Trade: Evil Otters | TBD

TBD sends: C Brian McCann
Evil Otters sends: SP Joey Wentz (minors)

Andrew’s Thoughts:¬†This makes sense for both teams.

Brian McCann is a solid catcher that I think is worth $15 for the reliability alone. Catcher is a fickle position. I tend to value guys that you can simply trust to not suck. McCann is one of those guys. At this price though, I assume TBD saw him as an insignificant piece in the grand scheme of things and a way to shave $15 off their budget. Seems fine to me. This Joey Wentz guy is a 20-year-old, back-end of top-100 lists pitcher with 131 innings at Single-A. He’s whatever. If you’re getting him for a guy you didn’t want to keep, I think that’s fine. Maybe he shoots up lists a tad between now and June, and TBD flips him for profit.

For the Evil Otters, I also like this move. As you can tell, I don’t think Wentz is particularly special. He’s exactly the type of prospect I’d punt to improve my team now. McCann gives the Otters a reliable starting backstop, and this team should have a ton of budget to spend, so yeah, I’d rather have the boring old vet that’ll help now. Tacking on the $15 is nothing. Also, the Otters farm system is in complete disarray. All first and second round picks for the next three years are gone and Wentz was essentially the only prospect in this system that you’ll see on a list as we head into the new season. Ryan Howard is in the minors for this team. It’s dark. And so from that lens, Wentz or not, this wasn’t a strong system. And remember, this roster lucked into a first place record last year. So from that perspective, I think it makes sense to spend whatever little prospect currency you’ve got, try to gear up for the start of the season, and if things putter out early, well, then maybe you consider trying to rebuild the farm a bit.

Hustle’s toxic $.02: There isn’t to much to say that Bailey already didn’t. I think $15 is probably pushing it in terms of value out of Mccann. That being said $17 for a combined C platoon with Barnes seems reasonable.¬† Also, there’s a lot of money available for Evil Otters to be spending, so if McCann is slightly overpaid, it’s probably not¬† a big deal.

Hustle Media likes Joey Wentz was a prospect, but an A ball pitcher has a long way to go in terms of risky and development.¬† It’s hard to hate trading one away. TBD currently doesn’t have a catcher on their roster outside of Nick Hundley, so unless they make another trade, they’re likely to be looking at a few guys in the auction.

Seems like a fine trade for both teams.

Trade: Rocky Mountain Oysters | Capital City Ironmen

Rocky Mountain Oysters sends: CF Clint Frazier (minors), 1B/2B/SS Ryan Flaherty (FA)
Capital City Ironmen send: 2B/3B Martin Prado ($4), SP/RP John Gant (minors)

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†I love this deal for Dusty. Martin Prado has been good. He fills two positions that makes Prado’s floor look a bit higher. Prado is decent enough to fill in the utility role as well. John Gant is an interesting prospect, he’s close to the majors, he’s a pitcher, could he make the jump? Sure! Or maybe not, whatever.

Clint Frazier is tough to lose, he was a prospect on my target list on the draft, and post draft, but he¬†does¬†not appear to a transcendent talent. He’s 21, he’s primed, but he could still be another away. Frazier could turn into a replacement level fantasy outfielder, or be a decent one, who knows. I know that’s such a cop out with prospects, but that is the point of their value in fantasy is it not?

Prado could go on for 3-4 years being useful to various teams. Frazier could go on to be anywhere from nothing to extremely useful for a whole career. How do you weight that value? This trade marks the first one that I can recall that a betterish prospect gets traded for something for today. Sure Gant’s value is there somewhere, but that’s like trading lottery one cost slightly more, has better odds, but either one ultimately could be worth more. Is Bailey selling already?

Andrew’s thoughts: When I acquired Chris Coghlan a while back, it was in part to give myself the flexibility to do something like this eventually. At the time I thought my pitchers would be healthy and team competitive, so I didn’t anticipate trading a vet for a prospect, but here we are.

For the Oysters,¬†Prado should be a good, inexpensive piece. Prado’s the definitive boring but productive player and starting at $6 in 2017, he’s got a couple years of good value left in him. Dusty can slot him into two positions, freeing up the versatile Josh Harrison to slide around elsewhere. What this move really does is boost his second utility spot, since he no longer has to play match-ups and lineup cards with guys like Sean Rodriguez, Ben Paulsen, and Ryan Howard.

He’s been absolutely lights out lately, including a streak of five straight games with multiple hits. But I also expect some regression from him, as he’s currently sporting a .440 BABIP that’s led to a .398 average and a .433 on-base percentage. He should still be good the rest of the way, but this was a good opportunity to sell at his peak.

