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.

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | The Wilfred Brimley Diabeetuses

Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: SP Jake Arrieta ($86)
The Wilfred Brimley Fightin’ Diabeetuses¬†sends:¬†CF¬†Kevin Kiermaier ($7), 1B/2B/3B/SS Jedd Gyorko ($6)

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†I love, love, love this for WBFD. For two depth pieces, WBFD landed one of the game’s top starting pitchers. He’s expensive, but so what? If pitching is as volatile this year as it was last year, then it probably pays to splurge on reliable guys.

For Dusty, how’s this math: since December 30, he’s acquired Hunter Pence, Lance McCullers, Wei-Yin Chen, Yordano Ventura, and now Kiermaier¬†and Gyorko. You know the return for the last two. For the other four, he gave up basically nothing, dispersing middling draft picks, an auction buck or two, and some prospects and guys that he was probably cutting to teams that were over budget and just wanted to dump. That’s fine. Pence was the first guy added there and I’d argue he was the least superfluous, safest of the group. He’s done it longer. Let’s omit him. The salary of all the other guys combined? $85.

I don’t know if there was some grand plan, but what’s happened here, essentially, is Arrieta’s exact dollars (plus those prospects, the 3rd round pick or whatever it was, negligible stuff, etc) have been swapped out for McCullers, Chen, Ventura, white Denard Span, and Gyorko. Dusty’s eggs have been distributed across many baskets.

Honestly, I don’t know if it’s good or bad. There’s an opportunity cost associated with locking up four extra roster spots. But depth is good. Kiermaier is an instant starter for him at CF. Dusty had tons of cash to spend before this trade barrage and should still have money to spend. He’s probably cutting $50 Heyward and $30 Shields, plus all the injured guys he picked up throughout the season, plus others. A $13 Jesse Hahn? There’s a bunch of budget space here. He’s not hurting for room, which brings me to this…

As a standalone, this trade baffles me. Is Kiermaier that much different than Carlos Gomez, who will be at auction? Or Heyward, who will probably be? Is Gyorko that much different a Swiss army knife than Sean Rodriguez?

Like, if you’re way over budget, I get selling off Arrieta and maybe you have to sell low, because this time of year there aren’t a ton of teams swimming in budget space. I don’t really get selling him off for pieces that have reasonable comps already guaranteed to be at auction, plus whoever else ends up getting dropped. It’s nice to secure those players and not risk the auction, where you’ll have to outbid others, but the cost to do that here is really high. I mean, yeah, I’d rather trade a fringe keeper or comparable player for Kiermaier now than risk having to win either Gomez or Heyward at auction to fill my CF slot. But Arrieta doesn’t strike me as the chip you use simply to hedge.

I also don’t get doing it when you can afford to keep him. And I don’t get doing it at this time of year when, as I just said, there are only a few teams with budget space. The market for Arrieta is so, so small right now just by virtue of teams not having budget room, that I think it’s really tough to get an optimal return. Budget flexibility is great and all but talent and points-scoring trumps that. Arrieta could’ve been held until 30 seconds after auction, at which time anyone can go over the $500 budget and suddenly there are 15 suitors for his services.

I think, if I was Dusty and didn’t like Arrieta at $86 — which isn’t unreasonable, pitchers are combustible parts — I would have just cut him and tried winning him back cheaper at auction. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. I¬†just might rather gamble on that scenario than on Kiermaier and Gyorko, who I like but I think are better rostered as depth.

As I said, I love it for WBFD. Great, great swap. He turned guys who were firmly backups on his roster into a difference making, top-10 starting pitcher.

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†If Dusty doesn’t get the cure for diabetes in this deal, I think he went and fucked up. I think Dusty would have gotten more for just taking $1 for Arrieta.

On top of that fact: why, if you’re Dusty, would you sell this kind of a player to a team who doesn’t have to even bother cutting anyone off their roster to keep said player. I know there’s people who aren’t hyper concerned with their competition’s situation, and that’s fine. But, there should be other teams who take Arrieta for some auction budget cash or a 1st round draft pick. Most of them would have to cut a few mildly interesting players that might be useful.

WBFD last year during¬†the draft must have been in what only can be described as a diabetic coma and he left significant money on the table. Couple that with the tragedy of Jose Fernandez. He’s basically swimming in available budget even if he decides to keep the overpaid youngsters he’s invested into.

All that being said, I’m not all that upset over this trade, it happens. Dusty probably did shop around Arrieta to a dozen teams and got what he wanted and moved on. Classic Dusty.

