Trade: TBD | Night King’s Undead Army

Night King’s Undead Army sends: SP Alex Reyes (cost controlled), SS Jean Segura ($10), SP Alex Wood ($16), SP Mike Soroka (minors)
TBD sends: SS Corey Seager ($64), $35 2016 Auction Budget

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†¬†This is one of the bigger trades we’ve ever had and its clear to me that both teams were thinking outside the box on this one. I think last year we saw $30 moved for, like, Dallas Keuchel and Devon Travis if memory serves me correctly, so there is some precedent to moving big time auction budget. I will say that $35 of auction moving doesn’t seem like a huge deal. I think the willingness to part with chunks of budget is a big market inefficiency. I can’t tell you how many people offer me $1 for a player as if $1 really matters. Generally speaking, I think auction budget should probably be swapped in $5 increments before it starts having any impact whatsoever. Go look at the results of last year’s auction and then try and tell me you think $1 really matters in a significant way. I don’t think you can convince me.

Moving on: Jordan is getting the best player here in Corey Seager. Granted, he’s $64. With getting $35 in the deal, he’s essentially locked Seager up to a one-year, $29 contract, which is obviously favorable in the short term. As a long term asset, who really knows. Seager’s young, obviously, and just tapping into his potential. But depending how cuts and auction go, he may still be unprotected again next year and vulnerable to greed, which is probably insignificant but could become an issue once he starts pushing $70. So a year from now, barring a future trade, Jordan will have to shuffle things around this contract. But he’s an elite talent, so oh well. I think you can find a real edge in not fixating on the long term ramifications, and instead just operating year to year and trying to be competitive. If enough other teams are operating with 3-5 years in their mind just because “dynasty,” that should present opportunities to improve on a one-year basis almost every single offseason.

Speaking of market inefficiences and game theory, how much value does sending budget to offset larger salaries help facilitate deals and return real talent? I think Jordan, Joe, and Josh unlocked an avenue (that should’ve been obvious) for everyone. Hey, if you’ve got a $40 player that no one wants, but will send $20 along with him, you can probably actually get something done!

TBD, meanwhile, has added several players with clear paths to surplus. Alex Reyes is the big get for them. Despite all the hype, he’s still unproven and coming off injury. I love the potential though, and he’s likely going to cost only $3 even after arbitration. He’s more appealing long term, because his usage and effectiveness this year offer a wide range of possible outcomes. I won’t be surprised if he’s a top-10 SP this time next year, which can’t be said of most pitching prospects.

At $10, I think Jean Segura is probably undervalued by the league. I don’t see much difference between some unproven, mediocre SS on a cost controlled salary and a guy as good as Segura’s been for $10. Over the last two seasons, two qualified shortstops (Seager, Correa) have wOBAs better than Segura. In some ways, you could actually argue the entire framework of this deal is busted because Jordan punted on several potentially valuable assets for a marginal upgrade from Segura to Seager at short, plus whatever long term hindrances Seager’s salary brings. Segura isn’t exciting but he’s been productive.

Alex Wood is not super exciting to me. At $16, he’s certainly affordable, and the talent is very real, but he’s so hard to trust. He spent time on the disabled list again last year (when it mattered most, during H2H playoff time, if I recall) and just doesn’t look like a guy you can ever bank a full season from. Maybe that’s irrelevant though, as TBD continues building a dirt cheap rotation, high upside around Corey Kluber and Jacob deGrom. I don’t mean to knock on Wood (lol unintentional), and I like him, I just think he’s a tough guy to really pin down as a trade piece.

Mike Soroka is, to me, a throw in and I don’t have it in me to waste more words than this on him.

