A Hypothetical Angels Trade for Zack Greinke

A couple days ago in these pages, I looked at what sort of trade package, in terms of prospects, might be necessary for a team trying to acquire either Zack Greinke or Cole Hamels before the July 31st deadline. Specifically, I looked at what other front-line starters had yielded for their respective teams in recent years — using John Sickels’ prospect grades as a rough guide as to the “quality” of the minor leaguers in question.

Here, I’d like to engage in a practice that is both (a) endlessly amusing for the baseball fan and also (b) probably totally irresponsible — which is to say, using that earlier post as a foundation, I’d like to consider the hypothetical trade package a specific team might have to assemble in order to acquire Zack Greinke.

The hypothetical team in question? In this case, the Los Angeles Angels.

Last night — probably not under cover of darkness, as the sun sets quite late early in July — CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported not only that the Angels would be persuing Zack Greinke but that the club is regarded “by a person close to Greinke as a perfect fit.’” Regardless of the degree to which such reports are credible, this one, specifically, provides enough in the way of a pretense for what, as I’ve already admitted, is probably a mistake.

In terms of the sort of prospects which Greinke might yield from the Angels, we must first consider at least two factors — both (a) what needs, if any, the Brewers have and (b) what prospects within the Angels’ organization are comparable to those we’ve seen traded in other, similar deals.

To better guess at what the Brewers might consider their areas of need, let’s consider which players might be reasonably expected to occupy something like a starting role entering 2013 and the last year under which each of those players, respectively, is likely to be under contract. (It should be noted that, apart from a few starting pitchers and maybe Scooter Gennett, that the Brewers don’t have much in the way of prospects, currently, as Marc Hulet’s preseason farm rankings suggest.)

Here, then, is a list of 2013′s provisional starters, by position:

C - Jonathan Lucroy, 2017
1B - Mat Gamel, 2016
2B - Rickie Weeks, 2015
3B - Aramis Ramirez, 2014
SS - ???
OF - Ryan Braun, 2020
OF - Norichika Aoki, 2014
OF - Nyjer Morgan, 2014
OF - Corey Hart, 2013

Given this list, it’s fair to assume that shortstop is an area of need for Milwaukee — as Alex Gonzalez‘s option (dependent on however many of hundreds of plate appearances) won’t be vesting and Cody Ransom, despite having been adequate, is not really what any team would regard as an “answer” at short. Mat Gamel was only just replacement level through 75 plate appearances before his season-ending injury, so there’s the chance that the club will look elsewhere. Then again, Gamel was still the starter when he went down. An alternative is that Aramis Ramirez could move over to first base with Taylor Green taking over third. Finally, let’s consider starting pitchers of infinite interest to a selling team.

Looking at the Angels’ farm system, then, we will privilege shortstops, starting pitchers, and maybe a corner-infield sort. We will also look for ratings that were similar to the ones of the prospects netted by other elite starters in recent seasons. It appears to be the case — again, as we discovered in that piece from Monday — it appears to be the case that a typical package will include a fairly large group of minor leaguers (all the deals considered, for example, consisted of four prospects exactly), with one or two of those in the high-B range and another pair in the low-B or C-range.

All this considered, I decree what follows to be the most likely prospect package from the Angels system (Sickels’ notes on which you can read here).

Some combination of:
Jean Segura, 2B/SS, B (who maybe can and maybe can’t stick at short)

Plus two of the following:
Kaleb Cowart, 3B, Grade B-
C.J. Cron, 1B, Grade B-
Luis Jimenez, 3B, Grade B-

Plus a starting-pitching prospect somewhere in the C-range — maybe Ariel Pena (RHP, C+), although he is maybe more valuable, at this point, than at the beginning of the season.

This, of course, is a game that anyone can play at home — either with the Angels, or any of the other teams that (per Heyman) have expressed interest in Greinke (links to the Sickels’ prospect ratings for which I’ve included below).

The idea is that, with some kind of framework established for what a front-line starter can yield, we’re at least capable of playing the game a bit more realistically.

Here are the links to other of Sickels’ preseason ratings: Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers.




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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.