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | Preseason Double Stuffs

Preseason Double Stuffs sends: SP Lance McCullers ($30), 2017 5th Round Pick
Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: CF Manuel Margot ($1; cost controlled), SP Luiz Gohara, 2017 3rd Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†I like Lance McCullers, but he’s been hurt a lot and it’s hard to place trust in him to compile innings, at least in 2017. The most innings he’s thrown in a season was 125.2 in 2015. He only hit 81 last year. Is 150 a reasonable, maybe even optimistic, over/under for him in 2017? In a H2H league, can you trust him to be healthy come the postseason? The Double Stuffs need to cut salary, so someone had to go. Given the price here of a decent prospect and spare parts, I assume McCullers was a cut¬†or at least on the bubble.

I mean, I like this for Dusty getting a talent like McCullers. I question a bit why he’s splurging his cap space on pitchers when that’s already his strength. Of course, McCullers probably has more re-sale value in season if he pitches well to start the year or even just after the auction, when people look at their teams and feel light on pitching.

But if the Double Stuffs were going to dump McCullers anyway, getting a cheap CF prospect with some upside is fine. The other pieces don’t amount to much, I don’t think.

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†I think McCullers ends up being a bullpen pitcher, which in our league has some value, but not at that price tag. I’d probably shy away from paying his auction salary this year to see if I’m wrong.

I like Gohara for some reason. Probably because he’s in the Mariners organization and I hear his name more often than necessary. Is Margot going to amount to anything? Easy to pay $1 to wait and see for another year. ¬†I like this deal for the Double Stuffs.

The deal could work out for RMO, the didn’t pay a ton for McCullers, besides the presumed auction price tag.

Trade: Preseason Double Stuffs | Rocky Mountain Oysters

Rocky Mtn Oysters send: OF Giancarlo Stanton ($72), SP Lance McCullers ($26) SP Luis Severino ($17)
Preseason Double Stuffs send: OF Bryce Harper ($109), SP James Shields ($28)

Jordan’s thoughts: I have now rewritten the introduction to my thoughts on this trade six or seven times and I copped out to talk about how flabbergasted I am. I enjoy trades, I do. They give me breath of life into writing which I always need practice doing. Clearly. This one is another fascinating one, but as we are all learning (or for some of us relearning) Dusty is shooting for the moon constantly.

Let’s look at this trade on the table. I see it as the second best hitter in MLB and a fringe #2 tier starting pitcher on his way down traded for a top ten MLB hitter capable of being a top three, a tier #3 starter and a fringe tier #4 starter. That’s where my pre-draft rankings had them. High/low whatever.

On paper I’d rather have Harper, Shields. Hands down. I’m still quite high on Shields and I would buy the over on any Shields over/under, and would bet the under on both Severino and McCullers. I think if both Harper and Stanton play a full season, Harper is the better OF four out of five times.¬†Both have a checkered enough past, that its easy to say whoever ends up playing more games, ends up being better.

Dusty was in a great position, created by himself, to make this trade. He trades two decent, younger, and inspiring pitchers who could be great this year for an aging former ace who you know at any time could fall off or return to greatness. Pitchers are fickle.

Frankly if you like the two pitcher package, you could argue that both could be or will be better than Shields and I’d take your commentary as valuable as mine. So lets review the trade as it currently fits their teams.

Dusty wins this trade on his side. He upgrades at right field with Bryce over Giancarlo. If Buxton flops, he slides Bryce into center and rolls the dice with Preston Tucker or Josh Harrison. He gets a better player and has some flexibility back. Less reliant on Buxton. As far as my projections go, Shields is rated higher than both pitchers traded away, so Dusty replaces their output with better output. A win on both levels. RMO is now rated at 581.6 points per week, good enough for 4th best. Bravo!

Sadly I believe our Preseason Double Stuffs lose this trade. You trade away Bryce for a right fielder that you did not really need. The best three hitters by projection are Stanton – RF, Shin-Soo Choo – RF, and Jorge Soler – RF. That inflexibility limits what you can really do. Or forces you into future moves. Gomez in center is fine. Shields to McCullers is a slight drop in projected value, more so in that McCullers is only projected for 26 starts this year. Severino is however 26 projected starts of improvement over Ian Kennedy and Jerad Eickhoff. Why not shop Bryce around?

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†Correct me if I’m wrong, but in the end, the Preseason Double Stuffs have traded Max Scherzer and Shields for Stanton, Severino, and McCullers. Is that correct? Because if so, that seems sub-optimal.

I know Ferns wasn’t thrilled with his team post-auction, but I feel like this may be an over-correction. I disagree with Jordan on Shields. I’d rather have Severino and McCullers, for no other reason than Shields burned me in Dy-Nasty last year and I’m not overly interested in more stock. I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that both of those guys are 30 PPG starting pitchers and, if so, the dynamic changes.

I think my big objection is that I had no idea Harper was available. Did you? Not that I have the pieces to go get him and probably wouldn’t have tried, but you’d think the market would be tested a little. Maybe it was and I just wasn’t aware. I don’t know.

