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  1. Love being a Pirate fan – we aren’t 27 either!!!

    Comment by TonyPenaforHOF — March 16, 2010 @ 4:39 pm

  2. Hey, I was right on my rankings so far. Let’s try the next three:

    #26: Blue Jays
    #25: Pirates
    #24: Tigers

    Comment by Benne — March 16, 2010 @ 4:54 pm

  3. I agree with #26 and #25, however I disagree about the Tigers, they have an average team at the major league level as well as some decent prospects in the lower minors. Not to mention somewhere in the70-90 million range coming off the books at the end of this season. All put together I would place them somewhere around 16th.

    Comment by TJ — March 16, 2010 @ 5:34 pm

  4. I’d say the BJs are a bit better than the Pirates, maybe the Tigers too. They have a force in Adam Lind and a great young player in Aaron Hill, plus some great prospects that they acquired in the Halladay trade, plus the coup of Hechavarria. Alex Anthopoulos is a very bright young GM, who seems to have the right idea. While they’re not in position to contend next season, but they are on the right track and they have made some very big steps on the long road back to contention. While the Tigers have lots of money coming off the books during a good FA crop, and elite talents like Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander along with young players like Rick Porcello, but their farm is weak, and outside of those three there isn’t a whole lot to get excited about.

    Comment by Omar — March 16, 2010 @ 6:43 pm

  5. 16th for the Tigers? While yes, they could get 70 mill off the books and use it on some serious free agents like Cliff Lee, Josh Beckett, and Carl Crawford…they’ve also got a rough Detroit economy to deal with and a bad GM. In this past offseason Dave Dombrowski wanted to cut payroll, rather than do something obvious like I don’t know…say not letting Magglio Ordonez’s option vest, he decides to deal Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson and replace the payroll he saved, and then some, with the likes of Jose Valverde, Johnny Damon, Austin Jackson, Phil Coke, Daniel Schlereth, and Max Scherzer. While Scherzer has some serious potential, he also has serious elbow issues. 16th seems awfully generous.

    Comment by Omar — March 16, 2010 @ 6:47 pm

  6. Back to the Padres, what’s a realistic haul for Adrian Gonzalez? Buchholz/Westmoreland? Gordon Beckham? Maybe even deal him back to Texas? Seattle has money, and would be a perfect fit for Adrian Gonzalez…so perhaps they could get a package built around Dustin Ackley, since Franklin Gutierrez is a top flight defender in center and about an average bat, which makes him an extremely valuable center fielder (especially for his cost), which is Dustin Ackley’s position. Ackley’s a plus plus runner with a good glove, and a contact line drive hitter type…seems like a great fit for PetCo, and he should be ready with in the next year or two. He’s “blocked” by Gutierrez, who is probably not as good…but still a damn valuable asset, in Seattle…and seemingly open in San Diego. After going through this, Dustin Ackley seems like a great haul for Gonzalez, and Gonzalez seems like a great fit for San Diego…great defender and a 40+ HR bat, and they have the cash to lock him up long term.

    Comment by Omar — March 16, 2010 @ 6:53 pm

  7. There was an article on BP yesterday with the WARP totals from every player in the 2009 credited back to the original organization that signed them. The Padres finished absolutely with 55 “wins” which was 9 less than the next closest team (the Astros). Their absolutely horrible drafting during the last decade (and really their enitre history) has just really killed them, especially the Matt Bush debacle in 2004. It’s hard to believe that one pick has cost them so much in the past 5 years.

    Comment by Tom — March 16, 2010 @ 7:04 pm

  8. Well…they were downright dreadful, but they’re on the upswing. As of late they haven’t made THAT many dumb moves.

    Comment by Omar — March 16, 2010 @ 7:11 pm

  9. I think Mark Kotsay, err…Dustin Ackley…would be a pretty poor haul for Gonzalez.

    Here’s what Gonzalez is worth right now:
    2010: About $10-$15 million underpaid
    2011: About $10-$15 million underpaid
    When he leaves: 2 first round picks, or a first and third.

