2012 Trade Value: #50-#46

Now that we’ve looked back at last year’s Trade Value list, we’re ready for the 2012 version. Before we get to the rankings, here’s a quick recap of the idea behind the list, and what we’re trying to measure:

If every player in baseball was made available for trade, who would generate the most in return for their current club? Since it only takes two clubs to start a bidding war, we’re not trying to measure who has the most value to all 30 clubs, but rather who which player has so much value that they’d command a larger return in trade from one team than any other player. Some of the players on this list will be guys that many franchises can’t afford, but they still have significant trade value to high revenue clubs. Others are not quite as strong of performers on the field, but they’ve signed contracts that are extremely team friendly and would be franchise building blocks for lower revenue clubs. I’ve tried to balance out the value of performance and cost over the number of years that a team would control a player’s rights in order to determine which players have the most value as we head towards the 2012 trade deadline.

As a reference, we’ll be listing the years and dollars that a team has a player under control for including all team option years, as the assumption is that those are all seen as positive net value years, and would be seen as such by an acquiring team. The amount remaining on the contract includes half of their 2012 salaries and all future guaranteed salaries plus base salaries covered by the team options, though many deals have complicated option structures, buyouts, and bonuses that make these more of a ballpark figure than an exact accounting of what they’ll make going forward. For players who have remaining arbitration years, it is obviously impossible to know exactly what they’ll make in those years, so we’ll just list how many more trips through arbitration they have coming.

So, without further ado, let’s get to the last five guys on the list.

50. Elvis Andrus, SS, Texas – Signed through 2014 for $12 million.

After coming up as a defensive specialist, Andrus has continued to make progress as a hitter, and is now one of the best all around shortstops in the game, and he doesn’t turn 24 until August 26th. The combination of youth and productivity at a premium position make him one of the game’s best young players, but the Rangers weren’t able to buy out any of his free agent years when they signed him to a three year, $14.4 million contract last offseason. While he’s young, he doesn’t have enough years of team control to rank as highly as his performance might otherwise suggest, and glove first players still don’t command the types of return that guys who can create runs at the plate can. While Andrus is one of the best young players in baseball, his skillset and short contract serve to keep him at the very end of this list.

49. Yovani Gallardo, SP, Milwaukee – Signed through 2015 for $35 million.

Still just 26, the idea of Gallardo developing into an ace seems to become less likely each year. He’s actually taken a bit of a step back with his command this season, and while he still misses bats, the combination of walks and home runs keep him from being a true front of the rotation hurler. He’s got two more years and a team option left on the deal he signed in 2010 at more than reasonable salaries, so he’d be a coveted asset, but he’s more good player at a good price than a young ace-in-the-making.

48. Matt Cain, SP, San Francisco – Signed through 2017 for $128 million.

So much for being overpaid. The best way to show you’re worth your shiny new contract is to dramatically up your strikeout rate while cutting your walks at the same time — well, as long as you’re a pitcher, anyway — and post career bests nearly across the board. Cain has transformed from durable innings eater into a legitimate ace, and even with salaries of $20 million per year kicking in, he’s the kind of guy that contenders would love to add to their rotation. He’s not cheap, but he’s good enough to still command a serious haul even with his new contract.

47. Alcides Escobar, SS, Kansas City – Signed through 2017 for $21 million.

Yes, this might be too aggressive of a ranking for a guy who was an abysmal Major League hitter before the 2012 season began. Any team paying a high price for Escobar would have to hope that the big step forward offensively is at least somewhat sustainable, and would be taking on a serious risk that the BABIP comes crashing down and he’s more of a decent starter than any kind of serious core building block. However, scouts still love his defensive abilities (even if UZR disagrees this year) and the Royals have him locked up for five more years at bargain basement prices, so there’s legitimate value there even if he doesn’t keep hitting like he has in the first few months of this season. While there’s a lot of regression risk here, he should at least be an average shortstop making peanuts through his prime, and there’s certainly upside beyond that.