73 Responses to “A Hypothetical Angels Trade for Zack Greinke”

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  1. CaliforniaJag says:

    I’d be pretty surprised if an Angels Greinke deal didn’t involve Bourjos. Just my opinion, though.

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    • SecondHandStore says:

      Why on earth would the Brewers want Bourjos?

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      • JustSomeGuy says:

        He’s thinking of the Phillies and Cole Hamels. The Phillies want a young CF.

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      • Brazen Reader says:

        Nyjer Morgan has 1 more year of arbitration and is then a free agent. Does Milwaukee have a good CF prospect? If not, for Greinke’s expiring contract they can get Gorgeous Bourjos, pay him 1/5 of Morgan, and not offer Morgan arbitration in 2013. Plus soem other Angel Salt Lake City wonders.

        Bourjos might be as good or better than Morgan already, although I’m not qualified to say so.

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    • CubsFan16 says:

      The only reason Bourjos is not starting is because Hunter makes 18.5 million this year.

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      • Brian says:

        If the Angels could deal Bourjos and a prospect (or two) for Greinke or Hamels, that would be totally awesome. It sounds weird, but at least it solves the Angels OF problem for 2013, and at the very least Wells can still mash the Rangers in RBIA.

        If the Phillies grab Bourjos, then trade away Victorino; with regular playing time, Bourjos is comparable to Victorino in terms of offense production. Then flip Victorino for a pitching prospect of some sort (money might be necessary to facilitate the trade).

        If the Brewers grab Bourjos, then trade away Morgan or simply release him. I would rather have Bourjos over Morgan, any day of the year.

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      • Jason B says:

        “with regular playing time, Bourjos is comparable to Victorino in terms of offense production.”

        …really?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

        (I broke off the question mark and exclamation point keys, otherwise I planned on doing that for MUCH longer…)

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      • Brian says:

        @ Jason B.

        Yes really. Bourjos is comparable to Victorino in terms of offense. Project Bourjos with regular playing time.
        Then project Victorino with regular playing time.

        Do that for 2013, 2014, and 2015.

        During that time Bourjos will be 26 – 28, while Victorino will be 33 – 35. I’d expect their triple slash lines and wRC+ to be to be quite similar for the next few years.

        If Bourjos turns out to be slightly worse offensively, then so be it.

        Just keep in mind I said ‘comparable to Victorino’ not ‘as good as Victorino’.

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    • Rob says:

      The Brewers already have a better in Bourjos in Carlos Gomez

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  2. If I’m Jerry Dipoto I’m on the phone right now trying to get this deal done. Giving up Segura, Cron, Jimenez, and a C-range pitching for Greinke makes a ton of sense. The Angels have the money to extend Greinke, and he would make their rotation untouchable going forward. I know this is all-fantasy world, but Weaver, Haren, Greinke and Wilson is stuff of dreams. Even if Haren’s option isn’t picked up, putting those three aces in a rotation with the blossoming Garrett Richards is still a scary prospect for the American League to deal with

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    • Oasis says:

      Sure, the Phillies four aces worked so well in the playoffs last year …

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      • Jason B says:

        Yeah, that sample size of one series definitely proves that no one can ever ever win with a collection of above-average starters. Never ever. Well said.

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  3. tanner shurtz says:

    I’d be fine with Segura & Jimenez for Greinke.

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  4. Kernel says:

    Pena got killed at the Futures Game, but without him, the Angels are astoundingly shallow in starting pitching. Most of their valued prospects are pretty low, too.

    I would be disappointed to see those prospects get traded away, especially after the last timet he Angels dumped some decent prospects for Haren that are now doing well.

    Ultimately, it goes back to trusting DiPoto, and if the Angels could get a long-term deal signed, I’d say it’s worth it easy. A rotation of Wilson, Weaver, Greinke, Haren, and a batting practice machine would be insane.

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  5. zipperz says:

    batting practice machine is … a MACHINE! [but probably due for some regression]

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  6. SecondHandStore says:

    I’d be pretty all right with that return on Greinke. Then the Brewers can go ahead and re-sign him in the offseason!!!

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  7. Anon21 says:

    Not a bad proposal, Carson, but I’m not sure why the Braves* would want to move Grienke for a shortstop prospect–Simmons is only on the shelf for about six weeks.

