Trade: Long Ball to LF | Marshall Law

Marshall Law trades away
SP Dinelson Lamet ($5; cost controlled)
RF Misael Urbina (prospect)
1B Pavin Smith (prospect)

Long Ball to LF trades away
SP Aaron Nola ($38)

BAILEY’S THOUGHTS

On the surface this trade looks lopsided. Aaron Nola is just 26-years-old, Steamer projects him as a top-15 overall pitcher in 2020, and he has consecutive 1,000+ point seasons on his resume. He checks every box as a top Dynasty Grinders asset (more on this in a moment). On the other side, there are two blah prospects and a spring training hype guy coming off Tommy John surgery who still carries a fair amount of reliever risk. This looks to be in favor of Marshall Law.

I do think it’s key to note the $33 savings here. This trade got Long Ball under $500 and that savings likely buys him at least another year of Kenta Maeda ($30), Michael Brantley ($29), or one of his higher priced pieces like Josh Donaldson ($77) or Zack Greinke ($67) that he’s been shopping. Those guys don’t show up in the Trade Accepted email, but they were no doubt a factor. My guess is, since Long Ball had listed all those guys on his trade block, there was zero interest across the board (because players that have salaries have cooties), so he ultimately sold whichever guy actually brought something back and that happened to be Nola. I’d argue the only “something” in this deal is Lamet, as the two prospects seem fairly disinteresting to me. Urbina is fine and has some long-term upside, Smith seems boring as a 1B-only with only 50 grade power. Whatever. It continuously blows my mind that upper tier players are traded in this league for churn-able prospects. Long Ball couldn’t get Vidal Brujan? Jazz Chisholm? As a rule of thumb, if a sub-$40 1,000 point player is traded, the prospects involved should really be guys Jordan has heard of before. Also, I probably would’ve rather just cut Maeda or Greinke or Brantley and kept Nola and missed out on Lamet. But the sum of Lamet plus whichever one of those guys would’ve been cut is probably close enough to Nola’s 2020 production to at least make the logical leap here.

I guess I’m mainly confused as to why a package headlined by Lamet and filled out by two prospects outside the top-250 was really the high offer.

Given Nola’s age, cost, and resume, he should’ve been coveted by literally every team, even the perpetual tankers. He was on the block publicly, so it’s not like his availability wasn’t known. I personally did not inquire on Nola, mainly because I’m sitting at $500 in keepers and The Bundle™ has ruined my mobility (weird how those rule changes that were met with such disgust ultimately did my team no favors), but I even sort of regret it now seeing this price. I could’ve probably afforded to punt a hitter to make room if push came to shove. If Long Ball waited until after auction, I would’ve probably thrown any prospects and picks he wanted at Nola and that terrifying $38 salary. Oh well.

How many other teams sat on the sidelines here? I guess people assumed the price would be too high and the mere thought of trading relevant prospects is unfathomable, but Urbina and Smith seem like fringe prospects at best right now. TBD and HLR will no doubt pick up far superior prospects for free throughout the season. Marshall will easily pick up better or comparable prospects to replace these guys himself. Even if Lamet meets his recent hype, Nola’s still likely to outscore him in 2020 and even teams like Senior Squids and We Talk Fantasy Sports and Who’s Your Haddy, who don’t intend to compete in the next half decade, should have been lining up here and could have probably beat this offer quite handily. You’re not getting a better asset than Nola at auction, so if that’s your game plan, good luck trying. If you were clinging to legitimate prospects out of fear of adding a whopping $38 in salary, well… whoops. And if you were out on Nola because you’re punting 2020, I guess I’m confused what the game plan is for 2021+ when you have no established good players in place when your prospects theoretically start getting promoted. The Bundle™ made Aaron Nola available for a low price and still no one with salary room took advantage? Hmm…

Overall, I like this deal for Marshall Law. If Lamet pans out, it probably buys Long Ball an extra player this year and next, maybe one more beyond that. For now I’ll gladly take the Nola side though.

Trade: Marshall Law | H-Town Trashcan Punch

Marshall Law trades away
SP Lance McCullers ($10)
2021 3rd Round Pick

H-Town Trashcan Punch trades away
SP Dylan Cease ($0; cost controlled)
C Danny Jansen ($1; cost controlled)
CF Alexander Canario (prospect; cost controlled)
CF Hedbert Perez (prospect; cost controlled)

BAILEY’S THOUGHTS

My immediate reaction to this trade is that it favored Marshall Law by a good margin, but it’s probably a lot closer than that.

