Trade: TBD | Who’s Your Haddy?

Who’s Your Haddy? sends:¬†CF AJ Pollock ($54), CF Lewis Brinson (minors), 2017 2nd Round Pick
TBD sends: SP Zack Greinke ($80), SS Willy Adames (minors), 2017 4th Round Pick

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†I don’t love Greinke at his price or Pollock at his, but their track records are certainly cause for optimism. But man… was Greinke even getting kept? TBD was tight against their budget, he’s really expensive, and he’s coming off a discouraging year. I think it was like 60/40 he was getting sent to auction. So trading Pollock, a top-25-ish fantasy prospect, and a pick upgrade for him is a lot given that so many players that were going to end up cut seem to have been dealt at discount prices. I mean, within this same off-season, Greinke was already dealt straight up for David Peralta. So this looks like a really great short term investment for TBD.

The difficulty¬†with Greinke or any $80 player, really, is that they have to be elite to return value. And I love Greinke historically. I’d rather gamble $80 on him than some other guys and I think every now and then you have to roll the dice on guys that have been great year in and year out. But still, it’s a big gamble.

And I sort of hate to do it, but because it was such a hot button deal when it went down, I have to circle back to it: Pollock was originally acquired, along with David Dahl, for Mookie Betts. Remember that? Pollock was hurt and Betts at $61 seems totally reasonable, so at the time, everyone was just so taken aback. It looked so much like a deal to save some cash and turn attention to 2017, which is fine. But here we are, and now Pollock got swapped for Greinke, who is $10 more costly than Betts. It’s just really hard not to connect these two. It’d be different if Pollock was healthy at the time, but his arm was broke and he was effectively done for the year, so there was no other way to look at it then “eyeing 2017.” Dahl still came of that deal, and with Coors setting his floor, he looks like he’ll be solid. But Brinson’s a similar prospect, right? Worse park, obviously. But a year or two from now, might Brinson and Dahl be interchangeable? Maybe, maybe not. The point is, including Brinson kinda chews into some of the value of Dahl from that original deal.

But that’s a totally different trade. For this one… I just really prefer the TBD side. Their pitching can absorb not having to take the Greinke gamble. Pollock should be good. Brinson should be decent at some point. I like Willy Adames, but shortstop isn’t as weak as it once was, so how much is his playing there really worth? And jumping up two rounds in the draft is just a nice bonus.

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†Haddy gets another play that I really enjoy and like. Greinke. He’s awesome. But, what in the fuck are you doing here man? I believe Greinke bounces back, but Pollock should too right? There’s just something going on here. What does Haddy know that I’m not seeing? I’m lost.

Is Willy Adames the secret? Is his stock rising or something? Guh.

Trade: TBD | Rocky Mtn Oysters

TBD sends: RF David Peralta ($19)
Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: SP Zack Greinke ($80)

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†Coming into the 2016 season, David Peralta was one of my favorite players. He broke out in a massive way the season prior, posting a .380 wOBA, which was good for a 12th in all of baseball. He only had a .299 wOBA against LHP, so he was still a platoon option, but at least he was destroying RHP. His batted ball profile also looked great: a meager 13.3% soft hit rate flanked by a 35.4% hard hit rate. Only 30 players hit balls harder than Peralta in 2015.

All that said, 2016 was a disaster. He came to the plate only 183 times and his wOBA dipped to a replacement level-like .308. Worse, while he got it up to .306 against LHP, his wOBA versus RHP plummeted to .309. But most of his pitfalls last year can be attributed to injury. His wrist ailed him all year and he eventually had surgery in August, which is the easiest explanation of what went wrong.

As a $19 bet for 2019, you could do a lot worse than Peralta. That salary is obviously way too much for a guy¬†with a wRC+ of 84, as he hit last year. But a wRC+ of 137 like he did in 2015? Or even a 109 like he had in 2014? For $19, you’ll take it.

DrivingTheBus

But while Peralta has easy excuses for his poor 2016, Zack Greinke really doesn’t. He had the oblique injury, but he did his DL stint and came back from it. He moved from Los Angeles to Arizona and that obviously hurt him. At home last year, Greinke pitched to a 4.35 FIP, a 4.54 xFIP, and had a K-BB% of 8.9%. Peralta’s injuries can heal. Only a trade can rescue Greinke from hitter’s park purgatory.

But even away from home, Greinke wasn’t his usual self. His road FIP was 3.88 and he gave up bombs at a 1.46 HR/9 clip. You put all these things together and you’re looking at a replacement level type pitcher.