    *Who need to be on the phone, reeling in Greinke, right the fuck now. No, Frank, I don’t want to hear about Ben Goddamn Sheets. Go get this team a real pitcher.

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    • TKDC says:

      B+ guy: Delgado or Gilmartin
      B- pitcher: Spruill
      B- SS: Lipka
      C+ corner bat with some potential: Terdoslovich

      Let the Brewers pick the pitcher. If the Braves could extend Grienke for something approaching a reasonable year/total, I’d love this.

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      • Mike Newman says:

        Yuck! Lipka is no longer at SS and doesn’t hit. Gilmartin is meh. Spruill has had a number of issues. Terd is a Hinske back up type. Delgado is the only really legit guy in the bunch.

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      • Anon21 says:

        Gilmartin has a high floor. He’s very likely to be a back end Major League starter sometime in the next couple years. That may not set prospect mavens’ hearts a-flutter, but for a team like the Brewers, with a mid-range payroll, he’d be a great acquisition

        However, I agree that TKDC’s overall package wouldn’t get the deal done. You’d probably need to headline with it Gilmartin AND one of Minor and Delgado. Then you might need to add Bethancourt too (assuming you can sell the Brewers on his bat developing down the road). And then you let the Brewers pick a throw-in like Terdoslavich or Gattis.

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      • Bob says:

        The Brewers have a lot of MLB ready-ish prospects who project as #3 starter types. Fiers, Jungman, Thornberg, Peralta, etc. If they deal Grienke, it is either for a potential #1 type pitcher, or something to address their relative lack of hitting prospects.

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      • Anon21 says:

        Looks like Gilmartin is more highly regarded than either Thornburg or Fiers. Still, I get your point. The only true #1 type prospect in Atlanta’s system is Teheran, and frankly I think the valuations on him would be way too far apart to build a deal around him.

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      • gdc says:

        I saw the nickname below and thought “A guy named Terd? No sh**?” No wonder he says Yuck!

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      • TKDC says:

        The author suggested a package of one B guy, two B- guys and one C+ guy. I honestly don’t see how that compares to giving up Delgado plus other good prospects? Gilmartin, Delgado, and Bethancourt blow that out of the water, quite frankly. Delgado is not even a prospect any more, but a 22-year old major league pitcher. Gilmartin has been very impressive in the minors. And Bethancourt is not only too good to be the third piece in a trade for a half season of any player, but he’s also very much needed for the Braves as he looks like the likely replacement for McCann in 2014. If you threw those 3 guys into the 2012 draft, they would have all gone in the first round (maybe 2nd).

        Also, what are Spruill’s issues?

        I mean, you say Yuck but look at the packages that were given in the past. Do you think the Braves should give up Teheren, Simmons, and Delgado?

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      • placidity says:

        Well to get Greinke you need to offer more than 2 first/supplemental rounders because that is the reward for the Brewers just keeping him, so 3 first/second round types seems reasonable.

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      • TKDC says:

        2 first/firstish guys now is better than 2 in 2013. Either way, for the Brewers to make the trade, getting a junk filler prospect along with what you’d expect in the draft is good for the Brewers.

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  8. Buck says:

    Doesn’t really change things but the Brewers really like Hart at first base

    Since Aoki cannot play center I suspect Hart stays at first base

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  9. soamx says:

    I don’t think Segura will get it done considering most scouting reports i’ve seen say he doesn’t have a future at SS.

    If they are looking for a SS, they can do better
    If they are willing to make a deal without a SS in it, they can do better

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  10. Scotty Allen says:

    If and only if, Grienke is willing to sign an extension with the Angels, then I’d pull the trigger on this trade. But if he doesn’t, giving up Segura, Cron, Jimenez and Pena would be WAY too much to give up for only two months of Grienke.

    I don’t believe that has ever occurred has it? A player traded at the deadline signing an in-season extension with his new team? So outside of something happening that has never happened before, I don’t think this’ll happen.

    But if he weren’t to sign an extension, what would I pay? For two months of Zack Grienke, maybe Jean Segura. Doubtful that’d get it done though.

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    • Bob says:

      The Brewers aren’t trading Grienke for a deal headlined by a 2B (because Weeks has that spot clogged up for years to come), let alone trading him for only a 2B.