46. Robinson Cano, 2B, New York – Signed through 2013 for $22 million.

Yes, there’s only a year and a half left before he’s eligible for free agency, and he’s going to command a monstrous contract pretty soon, but he’s performing at a level that makes him one of the very best players in baseball. He’s turned some of his doubles into home runs and is drawing more walks than ever, transforming himself from a good-hitter-for-his-position into just a great-hitter-period. Cano’s one of the few guys in the sport who can play a premium position and hit like a first baseman, and he doesn’t turn 30 until October. The short term team control and high expected cost to re-sign him drive down his trade value to some degree, but there are certainly a few big market clubs who would love to have the chance to sign Cano long term, and would have give up significant talent for the right to do it.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


120 Responses to “2012 Trade Value: #50-#46”

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  1. st says:

    does Profar show up ahead of Andrus?

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  2. elooie says:

    I really hope MadBum isn’t on this list.. Way overrated.. no trade value

    In Daves opinion.

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    • MD says:

      You obviously haven’t watched Bumgarner pitch much. He’s ONLY 22 and already a top pitcher. Just wait until he hits his prime. He had just turned 21 when he completely dominated Texas in that pivotal game 4 shutout in the 2010 World Series–on the road no less. Is he super dominant yet–no of course not. But I see him throw every 5 days and he’s got all the physical tools to be a dominant pitcher. And he’s getting close. I guess 11-5 with 104 K’s (against only 25 BB’s) in 122 innings, an ERA of 3.15 and a whip of 1.07 isn’t impressive enough for you. And, again, he’s only 22.

      Not only that he’s as mentally tough as they come. To call him overrated clearly shows a complete lack of understanding and knowledge of Bumgarner’s ability. He should have been an all-star this year–his numbers were better than 4-5 pitchers selected. He will be for years to come.

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      • Nitram Odarp says:

        I think you missed the last line where he added, “in Dave’s opinion.” Pretty sure it was a sarcastic jab at him not making it last year.

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    • chuckb says:

      I really fail to understand passive-aggressive comments like this one, Mrs. Bumgarner. Hopefully one day children like you will be able to read these posts and comment as an adult would, rather than as a spoiler 6 year old who didn’t get dessert.

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  3. everdiso says:

    Once again, no credit given to Bill Simmons. Pathetic.

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    • Ryan says:

      He just freaking mentioned him two hours ago.

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    • Big Jgke says:

      Wow, Bill Simmons’ fans are even more insane about making sure people talk about how great he is than the man himself. Pathetic

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    • Jake says:

      He linked to the first article in this series, in which he gave credit to Simmons. What else do you want?

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    • Jake says:

      Yep, these are Bill Simmons’ readers…
      I’ll make it real easy for you.
      “I’ve been doing this list for a while — after borrowing the idea from Bill Simmons, who does an NBA style version of this every year.”

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    • Anon21 says:

      I think it’s probably a joke, dudes. everdiso’s only known axe to grind is ensuring that everyone recognizes the greatness of AA and the Jays’ unstoppable second half push to the playoffs.

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      • Well-Beered Englishman says:

        Plus, everdiso’s the guy who replies to his nuttier posts by saying someone else is trolling under his username.

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    • zbelair says:

      “I’ve been doing this list for a while — after borrowing the idea from Bill Simmons, who does an NBA style version of this every year”

      On the intro page to this years Trade Value rankings, which is also linked to at the beginning of this post…

      How much more credit can be given? Are you expecting each player ranking to have a footnote: “Rank #50 (inspired by Bill Simmons NBA Trade Value Rank #50)”?

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    • stoeten says:

      Ahhh, everdiso. Did I ever tell you thanks for leaving DJF and never coming back?

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    • Michael Scarn says:

      I would say this is everdiso’s most thumbed-down comment but, to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least bit if it wasn’t.

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  4. drewggy says:

    I know you can just click on the name to find out, but I think in the future, it would be nice if you listed the player’s current age after his name.

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  5. Big Jgke says:

    LET THE CONTROVERSY… BEGIN!!!!

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  6. Matt says:

    I would not trade Matt Cain for 17 Alcides Escobars

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    • NatsFan73 says:

      What on Earth would you do with 17 Alcides Escobars even if you had them?

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    • PiratesHurdles says:

      I have a feeling that we will see a lot of “I wouldn’t trade player X who was not ranked for Alcides Escobar”.