    So he’s worth $20-30 million in value and two solid picks. Ackley isn’t close unless his bat completely pans out, is an above-average defender at either 2B or CF, and signs a cheap deal before losing a lot of his value during arbitration; the combination of which is unlikely.

    Comment by Marver — March 16, 2010 @ 7:40 pm

  10. In short, this is NOT like trading Jake Peavy, who was clearly overpriced for his production. Gonzalez represents a tremendous amount of value compared to Jake, and the fact he’s from San Diego has to play some sort of role, too.

    Comment by Marver — March 16, 2010 @ 7:46 pm

  11. Well, define “bat completely pans out,” I mean what are we talking here? Becomes a .300/.370/.460 hitter and a plus defender in CF? I can see that as his peak value, obviously Ackley for Gonzalez straight up isn’t enough and the Padres would require more in order to move such a valuable asset, but Ackley would be a good start, maybe if the Mariners were to add Triunfel, you would have a package that comes awfully close to getting it done. Yes, that’s quite a bit for the Mariners to give up, but Adrian Gonzalez is a tremendous value and a top flight first basemen. With Gonzalez, their time to contend for a title is NOW. With a top end rotation of Hernandez and Lee they become VERY deadly in the playoffs and would scare the fans of the top two teams in the AL East.

    While a package of Triunfel/Ackley has question marks and isn’t as attractive at first as Buchholz/Westmoreland and maybe a Casey Kelly, or a package built around Gordon Beckham, the Padres suffer from a derth of excellent first basemen: Albert Pujols, Mark Teixeira, Prince Fiedler, Miguel Cabrera, Kevin Youkilis, Ryan Howard, Justin Morneau, Derreck Lee, Joey Votto, and Kendry Morales just to name a few. There’s also guys like Adam Dunn that can be had for a much lesser package.

    Comment by Omar — March 16, 2010 @ 8:03 pm

  12. I think you’re overstating your case. If Ackley’s bat completely pans out, AND he’s an above average defender, that’s got to be at least 20 WAR over the course of 6 years, or about 70 million in value. If he just sticks to the regular arbitration procedings, he could possibly make 30 million over the course of those 6 years. In that case, he’d have at least 40 million in surplus value.

    If he signed a deal similar to what span just signed, then it would be 50 million in surplus value.

    I agree that they should probably get more than just Ackley, but it sure wouldn’t take everything you said to happen for the trade to be even.

    Comment by Steven Ellingson — March 16, 2010 @ 8:03 pm

  13. Looking at it again, I’d probably add some to Gonzalez’ value also. He’s probably worth more like 15-20 million surplus value.

    Comment by Steven Ellingson — March 16, 2010 @ 8:07 pm

  14. I was being pretty conservative when I stated $10-15 million…last season Adrian was a value of $23 million.

    And value/year is far more important to a team with a very low payroll than total value, since it takes EXTREME value to give that team a shot at the ultimate goal: a World Series title.

    I don’t think the Padres should deal Gonzalez unless it’s an exhorborant package in return, and Ackley/Triunfel is not, to me, an exhorborant package.

    Comment by Marver — March 16, 2010 @ 8:13 pm

  15. What is an “exhorborant” return then? I mean, most of the usual suspects are spoken for at first base, and there’s other players that teams would be able to acquire at first base. Most rebuilding teams are taking what ever they can get in terms of prospects (see The Indians) and Ackley’s pretty good and damn near major league ready.

    Comment by Omar — March 16, 2010 @ 8:29 pm

  16. What is an “exhorborant” return then? I mean, most of the usual suspects are spoken for at first base, and there’s other players that teams would be able to acquire at first base. Most rebuilding teams are taking what ever they can get in terms of prospects (see The Indians) and Ackley’s pretty good and damn near major league ready.

    Comment by Omar — March 16, 2010 @ 8:29 pm

  17. I keep hearing that the White Sox overpaid for Peavy, yet of the four guys they traded away, the only one worth mention in three posts is Clayton Richords who is “probably only an average SP.” No mention of Poreda who was the centerpiece of the deal.

