2010 Trade Value: #15 – #11

Introduction
#50-#46
#45-#41
#40-#36
#35-#31
#30-#26
#25-#21
#20-#16

#15 – David Wright, 3B, New York

It has been an interesting few years for Wright. After being a complete hitter in 2008, he lost his power and started striking out a ton last year. This year, he has regained his power but is still striking out at a high rate. The overall package is remains good, and Wright is in the argument for best third baseman in baseball, but the inconsistency in skills has to make you pause. In terms of his contract, he’s signed through 2013 for a total of $45 million. Given that those three years are his age 28-30 seasons, his salaries are team friendly compared to what Wright would receive on the open market.

#14 – Colby Rasmus, OF, St. Louis

The Cardinals star young outfielder has had a breakthrough sophomore season by sacrificing contact in order to generate a lot more power. While his strikeouts are way up, Rasmus has already matched last season’s home run total and has shown the ability to drive the baseball consistently. At just 23, he already provides a lot of offense for a center fielder, though his current performance is likely above his actual abilities – its almost impossible to hit .280 while striking out so frequently. Still, even if he settles in as more of a .260 hitter, his power and patience will make him a weapon, and the Cardinals will get to enjoy his production for at least four more years.

#13 – Robinson Cano, 2B, New York

At 27 years of age, Cano is well on his way to having the best year of his career. Always a high contact guy, he has continued to develop power while also improving his defense, and has turned himself into one of the best second baseman in the game as a result. The Yankees own his rights through 2013, and they are only on the hook for $39 million over the next three seasons. While that is decent money, it’s far below what he’s actually worth, and as a player headed into his prime years at an up-the-middle position, Cano provides significant value above and beyond what he costs.

#12 – Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee

This one was tough for me. Braun was a monster in his rookie 2007 season, but he has never been able to repeat those kinds of power numbers. In fact, his isolated slugging has declined in each of the four years he has been in the big leagues, moving in tandem with his strikeout rate, which has also fallen each year. Braun has apparently made the opposite choice that Rasmus made, and unfortunately, it hasn’t helped Braun. The skills are still there for him to be a star, but Braun is going the wrong way. That said, his contract is still far below his value, as he is locked up through 2015 for a grand total of $40 million. He might not be as good a player as he was his rookie year, but given how little money he is scheduled to make in his prime, Braun is still a bargain. And, who knows, perhaps he’ll realize sooner than later that he was better off as a monster slugger and live with the strikeouts. The skills are still there.

#11 – Justin Upton, OF, Arizona

Another tough one. Upton is not having a great year, as his power is down and his strikeouts are up over last year’s performance, but we have to keep in mind Upton’s youth. He doesn’t turn 23 for another month and has already accumulated 57 career home runs. Guys who are this good and this young almost always develop into superstars. Unless Upton screws it up, he can look forward to greatness ahead of him, and the Diamondbacks have already locked him up through 2015 for a total of $50 million. He’s not a star yet, but not only could he become one, he could be the best player in baseball. At this price, his upside would make every team in baseball get in on the bidding if he became available.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Shane
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Shane
5 years 10 months ago

These are so addicting….keep them coming

Justin
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Justin
5 years 10 months ago

Kind of confusing as to why Rasmus is so high, while Carlos Gonzalez didn’t make the list. I think they’ve got the same number of years remaining under team control. I admit Rasmus is a better defender, and has a better idea of the strike zone, but does that warrant such a wide gap between the two?

batpig
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batpig
5 years 10 months ago

Dave C. already explained why he wasn’t as high on CarGo — plate discipline. CarGo is exciting and athletic, but DC doesn’t see quite the upside in him that he does in Rasmus.

The argument here is that Rasmus is just better — his secondary skills are much stronger. Better BB%, better ISO….. and the gap is larger than it looks due to their home parks (the new Cards’ ballpark is playing like a pitchers’ park, whereas CarGo plays in Coors).

CarGo’s slash numbers look great now because he’s hitting .313. But what if he’s only a .280 hitter? If he can’t sustain a 300+ avg then he might be a 280/330/470 guy, which is still excellent… but he’s going to struggle to crack an 800 OPS. Whereas Rasmus’ secondary skills mean that even if he ends up as a .260 hitter (as postulated in the article) he could still put up 350+ OBP and 500+ SLG annually.

