There have been a few folks who have floated the idea of packaging Eric Chavez with Joe Blanton or Dan Haren in a trade to the Dodgers for a bounty of young hotness. I’ve refrained from participating in this particular discussion for a few reasons. The first being Beane’s evident man-crush on Chavy. Another reason is I don’t feel the need to participate in every trade discussion that happens on AN. I start enough of those discussions to keep me satisfied. But the most important reason was more practical. I wasn’t sure how much interest the Dodgers had in a surgically repaired Eric Chavez.
But now I hear the Dodgers are interested in trading for Scott Rolen.
The problem with trading an injured player is perceived value. When a team trades for an injured player, or a player coming off an injury plagued season, they are expecting a better performance now that he’s healthy. However, the new team isn’t expecting to pay to pay full price for the expected performance, they want a discount based on the recent poor season. The team trading away the injured vet knows all this and thus the dance begins.
Let me try to illustrate the point more clearly. Keeping Chavez as our guinea pig, I’m going to use the great mathematical construct the widget as our measuring tool. I’m sure you all remember the widget from those math word problems we all loved so much as children. Well, today the widget is how those silly folks in Southern California measure the worth of a professional baseball player. In 2005 Eric Chavez was worth 100 widgets. In 2007 he was worth 50 widgets. The Dodgers expect that they’ll get a 100 widget season in 2008 and they know that they’ll have to spend more than 50 widgets to acquire him but where is the line? That line is important, because in my opinion combining a 100 widget Chavez with Joe Blanton in a deal with the Dodgers means the 1st person on the A’s wish list is Clayton Kershaw and the only thing the Dodgers can say in reply is "Alright, who else?" Of course, the Dodgers would want to set the line below the mark that will cost them Kershaw.
Which brings us back to Scott Rolen.
Rolen will be 33 next year, he has a list of ailments as long as Chavez’s and is signed for $12 million annual over the next 3 years. Chavez will be 30 next year and is signed for roughly $12 million annual over the next 3 years plus he has a team controlled option 4th year. The Dodgers should be interested in Chavez at least as much as they are in Rolen, if not more. Therefore, if we ever hear any names come out of these talks between the Dodgers and the Cardinals we can get a rough estimate of what Chavez alone would be worth in a deal. Add that to what we think we can get for Blanton and you’ve got a good idea how much a package of the two is worth.
In widgets or otherwise.