to Florida for RHP Chris Volstad.

Trade LHP Cesar Jimenez to New York for OF Angel Pagan.

Sign Chris Snyder to a 1 year, $3 million contract.

Sign Erik Bedard to a 1 year, $4 million contract.

Sign Jamie Moyer to a 1 year, $500,000 contract.

The big move is obviously the Votto acquisition. The team pays a high price by surrendering Pineda+ to get him, but when you’re trying ta acquire MVP-caliber talent, you have to put a knockout package on the table. With the pitching staff taking a hit to bring Votto in, many of the other moves are made to replenish the depth lost in the main deal.

Carp is an expendable piece whose strong second half would likely fetch a couple of solid role players in retrun. With Prince Fielder on his way out, the Brewers could use a power hitting left-handed first baseman, and they’re not likely to let Mat Gamel come to spring training without competition for the job. Estrada is an interesting arm who Wedge may should be comfortable giving the closer’s title to out of spring training, but could potentially move into a rotation role if Tom Wilhelmsen proves ready for 9th inning duty at some point during the summer. McGehee gives the team flexibility at third base and a right-handed bat with some power that they’re lacking.

Volstad essentially replaces Pineda in the rotation, as the M’s get another young hurler with problems against LHBs, though the upside is substantially lower. The Marlins would almost certainly part with their frustrating young hurler, and Saunders and Cortes both offer enough tools to sell as change-of-scenery upside buys for Florida.

Pagan is a perfect complement to Casper Wells in left field and offers a legitimate alternative to Franklin Gutierrez if his health continues to be a problem. The M’s can offer Jimenez and his always intriguing K rates from an LHP to the Mets to convince them to tender him a contract rather than putting him out on the free agent market in December.

Finally, the team finishes with three one year contracts to health risk free agents, adding depth and some upside without parting with much cash. Snyder offers a decent approach at the plate and sets up a job-share at catcher. Bedard returns to the friendly confines of Safeco Field to once again try to spend more than half a season on the mound and rebuild some value. Moyer comes back to the place he was most successful to try to sustain his career. For relative peanuts, the team gets three guys who may not be workhorses, but offer intriguing possibilities for when they are on the field and give the team depth at positions of weakness.

That collection of moves, combined with the remaining talent already in the organization, gives us the following team.

The Roster

Position Name PA/IP WAR Salary
  Starters      
C Chris Snyder 300 1 $3,000,000
1B Joey Votto 600 6 $9,500,000
2B Dustin Ackley 600 3 $1,500,000
SS Brendan Ryan 500 1.5 $1,750,000
3B Casey McGehee 500 1.5 $2,500,000
LF Angel Pagan 500 2 $5,000,000
CF Franklin Gutierrez 600 2.5 $5,813,000
RF Ichiro Suzuki 600 2 $18,000,000
DH Justin Smoak 600 2 $450,000
  Reserves      
C Miguel Olivo 300 0.5 $3,750,000
IF Luis Rodriguez 200 0.5 $450,000
IF Kyle Seager 350 1 $450,000
OF Casper Wells 300 1 $450,000
  Rotation      
SP Felix Hernandez 220 6 $19,200,000
SP Jason Vargas 180 2.5 $4,000,000
SP Chris Volstad 180 2.5 $2,000,000
SP Erik Bedard 120 2 $4,000,000
SP Jamie Moyer 100 0 $500,000
  Bullpen      
CL Marco Estrada 60 0.5 $450,000
RP Tom Wilhelmsen 60 0.5 $450,000
RP Shawn Kelley 60 0.5 $450,000
RP Charlie Furbush 60 0.5 $450,000
RP Josh Lueke 60 0.5 $450,000
RP Chance Ruffin 60 0 $450,000
RP Blake Beavan 120 0 $450,000
  Banished      
  Chone Figgins 0 0 $8,000,000
Total     40 $93,463,000

By acquiring a lower salaried star in Votto, there was enough money left to fill various holes with useful role players and not have to expand the budget from beyond where it was last year. This roster is essentially do-able for what the team has been spending historically, and while it’s not as good as what Texas will put on the field next year, it’s not that far from being a contender.

The roster projects out right around +40 WAR, which is roughly an 83 win team. However, there’s upside here – Gutierrez, Pagan, and Ichiro were all substantially better than their projected values in the recent past, while Ackley, Smoak, and Volstad all have enough talent to surpass what is expected of them here. Potential second-half additions in Danny Hultzen and James Paxton could bolster the pitching staff, but would only be summoned if they had shown they were ready for the show.

You’d need breaks to go your way, some good luck with guys staying healthy, and perhaps a breakthrough performance from a couple of the relievers to solidify the bullpen, but contending is a possibility for this squad. At the very least, they should be able to play respectable baseball and get fans excited about coming to Safeco Field once again.

The other benefit – the team still retains most of their long term cost flexibility for the 2013 off-season. Unlike locking yourself into a free agent who will eat up a huge part of the budget for the foreseeable future, this roster gives you the ability to make adjustments going forward. It’s a path to putting a good team on the field without requiring an all-in bet on one player. It gives the Mariners the chance to be good without destroying their future if one big ticket acquisition fails to live up to his hefty contract.

For me, this would be Plan A. Go balls to the wall to get Votto, and then do what’s necessary to fill in the pieces around him to make this a respectable team who could potentially contend in 2012 and would be setup well for 2013 and beyond. If the Reds decide not to play ball when discussing their first baseman… well, we’ll get to Plan B later.

Comments

184 Responses to “Dave’s 2012 Off-Season Plan (Part One)”

  1. y-o-y on November 2nd, 2011 8:59 am

    I definitely like the idea of Seattle only absorbing $16.00 of the $17,000,000.00 on Figgins’ contract.

  2. Jay R. on November 2nd, 2011 9:00 am

    That sure is a lot of work just to get rid of Chone Figgins! =)

    I like it. I would love to see them be aggressive and flip Pineda while his value is still high- lots of arms coming up in the next few years to replace him.,

  3. ManifestDestiny on November 2nd, 2011 9:04 am

    Dave that Votto trade is a bit….underwhelming, from the Reds point of view. Sure, they get Pineda, but take him away you’re essentially trading a closer for a year, an AAAA outfielder, a salary dump and a minor leaguer who is likely to bust. In return the M’s get an NL MVP and one of the best catching prospects in the game at a position where there is a dearth of of depth. If you’re serious about Votto, you’re gonna have to throw in one of the Paxton/Walker duo and probably substitute Seager for Figgins, and even that should just be enough for Votto, forget Grandal.

    Same problem with the Volstad trade. A dude who obviously got unlucky/underperformed last year and at his nadir in value should be held on to, not traded for a AAA outfielder who has shown no ability to put it together at the MLB level and a reliever with control issues. Besides, the Marlins are looking to add starting pitching, not detract from it. Not that Volstad isn’t moveable, but it’s gonna take more than the dregs of the system to get him.

  4. The Ancient Mariner on November 2nd, 2011 9:09 am

    I think ManifestDestiny is missing the fact that Figgins isn’t a salary dump if we’re eating almost all of his contract — that significantly changes the picture on that deal for them, as Figgins becomes a cheap bounce-back candidate who could really help them. Considering that Pineda is an incredibly valuable young player, I don’t think that deal’s underwhelming from their point of view at all.

    If the Reds would do it, even given the cost, I’d be very happy — not just for Votto, but also at getting Grandal along with him, which would be a huge help.

  5. NBarnes on November 2nd, 2011 9:09 am

    Actually, I really don’t like the Votto deal for us. Votto is awesome, but he’s in arb already. There just isn’t a lot of production over cost left in the man. Pineda, by way of contract, has tons and tons and tons of production over cost left. Even if you grade on a curve for pitcher attrition, I’m very wary of that deal.

  6. ManifestDestiny on November 2nd, 2011 9:13 am

    Figgins was a bounce-back candidate last year. He’s an unmitigated disaster now. I realize that he’s getting most of his contract paid, but if I’m the Reds I would still ask for Seager or Liddi instead of an overpaid (even if Seattle is footing the bill) veteran who has a history of causing problems in the clubhouse.

  7. Todd A on November 2nd, 2011 9:14 am

    I think ManifestDestiny is missing the fact that Figgins isn’t a salary dump if we’re eating almost all of his contract

    As if Figgins even at $1mil has value. He’s absolutely correct, that is not a great deal from the CIN perspective at all.

  8. AdamN on November 2nd, 2011 9:22 am

    I am lost on the logic of going after Snyder vs Doumit who we could get on a home town discount in my opinion and is longer term fit at catcher. Or is there something I’m unaware of as an issue with Doumit?

  9. Max Power on November 2nd, 2011 9:28 am

    3B Chone Figgins (with Seattle absorbing $16 of remaining $17 million on Figgins’ contract)

    I’m not following the point of this – seems like it unnecessarily complicates the transaction. The Reds won’t want him and it means the Ms can’t explore a potentially better albatross trade (like Zito), doesn’t it?

  10. wsm on November 2nd, 2011 9:29 am

    Cincy isn’t going near that trade, which makes the rest of the post mostly pointless. Maybe Dave forgot to add Taijuan Walker?

    Also, the Marlins aren’t giving up Volstad so easily. They’re already pretty deep in fringy left-handed outfielders (Petersen, Morrison, Coughlan, Cousins) and right-hand relievers..

    The M’s could also simply release Figgins and save more money than that. Whoever he latches on with has to pay him a league minimum salary which is subtracted from what the M’s owe him. League minimum for a player with his service time is more than 500k.

  11. lailaihei on November 2nd, 2011 9:31 am

    All of those trade suggestions seem a little… far-fetched. As an M’s fan, I’d be ecstatic with any of them. As a GM of any of those teams, I would laugh at those offers.

  12. wsm on November 2nd, 2011 9:34 am

    I do like Grandal as a target and there may be a potential match there with League. League doesn’t have a ton of trade value though. At 1 year and $5million, why not just go back to Francisco Cordero?

    Maybe League, Walker, and Saunders for Alonso and Grandal would get their attention.

  13. 92-93 on November 2nd, 2011 9:35 am

    Either that trade offer is a gigantic joke or the Blue Jays need to get on the phone right now and offer Kyle Drabek, Casey Janssen, Edwin Encarnacion, and Travis Snider for Kyle Drabek. And even that would be an overpayment compared to the pathetic offer proposed here.

  14. Chris_From_Bothell on November 2nd, 2011 9:35 am

    Any concerns about Furbush as the only lefty in the bullpen? I’m guessing that the theory is that bullpens are cheap enough to assemble that a lefty can be dug out of the minors or a trade if need be.

    Also, how does this team stack up against next year’s likely Rangers or Angels lineups?

    Who are the 3-4-5 hitters in this M’s lineup? Some order of Votto, Smoak and… Ackley? Pagan?

    And I’m not sure on this bit…

    Potential second-half additions in Danny Hultzen and James Paxton could bolster the pitching staff, but would only be summoned if they had shown they were ready for the show.

    They might get summoned a touch faster than that, ready or not, since 3/5ths of the rotation are health question marks. Hey, get a $105mm payroll and maybe there is room and a need for Darvish in here after all… ;) I know there’s no room for CJ Wilson in here, but how much “no room” – what do you think he’ll get per year this winter? Felix / Ichiro money? Votto money? Less?

    Lastly, the bit about financial flexibility for 2013 is a good point, and this roster does a good job of setting that up. I notice there’s no mention or assumption about contract extension for Ichiro in here though. On paper the right thing to do is wait until next offseason, but I’d be mildly surprised anyway if it wasn’t figured out one way or the other this winter.

  15. philosofool on November 2nd, 2011 9:40 am

    I just don’t see Cinci going for that trade. Maybe if they were a 65 win team last year and thinking “rebuild”, but Cinci has to be thinking about taking a big step forward and contending in a pretty close division next year. The Cards are sure to suffer some offensive regression and may no longer own the best right handed hitter ever. The Brewers are losing Fielder. Cinci has to see this as a year to capitalize on Votto. Trading him now, regardless of the package, would be a lot like trading Felix at the end of last season. Wrong move.

  16. Pete Livengood on November 2nd, 2011 9:40 am

    Count me with ManifestDestiny and Todd A on the Votto deal. I just don’t see how that offer gets it done.

    I think there are more questions about Pineda around baseball than most Mariners fans want to acknowledge. Yes, he is a very good, cost-controlled, high-upside #2, and no question that has significant value. BUT, he’s had elbow issues as recently as 2009, and didn’t exactly finish the season strong. Most importantly, he’s only one year into this. He has far more value if he comes out and repeats or improves upon his 2011 year, IMO. Until then, he may be discounted a bit more than we’d like to think he should be.

    I don’t see Figgins adding any value, even if he can be had for essentially $500K per season for two years (though remember, Figgy also has a vesting option for 2014…which I guess if he reaches (600 PA in 2013) the Reds probably are either hamstrung by injuries or would be happy to pay).

    Triunfel has some value, but is by no means a top prospect any longer – though his youth allows for some hope he may regain that status.

    League has significant value, but isn’t as cost-controlled as he once was, and I just don’t know if a closer carries enough value to be a big piece of a package to pry loose a perrenial MVP candidate like Votto plus a good catching prospect.

    Halman, while intriguing as an athlete, doesn’t look like a player who can develop into a MLB regular hitter.

    This deal simply doesn’t work unless you can convince Cincinnati that Figgins has some value, and that Halman is a prospect. Good luck with that. If those two things are not true – which I think is likely – the deal is Pineda and League for Votto and Grandal. Sorry, I just don’t see it.

  17. lailaihei on November 2nd, 2011 9:44 am

    How about Pineda, Halman, and League for Alonso instead, that’s a trade that would conceivably happen in this universe.

  18. ManifestDestiny on November 2nd, 2011 9:46 am

    Also Dave I don’t want to come across as being dismissive of what you did. I generally love these posts, just this one seems a bit far-fetched.

  19. Chris_From_Bothell on November 2nd, 2011 9:51 am

    Also, I can see from the early commenters that people are picking at the names. For one thing, some trades just require a certain amount of past relationship, wheeling and dealing, timing, Jedi mind tricks, etc. But more to the point, there’s an underlying philosophy here that I think we’d do better to focus on, rather than fixating on specific names and the viability of some of the trades.

    If I have it right, the main point here, somewhat in order of importance, is:

    - Avoid long-term contracts
    - Upgrade at least one position very significantly
    - Get someone, anyone at 3b and C for new blood, as the M’s best hopes are either in A/AA or don’t exist yet
    - Use cheap vets to bridge the half season to 1 1/2 season gap from April 2012 to whenever the Holy Trinity of Paxton/Walker/Hultzen appears
    - Obviously, rely on pitching depth for trade fodder

    That’s pretty much the gist of it, and who you get to do these are just details as long as they don’t include Fielder, Pujols or Darvish.

    Right?

  20. Valenica on November 2nd, 2011 10:00 am

    Replace Votto with Fielder (-0.5 WAR), McGehee with Seager (-0.5 WAR), Volstad and Moyer with Pineda and Beavan (+2 WAR) and Pagan with Wells (-1 WAR).