Again, this is just the argument, I don’t necessarily agree fully. It’s a tough call really, CarGo is so talented that he could start learning the strike zone and take a big leap forward and become a Carlos Beltran type. But when you equalize out the ballpark effects, Rasmus is easily outperforming him this year, and he’s younger, has better secondary skills, and has just as good of prospect/scouting cachet.

vivaelpujols
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vivaelpujols
5 years 10 months ago

Also, I’m pretty sure CarGo has fewer years of arbitration control. He debuted in 2008, playing 85 games, while Rasmus debuted in 2009.

Levi
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Levi
5 years 10 months ago

They should start a “Lowest Trade Value” series based on the developments so far this season: Zambrano has lost even more value while guys like Wells, Zito, and Soriano are gaining small amounts of value but still not living up to their albatross contracts by any means.

batpig
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batpig
5 years 10 months ago

I would just like to pre-empt the haters, maybe this will keep them from posting:

OMG, I cannot BELIEVE you just ranked XXX over YYY!!! This list HAS LOST ALL CREDIBILITY! Dave Cameron and Fangraphs, you guys are like LeBron James, devoid of a soul, eating the blood of little innocent babies, spreading pestilence….

Everyone who is reading this is a fool and a victim of groupthink. All you do is sit in your basements, wondering what human flesh feels like, suckling at the teat of WAR and UZR.

Let’s see if this works…..

Santoro
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Santoro
5 years 10 months ago

Well said sir. Took the words straight from my keyboard.

TomG
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TomG
5 years 10 months ago

Needs more reference to #6org

batpig
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batpig
5 years 10 months ago

you are totally right, I can’t believe I forgot that.

Ted Lehman
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Ted Lehman
5 years 10 months ago

I would just like to pre-empt the repliers, maybe this will keep them from posting:

Don’t you DARE question Dave Cameron. Ever. Why are you even here at Fangraphs if you’re going to disagree with DC? Unreal.

Bob Smith
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Bob Smith
5 years 10 months ago

Ryan Howard might be the least tradeable player in baseball.

Bronnt
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Bronnt
5 years 10 months ago

Garret Anderson-aged almost out of the league, sub .200 OBP, poor defender, very limited power. But hey, at least his contract is affordable.

marcello
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marcello
5 years 10 months ago

That would been a pretty fun series as well.

Double J
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Double J
5 years 10 months ago

Brandon Lyon and his contract might be an enry on the lowest trade value list.

YC
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YC
5 years 10 months ago

Okay, now its time to speculate who will make the Final Five.

I’d say it’s gonna be Evan Longoria, Jason Heyward, Hanley Ramirez, Stephen Strasburg, and for the fifth guy, not too sure but probably.. Joey Votto.

Rob Moore
Member
Rob Moore
5 years 10 months ago

So who’s left for the top ten?
Longoria
Strasburg
Votto
Zimmerman
Kemp
Josh Johnson
Hanley
Lester
Heyward
Halladay

That’s ten there. Anyone I’m forgetting or did I repeat someone already on the list?

YC
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YC
5 years 10 months ago

Matt Kemp is not making the list looking at the way he is fielding and running the bases.

hairball
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hairball
5 years 10 months ago

Agreed on Kemp. I had no idea how much his hideous defense was negating his production.

Bronnt
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Bronnt
5 years 10 months ago

I don’t think Matt Kemp’s UZR for this year are an accurate reflection of his real defensive ability. Prior to this year, you had a couple of season’s worth of him being fairly average in CF, and this year he’s horrible? Outlier, and it’s not a full season’s worth of data yet.

mowill
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mowill
5 years 10 months ago

I don’t know about the order but that looks close.

mowill
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mowill
5 years 10 months ago

Maybe Adrian Gonzalez for Kemp.

Alex
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Alex
5 years 10 months ago

Gonzalez was on the list of guys in the introduction that were close but didn’t make it. Definitely not him.

Abreutime
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Abreutime
5 years 10 months ago

Utley. 7.5 WAR player signed for $15M/year through 2013.

