Trade: The Foundation | Hustle Loyalty Respect

The Foundation sends: SP Felix Hernandez ($68), LF Alex Gordon ($17)
Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: LF Melky Cabrera ($4), LF/CF/RF Harrison Bader (minors), LF Alex Jackson (minors)

Andrew’s thoughts: All the playoff teams are snapping up pitching.

This one’s interesting. For The Foundation, going from Alex Gordon to Melky Cabrera is a very solid upgrade, both in performance and salary. Gordon has traditionally been very productive, but at $19 next year and given how he’s looked this year, he’s an easy cut. Melky at $6 in 2017 is a candidate for greed because of how good he’s been. At just 31-years-old, Melky has a few solid years left and the low starting nature of his salary should keep him on Jordan’s team for 2-3 years.

The balance of the trade is a $68 King Felix, who looks like he might be broken, for two quality outfield prospects that have promise but aren’t atop many lists — though Jackson spent two years in the top-50 or so.

In Bader, The Foundation gets a 22-year-old Cardinal prospect — Cardinals prospects always seem to be worth something — who has hit at four minor league levels in two seasons. He’s not a big time prospect, but he looks like he could be another Stephen Piscotty and if he is, that’s worth quite a bit. Jackson, meanwhile, is risky. He’s almost 21-years-old and still at A-ball, but he’s got a .348 wOBA there this year and may be getting back on the right track. After the 2014 season, he was Baseball America’s 20th ranked prospect, so there’s pedigree here. But Mariners prospects are like the antithesis of Cardinals prospects, so who knows?

Meanwhile, at $70 going into next year, Felix is on track to end up cut and back at auction. He’s been right around a league average performer — he’s averaging 24.73 points per start — but is clearly not what he used to be. His strikeouts are down, his walks are up, and his FIP and xFIP are decisively mediocre. The downward trend that started last year has continued into 2016. He has 10 seasons of 190+ innings in his rearview mirror and it may be finally catching up to him.

So what I’m saying is, I don’t think Felix was worth a big haul. If he was prime Felix, sure. But this is 30-year-old rental Felix, with maybe a hope that he turns it around the rest of the way and gets kept. Bader and Jackson, plus turning Gordon into Melky, seems about right. I maybe would have preferred a pick upgrade or some other asset to go to The Foundation just as a “pitcher tax,” but that’s nitpicking.

For HLR, this is a fine upgrade heading into the postseason. His rotation is fronted by Adam Wainwright and Junior Guerra, then there’s a big dropoff to Mike Leake, Kevin Gausman, and Yordano Ventura. This is a volatile pitching staff and Felix is, at this stage of his career, a volatile pitcher. But the price was very reasonable and there’s considerable upside in Felix’s arm for the rest of the season. HLR is in a great spot, but his is a team that I don’t think can afford to just stand pat while his competitors get better, as the three other teams that currently hold playoff spots have all outscored his squad on the season.

Jordan’s thoughts: Trading Felix feels like breaking up with that girlfriend that you still care for, but you’re going in different directions. You leave the door open, perhaps our paths will cross again, and you say good bye.

For HLR getting Felix provides some ample depth at a position they could use. Gordon for Melky for this season is not a huge swing in either way, plus they have other hitters to cover. They’ve out grinded the rest of the league anyway.

For me, Bader is an interesting prospect, perhaps he’s good, perhaps he’s not. He is in a crowded system for a team that does not have an extra spot for hitters. I don’t expect him to help me soon. Swapping for Melky just made sense to me. Finally, acquiring Alex Jackson solved the issue of getting offered Alex Jackson on a weekly bases since the day he was drafted. Win-win-win.

2016 Auction Review – Hustle Loyalty Respect

Hustle Loyalty Respect

hlr

Our West-coast heartthrob and sleeping beauty duo built a team a generation apart. You have the younger with Matt Harvey and the elder with Adam Wainwright. Carlos Correa & Maikel Franco are up and coming and there is Melky Cabrera & Hunter Pence, good yet declining. Seems like a good balance of young and old. Also a good balance of hitters and pitchers.

Hitting – Alright

I was never likely going to like the Carlos Correa winner. He’s awesome. He’s a stud. But a lot of that value is relative to the position he plays. That counts, stretching last season to a full MLB season, Correa probably finds himself as a top 30, maybe top 20 hitter. If Correa is the best short stop, finds himself a standard deviation or two above the rest of the short stops, that $81 price tag is worth it. But to be a value at that price, he really needs to sneak into the top 15 or better of hitters. Blake Swihart & Yadier Molina are a great catcher platoon. Jose Abreu is great. Melky, Lorenzo Cain and Pence in the OF is pretty good. This team’s 3B situation is solid. In my opinion HLR doesn’t have “set and forget” utility hitters and that’s where his hitters goes from good to alright. Cycling just one of those spots is ideal.

Pitching – Good

Matt Harvey is really good. Adam Wainwright is awesome according to my wife. Garrett Richards and Yordano Ventura look like aces on their MLB teams which is a plus in head-to-head. The top half of the rotation is really good. The bottom half is a few wishes and a prayer or two. Kevin Gausman is an enigma of sorts. What is Baltimore doing with him? If he gets to 160 innings as a SP, a solid value find. If he is in the bullpen or worse, just not pitching…yikes. The others could be good or great, or useless. Kris Medlin is drawing excitement in Kansas City, but I need to see 100 innings first. The bullpen here is okay, HLR seemed to find some decent relievers at a good price.

Depth – Not Quite

The depth is not scary bad, in some areas it is quite good. I mentioned the catching platoon. Moustakas as your backup at 3B/UT is good. Lots to hope for from Marcell Ozuna and Scott Van Slyke who may not start for their MLB teams. The pitching depth as mentioned already is unreliable. The good thing about the depth is that it didn’t cost them too much. Shouldn’t be heart wrenching to replace a few of these back of the auction grabs if necessary.

Why 2016 would be bad… 

Hustle Loyalty and Respect could probably lose one or two of their big four starting pitchers and still be good. This team will ride and die with Carlos Correa. They paid for that spread from the short stop position. If Correa is as good as last year, probably need not worry. But, if he’s out for two weeks, how do you hold the fort down? Who’s stepping up? I don’t see it.

Why 2016 would be good… 

Some fantasy pundits are calling Carlos Correa a top 5 hitter. If so he provides these guys with a devastatingly large 30-40 point advantage weekly over any other short stop. If Harvey, Wainwright and just one of Richards/Ventura all reach 1,000 fantasy points, you have a shot in each of the twenty week regular season. With the rest of the roster, either they stay healthy and/or HLR nails some transactions and this team would be on fire.