Keeping up with the Jones? It’s a good trade for both teams, a rebuilding team and a team favorite to win it all in 2021. They both went out trying to improve their teams, and they did.
In the short 2020 season Luis Castillo averaged 36.3 FP/G in 12 starts. He’s the 14th best pitcher in the league and in 2019 he averaged 34.7 FP/G. The best part in the trade is Castillo is entering his prime at age 27 and has a salary of only $15. Hustle watched TBD acquire some valuable pieces since trading began. Hustle countered by picking up Castillo, a top 10 pitcher in our league and the MLB. Did Hustle over pay? Or is this the going price for cream-of-the-crop pitching, only time will tell.
Suplex City got four quality prospects and hopefully Joey Bart has found a home. In less than 30 hours Bart was traded three times. If my math is correct, in two days Suplex has added 13 minor league prospects. When he took over the team he only had one top 100 prospect and now according to the Senior Squids prospect spreadsheet they now have six top 100 prospects, good for them.
Joey Bart is Buster Posey’s replacement and should not have a problem finding playing time with a 50 hit tool and a 60 power tool.
Francisco Morales is still very young but with a 6’4″ frame who can hit 97 mph with the fastball and 70-grade slider, he’s going to be good.
Heliot Ramos, a 21 year old, has already made it to Double AA and is on the fast track to the majors, especially since the Giants are on a rebuild. In the Cal League in 2019 he had the 3rd best (143 wRC+). He’s a big guy with power and is very athletic.
Mitch Keller is slated to be the Pirates #2 pitcher and had a tough MLB debut with 7.13 ERA in 11 starts. However, in 2019 he posted 3.56 ERA at AAA. Keller is still only 24 and was a top 100 prospect coming out of Cedar Rapids IA. He will definitely have his opportunity with the always the rebuilding Pirates.
For the new owners, these draft reviews mean nothing orabsolutely zilch and are just for fun. I used to take these reviews seriously, “crap, did I just screw up” DON”T worry about it. If you want a player go for it and hope for the best. Everyone values players differently like chocolate and vanilla ice cream or whatever flavor you like.
Finally, if you don’t value prospects you need to start yesterday, this is a dynasty league. The reason TBD and Hustle are always at the top of the standings is because they are great at prospecting and use their assets to make trades like this one. My advice is to start a prospect spreadsheet, the internet has plenty of free resources. Good trade by both teams.
This trade isn’t as cut and dry as Avisail is $23 cheaper, so this is a win for Marshall. Maybe it is. Elton certainly has a crater at 3b right with just Tommy Edman as his starting 3b (use to be cost controlled Matt Chapman). Seager was a beast in the second half and spending $33 for anything close to that 2nd half seems pretty fine, especially at the cost of Avisail Garcia who has been traded probably half a dozen times in our league’s history. Yes, Avisail is a former HLR legend (as is half the league at this point). I like Avisail a decent amount, and going to Milwaukee certainly helps. That being said, Avisail won’t be an every day player and Seager will be, so I think that mitigated at least some of the price difference. The auction money really doesn’t matter unless you’re trying to fit in an additional really good player, so I don’t see the price as a big deal. Seager helps Elton’s team more this year than Avisail was and committing a year to that contract doesn’t seem like a big deal. Marshall probably wasn’t keeping a $33 Seager to backup Moncada, but with no backup now he will look for a cheaper replacement in auction or the wire. I think both owners here did a good adding roster depth to their own teams at the cost of surplus on their own.
After trading cost controlled stud 3Bman Matt Chapman away for a Mariners prospect without first listing him on the trade block to surely ignite a bidding war, Senior Squids needed a 3Bman. Kyle Seager is a pretty good one. Prior to 2018, he was one of the best, most consistent guys in the league and in the second half of 2019 he looked like that same guy. I think he’s overpriced, but Squids is in a spot to potentially take a bunch of money to auction which seems like a recipe for disaster even though The Bundle has ensured this will be our strongest auction ever. May as well add pieces now. Squids announced publicly in Slack a while ago that he didn’t intend to compete in 2020, so one path here is that immediately after auction he could shop Seager to teams with high salaries like mine that can’t currently add much and get more than he paid here. Salary stuff aside, Seager is more appealing to contenders than Avisail in 2020, right? I guess there’s a debate to be had there but I lean yes.