Pat M
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Pat M
5 years 10 months ago

Yea no way Kemp makes it, he’s having a terrible year and has never been a good defender. I’d have to think Pedroia makes this list as a top 3 2B and with a long, below market value contract. I want to say Utley is in there too, just cuz he is so good and so reliable. I’d also be surprised if Adrian Gonzalez doesn’t make it. You’re getting a year and a half of elite production out of him for ~$8M dollars, thats a value.

Alex
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Alex
5 years 10 months ago

Kemp gets replaced by either Pedroia or Utley. I’m thinking Pedroia because he’s cheaper, younger, and under team control an extra year. Utley may be further back due to his age and current injury (maybe?), though I still would have thought he’d make an appearance.

Jonathan
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Jonathan
5 years 10 months ago

No feasible way Pedroia doesn’t make this list with Cano up there. Pedroia is younger, has wracked up more wins in over a season and a half worth’s less service time, is signed longer and paid less than Cano. The ONLY reason I would cite for Cano potentially having higher trade value is that he has significantly better splits (He’s practically dead even home and away while Pedroia’s OPS drops significantly out of Fenway). That aside, the bigger picture makes Pedroia a definitively higher value trade candidate.

I could see a case for Utley POTENTIALLY not making it. He’s locked up through 2014 and definitively the best of the three, but he’s also the most expensive. That said, I’d say he should be in there.

don
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don
5 years 10 months ago

He’s also the oldest of the three by a lot. I’m a big Phillies fan but if you’re predicting who will be the most productive over the next 3-4 years, I don’t think Utley’s a lock.

Jonathan
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Jonathan
5 years 10 months ago

I can see that Don. That aside, he has got have more trade value than a couple of the other 40 guys already listed.

chuckb
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chuckb
5 years 10 months ago

He’s cheaper than Halladay so, in my view, he’s got a better shot of being in the top 10 than Doc does.

Wally
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Wally
5 years 10 months ago

I could understand if some GMs and casual fans are down on Kemp, but they really shouldn’t be. His BB rate has improved in the last few seasons, his K rate is up (but as you can kinda tell thats true across the leagud) and his BABIP is way down. The average of his last two seasons puts his BABIP in the .350 range. Its now at .310. The Zips ROS puts him rate back up at a .361 wOBA, which would be perfectly in line with his previous year. Then his defensive numbers are probably nothing to worry about. There is just no way he’s -30 in true talent in CF. Maybe he’s actually -5 or something, but he isn’t this bad. No chance what so ever. So if everything normalizes to those kind of numbers, he’s still a 4+ WAR player. His only problem in trade value is relatively limited team control at this point in the list. Though the total money is really low to go alone with the limited years, so maybe that evens out….

Judy
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Judy
5 years 10 months ago

I’m guessing no Kemp or Halladay, Utley and Pedroia instead.

hairball
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hairball
5 years 10 months ago

I think I’m in this line. Utley has to be in the discussion, and Halladay is paid a ton, right?

Alex
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Alex
5 years 10 months ago

Not really any more than Verlander or Hernandez

chuckb
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chuckb
5 years 10 months ago

agreed.

mowill
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mowill
5 years 10 months ago

If Pujols is on the list I don’t see how Adrian can’t be. Same contract situation except he makes about a third as much money.

Judy
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Judy
5 years 10 months ago

If you’re guessing, we already know he’s not from the intro.

Alex
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Alex
5 years 10 months ago

Adrian isn’t nearly as good though.

Josh S.
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Josh S.
5 years 10 months ago

Not really sure how you can say that Cano is improving his defense… Isn’t everyone always stressing sample sizes… Maybe I’m off base here but isn’t 3 years of fielding data basically equal to 1 year of hitting data?

I enjoy the list but I’m just not sure I can see how Cano is ranked above Wright. ZiPS projects a .400 RoS wOBA for Wright compared to just a .366 for Cano. Not to mention Wright is a better fielder.

Can someone justify Cano over Wright?

Englishgrey
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Englishgrey
5 years 10 months ago

He’s a Yankee.

Alex
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Alex
5 years 10 months ago

Well over the last 4 years he’s been roughly average despite a terrible 2008 than appears to have been an aberration all around. I’m inclined to think something was wrong with Cano that year.