Prior to 2016 though, Greinke was one of the premier starting pitchers in baseball. His $78 salary last year was perfectly fine. He’d had seven straight seasons where he posted a FIP of 3.34 or lower. So in trading for an $80 pitcher with Greinke’s history, TBD is taking a rather expensive gamble that last year was a fluke. And I don’t hate that gamble.

Even as bad as Greinke’s numbers looked, he still averaged 24.81 fantasy points per start. This is because he’s on the depth chart as an ace, he’s paid to be an ace, and so he’s managed like an ace. A rotation’s fourth starter may struggle through four or five innings and get pulled, but that won’t happen to Greinke often. He’ll stay in and grind through six or seven innings. His floor is pretty safe.

And while ideally, yes, you want $80 of value or more from a guy you’re paying $80 to, TBD can sort of justify Greinke just being an expensive safety valve with colossal upside when they’ve also got a $4 Tanner Roark, a $8 Jon Gray, and a $5 Steven Wright. Looking at it through that lens, you’re investing $97 in four pitchers ($24.25/each). ¬†And if Greinke struggles against in 2017, oh well, just cut him next year. For the short term though, I count six players, including Greinke, with $409 worth of salary — and that’s pre-greed allocation. So this is setting up be the stars-iest and scrubs-iest roster of them all.

I think this trade makes sense for both sides. Dusty absolutely had to dump salary and I can’t imagine many teams willing to give up anything significant for Greinke. TBD had been trying to sell Peralta for months, so clearly the market for him wasn’t strong. It’s very obvious that both of these players, given their 2016 seasons, are big time risks at their current salaries. So I also think you could very easily argue that both players should just be cut and sent back to auction.

Jordan’s thoughts:¬†My early projections still had Dusty keeping Greinke despite his poor 2016 campaign. Zack dipped down to his 2010-2011 levels of mediocre pitching. He has a well documented case of issues that aren’t related to his physical health which could be coming into to play here. He also has 2200 innings under his belt and could just be beginning his decline.

There’s a lot of if’s surrounding Grienke. I still like him to bounce back to the good, but perhaps not great level of performance. He does seem to stay mostly healthy, so you should be able to count on him starting all season. If you can get 28 fantasy starts of 27 points per start out of a reliable starting pitcher, $80 isn’t really that much to ask. A high price sure, but not a terrible one.

Giving up David Peralta here is not hard to do. He’s keepable at that salary, but its not a fun keeper in my opinion. Depending on how big the free agent auction pool will end up being this March, he could have probably gone for less than $10 or ¬†more than $30. Supply and demand is going to be an interesting experiment this off-season.

I don’t love or hate this deal for either team. Fun trade!

Trade: Rocky Mtn Oysters | Senior Squids

Rocky Mtn Oysters sends: CF/RF Bryce Harper ($109)
Senior Squids sends: SP Zack Greinke ($78)

Andrew’s thoughts:¬†It’s tough writing trade reviews sometimes because, as an owner, I occasionally have information and context to a trade or a player’s asking price behind closed doors that doesn’t really seem fair to publicize. That is true in this case. So I’ll be careful not to share how the information that I have influences my perspective of this trade. Let’s just say that I know what the asking price was for Bryce Harper, like, yesterday, and move on.

First of all, both these players are really good and quite valuable. I love Bryce and would give up essentially my entire team for him, $111 in 2017 be damned. I also love Greinke and at $78, he’s priced very well. He’s had a slow start to the season, but he truly is an ace of staff — and on the Oysters, joins Jake Arrieta and Max Scherzer in a horrifying trifecta of pitchers — that even at $80 next year doesn’t seem like a problem to keep.

I think my problem with this trade, as with Dusty’s first Bryce trade, is that pieces just seem to be lacking. The 1-for-1 is nice, simple, clean. And Bryce being traded three times suggests teams are scared of his salary. But I really don’t understand how you trade a transcendent, once in a lifetime talent twice and each time only get back a single pitcher. And you guys know how I feel about the value of pitchers. I just really feel like value is being left on the table.

I mean, Greinke is awesome and you could argue the top 8-10 pitchers or so make a greater difference to a team’s success than the top 3-4 hitters do. But how does Dusty not pry Dansby Swanson from the Squids here? How does he not get Hunter Renfroe and Carson Fulmer thrown in? How does he not get some draft pick conpensation? Is it that unreasonable to also get¬†Mark Trumbo or Kyle Seager back? Something else?!