I actually think TBD “wins” this trade over the long haul, but I give the edge to Jordan for 2018. I also sort of wonder what the point is of amassing prospects and cheap salaries if you’re not going to be willing or able to keep your Seagers. These are smart owners, so I know they know what they’re doing. I’d probably just rather keep Seager than, I don’t know, shuffle stuff around to free up money to keep Justin Upton and/or Chris Davis (I think they’re cutting both, but you get the point) or roll the dice on Reyes. I’d sooner cut and re-bid a guy like Jacob deGrom than deal Seager, though obviously they got a pretty big haul here. I don’t know. Although, here’s another market inefficiency: actually making good prospects available. Most teams, in my experience, won’t even talk to you if a guy’s name appears on a list somewhere. I think there’s several teams that want to offer up, at best, like their 8th best prospect for real talent. If TBD stocks up on cheap resources and then actually makes them available while other teams won’t, it gives them a real edge on the trade market to add elite players at high salaries in season, simply because no other team is willing to part with the cost controlled guys.

 

Hustle’s Toxic $.02

Bailey said a lot of things, most of which I agree with. The cash coming over is quite interesting and creative. I don’t really track other people’s budgets and I’m not going to start for the sake of trade reviews. So good on Jordan for getting $35, I’m assuming Joe could afford it without Seager!

I thought before this trade, while Jordan may have not had a top 2-3 SS, he has the best SS depth in the league with Didi, Dejong, and Segura.¬† I do think Seager is a clear upgrade, but he costs a lot more.¬† When Seager starts against any RHP, he’s an obvious start every time which pushes Dejong and Did to Util, which isn’t ideal. I guess Dejong also has 2b eligibility this year but Jordan also has a cheapish Kinsler, Lowrie, and Albies for 2b.¬† It’s not an ideal situation to maximize value, but this could sort itself out with injuries or subsequent trades.

What I don’t love about this trade for Jordan is that it decimates his SP depth. Currently sitting on an aging Lester and Gio Gonzalez, the Undead army is lacking punch from the rotation.¬† I think Wood and Reyes represented cheap near ace production from pitcher spots and I don’t love the idea of getting rid of both guys with roster construction, and I don’t think Kyle Zimmer is coming up from the minors to save the day… although that Zombie like emergence would be very Undead Army of him.¬† I think Wood could be a pretty fine sell high after last season (probably would have been better after the 1st half), but allowing Joe to “buy low” on Reyes seems like it could be a hiccup down the line. I also don’t have much of a hot take on Mike Soroka, but TBD usually knows what they are doing with prospects. Soroka is in AA already and has been successful thus far.¬† I don’t think the Jordan had a particularly deep rotation before this trade, and now it seems quite worse even if Reyes and Soroka weren’t immediate help.

I would look for Jordan to move some middle infield depth for some starting pitching.¬† It seems like every team is going to be looking to add multiple starters during the auction, so I really can’t see how Jordan (or anyone) can feel confident coming away from the auction with value at SP. Maybe I’m just having flashbacks last year to spending most of my budget on Smyly or Rodon, but the auction isn’t pretty.

I think TBD downgrading at SS for a bunch of SP assets seems fun and interesting. With all the high cost players TBD has, trading one away for multiple interesting assets seems like the way to go and he finally found a suitable buyer for one of them.  If Wood, Soroka, and Reyes all bust (which I see as highly unlikely), then you still have yourself an affordable and good SS in his 20s for a few more years.

Something something, grinding differently.

 

 

 

 

Trade: Team Hydra | TBD

Team Hydra sends: 2B Yoan Moncada (minors)
TBD sends: SP Corey Kluber ($82), RP Dellin Bettances ($14)

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†What a disaster. I get it. You have lots of aces. But, any veteran of fantasy baseball should be well aware, that come fantasy playoff time, pitching rotations change. Two-start weeks start to disappear. That’s why you want seven good and reliable starters, because when it counts (unlike MLB where you can get away with just 3), you need 6 (if you’re lucky) or 7 starters.

Yoan is an impressive prospect, I get it. He probably will see playing time next season. That’s not very helpful now. I don’t see the value in this trade even if TBD was not in the playoff hunt. Trading two real assets for one 21-year-old who is doing quite well in AA seems foolish. Sure, if Moncada comes up and is a top-5 2B, great, you’re sitting on a fat pile of value for a few seasons. However, sitting on players who have great value doesn’t guarantee a future dynasty. Far from it.