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      • Dan says:

        That’s because the ISO over .100 is a mirage, and the .373 Babip will regress. I think he’s more of a .320 wOBA player, at best. But if you buy the offensive improvement, he’s a nice piece to have.

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    • jim says:

      ah, the first post to completely miss the point of the series this year

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      There are going to be a lot of cases where players ranked right next to each other wouldn’t be traded for each other due to the circumstances of one team or the other. It’s important to keep in mind that trade value is an aggregate thing, based on interest from the most interested teams. That the Giants and Royals wouldn’t swap Cain for Escobar isn’t really the question.

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    • Mike says:

      Isn’t 17 Alcides Escobars a Gabriel Garcia Marquez short story?

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    • chuckb says:

      17 Alcides Escobars would, obviously, increase the number of shortstops with his skillset and would increase the replacement level for the position. Thus, each Escobar becomes much less valuable.

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  7. Will says:

    I’m not sure I understand the Escobar ranking. Best case scenario, he’s worth something like 3.0 WAR per season. For 5 years $17mil, that’s nice. But you could also just sign a guy like Jamey Carroll for $3mil/season and get nearly comparable production.

    It seems like there should be a bunch more SS on this list if Escobar is #48.

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    • Will says:

      Oops, read the article too fast. Should be 5 years $21mil. And #47 not 48.

      Either way, doesn’t detract from my original point.

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    • It is not as easy to find 3 WAR guys for 3MM/yr as you are making it seem.

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      • Will says:

        Who’s saying Escobar is a 3 win player? His best season was 2.2 WAR. So until he proves otherwise, he’s much more of a 2 win player. In that scenario, my example of Jamey Carroll is perfect. He’s been worth 6.3 WAR, 2009-2011, and was paid about $6m in that span.

        Jerry Hairston, Clint Barmes, Cliff Pennington, Brendan Ryan and Jason Bartlett all have similar levels of production for around $4mil/season.

        So, I’d argue, yes, it’s not that difficult to find 2-3 WAR guys.

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      • Consider all the other examples of players who were paid about 2-3MM/year in that span. How many produced even 2 WAR? Picking one FA signing who happens to do that does not mean that it is easy to find guys who do that. You need to examine the whole set.

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      • Will says:

        Um, I just listed 6 shortstops, who have been paid around $4mil or less per season and produced similarly to Escobar (not one?).
        In fact, Jamey Carroll, Ian Desmond, Cliff Pennington, Brendan Ryan, Sean Rodriguez, Emilio Bonifacio, and Jed Lowrie have all outperformed Escobar, and will be paid LESS than Escobar over the next several years.

        Nevermind guys like Tulowitzki, Andrus, Y. Escobar, Ramirez, Drew, and A Cabrera…. Escobar has been the 25th best SS since 2010, and a decently team friendly contract (but one that isn’t very unreasonably team friendly, when any of 5 or 6 players could have been paid the same amount for similar production through free agency. I’m still really confused as to what makes Escobar the 47th most valuable player?

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      • None of the other guys you originally listed meet your qualifications, as they are either not 2-3 WAR players, or are still arbitration eligible.

        Now, if you want to argue that Escobar’s offensive uptick is due for regression, and he is more of a 1-2 WAR player, that’s a different story.

        I agree FG is overhyping his value in this piece. I was just disagreeing with you considering whether it was easy to fin d cheap 2-3 WAR players.

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      • Dave Cameron says:

        UZR rates Escobar as an average defender for his career and awful this year. Most MLB teams disagree with that assessment, and think he’s actually an outstanding defensive SS. If you substitute in their opinion for UZR, his WAR goes up by a good margin.

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      • bstar says:

        DRS also has Escobar posting a negative dWAR at B-Ref for the first time in his career this year.

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    • Austin Brancheau says:

      Jamey Carroll? LOL!

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      • Will says:

        Since 2010

        Escobar: 4.5 WAR
        Carroll: 5.5 WAR

        Escobar is locked up for 5 year $21mil (on average $4.2mil/season)
        Jamey Carroll was only paid about $3mil despite similar production.