I’m assuming the question with Wright is about the ridiculous increase in K rate over the last 2 years. He probably can’t maintain his current pace with that sort of K rate and it may portend an early decline.

They’re so close its not really worth arguing about though.

Rex Manning Day
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Rex Manning Day
5 years 10 months ago

Wright is under contract for a year less than Cano, and is being paid more over that period than Cano is. Cano also gets a bump in value because of his performance this year. Remember, this isn’t a ranking of how good these players are, it’s how valuable they are on the market. And when a 2nd baseman is hitting like a batting-champion-first-baseman, he’s bound to get a bump in (perceived) value on the market.

caseyB
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caseyB
5 years 10 months ago

Actually, according to this article, both players are under contract through 2013. Wright will make $6 million more over that time, however. But it’s not that much more.

Cano has the slightly better stats this year, but Wright has the much better career stats. They are both the same age.

I don’t think 2 spots is that much of a difference. I would chalk it up to just a preference/whim by the author that Cano came in ahead of Wright.

If I were a GM I would take Wright because of the better track record and his rep for leadership qualities.

Neal
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Neal
5 years 10 months ago

No love for Haren? He’s not top 10 so it doesn’t look like he’s going to make it. Kind of surprising considering he’s coming off of two great seasons and, despite a higher ERA this season, his underlying performance seems to be pretty close to his last two (6+ wins each) seasons. He’s not super cheap compared to other pitchers on the list but he still should significantly outperform his contract. I was expecting to see him somewhere in the middle of the top 50.

Mike
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Mike
5 years 10 months ago

I’m expecting Pedroia and Utley.

What’s interesting is that there are a ton of players who are really good, who probably deserve to be on this list but simply do not fit.

Carlos Gonzalez, Clay Buchholz, Pedro Alvarez, Jeff Neimann, Justin Smoak, Neftali Feliz, Chris Tillman, and Billy Butler just off the top of my head.

We’ve seen a pretty large influx of young talent recently.

philosofool
Member
Member
philosofool
5 years 10 months ago

A lot of these guys strike me as “top prospect” trades, but they’re not so much guys you would plan to build a team around. Smoak and Alvarez both seem to need more development, but the talent is there. Same with Tillman and Buchholz–and pitcher’s develop less predictably than hitters. Feliz hasn’t actually shown that he can start, which hurts his value. Butler isn’t much of a defender at 1B and hasn’t really shown true 1B on-base + power skills, but given his age, he’s the guy first guy from this list that I would add.

Ivdown
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Ivdown
5 years 10 months ago

Hanley
Longoria
Strasburg
Utley
Lester
Zimmerman
Heyward
Votto
Josh Johnson

I’m not sure who else might be in the top 10. Would Halladay still make it?

batpig
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batpig
5 years 10 months ago

Yes, of course. If good pitchers with big ass contracts (like Verlander and King Felix) can make it, the BEST pitcher with his not-as-big-ass contract will make it.

batpig
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batpig
5 years 10 months ago

actually, I just looked at the numbers and his contract terms ($20M/yr) are actually similar to Verlander’s…. but only $60M guaranteed (the 4th year is an option) and he is a better pitcher than Verlander.

Bill
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Bill
5 years 10 months ago

That pretty much has to be the top 10, right? I can’t imagine any of those guys getting left off the list totally.

RPS
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RPS
5 years 10 months ago

I have a strong feeling that Miguel Cabrera will not make this list. This would be an unhappy development.

don
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don
5 years 10 months ago

He’s got $106M left on his deal after 2010. He’s a great player, but I would think he’s in the same boat as Mauer with a contract that big.

Alex
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Alex
5 years 10 months ago

Exactly there would only be a handful of teams that could even consider adding him, which would certainly hurt the return he’d get in a trade.