Truthfully, I don’t hate the deal for either side and both teams may come out feeling alright. I just think, as Dusty does pretty regularly, the haste to get a flashy deal done quickly got in the way of sapping the most possible value out of his asset. And who knows, a week or two from now if Dusty’s great-on-paper squad keeps underperforming, maybe he’ll turn around and start unloading Arrieta, Scherzer, and even Greinke and just reshuffle the deck that way. Though this is twice now that Bryce has been traded for the bare minimum, so I would hope our stable of owners here are savvy enough to recognize that there’s a pattern here. Just wait it out, and eventually you can buy guys from the Oysters for a price that suits you best.

I don’t mean to beat on Dusty (again). I love that he can unleash those three aces on his opposition, plus deploy Kyle Hendricks and John Lackey on weeks where those guys only start once per week. But even that, I think, leads to an interesting point: how much pitching is too much, even in a format where they’re super valuable? I mean, isn’t having those five starters, plus quality arms in Collin McHugh just a big opportunity cost problem? In other words, did Dusty’s roster need Harper’s offensive production more than it needed Greinke? I think it probably did.

To date, the Oysters have been the second worst offense in the league… with Harper.¬†Dusty’s offense is now dramatically worse. I think another trade pretty much has to happen, and at what point are you chewing into values by making a thousand moves just to end up in roughly the same spot?

I don’t know. This deal is exciting and I love the rotation Dusty’s assembled, I just feel like Squids got off light here.

Jordan’s thoughts: Andrew just wrote so beautifully. I know RMO¬†could have gotten more. I know that Squids wasn’t getting more. Another head scratcher. I just have to shake my head and move on. There’s no reason here why Squids would say no to getting Bryce. There’s no reason Dusty should only ask for Greinke for Bryce. None. There’s been plenty of lopsided deals, but even at $111, Bryce is a value keeper piece next year. Just crazy.

2016 Auction Review – Senior Squids

Senior Squids

squids

After taking a beating for making a trade with super trader Dusty, Squids came out hard and furious and drafted pretty well. It’s clear that this team has serious potential, but there’s a few question marks.¬†Is Randal Grichuk really worth $35? At least two people thought so. Was Shelby Miller good last year or lucky?

Hitters – Not quite

There is nobody in this line up for the Senior Squids that week in week out is reliably going to carry you. This line up is not that different that Capital City that we saw earlier, except it is missing the Votto/Miggy connection. Great at the catching position, and I like Joe Panik and Kyle Seager.¬†Obviously I love Brad Miller, but prefer him to not be forced to slot at short stop. The outfield is alright, but is Grichuk a top 5 outfielder? Between the eight outfielders, he should be able to stream a solid 3-man outfield, but even their ceiling isn’t terribly high. Justin Bour at first base could be solid, or was last year as good as it gets?

Pitchers – Great

This was one of the harder ones to classify. It’s on the bubble of Very Good and Great. Corey Kluber and Zack Greinke are amazing. Tier one for starting pitchers is probably truly two sub tiers, the unreal good guys and the other good guys relative to the entire pool. Kluber and Greinke are elite. Shelby Miller got chastised for getting traded to Arizona for a king’s ransom, but in fantasy not much has changed. It is not hard to imagine¬†that out of Jaime Garcia, Scott Kazmir, Clay Bucholz, Wade Miller and Home Bailey that you can string four comfortable starts out of the group weekly. Likely two of those guys end up being traded for more hitting. Also for the first time during this review exercise, the bullpen here is great. Wade Davis and David Robertson are primed to be great. While that can change in a week, it is hard to argue with the values he spent and assumed to receive here.

Depth – Great

I like the rotation depth a lot. I like the outfield depth that all suffices to cover both utility spots just fine. Brock Holt and Brad Miller can play so many positions. None of his starting hitters are good enough to sink this team if they get hurt, and he already has built in serviceable starters at every position. Although replacing Kyle Seager would hurt the most, and not just because I’m a Mariners fan.

Why 2016 would be bad…¬†

Well, while the Squids could theoretically afford to lose both Greinke and Kluber to some scary injury and survive, the back end of the rotation is presumed to be good enough. However, the line up just is not. He needs the 100 points a week from those two aces each week. Even then, the ceiling for this team’s scoring just seems destined to be too low.

Why 2016 would be¬†good…¬†

Things are great for the Senior Squids if Kluber and Greinke pitch themselves into Cy Young conversations in their respective league’s again this year. The rest of the starters shake out in some good way. Perhaps there’s a hitter here that breaks out and jumps into the top 5 of their position that I’m just not seeing. Mark Trumbo reclaims some of his sheen in Baltimore? There’s lots of options here for things to go good, and that’s a good thing.