        Low offense/good defense types aren’t very valuable on the FA market. The Royals could have replaced Escobar’s production with any one of a number of guys like Carroll, Brendan Ryan, or Clint Barmes types through free agency for probably less than $4.2 mil/year.

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      • Austin Brancheau says:

        Just throwing up WAR since 2010 proves nothing. Jamey Carroll is 38, and starting everyday for the first time in his career. A comparison to 25yo Alcides Escobar is nonsense. WAR also cannot be accepted as gospel. Escobar has a fantastic glove at SS, yet his UZR is ugly this year. Cherry-picking a past bargain and then comparing Escobar to that present 38yo player is laughable.

        Each of your examples are finding the bargian after the fact. If only being a GM were that easy. Please, tell me which SS is going to be that nice 3WAR for $3mm player – and do that for the next 3 years. If you can do that, then maybe I’ll buy your argument

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      • soccrtiger13 says:

        I see your Jamey Carroll argument and raise you a 2011 Yuniesky Betancourt (who was part of the Greinke trade that brought Escobar to the Royals in the first place) and a 2005-2009 Cesar Izturis.

        As has been said you can’t just pick out the good ones and not count the bad ones.

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      • Skob says:

        Yeah Will! The more you post, the dumber your point gets!

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      Jamey Carroll is 38, Alcides Escobar is 25.

      Yes, if Escobar regresses into a lousy hitter, than he’s ranked too high. There are quite a few teams that think this is at least partially real, and they see him as very similar to Andrus as a player with a better contract.

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    • d_i says:

      Jamey Carroll and Escobar are not in the same stratosphere of fielding. As Dave mentioned, UZR isn’t fond of his year thus far which largely affects his WAR, but given his career fielding sample size and 5 years of team control, he looks to provide some of the best surplus value from SS on his contract (largely dependant on if the bat is actually progressing)

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  8. godzilla70 says:

    Dave, any chance you can list last year’s rank (if any) for each player? Curious how they’ve changed but too lazy to toggle back and forth to 2011 list in your earlier article. Thanks.

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  9. YanksFanInBeantown says:

    Not to come off too homerish, but Cano hasn’t been a “good-hitter-for-his-position” since 2009.

    And Andrus is a Top-5 hitting shortstop in baseball with 3 years to go before his prime.

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    • RC says:

      I’m not sure I agree at this point.

      Cano has clearly been the best hitting 2B in baseball right now, but from 2010-2011 (you saying since 2009)

      wRC:
      Cano: 137
      Pedroia: 132
      Kinsler: 124

      If we do 2009-2011
      wRC:
      Utley: 133
      Cano: 132
      Zobrist: 128
      Pedroia: 124

      So, he’s probably the best hitter at his position, but not by much. Good hitter for his position is exactly right, especially when you consider that Kinsler, Zobrist, and Pedroia are all superior defenders.

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      • Cliff says:

        “Good hitter for his position” is not exactly right. BEST hitter at his position and good hitter at ANY position is right.

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      • RC says:

        The only time hes been the best is this year. Outside that, they’re all within the margin of error. IE, other than this year, he hasn’t been really any better of a hitter than Utley, Kinsler, Pedroia.

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      • YanksFanInBeantown says:

        Well, I was including this year in that statement, and on the 2010-2012 leaderboards he’s 13th in wOBA and wRC+

        I also don’t trust wRC+ in Fenway because of Pedey’s insane Home/Away splits in wRC+ which shouldn’t exist with proper park adjustments. I don’t think it accurately measures the effect of the Monster on doubles, which are Pedroia’s bread and butter.

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      • Bill says:

        Those guys are not superior to Cano at 2B. No way. They don’t have his range, his arm, or his ability to turn 2 at second. Cano gets to balls Pedroia can only dream of, has a far superior arm to Kinsler, and Zobrist is a part time OF. Cano is the best 2B in the game, period.

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    • TKDC says:

      By that third year (2015, when he’s turning 27), team control is up. If Andrus is a great player in his prime, that doesn’t mean that a team trading for him will gain anything from that. I don’t think you can project Andrus as really being anything more than he is right now, though that is really good.

