2013 Trade Value: #20 – #16

Honorable Mentions
#50 to #46
#45 to #41
#40 to #36
#35 to #31
#30 to #26
#25 to #21

And now there’s a run on pitchers. Because of their inherent risks, this is getting close to the upper limit for hurlers, even though each pitcher at this point is an excellent performer and an excellent value. Oh, and there’s some hitter you might have heard something about this year too.

 

#20 Yu Darvish (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
26 119.1 11.84 3.09 43.9 % 3.02 3.22 2.75 3.6 3.0

Under Team Control Through 2016: $10M, $10M, $10M, $11M

The Rangers bet big on Darvish, but it’s proven to be a wise investment, as he has turned into a top shelf starting pitcher, and projects as one of the best pitchers in baseball for the next few years.  His stuff is elite, his command has improved, and if he can keep the ball from flying over the fence quite as often, he’s got an outside shot at the Cy Young Award.  

The Rangers might want to root for Darvish to not win that award, however.  His contract contains a clause that turns the 2017 portion of his contract into a player option if he wins the Cy Young Award once and then finishes in the top four a second time.  Unless Darvish blows out his arm, he would happily opt out of the last year of the deal and score a bigger paycheck in free agency.  

Still, at either 3/30 or 4/41, Darvish’s contract is well below market price for a frontline starting pitcher, and doesn’t come with the long term risks that guys like Verlander or Hernandez present.  The Rangers already wrote the big check to get Darvish in the first place, and any team trading for him now would get the advantage of his deflated salaries.  Which, of course, is a reason why the Rangers aren’t trading him.  They invested a lot to put Darvish at the front of their rotation, and now that he’s returning dividends, they’re going to keep him.

 

#19 Madison Bumgarner (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
23 125.0 8.78 2.45 44.0 % 3.02 3.27 3.37 2.4 1.9

Under Team Control Through 2019: $4M, $7M, $10M, $12M, $12M option, $12M option

Despite a bump in the road at the end of last season, Bumgarner has rebounded to pitch just like he always does.  Perhaps the most surprising thing about him is that he’s still just 23-years-old, even though he made his Major League debut back in 2009.  Bumgarner is an excellent young pitcher, but he’s this high on the list because of the contract the Giants got him to sign last year.  

By striking early, the Giants got his three arbitration years for a total of about $20 million, then got his first free agent year for $11.5 million, and then options for two more free agent years at prices that will be far under the market price by the time they come into play.  Given the rate of inflation in MLB, those options could end up being massive bargains.  

Of course, Bumgarner is a pitcher, and he’s a pitcher who throws a ton of sliders, so there’s also a chance that those options might never get picked up.  Counting on getting significant value from any pitcher in six years is a risky proposition, but the contract is structured in a way that doesn’t really gamble any significant money, while giving the team huge cost savings if Bumgarner stays healthy and keeps pitching at this level. 

He might not have the raw upside of some other hurlers in the top half of this project, but his combination of consistent success and a very friendly earn him this spot in the top 20.

 

#18 Chris Davis (1B)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
27 393 9.7 % 28.0 % .315 .392 .717 .458 193 -1.0 1.0 5.1

Under Team Control Through 2015: Arbitration

The breakout star of 2013, Davis is establishing himself as one of the game’s premier power hitters, and at age-27, he’s just now entering his prime.  There’s still some uncertainty about just how much of this Davis can sustain, but there’s no reason to doubt the power, which has always been his calling card.  He won’t keep slugging .700, but .600 doesn’t seem entirely out of the question, at least for the next few years.  

The big question is cost.  If the Orioles don’t sign him to a long term deal, Davis could be a very interesting arbitration case this winter.  He’s very likely going to finish the year with 50+ home runs and he’ll be among the league leaders in RBIs, which are the kinds of numbers that arbitrators have typically awarded higher salaries to.  While he’s coming off a modest $3.3 million salary, he’s going to get a big raise, and could easily blow past the $10 million mark.  If he has another big season in 2014, his final arbitration payout could get near some of the highest salaries the system has ever given.  