A cost controlled, $0 Dylan Cease strikes me as the most valuable individual piece here. Lance McCullers strikes me as the best. In 453.2 actual major league innings, McCullers has posted a 10.1 K/9, 0.69 HR/9, and a 3.24 FIP. Those are fantastic numbers and he’s only 26, so there’s room for more. The obvious downside here is that he’s coming off Tommy John and has never thrown more than 128.1 IP in a season. There are big durability concerns (sore shoulder in 2016, two back injuries in 2017, a month on the DL with elbow pain and then eventually TJ in 2018) and question marks along the lines of: if your team gets to the playoffs, will he be around to pitch in them? Cease, meanwhile, was just okay last year in his first 73 big league innings. He walked too many guys and gave up too many homers, both red flags, but we’re still just talking about 73 innings. I feel like if every team submitted their best offers for McCullers and Cease, the offers for Cease would be better because of the cost control aspect. But at $10, McCullers is priced fine. If you’re placing a ton of value on a guy being $10 over $0 and cost controlled, I think you’re likely hung up on the wrong thing, especially when it comes to starting pitching. Quality starting pitchers under $15 or so, cost controlled or not, are super valuable assets.

For me, Jansen is the big wildcard here. A year ago he was something like a top-5 dynasty catching prospect. Now he’s a throw in? He did have a horrible offensive year, but catchers take time to acclimate and offense their defense takes priority over their offense at first. He’s still just 24, has 55 grades on his hit tool and power, and has no one really to steal time from him in Toronto. Marshall is clearly weak at catcher and took advantage of a buy-low opportunity.

The picks and prospects are whatever. I like Canario a lot and think if he was available in our minors draft, he likely goes toward the back of the first round or definitely by the middle of the second. He’s a ways off but there’s big upside. Hedbert Perez is a lotto ticket. The third round pick is borderline nothing, despite the fact people tripped over themselves to trade for them this year. Perez was just taken with the second pick of the fourth round, so I’d argue Perez/3rd rounder cancel each other out here in terms of value.

I guess to me, I’d rather have the Marshall Law side because it comes with more diversified dart throws. I’d probably rather have McCullers’ skills/major league resume than Cease’s, but the sum of the parts feels marginally greater on this one.

HUSTLE’S TOXIC $0.02

Sometimes I don’t read the review above before mine, but I’m glad I did this time because I’ll try my best not to harp on too many points already made. I would also rather have Cease than McCullers, mostly because Cease was one of the very top pitching prospects last year and now seems like the perfect buy low post hype guy to acquire him for cheap.  Cashing the Cease chip in, I’d want someone more reliable than Lance McCullers.  Gun to my head, I guess I’d take McCullers over Cease for 2020, but pretty decent chance I die on that.  It seems super close at least, and I think most would agree Cease’s long term upside is much more favorable at this point. At least with the Innings Limit weekly rule change, McCullers gains some more value because him not going super deep into games will be less harmful than it would have been on a weekly starts league.

I would rather have Canario than a 3rd round pick, I agree with Bailey’s assessment of where he would have went in this last draft.  If Canario continues his upward trajectory, he’s probably close to a top 1st half 1st round pick next year, but there’s certainly a very good chance he stalls and is worth less than a 3rd next year. Either way, I’d rather have the Cease/Canario side than McCullers/3rd round pick side.

I think Bailey was being too polite when he said Jansen was a top 5 catching prospect for a moment. I’m pretty sure he was #1 or 2 with Keibert Ruiz not too long ago. I’m not sure this is a star player, but certainly a nice add on for Marshall as is Hedbert Perez who possesses some tremendous, albeit remote, upside.  If these two pieces amount to nothing, it doesn’t seem to matter much, but I do believe at least one of these guys will  probably be worth more than a throw in a year from now.

I think the rational side of analyzing this trade will come down to who is better between Cease and McCullers and nothing else matters, and I not only lean Cease but the lotto tickets Marshall acquired here seem to put it over the top for me, even if they become nothing.  Either way, Marshall needed some minor league talent after the formal  trade request of Jazz Chisholm.