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      • BJ says:

        I have a feeling that returns on talent will be WAY down this season. If the Angels can’t get 2 prospects out of Greinke if he leaves there is NO way that they give up 4 of their most talented prospects for 2 months of baseball. This is a team that is built to win this year and beyond. That would be an incredibly short-sighted move by DiPoto.

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    • WSC says:

      How much would a sack full of prospects mean if the Halos won the ‘Chip? Go big or go home, Di Poto.

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    • Brazen Reader says:

      @ScottyAllen,

      History & logic may support your side re: trades and extension, but history, logic and Bob Melvin have no defense against Michael Nelson Trout. Consider the miracles that followed Ichthys’ restoration amongst the Angels:

      +Pujols hit a HR, and they multiplied.
      +Vernon Wells left for the 60 day DL
      +Mickey Hatcher fired and brimstoned
      + 4.6 WAR from center field
      +CJ Wilson’s douchery seizures quieted (e.g., has not tweeted David “I’m not an Apple, man” Appelman’s phone number)
      + Mark Daniel Trumbo: All star…outfielder…0.344 obp…
      + Mariano Rivera injured and reincarnated as Ernesto Frieri, who materialized in the Angel bullpen from literally nowheresville
      + Jordan Walden, Ervin Santana converted into useful baseball players (this occurred on the road to Salt Lake)
      +I, crabby clenched man, sobbed and shook whilst the Stanley Cup entered the Staples ice directly in front of me (goosebumps)
      +Steve Nash, Canadian, joined the Lakers

      If you search your heart, you will also find faith. I’m searching my wallet for world-series ticket purchasing power.

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    • Spike says:

      yeah, is anyone going to deal multiple top prospects for a 2 month rental with no draft compensation? um, seems doubtful.

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      • mcawesome says:

        It’s not doubtful if they intend to sign him long term, and it appears the Angels are prepared to do that.

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  11. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    For some perspective on the question of responsibility and trade suggestions: a friend of mine goes on and on about how the Rangers ought to trade Josh Hamilton for Cole Hamels, straight up.

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  12. Randy says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Brewers get an underwhelming haul of players in return for Greinke. Aybar, Bourjos, and a prospect, perhaps. The Brewers tend to trade away blue chip prospects, not acquire them, and probably have a fascination with “major league ready players.” Those would plug their two holes in the lineup, have a superb defender in CF next to Braun, move Aoki to RF, and move Hart to 1B, as other said. They should also find a suitor for Marcum, if possible.

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  13. Big Jgke says:

    Hypothetically, communism works.

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  14. Big Jgke says:

    Hypothetically, communism works.

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    • Robert J. Baumann says:

      Hypothetically, capitalism “works,” too. I’ve yet to see it.

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      • Tim says:

        hmmm…see any pox plagues, maypoles, horse driven delivery carts, carrier pigeons or 45 year life expectancies?

        Capitalism is working fine. It;s called the business cycle…and when governments quit manipulating it for votes, it isn’t as choppy…

        Or you can extol the thriving culture and economy of the Eurozone Welfare States……ohwaitaminute…

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        Capitalism works if you’re wealthy and the “freedom” is actually a freedom to do, not to be poor.

        See, those with power and wealth use their position to acquire more. That’s why our wealth distribution more closely resembles Mexico or China than Europe or Australia. You are born rich, you go to college, you get a good job. Or, you’re born rich, you buy businesses that increase your wealth something like 270% over the last 35 years, creating minimum wage jobs, which is why most other socioeconomic classes growth has been fairly stagnat.

        Pure capitalism doesn’t work. Capitalists like to use a classroom analogy to describe why socialism doesn’t work. You redistribute the points and production goes down. If you were to use a classroom analogy to describe why pure capitalism doesn’t work, start some kids out with 100 bonus points, see how hard they work to “earn” their A. Start others with negative 100 points, don’t allow them to use the book, or come to the classroom, see if they even give a shit anymore.

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    • Table says:

      Definitely small sample size

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  15. Tim says:

    I still think Mike Olt is the best prospect the Brewers can realistically get. I’d be happy with Olt, Grimm, Loux, and Julio Borbon.