    That’s zero net gain. That’s assuming Wells and Seager are 1 WAR players full time. I don’t see how this “Plan A” is any better than just signing Fielder and calling it a day.

  21. Chris_From_Bothell on November 2nd, 2011 10:08 am

    I don’t see how this “Plan A” is any better than just signing Fielder and calling it a day.

    Plan A doesn’t have the risk of being saddled with the later declining years of Fielder’s contract.

  22. Pete Livengood on November 2nd, 2011 10:08 am

    Chris_From_Bothell wrote:

    “…I can see from the early commenters that people are picking at the names. …[T]here’s an underlying philosophy here that I think we’d do better to focus on, rather than fixating on specific names and the viability of some of the trades.”

    Generally good advice, Chris, but in the particular case of the suggested Votto trade…sorry, not buying.

    Acquiring Votto (and Votto very particularly) is by Dave’s admission the centerpiece of this plan. It has to be based on a realistic plan to pry him loose from a team that says it doesn’t want to part with him and probably means it.

    I omitted Triunfel from my “it comes down to” summation of my thoughts on the proposed deal (which probably says more about how I perceive Triunfel’s value than anything I could have written), but I’d really love to hear how someone as smart and baseball-connected as Dave is thinks that (a) Figgins and Halman add anything of much value to this deal, and (b) that Pineda, League, and Triunfel + whatever limited value (a) brings is enough to get Votto + Grandal.

    If Cincy had sent some signals it was willing to deal Votto, maybe I could see that as enough of an offer to interest them into talking about Votto…alone.

    Am I just overvaluing Votto? Maybe – he’s arb eligible and all, and only under club control without spending a lot in FA (and to entice him to stay in FA, they would probably need to buy out those arb years now, or pretty soon after acquisition), but I don’t think so…..

  23. Valenica on November 2nd, 2011 10:13 am

    Plan A doesn’t have the risk of being saddled with the later declining years of Fielder’s contract.

    Uh, if you’re not thinking of extending Votto long-term after trading Pineda, then the trade is BAD. You don’t avoid risk of a long-term contract, you just switch it from Fielder to Votto. And I take 28-year old Fielder with 7 years over 30-year old Votto with 7 years, even if he is fat. 30-year old sluggers haven’t aged well recently (look: Teixiera, Howard)

  24. Chris_From_Bothell on November 2nd, 2011 10:14 am

    I’d really love to hear how someone as smart and baseball-connected as Dave is thinks that (a) Figgins and Halman add anything of much value to this deal, and (b) that Pineda, League, and Triunfel + whatever limited value (a) brings is enough to get Votto + Grandal.

    I don’t know the Reds well enough to opine strongly. Do the Reds have a need for starting pitching, a closer, and some 3b / OF depth? If so, this works.

  25. Valenica on November 2nd, 2011 10:21 am

    I don’t know the Reds well enough to opine strongly. Do the Reds have a need for starting pitching, a closer, and some 3b / OF depth? If so, this works.

    Even if they do, why would they trade their Superstar and top Catcher prospect for 1 top prospect, 1 established closer, 1 established 3B, and a OF non-prospect? Would you trade Felix and Paxton for Montero, Robertson, Rolen, and Dickerson? They’re either rebuilding or in win-now, giving up Grandal and Votto is giving up both. And even without Grandal they’re getting established players when they’ll be looking for prospects.

  26. ManifestDestiny on November 2nd, 2011 10:31 am

    To put it another way, that package for Votto/Grandal is worse than what the M’s got for a half year of Cliff Lee

  27. thr33niL on November 2nd, 2011 10:32 am

    Would love Votto and Grandal but also think that trade is way too light for CIN to consider.

    Also have to ask why give up all that talent to get a couple years of Votto at 10 mil in 2012 and 17 mil in 2013 when we could potentially have Fielder for no talent loss and 20 mil per? Keep in mind that there is a very good chance Votto is asking for as much or more than Fielder when he is a free agent.

    So in the end, we would be giving up all that talent to save ~ 13 mil over Votto’s last 2 years (assuming Fielder is at 20 mil per) and a very strong possibility he leaves after 2013?

    Personally I would rather have Pineda and co. + Fielder at 6yrs/120-130 million (rough guess) than Votto alone at 2yrs/27 mil.

  28. goat on November 2nd, 2011 11:13 am

    I think a lot of commenters are correct in saying the Reds are not likely to trade Votto. I think the Reds are likely going to try to find a way to win it all in the next couple of years while they still do have him.

    I do think Dave is correct in identifying the Reds as a good potential trade partner for players such as Pineda, Figgins, and League. (Figgins might not have much value to them, but they were the only team I know of who have expressed interest recently. The Reds have declined the option on last year’s closer, so League might make sense for them as well.) It also makes sense to pick up most of Figgins contract, because the Reds are a smaller market team that is in a good position to try to win in the very near future. (Votto for two more years, and Cards and Brewers likely declining, as has already been mentioned.)

    The Reds might want some of what Seattle has, but aren’t likely to deal Seattle what it wants (Votto). They do have a lot of young, unproven talent to exchange (the 2 catchers, Alonso, Frazier, etc.). It seems that if Seattle is going to have a Pineda centered trade, they want it to at least get something more established in return, which the Reds aren’t likely to give up if they are going for it in the next few years.

    I think the obvious solution is a three team trade. Some of Z’s best deals have been three ways (Guti, Lee, Bedard). Teams willing to give up an established star player (which I think is a requirement Seattle should have for any deal involving Pineda at this point) are likely going to want some of what the Reds have (and maybe some of Seattle’s young talent as well). Some possible targets for such a deal: Matt Kemp from the Dodgers, Alex Gordon (or perhaps Billy Butler) from the Royals, maybe even Hanley Ramirez. Depending on the scenario, it might be possible to get a young catcher back as well. But I think it’s more likely to see a deal with Pineda, League, and Figgins going to Cincinnati and these sorts of players coming back than to see Votto coming back.

  29. maqman on November 2nd, 2011 11:25 am

    I don’t think Plan A is going to fly for all the reasons others have stated. I’m hoping Plan B is less remote from possibility. Be well Dave.

  30. Dave on November 2nd, 2011 11:27 am

    Won’t bother spending too much time arguing opinions based on no evidence. If all you’ve come to say is “that’s dumb” (or make factually incorrect statements about league minimum salaries), then you’re not bringing anything to the table. So, let me just spell it out for you, and then you guys can believe what you want.

    Votto is under contract for two years before he becomes a free agent. He’s likely to produce between +10 and +14 WAR during those two years. You can probably pick any number between those two points and justify it to some degree. Anything outside those two points, you’re just off base. +12 is a pretty good compromise.

    Over the next two years, Michael Pineda is likely to produce something between +5 and +9 WAR. If you think he’ll regress or get hurt, you can take the low end. If you think he develops into an ace, take the high end. Let’s call +7 a good compromise.

    Just on the basis of swapping those two players for the next two years, the Reds expected downgrade is something like +5 wins. That’s basically the gap that the rest of the trade has to offset.

    First, let’s deal with cost. Votto’s going to make $26 million over the next seasons under the terms of the contract he signed in January. Pineda will make about $500,000 next year, and then be a Super-Two for 2013, which would probably raise his salary to the $4 million range assuming he pitches as expected. Let’s just round up and say Pineda’s expected cost over the next two years is $5 million.

    That’s a $21 million cost difference over the next two seasons. The going rate for a win in free agency is about $5 million per season, so the expected salary difference between the two is equal to around +4 wins of value.

    In other words, for the next two seasons, Pineda (+7 wins) and $21 million in salary (+4 wins) is very nearly comparable to Votto (+12 wins) in terms of value. By himself. While only factoring in 2012-2013 value.

    Now, for the rest of the pieces. League provides about +1 win of value, but also takes away about $5 million of the cost savings, so that’s pretty close to a wash. The value here for the Reds is that it gives them present value at a position where their alternative is significantly more expensive. By allowing them to forego re-signing Francisco Cordero, they can actually grow their cost savings a bit. League also is highly likely to be a Type A free agent next winter, so he offsets any potential loss of draft pick compensation the Reds could anticipate having by keeping Votto for two years and then letting him walk.

    Figgins/Halman/Triunfel/Grandal are all miscellaneous pieces in this deal. Opinions on their individual worth are going to vary across the board, but if you really think that the extra pieces make this trade too lopsided, just remove them all – it doesn’t really matter in the end. I disagree with the assertion that the extra pieces going to Cincinnati are of no value, but that argument is basically a distraction from the main point, and isn’t one worth having.

    So, for the next two years, let’s say the Reds have a net of -4 wins of on-field value but save $16 million in salary, which is worth an additional +3 wins in ability to buy talent (say, for instance, Jimmy Rollins). Now, from 2014-2016, they have three years of team control over Michael Pineda when their alternative is having nothing from Votto.

    Is three years of Pineda’s future value not worth the slight downgrade in present value at the moment, especially when they already have a potential replacement ready to take his job right now?

    If you think the Reds can get more than this, that’s fine – we’re all just speculating anyway. And feel free to actually back up your assertions with facts and evidence, especially if you want your opinions taken seriously. But, if you think this proposal is ridiculous, you probably just haven’t actually looked at the asset value of the pieces going both directions, or you’re just not aware of the actual value of these players.

  31. groundzero55 on November 2nd, 2011 11:32 am

    I don’t think Cincy makes this deal for Pineda. If it’s Felix, then maybe we can start talking.

    It doesn’t have as much to do with value as it does *perceived* value. Felix is a bigger name and more of a known quantity. I don’t trust all baseball management to make sound decisions based on real numbers.

  32. ManifestDestiny on November 2nd, 2011 11:38 am

    Dave, laid out like that I can see how, if trades were indeed based on nothing more than WAR and $/WAR, it might be logical.

    That being said, trades are not simple addition of the WARs. Jack isn’t in Seattle sitting by a calculator with Fangraphs open, waiting to crunch the WARs before signing off on a trade. An MVP for 2 years demands more of a return than a #2 starter with upside and a closer for a year, let alone the addition of Grandal in the trade.

    All you’ve done to back this up is by applying the logic and math of WARs and saying that that’s enough to prove the legitimacy of the trade, while everyone else in the thread pretty much agrees that the offer is a bit light, to be polite.

  33. ivan on November 2nd, 2011 11:38 am

    And I take 28-year old Fielder with 7 years over 30-year old Votto with 7 years, even if he is fat.

    Votto just turned 28 in September.

  34. Dave on November 2nd, 2011 11:43 am

    All you’ve done to back this up is by applying the logic and math of WARs and saying that that’s enough to prove the legitimacy of the trade, while everyone else in the thread pretty much agrees that the offer is a bit light, to be polite.

    I’ve provided evidence. You’ve provided an opinion.

    I’m sorry, but your opinion without evidence is worth very little. Go through the history of trades and show how you’re correct. Use facts to support your claims. Otherwise, there’s no real point in having a discussion. You can believe what you want, but if you’re not willing to go beyond “I think this because I think this”, talking with you is pointless.

  35. spankystout on November 2nd, 2011 11:44 am

    Haha Thank you Dave.

  36. ManifestDestiny on November 2nd, 2011 11:47 am

    If anything, the onus is on you to show that this is actually how the trading landscape works. Show me a quote of a GM who, when commenting on a trade, said they liked the way the WARs added up, or how a guy really just put them 1-2 wins over the edge, or something like that. You’re proposing an underlying logic to these MLB trades which doesn’t emulate real life. If you can show me that I am missing something, that GMs are indeed adding the WARs and the like, then I will relent, but you’re the one needing to show proof, not me.

  37. rsrobinson on November 2nd, 2011 11:47 am

    Figgins was arguably the worst position player in baseball last year so I don’t see how he has much trade value no matter how much of his salary the Ms wind up eating. And if I’m the Reds I don’t make that trade with Halman and Triunfel as the prospects. Carp and Seager…maybe.

  38. DC_Mariner on November 2nd, 2011 11:48 am

    I don’t think Cincy makes this deal for Pineda. If it’s Felix, then maybe we can start talking

    That’s my favorite quote in this whole thread. “Maybe” we start talking if it’s Felix. Ha!

  39. spankystout on November 2nd, 2011 11:50 am

    “All you’ve done to back this up is by applying the logic and math of WARs”

    I want this on a T-shirt!

  40. ManifestDestiny on November 2nd, 2011 11:53 am

    “All you’ve done to back this up is by applying the logic and math of WARs”
    I want this on a T-shirt!

    Don’t get me wrong, I love WAR and appreciate everything it’s trying to do. But there are definite limits in its applicability, and it’s not the Be All, End All statistic that GMs use, unless Dave can show proof that there are GMs out there who base their trades on the statistic alone

  41. Dave on November 2nd, 2011 11:59 am

    WAR is a model. It doesn’t matter if GMs use it or not if it is reasonably accurate at modeling player value.

    There’s a long history of being able to rationally predict free agent contract size and trade returns using WAR and $/WAR metrics. If you’re not aware of this history, you have some reading to do before you can speak intelligently on the subject.

  42. ManifestDestiny on November 2nd, 2011 12:04 pm

    Then preface your plan with the fact that this is a model and seeks to get fair value based on the model rather than being a realistic attempt to forecast the offseason.

    Also, I’m pretty damned aware of the use of WAR, having read this site and others for years. I just really disagree with the practice of justifying everything by simply adding up the WARs.

  43. spankystout on November 2nd, 2011 12:05 pm

    WAR is still much much better than any hunch. Maybe they don’t only use fWAR– but they use some formula to assist them in determining value. Bill James works for the Red Sox, TangoTiger works for the M’s, etc…

  44. Chris_From_Bothell on November 2nd, 2011 12:05 pm

    I’ve provided evidence. You’ve provided an opinion.

    No, you believe WAR is a valid sabermetric concept, that is used by front offices, and he doesn’t. It’s not that you have “facts” and he has “opinions”. It’s that you two can’t agree on the fundamental premise for the argument.

    Debating your premise on these specific players depends on accepting the theory and use of WAR (which I do).

    WAR isn’t even calculated the same way by different sites. Fangraphs, BP, BR all calculate WAR differently, yes? Hard to point to it as fact and evidence when that variance is built in.

  45. spankystout on November 2nd, 2011 12:11 pm

    Fact and Correlation are two completely different things.

  46. philosofool on November 2nd, 2011 12:11 pm

    3.5 is not Michael Pineda’s expected WAR. He’s got a fastball that sits anywhere from 89 to 96. He has issues, and all your scouts are going to tell you that. There’s a very real possibility that Pineda sits at 90 for most of next season, in which case he’s a two pitch pitcher with mediocre stuff, in which case he’s a middle of the rotation finesse guy at best. His walk rate isn’t really finesse guy level, but nevermind. The upside is a flyball pitcher with command and lots of swinging strikes, but he was that last season and in 171 innings managed only 3.5 WAR. He’s also a pitcher, young, and therefore injury prone. He’s had injuries in the past. He would easily sit at the rehab center instead of 90. Suppose he really improves next year, then maybe he’s a 4.5 WAR pitcher.

    Assuming that injury (0 WAR), 90 mph (2 WAR), 95 like last year (3.5 WAR), and 95 improved (4.5 WAR) are equally likely, that makes him a 2.5 WAR pitcher. I wouldn’t say that improvement as likely as staying the same, so that’s generous.