Anyway, this trade seems okay for both teams if you don’t believe the $23 difference between the two players matters much. Clearly, Marshall believes it does (let’s be honest, he was cutting Seager) and Elton believes it doesn’t. I like a good challenge trade. Shrugging emoji.
This is pretty great for Haddy. Relievers are meant to be either streamed or paid totally unnecessary amounts of money at auction. It is their only destiny. Even though Kirby Yates is one of the best ones, still, he’s not worth very much, as reflected here. His week to week impact is minimal and his edge over replacement at his position, plus the sheer volume of relievers available, make him just not that big a deal. Getting a 3rd round pick feels like a steal for Haddy. It also feels like way more than he got for Buster Posey. #RespectfulButUnapologetic
For TBD, this is a funny flex move. Josh and Joe (mostly Josh, I think; he told me Joe doesn’t know very much about prospects so he’s the one that does most of the pick-ups there. Just a fun trivia nugget) are so good at picking up prospects off waivers that they punted a 3rd round pick for a bullpen piece. It’s bad, but it also won’t matter for them at all. Their team, led by cost controlled stud Matt Chapman, is stacked. A mid-round pick is nothing.
Haddy has traded away here a future Hall of Famer, Buster Posey who so far in 2019 has not been very useful. Posey has been a part of our auction draft every single year because he’s always too expensive to keep. But, then in the draft enough teams realize there’s more money available than there are elite talents.
So guys like Posey get a lot of money based on name value. Not awful. Beach Bum is buying low on a potential second half bounce back. We’ve seen worse deals.
Clarke Schmidt is a 45FV prospect in the Yankees organization who is 23 years old and hasn’t gotten above A-ball. Pitchers can make large jumps and the level is less important than for hitters. So far this year he’s doing alright, but he’s probably a reliever.
Michael Baumann is a podcaster for The Ringer’s MLB Show who dabbles as a 40FV prospect in the Baltimore Orioles system. Both pitching prospects here are old for their level and have good numbers. Maybe something happens.
Posey is a waiver wire add, and the two prospects are also waiver wire adds. This trade is fine in the fact that for both teams, nobody lost anything, so there’s likely that nobody really gained anything.
Hustle’s Toxic $.02
Wow, I’m inspired by Jordan looking up prospects. Posey is having a down year and is quite an easy cut again, but he’s shown signs of life lately. Without a doubt Haddy will not regret giving away Posey, and if he does he will get him in auction for certainly less than $58. That being said, these prospects are nothing and I feel like you shop and research prospects a little better to find someone with more value. If Posey suffers a serious injury between now and the trade deadline, you get nothing. I still take the risk and do that if the price tag on him currently was nothing, which by this trade, it was.
Dan has all his draft picks right now and is currently one of the best teams in the league while using Alex Avila and Curt Casail. Does he really turn down a 2nd or 3rd round pick for Buster Posey? I would not if I were in his shoes. Those picks are easily sellable for somewhere between $3-12 if every other minor league draft is any indication. $3-12 is better than nothing, which was the return here.
Justin Verlander is OLD. 36 is a high number for a baseball player and fantasy owners alike. However, this deal is about finishing this year strong. TBD currently in first place, is padding their roster for a deep playoff run. It is smart, makes sense, and its for a player that clearly makes a difference.
Verlander is currently 5th in highest points scored in our league. He’s averaging nearly 42 points a start. In a two start week, he can bury your opponent. He didn’t help Haddy enough, as the rest of your roster still matters, but for TBD’s duo, the rest of their roster was fine before they added Verlander.
