By now, most of you know that I run a website called Baseball Trade Values, where Joshua Iversen and I have number-crunched the trade values of over 2,400 players (veterans and prospects, roughly 80-deep per team). Our trade simulator seems to be quite popular – in just over a month, as of this writing, we have over 6,000 users who have played around with it and posted over 1,300 trade proposals.
As luck would have it, our model matched the Bailey/Merrell trade very closely (and so far it’s doing well on others too). We had Homer Bailey at 1.5 (and Kevin Merrell at 1.4), but Bailey’s value was probably closer to 1.4 if you factor in that we are two weeks into July, and that was calculated at the end of June.
So what does this mean for the A’s? Given that we have two weeks left until the deadline, I thought I’d share a few realistic A’s trade proposals for discussion. Yes, we get a lot of wackadoodle ones on the site. But let’s focus on the stone-cold sober options today.
Prospects likely to be moved
I’ve noticed that the A’s don’t want to make any shocking moves these days — they’re holding on to the young core and their top prospects. In other words, the A’s seem willing to trade only prospects that are either blocked and/or below the top tier.
Further, they seem to have an internal rule that if the prospect hasn’t progressed enough after being in the org for at least two years, they’re open to moving them. They’re keenly aware of the time pressure of roster rules — it’s up or out. Merrell was the most recent example — he was drafted in 2017, then stalled out two years later. Logan Shore was traded last year; he was drafted in 2016 and stalled out in 2018.
Examples of prospects who seem to fit this profile:
- Dustin Fowler: I know, technically he’s not a prospect, but he’s clearly stalled out and he’s been with the org for two years now
- Sheldon Neuse: Not so much stalled out as blocked
- Greg Deichmann: Stalled out
- Tyler Ramirez; Stalled out, but worth almost nothing
- Franklin Barreto: If he fails this latest test in Oakland, add him to this list. I think that’s partly why he’s getting this extended look in the majors now.
- Grant Holmes and James Kaprielian: Both are borderline candidates for the stalled-out list as well, but they may be doing just enough to hold on.
Per reports, after the Bailey acquisition, the FO is focusing on bullpen help. So in the definite category, let’s put at least one reliever (probably a righty, since they tend to be cheaper), preferably a proven late-inning arm. In the possible category, we’ll add one more starter, and/or a solid 2B (if Barreto falls flat in his extended audition).
If my theory is right, the cost will likely not exceed the value of the highest available prospect — the values of Fowler (8.3) and Neuse (7.3) seem to be the ceiling. Unfortunately for you gunslingers out there, this effectively takes us out of the market for Madison Bumgarner, Marcus Stroman, Matthew Boyd, Robbie Ray, Will Smith, and Ken Giles, unless a miracle happens or my theory is wrong (which is possible).
Further, the target is most likely to be either a rental or an expensive Arb3 candidate. The reason for the latter is that a guy who’s facing an Arb3 raise is often priced the same as a rental, since the expected raise sometimes wipes out any surplus for the next year (and often puts him in the red), resulting in a non-tender — Mike Fiers was an example of this situation last year.
Also, given the dearth of obvious sellers this year, the A’s may want to get ahead of the market and focus only on targets available at the obvious-seller store, rather than wait for guys on bubble teams to become available later (because at that point the demand for those guys may have intensified).
They may also try to strike a deal with a player whose contract is underwater and the selling team covers most of the salary, and/or a player who is out of options and whose value is discounted as a result. If they do the latter for a starter, Daniel Mengden is at risk of being traded, as his spot will be taken by the new guy and he will be out of options next year.
Finally, they seem to love targeting guys who show a recent performance uptrend.
Reliever targets who check all of these boxes:
- Alex Colome (CHW)
- Sergio Romo (MIA)
- Jake Diekman (KCR)
Reliever targets who check some of these boxes:
- Hansel Robles (LAA)
- Mychal Givens (BAL)
- Roenis Elias (SEA)
- Daniel Hudson (TOR)
- Austin Brice (MIA)
- Justin Wilson (NYM)
Starters who check most of these boxes:
- Jeff Samardzija (SFG)
- Jason Vargas (NYM)
- Dylan Bundy (BAL)
- Tommy Milone (SEA) (who’s quietly having a bounceback-ish year)
2Bs who check most of these boxes:
- Jonathan Villar (BAL)
- Eric Sogard (TOR)
Now let’s match those targets up with some sample trade proposals from BTV, using BTV values (which are in $Ms).
A’s get: Alex Colome (6.5)
White Sox get: Sheldon Neuse (7.3)
Notes: This one is a slight overpay, but that’s reasonable considering the supply/demand factors for Colome.
A’s get: Sergio Romo (2.2)
Marlins get: Marcos Brito (1.6), Wyatt Marks (0.5)
Notes: Josh didn’t much care for this one.
A’s get: Jake Diekman (2.6)
Royals get: Skye Bolt (2.7)
Notes: This one feels a touch painful.
A’s get: Jeff Samardzija (-19.7) and $28M
Giants get: Dustin Fowler (8.3)
Notes: Would Giants GM Farhan Zaidi kick in $28M to get a young OF with question marks? Probably not, but if he wants to kickstart the Giants’ rebuild, he’ll need to use a lot of money to clear all the deadweight on that roster.
A’s get: Jason Vargas (-3.7) and $4M
Mets get: Jose Mora (0.3)
Notes: Vargas has been pitching surprisingly well lately, but the Mets would love to get rid of him, especially after that journalist incident.
A’s get: Dylan Bundy (9.3) and Mychal Givens (3)
Orioles get: Dustin Fowler (8.3) and Daniel Mengden (4.6)
Notes: Both Bundy and Givens have the same problem: good stuff, bad results. Maybe the latter would be mitigated by pitching in the Coliseum.
A’s get: Tommy Milone (1.2)
Mariners get: Jhoan Paulino (1.3)
Notes: Let’s get the band back together!
A’s get: Eric Sogard (1.8)
Blue Jays get: Marcos Brito (1.6) and Angel Duno (0.1)
Notes: Another band member!
If it were up to me (and it’s not), I’d do the Colome and Samardzija trades, as both guys bring the type of veteran presence (er, presents) a contending team wants in the clubhouse, they both seem to know how to step it up a notch down the stretch for a winning team, and they clear some roster issues near the top. But I can see a case for many others here.
Which of these deals do you like? Or what kind of other swap would you propose? Vote in the poll below, and then head over to the BTV trade simulator and come up with your own versions!
Which trade would you do?
This poll is closed
Colome for Neuse
Romo for Brito + Marks
Diekman for Bolt
Samardzija + cash for Fowler
Vargas + cash for Mora
Bundy + Givens for Neuse + Fowler
Milone for Paulino
Sogard for Brito + Duno