So, the Orioles have some risk-reward balancing to do.  If they’re confident Davis won’t regress, locking him up now could save them a lot of money in the long term, as the Blue Jays did with Jose Bautista after his one big year.  Buying high after a breakout season can seem scary, but the Orioles can use his lack of track record against him now, while they won’t be able to if he follows it with another strong season.  

With just two years of team control and uncertain prices on those two years, I can’t put Davis any higher than this.  However, if the Orioles can sign him to a reasonable extension and he has another big season next year, he could easily move up on next year’s list.

 

#17 Jose Fernandez (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
20 104.2 8.86 3.44 42.9 % 2.75 3.22 3.58 2.5 1.9

Under Team Control Through 2018: Pre-Arb, Arbitration

If it wasn’t for some other young hurler in the NL East having an okay season, you might be hearing a lot more about Fernandez this season.  Playing in obscurity for the Marlins probably isn’t helping either, so in case you hadn’t noticed, Jose Fernandez has been ridiculously good. Oh, and he doesn’t turn 21 until the end of the month.  

In fact, by throwing 100 innings in the big leagues as a 20-year-old, Fernandez has put himself in some pretty great company, as only 11 other pitchers in the last 30 years have even managed to throw a half season in the big leagues in their age-20 season.  While you have the likes of Jeremy Bonderman, Rick Ankiel, and Ed Correa as reminders of what can go wrong, the list is mostly just really excellent pitchers.  

As with all pitchers, health will be a big factor in Fernandez’s future outcomes, but if he can avoid surgery, the future looks pretty bright.  Because the Marlins chose to put him on the Opening Day roster rather than hold him back for a few weeks, he’s down to five more years of team control after this one, but five years of Jose Fernandez at heavily discounted prices is still a premium asset.  If the Marlins do decide to trade Giancarlo Stanton this winter, they’ll have another franchise player to take the mantle.  

 

#16 Chris Sale (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
24 120.0 9.83 2.03 45.8 % 2.85 2.94 2.92 3.5 3.3

Under Team Control Through 2019: $4M, $6M, $9M, $12M, $13M option, $14M option

Sale is the American League’s answer to Madison Bumgarner, just with a few slight improvements.  Both are tall left-handers who rely heavily on their big sweeping sliders for strikeouts, and not coincidentally, both have almost exactly the same contract.  There is no question that Bumgarner’s 5/35 with two options contract was used as a template for the 5/33 with two options contract that Sale signed with the White Sox.  If all the options on both contracts are exercised, the total payouts will be almost identical.  

Sale ranks ahead of Bumgarner because he’s been a little bit better, especially once you factor in park and league adjustments.  Instead of playing in a pitcher friendly west coast ballpark and getting easy outs from opposing pitchers, Sale has pitched in a hitter friendly midwest ballpark and run through the DH league.  As a guy who has shown he can be effective against stiffer competition, and is certainly not a product of his home park, Sale would command a bit more than Bumgarner in trade, though both are excellent pitchers. 

Sale’s arm problems from last summer, when he was temporarily moved to the bullpen, probably remain a bit of a drag on his value.  His delivery has long brought about questions about his long term durability, and that scare reinforced preexisting beliefs that he might end up breaking down.  Of course, no one really knows how to forecast future pitcher health yet, and Sale is good enough to earn his contract — and then some — in the near future. 




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


108 Responses to “2013 Trade Value: #20 – #16”

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  1. Scott says:

    Rays still tops with 4.
    Cardinals with 3.

    Teams with 0: (9) Astros, Rockies, Angels, Padres, Athletics, Phillies, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Reds.

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    • PraiseTrout says:

      Astros won’t get on

      Angels will get one.(Trout)

      Rockies will likely get one(CarGo and/or Tulo)

      Padres won’t

      A’s won’t

      Phillies won’t

      Diamondbacks will(Goldy)

      Yankees won’t

      Reds won’t

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      • Matt says:

        Rockies will get 2. Tulo gets hurt and is still more valuable than anyone at the most premium position while outperforming his contract. He would bring a lot in a trade.

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    • rustyspatula says:

      As far as the rest of the list goes, we can expect Trout and Goldschmidt for sure… less sure about Tulo, Carlos Gonzalez, Votto, since all are locked up long-term but paid like stars.