Championships require a good roster, great value, but most of all luck. Even if Moncada is a monster and a top 15 MLB fantasy hitter, you still need the other 29 spots on your roster to work out in any given season. And you took a great roster that has a real chance to win it all this season and bruised it hard.

Hydra gets way better here. I love this move for them. They probably can figure out how to keep both players, and they’ll provide more value in the next three or four years than Moncada. Easy move. EVEN IF THEY DON’T keep either player, their shot of winning the whole league just went up because they took from the team they’re tied with and added to their own. Brilliant.

If TBD wins it all anyway, great. “Better lucky than good” is something I hear all too often.

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†Maybe I’m just jealous because I tried to get Moncada and failed, but as soon as this trade popped up in my e-mail, the instinctual feeling I got was “man, prospects are way too valuable.”

I hate this move for TBD and love it for Team Hydra. Respectively, they are the third and fourth place team. They are clinging to the last two playoff spots. I realize TBD can simply fall back on Madison Bumgarner,¬†Jacob deGrom, Tanner Roark, et al now. But I just don’t love¬†punting an indisputable ace and the top overall relief pitcher at this juncture of the season. Granted, RPs aren’t super valuable, but still.

I get the logic. They rode Kluber long enough to get to this point¬†and¬†are in great postseason position with the most points in the league, thus giving them the tie-breaker should they finish with the same record as another team. They are now handing the keys to luck and in turn, getting arguably the best prospect in baseball. But I’m not sure they got enough for handing a direct postseason competitor two players of this caliber.

Oh well!

One other thing: I had forgotten what the original deal TBD made to get Kluber was and when I went back and looked… my god.¬†This trade somehow manages to make that one look even worse. And from TBD’s perspective, you could argue that since they got Kluber for essentially nothing¬†to begin with, he was just house money anyway. Their low initial investment in Kluber does make me like this move a little more for them.

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | TBD

Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: C Russell Martin ($18), 2018 1st Round Draft Pick
TBD sends: SP Hyun-Jin Ryu ($7)

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†I think Martin-for-Ryu straight up¬†is justifiable. Since acquiring Martin on June 14, he has scored a total of 64.1 points (9.16 pts/game) while being in Dusty’s¬†starting lineup seven times. He had a .373 wOBA in June. That’s terrific¬†production for a catcher. But Dusty’s just 4-8 overall, likely won’t make the playoffs, and has a hugely expensive pitching staff. So selling off a catcher he wasn’t likely going to be able¬†to keep for an inexpensive pitcher isn’t awful. Of course, having to start Sandy Leon (lifetime .263 wOBA; .524 wOBA in 35 PAs this year though!) going forward is going to suck, probably.

Ryu at $7 seems like a great gamble to me. He’s got a fantastic track record. His career FIP is 2.97, xFIP is 3.27, he gives up a paltry 0.60¬†homers per nine, and strikes out 7.66 per nine innings. He’s pretty close to being a viable ace of staff and at worse is a SP2. He also hasn’t pitched since 2014, though he’s throwing rehab starts now, so there’s a ton of risk here. I’m not sure that his odds of returning to form are better than his odds of¬†being a middling starter due simply to the effect of injury. But given Dusty has a ton of expensive pitchers and likely won’t be able to keep them all, I like the¬†dice roll.

TBD didn’t really need a catcher, per say, since they have Matt Wieters there. But Wieters gets a lot of regular rest because of the brittle, almost tissue paper-like composition of his bones, tendons, and muscles, and so Martin provides a great¬†option when Wieters rests. And with a rotation headed by Madison Bumgarner, Corey Kluber, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Wright, there would seem to be a bit less reward to having Ryu to offset the risk than there might be for some other teams. Though, like the Oysters, keeping those pitchers beyond this year could be a tight fit and having Ryu as a cheaper alternative could have been a helpful fallback.