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  10. TheOneWhoKnocks says:

    Too high on alcides. Royals would trade alcides for every player above him. (and in every case the opposing GM would decline)
    I know he’s having a nice half season and his. contract is very very team friendly but his track record with the bat doesn’t justify this.

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    • Dan says:

      On the team friendly contract–if the bat regresses all the way back to his pre-2012 numbers (a nonzero probability), he would be a nontender candidate.

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    • Dan says:

      And Escobar’s skills are not the kind that typically pay in arb, so the contract isn’t THAT team-friendly.

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  11. Brian says:

    I wonder if Ruben Tejada makes this list given the other shortstops present.

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    • AL Eastbound says:

      I’ll take this one, NO.

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      • Brian says:

        Tejada is 3 years younger and by WAR has been more valuable than Escobar despite playing in half as many games. Last year Escobar was worth .4 more WAR despite having 240 more PAs. I am not saying that Tejada should be on this list but I am interetsed in the rationale of why one over the other.

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    • Anon21 says:

      He’s probably a somewhat worse player than Escobar, so I’d guess he missed the cutoff.

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  12. Bubba says:

    The only question I have is whether the Troutards are going to revolt when Cameron enacts his Harper fetishism and rates Brycey Boy as #1 over the Millville Meteor.

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  13. Ryan says:

    I will agree with others that it would be enjoyable to have the players age and ranking last season. Perhaps even their history through the rankings…it wouldn’t take up too much room.

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  14. Eminor3rd says:

    Yeah I can’t see Escobar commanding Gallardo+

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    • Eminor3rd says:

      Or, for that matter, more than Andrus.

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      • chuckb says:

        Andrus will be a free agent 3 years before Escobar which means, obviously, that through 2017 Andrus is going to be paid a lot more than Escobar. It’s probably a $20 M difference or more, even spotting Andrus the $9 M through 2014. So, it’s reasonable to conclude that Escobar + $20 M is worth a little more than Andrus.

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      • Eminor3rd says:

        But Andrus is SO much better than Escobar, and I think there’s a real concern to team projecting more than 3+ years ahead anyway. So many players fall off, get injured, break out, etc. — I find it very hard to believe that ANY team would rather have Escobar than Andrus, contract included, and I don’t think it would even be a tough decision.

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    • jim says:

      ah good, another poster to not get the point of this series. it’s like you guys don’t even read the actual article

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      • Sleight of Hand Pro says:

        What point is he missing? the series is about trade value. esobar being ranked ahead of gallardo implies escobar would receive more in a trade than gallardo would.

        comments like this have flooded these series for years, and are more annoying than the trolls. how is saying gallardo is worth more than escobar not understanding the point of the series?

        frankly, the escobar ranking is a joke. he would net significantly less in a trade than the other 4 names listed, and its not even close. his inclusion with the other names (and im well aware of the team control/salaries of the other players) is an indictment on the entire series quite honestly.

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      • jim says:

        he’s saying he can’t see the brewers sending more than gallardo to the royals for escobar, which is not what the series is about

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      • Sleight of Hand Pro says:

        he said “yeah i cant see escobar commanding gallardo+…. or for that matter, more than andrus”

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      • Eminor3rd says:

        How else would you suggest evaluating a player’s position on the list other than comparing him to the players ahead and behind him? How else can you get context? I’m saying that Escobar is significantly less valuable than Gallardo and Andrus, and so I don’t agree that he is ranked higher than both of them.

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  15. byron says:

    Count me as fine on Escobar, but I think Andrus is a touch low. Boy, do I not envy you dealing with the players with less than two years of control left.

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    • RC says:

      Agree. Andrus is 24, hes already one of the best SS in baseball, and hes exactly the sort of player who ages well.

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      Andrus was really hard to rank. There’s a lot of long term potential, but none of it is under team control. Maybe he should be higher, maybe he shouldn’t be on the list. He’s tough.

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  16. kid says:

    Pardon me if I sound like a rookie, but with a pitcher like Cain who continually manages to best his xFIP by .5+ each season, do other teams use that in calculating their values of Cain? I mean it’s not exactly a secret that before 2012 he routinely posted xFIPs around 4, yet his actual ERAs were in the low-mid 3s. I’m not debating the predictive powers of xFIP, but rather how other teams use the tool in coming up with their own values for Cain.