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      • Kyzslew77 says:

        Tulo and Cargo were just as locked up to expensive deals (actually, Cargo’s isn’t really that expensive) when last year’s list came out and they were both top 25 then. They certainly haven’t done anything to move themselves out of the top 70 (including honorable mentions) since then. They will both be in the top 15.

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        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          I think Tulo missing all of June, July, August and September last year and most of June this year could bump him down a bit.

          He’s a great, great talent, but he’s not like he’s suddenly going to get healthier from 29-35.

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    • Bip says:

      Let’s see if I can guess any of them…

      Astros: None? Certainly none of their big leaguers. I don’t think any of their prospects are close enough yet either.
      Rockies: Cargo for sure, MVP-level player at 16M a year for his age 28-31 seasons.
      Angels: You know who is probably number 1 on the list again.
      Padres: Headly doesn’t have enough time on his contract. No way Cashner makes it. Not sure about them.
      A’s: Donaldson is 24 in pre-arbitration, so he has a chance
      Phillies: but seriously I can’t think of anyone else. Ruiz and Utley are too old/close to free agency.
      D-Backs: Goldschmidt is going to make 6M a year for the next 5 years, so he’s got to be on this list.
      Yankees: Not surprisingly the team known for large contracts to aging players doesn’t have an great cheap contracts to young players that I can see. Gardner is too close to free agency and doesn’t have the skillset that is valued very highly
      Reds: Votto’s contract is just too big for me to see it here. Jay Bruce has a great contract but he basically has one tool, so I’m not sure it’s enough to compete with some of these guys. I don’t think Frazier has proven himself quite effective enough yet.

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    • Ruki Motomiya says:

      I’m still surprised Cano isn’t up here at all. If he got put up on the block, I suspect he’d get more back than some other names on the list…

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      • Clifford says:

        really? why would anyone give up a lot for him when they know for sure he’s going to test the open market? Knowing this would basically narrow the list of potential suitors to the Dodgers, Rangers, Red Sox, Phillies, and maybe the Tigers? Teams that have no chance to sign him would be silly to give up a ton for a 3-month rental. The contending teams like the Braves, Nats, Reds, Cards, Pirates, DBacks, Red Sox, Tigers, Indians, and Rangers all have good enough options at 2B that Cano wouldn’t be worth the price-tag for 3 months. The As, Orioles, Rays, and Rockies prolly A.) don’t have the financial surplus to sign him to the $200+ million contract he’s likely to receive, and B.) don’t have the pieces to make such a trade in their farm system.

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  2. Win-MIN-Twins says:

    I think the $10 million/year mark may be a bit too conservative of an estimate for Chris Davis’ next contract when his agent is Scott Boras.

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    • Chief Keef says:

      Except it’s arbitration so Scott Boras can’t work his magic.

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      • Win-MIN-Twins says:

        True, but the Orioles (or Davis) may want to avoid arbitration and pursue a deal for more than one year.

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        • BubbaBiscuit says:

          You answered that question when you noted his agent was Scott Boras. No way they get to lock up any of his Free Agent years.

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  3. Bip says:

    When you said this post had a lot of pitchers, I expected one or both of Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Looking at it now, Kershaw’s contract status isn’t as good as any of these, while Ryu isn’t as effective as any of these guys.

    I can see Ryu missing this list despite the fact that he’s only getting ~6.5 Million a year for the next 5 years. However, I don’t see any way that Kershaw can be a less valuable trade piece than Felix, so are we looking at Kershaw as the highest ranked pitcher for the second year in a row?

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      No, but he’ll show up soon. Ryu didn’t make the cut.

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      • cass says:

        So pitchers still to come include Harvey, Strasburg, Kershaw, and Gonzalez. Harvey’s gotta be ranked highest, with Strasburg, then Kershaw, then Gonzalez. Or Gonzalez and Kerhsaw might flip, since although Kershaw is better, Gonzalez is on a friendly and longer contract.

        Are there any other young pitchers left on the board other than these four?

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        • Bip says:

          Gio is good, but he’s not as good as the guys on this part of the list in my opinion, and he is signed for less time and he’s not cheaper. I would think he would have shown up already if he was going to. However I could see Corbin showing up, as he has the same contract and track record as Harvey, and his season so far has been very good.

