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Assorted Trade Rumor Thoughts

Posted By Steve Slowinski On July 29, 2011 @ 3:30 pm In Daily Graphings,Idle Thoughts | 51 Comments

It’s Friday, two days before the trade deadline, and I officially have rumor-induced ADHD. I keep catching myself peeking at my Twitter feed ever couple minutes, and I don’t think I’ve closed my MLB Trade Rumors tab in four days. Sunday needs to come and go already so I can go back to having a life.

As I can barely focus on anything for more than 15 minutes, I figured I’d write up some of my assorted musings on the big rumors floating around out there. Original idea, huh?

The Ubaldo Jimenez Rumors

I don’t get it. If I was the Rockies, there’s no way in heck that I’d trade Jimenez. I can understand the logic behind shopping him, considering they have lots of holes on their roster for 2012 and no surefire prospects ready to fill them, but the Rockies had better be sure they’re getting back an absurd haul for him. How often do 5-6 WAR pitchers come along, nonetheless ones that are signed for only $18 million over the next three years? Pitchers like Jimenez are rare commodities, and no matter how good a prospect is, they’re still only a prospect.

Not only that, but this is Colorado we’re talking about: a team that up until a few years ago had struggled to find pitchers that could succeed in Coors Field. Without Ubaldo, what happens to their rotation? They have some young prospects that could develop into top of the rotation arms — Jhoulys Chacin and Juan Nicasio are both exciting — but their current staff would look considerably weaker without Jimenez at the front. Then again, maybe I’m reading Colorado’s position on the Win Curve wrong; I view them as a team that could contend within the next few season with a handful of signings and some development from young players.

Jimenez is the highest rated player on Dave Cameron’s trade value series that’s on the trade market this year (#25), but I’m afraid his slow start (currently sports a 4.20 ERA, 3.48 SIERA) could encourage other teams to try and low-ball the Rockies. Word is that the Rockies are holding strong to their asking price, and I hope they keep it that way through the weekend. Unless they’re blown away, there’s no pressing need for them to deal Jimenez. Ace starters like Ubaldo are rare; when you develop one, hold onto it tight and don’t let go.

The Hunter Pence Rumors

It’s already been said a hundred times by others, but the Astros have got to be so happy that Pence decided to post a .370 BABIP so far this year. I’m not trying to say that Pence’s production this season hasn’t been legit, as it’s possible that he’s just been insanely hot this year and hitting the ball hard, but the odds are that eventually he’ll regress closer to his career .330 BABIP.

Of course, in season results tend to be “stickier” than season-to-season, so it’s possible that Pence could keep this streak going through the end of the year — Josh Hamilton posted a .390 BABIP last season, after all. It’d be a gamble for a team to trade for Pence under the assumption that he’ll maintain a high BABIP, but if a team is very focused on winning this season and doesn’t mind if Pence’s production drops back to his career average after this season, they could at least make a justifiable argument for paying slightly more for him than fair market value.

That’s not to say I’d recommend a team do this. But I do think it’d make for an interesting argument.

The Denard Span Rumors

From 2009-2011:

Hunter Pence — 10.0 WAR
B.J. Upton — 7.9 WAR
Denard Span — 9.3 WAR

If you have a hopeless compulsion to trade for relievers, you might as well make sure they’re young, injury-free, and dominant — like Drew Storen, essentially. Relievers are easy to replace and difficult to project, but Storen is one of the few bullpen arms that could be worth paying a decent bit for through trade. He’s young, cheap, has great upside, and is already an shutdown closer; you can’t ask for much more in a bullpen arm.

But still…trading Span for a reliever — any reliever — would be disappointing. He’s a good-to-great center fielder and under team control cheaply through 2015, so the Twins would need to get some sort of prospect included in a package for him. Heck, if the Phillies’ are offering their top two prospects for Hunter Pence, a Span-Storen swap would be highway robbery.

The Orioles

I’m somewhat surprised we haven’t heard more from the Orioles, who have plenty of spare parts that they could shop. While Vladimir Guerrero and Derrek Lee won’t bring back a king’s ransom, trading them would do the O’s more long-term good than holding onto them. But hey, there are still a couple days left — more can always develop.


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