I also think salaries are being insanely overrated in the early trade market. You can go over your budget in season, people. You have a year to get right for 2017. To me, if you’re selling one of the 3-5 best players overall (Harper), you need to hold out for bonus pieces. You need to pry a prospect or two, a pick, some budget cash next year, something else extra away. The season is still two weeks away. There’s no urgency to rush this stuff. You mean to tell me that if you don’t sell Bryce this week, you won’t ever have a chance to free yourself from¬†his $109 salary? I get that sometimes you just find the pieces you need and take it, but I just think I would’ve tested the market first.

And for Dusty, I just don’t even know. I’m a fan of big game hunting in trades too. What’s the point of expending energy trading for replacement level guys that you can manufacture through platoons or otherwise? I like turning Stanton into Harper and he doesn’t have a particularly big use for Severino and McCullers, particularly if the latter’s injury is a big deal. He’s clearly all-in for 2016, and that’s cool.

But I also see a team¬†with two gaping holes at the UT spot (depressingly, Ryan Howard and Yonder Alonso are there now) and a team where Byron Buxton went from the first or second guy off the bench to the starting CF. Maybe Buxton pops this year. He’d better, because if he plays like last year, that’s a black hole in your starting lineup. There’s no quality depth at 2B, 3B, or SS, or in the outfield. Actually, even 1B is lacking on the depth front. The offense just looked so, so much better before all the wheeling and dealing and while the pitching is improved, I didn’t think it was a glaring problem to begin with.

Of course, Dusty still has pitching to deal, and if there’s one thing Dusty will do, it’s deal. I said yesterday and I stand by it: a smart team looks at Dusty’s roster and recognizes that he needs to turn pitching into hitting, then uses that for leverage. And frankly, I’m not sure you’re getting an impact hitter for Mike Fiers or Hishashi Iwakuma (and I’m a big Kuma fan). Maybe you try to convert Kenta Maeda‘s strong spring into a haul and someone bites, I don’t know. At some point Dusty runs the risk of robbing Peter to pay Paul. I guess what I’m saying is that it’s clear there are more moves to come and so in two, three, four days, we’ll have to completely reevaluate how we perceive this roster anyway.

2016 Auction Review – Rocky Mountain Oysters

Rocky Mountain OYSTERS

ss+(2016-03-13+at+11.06.00)

The man stole Bryce Harper from me. May as well crown him as champion. Kidding aside, Harper, Giancarlo Stanton on the same team with George Springer and the tantalizing possibility of Byron Buxton. Is it to borrow from a close friend…fake or for real?

Hitting – Very Good

If Vegas was taking odds on likelihood of me ending up with Bryce Harper or Bailey ending up with Giancarlo, they would have been favorites. The odds that Dusty ends up with both of “our guys”, was the parlay of the century. Between the two RMO¬†paid about $91 a star. That is a fair price now and going forward. Springer and David Ortiz clogging up the utility spots is a good problem to have (or as it turns out: no problem at all). In a team primed for 2016, I would have liked to see Byron Buxton‘s money buy Adrian Gonzalez, but I could be wrong anyway. Neil Walker, Josh Harrison, Brandon Crawford and Brett Gardner are all good enough to build around. The trade has already happened, but Yonder Alonso is probably not good enough to stick with at first base all year long.

Pitching – Alright

I really had a hell of a time rating this pitching staff. First lets get out of the way, the bullpen is forgettable. This rotation has three Houston Astros pitchers, Lance McCullers, Colin McHugh and Mike Fiers. Is that exciting? No. Is that bad? No. Kenta Maeda, Hisashi Iwakuma, John Lackey are all good in my book, but they have their concerns. Seven dollars Dylan Bundy. C’mon. I should knock the rating down one peg just for that. I think this pitching staff will perform honestly. And it’ll be alright.

Depth – Alright

The depth exists, it is alright. I like the pitching depth, I like the outfield depth although you hope not to need it. There’s a lack of first basemen on this roster, but that is probably easily solved. No backup catcher. But, it’ll be easy enough to mill through these guys and get points where you need them when you need them

Why 2016 would be bad…¬†

Things go South quickly if Giancarlo fails to play 100 games again, and the pitching staff is just mush. The first base spot on this roster creates a weekly deficit that is hard to make up. David Ortiz plays out his final season like Derek Jeter, just half assing it. If shit goes downhill fast, Dusty’s roster is better prepared to reload for next year than to save this season.

Why 2016 would be¬†good…¬†

You can see it now Giancarlo and Bryce are clearly leading each other in the home run race where they both clear fifty bombs. Maeda is as good as advertised, Iwakuma is actually healthy and the Dodgers used the medical to save face when the bear wanted to stay in Seattle. Buxton silences doubters by being a top ten fantasy center fielder goes a long ways on this roster even though Dusty doesn’t technically have room for him.