My only real beef with¬†this trade is punting the top-16 pick in 2018. Granted, that is two drafts away and anyone you pick is likely to be two or more years from hitting the majors (so you’re looking at an asset maybe four years off?), but still. A second or even a third rounder was probably enough to plug any perceived gap here between pitcher and catcher. Maybe two bucks at auction next year covers it. I mean, I would totally trade a first round pick for a $7 Ryu, but I think I want to see him come back and string together a few good starts first. Yeah, now may be the last opportunity to get your foot in the door on him (if he comes back and pitches to his career averages, he’s suddenly a super commodity), but it could just as easily be the calm before the storm.

Dusty has also now exhausted all his first and second round picks in 2017 and 2018, and has previously sold off all of his worthwhile prospects. This is a system headed by… Touki Toussaint? Maybe he can sell off some parts as the season winds down to replenish, but it really feels like a buyer’s market to me. Logically, yeah, you should get a haul for one of his pricey pitchers if he doesn’t think he can finagle the cap to keep. But there hasn’t been much trade action at all, which suggests to me teams have become more hesitant to pay multiple big time assets for upgrades.

Trade: TBD | Who’s Your Haddy?

TBD sends: SP Kyle Gibson ($7), CF Lewis Brinson (minors), SP Amir Garrett (minors), 2017 2nd Round Pick
Who’s Your Haddy?¬†sends: SP Jacob deGrom ($64), SP Steven Wright (FA), 2017 4th Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†Man, where to begin?

I guess it makes sense to link to the Johnny Cueto trade from over the weekend, because I think he and deGrom are close to the same guy. deGrom costs $4 more and is younger, but Cueto has the longer track record and is having the better season (by like 10 points/start) so far. For the sake of argument, I think we can just call them equals.

In that light, this trade comes up a bit short for Haddy, I think. Cueto netted a viable replacement for him in James Shields, two top-25 prospects, and a 1st round pick. deGrom brought back an okay starter in Kyle Gibson, who isn’t better than Shields but does cost $21 less, but he also tossed in Steven Wright so it kind of nullifies getting back Gibson. He also gets a top-15 or so prospect in Brinson (9th in our draft), and a top… I don’t know — 75? — prospect in Garrett (he went 83rd in our draft), plus a 2nd rounder. Compare that to the Cueto return. I guess what I’m saying is, deGrom appears to have been sold at less than market value. Anything can happen with prospects. Who knows? But that’s how I see it today.

For Haddy, I think getting back the blue chipper Brinson is a big deal. I know TBD was reluctant to deal him at all,¬†but if you want big time pitching you simply have to be willing to part with big time pieces. TBD’s been shopping their $10 Max Kepler for pitching for a while and the writing there just appeared to be on the wall. No one’s paying $10 and a premium pitcher for Kepler, without the cost control benefit of other prospects, to sit in their minors.

Brinson is a great get though. I’m less sold on Garrett. Baseball Prospectus ranked him 77th, Baseball America has him 73rd, and MLB.com slots him in at 65th. Rankings aren’t gospel and we should all probably discredit them more than we do, but Garrett’s the second piece here, right? He just doesn’t seem like a big enough Player B in a deal to land deGrom. A lot of the scouting reports I’ve read of Garrett say he could end up in the bullpen and if that happens, that’s a big loss for Haddy. There’s certainly upside if he sticks as a starter, but it’s a risky profile.

As I mentioned, Wright and Gibson more or less cancel each other out. I’d rather have Gibson personally, but both guys are just rotational filler.

I think, just like Haddy’s other deal, I come away feeling like a piece is missing. I try to look at picks less as rounds and more as where the pick will be, and in my deal for Cueto I got what is likely the 14-16th overall pick. Team Hydra’s 2nd rounder could realistically end up being 17th-20th or so, in which case the two picks are essentially the same. Never the less, I think Haddy should’ve pried a 1st away instead of a 2nd. I think that’s a small price for TBD¬†to pay to get deGrom on their¬†roster and for Haddy, every extra asset helps.

TBD looks so much stronger after this deal. The benefit of trading minor leaguers is that it does nothing to weaken your team today, so essentially TBD added deGrom without giving anything up (there’s a word for that, I think it starts with an “f,” but I can’t think of it; maybe I’ll peruse our Slack chat to see if anyone’s used this word?). That’s big. Aside from Madison Bumgarner, TBD’s pitching was kind of a mess, so this really helps to stabilize that. It seems possible that we look back at this trade in September and credit it for thrusting TBD into a postseason spot.