  47. CecilFielderRules on November 2nd, 2011 12:12 pm

    If you can show me that I am missing something, that GMs are indeed adding the WARs and the like, then I will relent, but you’re the one needing to show proof, not me.

    Yes, GMs are indeed “adding the WARs and the like”. To think that they’re not “sitting down with their calculators” is just crazy. They have dedicated staff, IT infrastructure, and financial forecasts going out years in the future to help manage their $100m annual budgets. Now some GMs may put more weight on gut instincts (Vernon Wells trade) or fan/media reactions, but “adding WARs and the like” is pretty much now part of everyone’s thought process.

  48. The_Waco_Kid on November 2nd, 2011 12:12 pm

    I like seeing Grandal in there. We need a catching prospect so badly. I’m very interested to see Dave’s plan B and if it includes Grandal or another C. Some have mentioned Jesus Montero as a catching option, but I think it’s clear he’s a DH.

    I’m pretty surprised that Dave didn’t include Peguero at all. I really thought he’d include him on the bench, maybe to back up the kid that delivers the rosin bag, or he could dance with the groundskeepers.

  49. ManifestDestiny on November 2nd, 2011 12:17 pm

    Yes, GMs are indeed “adding the WARs and the like”. To think that they’re not “sitting down with their calculators” is just crazy. They have dedicated staff, IT infrastructure, and financial forecasts going out years in the future to help manage their $100m annual budgets. Now some GMs may put more weight on gut instincts (Vernon Wells trade) or fan/media reactions, but “adding WARs and the like” is pretty much now part of everyone’s thought process.

    Really? Again, show me. I know that advanced stats, which again I am huge fan of, are permeating the front offices of baseball which is great. But what I don’t see are GMs relying solely or as strongly on WAR and WAR alone as Dave is making it out to be. I’m not hearing GMs talking in terms of $/WAR or trying to make the wins match up in a trade. There are other variables and considerations out there, which makes trades like the ones that Dave made seem like, in the words of Kieth Law “delusional”

  50. ndevale on November 2nd, 2011 12:18 pm

    Thanks for the post, Dave.
    I think MLB franchises use more than baseball-value and contract value to make decisions about transactions. Specifically I think they have to take marketing and the perceptions of the general public into account. Thats an opinion.
    I have no idea whether the Reds pull the trigger on a variation of Pineda for Votto, other than Jocketty’s vociferous denials.
    I would like to see Dave’s comment on other, non/votto targets for Pineda or other non/Felix pitching assets, some of which have been mentioned above, Gordon, even, perhaps, Wieters?

  51. Dave on November 2nd, 2011 12:22 pm

    Also, I’m pretty damned aware of the use of WAR, having read this site and others for years. I just really disagree with the practice of justifying everything by simply adding up the WARs.

    Based on your comments so far, your practice is to justify everything by offering baseless opinions. Congratulations, that’s worse.

    No, you believe WAR is a valid sabermetric concept, that is used by front offices, and he doesn’t.

    This is just one of those cases where I have more information than he does. He doesn’t have to buy into it – I don’t really care what he thinks. But he’s wrong.

    Assuming that injury (0 WAR), 90 mph (2 WAR), 95 like last year (3.5 WAR), and 95 improved (4.5 WAR) are equally likely, that makes him a 2.5 WAR pitcher.

    Another argument with no evidence (that’s popular around here today). Needless to say, I have neither the time nor the energy to actually combat baseless opinions.

    Here’s the deal – believe whatever you want. If you want your opinion to be even considered valid, try supporting it with facts or evidence. Otherwise, you’re just spewing.

  52. Pete Livengood on November 2nd, 2011 12:23 pm

    I agree with Chris here.

    Look, I’m sure Dave’s right about the WAR and $/WAR analysis (less sure about the “facts” versus “opinion” dichotomy). And, in a different context, I would be more swayed by Dave’s argument.

    I believe, as others in this thread have more competently set out, that Cincinnati probably believes it is in a “go for it” position next year – which may explain their interest in somebody like Pineda, League, or even Figgins, but certainly not why they would want to give up Votto for them.

    At the end of the day, the logic of WAR and $/WAR as applied to this context depends on Cincinnat’s willingess to trade present value for future value, and go to the uncertainty of the FA market to use the $ saved. Whether you believe – as Dave apparently does – that they will be so willing, or like I do, that they won’t, is a matter of opinion on both sides.

  53. diderot on November 2nd, 2011 12:24 pm

    Dave and Manifest, I really don’t understand what you’re arguing about.
    Dave says there’s a valid statistical basis for the Votto trade he proposes.
    Manifest says there may be more to it than that–that there could be real world circumstances that prevent it from happening.
    Why are these two points of view antithetical?

    So the real argument (which none of us could settle here) is whether such real world circumstances prevent Jocketty from even considering the deal.

    This is from Heyman (consider the source):
    While it’s easy to see Cincinnati being in the same situation as Milwaukee with Fielder two years from now, the Reds aren’t showing any sign of shopping of Votto, the 2010 NL MVP. One person with ties to the team there’ s “not a chance” they shop him. That person acknowledged teams may make offers, and it’s true the Reds have a natural replacement in Yonder Alfonso in tow. The Blue Jays, Votto’s hometown team, would surely be interested, as would many others. But teams generally don’t trade 20-something stars like this.

    I can add one anecdotal piece of evidence. I saw two Reds games this summer when they hosted the Cards. I was absolutely blown away by the number of fans–kids and adults–wearing Votto jerseys. Far more than I’ve ever seen for Ichiro or Griffey in Seattle. This leads me to believe (yes, no statistical evidence) that it would take a very impressive (from the Reds’ fan base point of view) package to convince them it was a good idea for Votto to leave town.

    So the bottom line might be this: does Jocketty have the nerve for Dave’s deal–even if it makes sense statistically and financially?

  54. Valenica on November 2nd, 2011 12:24 pm

    …so why don’t we just keep Pineda, sign Rollins, keep League for the draft picks, and have 3 years of Pineda, a short-term impact player, and draft picks vs no draft picks? If Votto just makes us an 80 win team with a 5% chance of contention, but costs 3 years of Pineda, that’s not worth it, right?

    Would you also consider trading Felix and his $20 million for Montero + Nova, since Felix’s surplus value for the next year is $5-10 million, while Montero + Nova should easily surpass that? Then we can just spend that $20 million on Rollins and make up the WAR difference!

  55. ManifestDestiny on November 2nd, 2011 12:26 pm

    Fair enough Dave, you cling to your model and think it’s universal without showing proof that it is and I will be on the other side with the other people here who think the deal is a bit light regardless of the use of WAR, people like Kieth Law

  56. Valenica on November 2nd, 2011 12:26 pm

    Top tier slugger trade history, with surplus values

    Adrian Gonzalez (1 year, $6.3 million left): Casey Kelly (#31 prospect), Reymond Fuentes and Anthony Rizzo (#75) = $28.7 ~ 5.75 WAR
    Mark Teixeria (1.5 years, $17 million left): Beau Jones, Elvis Andrus (#65->#19), Neftali Feliz (->#93), Matt Harrison (#90) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (#36) = $28 million ~ 5.6 WAR
    Mark Teixeria (0.5 years, $6.25 million left): Steve Marek and Casey Kotchman (was #5) = $8.75 million ~ 1.75 WAR
    Matt Holliday (1 year, $13.5 million left): Carlos Gonzalez (#22), Greg Smith and Huston Street = $11.5 million ~ 2.3 WAR
    Matt Holliday (0.5 year, $6.75 million left): Shane Peterson, Clayton Mortensen and Brett Wallace (#40) = $3.25 million ~ 0.65 WAR
    Joey Votto (2 year, $26.5 million left): Michael Pineda, stuff = $32.5 million ~ 6.5 WAR

  57. spankystout on November 2nd, 2011 12:28 pm

    Maybe we don’t SEE them going through player evaluation processes because teams keep their particular evaluation process confidential…. I forgot which projection system guy got hired a year ago: but he couldn’t even say which team hired him! But if you read above, I already gave you two examples–Bill James (Red Sox), and Tom Tango/TangoTiger.

  58. bermanator on November 2nd, 2011 12:31 pm

    If I’m the Reds GM:

    1.) I’d probably look to deal Alonso rather than Votto, even with the salary discrepancy, and…

    2.) If I did deal Votto, I’d ask for Smoak as part of the package. Maybe I take Carp in the end, but I’d want an option along with Alonso to consider when Spring Training starts.

  59. Chris_From_Bothell on November 2nd, 2011 12:34 pm

    Again – plug in whichever numbers and players you wish, per whatever model makes sense.

    But at a more meta level, I still think the main point of this variant of an offseason plan is: avoid huge contracts; improve one position player significantly; get cheap fillers for starters until Paxton / Walker / Hultzen arrive; try ANYthing for 3b or C.

    Accomplish those how you like, but I think that’s a good summary of what a successful yet realistically possible offseason looks like. Can we at least agree on that much today?

  60. ManifestDestiny on November 2nd, 2011 12:35 pm

    No, I still want Fielder :)

  61. lesch2k on November 2nd, 2011 12:38 pm

    all the talk about “opinions” and “facts” got me thinking. can a mid-market team like Cincinnati afford to trade away 2 years of the best player (even if they get sufficient value). this argument is based mostly on the coverage that will show up in the front page of the newspaper and in ticket sales. My opinion is that fan perspectives matter and teams in small markets need to sell tickets as much as they need to win.

  62. rsrobinson on November 2nd, 2011 1:05 pm

    I just don’t think Cinci is really looking to trade Votto unless they get an offer they are blown away by and Dave’s package doesn’t rise to that level, IMO. Pineda’s future value is still too uncertain to make him the centerpiece without more substantial pieces added on who are MLB ready (Carp/Seager) and/or have high upsides (Walker/Paxton). I also agree with the poster who said they would probably ask for Smoak as part of the deal.

    Dave’s package may make some sense from strictly a statistical analysis but not if the Reds aren’t that motivated to shop Votto without a significant return.

  63. Ichirolling51 on November 2nd, 2011 1:17 pm

    How about that same package, but instead of Votto, we offer it to the Fish for Michael Stanton, and Volstad. Or one of their younger pitchers. I think they might accept that, and if I were the M’s I would jump all over it. However, if you trade Pineda, then that creates a hole in the rotation. Improve the offense, make the rotation weaker, it’s a double edged sword.

  64. Jamison_M on November 2nd, 2011 1:17 pm

    Is it even in the realm of possibility that the Mariners acquire a slugging first baseman, put Smoak in the DH role and stick Carp in left field? I know Carp isn’t a very good outfielder, but could a full season of his bat be worth it? He could be a .280, 30 HR hitter…

  65. goat on November 2nd, 2011 1:23 pm

    There is evidence that the Reds are not willing to trade Votto for any reasonable offer. As for unreasonable offers, well that simply leads to the type of trade that Bavasi made famous. Maybe if it were put forward as the Mariners have a package like Pineda, League, Figgins in exchange for a player like Votto, and perhaps some other options were given here, it would be more palatable for those of us who believe that the Reds are not going to trade Votto. But maybe that’s what we’ll get in part 2 next week. (The possibility that the Reds won’t trade him was alluded to in the first paragraph.)

  66. Valenica on November 2nd, 2011 1:38 pm

    Mike Stanton is the best young NL hitter right now. No way Marlins trade him with 5 years of control left. He’ll be dumped in 4 years like Cabrera was but until then just keep building the farm for him :)

    Carp in LF is highly unlikely – his defense is THAT bad, and his bat isn’t good enough to compensate. We have a ton of LFs anyway, no need to add another in the mix.

  67. Kazinski on November 2nd, 2011 1:52 pm

    I’m not sure the trade makes sense for either team, despite Dave’s convincing explanation on the excess value of the trade.

    The trades will get us to a 40 WAR team, which will put us at right around .500 next year. We need about 8-10 WAR more to make the playoffs. Since Votto will be a free agent in 2014 that means we will be rolling the dice going for broke in 2013. It’s possible, but I think you need to structure a team to give you a longer window of contention.

    For the Reds, they are closing their window for now, and hoping it opens again before Pineda gets too expensive for them. And if they keep Votto their payroll is low enough, they can make a run now. They have only 52m committed for this year, but they still have to resign Brandon Phillips.

    I do think that Brandon League for Yasmani Grandal may make sense for both teams. Francisco Cordero needs to be replaced, he had 37 saves last year, but 12m for a 0.1war player isn’t a good use of their money. I would hope his 2.45era, won’t obscure his 4.14 xFIP. The prospect of obtaining a better closer for a playoff run for 7m less, might be enough to get them to give up Grandal.

  68. groundzero55 on November 2nd, 2011 1:58 pm

    Rollins? SS is not high on the list of positions we need to upgrade.

    I can see this Votto trade being more likely if the Reds drop out of contention by midseason, and if Pineda has performed well over the same stretch. For now, it looks like the Reds are going to try their luck in the NL Central.

  69. snapper on November 2nd, 2011 2:10 pm

    Votto is under contract for two years before he becomes a free agent. He’s likely to produce between +10 and +14 WAR during those two years. You can probably pick any number between those two points and justify it to some degree. Anything outside those two points, you’re just off base. +12 is a pretty good compromise.

    Over the next two years, Michael Pineda is likely to produce something between +5 and +9 WAR. If you think he’ll regress or get hurt, you can take the low end. If you think he develops into an ace, take the high end. Let’s call +7 a good compromise.

    Just on the basis of swapping those two players for the next two years, the Reds expected downgrade is something like +5 wins. That’s basically the gap that the rest of the trade has to offset.

    Dave, stop right there.

    You’ve got to build in uncertainty and marketing.

    Votto’s production is very certain, Pineda is very uncertain.

    Likewise, trading Votto is going to cost the Reds millions in ticket sales and ratings.

  70. Rod O. on November 2nd, 2011 2:18 pm

    One way to show that the Mariners actually DO look at things the way Dave is presenting them is to listen to Tony Blengino Explain his version of WAR and how the Mariners use it from last years Hot Stove League show With Shannon Drayer and Rick Rizzs. If anyone can post a link I think it might be useful but I can’t find it if it’s still up.

  71. hoiland on November 2nd, 2011 2:20 pm

    Dave, wouldn’t it be more beneficial to go after Fielder? Here are some stats/assumptions…

    Fielder’s last 3 seasons of WAR: 6.4, 3.4, 5.5, going forward we can assume an average of 5 WAR.

    You are going to have to dump $20+ million to acquire Fielder per year for probably at least 6 years.

    Whereas for Votto you will be getting 12 WAR for the next 2 seasons at 26 million.

    Next 2 years (lets assume high end – $25 million for Fielder):

    Fielder: 10 WAR-50 million + Pineda: 7 WAR-5 mil

    17 WAR for 55 million next 2 years

    Votto: 12 WAR-26 million – Pineda: 7 WAR-5 mil

    5 WAR for 21 million next 2 years

    Now you have 34 million to go towards FA over the next 2 years and get roughly a 5mil/WAR return. So add another 7 WAR.

