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.

Trade: Hustle Loyalty Respect | The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses

Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: 3B Mike Moustakas ($11), RF Steven Souza Jr ($2), SP Jack Flaherty (minors)
The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses sends: CF/RF George Springer ($49)

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†I am kind of surprised to see this go. Springer seems like a pretty reasonable asset to carry over into next year. Even if you’re out for this season, I wouldn’t hesitate to spend $51 on him next year. Moustakas and Souza are alright. I guess you get to fill two positions next year at reasonable price tags.

Jack Flaherty is an interesting piece in the deal. He’s 20 years old and doing quite well in high-A. You have to wait on him a bit probably, but there’s enough Cardinals prospects who come up and deal, that you have to be a bit higher on Flaherty as a fantasy piece. If you’re not 100% sold on keeping Springer, I like the return. But, I don’t think it was a sexy haul.

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†I get the logic for the Diabeetuses here. This move sheds $36 (well, $34 after raises heading into 2017) and Mike Moustakas was a 5.63 point per game player in 2015 and was scoring at a 5.47 point rate this year before getting hurt. He’s shelved this year, but he’s solid. The gap between George Springer and Moustakas isn’t exactly a canyon and with Jackie Bradley Jr and Stephen Piscotty likely to have CF eligibility in 2017 it makes Springer a bit less essential. Plus, WBFD needs an answer at third base and Steven Souza Jr. is a serviceable outfielder.

But meh, I’d rather have Springer even if he gets greeded up some. To me, he’s a difference-making piece, while Moustakas and Souza, while valuable and useful to any roster, don’t strike me as guys whose production is super challenging to find.

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses

Rocky Mtn Oysters send: OF George Springer ($49), SP Anderson Espinoza, 2017 1st Round Pick
The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses send: SP Jake Arrieta ($84), 2017 5th Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†In my opinion, this is a big win for the Rocky Mtn Oysters.

For The Fighting Diabeetuses, the objective here was obviously to shed some starting pitcher salary — this is a team paying Jose Fernandez and Madison Bumgarner too — and so I get the logic. In George Springer, you get a young batter with a proven major league track record, room to get even better, and a palatable salary, all the while freeing up space.

The problem is that budget space right now is not really a thing. We can go over budget in season here, so WBFD effectively had a year to wiggle around and get set for 2017. To me, this is just too preemptive a move. I was somewhat in on Arrieta myself but still didn’t understand that aspect of it. This team is now way under budget and can probably keep the majority of the roster in tact next year, which is neat, but I’m not convinced that’s worth much.¬†The offense is better today, sure. But I’m also not sure adding Springer changes it dramatically. “Better” is a relative term. I would’ve much rather held my three high paid pitchers and seen if they could carry me through the first several weeks of baseball.

Getting Anderson Espinoza and that pick are helpful, I suppose, but again, adding them doesn’t offset the wonky timing for me. I’d rather have Espinoza than my 15th best minor leaguer, but I’m not rushing to give up one of the 10 most valuable players in our league to get him.

For the Oysters, being able to pair Arrieta with Max Scherzer should provide a huge weekly advantage. The offense takes another hit and actually looks quite rough to me now, but there’s no reason someone won’t fork over a hitter for Luis Severino, Kenta Maeda, or¬†Collin McHugh, guys that are now¬†a whole lot more expendable. Of course, a savvy trade owner might look at his team, recognize Dusty’s need to flip one of those starters for hitting is greater than their own need to do the opposite, and gauge him a little on price.

Dusty’s team sits way over budget for 2017 now. He’s looking at having to shed $104 or so (remember, he bought himself $20 of auction budget), but that’s not a bridge he needs to cross today and his worst case scenario might just be dumping all but his best five or six guys, which might not even be such a bad thing.

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†Right off the bat, this trade just confuses the hell out of me.¬†According to my line up projection simulator, both teams were neck and neck in the bottom half of projections. Not a enviable place for anyone to be. Prior to the trade the Oysters were projected for roughly 569. points per week. The Diabeetuses were projected for 567.1 points per week. Bad Good enough to¬†rank 11th and 12th respectively.

The trade for the Oysters looks pretty decent. They get the better player at a decent value. Anytime you can add another ace you have to do it. Springer does hurt the offense as Bailey stated above. I also agree with Bailey’s assessment that now Dusty has at least two solid pitching bullets to trade for hitting. Which if timed right, and a little luck sprinkled in, could be a huge positive swing.

All that being said, as it stands right now, Dusty did improve his weekly projected output to 572.3, but now ranks in the same 11th place compared to the entire league. But, for Dusty to take that jump into the next level he needs to make better use of his now stack of assets in the rotation. My simulator sees it as a waste, but I have yet to configure my simulator with the “Dusty factor” Although I’m not certain there’s an algorithm capable of figuring out Dusty.