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    • Ryabn says:

      good luck getting that back for a 2 month rental

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    • jim says:

      you know the rangers wouldn’t get draft picks from greinke, right?

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      • Antonio Bananas says:

        Olt and Profar for Greinke. I’d take it on either side. Profar is still a prospect and Andrus is proven and good. Any difference in ability is probably small. Olt is a fantastic prospect who hits everything hard, but Beltre is arguably the best 3B in the game. Top prospects happen every year, there is only one Adrian Beltre.

        Milwaukee needs cheaper players. It’d be nice to get a top prospect pitcher so maybe try Martin Perez instead of either Profar or Olt.

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  16. Keystone Heavy says:

    Rangers have plenty of middle infield prospects, FWIW.

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  17. Mike Pagliarulo says:

    How ’bout the Yankees for Greinke?

    Nunez
    Phelps
    Adams
    Heathcott

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  18. Paul says:

    Did nobody read Carson’s previous article and comments regarding the changes to the CBA? Milwaukee holds onto Greinke they get an extra supplemental first round pick. Of which next year there will only be a handful instead of 30. Plus they will get an increase in their bonus pool. Plus in all likelihood another “competitive balance” supplemental pick and commensurate bonus pool increase.

    So in other words, Attanasio can continue to negotiate with Zack all the way to the end trying to re-sign him and endearing himself more to the fanbase. Alternatively, he can trade Zack for Zeke Spruill and some guys. Come on folks, use the old thinking cap here. The value of a compensation free agent is exponentially higher than in the past.

    I think Carson’s Angels scenario is about right. However – and I hope Mike Newman will weigh in on this – my sense is that Cowart is far and away the jewel of that system now and rated two notches higher than B- in the least. Any deal would be built around him.

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    • George Kaplan says:

      Thank you for being a rare voice of reason. After viewing the implosion that was Zack Greinke in the Brewers’ post-season, I am less than thrilled with the idea of providing a more than two prospects of value, period, for his services in the remainder of 2012. My vision of him is someone who provides reliable regular season performance but who can not be counted on in October. Add to that the idea that he’ll be a free agent and it makes no sense to give so much away for such a specific and short-lived return.

      I can imagine spending less in prospects, getting Brandon McCarthy, and arriving at approximately the same outcome.

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      • Paul says:

        Well, I was really just saying that Greinke or other compensation free agents like Hamels are going to be worth more, and so fans are going to have to be okay with parting with for real guys, not a collection of semi-regulars as Carson’s previous article showed.

        My preference? If it was my team I’d want them to deal top prospects for the best pitcher on the market, free agent or no, previous ineffectiveness in a few post-season outings (SSS alert!) or domination. But then I’m a Royals fan and we haven’t been to the post-season in 27 years. If we were a legit contender and some team wanted Wil Myers – to start – for an ace, my take would be, “Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out, Wil.”

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      • Bob says:

        I agree with you Paul. Being a Brewers fan myself, the CC trade was completely worth it to get the Brewers in the playoffs. The Marcum/Grienke trades were completely worth it to get the Brewers in the playoffs.

        I think there is a disconnect between fans of successful teams and fans of teams who historically struggle. If your team is always good, it doesn’t seem to make sense to trade future success for present success – because you all ready have present success. But for most teams there is a point where collecting prospects doesn’t work any more. To get to the playoffs, and have a real chance at winning the WS, it matters more who is on your MLB team than the future potential on your farm.

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      • Paul says:

        Bob: As much as I appreciate regression-based statistical analysis, which dominates on this site, I think Carson’s demonstration of just how bad the return is for trading aces is of real value in terms of using a analytical approach to the game. Your example is a good one, but in hindsight the C.C. deal was even better for them because they really didn’t give up anything. I suspect that you’re with me that even under the new system where the trading team actually has leverage now, you’d still be willing to part with better and more prospect for that frontline guy. I don’t understand why some fans would rather hold onto prospects, whose rate of success in MLB is less than 50/50, than go to the playoffs, but I guess that’s just 27 years of losing talking.