    12 WAR for 55 million next 2 years

    I would much prefer getting Fielder and trading Pineda to say the Royals for Alex Gordon who has 2 years of arbitration left (much like Votto).

    Gordon is looking at about 3.5 WAR next 2 years and arb numbers of 4.4 and 7 million. So 7 WAR for 11 million.

    Fielder – Pineda + Gordon gives us…

    17 WAR for 61 million. 3.6 mil per WAR.

    LF is solved and so is 1B.

    Now we can continue with the Carp trade and have a potential lineup that looks like:

    RF – Ichiro
    2B – Ackley
    LF – Gordon
    1B – Fielder
    DH – Smoak
    3B – McGeehee
    CF – Guti
    C – Olivio
    SS – Ryan

    You will take a big hit in 2012 payroll but this would set up beautifully for 2013 (DO NOT RESIGN ICHIRO) and his 19 million falls off the books and the 2013 payroll falls more in line.

    With a Felix, Paxton, Walker, Hultzen, Vargas rotation and Gordon moving to leadoff in 2013, 2013 would be a very good year.

    Feel free to criticize, I just typed this one up (I thought about the Gordon/Pineda trade probably too quickly).

  72. Salmon on November 2nd, 2011 2:24 pm

    I stumbled across this thread and wanted to give the opinion of a Reds fan. This proposed trade is flawed on a number of levels.

    No.1 The Reds are a young team with a well stocked minor league system. They would not trade Votto and Grandal and the three prospects they would lose in waivers for this package. The Reds need to open roster spots not fill them up in a 2 for 5 swap.

    No.2 The Reds don’t really need a closer. Cordero is still likely to sign with the Reds at a reduced rate and if he doesn’t Arrendondo or Ondrusek or Chapman are capable replacements until the trade dead line.

    No.3 The Reds are competitive in a weak division with a reasonable payroll. They are not looking to rebuild or host a fire sale.

    No.4 The Reds are poised to make a run the next two years. Yes they have needs but don’t expect them to give up their cornerstone player without filling at least two of those needs.

    No.5 The Reds are not shopping Votto. If you want him then you have to overpay, not offer comparative value.

    If you want to pry Votto away from Cincinnati then you have to address the Reds needs. If I live in a desert I’m not trading my dune buggy for your boat.

    A: A proven, number one pitcher at a bargain price for at least 2-3 years. If you want one of the top 5 hitters in baseball you need to give up one of the top 5 pitchers. (Pineda isn’t it. He isn’t highly valued in Cincy because of experience with similar pitchers. See Volquez or Bailey)

    B: A proven or Major League ready lead-off hitter with a 375+ OPS and the ability to steal 50 bases who plays SS, LF, or CF.

    C: A right handed number 4 hitter who plays LF or 3rd.

    If you can fill need A and either B or C then the Reds might be willing to talk. I know that this sounds high but anything less and the Reds will probably take their chances with Votto and fill needs in other ways.

  73. groundzero55 on November 2nd, 2011 2:26 pm

    Gordon is not somebody we want batting leadoff. Ackley would be better suited for it if anybody.

  74. philosofool on November 2nd, 2011 2:54 pm

    Assuming that injury (0 WAR), 90 mph (2 WAR), 95 like last year (3.5 WAR), and 95 improved (4.5 WAR) are equally likely, that makes him a 2.5 WAR pitcher.
    Another argument with no evidence (that’s popular around here today). Needless to say, I have neither the time nor the energy to actually combat baseless opinions.

    If you want to ignore my argument, go ahead. But please don’t call my opinions baseless, especially since you have provided zero bases of your own for thinking that Pineda is a +5 to +9 WAR player.

    Here’s my basis, which you ignored. If you want to ignore it, feel free. But please show me the respect of not calling my opinion “baseless”. What I said before:

    3.5 is not Michael Pineda’s expected WAR. He’s got a fastball that sits anywhere from 89 to 96. He has issues, and all your scouts are going to tell you that. There’s a very real possibility that Pineda sits at 90 for most of next season, in which case he’s a two pitch pitcher with mediocre stuff, in which case he’s a middle of the rotation finesse guy at best. His walk rate isn’t really finesse guy level, but nevermind. The upside is a flyball pitcher with command and lots of swinging strikes, but he was that last season and in 171 innings managed only 3.5 WAR. He’s also a pitcher, young, and therefore injury prone. He’s had injuries in the past. He would easily sit at the rehab center instead of 90. Suppose he really improves next year, then maybe he’s a 4.5 WAR pitcher.

  75. nwade on November 2nd, 2011 2:55 pm

    ManifestDestiny & Dave – I refer you to Monty Python:

    M: An argument isn’t just contradiction.
    O: Well! it CAN be!
    M: No it can’t!
    M: An argument is a connected series of statements intended to establish a proposition.
    O: No it isn’t!
    M: Yes it is! ’tisn’t just contradiction.
    O: Look, if I *argue* with you, I must take up a contrary position!
    M: Yes but it isn’t just saying ‘no it isn’t’.
    O: Yes it is!
    M: No it ISN’T! Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of anything the other person says.
    O: It is NOT!
    M: It is!
    O: Not at all!

    (and while I don’t want to come across as an asshole here, Dave I suggest you save your energy. I don’t think MD is going to “get it”, when it comes to logical arguments or effective debate)

  76. JoshJones on November 2nd, 2011 2:56 pm

    As much as I love Votto I have a hard time letting go of two All Stars Pineda(22yrs) and League (28yrs) when we already have a slugging/switch hitting 1st baseman in Smoak (24yrs). But I guess that depends on your opinion of Justin Smoak.

    2011 Smoak .234 .323 .396 .719
    Fielders (first full season) .271 .347 .483 .830
    Votto (first full season) .297 .368 .506 .874

    Sign Chris Snyder to a 1 year, $3 million contract.

    Snyder(30yrs old) .231 .333 .394 .727
    Doumit(30yrsold) .271 .334 .442 .776
    Iannette(28yrs old) .235 .357 .430 .787

    I’ll take Doumit. He’s started 32 games at 1st, 54 times in RF, and shown a greater ability to hit for avg.

    Sign Erik Bedard to a 1 year, $4 million contract.

    He’s not signing a 1yr deal unless it’s like Ben Sheet’s 2010 contract worth 10M$ with Oakland or Rich Hardens 7.5M$ deal with Texas in 2010.
    I’d go 2 yr if he’d take it and throw in a third year team option

    Trade OF Michael Saunders and RHP Dan Cortes to Florida for RHP Chris Volstad.

    Trade LHP Cesar Jimenez to New York for OF Angel Pagan

    I would love both of those players. But it’s going to take more to get both of them. Specifically Volstad. Saunders value couldn’t be any lower and Cortes didn’t exactly turn heads this season.

  77. Jay R. on November 2nd, 2011 2:57 pm

    Please stop asking for Fielder…someone might hear and sign him. All I can think of when I see his name is Kevin Mitchell. I know this is probably irrational, but I have been scarred.

  78. nwade on November 2nd, 2011 3:52 pm

    philosofool – While I think Dave was a bit harsh in calling your opinion “baseless”, I don’t see a solid base to your argument. You make claims about Pineda’s velocity and control, but what did you see this year (can you give specific games or point to stats columns) that leads you to believe that Pineda’s velocity or command are going to be so inconsistent that his WAR might be so much lower?

    Also, why do people suppose that young pitchers are any more injury-prone than others? Everything I’ve seen leads me to believe that any major-league pitcher could blow out his arm at any point in his career; and despite his success or perceived durability (compare Strasberg, Bedard, and Moyer for example).

    Lastly, let’s remember that nothing is a given – any player *could* achieve virtually any WAR level on a given year. I could easily claim that Felix’ velocity fluctuated some this year and he *could* only be a 1 WAR finesse pitcher next year. But arguments should be based on what is likely; not just what is possible.

  79. justinh on November 2nd, 2011 4:04 pm

    I appreciate the many opinions different opinions being made here. There are definitely some that are better than others and I believe Dave has laid out a nice plan.

    At some point the Reds are going to have to move Votto or Alonso. With Votto making $26 million over the next two years it would be stupid if the Reds didn’t field offers. No doubt they are not going to come out and say, “Hey we are trading the best player on our squad.” Moreover, contrary to some beliefs, Cincinatti will not lose millions if Votto is traded. They would have extra money in the bank to spend on positions of need and they would also be acquiring some top talent.

    I believe a package centered around Pineda and League would be something the Reds would have to consider. Pineda is a highly coveted arm who has only one year of service under him. League can be a top closer who also profiles as a Type A free agent. While I don’t think we would be able to land Votto and Grandal with the exact package Dave came up with, he is definitely on the right track. Furthermore, as DC mentioned in a post above, this is really centered around landing Votto and we can substitute the secondary pieces, but Pineda and League would be the centerpieces for any deal involving Joey Votto.

  80. Chris_From_Bothell on November 2nd, 2011 4:27 pm

    nwade – I’m guessing philosofool is objecting to having his WAR projections called baseless due to not showing his work, when Dave’s WAR projections for Pineda didn’t show the math on how he got to those. I don’t know what the consensus method for projecting / estimating / guessing WAR for a player is, actually…

  81. Dave on November 2nd, 2011 4:33 pm

    At the end of the day, the logic of WAR and $/WAR as applied to this context depends on Cincinnat’s willingess to trade present value for future value, and go to the uncertainty of the FA market to use the $ saved. Whether you believe – as Dave apparently does – that they will be so willing, or like I do, that they won’t, is a matter of opinion on both sides.

    I don’t think I could have been any clearer that this post carried with it the assumption that Joey Votto was available, and that the M’s could acquire him. I explicitly said this in the opening of the piece, and said up front that I’ll be doing another one of these under the assumption that Votto is not available to account for the fact that we can’t know whether the Reds would actually trade him this winter or not.

    You can perhaps understand being somewhat frustrated when so many people decided to just skip over those words and pretend like they aren’t there.

    Anyway, this is probably my last comment on this thread. I have limited hours left to devote to USSM as it is, and I’d rather write more posts than explain to people that I didn’t just come up with these ideas on a whim. If you don’t think I put a decent amount of research into these suggestions, fine, write it off and call it garbage. You have the right to believe whatever you want, and I’m not all that interested in spending my time trying to change your mind.

  82. Kazinski on November 2nd, 2011 4:44 pm

    He’s got a fastball that sits anywhere from 89 to 96.

    Stop right there. If you look at Pitch F/x they are classifying some of his changeups as a fastballs, which is why there is a big range. If you look at the spin rates and angles that 89mph pitch he is throwing is much closer to his 86mph change than to his 94mph four seamer. So any inference that he is having arm troubles and his fastball is erratic is wrong.

  83. pinball1973 on November 2nd, 2011 4:51 pm

    I like this site, but posts like this might as well be labelled “sent from the Land of Chocolate and Elves!”

    Well, I don’t have to read ‘em, I know. But they actually interfere with my enjoyment of the game – just the titles.

    So, to beat the usual petty and fragile concern trolls that exist here and everywhere, I’ll move on.

    May the Mariners put up a decent team and have a decent year, especially Ichiro!

  84. philosofool on November 2nd, 2011 5:00 pm

    philosofool – While I think Dave was a bit harsh in calling your opinion “baseless”, I don’t see a solid base to your argument. You make claims about Pineda’s velocity and control, but what did you see this year (can you give specific games or point to stats columns) that leads you to believe that Pineda’s velocity or command are going to be so inconsistent that his WAR might be so much lower?

    Well, I gave a 50% chance that he improves or stays the same, a 25% chance that he falls back to 2 WAR, and a 25% chance of an injury that keeps him sidelined for a season. Those were just easy numbers to use, but even if you lower the injury rate, that’s only 25% of the projection; maybe you think that mediocre Pineda is more like 2.5 WAR. So at the end, you get to 3 WAR. If you simply regressed Pineda 25% to league average, you’d get a little over 3 WAR. Give a 1 in 6 chance of injury that loses a season, and you’re at 2.5 WAR.
    (note: half a season missed and half a season missed make one season, so even if he’s out only part of 2012 and 2013, that’s a season lost.)

    I know Pineda is really exciting, but I think it’s important to temper the expectations and realize that he’s not yet a star pitcher. (The All Star appearance was cool, but it had a lot to do with an ERA that was out of touch with peripherals.) It’s hard not to ignore downsides, but the downside is real.

  85. MarkB on November 2nd, 2011 5:01 pm

    Wow. Good analysis, Dave.

    The scary part is we could use the exact same analysis to justify trading Felix for good players who don’t make a lot of money.

  86. philosofool on November 2nd, 2011 5:03 pm

    Stop right there. If you look at Pitch F/x they are classifying some of his changeups as a fastballs, which is why there is a big range.

    No: I watched several games this season in which Pineda did not crack 91 on the radar gun until the third or fourth inning. This has nothing to do with Pitch F/X data.

  87. Pete Livengood on November 2nd, 2011 5:04 pm

    Dave said:

    “I don’t think I could have been any clearer that this post carried with it the assumption that Joey Votto was available, and that the M’s could acquire him. I explicitly said this in the opening of the piece, and said up front that I’ll be doing another one of these under the assumption that Votto is not available to account for the fact that we can’t know whether the Reds would actually trade him this winter or not.”

    I got that Dave, but even under the operating assumption that Votto could be had for the right price, “the right price” is debatable. You would agree, wouldn’t you, that the WAR & $/WAR analysis you offered in the comments is more applicable and usable in some contexts than others, right?

    I can buy the assumption, for the purposes of argument/plan, that Votto is available, but I am having trouble accepting the accompanying assumption that he can be had for the same kind of package you would offer if he were playing for a team that is at a different stage of development / potential contention / finances than Cincy finds itself in. The WAR & $/WAR analysis doesn’t really attempt to make such distinctions, but GMs necessarily have to, IMO.

    I was properly chided for nit-picking the spare – and somewhat fungible – parts of the deal (Halman, Triunfel) though. And I should have known there was a solid analytical basis for your proposal, and given you more credit for that, so I’m sorry. I’m just questioning whether it can be applied here, or whether we’ll more likely have to knock their socks off to get them to return a call.

  88. Wells on November 2nd, 2011 5:18 pm

    Dave Cameron, unable to cope with people having opinions different than his own since… when did this blog start?

  89. snapper on November 2nd, 2011 5:24 pm

    Montero, Nova and Nunez for Felix Hernandez.

    Tongue is firmly planted in cheek, but the WAR and salary math Dave is doing, works out, even if you think Felix is a 6 WAR pitcher and Montero only a 2 WAR league avg. DH, and Nova a 2 WAR SP.

  90. Alec on November 2nd, 2011 5:27 pm

    The assumption that we can acquire Votto is given in this post. That should imply that he can be acquired for a price worth paying. If you think he can only be acquired for more than what Dave is proposing, then he cannot be acquired for a price worth paying, and move on to Plan II, coming next week. Full disclosure: I think WAR is a great stat, and GM’s actually do use it (or their own version of the stat) to make decisions. But even if you don’t, this is Dave’s offseason plan, as though he were running a team. If he ran the team, he would use WAR as a major tool in evaluating decisions. Based on WAR alone, the trade he proposed is a good one (even if you don’t believe in the stat, you have to be able to see how using it justifies this trade). If Votto isn’t available for this price, then Dave would move on to Plan II.