For me, I feel like getting a¬†top-25 prospect in all of baseball is a big win in a year where I’m struggling to score points. In February, Baseball Prospectus pegged Frazier as the 23rd best dynasty league prospect, slotted between Rafael Devers and Austin Meadows. Frazier was the 39th guy off the board in our minor league draft and I remember thinking at the time that it was too low. Some guys that went ahead of him that I don’t think should have: Tim Anderson, Willson Contreras, Brady Aiken, and Anthony Alford.

With Prado gone, I can plug in either Coghlan, Chase Utley, or¬†Howie Kendrick at 2B and shouldn’t see too precipitous a drop.

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses

Rocky Mtn Oysters send: SP Hisashi Iwakuma ($19)
The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses send: OF Khris Davis ($9) and $4 in 2017 Auction Dollars

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†At what point is this just a blog that writes about shit that Dusty does? Is this a bad trade? No. Is this a good trade? Meh. I’m going to now lay my snark hat down and attempt to pretend this happened in some quasi normal land where things are not perpetually spun around in some circus-style-bonanza-frenzy-fuckfest.

Iwakuma goes away and with it the baggage of his health away with it. He’s quite good when he’s healthy and normal, and quite useless otherwise. Last year he started half the season, had a few awful starts and then he pitched a perfect game and went on to be mostly decent. I believe what you can expect out of Iwakuma is a tier two starter when he is healthy. However, you only want to have to depend on about fifteen of those starts, because he is likely not healthy.

The cost for this player was pretty nominal. Khris Davis is the light tossing left fielder who can hit he ball a long ways. He has flashes of great ability and droughts of despair. I like both players enough, I think Davis has the higher floor, Iwakuma the higher ceiling and for all of that the trade makes some sense.

Davis upgrades RMO well enough, he pushes Buxton’s at bats to less important and removes at bats from Ryan Howard and Danny Espinosa. Those are good things. The loss of Iwakuma hurts some, but Dusty still has pitching to spend, kind of. The simulator showed little movement.

Iwakuma replaced replacement level starts for the Diabeetuses. This is a great thing. Losing Davis did hurt though, but not as much as Iwakuma improved. Got to do it I suppose. This gave the Diabeetuses a nice jump back to respectability in the simulator.

So it is a win-win!

Andrew‚Äôs thoughts: I’ll take the Iwakuma side, but this isn’t as erroneous as the Oysters’ Shields-for-Werth misstep.

I do like Khris Davis a bit and if future salary is important to you, starting at $11 next year seems solid. Yeah, the floor with Davis can be low sometimes. And I suppose playing in Oakland might steal a few homers, but that’s probably nitpicking.

My main gripe, I suppose, is Dusty again swapping a viable starting pitcher for simple hitting depth. You should be able to acquire bench bats and utility options cheaper than this. To repeat myself from the last trade review: just because you’ve got too much of something doesn’t mean you should trip all over yourself to get rid of it.

Grand scheme of things: fair-ish trade. I simply prefer the Kuma side because I like pitchers and patience.

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | Team Canada

Rocky Mtn Oysters send: SP James Shields ($28)
Preseason Double Stuffs send: OF Jayson Werth ($6)

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†It appears Dusty woke up this morning and decided to sell James Shields. And when Dusty decides to sell a player, you can better your bottom dollar that he will. As quickly as possible.

If you can’t tell from my tone, I strongly dislike this move for the Rocky Mtn Oysters, who hastily sent a quality pitcher packing in order to get a little bit¬†better on offense. And Jayson Werth is one of my favorite baseball players. I like him a ton. He’s most usually underrated. But this¬†reeks of a rush job.

I wrote just this morning that the Oysters needed to flip pitching for hitting,¬†so good job on that. If a healthy Werth gets back to his pre-2015 self (and gets the opportunity to do so in a crowded Nationals outfield), he’s a valuable piece. And the Oysters were flush with pitching before this, so he could afford to lose one.

Of course, just because you have a surplus somewhere doesn’t mean you should sell yourself short. Said it earlier: I can’t imagine no other team would, at any point between now and when games start (or even a week or two into the season once more teams are actively perusing the market), have been interested in Shields. Lots of teams here want/need pitching. But what I imagine happened is, Dusty shipped out a bunch of blind offers of varying valuations and someone bit. Repeat that enough times and it will come back to bite you.

On a macro level, the Oysters are likely a tad better because he bumps either Byron Buxton or Ryan Howard out of starting position¬†and Shields wasn’t a key cog. Team Canada is improved because Werth was a bench player and Shields projects to be their third or fourth best pitcher. The trade is functionally fine. The problem is with, again, the rush job nature of the transaction and the way in which it appears simply getting a trade done was prioritized over getting the best possible trade done.