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    • TKDC says:

      This basically means that if Grienke is traded, it will be for slightly better than what the Brewers get from keeping him. It is not like this new scenario means that the return will increase at the same rate as the increase in return for letting him walk at the end of the season. If the Brewers are offered two guys that are “first-round guys” including one that is more of a fringe first rounder, and another piece, that is better for them than the two picks. And they don’t have to pay the last 3 months of Grienke’s salary. Teams won’t go way above that just to make the spread bigger. The fact is, with the new rules eliminating compensation for the traded-to team, the only deals for guys like this will likely be of this ilk. The best a rental could possibly return is barely more than the team would get if they held onto him. I wonder if this is by design?

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      • Paul says:

        I think you are underestimating the value of draft picks in the new system. Remember, there will only be a few rather than 30+ as there have been for years now. Plus, the team that signs a compensation free agent loses their first round pick. That means that in reality, the supplemental pick that the Brewers would get for Greinke would be more like 26th overall rather than around 33rd. And because there are fewer picks, if they maintain their current winning percentage, their second round pick would be something like 40-45th overall, which used to be a mid-supp 1st rounder. And they will probably get another supplemental first rounder due to being a low revenue and below .500 record team. That’s 3 top 50 picks and a much bigger bonus pool than most teams just for letting Greinke walk. We saw how savvy teams like the Blue Jays used the new system to bring in much more high end talent than their peers who did not have extra picks. And beginning next year, that will be of even more value because of the dramatically reduced number of supplemental picks.

        If I’m an owner of a team and my GM says he would rather take two of somebody else’s flawed B- prospects versus having an extra pick, especially in the context of a team like the Brewers who could have 3 in the top 50, I’d fire his ass.

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  19. JayTeam says:

    Why does everyone think teams get 2 picks for FA compensation? They only get one supplemental pick.

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    • Brian says:

      For free agent compensation, you get:
      - either a pick at the end of round 1 or round 2 and
      - a pick in the sandwich round (happens between round 1 and round 2)

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      • Paul says:

        That is not true. The new CBA stipulates that a single draft pick in the supplemental round will be awarded, and it will only be awarded to a team who had the player on its roster all season and submitted a qualifying offer (similar – but different – to the previous offer of arbitration). This single pick, is, however, more valuable than under the previous system because there will be dramatically less of them. Plus, with hard slotting there is cost certainty and as we saw this year, players were more willing to sign knowing that unlike in the past their chances of earning a higher draft position (bonus) is not great. In the past it didn’t matter because they could negotiate in an open ended environment where there were no financial restrictions on the teams.

        Teams that trade for a compensation free agent will not be able to get that pick due to the trade. So on the one hand the pick is very valuable to the team that controls the player, and the non-performance based rewards are less for the trading team. You might think this would make for fewer trades, but I disagree. It puts a realistic valuation on a top tier player, given how much money a team makes by getting into the playoffs. It will foster more of a win at all costs mentality, which I think will be great for the game.

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  20. Matty Brown says:

    Carson, I feel strongly that your proposed trade would be a no-brainer on the part of the Angels.

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  21. manuscript says:

    i’m pretty amazed that everyone has kept this conversation limited to prospects. i have to think that the brewers view themselves at least as fringe competitors in 2013, and recent (brief) success would make a complete rebuild pretty devastating to a hungry and responsive fan base already all-too-familiar with losing. accordingly, why not consider young, controllable major league players? why has bourjos been the only major leaguer in the conversation when guys like trumbo and morales *could* be fits with the brewers as well?

    should the brewers deal grienke, that frees up money for their pitching needs next off-season. what better way to buffer or compliment that than by shoring up offensive needs on the major league level rather than rolling the dice on guys who aren’t ready?

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    • Paul says:

      Young, controllable players who are worth acquiring are also helping the trading team win NOW. The point is to keep the equation simple:

      Player(s) that can help a team win the future = Player(s) that can help you win now

      Why would a team insert divisors and hope that they are adding more than subtracting in the short term (which is all that matters in a playoff run scenario)? The point is to decrease the margin of error as much as possible, and given the short time period, you simply cannot give up guys who are helping you win games.

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  22. Mcgannahan Skjellyfetti says:

    Not bad, 2 of the 3 prospects were correct.

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  23. Nicholas says:

    Ding ding ding!!!!

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  24. Blueyays says:

    Wow, got the amount of players right AND two of the three players themselves! Impressive!!!

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