  91. bookbook on November 2nd, 2011 5:53 pm

    **Fair enough Dave, you cling to your model and think it’s universal without showing proof that it is**

    Here’s one point of disagreement that I think ought to be clearupable. WAR is an effective model not because any GM is using it but because it fairly accurately encapsulates the actual behavior of major league teams. It doesn’t matter if any GM has ever heard the word WAR in his life.

    Supply and Demand curves are models that accurately reflect economic behavior in just the same way, and did well before any consumer or producer knew what one was.

    Cincinatti is good at producing hitters, especially First basemen, but has failed to find the starting pitching they need to reach the playoffs. There aren’t any very enticing free agent options. If they want to reach the playoffs, they have to be willing to make a fair trade to get the pitching they need. WAR shows how this particular trade would be roughly fair (Triunfel is still a B- prospect, right? Figgins’ flexibility is substantially more valuable in the NL if he can still field. etc.) and only ask for Cinci’s surplus value at positions they have covered.

    That said, I’d be willing to bet that Votto is still with Cinci next year. (

  92. dafixisin on November 2nd, 2011 6:03 pm

    I have not come here to declare a WAR war, just be another Joe Opinion guy. My rosterbation is not based on sabermetrics or moneyball, just a dude and his hunches. So here goes…

    1)I love the bottom three transaction ideas. Snyder over Adam Moore and any other catchers on our 40 man roster. Bedard and Moyer are enticing, especially at those numbers. I see 2012 potentially yielding callups by both Paxton and Hultzen. Paxton has an outside shot right outta spring ball and Hultzen… very maybe. With Bedard and possibly Moyer, along with the young pups, I would strongly consider going unconventional, and running a six man rotation. I know it’s blasphemous, buy hey, opinion.
    2)I too believe that Pineda is likely the lynchpin to whatever major trades Jack Z and Co. may pull off this winter/spring. This becomes all the more inevitable if/when the M’s win the Darvish sweepstakes, if/when he’s actually posted (what’s the holdup, man?). I believe to the silent Japanese ownership segment of the M’s, Darvish represents a huge status prize, considering he’s got to be the biggest thing in Japanese baseball since Ichiro. And I’m sure that Nintendo will use their “petty cash” to front that posting fee. DO NOT underestimate how big the M’s are in Japan; they are THE team. You can thank #51 for that. If the M’s acquire Darvish, they won’t have to advertise the fact that Pineda is available; Jack Z’s crackberry will blow up.
    3)I have my doubts that League will be moved. Yes, it totally makes sense, and we know all the reasons why it makes sense to get some trade value for League. But again, remember during the trade deadline when League’s name was being floated in the media? It was Chuck Armstrong (or was it Howard Lincoln?) who actually beat Jack Z to the punch in stating that League was NOT being traded. Pretty sure that was the Nintendo veto vote in action. And it might be a standing order.
    Honestly, I’m surprised Kurt Suzuki isn’t already a Mariner!
    4)Gawd, I’m just hoping someone offers anything for one Chone Figgins. I suppose the best way to move him is as part of a larger package, like one of those bills that get passed by Congress at like 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning. How ’bout Figgins for Dunn, one for one? And both sides hope that lightning strikes (in a good way)? I try to pry Dunn only after it is clear that a deal for Votto is a no-go, and Fielder/Boras price themselves outta Seattle. What are the odds that Dunn pulls a Figgins and sucks again? If he came to Safeco and pulled off another sucko, then it’s official: someone has put a voodoo curse on the team to suck, more.

    Dave, I hope you have a Plan C scenario, if/when Darvish becomes a Mariner. I’m pretty sure that the M’s didn’t just amplify their front office for nothing. I think that ownership may have green lighted Jack Z to go all-in (whatever that implies). Maybe it’s on like Donkey Kong in 2012 instead of 2013.

  93. gwangung on November 2nd, 2011 6:49 pm

    No: I watched several games this season in which Pineda did not crack 91 on the radar gun until the third or fourth inning. This has nothing to do with Pitch F/X data.

    Did you also read game reports where Pineda explains his strategy leaving something in the tank until later? That has nothing to do with inconsistency and more to do with strategy.

    That might make a difference in your conclusions.

  94. Valenica on November 2nd, 2011 6:51 pm

    Trades aren’t as simple as “if offer is greater than surplus value, accept trade.” Otherwise any offer for Votto that provides 6 WAR in surplus value in the next 2 years would work. Ex: Montero for Felix straight up, as long as Montero is 1-2 WAR, he should match surplus value for 3 years. But no one would do that here. Yet we expect the Reds to do that.

    Anyways there’s a greater chance they move Alonso, Frazier, Grandal, and maybe even Mesoroco for some pitchers and try to make a run Brewers style for 2 years. If they upgrade their pitching Arizona style they could contend, and Alonso, Frazier, and Grandal are more than enough to get the requisite arms.

  95. JoshJones on November 2nd, 2011 7:05 pm

    Ex: Montero for Felix straight up, as long as Montero is 1-2 WAR, he should match surplus value for 3 years. But no one would do that here. Yet we expect the Reds to do that.

    Best way of summing up the entire argument. Bravo Valencia

  96. Valenica on November 2nd, 2011 7:41 pm

    Even if we could trade for Votto, why does trading Pineda for Votto make more sense than just signing Fielder?

    Pineda ($21 million in value)+ Fielder (@ $22 million/year) =
    $21 million (Votto/Fielder cost/quality difference) + Votto

    That’s only the first 2 years. We lose 3 years of team control on Pineda in his prime, for no extra value in the present. That gives us a 2-year window with Votto + $8.5 million a year FA assuming he doesn’t resign, where with Pineda we have a 5-year window + Fielder. If Votto does resign, he’ll be looking for a 7-year deal like Teixiera, taking him through his age 36 season. Fielder with a 7-year deal only takes him through age 34.

    If we shouldn’t sign Fielder, why should we trade for Votto? If you want to talk about “long-term commitment,” are we only using Votto for 2012-2013, then letting him FA for draft picks? Or are we signing him to a 7-year extension? In the first case, is our contention window 2012-2013 in Ackley/Smoak’s 2nd-3rd year and our pitching prospects not up until at least mid-2012? Or is it 2014-2016, with Pineda, Ackley, and Smoak in their 4th-6th years, our pitchers all up in their 2nd-3rd year, and a team unburdened with Ichiro?

  97. puppyfoot on November 2nd, 2011 7:52 pm

    Leaving Votto aside for a bit, why would the Marlin’s be interested in Volstad for Cortes and Saunders? First, why is Volstad’s WAR projected to double (from 1.3 this year to 2.5 next year) and, second, if it is, why would they want two sub-replacement players in exchange?

  98. BLYKMYK44 on November 2nd, 2011 7:58 pm

    If this thread did anything it just proved why there are so many franchises that don’t succeed because they make decisions like “this doesn’t look like the type of trade I should get for the MVP” or “there are people in the stands wearing his jersey so I shouldn’t make the team better”

  99. Chris_From_Bothell on November 2nd, 2011 8:14 pm

    “there are people in the stands wearing his jersey so I shouldn’t make the team better”

    The decision to bring Griffey back in 2010, in a nutshell, ladies and gentlemen.

  100. Valenica on November 2nd, 2011 8:19 pm

    Leaving Votto aside for a bit, why would the Marlin’s be interested in Volstad for Cortes and Saunders? First, why is Volstad’s WAR projected to double (from 1.3 this year to 2.5 next year) and, second, if it is, why would they want two sub-replacement players in exchange?

    1. Volstad’s xFIP was 3.64, thus is WAR projection is 2.5.

    2. There’s no reason the Marlins want Saunders/Cortes because they suck, unless you think they have no need for a net $1 million, average pitcher.

    3. Plan A is Dave’s rosterbation plan, so just wait for Plan B if you want something realistic.

  101. BLYKMYK44 on November 2nd, 2011 8:19 pm

    The decision to bring Griffey back in 2010, in a nutshell, ladies and gentlemen.

    - Yes and no…technically you are right. But, there is a big difference between bringing in an old DH and holding on to an asset just to spite yourself

  102. Valenica on November 2nd, 2011 8:21 pm

    If this thread did anything it just proved why there are so many franchises that don’t succeed because they make decisions like “this doesn’t look like the type of trade I should get for the MVP” or “there are people in the stands wearing his jersey so I shouldn’t make the team better”

    Sounds like the D-Backs not trading Upton, or the Brewers not trading Fielder. Successful franchises definitely don’t trade their stars for “equivalent” return.

  103. BLYKMYK44 on November 2nd, 2011 8:28 pm

    Hmmm…Tamapa Bay seems to be willing to trade their players when they think it is worth it?

    But, the question goes out…is the one lucky year where you make the playoffs better then the 3-5 window you make by doing the same thing by making a trade.

    Really, when it comes down to it…teams that don’t make the valid trade are just admitting that they don’t think their scouts are good enough to pick the right long term options.

  104. SonOfZavaras on November 2nd, 2011 8:38 pm

    Hello, everybody…from Seoul, South Korea!

    Finally took the time to see what Dave has cobbled up recently.

    If I can concentrate on the headliner portion for this post: Like the basic parameters of the plan, agree that this will have to be a bold off-season for Jack Zduriencik. And sure…Votto would instantly make just about any offense better.

    The only problem I see is- and it’s gonna echo the sentiments of a few here- is that I just don’t see any way the Reds *settle* for Triunfel and Halman.

    Triunfel is not a *bad* prospect…I think he’d rank as a ‘decent get’ for about half of the orgs in baseball. But he’s a guy that comes with some limited ceiling/offensive potential.

    And all of organized baseball knows that Halman is a guy who WILL strike out 170+ times in the big leagues if given 450-600 ABs. He’s had enough auditions in the bigs for every GM to have this view of him.

    The Reds are the ones that have the shiny bike, and their FO is good enough to know they have the hammer in these kind of negotiations- they’d know that if we’re putting Pineda on the table, then there’s absolutely no way they SHOULDN’T ask for- and hold firm until they hear a ‘yes’- Nick Franklin. Plus more.

    However, I love the idea of Chone Figgins just going away before I have to see him in a spring training ’12 uni that reads “Seattle”.

    Great work, Dave. Plan A has a couple of small fleas for me…but I’m looking forward to reading Plan B.

  105. Alec on November 2nd, 2011 8:40 pm

    If you don’t think Cinci will trade Votto, then don’t worry about this post. The fact is there is a coherent argument to be made that the best use of their assets is to flip Votto for pitching due to a unique set of circumstances (it may not be the best choice, but it’s not an indefensible one). Comparing it to us trading Felix is apples to oranges. Of course the Reds would like to hang on to Votto, but he has given no indication he is committed to Cincinatti (he hasn’t said he is not, but Felix is CLEARLY committed to Seattle). Also, the Reds have a viable replacement for Votto, which the Mariners simply do not have with Felix. Also, re: Votto v. Fielder, Votto is a better player than Prince right now, is younger, and projects to age better and will likely be cheaper to sign to a long term contract this year due to his reduced leverage.

    Finally, Dave isn’t ruling out a different trade with CIN not involving Votto (in fact, I’d be willing to bet he is open to going after Alonso in the event that they don’t want to trade Votto). But in a post that explicitly states that it is in a world where Votto is available for a price worth paying, no one should be worrying about whether or not Votto can be gotten.

  106. just a fan on November 2nd, 2011 8:41 pm

    Pineda will make about $500,000 next year, and then be a Super-Two for 2013, which would probably raise his salary to the $4 million range assuming he pitches as expected. Let’s just round up and say Pineda’s expected cost over the next two years is $5 million.

    Pineda’s cost over the next two years is $1 million. He won’t be a Super-Two after this year. He would have had to been called up in early 2010 to be Super-Two. That actually increases his trade value.

    However, assuming Cincinnati is willing to trade Votto as this scenario presumes, it seems a bit light for Cincinnati.

    Even if they might trade him, they are probably reluctant to do so. Cincinnati does not and will not need to trade Votto this offseason. The Reds view themselves as competitors in the volatile NL Central. Cincinnati might take an overwhelming offer, but would they accept an “even” trade?

    Can we involve the Dodgers again?

  107. SonOfZavaras on November 2nd, 2011 8:45 pm

    Oh, and crap…I forgot. Feel better, Dave.

  108. just a fan on November 2nd, 2011 8:51 pm

    I could be undervaluing Halman and Triunfel, who might fit better in Cincinnati’s park. Certainly those two might make a deal more favorable to Cincinnati, but not too unfavorable for the Mariners.

  109. CSM on November 2nd, 2011 8:58 pm

    “Even if we could trade for Votto, why does trading Pineda for Votto make more sense than just signing Fielder?”

    Other than the fact that we’re going to be out-priced of his market by other more profitable teams severely hampering our entire budget for the next couple of years?

  110. SonOfZavaras on November 2nd, 2011 8:58 pm

    Hmmm…just finally got done reading all the posts above, sorry I didn’t see your outline as to why the trade works before, Dave.

    I still have my reservations about it, but I’ll wait until I can FanGraph my way into a argument point before I expound on “it wouldn’t work”.

    Question for anybody: I know the NAMES of the guys in the Reds front-office, but on what level do they used advanced sabermetric theories to do bizness? Comparatively speaking. I’m wondering how THEY’D likely perceive this Votto trade proposal, based on how we know they’ve operated in the past.

    Gotta get dressed and catch a taxi. Take care, all.

  111. Valenica on November 2nd, 2011 8:58 pm

    If we’re talking about players being “available for a price worth paying”, why not Pineda for Ryan Zimmerman? 2 years left like Votto, fills a better need, they have their Alonso in Rendon, he’s non-committed to Washington at this point, and they could build around young pitching. They even have a surplus of catching prospects!

    Would you rather have Votto/Smoak/McGehee, or Smoak/Carp/Zimmerman?

  112. thurston24 on November 2nd, 2011 8:59 pm

    Why do people feel the need to constantly argue about WAR? As a baseball fan who enjoys learning alternative points of view, I find it disheartening to read all the criticism brought forth about it. Everyone who complains about it, have you taken the time to learn about the statistical subjects of regression analysis and hypothesis testing? If you don’t agree with WAR or the version Dave prefers, why don’t you try to examine the basis of the calculation and discuss what results you don’t agree with? I would think that would be productive than saying silly things such as “there are multiple types of WAR, so how do we know you have the right one”?

    Also, could we please stop with the dribble about how front offices don’t use WAR? Everyone knows that front offices use sabermetrics. How much depends on the organization. Whether they use Fangraphs’ WAR is immaterial. If you think Dave doesn’t know what he is talking about, You should search the archives of this blog for the post when he suggested the Mariners should get Ryan Langerhans and within a week or two, he was traded for and on the team. Maybe Dave just happened to have an idea about the same time that the Mariners did, or it could be that someone from the front office read the post and thought “hey, that is a good idea. Jack, we might want to think about this”.

    Ultimately, its the behavior such as this that makes people like DMZ quit blogging and encourages Dave to turn comments off on the blog. How about showing a little bit of courtesy and actually discussing things in a proactive manner and quit ruining things for others? Also, those of you acting like jerks, why don’t you remember that Dave is recovering from chemotherapy because of cancer and give the guy a break. I hope you get well Dave and keep up the good work.