    If you give up nothing to get something, even if you give up a whole lot of nothing, haven’t you come out ahead?

    Comment by MikeS — March 16, 2010 @ 8:31 pm

  18. Dave I enjoyed this piece the most so far, especially this part:

    ” The Padres don’t need any more solid part-time guys. They need stars, and those take a while to develop.”

    And this is the problem with Major League Baseball. Like you say the Padres need star players, well they have one now in Adrian Gonzalez. A legitimate star, from the area, popular with the demographic of San Diego. Yet to have a chance they probably have to trade him. All I can say is it’s a shame that the type of player the Padres should be building a contender around is the player they have to trade to have a chance at contention in the future.

    As a side note, I would say the package the Mariners would have to give up to aquire Gonzalez would look like Ackley, Micheal Saunders, Ryan Rowland-Smith and two young upside starting pitchers like Micheal Pineda and Mauricio Robles.

    Comment by mowill — March 16, 2010 @ 8:34 pm

  19. Dustin Ackley is converting to second base, and by all accounts, the conversion is going well.

    The Mariners front office isn’t the type to make players untouchable, but I wouldn’t do Ackley for Gonzalez straight up.

    Comment by Jeff Nye — March 16, 2010 @ 10:02 pm

  20. Are you sure the Mariners shouldn’t throw in Felix and Ichiro, just for kicks?

    Gonzalez is good, but your trade scenario is beyond ludicrous.

    Comment by Jeff Nye — March 16, 2010 @ 10:06 pm

  21. Based on the comments so far, Adrian Gonzalez is ridiculously overrated. I’ll write this up once the series comes to an end.

    Comment by Dave Cameron — March 16, 2010 @ 10:24 pm

  22. Texas has Smoak looming if Davis doesn’t pan out. But I guess they’re one of the few teams with enough prospect depth to put together a fair package.

    Comment by Scott — March 16, 2010 @ 10:38 pm

  23. I’m not sure how the guy who finishes third in the league in OPS+, third in MLB in UZR at his position, is playing at ~25% of his market value for the next two seasons, and is just 27 could possibly be overrated. Especially when you consider that whoever trades for him gets a first and supplemental or supplemental and third in return IF he leaves via free agency, it certainly isn’t ‘ridiculous’ to want more than Dustin Ackley — a guy with zero professional at bats — and Carlos Triunfel’s mighty .715 minor league OPS.

    Depending on who signs Gonzalez, a first and a supplemental could end up panning out better than Ackley and Triunfel; I wouldn’t bet on it straight-up, but the odds aren’t very far off. Accordingly, anyone trading for Adrian has to first offset this loss for the Padres, and then reimburse the $30+ million of value Adrian provides for the next two seasons.

    Comment by Marver — March 17, 2010 @ 12:12 am

  24. You wouldn’t do Ackley for Adrian Gonzalez straight up? LULZ. That comment is almost as good at the yankees fan who drop into ESPN chats with Keith Law and say “How about we trade these 5 organizational prospects, all grade Cs, for Stud Player X? That’d make sense right?” or “What are the odds Bryce Harper falls to the Yankees?”. Thanks for giving them a run for their money Jeff.

    Comment by Everyone Else — March 17, 2010 @ 12:29 am

  25. It’s pretty clear that you, and most of the people in this comment thread, have no idea how to accurately value players.

    Ackley, right now, is a more valuable asset than Adrian Gonzalez, when you consider position, age, and cost control. He is one of the most polished college hitters to come out of the draft in years, could be MLB ready by 2011, and will play some premium defensive position, whether that ends up being 2B or CF.

    I know everybody likes to view Ackley as the Not Strasburg Consolation Prize, but in a lot of years he would have been far and away the #1 pick in the draft. He’s that good.

    Would I love to have Gonzalez on the Mariners? Sure. But hopefully the Padres’ front office are more realistic about his value than Everyone Else.

    A deal centering around Michael Saunders would be a reasonable starting point for discussions.