For TBD making this trade is easy. Trading some of tomorrow’s lottery tickets for an actual top end upgrade for today is something you do every day. Prospects are easy to come by, teams need them, they’re nice to have, but this is the best way (in my humble opinion) to use prospects. To push to win. Waiting on them to mature is fine, you hope they make crazy weird jumps to relevance that makes you feel good and seem like a genius. But, none of us really know.
For Haddy, well if you’re out, these kinds of deals make sense. Verlander isn’t helping you win this year, winning is no longer a top concern. Verlander would help you win next year, however he is older, and he’s a pitcher and they break. If I’m Haddy I’m pretty happy with this return. He’s getting two top 100 prospects, May who’s a top 20, plus two other prospects who are better than interesting.
The two Jordan’s (Jordyn?) were first round top 20 picks in the MLB 2018 draft. Both grade out as 45+ FV guys with hit tools being their ticket. Betting on those guys is a good idea.
Dustin May (60FV) just got called up to AAA and will be tested by the new home run ball. So far in 2019 he has looked good and projects to be a middle of the rotation, perhaps potentially a top end starter.
Nick Solak (50FV) is also in AAA for the Rays/Expos and he walks and hits for power. He’s the classic profile I like to target for my hitters in these kinds of leagues. For me he looks like a high floor hitter, with a ceiling that potentially could be very sexy.
I like what Haddy got back, but he’ll miss Verlander next year when he’s going to push to get back into the playoffs again. TBD will have forgotten who these prospects are this time next year. They have shown time and time again their ability to reload the system cost effectively. Verlander doesn’t guarantee a championship, but it makes it harder for them to lose it.
Okay, so up front: Jordan’s already written his review, but I’m not going to read it first. So if I repeat anything he said, sorry.
In short: I love this for TBD and don’t understand it at all for Haddy. I really don’t.
Here’s the thing about this league, in my opinion: we’re in year four and there has, to my recollection, never been an “ace” starting pitcher at auction. Let me think. I think Luis Severino was in our second year, but he was just a random former prospect then. And are we confident he’s an “ace” currently? I’m sure not. I guess Zach Greinke, Madison Bumgarner, and David Price were the year before last. But is Price an “ace”? I think you want him as your SP2 or SP3, not SP1. Is Bumgarner an ace? I’d debate that, though he’s obviously good. Greinke’s an ace. So okay, in four years, one proven, surefire ace SP has made it to auction, and I think at the time there were looming questions about him. That’s the thing. These top tier starters do not hit auction. They don’t. Verlander won’t. TBD is 100% keeping him unless he suffers an injury, or I guess trading him.
I guess also, when I say “ace,” it’s kind of deceiving because it makes you think pitcher. I’m sort of thinking as just overall, elite player. Mike Trout doesn’t get to auction. Cody Bellinger doesn’t. Christian Yelich doesn’t. Freddie Freeman doesn’t. The only way you get these guys is by trading for them or by stumbling upon one.
Here’s what happens, time and time again: all the stud pitchers get sold for prospects because their salary or age is so terrifying. Oh no, Verlander is 36 and my goal is to build a dynasty that dominates for eight years in a row, gotta dump him. Then there’s 6-8 teams with $200+ of cap space to spend on the ace they assume will get cut, but instead, those 6-8 teams get to fight over Chris Archer or Dallas Keuchel or Buster Posey whoever. One of each of that tier of player gets dispersed to those 6-8 teams, but because those 6-8 teams gutted themselves to get a low salary, that one player doesn’t change anything. And also half those players bust because they were risky to begun with, thus being sent back to auction. Rinse and repeat. The year we had Greinke, Bumgarner, Price, and oh yeah, Shohei Ohtani, guess what? Four separate teams totaling $218 in salary. So if you’ve rebuilt down to $250 of cash to spend, you better: (a) hope there are four players like that at auction, (b) win two or three, if not all four, and (c) then hope the player actually pans out to be an impact player. Living the auction dream is scary shit.