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        • cass says:

          Gio has to be on the list. If he wasn’t on the list, he’d have been mentioned in the “almost” post along with Jordan Zimmermann, who’s on a shorter contract. Gio’s signed through 2016 with a team option for 2017. 2014: $8.5M, 2015: $11M, 2016: $12M 2017 Team Option: $12M ($0.5M buyout).

          Given his performance and contract, it’s impossible he misses this list.I expect him to come up in the next five. The Nationals locked him to a team-friendly longterm deal before his breakout year – that’s why he’s so high.

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        • Bip says:

          Let’s put it this way: If he is on the list, then his placement is odd to me, since I’d easily take Bumgarner, Sale or Darvish over Gio. I’m not even sure I’d take him over Miller (#32) or Moore (#30).

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        • cass says:

          I am a bit surprised he’s this high as well, but Darvish is a good comparison. He’s cheaper than Darvish and comes with a team option at a reasonable price for an extra year. And his production is going to be pretty similar to Darvish. Yes, Darvish is better, but Gio is proven, has never had an injury in his life, and is just about as good while being cheaper and coming with an extra year. That’s how he gets into the top 15.

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    • Naveed says:

      Considering Kershaw has less than a year and a half left on his contract, I can’t see how he can be ranked higher than this.

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      • cass says:

        Being the best pitcher on planet Earth certainly helps. His recent string of dominant seasons is probably starting to rank right up there with the greatest of all time.

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    • Greg says:

      Matt Harvey is going to be the pitcher who ranks #1 in trade value, I’m assuming.

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      • Greg says:

        Note that I just mean he’ll be the #1 most valuable pitcher, not including position players.

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        • Bip says:

          Yeah I can see that. His peripherals point to this being real too. Note though that this list is supposed to mean value on today’s market, which would value Kershaw’s track record more highly than we would perhaps, but I still agree that Harvey tops him.

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        • NM says:

          BIP: you can argue Kershaw is better than Harvey based on 2013 and track record but I don’t think that nearly makes up for the huge difference team control left on both pitchers (Kershaw: 1 arb year left, Harvey: 5 years left, not arb-eligible until 2016).

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        • Bip says:

          Agree

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  4. LuckyStrikes says:

    I hate the Marlins, but I love Fernandez. He could be a serious Cy Young candidate as early as next season. Bringing him up to start this season has been one of the few intelligent moves the Marlins have made in quite awhile.

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    • Jordan says:

      Except that they’re wasting his cheap production in a year when they had no shot at the playoffs. Unless they thought he’d get bored and self destructive in the minors, that’s where he should have spent AT LEAST the first few months of this season.

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    • rustyspatula says:

      I read recently that Fernandez may have an innings cap (which seems not unreasonable).

      Do the Marlins have the ability to basically option him but then let him take September off to rest? Does that stop his service-time clock?

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      • PraiseTrout says:

        Once you are on the 40 the clock is ticking. All they can do is shut him down

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        • cass says:

          Not true. They could send him back to the minors to suspend his clock, but it would be a gross breach of protocol.

          John Lannan had his clock suspended for most of the season last year because he was sent down to the minors.

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      • cass says:

        Even the Marlins would never get away with that.

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        • Glorpo says:

          Alienate the team’s young superstar with massive douchebaggery? That’s practically a Marlins tradition.

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    • Balthazar says:

      So Lucky, agreed. I like Fernandez more than any pitcher in this tier. His K/BB and BB% are reallllly good for a guy his age in the majors. His pitch repertoire doesn’t gone with red flags either; he hasn’t shown significant command problems despite his inexperience; he’s just really good. And a horse.

      The Marlins will move him before he hits free agency, or the team will be sold, I’m guessing; the service time bump-up likely has already been factored into the Marlins’ long-term plan. Wainwright was trade too young, and the acquiring team has been pretty happy. Tough to be a Marlins . . . observer; great to be a Marlins’ counter-party.

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  5. Bodhizefa says:

    Just like I said on the 21-25 list, I’d probably trade any of these guys for Kipnis, especially with the attrition rate of pitchers.