    Comment by Jeff Nye — March 17, 2010 @ 1:25 am

  26. It’s also pretty irrelevant, since Ackley can’t be traded until next offseason, anyway.

    But then, you knew that already, right?

    Comment by Jeff Nye — March 17, 2010 @ 1:27 am

  27. Didn’t Law say that Ackley should return to CF anyways? I mean they have Gutz, and with his glove, it’s hard seeing Ackley being THAT much more valuable than him…certainly not enough to prevent me from using him to acquire Adrian Gonzalez. For all the potential that Triunfel has, he has yet to post an OPS above .750. I know he’s still only 20, but I wouldn’t let him get in the way of me acquiring Adrian Gonzalez either.

    Comment by Omar — March 17, 2010 @ 6:19 am

  28. I have no idea why Keith Law would be saying that, but the consensus among those who pay close attention to the Mariners and their minor league system is that Ackley is handling the transition to second base just fine.

    And since the Mariners clearly don’t see Jose Lopez as their second baseman any longer than they absolutely have to have him there (see their current experiment of swapping him and Figgins defensively), it’d make zero sense to move Ackley back to center field unless he proves definitively that he can’t handle it.

    I’d be fine with a package centering around Triunfel, too. But these harebrained “okay Mariners, we’ll trade you Adrian Gonzalez for your entire farm system and maybe one of your kidneys” scenarios people are putting out there aren’t going to happen. Bill Bavasi isn’t here anymore.

    Comment by Jeff Nye — March 17, 2010 @ 6:35 am

  29. so glad my pirates are in the bottom three because unlike most People in this town i have always been a pirates fan ever since i was born(1989( and even though i haven’t seen a winning season can rember i know there going in the right direction

    Comment by Dalas — March 17, 2010 @ 9:03 am

  30. Dave, what do you think of Will Venable and Kyle Blanks as everyday players? I’ve been looking at the Pads more and more and it seems both have good chances. Blanks seems more seasoned, but both seem solid. Also, Everth Cabrera seems like a hell of a shortstop; I guess he needs to learn to hit a little better.

    Still, a nice young collection of players. Or so it seems.

    Comment by Wells — March 17, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

  31. Dustin Ackley’s position is now 2B. That’s the only position he’s played for the M’s since he was acquired — in Arizona all winter, again in Spring Training, and that’s where he’ll be playing when he starts in AA West Tennessee tomorrow. While he’s a work in progress, everyone in the organization seems to believe he’ll be sticking at that position, and they’re high on his bat. While Zduriencik has demonstrated he’ll entertain any idea for a trade, no matter how crazy — and in some cases will pull them off, no matter how crazy — I don’t see Ackley going away even if AGon is coming back in return.

    Comment by joser — March 17, 2010 @ 2:04 pm

  32. Let me get this straight Jeff Nye. You’d rather have a guy who has never taken a swing in professional baseball, than one of the best values in all of baseball for two seasons AND a first/supplemental or supplemental/third?

    That has to be one of the crazier things I’ve read on this website in awhile.

    Comment by Marver — March 17, 2010 @ 3:46 pm

  33. I think that Cameron and the rest of his acolytes seem to think that Gonzalez is going to be paid too much after his next contract. And since his “value” is going to be way lower than his compensation while Ackley (and other young players) will be the opposite, the Mariners and other teams are better off sticking with their own players.

    Basically, what I’m reading into this is that Gonzalez is too good to be worth anything after his 6 years are up. So even if Ackley is never good he has more value to a franchise (non-Yankees or Red Sox division) because you won’t have to pay him anything.

    Comment by Tom — March 17, 2010 @ 3:59 pm

  34. If “never having taken a swing in professional baseball” (which isn’t true by the way, hello AFL and spring training) is so important to you, then you simply don’t have any idea how to properly value prospects.

    Comment by Jeff Nye — March 17, 2010 @ 4:36 pm

  35. If I was the Mariners there is no way I do that deal. If I was Jed Hoyer that is the starting point for negotiations.

