Trade: Senior Squids | TBD

Senior Squids sends: SP Corey Kluber ($82)
TBD¬†sends:¬†C Gary Sanchez ($5), 3B Matt Chapman (minors), LF Peter O’Brien (FA)

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†This¬†just looks like theft to me.

Matt Chapman is clobbering minor league pitching, so there’s that. Scouts will tell you though: when it comes to minor leaguers, scouting the stat line is often a bad idea. But while Gary Sanchez and Peter O’Brien are “prospects” in real life, they are not cost controlled prospects here because they debuted in 2015. So to start 2017, which Squids is focusing on now, they’ll cost $5 (O’Brien) and $7 (Sanchez) — and that’s before potentially getting hit with any greed. Twelve bucks and two roster spots is an interesting investment. Those aren’t prohibitive salaries and ultimately five poorly distributed dollars won’t hurt you much. But the point of the cost control aspects for prospects is to mitigate against busts, which prospects do quite often. This is why I don’t like the idea of trading for a $32 Byron Buxton or for Sanchez/O’Brien here. There’s nothing padding you from these players busting. There’s no real incentive for risk.

To be clear: I don’t think trading for¬†salaried prospects is fundamentally wrong, but I don’t like making them the key cogs in a trade. If Gary Sanchez is an add-on to a larger trade, it makes sense because his salary isn’t so much an albatross that it’s not worth some¬†risk. But looking at this one, he’s like… the main piece.

Prospect lists are not gospel. I get that. But Chapman is¬†unranked on Baseball America’s list and Baseball Prospectus’ list (BP’s regular list as well as their dynasty fantasy list),¬†and ranks just 100th on MLB’s. Again, not gospel. You could argue that these rankings are altogether meaningless and I wouldn’t bother fighting you on it. But I’m just not sure how this is the only¬†prospect — and I’m defining the word here as cost controlled prospect in our league — in a trade for a pitcher of Kluber’s pedigree. I’m not sure how you send Kluber off without securing yourself¬†the type of prospect that is universally coveted.

With regards to Sanchez, he’s already being paid more than Wilson Ramos (#2 catcher), Yadier Molina (#5), Welington Castillo (#6), and Jason Castro (#12). It’s easy to say in hindsight just pick up those guys instead of acquiring Sanchez, but my point is just that all three of those catchers took years and years to be even serviceable options and still cost less than $5. Catchers develop slowly. The odds are good that Sanchez follows the same career path, except he’s already more expensive than them.

Sure, Sanchez has “upside.” But he just doesn’t strike me as a very good value. And that ignores all the catchers that are already producing and are priced more than Sanchez, but within just a few bucks. I still feel like in order for a catcher to be worth a lot, they have to be a Posey (or Lucroy!) type that really separates from the pack. Is Sanchez that guy? I don’t think he is.

Oh, and O’Brien sat in free agency for like six¬†weeks not that long ago. TBD added him on March 24, cut him on April 2, and added him back on May 16. Maybe that’s a bit like saying, six months after a draft, “well I took so-and-so in the secound round, I can’t give him up for this-or-that because you took him in the fourth.” Values change. But it warrants mentioning that for 43 days, O’Brien sat free to any team.

Trade: Team Hydra | In Line 4 the Win

Team Hydra sends: C Jonathan Lucroy ($25), SP Rich Hill ($11)
In Line 4 the Win sends: 1B Freddie Freeman ($41), C Josh Phegley (FA), 2017 3rd Round Pick

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†This deal on paper makes a lot of sense. Hydra was dying for a first baseman, the unluckiest team in the league could use an upgrade at catcher and pitchers are always useful. After sitting on the trade for a couple hours I think both teams improved themselves in this trade.

Freddie Freeman is nearing enigma status. In my head a keeper at $40 makes complete sense. FanGraphs projections has him hitting 1.41 PPPA going forward. That’s pretty legit. Based on how things have been going, IL4W has really improved the team in a lot of ways. Based on projections, it appears to be more of a lateral move. I still love it for them.

For HYDRA I love the deal as well. Lucroy was not really doing enough for them. Freeman, as I said, projects to be better. That’s a pretty significant upgrade. Selling depth for a significant upgrade with easy keep-ability makes total sense.

It’s actually kind of hard to break down a trade like this. I think both teams win. Based on projections Team Hydra significantly improved their team. Based on past results, IL4W has significantly improved their team. At the worst in either direction, they didn’t hurt their respective teams. It’s a win-win.

Andrew’s thoughts: I guess the simplest way of putting it would be this: I’d rather be the side getting Lucroy and Hill.

I’ve given Alex from Team Hydra a hard time before about Lucroy, but the truth is, he’s a really good player and $25 isn’t bad for the second best catcher behind Buster Posey. I’m just not personally into paying premiums for catchers and whenever he and I spoke about a move involving Lucroy, I felt like that’s what I’d be doing. I didn’t really believe Lucroy was keepable at $27 next year, but there’s a good chance I was wrong about that.

Of course, this deal makes fundamental sense for both sides. Team Hydra has Posey, so Lucroy is a tad redundant at catcher. They also have Prince Fielder disappointing at first, so there’s an apparent hole there. In Line 4 the Win, meanwhile, has Anthony Rizzo at 1B but had been plodding along with Jason Castro, so you see where the pieces fit.

Anyway, I’m a big proponent of playing players in the position where they are most valuable. Posey, obviously, is more valuable at catcher. But in this case, I think I’d rather just shift Posey to 1B and play Lucroy at catcher than bring in Freeman to man first until Lucroy logs two more games at first, at which point he’ll have unlocked that position.

As of today, Lucroy has a higher wOBA by .028 points and ZiPS sees Freeman playing out the year with a .023 edge there. I’m not really sure I see a huge performance gap between Lucroy and Freeman heads up. These two guys are close enough that it probably didn’t warrant dumping Hill, a 30+ point per game starter at this juncture, just because Team Hydra has an abundance of pitching. Getting Hill as essentially a throw in is just good work by IL4W. Too much pitching is a gift, not a curse.

The other pieces involved are negligible. Phegley is an okay lefty mashing catcher, but he’s hurt and because he really only hits lefties, he won’t be playable most days. And even when he’s facing a Southpaw, you won’t bench Posey for him. He’s being viewed as depth though (he’s Hydra’s only other catcher now), I’m sure, so he’s fine. And the third round pick is an alright bonus too, just not a piece that really factors in much.