Lucas
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Lucas
5 years 10 months ago

I think it’s right that Miggy’s in Mauer country with his contract. A great player payed owed a great amount. How about this comparison though:

Youkilis, 31, owed $37m through 2013, ~$12.3/year
Morneau, 29, owed $42m through 2013, $14/year

I think before the season you clearly would have taken Youkilis for those terms, but now I’m not so sure it’s clear (although if I was a GM, I’d wait for Morneau’s current head injury to clear up before trading for him). I’m sure Morneau’s not top 10, but I think he deserved a spot on the list given Youkilis at #17.

batpig
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batpig
5 years 10 months ago

Miggy Cabrera is owed over $100MM for the next five seasons. He is undoubtedly great, and given the age/talent difference he is much more likely to be worth his contract than Ryan Howard…. but that’s still a crap ton of money.

RPS
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RPS
5 years 10 months ago

But Pujols was on the list. Cabrera is $4 mill more this year and next, but I’m pretty sure Pujols will be far more expensive than Miguel after that. I’d also much, much rather have Cabrera’s next five years than Pujols’s. I could certainly understand Miggy not being on the list, but I can’t see any reason for him to not be ahead of Pujols.

Alex
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Alex
5 years 10 months ago

The fact that Pujols will be more expensive down the road is irrelevant because a team wouldn’t be forced to sign him. The financial commitment to Cabrera would be prohibitive, with only a few teams possibly bidding on him.

Chris
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Chris
5 years 10 months ago

Buchholz?

Alex
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Alex
5 years 10 months ago

Didn’t make the list. Peripherals don’t support the pretty ERA. No reason he’d be this much higher than guys like Hanson and Price.

Big Oil
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Big Oil
5 years 10 months ago

Tulo? remeber the uproar last year…Dave was right on that one.

Big Oil
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Big Oil
5 years 10 months ago

n/m he is at #37.

Alex
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Alex
5 years 10 months ago

Even Dave would admit he was incorrect on that ranking. If he had realized that Tulo had that clause to void his whole deal if he’s traded he wouldn’t have ended up as high as he did.

perfectstrat
Member
perfectstrat
5 years 10 months ago

1. Longoria
2. Hanley
3. Votto
4. J. Johnson
5. Strasburg
6. Upton
7. Zimmerman
8. Lester
9. Pedroia
10. Halladay

Something like this? What do you think?

Alex
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Alex
5 years 10 months ago

Obviously Upton isn’t top 10 (he’s #11) and Heyward needs to be on there. I’d bump Votto down a bit and put Heyward in the top 5.

Ben
Member
Ben
5 years 10 months ago

Maybe he was talking about BJ. ;)

perfectstrat
Member
perfectstrat
5 years 10 months ago

Oops. I was going to make a Franklin Gutierrez joke at No. 6. Guess I got too tied up.

chuckb
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chuckb
5 years 10 months ago

Halladay won’t be on the list. He’s owed $60 million over the next 3 years. That’s a really tough contract to trade for. He’s a great pitcher but his surplus value isn’t that much greater than the money owed to him. The others in your top 10 list are much more valuable than Halladay.

Bob Jones
Guest
5 years 10 months ago

Ryan Braun is the biggest steal ( other than Longoria) in baseball. He’s signed for another 5-6 years at bargain basement salary.

george
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george
5 years 10 months ago

my best guess:
1) longoria
2) hanley
3) strasburg
4) heyward
5) josh johnson
6) zimmerman
7) votto
8) lester
9) pedroia
10) halladay

i certainly think halladay has to be on the list somewhere, and there’s no way utley’s higher than cano given his age, price, and declining numbers

Teej
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Teej
5 years 10 months ago

Utley’s is most certainly on the list.

mowill
Member
mowill
5 years 10 months ago

It seems like someone really good is not going to be on the list. Maybe Utley replaces Halladay because of Halladay’s age?? Or Utley is docked because of his age?? It will be interesting and that is for sure.

Teej
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Teej
5 years 10 months ago

Halladay. He was No. 37 last year, but his $20 million-a-year contract probably knocks him off the list.

Chris Cwik
Member
Member
5 years 9 months ago

George,
Nice work on the predictions. You only missed Utley, that’s incredible.

Omar
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Omar
5 years 10 months ago

Zimmerman hasn’t been listed yet? Hmmm…I could have sworn that he’d be on here already. Anyways, I’m surprised to see Cano and Wright (along with his .399 BABIP) this high.

