Trade: In Line 4 the Win | TBD

In Line 4 the Win sends: C/1B Alex Avila ($5)
TBD sends: CF Denard Span ($8)

Andrew’s thoughts: Oh man, am I pumped to see a Denard Span trade!

I like this small deal for both teams. Good job, fellas.

In two days, TBD has cheaply solved their catcher position for 2018 by adding Robinson Chirinos and brand new Arizona Diamondback Alex Avila. I highly doubt TBD was keeping Span for $8 just given their roster construct and cap situation, so in some ways this is a free #2 catcher for them. They’ve got what should be a sufficient platoon behind the plate now.

Meanwhile, In Line 4 the Win obtains former Ironmen legend Denard Span, who is basically generic Adam Jones but much cheaper. No, seriously, look. They aren’t all that different. I mean, as always with this metric, obviously Jones is  better because he scores more points in total, plays more often, has more pop, better home park, etc. You can set him and forget him in your lineup. But if you can pay Span $30 less than Jones, you can probably chip another $10 (or less) away to find another Span-like guy to platoon in center, and still come out with  $20 to spend. In fact, IL4W already has that guy in a $6 Cameron Maybin. I legitimately ran Maybin and Span’s numbers last year against Jones for some reason, and they’re comparable. I’m not going out of my way to pick on Jones here, it just so happens I’ve already done the math. I do submit that a Span/Maybin platoon for $14 total will give you equivalent production to a $39 or whatever he is Jones, with $25 to spare.

IL4W came into the offseason with a very frustrating OF of potential and salary, but not much production. Randal Grichuk‘s move to Toronto helps a great deal, but he’s still $16. Joc Pederson is a $24 platoon hitter. Jason Heyward at $17 may not even be replacement level. Kyle Schwarber has almost no room for surplus value with a $61 salary, and all hope of catcher eligibility is gone. So I like adding Span, who should unlock LF eligibility in Tampa, to the mix. He’s old and boring, but safe, and safe is one thing IL4W doesn’t have in their outfield.

Added bonus for IL4W: Denard Span is a player that knows what it’s like to go from the bottom to a championship caliber team here in Dynasty Grinders. He’s got experience. He’s got leadership. He will no doubt improve IL4W’s clubhouse morale which, let’s face it, must be pretty bad following a 1-19 catastrophe.

Also, I was literally just yesterday contemplating asking TBD what they’d want to reunite with Span. Just because. I’d probably rather dump him back to auction and try my hand at winning him for $3-4, but the thought did cross my mind. Maybe I’m just bored. I’m probably just bored.

I do wonder what IL4W is going to do at catcher now. Are they really keeping Jonathan Lucroy for $30 after the season he had? I like Chris Iannetta at Coors for $5. Should be interesting, but it does seem like Avila could’ve been useful to them as a starting catcher in a good home park with a low salary.

Hustle’s toxic $0.02: I haven’t read what Bailey has said, but I’m sure Avila is better than posey too. .365 woba from Avila last year and now he’s moving to Chase Field (standard Hustle humidor reminder). TBD has hustled their way to a very productive cheap catching core. As for Span? He’s useful, but I’m not sure he’s an attractive use of budget for a rebuilding team who likely won’t be competing in 2018. I’d rather have Avila here considerably because of catcher scarcity. I think you probably need to shoot higher upside for outfielders unless Span is just depth piece, which in this case it isn’t. TBD has really been working magic this offseason.

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.

2016 Auction Review – Team Hydra

Team Hydra

hydra

Hail Hydra! Buster Posey could end up being the steal of the entire draft. A player who’s easy guess for the best player at their position, top 30 hitter and should get extra playing time compared to his peers, all for under $50. Awesome. But why the backup catcher? Silly. Hitting on this team is top notch, full of value. Pitching was left on the cutting room floor apparently, and what value that was gained, was overspent on some reaches.

Hitting – Very Good

Posey, Prince Fielder, Nolan Arenado, AJ Pollock and Nelson Cruz are a great core of hitters. That is not something many should be able to argue against. All of them except for Posey, because of his limited playing time, are candidates for 1,000 point seasons, and possible top ten hitters. It could happen that they all do. After that it becomes much more dicey. The extra money spent on Jonathan Lucroy to be a utility man hurts. DJ LeMahieu is alright, Domingo Santana seems like a reach. Marcus Semien was another guy I thought was special last year, less special this year. This line is going to be hard to deal with as an opponent as those homers fly over the fence.

Pitching – Not Quite

David Price! Yes you have your ace. The only bad things you can say about him is that he has been pitching forever, he just got paid, and now he’s in Boston. Lots of variables. Either way good buy. Your number 2 is. Your number 3 is. Your number 4 is Julio Terhran, Wei-Yin Chen, Rick Porcello, Jon Niese. Your number 5 is one of those guys. Your number 6 is Rich Hill, Kyle Gibson or JA Happ. Jason Hammel and Chris Tillman are sneaky interesting.  Bullpen here is wet, sticky and hot garbage. All things aside. Hail Hydra bought high? low? on a slew of starting pitchers. I don’t particularly like any of them for the role they’re being asked to do.. This team is a solid #2 starter away from being a different story.

Depth – Very Good

I like the bench picks. Obviously Lucroy is unecessary but great insurance. Steve Pearce, Zack Cozart, Jose Peraza all seem poised to be good fillers on the infield. It should be easy enough to find a solid fourth outfielder, preferably moving Santana to that spot with an upgrade at left field. I love the pitching depth here. It goes on for days and they are all guys I covet like Scrooge McDuck covets gold coins.

Why 2016 would be bad… 

If David Price goes down, things get hard really fast. If Prince Fielder cannot sleep and quits hitting again that’s a huge potential problem. Posey and Lucroy are both catchers with injury history, that is unfavorable. Was Nelson Cruz in Seattle last year something we see more of, or has the boom stick run dry? It really does not take a lot to punch holes in this roster full of good players only.

Why 2016 would be good… 

The hitters here will just crush a lot and the pitchers are all happily average. Not spinning 30 point starts but rarely going below 20. The narrative is clear to see, the staff is set for that kind of turnout. The hitters are locked and loaded. The team has pieces to move and could really bolster this roster without hurting this year, perhaps they do it.