Jordan’s thoughts: – I mean when I put both changes into the line up simulator, both teams improved. Its clear why one¬†side¬†did. I guess it makes sense for Dusty then? Congrats? He gets some depth he needs, but he probably could have picked a better and more dependable player. He traded away an asset he doesn’t hopefully need, but he likely will. Whatever. Team Canada dumps a piece they could use, but will get over losing for a pitcher who slides into their #3 role with grace and ease.

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.

The Best of What’s Left

We have all agreed that Fantrax projections are not very good. ¬†That being said, it’s probably pretty important to follow along with the FanGraphs Auction Calculator considering we are basing future prices off of it. ¬†So why not compare the two sites? ¬†Let’s see just how bad Fantrax projections really are!

Both sites project undrafted starting pitchers to have the most fantasy points, but only Tom Koehler and Jered Weaver are on both top five lists.

Koehler tops the Fantrax projections while he is second on FanGraphs – a difference of 66 projected fantasy points.

Ignoring the most recent Weaver injury, he ranks fourth on both lists, with a similar split in projected fantasy points at 64.

The three free agent starters that Fantrax projects to have a good year are Colby Lewis, Danny Duffy and Matt Shoemaker.  Lewis has the largest projected point differential between the sites at 341.  Shoemaker is just under 300 points at 295 while Duffy is just over 150 at 152 points.

Joe Kelly is projected by FanGraphs to be the top undrafted starting pitcher Р356 points better than Fantrax projects.  Yovani Gallardo slides in at third and both sides are within 30 points of Gallardo projection.  That differential slides Gallardo down to 9th on Fantrax.  Matt Garza is the fifth best free agent starter projected by FanGraphs and is actually slotted two spots ahead of Gallardo on Fantrax.

James McCann tops both sites as the top free agent catcher.  Clearly he is the the top target should you not feel comfortable with your depth chart or your team suffers an injury.  Fantrax also like Angels catcher Carlos Perez while FanGraphs prefers veterans A.J. Pierzynski and Alex Avila.

The recent announcement of Adam LaRoche‘s retirement will leave a hole in the middle of the White Sox lineup. ¬†Until we find out how the Sox plan on filling that hole, teams looking for a potential future 1B can turn to Ryan Howard, as both sites agree he is the one of the top three best options. ¬†Fantrax likes¬†Justin Morneau, despite not being on a MLB roster, while FanGraphs suggests Logan Morrison. ¬†Fantrax will then point you towards James Loney while FanGraphs will say give Darin Ruf a go.

It’s going to be tough to find replacements at first base moving forward, that’s for sure. ¬†Better hope your 1B minor leaguer makes the big league roster ASAP!

David Freese is the only player at the other CI position that both sites agree on.  Fantrax likes Cody Asche and Tyler Saladino while FanGraphs prefers Aaron Hill and Derek Dietrich.

Much like 1B there is so little left at 3B and I hope you drafted some depth at the position or have a minor leaguer that is near MLB-ready.

Both Johnny Giavotella and Jace Peterson make the top three 2B on both sites.  Jace Pederson jumps in between them on Fantrax while veteran Aaron Hill is the third best remaining option according to FanGraphs.

There is a general consensus at the SS position

SS Fantrax Pts FanGraphs Pts DIFF
Jose Iglesias 504.4 490.5 -13.9
Adeiny Hechavarria 494.6 440.8 -53.8
Jimmy Rollins 456.9 433.2 -23.7

Both sites agree that Austin Jackson is the top CF available but Fantrax prefers Angel Pagan after him while FanGraphs likes Leonys Martin next.  They return in agreement on Anthony Gose being the third best CF available.

Austin Jackson is RF eligible as well and is the top target there. Fantrax likes Alex Rios while Brandon Guyer is the next best thing on FanGraphs, despite a crowded OF in Tampa Bay.

I was very excited to see Adam Duvall get traded by the Giants last year as I have been tracking him for a while in the Minors and he was stuck there unless dealt. ¬†Now with the Reds, they have no reason not to play him¬†at 3B/LF a couple times a week. ¬†Dude can mash and FanGraphs thinks he can put up nearly 500 points this year! ¬†He doesn’t currently have 3B eligibility though, so he is strictly a LF/UTIL at this point.

Fantrax believes Cody Asche is 200 points better than FanGraphs and he can play LF as well as 3B. ¬†He won’t beat out Maikel Franco to be the Phillies starting 3B, but Peter Bourjos is little competition in LF.