I want very badly to know what the market was for a $50, starting at $52 to keep, Justin Verlander. At worst, he gets $15 of greed and costs $67. THAT. IS. NOTHING. He’s the 5th overall scorer right now, this year. He finished third last year. He finished 19th the year before and third a year earlier. I get that pitchers are fragile, old pitchers especially, but this dude will impact your team more than almost any other player. I continue to not understand why a guy like this is considered such a bad risk but a pitching prospect isn’t. JV’s a 99th percentile performer and he fetched… two good prospects (May, Groshans), a couple prospects that teams like HLR, TBD, and Long Ball scoop off waivers with regularity, and a draft pick. That’s it? I’m a dipshit for not submitting offers. Shame on me. I didn’t think I had the pieces. But I want to know if any “rebuilders” inquired here. Haddy? Did you get offers from the teams that have gutted their rosters down to $200? Why didn’t you engage with me on Trevor Story (was it the Matt Chapman thing, where cost control is only cool until the player is a stud, then it’s not sexy anymore) for Verlander? WHYYYYYY?!
I like Dustin May and all, but TINSTAAPP. I like Jordan Groshans too, but optimistically, he’s not scoring fantasy points until 2021. Maybe Nick Solak becomes Jeff McNeil or something, which is helpful but lacking real impact. A first round pick? What freakin’ ever.
If I’m Haddy, I’d rather just keep Verlander and run it back in 2020 and maybe 2021 and maybe even 2022, especially after already dumping Chris Sale. Cut freakin’ Jose Abreu‘s $70 salary and just keep Verlander. Or trade Abreu for half this same package. Easy. Sure, maybe you flip all the ones you just got for this type of guy later, but maybe not. Again, the list of guys who produce like JV is super slim. Bird in hand, etc. I’m not taking this package for Scherzer. I doubt HLR’s taking it for Arenado. Dan’s not taking it for Yelich or Gerrit Cole. Maybe May becomes Syndergaard 2.0, but cost controlled, and I look foolish. Except not really, because even if that happens, that’s not even remotely the most likely outcome. That’s dumb luck. If he ever, at any point, becomes Verlander right now, you basically hit the lottery. I’ll just leave this here:
Okay, so clearly I’m not saying Chirinos is better than Posey. But his plate appearances were objectively more productive than Posey’s last year. He just had 259 fewer of them. Which is… a ton. I would not bet that going forward Chirinos scores more per plate appearance than Posey either, but I point it out just to say that TBD did a nice job here of adding value. I think more teams should be punting 3rd, 4th, and 5th round picks if it means immediate improvements to their team.
And for Haddy, I get it. He’s got a $21 Sal Perez and a $5 Tucker Barnhart. And I doubt the market for Chirinos is buzzing. And he wants to get salary. So, yay, take the pick and move on.
Hustle’s toxic $0.02: I like that Haddy has been reunited with his 3rd round pick.
Hustle Loyalty Respect sends: C Tyler Flowers ($5) Capital City Ironmen sends: LF/CF/RF DJ Peters (minors)
Andrew’s Thoughts: What an exhilarating first trade of the offseason.
In this one, the Defending Points and League Champion 🏆 adds an okay catcher with a cheap salary whose downside is that he doesn’t start every day. But maybe that’s not so terrible! Across the last two seasons, of catchers with a minimum of 650 plate appearances, only three catchers have a better wOBA than Tyler Flowers: Gary Sanchez, Willson Contreras, and Buster Posey. Elite company! Also, while Flowers notoriously demolishes left handed pitching, last year he had a .356 wOBA against righties. Yay!
I didn’t want to trade away DJ Peters, because all of the scouting reports about him draw comparisons to Jayson Werth — and I love Jayson Werth. But when you have a chance to trade away “possible Jayson Werth” for “basically Buster Posey,” well, you just have to do it.
I doubt Hustle was keeping Flowers even as a cheap back-up. That’s fine. Maybe I won’t even end up keeping him. It’s November. Who knows? So getting a prospect that he likes for a guy he probably wasn’t keeping seems like good maneuvering to me.