    Comment by mowill — March 17, 2010 @ 4:38 pm

  36. To address the remainder of your “points” (with the last shreds of civility I have left for people that are being incredibly insulting):

    1) If the Mariners trade Ackley, they have to figure out what they’re going to do about second base. Whether you agree with the decision or not, the team clearly doesn’t see Jose Lopez as the solution at second base. So you’re left having to try to fill a much scarcer position via free agency or trade.

    2) Ackley will likely be major league ready as early as next season, if not later this season. He’s that polished of a hitter, all they’re really waiting for is for him to finish the transition to second base.

    3) It’s not likely the Mariners will give Gonzalez the fat, long-term contract he’s going to be looking for after 2011. So you’re giving up Ackley for a two-year rental (if even that, I don’t know how Gonzalez’s team option for 2011 is set up) that may or may not get you over the top in a pretty stacked AL West.

    4) Supplemental picks are nice, but people have gone from ignoring them, to wildly overvaluing them. There’s no telling what value you’ll actually get out of those picks. What if the 2011 draft class ends up having, say, 10 quality players at the top and then a bunch of junk? They’re a good consolation prize if things don’t go the way you’re hoping, but getting rid of quality young players HOPING you’ll get compensatory picks back is a good way to hose your team’s future.

    In a last-ditch attempt to try to get this to be more about the Padres than the Mariners again; some of the things I point out are going to be true (to varying extents) for pretty much any team that would be after Gonzalez, which is why the Padres need to be realistic about what they’re going to get back in a potential trade.

    Adrian Gonzalez isn’t going to be some magic key that lets you strip-mine another team’s farm system, particularly in the current economic environment of the game. Teams are being much smarter about hanging onto their young, cost-controlled players.

    Comment by Jeff Nye — March 17, 2010 @ 4:56 pm

  37. If you want to count AFL or 19 spring training at bats as sufficient ST experience with which to grade a prospect, go ahead. The bottom line is he still hasn’t faced professional pitching for an extended period of time; to say he’ll be ready in X amount of time and contribute over the length of his team-controlled years is a farce. He’s still a crapshoot and even if he turns out to be useful, there’s still not great odds that he’s more useful than Adrian Gonzalez and the ridiculous value he represents.

    Furthermore, you can’t just compile an argument based on the arbitrary statement that ‘after ten picks the rest will be junk’. That has never been the case; examine the last few draft classes and you’ll see that the supplemental rounds routinely produce talent…talent that needs to be accounted for in any trade involving Adrian since the Padres do forfeit a supplemental pick AND either a mid-late first or a third in dealing him.

    With Ackley you don’t know IF he’s going to be useful, WHERE on the diamond he’s going to be useful, HOW useful he’s going to be, and WHEN he’s going to be useful. With Adrian you KNOW he’s going to be absurdly useful for two seasons, and get some sort of compensation in return if he leaves the next season. Anyone with any knowledge of economics and the concept of variance can vouch that a deal that presents even value down-the-line compared to the value in the present is still a deal that favors the present.

    Can you name more useful players at their current salaries that are on teams willing to deal those players? The list is short, and most (if not all) of the players are below Adrian in terms of immediate value.

    Comment by Marver — March 17, 2010 @ 7:16 pm

  38. But Tom, you don’t have to pay Gonzalez anything. You can offer him arbitration, which produces two scenarios:
    1. he accepts (extremely unlikely) and you get him at slightly below market value
    or
    2. he signs elsewhere and you get a first/supplemental or supplemental/third in return.

    Some of the guys being mentioned in a trade aren’t even worth the compensation you get just by holding onto Gonzalez, let alone the value you get in those two seasons.

    Comment by Marver — March 17, 2010 @ 7:33 pm

  39. Yeah, okay, you simply have no idea what you’re talking about.

    Comment by Jeff Nye — March 17, 2010 @ 7:38 pm

  40. No, I know precisely what I’m talking about. Ackley is just a prospect at this point. He may be more polished than other prospects, but he is no slam dunk; Jason Heyward is a slam dunk.