  113. CSM on November 2nd, 2011 9:01 pm

    “I know the NAMES of the guys in the Reds front-office, but on what level do they used advanced sabermetric theories to do bizness? Comparatively speaking.”

    That’s something I’d like to know too. If they aren’t that savvy on sabermetrics they may be more inclined to just keep Votto, like they’ve said in several press releases.

  114. BLYKMYK44 on November 2nd, 2011 9:05 pm

    If the Reds guys arent going to make trades based on getting the better deal then it isn’t going to happen. Isn’t that how ALL trade proposals start out??

    I don’t normally defend Dave…but the arguments used here are rather odd and kind of miss many common sense points from a post like this

  115. stevemotivateir on November 2nd, 2011 9:26 pm

    ^Well said. It doesn’t have to be exactly those names, or a deal wouldn’t work. Maybe Paxton and Carp could be dealt for Votto and Grandal, with League and players from the Reds thrown in the mix? Point is still the same. Both teams get value, holes filled. That’s likely the only way a deal would get done.

  116. CSM on November 2nd, 2011 9:38 pm

    Get well soon Dave, I’ve been reading your blog for awhile and appreciate your postings and reasonings(even if you aren’t always the most gracious person).

  117. CSM on November 2nd, 2011 9:40 pm

    “I don’t normally defend Dave…but the arguments used here are rather odd and kind of miss many common sense points from a post like this”

    Look I wasn’t arguing with Dave, I believe his reasoning is rational and thoughtful. It was just a question.

  118. Sports on a Schtick on November 2nd, 2011 10:01 pm

    I don’t see Carp being worth that much or Volstad coming over for so cheap. I look at those trades, consider the players the Mariners would give up and say, “Seattle definitely wins both deals.”

    Also considering I’d be very happy to pull the trigger on both trades makes me think the other teams wouldn’t be so eager.

  119. just a fan on November 2nd, 2011 10:28 pm

    thurston24, Dave gives it as good as he gets it. You can make things as scientific as you want, but when it comes to baseball trade proposals, there’s always going to be subjectivity.

    What do the Reds value? How much do you count Pineda’s injury risk? Dave stated Votto is worth 12, Pineda worth 7 over the next two years. Is that a realistic expression of Cincinnati’s opinion? It’s hard to make those assumptions and then declare that it’s not opinion.

  120. ivan on November 2nd, 2011 10:31 pm

    Votto is a better player than Prince right now, is younger, and projects to age better and will likely be cheaper to sign to a long term contract this year due to his reduced leverage.

    Votto is eight months older than Fielder.

  121. MisterE on November 2nd, 2011 11:06 pm

    I realize that these well-thought-out suggestions reflect Dave’s immersion in a particular perspective on valuation, which we can describe simply as dollars for wins.

    That’s a valid perspective up to a point, but it’s too limited to encompass significant realities that have to be considered when assembling a roster. And, in this case, the most glaring omission is any reference to the star-power of Joey Votto and what he means to that fan base.

    Look at these names:

    Michael Pineda, RHP Brandon League, OF Greg Halman, 3B Chone Figgins

    Which of them can anybody reasonably suggest would console the Cincinnati fan base for the loss of Votto?

    Jocketty might have to drive to work in an armored car if the only player in that list who might rise to star status — Pineda — were to struggle. Yes, if the reconfigured Reds won ballgames at a better rate, the tickets would sell, eventually. But they damned well better generate sales that way, because nobody in Cincinnati is going to rush to the phone for season tickets on the strength of the star-power in this package.

    Something to never forget: Major League Baseball is in the entertainment business.

  122. MrZDevotee on November 3rd, 2011 12:45 am

    Biggest thing I got from this thread is that no one really knows how old Votto is… He’s 30, he’s 28, he’s older than Fielder, he’s younger… They’re the same age? They’re the same guy?

    On a serious note:

    I think I’ve come to realize that Dave enjoys the math and its results much more than he has been able to enjoy the patience and nuturing internal “twist” of concern it takes to debate people you believe have inferior intellects and help them see the light, without losing interest. Nothing wrong with that, really. It’s not the job he signed up for in starting this site. In a bigger light, Dave’s a “doctor” here, not a “nurse”. But as a nurturer/encourager/hand-holder in my own profession (something I enjoy, by the way– I get to be there when people realize their dreams, usually right after they believed fully they were in the midst of failing) I see it as meaning that a man with great insight into a once “neo” form of baseball assessment will never be able to share his vast knowledge easily with others– ‘xcepting his usual “I said it, so it’s true… I don’t come by these things lightly… Now shut up already.” (Plenty here will disagree with this– but that’s the point, you’re a gifted bunch, and most of us aren’t).

    I think the bigger picture, having seen it relentlessly over time now, is that Dave gets frustrated because he believes he IS making this all perfectly obvious for folks, ALL folks, and yet they still don’t all get it somehow. And it palpably irritates him.

    And everyone ends up annoyed. (General exchange at this point in the breakdown– Dave says someone is dumb, in so many words, and stops talking to them, or starts deleting their comments and inserting his own, and the person then says back “that was unnecessary”)

    This was in Dave’s GOOD days…

    As for the current time period, having watched my sister go through a failed attempt at surviving cancer… rounds after rounds of chemo/radiation/poison after poison… I’m pretty sure NOW isn’t the best time for Dave to miraculously become effective at helping those with less insight “see the light” of these types of assessments, without the same level of frustration. Which is 100% understandable and acceptable.

    I only hope he doesn’t give up trying to share his knowledge, because it’s means too much to too many people here, even if it does ask a lot of him right now in his life. (Waving “hi” to DMZ, out there somewhere, too… Wishing you were back).

    Fundamentally, there seems to be a gap in people’s expectations of this site. People come here thinking it was set up to teach the uninformed about sabermetrics, and help them learn a new way of seeing baseball, offering a deeper understanding, if they stick at it long enough… While Dave comes here to share results he has discovered using these methods with the folks he knows are here who generally know these methods already and appreciate the immense time he puts into finding results to share. These people, unlike those thirsty for a new knowledge, use Dave as a proxy to uncover new treasures from the ocean depths with these methods and bring them to the surface to expose and share. Waiting for rare and precious gold coins to show up that they can check out.

    And everyone involved continues to not see the HUGE gap between their own use of this site, and the idea of what it means to a few other types here (including Dave’s idea of the site).

    I just root for the site to continue, and try to soak up all I can, while trying to be less disruptive than I used to be. (Tip of the cap, and apologies, to all I’ve offended over the years.)

    Bottomline, “Get Well, Dave” and keep writing please… Looking forward to Plan B.

  123. jjracoon on November 3rd, 2011 12:45 am

    All this argument about WAR is irrelevent as Dave said IF Cincinnati would trade. Based on that and based on the players offered I would assume that the trade was a mutual behind closed door deal because otherwise there has to be a couple other teams that would put a better offer on the table and at THAT point the pieces would need to be improved.

  124. greentunic on November 3rd, 2011 2:37 am

    It’s so impossible for us to determine what someone may or may not accept. Who would have thought someone would give up Rafael Soriano for Horacio Ramirez or Cliff Lee for 3 C-Level prospects? These aren’t just bad in hindsight, we all saw the variance in talent at the time.

    These proposals are no where near that lop-sided. This blog is supposed to be FUN to read, and it is. Let’s all lighten up a wee bit. The only one who really needs to sweat over this stuff is JZ. I can’t wait to see what he does.

    On a side note, some of the type A stuff may become irrelevant during the next CBA. My question is why are we not hearing of possible stikes or lockouts ala NFL and NBA? Is it because MLB is not as complicated when it comes to salaries and caps and player contracts and trades? I’d really like to recieve some enlightenment on this issue.

  125. terry on November 3rd, 2011 5:44 am

    Fair enough Dave, you cling to your model and think it’s universal without showing proof that it is and I will be on the other side with the other people here who think the deal is a bit light regardless of the use of WAR, people like Kieth Law

    I’m not sure why you’re acting like this is the first time this conversation has been had concerning WAR.

    I’m pretty sure I understand why someone might not feel obligated to demonstrate a great deal of patience when responding.

  126. Bryce on November 3rd, 2011 5:59 am

    Interesting set of ideas. The fascinating thing to me is whether Cincy will actually make Votto available. I tend to think no, if only because I’m a Cubs fan. Now that the Cubs finally have a front office in place that should be able to maximize their huge fiancial advantages, I wonder if Cincy is thinking that they have a very small window to compete, and will just do what the Brewers did with Fielder. The Cubs can blow everybody in the NL Central away $ wise. I’d be terrified if I was running one of the other teams in that division, as the Cubs have spent money, just stupidly, and if they start being smart about it, look out.

    I hope Dave is right, though. It’d be pretty awesome to get Votto here.

  127. Bodhizefa on November 3rd, 2011 6:09 am

    The only thing this post makes me realize is how far away the M’s still are from competing for a division title. Just when you think you can count on a player to fill a position admirably, they go and flake out on us (Guti, Ichiro, Figgins) to the point where the M’s seem to always have more questions than answers. Hell, our entire offense is a big f’ing question mark beyond Ackley, and it’s gotten to the point where even acquiring an awesome bat like Votto seems to only make us mediocre at best. I’m a Zduriencik fan, but at some point soon, I’d like to see some genuine upside from our offense instead of a bunch of washouts and defensive specialists. The state of the Mariners saddens me.

  128. ripperlv on November 3rd, 2011 6:49 am

    The Reds will trade Votto, the question is when. They traded Hamilton for a top prospect pitcher. Dave’s post makes sense to me.

    Now if that Japanese owner feels compelled to go after Darvish, it would make for a very strong rotation. I know it doesn’t make economic sense, but I’m not a billionaire owner with the chance to get the biggest name to come out of Japan since Ichiro.

  129. Liam on November 3rd, 2011 6:57 am

    My question is why are we not hearing of possible strikes or lockouts ala NFL and NBA?

    It was never a real possibility. Baseball hasn’t had a work stoppage since 1994.

  130. salparadise on November 3rd, 2011 7:48 am

    Hey all,

    I’m a Reds fan that stumbled upon this through MLB trade rumors.

    From my point of view:
    1. Votto will be traded in the next year, especially if they aren’t at the top of the division by the deadline. Is this really something the Mariners will do though? All indications are from Cincinnati’s point of view is that he will go where the money is. Will Seattle be able/willing to sign him for 20+ mill a year beyond 2013? If not they better plan on going deep into the playoffs in the next two seasons, otherwise the trade makes no sense.

    2. Grandal is a top notch prospect but he is very expendable for the Reds. He’s actually the second top catching prospect in the organization behind Devin Mesoraco, who by all indications is absolutely untouchable and will be the opeing day catcher in 2012. In this situation Grandal is not the big piece, an added bonus for Seattle.

    3. The Reds are in need of a top of the rotation starter and a middle of the order type hitter (LF hopefully). Do they get that in this trade? Kind of. Pineda is just the type player the Reds would look into getting. Young, hard thrower with tremendous upside. He would mesh well with what they already have. I see League as almost no added value in the trade because I see the Reds resigning Cordero for around 5mil in 2012, and the Reds already have a top bullpen.

    4. The Rest of the deal: Figgins would be someone I could see on the Reds. The past two seasons they have had veteran SS’s come in hoping to bridge the gap to their plethora of young SS’s. The waiting game continues. Zach Cozart showed some potential in his short stay in the majors. I could see Figgins as a 2-3 games a week player giving Cozart time to ease his way into the league.

    Overall I would say the deal doesn’t happen. I would look for Pineda, Figgins (Seattle covering 16mil) and 2 prospects (One top hitting prospect, and one low-minor leaguer with upside) for Votto/Grandal. Seattle gets an MVP caliber player for 2 years at a resonable price and a top catching prospect probably ready in 2013. The Reds get a front of the rotation starter with upside, a veteran SS, and a couple prospects.

  131. ivan on November 3rd, 2011 7:48 am

    Biggest thing I got from this thread is that no one really knows how old Votto is… He’s 30, he’s 28, he’s older than Fielder, he’s younger… They’re the same age? They’re the same guy?

    LOL! That’s what baseball-reference.com is for.

  132. MrZDevotee on November 3rd, 2011 8:30 am

    (Ivan, I already know how hold he is… Just thought it was funny that there was so much “statistical variance” in the ages offered by various posts on this thread– thought I’d lighten the mood a little… *laugh*)

  133. raul_podzednick on November 3rd, 2011 9:16 am

    I agree with Valenica, if were going to move Pineda and some other pieces we should be trading for a position of need like 3B. We have Smoak and Carp for 1st.

    I do like the idea of going afer Grandal.

  134. cjones on November 3rd, 2011 9:25 am

    Ben Reiter at Sports Illustrated has two of the top 100 free-agents whose best fit is with the Mariners: Edwin Jackson and Raul Ibanez.

    Honest question: who is Ben Reiter? Does he actually know anything? Personally, I doubt it…

  135. adm2009 on November 3rd, 2011 10:19 am

    I personally think Scott Rolen could be a steal at 3B if the Reds willing to give him up. Making 8 million, so they might look to shed some salary. All signs indicate he’s still a very good defensive 3B, and his down year offensively largely seems due to BABIP (contact rate and LD rate were fine). He’s no safe bet to be healthy, but if he is, he could easily put up 3-4 WAR for 6-8 million.

    He’s certainly no more than a stopgap, but the third base market looks thin at the moment and perhaps a one-year stopgap is the better way to go. I like the McGehee option as well, for the record, but I agree with others that he might not be that easy to pry away.

  136. Rodney on November 3rd, 2011 10:51 am

    While Votto has put up great numbers in Cincy, he’s NOT a good fit for Safeco. Votto led the league in opposite field homeruns last year – take a look at his homerun chart – http://www.thedailydugout.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=809:mlb-hitters-tracking-homeruns&catid=35:the-batters-box&Itemid=54
    The ball just does not carry to left-center in Safeco, and a lot of his Cincy homeruns would be fly ball outs.

  137. xxtinynickxx on November 3rd, 2011 11:40 am

    First off 2 things:
    1. I love when Dave does this. These posts always has a tendency to bring out the best and worst in people.
    2. Trade ideas brings out some great ideas and maybe the front office will think about some of them.

    I love everything Dave has said and if only 1/3 of it came true I’d be happy. Right now though the M’s are going to be fun to watch next year and that’s all I want to see for this next season. If they win that’s awesome even if they loose it sucks as long as they are not embarrassing themselves. Lets get some C/OF/3B help and see what happens. I mean its probably Ichi’s last year in Seattle…….anyone really been thinking about that? I know I have.

  138. JasonJ on November 3rd, 2011 12:20 pm

    Have to agree with Bodhizefa on this one. This post (as well as the playoff WAR post) really highlight just how slim the M’s prospects for contending in the future are.

    Whether you think Dave’s Plan A is plausible or not, the outlook seems dire especially with Texas blossoming into a powerhouse club with great resources and an intelligent front office (as opposed to clubs like the Mets & Cubs who continually waste their resource advantage). Toss in the Angels and we could be looking at a long road ahead of us (what else is new?).