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    • Otter says:

      All these pitchers are same age/younger than Kipnis and with much much better cost control. Might be overvaluing Kipnis and his .361 BABIP a bit.

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  6. PraiseTrout says:

    You spelt strikeouts wrong under Sale’s. ‘striekouts’

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    • chuckb says:

      You spelled “spelled” wrong above. “Spelt” isn’t actually a word.

      If you’re going to be picky about spelling, you ought to run your comments through spell-check before hitting “submit.”

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  7. Franco says:

    You’d have to imagine Harvey with 5 more years of team control is the #1 pitcher?

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    • PraiseTrout says:

      Can’t really see anyone being higher

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      • Bip says:

        Can’t really see anyone being hypothetically higher either. Harvey is performing at monster ace level and he’s in pre-arbitration. What could a pitcher do to make himself more valuable than? Unless Kershaw signs a 1 year $1m contract with ten 1-million-dollar team options.

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        • cass says:

          Harvey is now what Strasburg was previously. Not that Strasburg isn’t as good, but he’s closer to free agency.

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    • Scott says:

      Not sure we see any more pitchers, except for Harvey.

      Corbin, Teheran, Lynn, Gio, Stras, Parker, Shields, Miley, Ryu would be the candidates…doubtful it seems.

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      • Bip says:

        Kershaw is still coming up.

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        • Scott says:

          Is Kershaw under team control for just 2014?

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        • Bip says:

          Yes, but two things:

          1. We’re talking about a guy widely considered the best pitcher in baseball, which itself is going to give him a bonus.
          2. Verlander and Felix were on this list, and Kershaw is younger and arguably better than both of them, and the price for each is going to be about the same

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        • Scott says:

          That makes sense. However, just because the price for Kershaw is going to be similar to Felix and Verlander, doesn’t affect his current trade value, right? His current trade value is his current production, over the length of his current contract. That’s his value to the Dodgers. And even a 6-8 WAR season at 11M isn’t worth a ton, simply because it’s only one year.

          Am I missing something fundamental? (it feels like I am)

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        • Bip says:

          For a guy like kershaw, just the opportunity to offer him a deal is extremely valuable. There’s a 99% chance that no other team even gets a shot at him until he’s 35. So a trade for Kershaw also means a chance to sign him

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      • Terence says:

        Strasburg.

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        • Scott says:

          Am I correct in seeing Strasburg with only two more years under contract? Is 4.0 WAR per year too conservative?

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        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          4 WAR/Year definitely seems too conservative for a healthy Strasburg.

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        • Scott says:

          Therein lies the caveat. Can you comfortable project him for 200 IP a year? If you can, he definitely projects above 4. That said, he’s only put up 5.7 WAR over his last 267 IP.

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        • Cool Lester Smooth says:

          The thing is that Stras hasn’t even gotten used to a typical major league workload yet. He should improve over the next couple of years as his arm gets used to throwing that many innings a year.

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        • cass says:

          Actually, Strasburg is under team control for three more years, 2014-2016. He will be eligible for arbitration for each of those seasons, but his innings limit last year and terrible run support this year will probably hold down his earnings a bit, at least for 2014. Basically the same reasons he didn’t pitch in the All Star Game this year.

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  8. Brett W says:

    Darvish’s massive posting fee is likely still being repaid to a lender by the Rangers unless they somehow had $50 million in cash lying around. It doesn’t affect his trade value because an acquiring franchise would presumably only acquire the contract and not the loan repayment, but it certainly lowers the value of his acquisition by Texas. I agree with your exclusion of the amount from a “Trade Value” ranking, but it certainly factors into the “Present Value” of Darvish to the Rangers.

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  9. Michael says:

    Bumgarner higher than Felix? I understand that Bumgarner’s contract is incredibly team friendly, but if the Giants called up the Mariners and asked to trade Felix for Bumgarner straight up, Seattle would laugh and hang up the phone. Switch it around, and San Fran would have to think hard about pulling the trigger.

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    • Bip says:

      The Giants can afford Felix. They are also world series champs, and teams with recent success are more willing to spend and more interested in elite players. A team in more of a building stage will want a younger, cheaper guy they can build around, even if they sacrifice a little performance. A lot of other teams, if given the choice between the two, would take Bumgarner, I’m sure.