    And yes, picks at the back half of the first round and picks in the supplemental rounds are certainly valuable. Take a look at some recent draft classes and then current top prospect lists; there are a whole lot of names in both lists.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Major_League_Baseball_Draft
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Major_League_Baseball_Draft
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Major_League_Baseball_Draft
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2006_Major_League_Baseball_Draft
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_Major_League_Baseball_Draft

    Comment by Marver — March 17, 2010 @ 7:56 pm

  41. It seems like players are graded on how much they produce over how much they are paid. Therefore a trade of Gonzalez for Ackley is determined to be a terrible deal even though there isn’t one GM right now that would only take Ackley for A-Gon. Remember the object of the game isn’t to get the most bang for your buck but to produce the most wins. Sure it helps to have cheap players but there is a reason that the teams with the highest payrolls are almost always the best teams — you have to pay a lot of money to get good players.

    As far as the praise for Ackley goes, let’s not act like he is some can’t miss prospect. The fact is that even the #2 pick fails sometimes. Just look at 5 years ago when the Royals took a college player who played a harder defensive position and had better numbers in college. Yet if any team would have traded their low salaried superstar for Alex Gordon in 2006, that GM would never have a job again.

    Comment by Tom — March 17, 2010 @ 9:06 pm

  42. I disagree with Jeff Nye, but I feel that Marver is poorly representing the opposing viewpoint.

    Comment by Omar — March 17, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

  43. I’m an Ackley fan and feel that he will become a valuable big leaguer at some point but Mr. Nye is going to have to do better than the standard USSM snotty brush off routine to claim that he has superior value right now. That coupled with his name-dropping about the M’s front office should tell everyone who he is, and who he’s here to defend. Of course, now that the site is over run with USSM mods and posters of the year, every conversation will make its way back to the Mariners.

    Comment by CaR — March 17, 2010 @ 9:34 pm

  44. You’re just jealous that I have a picture of myself with Zduriencik, Blengino, McNamara and Jeff Kingston.

    There, now you have some actual namedropping to complain about.

    Comment by Jeff Nye — March 17, 2010 @ 9:50 pm

  45. Omar –

    I feel like the only person even mentioning compensation is myself. How is that poorly representing the opposing theory? If someone attempts to make a case without mentioning EXACTLY what the player is worth, that is poorly representing that side.

    The truth of the matter is that compensation has to be a part of any transaction involving players of high calibur that are close to hitting free agency. It’s hard to fathom a scenario in which Gonzalez is not a type-A free agent, fetching two valuable picks in return.

    Trading Gonzalez for Ackley is:
    Trading ~30 million in value and two high picks for a prospect and, if he completely pans out, that compensation back. The odds on Ackley panning out, surpassing Gonzalez in value over the deal (in increased WS odds), AND overcoming the bridge in compensation value isn’t good.

    Again, this isn’t to say that Ackley isn’t a good prospect; I have him amongst the top twenty. However, there is a steep, steep dropoff (in my eye) between Heyward/Montero/Stanton and Dustin Ackley. The upside isn’t nearly as high for Ackley, especially since there are too many unknowns surrounding his positioning (and if he’ll have any defensive value there) and what is still an unproven bat.

    Comment by Marver — March 17, 2010 @ 10:16 pm

  46. Also, if you are going to begin to talk about a players’ positional value to his organization, you need to remember that one of the Padres best hitting prospects, Logan Forsythe (ironically, a recent supplemental pick), has converted to second base amidst the organization’s current dearth of talent at 3B. The team also recently drafted Donovan Tate and has a few other capable CF prospects in the system (Cumberland perhaps, Durango, Hunter — though, admittedly struggling recently). The team organizational needs are front-line starting pitching prospects, long-term catching option, and big hitting corner outfielder (too bad Decker can’t play left AND right simultaneously). CF and 2B seem to be less of a concern here.

    Comment by Marver — March 17, 2010 @ 10:22 pm

  47. I wish I didn’t have to wait a month to read this article…

    Comment by Reuben — March 18, 2010 @ 12:52 am

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