Andrew’s thoughts: This trade gives me lots of mixed feelings. I like it for both teams. Then I wait 30 seconds and feel like both teams sold low. Does that even make sense? This is a fascinating one.
If you buy into the theory that the auction is likely to be weak, as I think several owners do, then acquiring a player like Robinson Cano at just $38 fundamentally seems like a good strategy. He’s good, he’s reliable, he’s pretty cheap. Dusty was poised to start Josh Harrison, sans all the extra position eligibility that once made him valuable, at 2B, so this isn’t some marginal upgrade. This is a big deal. And to do it, all he had to do was give up a single cost controlled pitcher whose clock has already started. It feels cheap. But… it also feels kind of expensive. Again: how is this possible?
On the other hand, I’ve got Julio Urias, Blake Snell, and Sean Manaea. Like Tyler Glasnow, they’re $1 and cost controlled for many more seasons to come. And they’re pitchers. The first year of this league taught us that cost control players and pitchers, mutually exclusive of one another, are very valuable on the trade market. Together, they’re worth even more. I get asked about my three pitchers constantly. Granted, the three of them performed better than Glasnow in their first tastes of the majors. But they’re essentially the same guy as the Pirates’ young pitcher. I’m sure lots of teams would’ve loved to acquire Glasnow.
Getting Cano at a great price is a big get, but I wouldn’t have sent one of my three starters for him, and I’m in need of a 2B. Of course, circumstances matter. Dusty has better pitching than I do, so he can afford the blow. He’s still got Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, and John Lackey anchoring his staff. But Dusty’s team, like mine, was bad last year. My own reluctance to deal a cost controlled pitcher right now is that, if my team still sucks, I’ve punted one of my most valuable assets and haven’t improved my standing. To me, trading a Urias or a Snell, or a Glasnow in this case, makes a little more sense once the season begins and you get a feel for your team, unless your team is clearly awesome already. I admire Dusty’s boldness to strike and worry about the rest later though.
Before this trade, Team Canada was at $683. Anyone buying Cano had significant leverage, because TC has to shed salary somewhere. They simply can’t afford to keep everyone. TC also doesn’t have any obvious cuts, at least not of the big salary variety. Sending a valuable asset like Glasnow seems like a last resort, and maybe many offers were exchanged, but Cano went from listed on the trade block to dealt before I even had a chance to get in an offer (21 hours, actually), so I can only guess that Dusty started high. And again: kudos on being bold. But TC’s trade block said he wanted two prospects and a first round pick (it’s not often teams publicize what they want with that much specificity), so that he didn’t wait and see if other teams would approach that sticker price should show just how valuable Glasnow is on the trade market.
But it’s fine. Dusty’s got cap space, can burn some pitching, and just can’t go into the year with Harrison at 2B. And Glasnow may not even be good. For as valuable as he is on the trade market, it’s very conceivable that he’s at peak value right now and will only go downhill from here. So selling for a cheap productive Cano is a good cash out. And if his team sucks again mid-season, oh well, Cano should still be a valuable chip. For Team Canada, it’s a great swap because he still can just play Trea Turner at 2B and has now cut costs while adding a premium pitching prospect. It might have made more sense to wait and see if he could get the three pieces he wanted, but if a Glasnow-type pitcher is what you covet, there’s no big incentive to wait when you’ve got what you want on the table.
Honestly, I feign interest in a lot of trades so these posts are a little more interesting to read, but this one’s a legitimately intriguing trade with a lot of fun angles. In the end I like it for both teams, but if you check back in 30 seconds I might think otherwise.
Jordan’s thoughts: I would prefer to have Robinson Cano and it is not even very close. Glasnow has issues with walking batters. He wasn’t ready last year, and there’s little reason to believe he’ll be ready going forward. He could even end up in the bullpen.
I think there’s definitely scenarios where Glasnow makes this trade look incredibly foolish. I think that happens with any pitcher. They find the thing that makes them tick. Then they break. Pitchers who figure it out are incredibly valuable. Pitchers who have broken or haven’t figured it out, are only as valuable as their potential to figure out their way.
Robinson Cano somewhat quietly hit 39 homers last year. He’s still pretty great. He’s got some room to give before he’s not valuable at the price tag. I would prefer to have this trade if only it gives me one good year of Robby Cano. If I get two or three decent Cano seasons, Glasnow really has to be great for a long time to make up that difference to me.
I’m always willing to error on the side of the proven veteran, but here I don’t think its really close. I feel like Glasnow is less valuable now that he was a year ago, and Cano is probably more valuable.