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    • RC says:

      I doubt that there’s a single team out there using xFIP. Most of the teams have better tools, and more information than we do.

      That, and the only place FIP is a better tool to use than ERA is in pitchers parks.

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      Teams will look at a player’s stuff and peripheral stats, but most pitchers are valued based on a combination of durability and run prevention. Teams would be more likely to hold Cain’s environment against him than his xFIP.

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      • B N says:

        Durability has got to win him some bonus points then. He’s built like a Roy Halladay or a Clemens.

        I’m also not sure how much it would make sense to dock him on run environment. Looking at his stats broken down by park, he’s only had 3 parks where his ERA was over 4 (Chase, Coors, and Minute Maid) during the last 3 years. Those account for 70 innings out of about 660 total. His total away ERA is 3.14 over that span.

        As a comparison, a similarly durable pitcher by the name of Sabathia has 5 parks with an ERA over 4 in the same span and a road ERA of 3.27 total.

        So even if teams think that his 3 ERA is an NL West mirage, it’s a mirage that’s hiding an ERA of what? 3.25? 3.5? If I’m any team in the AL East and I can plug in an ERA of 3.5, I’d trip over myself doing it.

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      • YanksFanInBeantown says:

        @B N

        He’s in the worst division in the worse league. His 3.14 road ERA is not comparable to CC’s 3.27 road ERA because over the past 3 years NO NL West team has a wRC+ over 100 while only ONE AL East team has a wRC+ below 100. (Caps for emphasis)

        That is the environment Cameron is talking about.

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    • Brendan says:

      Since when are 2.89 and 2.88 (2009 and 2011, respectively) ‘low to mid 3s?’ He’s had an ERA over 3 once in 3 1/2 seasons since his breakout.

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    • Bill but not Ted says:

      Predictive power of xFIP? I view .06 more correlation as slightly less un-predictive, but certainly not predictive

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  17. Mike says:

    If a player was in his second full season and looks like he’ll give you 4 WAR +/- 1 for the next 4.5 years, would that be Top 50?

    While very bipolar I think that’s what Pedro Alvarez is.

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    • chuckb says:

      That’s a bit optimistic for a guy on pace for less than 3 WAR this season who has the contact and defense issues that Alvarez has.

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      • Gaupo says:

        His defense has improved by leaps and bounds. His UZR is about league average and his arm is the strongest I’ve ever seen. He’ll be at least a league average 3B for the next 5 years.

        As far as his WAR, he’s at 2.0 now and the Bucs play A LOT of games against the Astros and Cubs the rest of the year. Throw in a bunch of September call-up types and I’d bet on 4.0 WAR assuming no injuries.

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  18. indyralph says:

    I looked at the WAR leaderboards for 2008 through 2012. I looked for the first player with a K% higher than 25%. I first came to Carlos Pena, with 11.4 WAR since 2008. He had a 15.5% BB rate and 27.8% K rate and 119 wRC+. Alvarez has a career 9.4% BB rate, 31% K rate, and 94 wRC+. A guy who needs to improve to become Carlos Pena does not have much trade value.

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  19. J52490 says:

    Was Ruben Tejada considered? His value has to be close if not on par with Alcides.

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  20. Kinanik says:

    Is there any evidence that a team having a player for X amount of time before that player hits free agency garners that team a discount if they want to resign them? Does the discount increase as the player’s amount of time in a system increases?

    So, if some random team were to trade for a player with 1.5 seasons left (say, Cano), would they get a discount? .5 years (Dempster)? 4.5 years? Does the discount increase with the player’s age (or status=married, kids)?

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  21. Nitram Odarp says:

    I’m interested to see if Andrelton Simmons makes the list after seeing Alcides Escobar’s ranking. The general consensus seems to be that Simmons is already the best defensive SS in baseball, he has 6 more years of team control left, and he seems like a solid bet to at least be around league average with the bat over that period.

