This afternoon, I announced the beginning of the 2009 MLB Trade Value series. Today, we kick it off with the bottom five.
#50: Prince Fielder, 1B, Milwaukee: 3.7 WAR
The big man is having the best season of his career, as he’s upped his walk rate while hitting over .300, and the power is still there. He’s an offensive beast, and at just 25 years old, he’s headed for the prime of his career. Unfortunately, he’s a couple of years away from being a DH, and the lack of defensive value limits the amount of teams that would give up the farm to get him.
#49: Jered Weaver, RHP, Anaheim: 2.5 WAR
Despite the ERA fluctuations, Weaver has been remarkably consistent since arriving in the majors, posting a FIP between 3.80 and 4.06 each year. That’s a quality pitcher, to be sure, but he’s not the ace he looked like in ’06 or earlier this year. Toss in the health concerns and his 50% flyball rate, and while most teams would love to have him, he wouldn’t command a king’s ransom as he heads into his arbitration years.
#48: Cole Hamels, LHP, Philadelphia: 1.7 WAR
After looking ace-like last October, he’s resumed being a good but not great starter this year, thanks to his home run problem. Health concerns will always be an issue with Hamels, and he’s no longer dirt cheap. He’s certainly a valuable arm with upside beyond what he is now, but the risks are fairly significant. He’s one of the guys who could easily be 30 spots higher, or nowhere near the list at all, at this time next year.
#47: Robinson Cano, 2B, New York: 2.2 WAR
Cano has rebounded from a lousy 2008 season, showing improved contact skills and finding his power stroke again, which make him one of the game’s better offensive middle infielders. He doesn’t walk and his defense isn’t great, but the rest of the package makes up for a few shortcomings. The contract extension he signed contains two team options that could keep him in pinstripes through 2013 at below market rates, as well, so he’s the rare Yankee other teams could actually afford to trade for.
#46: Elvis Andrus, SS, Texas: 1.5 WAR
He’s 20 years old and already a league average major league shortstop, thanks in large part to his defensive abilities. He has a good approach at the plate, solid contact skills, and should develop some additional power as he grows. His upside is extremely high, and he’s already a quality major league player. His reduced present value, due to the lack of current power, is the only thing that drives him this far down the list.
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