But mainly we just wanted to do a trade because we’re bored (fantasy football is not fun) and we wanted to light a fire under everyone else.
Hustle’s Thoughts: I put a cheap useful player on the block, and surprisingly only Bailey showed interest. It was the same level of surprise to discover we had a champions page on dynastygrinders.com only after Bailey won a championship, but I digress.
Tyler Flowers was pretty damn good last year and only cost $5. Problem for me is I almost always started Realmuto over him, and there were plenty of days when they shared days off. Kurt Suzuki got a lot of playing time down the stretch and I see this as a time share. With a healthy Realmuto, the best case for me is starting Flowers on Realmuto rest days or days Realmuto is facing Kershaw, Strasburg, or someone elite. For me, that’s replaceable. The worst case is he’s not as good and he coincidentally isn’t in those lineups those days. Maybe I will have trouble finding a 2nd catcher next year, but it seems not too hard to find a decent guy as the season moves along. Flowers, Hicks, Avila, and Pina were just some of the useful bums at catcher that could have been free last year and I imagine some new ones will be on the street come April.
Jordan’s thoughts: This deal on paper makes a lot of sense. Hydra was dying for a first baseman, the unluckiest team in the league could use an upgrade at catcher and pitchers are always useful. After sitting on the trade for a couple hours I think both teams improved themselves in this trade.
Freddie Freeman is nearing enigma status. In my head a keeper at $40 makes complete sense. FanGraphs projections has him hitting 1.41 PPPA going forward. That’s pretty legit. Based on how things have been going, IL4W has really improved the team in a lot of ways. Based on projections, it appears to be more of a lateral move. I still love it for them.
For HYDRA I love the deal as well. Lucroy was not really doing enough for them. Freeman, as I said, projects to be better. That’s a pretty significant upgrade. Selling depth for a significant upgrade with easy keep-ability makes total sense.
It’s actually kind of hard to break down a trade like this. I think both teams win. Based on projections Team Hydra significantly improved their team. Based on past results, IL4W has significantly improved their team. At the worst in either direction, they didn’t hurt their respective teams. It’s a win-win.
Andrew’s thoughts: I guess the simplest way of putting it would be this: I’d rather be the side getting Lucroy and Hill.
I’ve given Alex from Team Hydra a hard time before about Lucroy, but the truth is, he’s a really good player and $25 isn’t bad for the second best catcher behind Buster Posey. I’m just not personally into paying premiums for catchers and whenever he and I spoke about a move involving Lucroy, I felt like that’s what I’d be doing. I didn’t really believe Lucroy was keepable at $27 next year, but there’s a good chance I was wrong about that.
Of course, this deal makes fundamental sense for both sides. Team Hydra has Posey, so Lucroy is a tad redundant at catcher. They also have Prince Fielder disappointing at first, so there’s an apparent hole there. In Line 4 the Win, meanwhile, has Anthony Rizzo at 1B but had been plodding along with Jason Castro, so you see where the pieces fit.
Anyway, I’m a big proponent of playing players in the position where they are most valuable. Posey, obviously, is more valuable at catcher. But in this case, I think I’d rather just shift Posey to 1B and play Lucroy at catcher than bring in Freeman to man first until Lucroy logs two more games at first, at which point he’ll have unlocked that position.
As of today, Lucroy has a higher wOBA by .028 points and ZiPS sees Freeman playing out the year with a .023 edge there. I’m not really sure I see a huge performance gap between Lucroy and Freeman heads up. These two guys are close enough that it probably didn’t warrant dumping Hill, a 30+ point per game starter at this juncture, just because Team Hydra has an abundance of pitching. Getting Hill as essentially a throw in is just good work by IL4W. Too much pitching is a gift, not a curse.
The other pieces involved are negligible. Phegley is an okay lefty mashing catcher, but he’s hurt and because he really only hits lefties, he won’t be playable most days. And even when he’s facing a Southpaw, you won’t bench Posey for him. He’s being viewed as depth though (he’s Hydra’s only other catcher now), I’m sure, so he’s fine. And the third round pick is an alright bonus too, just not a piece that really factors in much.