    I can’t help but dwell on the Hultzen pick and think that even if Rendon had questions or doesn’t pan out, we needed to take that risk because 3B is down all across the league and the only way we’re going to re-build this offense is through the draft. We don’t have the resources or the ball park to lure enough slugging free agents here.

  139. 9inningknowitall on November 3rd, 2011 1:51 pm

    Okay I think everyone has missed the main point of this entire post. The thing that we should be focusing on is the Mariners willingness to pay 99% of Figgins salary so that he can go screw up a different team. This idea not only makes me smile but it kind of brings a tear of joy to my eye.

  140. JoshJones on November 3rd, 2011 1:54 pm

    We don’t have the resources or the ball park to lure enough slugging free agents here.

    Exactly. Thats why they went with Hultzen. Thats why they shouldn’t trade pineda.

    Thats 3 potential ace pitchers and we have a surplus of descent MLB talent behind them. Vargas, Beaven, Furbush, Paxton, Walker. If we sign Bedard or even someone like Darvish it makes a combo of those guys available to aquire some offense.

    Or at least that’s what I would do.

  141. Valenica on November 3rd, 2011 1:59 pm

    Rangers have the same amount of resources as us. Angels with Vernon Wells (hahaha) have the same amount of resources as us. Don’t complain about lack of resources like we’re the A’s when we spend $90 million a year just like the Rangers.

    This post reaffirms my belief that building through FA and trades isn’t possible. Developing players is the only way we have a chance of contending. If the Angels, Rangers, and Mariners all have similar resources, the only thing that separates us is how good we are at identifying young talent, and how good we are at developing that talent.

  142. Jopa on November 3rd, 2011 2:06 pm

    I much prefer keeping Pineda for 5 years, the final three of which could see the M’s as competitive, than trading for Votto who’s gone in two years, though likely sooner by being traded away to get value before he walks.

    Further, I think the M’s are better off employing a strategy similar to what they did with Felix, whereby you buy out the arbitration years of your young stars (Pineda, Ackley, Smoak, etc.) in exchange for appending two extra years beyond arbitration eligible years. In this way you get eight years of service rather than six, before losing them to free agency, which is a guarantee for the M’s.

    It’s too late to do this with Votto. Trading for him so the team might reach .500 for two years makes no sense at all.

    Also, as others have written above, they are set at 1B with Smoak. Immediate needs are 3B, OF and C.

    Finally, the M’s have to prepare for the inevitable departure of Felix in three years, or the likely trade of Felix in less than three years. Unloading his most obvious replacement before you see the results of the likes of Paxson, Hultzen, Walker doesn’t make sense.

  143. just a fan on November 3rd, 2011 2:32 pm

    I can’t help but dwell on the Hultzen pick and think that even if Rendon had questions or doesn’t pan out, we needed to take that risk because 3B is down all across the league and the only way we’re going to re-build this offense is through the draft. We don’t have the resources or the ball park to lure enough slugging free agents here.

    There’s a severe flaw in this argument, which is that you can also trade pitching for hitting.

    Whether you have regrets or not, Doug Fister was traded for (among others) a good 3rd base prospect. If you review this plan, you will see Dave proposes making Pineda the center-piece of a trade for a marquee slugger.

    A wise club always drafts for value. Drafting Hultzen increases Pineda’s tradeability. A traded Pineda would get us a MOTO bat — whether it is Votto or somebody else.

    Drafting somebody who is shifty about their medicals because you can’t sign free agents at his position is foolery.

  144. puppyfoot on November 3rd, 2011 2:45 pm

    Valencia is absolutely correct about finding and developing talent instead of complaining about resources. Here are the M’s over the past decade:

    YEAR PAYROLL WINS

    2011 16th 28th
    2010 9 29
    2009 10 13
    2008 9 29
    2007 7 10 (3-way tie)
    2006 13 16 (3-way tie)
    2005 9 27
    2004 10 28
    2003 7 6
    2002 8 9 (3-way tie)

    The M’s have underperformed payroll 9 of the past 10 years and five times have been at least ten places worse in wins than payroll rank. That does not seem to be a major endorsement for big FA signings. I know, I know, it’s all Bavasi’s fault and everything is different now.

  145. JasonJ on November 3rd, 2011 2:57 pm

    Valencia: Historically, you are correct that the Rangers, Mariners and Angels have similar resources. But I think we’re falling behind. The Angels had $138M payroll in 2011 and the Rangers have their new lucrative TV deal, and are coming off 2 World Series appearances. The Mariners were busy setting Safeco records for low attendance.

    Don’t get me wrong, the M’s aren’t in the poor house by any means, but I guess my point is that our current situation, combined with the strengthening of the Rangers “brand” is not a good combination.

    JoshJones: I see your point about stock-piling pitchers and using them as trade bait to acquire offense. I think it’s a reasonable strategy, but I don’t know if it’s the right one. My opinion is that draft picks are a crap-shoot but you get a bit better odds of getting a major leaguer with position players. However, Hultzen was considered close to Major League ready when he was drafted, so perhaps it was the right call if his presence allows us to flip some of the other pitching prospects for offense.

  146. Route 21 on November 3rd, 2011 2:59 pm

    These blog posts and discussions are a lot more fun than losing.

    Anyway, just wanted to remind everyone of the phenomenon from psychology and behavioral economics of overvaluing what you have relative to what you might get for what you have.

    http://blog.vovici.com/blog/bid/56071/Psychological-Effects-on-Pricing

    This works both ways: obviously plenty of fans here would want to keep Pineda despite the WAR stats, but, people who think Cincinatti would never trade Votto despite the WAR stats might be underestimating their FO’s willingness to be purely rational.

  147. JasonJ on November 3rd, 2011 3:07 pm

    There’s a severe flaw in this argument, which is that you can also trade pitching for hitting.

    Right, if it’s established pitching. My point is that you have to draft and cultivate the player and avoid injury to get them to a place where they have trade value. Why not just skip that step and draft the position player, especially when we already have Felix, Pineda, Walker, Paxton, etc.

    I will admit that Hultzen has a good chance at being in the Majors fairly quickly so my argument may be moot in this case since his risk level is a little lower than most pitchers, but time will tell.

  148. Valenica on November 3rd, 2011 3:17 pm

    Angels have more payroll, obviously, but they’re tied up to Vernon Wells’ $21 million for 3 more years. The Rangers’ new TV deal is already paid, so the $95 million they spent is with the new TV deal. WS might add another $5-10 million, but that’s the benefit of being a winning team. Texas was setting records for low attendance 3 years ago and look where they are now. If anything Texas is the perfect example of what you can do with $100 million.

    As for Rendon, you never take the bigger risk at a position just because you “need” it. That’s what BPA philosophy is – you take the best player regardless of position. When teams think the top prep arm/hitter has a better chance of working out than Rendon (O’s/Royals pick) then you know most teams perceived his risk of not working out as extremely high. Nats are a risk seeking team(they signed Purke too, after all) so it makes sense he got taken at #6 – I have a feeling if the Nats weren’t there he would have fallen further.

    Draft picks are kind of a crap shoot, but you don’t turn down the 80/20 game to play the 50/50 game just because you like the 50/50 prize a little better.

  149. Valenica on November 3rd, 2011 3:26 pm

    Right, if it’s established pitching. My point is that you have to draft and cultivate the player and avoid injury to get them to a place where they have trade value. Why not just skip that step and draft the position player, especially when we already have Felix, Pineda, Walker, Paxton, etc.

    Because that “position player” was shifty about his medicals, saw a severe decrease in power with the new bats, had 3 previous injuries, and if it wasn’t for his 2010 season wouldn’t have been anywhere near the top 15?

    He’s not even allowed to play in the AFL because he needs to work on his “throwing mechanics.” In hindsight, it doesn’t even look like a good pick. I don’t know why you’re fretting over this.

  150. nwade on November 3rd, 2011 3:32 pm

    Rodney – Thank you for being one of the few people in this thread who actually uses EVIDENCE to make a point!

    I personally feel that a lot of Dave’s annoyance is coming from people making claims in absolute terms like “that won’t work” or “he isn’t worth it”. I think what a lot of you out there are atcually trying to say is: “I personally hold the belief that the Cinci management does not value players in the same way that Dave does, and therefore they would not trade Votto for the players that Dave has proposed”. And hey, OK, that’s your opinion. But its just an opinion, a hunch, a gut feeling.

    If you make a claim about what value they put on Votto, or if you try to claim what value that Mariners players represent, you need to explain how you come up with those values. Dave has used published WAR numbers to come up with his values and WAR is an established metric (yes it varies a bit from site to site, but its generally established).

    If you use your own custom valuation, you need to be able to explain how you come up with it.

  151. Chris_From_Bothell on November 3rd, 2011 5:25 pm

    I personally feel that a lot of Dave’s annoyance is coming from people making claims in absolute terms like “that won’t work” or “he isn’t worth it”.

    I personally feel a lot of Dave’s annoyance is coming from people not arguing the way he wants to argue. This recurs in discussions with people using some sabrmetric concepts, sometimes. I’ve seen it here and a couple other sites. It can frequently go like this:

    “Here is my premise. It is based on these figures and stats. I have added or subtracted these figures and stats this exact way. The only refutation I will accept is an error in the math, or an argument with different players but presented using these exact stats. If you do not agree with the theory behind these figures and stats, or present any other point, you’re not using FACTS and you’re just wildly speculating and you’re not worth my time because geez, go read up on how these stats are used, would you?”

    I realize people get into this mindset on non-sabrmetric positions too (“everyone knows that scouting tells us”, “everyone knows you don’t do X in this game situation”, “unwritten rule of baseball is”, etc.).

    Dave has used published WAR numbers to come up with his values

    It’s entirely likely I missed this – and please point me to where info on this sort of thing is, if so – but while Dave used published WAR numbers for listing past performance, he used some other method for estimating future value.

    Dave’s guess at future value is just that, a guess. Not some unassailable mathematical certainty. There are formulas for a player’s past and current WAR, but far as I know, no 100% solid way to predict the upcoming season’s value.

    Again, if there’s some formula that says e.g. “average of last 3 seasons’ WAR plus X adjustment for age and Y adjustment for injury equals next season’s WAR”, let me know.

    And it’s fine to estimate and guess – that’s what we all do, and with Dave’s experience writing about this sport his guesses are probably more accurate than many people’s certain facts – but don’t get in a frustrated huff when people treat what is essentially a guess, as being somewhat less than a Biblical proclamation.

  152. JoshJones on November 3rd, 2011 5:30 pm

    I’m not advocating for Prince Fielder BUT based on Daves assesment of WAR wouldn’t prince fielder be a steal of a deal?

    The going rate for a win in free agency is about $5 million per season

    Prince is probablly the closest thing to a guaranteed +5WAR player and should maintain that for at least the next 5 years.

    He’s probablly going to cost LESS than 25$ a season so…..

  153. Chris_From_Bothell on November 3rd, 2011 5:33 pm

    He’s probablly going to cost LESS than 25$ a season so…..

    I thought the ranges being thrown about at one point were like Texiera money, around 200 million over 8 years… which is 25 mil a season.

  154. Chris_From_Bothell on November 3rd, 2011 5:43 pm

    While Votto has put up great numbers in Cincy, he’s NOT a good fit for Safeco. Votto led the league in opposite field homeruns last year

    Good point. But do his homerun locations map to where he gets other types of hits also? I.e. just because the majority of his homeruns are to left-center, does that also mean that how he gets his singles and doubles aren’t a good fit?

    Safeco may turn a bunch of his homeruns into long outs or sac flies, but if he can still be a productive singles/doubles hitter at home and a homerun threat on the road (esp. e.g. in Arlington), that’s not that bad.

  155. JoshJones on November 3rd, 2011 5:43 pm

    Yeah i’ve heard those numbers but id be suprised if he got that much. There’s not enough teams willing or able to spend that much and there’s a couple low cost options behind Pujols and Fielder such as Derek Lee, Carlos Pena, Cuddyer, Casey Kotchman,

    200 million over 8 years… which is 25 mil a season

    Thats worst case scenario. Yet still is a good deal. Fielder has consistently been a +5WAR player.

  156. Valenica on November 3rd, 2011 6:13 pm

    …I just had a better idea.

    Why not get both Votto AND Fielder?

    Snyder, McGehee, Pagan, Volstad, Bedard, Moyer = $17 million.

    Fielder’s expected to cost $22 million/7 years IMO, so that would put our payroll at $98-99 million. We can move Vargas for nothing if we really have to keep payroll down.

    Trade Smoak for Logan Morrison or another good OF bat with an issue.

    Ackley, Morrison, Votto, Fielder
    Ichiro, Gutierrez, Ryan, Olivo, Seager

    Once Hultzen and Paxton come up we could be legit. What’s a better MOTO than Votto/Fielder, with Ackley’s OBP before and Morrison’s power after?

  157. nwade on November 3rd, 2011 6:31 pm

    Chris – I get where you’re coming from, I just respectfully disagree that Dave’s *that* inflexible. But maybe its because I’ve only been following Dave for 2.5 years and haven’t seen a big enough sample-size? Maybe I’m just too used to dealing with difficult people and so I sympathize with Dave too readily. But when I see people throwing up statements on this thread the way they’ve been doing, *I* get annoyed, too! Many of the responses feel no different than if someone just piped up with a random comment like “We can’t get Votto – we have to trade Felix so we’re not over-paying for pitching. THEN we can have enough money to build a winning team!”

    The problem with such a statement is that there’s no reasoning behind it. In that example statement I gave, I do not explain how I arrived at the conclusion that we are currently over-paying for pitching. And I do not show how spending less on pitching would actually make the club better.

    This is why I posted the quote of the Monty Python sketch in the first place… There’s a WORLD of difference between making a random unsupported claim, and actually building a reasoned, logical argument. A good debate or quality conversation needs to be based on the latter; not the former. Every human has an opinion about everything. And in a democracy, everyone has an equal voice. But not everyone is equally qualified in all topics, and so not everyone’s voice should carry equal weight. Well-reasoned arguments with solid explanation help determine who’s opinion is worth giving weight to. There’s a reason you don’t listen to the crazy guy on the corner who tells you to wear a tinfoil hat to block out the Alien mind-control signals. OK, there are probably _many_ reasons, but one of the big ones is because his claims don’t seem to be based in fact and he doesn’t build a case the convinces you to take him seriously.

  158. JoshJones on November 3rd, 2011 6:32 pm

    Why not get both Votto AND Fielder?

    Snyder, McGehee, Pagan, Volstad, Bedard, Moyer = $17 million.

    We wouldn’t even crack the top 5 for team spending.

  159. rth1986 on November 3rd, 2011 7:01 pm

    Interesting post. While I, and many others, may disagree on some aspects, it’s always really fun to read these ideas. Keep them coming..

    One note on your WAR predictions…Seems to me you’re undervaluing Brendan Ryan and overvaluing Justin Smoak by about 1 WAR each. Doesn’t really matter, but I just thought it was interesting. Ryan seems a sure bet for about 2.5 WAR, given that he’s almost guaranteed to have a .295 wOBA and 10-15 DRS next year. On the other hand, getting 2 WAR from Smoak at DH seems optimistic. From my calculations, he’d have to post a .360 wOBA in a full season to get 2 WAR exclusively at DH. Would love for that production, but I think it’s a little optimistic. I’d only feel comfortable penciling him in for a .330-.340 wOBA next year.