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      • Ruki Motomiya says:

        I think that, if you offered all 30 teams Felix or Bumgarner, you’d get more from the teams for Felix than Bumgarner.

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        • Bip says:

          Here’s the way I see it: The low budget teams would probably all take Bumgarner out of necessity. Any rebuilding or even not-imminently-contending teams would have to seriously consider taking Bumgarner because they might need to save what budget space they have until they are contenders and can put it directly to good use (considering free agents are likely to be best at the beginning of their contracts). Also such teams might have their own young stars to think about locking up.

          Perhaps the teams that want Felix would give up more, but I could also see more total teams wanting Bumgarner. Also I think we don’t have a good sense of the market for players owed more than $125 million at more than $25M AAV. They just don’t get traded very often.

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        • Bip says:

          addendum: Obviously players in Bumgarner’s contract situation don’t get traded often either, but we don’t have to observe trades to know that his type of contract are the most desirable in the game.

          -Guaranteed low cost (long contract so he can’t negotiate a bigger extension)
          -Low risk (If he falls apart, don’t pick up the option)
          -High reward (great performance)
          -Young player (only projects to get better)

          Felix has the youth (kinda) and the reward, but it’s really hard to know how severely the jump in price will affect his value. Obviously trade value and AAV of contract do not have a linear relationship, as many teams simply could not afford Felix if they have to pay his full salary. This is the factor that makes it hard to me to quantify the value of players on big contracts on the same scale as players on smaller contracts.

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        • Balthazar says:

          Is Felix a better pitcher than MadBum? Yes, both historically and objectively. Not that I’m influenced by watching Felix pitch regularly or anything. I’d go so far as to say I doubt that any pitcher who will be ranked above him here will deliver the level of value he has for the length that he has, and that only gets the moreso going forward. That’s not quite saying he’s ‘the best,’ but more than the value he has consistently delivered as a starting pitcher is very hard to do, so that projecting anybody to do that is like assuming that that person will max their projection year after year after year. His true talent level is ‘best in generation’—and now he really knows how to pitch, we he didn’t 3-4 years ago.

          That said, Felix is owed a whole bunch of $$$$ and has lost velocity. Some teams can’t afford him. Some teams can’t afford pitcher risk, especially at his contract scale. As a _trade_ commodity, I can definitely see it being easier to move Bumgarner, and you might well get a better package back, too. For a half dozen teams, Felix would be the first choice; for the rest, Bumgarner. I don’t see anything wrong with the relative tier placement of the two.

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  10. Dustin says:

    My guess on who’s left:

    15. Gio
    14. Heyward
    13. Tulo
    12. Kershaw
    11. Strasburg
    10. Carlos Gonzalez
    9. Posey
    8. Harvey
    7. Goldschmidt
    6. Stanton
    5. McCutchen
    4. Longoria
    3. Machado
    2. Harper
    1. Trout

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    • Bip says:

      Not certain about 13-15 but the rest looks pretty accurate.

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    • NM says:

      Heyward already went. Miguel Cabrera has to be on here, right?

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      • Dustin says:

        Yeah. I couldn’t figure out why I had 16 guys on my notebook. There you go.

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        • NM says:

          I figured Molina would make it too — I mean he has to be *somewhere* on this top 50, right? — but I can’t figure who he’d be in place of. Initially I thought maybe Tulo because of the injuries and huge contract but Dave had him #11 last year and he’s in the midst of a monster year, so that can’t be right. All of those other guys seem as if they belong. This should be interesting.

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    • Anon says:

      Readig what Cameron says about Shelby Miller (#32), I don’t see how Molina gets left off the list.

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      • Bip says:

        Yeah, I also don’t see how Gio does make the list. Sub out Heyward and Gio for Cabrera and Molina and I think we’re looking at the actual top 15, not necessarily in that order.

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        • Larry says:

          Gio is on the list. He wasn’t listed as one of the players who dropped off (unless he was accidently omitted from that list). I expected to see him on the list, but top 15 is surprising.

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    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      I was going to say that you’re overrating Machado, who’s only had a 119 wRC+ this season, but then I realized what I was saying.