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    • Mike says:

      I’m interested to see if Bill Simmons’ fans decry the intellectual piracy of Andrelton Simmons for not crediting Bill with being named “Simmons” first. I’m thinking probably.

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    • Anon21 says:

      I think you’re overstating “general consensus” on his defensive abilities. Extremely good, yes, “best in baseball,” not necessarily. Brendan Ryan would definitely like to have a word on that.

      And frankly, Simmons’ bat has been surprisingly good, but in a very small sample. I think most GMs would want to see how the bat plays out over several months of regular playing time before sending, say, a Matt Cain in trade for him.

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  22. Ivdown says:

    I think I know the answer, but after an MVP worthy year, and monster numbers in about 38 games this year, does Matt Kemp have any shot of making it? I thought if Cain made it Kemp might have a shot at the next list, but I’m thinking probably not.

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  23. Dylan says:

    My Top 5 Guesses:

    5. Strasburg
    4. Stanton
    3. Kershaw
    2. Harper
    1. Trout

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    • Anon21 says:

      Given his position, Stanton might be a bit high there. Wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him push into the top 10, though.

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    • #teamteddy says:

      Despite his injuries, I still think Longoria will be near the top. Perhaps ahead of Strasburg, who has an injury history of his own.

      I think Harper is being overvalued by the masses here- not that he won’t turn into a great player, but thus far he’s just a .280 hitter. Remember, there’s more of a focus on performance this year. I think names like Braun and Kemp will lurk near the top despite their contracts, and McCutchen has a nice mix of performance and contract friendliness also.

      My top 5:
      5. Strasburg
      4. McCutchen
      3. Stanton
      2.Longoria
      1. Trout

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      • Well-Beered Englishman says:

        “just a .280 hitter” is age 19, a rookie, and under team control through …uh …how many more years? Someone help me out here.

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      • Romogenized Melk says:

        You don’t need help, nothing needs to be said.

        The only question with Harper is if he is ranked 1st or 2nd.

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      • bill says:

        Hasn’t there been enough posts stating how rare it is for under-20 players to be good, or even above average?

        I’d put Trout first just because he’s proven himself more, but Harper is easily second, and easily could be first next year.

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  24. NatsFaninBoston says:

    Keeping Alcides Escobar’s ranking in mind, is it safe to assume that Ian Desmond makes a pretty high ranking appearance? He is statistically the best shortstop in baseball; first in wRC+, wOBA, SLG, ISO, RBI 5th in BA, 6th in SB, RS…and defensively he’s a whiz, something that both UZR (SS granted) and the eyes support . He’s cost controlled and a leader in the clubhouse. What’s not to love?

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    • Anon21 says:

      “What’s not to love?”

      His previous 1300 PAs of work. Maybe 2012 is the Real Ian Desmond, but in order to convince a rival GM of that you probably need to point to something other than his first half results.

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  25. KCDaveInLA says:

    I’ll be curious to see how many Royals end up on this list, because there are several I would feel are more valuable than Escobar – Butler, Starling, Moose, Hosmer, Odorizzi, Myers, Perez, Gordon…

    #teamteddy – no way I would take Stanton over McCutchen; Stanton is “old guy skill set” waiting to happen.

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    • YanksFanInBeantown says:

      Are you talking about his steadily increasing contact skills? Or the 5 triples he hit last year? Or the fact that McCutchen was in AA at the same age that Stanton hit 34 home runs?

      Being a 22 year old disciplined hitter with off-the-charts power isn’t a red flag.

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      • NatsFaninBoston says:

        Hey YFIB there’s a sabermetrics conference coming to Boston on August 4th/5th….just thought id share the news with other sanermetrically inclined Bostonians.

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  26. AF says:

    Where’s the evidence that a pitcher with a contract like Cain would be seen as having surplus trade value? When was the last time a pitcher — or any player — with over $100 million left on his contract was traded for significant value with no financial offset?

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  27. TYML says:

    Why is Andrus so low? I understand a team would only get him for the next 2.5 years, but you’re talking about getting one of the best short stops in the game for under $5 million per season. That has incredible value. Plus, having an exclusive window to negotiate an extension has to be worth something, right?

    Keep up the great work, Dave

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