Alex B.
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Alex B.
5 years 10 months ago

Are these rankings assuming Braun is a DH or a LF? He’s cost his team a win against replacement already this year and defense is not an area that tends to get better with age. Also, his offense is not improving. Certainly he is worth his contract and then some, but I would not have ranked him this high.

Omar
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Omar
5 years 10 months ago

As to Pedroia in the top ten…he’s kinda like Tulowitzki, his value is highest in Boston. If Tulowitzki is only 37 I have a hard time ranking Pedroia top 10, that’s just me though. There’s about a fifty point difference between his home OPS and away OPS, I realize he’s still a great player and players typically perform better at home anyways…but it’s still something to consider.

Alex
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Alex
5 years 10 months ago

Tulo’s contract clause kills his trade value. You only get him for 2 years at arbitration prices. Pedroia on the other hand you get for 4 years at 33.5 million, though I could see Dave not realizing that Pedroia’s last option year would be voided now if he’s trading, thus meaning in his mind a trading team gets Pedroia for 5 years at 44.5 million.

Omar
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Omar
5 years 10 months ago

They also get “away” Pedroia and not Fenway Pedroia…I know too much is made of home/away splits, but over 2500 career PAs the difference between home and away Pedroia is 44 points of wOBA, that’s a stark difference. That has to be accounted for by anyteam that trades for him…it’s not that Fenway is a “bandbox” (well it is…but that isn’t the point) it’s that it perfectly suits his hitting moreso than any other park in the majors.

Omar
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Omar
5 years 10 months ago

As to Braun, I have a feeling he’s going to finish the transformation into a left handed Miguel Cabrera at the plate. I’d have no reservations placing him in the top ten, and maybe even the top five. Once Prince Fielder leaves they might move him to first, he seems like an athletic enough dude to play the OF though.

mowill
Member
mowill
5 years 10 months ago

Braun is left handed now?

Tommy
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Tommy
5 years 10 months ago

It’s going to be a heck of a transformation. He will also be transforming from an outfielder into an…outfielder since he’s athletic enough.

Omar
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Omar
5 years 10 months ago

Fuck…my bad…I was thinking of Fielder, not Braun when I typed that. Miguel Cabrera is a great comp for what I expect Braun to be.

Chris
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Chris
5 years 10 months ago

Jayson Werth has immense trade value considering his contract, IMO.

Mike Francesa
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Mike Francesa
5 years 10 months ago

Hmm, Werth look valuable. Yanks should trade Javy Lopez… urrr. I mean Vazquez for Werth. Phillies would like Vazquez. He is a winning pitcher. Right. Right?

Steve Phillips
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Steve Phillips
5 years 10 months ago

If Stephen Strasburg is in the top 10, Roy Oswalt should be too.

LEE D
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LEE D
5 years 10 months ago

oh steve, we miss u

LEE D
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LEE D
5 years 10 months ago

#1 has to be hanely, right

John Franco
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John Franco
5 years 10 months ago

I don’t get this one:

Rasmus: 33% K rate and 2.3 WAR this year. Turns 24 in August. 4 more years of club control. 12% walk rate is pretty nice but a negative UZR in CF this year.

McCutchen: 19% K rate and 2.2 WAR this year. Turns 24 in October. FIVE more years of club control. Still a solid 11% walk rate. Also a negative UZR but not quite as bad. He doesn’t have Rasmus’ power but he is a great basestealer which makes up for some of it.

I don’t see trading Cutch for Rasmus if I’m the Pirates. Not at all. If either of them is going to improve their UZR I would expect it would be McCutchen. I know it’s 100 points of ISO but I’d rather have another year of team control AND the baserunning skills.

Dan
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Dan
5 years 6 months ago

Interesting to see 2 of these guys being mentioned in trade talks. If a deal goes down it will give us a better idea of the actual instead of relative trade value of the list and how it compares to real mlb GM lists.

Would a GM be crazy to trade a guy in the top 15 on this list?

CFIC
Guest
5 years 6 months ago

yes

Rummy
Guest
Rummy
5 years 6 months ago

Yeah as soon I starting hearing about the Upton rumors I remembered about the trade values rankings so I came back to see where he was ranked.

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