      Harper and Trout are fucking insane, aren’t they.

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      • cass says:

        If Harper is so insane, why hasn’t he helped the Nats climb above .500 since returning from the DL?

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        • Matt says:

          First off, the Nats are over .500 (at 48-47). Second, if Trout is so insane, why are the Angels 5 games under .500?

          I say this in jest, obviously, as Trout is #1 on my list and probably most people’s list. But let’s not solely blame Harper for Washington’s failure to reach expectations.

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        • cass says:

          I wasn’t being serious. Just expressing some frustration and disappointment as a Nats fan with how the season’s turned out so far. I’m still a huge believer in Harper.

          But this is the Internet, so I understand it’s easy to be misunderstood.

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        • ZenMadman says:

          David Wright’s pretty good, but the Mets still suck. It takes more than 1 guy to change a team’s fortunes. (Harvey’s pretty good, too.)

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        • ZenMadman says:

          I just read your re-reply and understand your frustration, but the Nats will probably make a run in the second half and could certainly win the 2nd WC or even the division.

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  11. Double J says:

    I wonder if Altuve had signed his extension sooner if he would have made the list or at least Honorable mention.

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    • Bip says:

      92 career wRC+, no power, not an elite defender. I wouldn’t even consider that an honorable mention.

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    • Krog says:

      Altuve is 16th of 19 qualified second basemen with 0.4 WAR in 2013. For the 2012-2013 period he is again 16th of 19 qualified second basemen with 2.1 WAR. While a good story, Altuve simply isn’t a championship quality player.

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      • Terence says:

        That’s a 92 wRC+ for a barely 23 year old middle infeilder with 1200 career MLB at bats. And he just gave the team control of his next five years for $25M. He doesn’t have to average 1WAR a year to provide surplus value.

        On May 13 he was hitting .333/.371/.444 and had contributed 1.2 WAR on the season when Jimmy Parades ran him over and his grandma died. The ensuing 200 AB’s have been the worst of his career. I don’t think he should be top 15 on this list, but he should have made it.

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        • Scott says:

          I’m not sure if a 1 WAR 2B under contract for free for ten years would make the top 50.

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        • chuckb says:

          Scott,

          What if he had Wakefield’s Boston (also known as the Voluntary Indentured Servitude) contract.

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  12. Sam says:

    I’m pretty sure Longoria will make the cut……

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  13. Suhwing says:

    Not having Darvish in the top 10-15 is a bit of a joke.

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  14. RC says:

    Sort of surprised Jose isn’t higher.

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  15. Jay29 says:

    The 23-year-old Madison Bumgarner is 23 years old.

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  16. wir963 says:

    I’m assuming Clay Buchholz won’t make the list. Injury concerns? Inconsistency? Still, he’s signed to a pretty friendly contract and he was dominant earlier this year. I would’ve thought that he would at the very least gotten an honorable mention here.

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    • Franco says:

      I think the trend for these things is value oft injured pitchers less and less, even more than veterans that will be overpaid the last couple years of their contracts.

      I’m surprised Cliff Lee wasn’t on the back of this list. Great production, not insane salary and only a couple years left on his contract.

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      • Nik says:

        I’d rather have an ace at market prices locked up for 2.5 years isntead of 6, especially one with declining stuff (Verlander).

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    • Cool Lester Smooth says:

      “Injury concerns? Inconsistency?”

      In a word, Yes.

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  17. Bip says:

    This is me on the record saying I don’t think Gio makes it. I totally get it if I’m wrong, but I don’t think I’m wrong.

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  18. Antonio Bananas says:

    At 27 Davis is entering his prime? Isn’t 27 the typical bat peak? Which would mean 25is through 30ish is the prime?

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    • Travis L says:

      I think you are correct, but would caution against identifying any single age as the “peak”. That ignores context such as whether a guy was a h.s. or college draftee, how quickly they came through the minors, etc.

      Personally, I don’t have any issues referring to Davis as “entering his prime”, especially because of the breakout he is having (a bit of a tautology, but IMO not necessarily inaccurate.)

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  19. Hurtlockertwo says:

    I’m not sold on Chris Davis being this high on the list, when he comes back to earth will he continue this production?

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