I always feel compelled at the beginning of these posts to remind the rest of the league: I swear, I’m not trying to sway your personal valuations or opinions. I just want to riff on fantasy baseball. If I happen to use a player on your team as an example and view him unfavorably, oops. I would hope we’re all capable of coming to our own conclusions. It’d be pretty boring if we all had exactly the same valuations.
So, having said that… how valuable are good-not-great players at super top heavy positions? Or positions that aren’t even top heavy, but rather mediocre all throughout?
Two positions immediately jump to mind here, and that is catcher and shortstop. Let’s look at shortstops.
Through nearly three full weeks, here are your top five overall scorers with the salary they went for at auction:
Carlos Correa was our league’s highest paid shortstop at $81, so it’s nice that he’s pictured here. He was also the fourth highest paid hitter in the league, which means he’s being paid to be an absolutely, unquestioned transcendent talent and fantasy producer.
The obvious thing that jumps out is that four shortstops who were practically free either at auction or in our minor league draft currently sit atop the landscape at the position. In fact, Trevor Story, Jean Segura, Aledmys Diaz, and Eugenio Suarez cost just 11.1% of what Correa costs combined.
Granted, we’re only 19 days into our fantasy schedule. But our regular season is 148 days long, so we’re already over 12% of the way through the season. No one would be surprised if Correa ends up as his position’s best producer by the end of the season, but what we have so far shines an interesting light on the shortstop group. It has paid to not pay for these guys.
Hypothetically, if that list of players played the same position as Bogaerts, Seager, and Tulowitzki, would they have gone for less? I’d argue not. There are pitchers mixed in, so the positional view is wonky, but what if the shortstops were left fielders instead? Is Seager getting $54 to play the outfield? Hell, right fielder Matt Kemp cost $11. If Seager played the same spot, are you really paying him $43 more? Go look at Kemp’s last two years worth of stats before answering, because they’re likely to be better than you think.
In terms of having ever accomplished anything worth banking on, only Tulo has done it out of this group for more than a single season, but his age and injury concerns chew up some of his value.
The argument I’m making is that Bogaerts and Seager had “being a shortstop” baked pretty heavily into their price. Age was baked in there too, I’m sure, but whatever. Bogaerts was the top scoring shortstop in our format a year ago, so good for him and all, but Jhonny Peralta ($7) was number two and Brandon Crawford ($14) was number three. Peralta being hurt to start the year is a wrinkle, but those guys got pretty heavily punished for not being 23-years-old and presumably keepable for a decade. Maybe age was an even bigger factor than position?
Speaking of Bogaerts and 2015: he scored 810.5 points last year and yes, he led the way for shortstops. But compared to all other hitters, he ranked 55th. The two guys below him: Nick Markakis ($4) and Brandon Belt ($12). The two guys above him: Evan Longoria ($20) and David Peralta ($17).
So you could have literally bought the four hitters directly surrounding Bogaerts in 2015 net points and still had $5 left over!
Also, while Bogaerts was the 55th highest scoring hitter last year, he’s the 17th highest paid hitter this year. He’s also not priced to be immune from greed and his salary is going to grow by $2 a year. So… yikes.
Just as easily as it is to envision that $81 Correa being tops at short in August, it’s not crazy to see Bogaerts and Seager in the top five or even three. But it also seems fair to suggest that even if these guys lead the charge at their position, they’ll come out behind in the greater landscape of hitters at large.
Last year, Bogaerts averaged 40.525 points per week as the top shortstop. The 16th highest scoring shortstop, Erick Aybar ($3), averaged 27.325 points per week. So a 13.2 weekly edge between the best possible “starting” shortstop and the worst. (I grant you, this is a bit primitive. It assumes the top 16 scorers are spread across each of the 16 teams, it ignores platoons, guys got hurt and that screws up their net output, etc. I get it.)