    That aside, I really like the players you’ve targetted. Personally, I think the package for Votto is TOO much. 1B/DH isn’t really the primary position of long-term need for this club. I’d much rather the M’s target a short-term guy like David Ortiz while Carp and Smoak get more seasoning.

    If I were to trade Pineda or League, I’d be targetting a long-term 3B or catching option. I wonder if the Reds would go for a Pineda / Yasmani Grandal + Juan Francisco deal. That sounds much more appealing. League, subsequently, could be flipped for a separate useful prospect. But I personally wouldn’t trade away League yet. The bullpen is VERY young.

    Also, I LOVE Angel Pagan, but do you really think Cesar Jimenez would be all it takes? Why do you think the Mets would non-tender him? Pagan is dirt cheap for his value, and I think the Mets GM recognizes that. Probably Trayvon Robinson and Alex Liddi might be a fairer package for Pagan.

    I like Casey McGehee, but I don’t think he’s worth Carp. I think he could be had for cheap. I’d also be checking out Martin Prado, who is very similar to McGehee but with more defensive value. He had a down year in Atlanta and it seems they’re willing to move him.

  160. Valenica on November 3rd, 2011 7:14 pm

    Angel Pagan is rumored to be non-tendered, as “the new front office has not been impressed with his play,” and if that’s the case they might consider moving him for some BP depth.

    Martin Prado’s an interesting candidate for 3B. 2 arb years left, 3B/LF/2B flexibility, expected to make $4.4 million~, hit 118 wRC+ 2 of the last 3 years (8.2 WAR in 3 years). Braves are looking for power OF and a new SS – Ryan/Wells sounds like a perfect match. He’ll be 28 years old. Much higher upside than McGehee, about similar cost. We’ll have to check if Seager can play adequate SS though.

  161. rth1986 on November 3rd, 2011 8:49 pm

    Interesting about Pagan. Seems strange that the Mets FO would feel that way.

    An alternative to Pagan would be Coco Crisp. Pretty similar players. He wants to stay on the west coast and probably won’t cost too much.

    Oh, and I definitely don’t see the Mariners trading Ryan anytime soon. Maybe one of Wells/Saunders/Robinson/Peguero (?) would start the conversation with the Braves for Prado.

  162. Chris_From_Bothell on November 3rd, 2011 9:06 pm

    nwade, fair points all around.

  163. Valenica on November 3rd, 2011 9:17 pm

    We wouldn’t even crack the top 5 for team spending.

    Exactly. We could have Felix, Votto, and Fielder, and we won’t even spend $100 million if we do it right.

  164. jjracoon on November 3rd, 2011 9:32 pm

    Two things:

    Rodney says: While Votto has put up great numbers in Cincy, he’s NOT a good fit for Safeco. Votto led the league in opposite field homeruns last year.

    What you would be implying then is Smoak is more of a power hitter since he DID launch several opposite field homers out of SAFECO. Good hitters generate the necessary power to carry out and if not out would produce a lot of gappers.

    It is sad that it has been so long since we had a good hitter other than Ichiro that we pin hopes on Ackley. He reminds me a lot of John Olerud in his patience and eye at the plate but you wouldnt build your team around Olerud or Ackley. He is just a piece that needs complementary parts. Votto could be one of them of a higher level but I guess I’ve watched the Mariners so long only have one top tier starting pitcher that it is hard to give up Pineda. Maybe he wont end up being anything close to Felix as he progresses but the alternative would be Felix blows out his arm in spring training and Vargas is your Nr 1. He is a nice insurance policy until all this young talent is ready. Maybe in July the planets would align to trade him and bring up a couple of the young ones.

    Figure a package out for Grandal & Alonso seems easier and cheaper.

    Alonso DH/1st
    Carp LF or use him in a trade like suggested by Dave. I know most people dont want him in LF.
    Smoak 1st/DH

  165. MrZDevotee on November 3rd, 2011 10:11 pm

    While we debate all this, the most optimistic I’ve been in a LONG TIME comes from watching all the manuevering the front office has been doing to free up space on the 40 man roster over the past week. We ARE going to make moves. It seems clear. What if Jack was to approach this with a dual method of…

    A) insisting to the front office that he needs more money, because the retreads method is not working, and as evidenced by the 2nd half of last year, the minor leaguers aren’t quite ready yet– all this with the idea, or sales pitch, that as the farm teams start producing MLB starters, we can liquidate (flip) free agents accordingly and actually CUT payroll moving forward…

    B) plus, imagine the sort of moves he might be capable of if Jack gets it in his head that this might be his last year if this team doesn’t get at least CLOSE to contending, and he goes “all in” with his attempts to build a contender…? Imagine he’s able to sell the front office on the idea of WE NEED TO WIN NOW! Winning will attract winners to this organization– while, waving money and promising a friendly clubhouse alone hasn’t been enough to attract them when you’re tucked up away in the far reaches of the NW! We need TALENT!

    Now put the two together and maybe there are more moves coming than we have dared to hope. (Fingers crossed)

    I can actually picture Z giving the front office an ultimatum… “We’re in a lousy situation, and need impact players to turn this around… The kids aren’t ready yet, and the retreads are simply “re”-treading water for us… I need better players. You can get on board with me about this, or I can move on… And trust me, there are plenty of other organizations out there who will like the idea, if you don’t… I’m THROUGH losing.”

    I mean, maybe Dave is UNDERSELLING his Plan A? (Imagine that for a moment… Ow.) Go get ‘em, Z!!!

    **Okay, okay, so this is just a fantasy… but “what if?”**

  166. MrZDevotee on November 3rd, 2011 10:17 pm

    On the original note…

    Any chance Cincy would be interested in Smoak as part of a deal? Someone mentioned it, and it makes sense… Why not move Smoak? Since most of the large return moves were talking about involve 1B? Don’t get me wrong, I like Smoak– a LOT– but if we’re gonna acquire a 1B, then Smoak is one of the more valuable guys to move on the roster to help ease the burden. It would seem to make more sense than moving Carp, because Smoak is more readily an everyday player, and hence a more valuable trading chip.

    Yes? No? Maybe?

  167. Valenica on November 3rd, 2011 10:40 pm

    Cincy would have no interest in Smoak because they already have Alonso blocked by Votto. They’re teaching Alonso how to play LF but it’s not pretty…it’s probably more for flexibility in case they keep both Alonso and Votto.

    The option that makes the most sense for Smoak is Florida with LF Logan Morrison. Florida and Morrison have a small feud going, and if they’re given the opportunity to unload Morrison for a bat like Smoak, I think they’ll concede.

  168. Bodhizefa on November 4th, 2011 12:25 am

    Smoak isn’t work jack squat at this point. Selling him now would be the epitome of the sell low mantra, and that’s something the M’s as currently constructed cannot afford. Trading Smoak would be a dumb move for a team looking to get as much offensive upside as possible right now, and it’s doubly dumb since his value is (hopefully) as low as it will ever be.

    I actually prefer Dave’s mid-season notion of swapping Pineda and League to the Reds for Alonso, Grandal, Travis Wood, and Juan Francisco. My own belief is that the Reds will not accept Pineda and League for Votto, so the alternative is to get a lot of average and above average talent from them for Pineda since they seem to have good depth.

    To those arguing we should deal Pineda for a third baseman, well, have you seen the state of third base in baseball right now? It’s easy to say “Go trade our valuable guy for this specific position,” but it’s another thing entirely when not a single team out there has a decent young third baseman they could afford to give up. The only chance I think we have at getting a legit star at third base this off-season is if we pony up for David Wright, but he’d only be signed for one season if we do that. That seems like it’d be a waste assuming the cost to acquire him from the Mets would be a pretty penny. I’d only advocate that if we could sign him to a long-term deal.

  169. Valenica on November 4th, 2011 12:37 am

    That’s a complete overpay by the Reds. If they decide to contend now, and want to trade Alonso, Grandal, Wood, and Francisco for arms, they’ll be better off dealing them for 2-3 arms then just Pineda + League. Pineda’s value comes from his cost-control – if the Reds are selling to win-now, they’ll be looking to maximize wins now, so SP2-3s with 1-2 year left on their contract. Sadly we don’t have any of those.

    Also, Ryan Zimmerman. He’s in the exact same situation as Joey Votto, being too old for the core (Harper, Strasburg), has a backup in place (Rendon), but too good to just give away…unless convinced. He actually might sign an extension though, unlike Votto, so we’ll see.

  170. cougarcountry on November 4th, 2011 1:26 am

    I guess it’s good to see Dave is back to his usual self.

    It’s hard to understand why a guy who puts himself out there for the public to read is so quick to point out that he doesn’t have the time or desire to deal with the public and treats his readers with such disdain. It doesn’t make for very good blogging. This is the last time I’ll be checking in. Lots of other writers out there with just as good or better insight with half the attitude and petulance.

  171. terry on November 4th, 2011 5:49 am

    This is the last time I’ll be checking in.

    Thanks for adding absolutely nothing and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  172. B13a on November 4th, 2011 6:46 am

    I don’t think Votto will be traded (although I’m not ruling it out, that would be foolish), but I prefer acquiring him over Fielder. While I do like his bat, I prefer players with other upside (team control, fielding ability).

    There’s also the case of body type. Completely subjective I think, so eh. At any case, acquiring either player would be cool, even with the knowledge that Fielder will probably take up all the money Z has to use in the budget.

  173. Gibbo on November 4th, 2011 9:11 am

    On Fielder I agree with the last post, I would only go get him if the FO was to give more money as there are other more important areas of need. I think they know with Felix on the roster they need to start winning.

    I like the Volstad idea. Also these trades are subjective so I don’t see why everyone gets so wound up. You know if someone wrote what we gave up to get Lee before the trade happened we would of all scoffed and said your crazy. The other point is, isn’t Bavasi still with the Reds? If so Dave, you are over paying.

    Thanks for the post and for making the effort. This site is one of the reasons that got me hooked on Baseball and the M’s. An addiction that made a single guy living in New Zealand having never seen a game of baseball, get on a plane and travel across the states watching this great game and my favoutite team. Now a few years later, married with a child. This is still the first baseball site I come to for thoughts and opinions on the Mariners and we a planning a trip to Seattle so my girls can share the love.

    Sorry for the non baseball ramble, thanks again.

  174. JoshJones on November 4th, 2011 9:28 am

    I guess it’s good to see Dave is back to his usual self.

    It’s hard to understand why a guy who puts himself out there for the public to read is so quick to point out that he doesn’t have the time or desire to deal with the public and treats his readers with such disdain. It doesn’t make for very good blogging. This is the last time I’ll be checking in. Lots of other writers out there with just as good or better insight with half the attitude and petulance.

    USS Mariner and Dave specifically have great insight on the Mariners organization and provide a great format to discuss a variety of topics. Unfortunately, I agree with everything you say.

    Thanks for adding absolutely nothing and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

    This isn’t your typical blogging site. It’s more of a community of fans who blog and interact on a daily basis with one another. I don’t think it’s to much to ask the authors specifically to be a little more respectful.

  175. Chris_From_Bothell on November 4th, 2011 9:45 am

    The other point is, isn’t Bavasi still with the Reds? If so Dave, you are over paying.

    I don’t think we can assume Bavasi will automatically make bad trades all day every day just because he did several clunkers here. He might have learned, he might have different personalities / levels of competence above him that could veto or alter deals, etc.

  176. greymstreet on November 4th, 2011 9:55 am

    Dave,

    I don’t know if you’re still monitoring this thread, but any chance we could get thumbs up/down buttons like on Fangraphs. There are a bunch of comments here that could use a good thumbs down…

  177. nwade on November 4th, 2011 1:23 pm

    This isn’t your typical blogging site. It’s more of a community of fans who blog and interact on a daily basis with one another.

    Uh, no. Its a blogging site. It feels like a community of fans because Dave and the other Authors here have put out consistently good information and attracted a lot of those fans.

    And speaking of that content/information, let me raise this question: How much money have you paid in order to read this content? As far as I know, its free. So this feeling of entitlement some folks have is just baffling. You didn’t pay for this service. If you like the content, then consider it a gift that Dave and the other authors are giving you. And if you don’t like the content, then this site is just like any other blog site: Its a place where someone spouts their opinion, and if you don’t like it you don’t have to read it. I’m not saying this to be snotty, I’m just saying it because its the simple truth.

    As for the authors – I hope they take enjoyment from the analysis and discoveries that their research brings them; and that sense of discovery and satisfaction drives them more than the stuff people (like me) post in the comments area! :-)

  178. Matt the Dragon on November 4th, 2011 4:49 pm

    I don’t think it’s to much to ask the authors specifically to be a little more respectful.

    But is it too much to ask commenters to be respectable.

  179. neo-realist on November 4th, 2011 11:05 pm

    Furthermore, for the 2012 mlb draft, select, if he’s available, Nick Williams–tremendous power bat upside.

  180. bfgboy on November 5th, 2011 1:08 pm

    I just read that talks between Royals and Braves have stalled. Braves are looking to package Jai Jurrjens and Martin Prado for Lornezo Cain and Will Myers, but KC only wants Jurrjens and feels that Myers is too much to give up (considering it would add $4 mil to payroll). What about if M’s sent Cesar Jiminez to KC, and Prado came here? Atlanta is looking to shed salary, and they were already content with shipping him to KC, plus KC gets two solid pitchers in the deal. Maybe it could even be expanded in some way to bring Gordon here.

  181. Bodhizefa on November 6th, 2011 6:16 am

    It amazes me how stupid some people can be when it comes to trades. And no, I’m not talking about Dave at all. I’m talking about some of the ridiculous commenters on here who want to shovel off shit for gold. It’s maddening to have to read some of this trash.

    My personal opinion is that every time you post, you should have to answer a series of three questions all pertaining to the viability of a random trade generated by a computer program. If you miss any of the questions (i.e. if your trade “barometer” is off in any way), your post is deleted and you aren’t allowed to comment for 12 hours. Also, the program would mock you by laughing at you in Nelson’s voice from the Simpsons.

  182. 15thBanker on November 6th, 2011 10:01 pm

    I can’t get past the McGehee trade. Might as well keep Carp and stick him on third. And what exactly did McGehee accomplish this year that warrants getting a $2 mil raise??

  183. jwcincy on November 7th, 2011 5:54 pm

    I can’t see Cincinnati going for that deal, I only see something like Michael Pineda, League, Paxson, Seager, Tryvon Robinson, and another minor league prospect to get Votto and Grandal, but I do see them shopping him cause they only signed him to a 3 year deal cause he is going to demand a lot of money when that contract ends, and they can’t afford him after that! I do believe that the Mariners need to step up and do something like this, and give the team soome power!

  184. Dayve on November 7th, 2011 6:28 pm

    Are you just making stuff up so that people here don’t have a clue as to what you’re talking about? I mean, Jamie Moyer and Erik Beddard? For 5 Million? Huh?

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