Was the blood sugar low again for the Fighting Diabeetuses? Before jumping into the numbers, a qualitative look can say, well when you have Martinez, Bumgarner, and Fernandez, you can stand to lose Arrieta. That is mostly right. However, George Springer, while being a huge addition as the best projected hitter on this team in 2016, is not really enough to compensate the loss of Arrieta.

What the Diabeetuses are missing to make this deal alright, is starting pitching depth on the back end. Nate Karns has not won the job yet in Seattle, Roenis Elias will likely spend more time in the bullpen this season, and Tanner Roark was not a starter last year which means even though he should be a starter this year, his innings may be reduced.

All that said, my projection simulator now has the Diabeetuses suffering through 22 replacement starts. Nearly one a week. That’s too many, they now NEED another full time starting pitcher, probably two.

Springer does make the entire hitting core better. Springer slots into the CF position, flanked by Khris Davis and Stephen Piscotty. Jackie Bradley Jr now gets to back them all up nicely and fill in at utility when needed. That’s great. Hitting depth matters too and now they have it.

The cost was just too damn high. The Diabeetuses tumble down to the 16th projected line up in Dynasty Grinders. Dipping to 556 points per week was a huge hit to their total. It’s hard to fall in love with a trade like this. As a commissioner it is great to see the league ready to move big pieces and create some stir, but baseball is a long year and I think what we saw here on both ends was a overlooking of what depth really is.

I can’t help but think, what if McHugh and Rusney Castillo switched teams in this deal as well. Maybe something else in the deal has to happen to make that work out, but both teams would have benefited more from that switch. Perhaps both teams have future moves on the table ready to move up or down.

This trade as a whole, I have to call it a win for Dusty, slightly, his team does improve, having more aces is better than not, but he went from relying on Buxton to coming through to desperately depending on him. It could work out. For Josh, well I see why he did it. I just think the reasons may be misguided. If George Springer breaks out as a top 10 fantasy hitter, this clearly works out for him, but…

2016 Auction Review – The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses

The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses

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Typing The Wilfred Brimley Fighting Diabeetuses is a fun experience. I do not¬†know where people come up with these names. However, little of that creativity was used during the draft here. What’s seen here is a bastardization of the classic stars and scrubs spread of allocations with some curious choices sprinkled in.

Hitting – Whoops

I mean, how in the hell is Addison Russell your highest paid hitter? Sure, he’s young, sure he could be great. But, I’m not expecting him to finish top ten at either shortstop or second base, and nor is any FanGraphs/Fantrax projection. I think it’s just okay at catcher with Yan Gomes, first with Ryan Zimmerman, Kolten Wong at second, they’re slightly better than scrubs. I like Stephen Piscotty and Khris Davis, and Kevin Kiermaier is okay.¬†I can see the crazy logic going on here, the bench is deep and long, but was the blood sugar too low here and during the Addi auction? Reaching.

Pitching – Outstanding

If you could just mash this team with TBD you would have a super super team! Jake Arrieta is awesome. Jose Fernandez is awesome. Madison Bumgarner is awesome. Just a fantastic top three. Carlos Martinez is a 2 in the 4th spot. Nate Karns and Alex Cobb as your 5 and 6 is just gravy. Vincent Velasquez, Tanner Roark and Roenis Elias could all surprise or be nothing and not affect the outcome here much. The bullpen is sneaky good too. Dellin Betances was the best reliever last year without the closer role, should do well.

Depth – Alright

Well, the bench exists, but when you’re already questioning the starters ability to be a starter, there’s issues. There’s good coverage for each roster spot. The players like Jedd Gyorko, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr, Matt Adams and Chase Headley are all capable of being surprisingly average. Hard to knock with those guys. Plus I like Kelvin Herrera as a bullpen stash at the end of the draft.

Why 2016 would be bad…¬†

If Arrieta, Jose and Bummy¬†don’t crack 2,500 fantasy points, this season is over. Hard and fast. I think the floor here with many of the hitters is too low and the ceilings are just not high enough. Odds are good the highest paid hitter is a easy non-tender candidate at the end of the season. Just where do you go with those hitters?

Why 2016 would be¬†good…¬†

I have seen some things. Amazing pitching can carry you week in and week out, even if they don’t start twice. If there’s 3,300 points between those three starters, it does not really take much to make up the rest from the rest of the roster. Consistency could be made up for by clever roster management.¬†The plan is here and it is in place. One of the most fun watches this year especially if the three starters work out well, will be the roller coaster of a season this team is running.