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†I’m actually going to disagree with Bailey here some. I think Haddy got a good price for deGrom here. I know he references his own trade with Cueto, and he’s not wrong in what he got. But, I am not sure that trade exists a second time in this market. I think Bailey got more value for Cueto than he should have, and this deal looks more in line with where I had players valued in my head.

TBD needed this piece and did pay a significant price to get it done. Brinson is a known quality prospect. Garrett less so, but I’m higher on him than Bailey was above. Garrett in 7 AA starts this year is killing it. I’d be shocked to see Garrett not climb those arbitrary lists that Bailey references.

Bailey references that there’s a piece missing. I’m not really sure. Brinson was one of the top minor league qualified prospects in our league, Garrett is a solid prospect worth paying attention to and we’ve both written about Gibson before in how he can be useful.

I actually like this trade for both teams. If you’re TBD you needed the ace capable pitcher. If you’re Haddy you need these assets. I think its a win win for both sides.

2016 Auction Review – Who’s your Haddy?

Who’s your Haddy?

wyh

Looking up and down, yep! Yet another¬†stars and scrubs strategy with some interesting middle men tossed in. I love Mike Trout‘s value, the best player in baseball got paid the 3rd most auction budget by¬†some margin. A few things went really right here, and a few look really concerning. Let’s dive in!

Hitters – Great

The starting line up is really fricking good. I don’t know that there¬†is truly¬†a hole in the 1-10 spots. Salvador Perez plays everyday and scores points, Carlos Santana and Adrian¬†Gonzalez for under $60 combined is a steal. Jason Kipnis and Todd Frazier are guys who can finish top 5 at their positions and Haddy didn’t pay to see it. Ben Zobrist was a steal at $14. Trout is Trout. There’s no clear number two utility hitter here, which hurts the overall rating a smidgen. Also I do¬†not¬†love the dollar value that Mookie Betts sold for. Jung-ho Kang is curious. Run 1000 simulations and how many times does Kang for $33 outscore Asdrubal Cabrera for $3? Yikes.

Pitchers – Alright

Jacob deGrom seems poised to have a stellar season. There’s no question about his star value. Michael Wacha is good, but there seems to be looming questions about his pitch arsenal. Is Justin Verlander a legit 3? The back end of this rotation has potential, but they’ll be asked to perform probably before Haddy would like to rely on them. The relievers are nothing to sniff at, maybe they’re okay, maybe they’re not. They will get holds you can assume. The back end of starters is iffy. I’m not high on Trevor Bauer or Ervin Santana, is there a fifth starter in the Matt Wisler, Drew Hutchinson, Jeff Locke, Robert Erlin, Shane Greene group? Eeeshh

Depth – Not quite

Now, Haddy’s starters have positional flexibility which saves this team from being in the uh-oh category. The pitchers are¬†not likely¬†holding anything together here. Haddy should be able to swing some positions here and there to keep a good line up going daily, but there is a player¬†or two missing here.

Why 2016 would be bad…¬†

Mike Trout and/or Jacob deGrom gets hurt. The hill just gets so much higher after that. Kang being bad isn’t enough to sink it, but his weight will be pulling on the team down on the daily. Maybe Mookie Betts ends up just being good instead of great, Todd Frazier doesn’t adjust to the American League, Kipnis, Santana, and A-Gone begin their decline. Maybe the season goes south if Jacob deGrom buzzes his hair. Who knows.

Why 2016 would be¬†good…¬†

This team starts shining bright when one of those starting pitchers that Haddy bought for under ten dollars turns into a star. Or just if Jung-Ho Kang is a earning his salary. Honestly Haddy’s hitters plus deGrom will carry him to victories this year. It is not hard to see how this roster goes from pretty close to good to great. Perhaps Pedro Alvarez ends up being a legit DH in the American League? Hell Mike Trout‘s probably good enough to carry.