Crush Davis, who you’ll recall went for less money and was just the second best right fielder (but also has 1B eligibility) behind MVP Bryce Harper, averaged 55.835 points per week. Kole Calhoun ($10), the 16th best RF, averaged 38.805 points per week, a difference of 17.03 between second best and 16th.
So, through that lens, you’re better off just having the better overall player in Davis than you are having the top guy at a weak position. Having Davis instead of Bogaerts, again in this admittedly simplified example, gives you a 4+ point weekly edge over the worst possible starter at each position.
Starting Davis/Aybar gets you 83.16 a week. Starting Bogaerts/Calhoun gets you 79.33. Also, the total cost of Davis and Aybar is lower than the cost of Bogaerts and Calhoun by $19, meaning that, at least theoretically, not overpaying for perceived positional scarcity affords you more resources to help your team.
Personally, I like to view players across their broader peer groups: pitchers against other pitchers, hitters against other hitters. Yes, a player may be the third best shortstop or the fifth best catcher, but that ranking is not interchangeable across positions.
Buster Posey is so good, he does not have a peer group at the catcher position. He is a tier, the two tiers below him are filled with chirping crickets and sawdust, and then other guys start falling in line after that. Yeah, you’d like to have whoever is second or third best, but if you have to settle for that 16th guy, it probably won’t be overly painful. The difference is negligible.
Jordan’s thoughts: Deals like this just do not seem to happen very often. HLR dealt with the news of Swihart being sent down to the minors by shipping him off to another team. He replaces his backup catcher with a guy who in pre-season was projected to be a borderline fantasy starter. There is no real reason to love Realmuto. There is no real reason to dislike him. He’s an everyday catcher who does okay.
Swihart in 6 games this year went 5/18 with no extra base hits, but did add 4 walks. Getting sent down does not help Swihart’s case for future stardom. In the draft both of these catchers were likely overpays, and both do not appear keep-able in any real sense. With that said, does Swihart now being green flagged, does that change anything?
RMO can probably afford to drop their 15th prospect and cross their fingers. Perhaps Swihart comes back and has a great finish to this 2016 campaign. But its a two edged sword. He’s $14 going on $16 to keep. If he gets ridiculously hot, he’s a easy target for greed dollars. $16 would put him in to top 7 for paid catchers. There is just likely better options, and while HLR did not get much in return for him, I do not think he lost anything either.
Andrew’s thoughts: This is sort of like trading two nickels for a dime. In the immediate sense, Realmuto’s clearly more valuable. He plays for a major league team, while Swihart… who knows. There are rumors he’ll be demoted, lose playing time, switch positions. It’s just a mess.
That’s the thing about young catchers. They almost all develop their defensive game first, then work on their hitting. So they rarely hit the majors capable of hanging with big league pitching. It takes a while before these guys do anything fantasy relevant. That development is part of the reason Swihart is getting sent back down — except it’s the opposite for him. His defense and game calling needs work. So basically, his offensive game thus far is at least somewhat indicative of what he is. And that is serviceable but mostly meh. His offensive production is fine for a catcher, but if he becomes an OF or 1B, he’s instantly worth next to nothing. Obviously his bat isn’t done developing either, but you get my drift.
I agree with Jordan that neither of these guys have super attractive long-term prices and so yeah, give me Realmuto, who I can at least rely on today. Derek Norris went for $5 and Francisco Cervelli went for $7, and those guys were top six catchers a year ago. So that you’re already paying more for Swihart and Realmuto, I just… I don’t know what you’re paying for? I suppose with Swihart more so than Realmuto, you want him because “upside,” but I’m also not sure what that ceiling really is. Unless it’s Buster Posey, it probably doesn’t matter at the catcher position. The gap between catchers is so slim that whether you’re the second best catcher or eighth best catcher is almost negligible.
It’s a fair deal though. Or at least justifiable from both sides. There’s nothing wrong with it. Without an in-season cap you don’t have to do anything with Swihart until next season, but if he gets demoted, I’m not sure paying $16 next year is even an option at which point, why not just hold onto the 2016 contributor in Realmuto?