Cliff Lee’s Trade Value

Over the next six weeks, most of the General Managers of contending teams will ask themselves the same question – what am I willing to give up to get Cliff Lee? Lee is the big fish in the upcoming trade season, as he is arguably the best left-handed pitcher in baseball right now, and is just a year removed from one of the most impressive post-season performances we’ve ever seen.

Each team will come to a different conclusion about what to offer based on their own team’s circumstances and how they value different players, but let’s try to offer a helping hand by quantifying Lee’s trade value as of today.

If a team traded for him tomorrow, they’d likely be able to extract 20 starts from Lee the rest of the season, as most teams have about 100 games left on their schedule. No one is going to be able to put together a deal that quickly, however, so we’ll estimate 18 starts in order to give them enough time to make a trade.

Over the last three years, Lee has made 74 starts and has been worth +16.8 wins over a replacement level starter, or about .23 wins per outing. Multiply that rate out over 18 starts and you come up with just over +4 wins for the rest of 2010. His performance has been so good the last few years that you don’t have to regress the projection that much. To account for the chance of injury or some kind of unexpected performance drop, you probably knock it down to +3.5 wins, or something in that range.

The marginal value of a win last winter was about $4 million. Using that figure, we’d estimate that the remainder of Lee’s 2010 regular season to be worth about $14 million. But teams are now operating with more information than they had over the winter.

Contenders and pretenders have been sorted out to a degree, and teams that actually have a chance to play in October have a better likelihood of seeing that come to pass than they did before the season began. Thus, while teams do factor post-season performance into their off-season pricing, it becomes more valuable at the trade deadline, as teams adjust their rosters for the playoffs. In reality, the marginal value of a win in July is almost certainly higher than it is in December, due to the increased certainty with which GMs can project their playoff chances.

I would estimate the marginal value of a win in July to be closer to $5 million than $4 million, which would put Lee’s value at $18 million instead of $14, but it’s in the same general range. A team that trades for Lee doesn’t just get his 2010 season, however, but also is basically guaranteed two draft picks when he leaves via free agency (or they get to re-sign him, which is a value in and of itself), since he’s a lock for Type A free agency.

If we use the numbers that Victor Wang concluded, the value of the compensation picks is about $6 million, a significant figure. Given that 2011 is projected as an exceptionally strong draft class, it might even be a little bit higher, but we’ll stick with that value for now.

That would make the asset that is Cliff Lee worth between $20 and $26 million. He’s due about $5 million left of his 2010 salary, so we’ll subtract that amount from the overall total, and get $15 to $21 million in surplus value.

What does that look like in terms of prospects? According to the values Wang came up with, that’s a hitting prospect in the 25-75 range or a top 10 pitching prospect, plus maybe another lesser piece or two in order to win the bidding. Historically, that is basically what we see. The Indians obtained Matt LaPorta and change for CC Sabathia two years ago. The A’s got Brett Wallace and change for Matt Holliday last year. That is basically the established return for a rent-a-star.

If you’re a GM shopping for Cliff Lee this summer, that looks to be the price – $15 to $20 million worth of value, which translates into one high quality prospect and a few fillers.




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


107 Responses to “Cliff Lee’s Trade Value”

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  1. gnomez says:

    Would Lance Lynn, Daryl Jones, and Shelby Miller be enough for him to come to STL?

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    • Felonius_Monk says:

      Probably, though I dunno if Jones has much value anymore. That’s probably about equal to the deal they gave up for Holliday last year – I’d say Miller is marginally less valuable than Wallace was, but Lynn is probably a slightly better low-ceiling high-minors arm than Mortensen, and Jones and Peterson are arguably about equivalent, with Jones maybe just shading it.

      Not sure the Cardinals can really afford to give up what few prospects they have left, though, with a huge pay day coming for Pujols, a fairly poor farm system (at least pre-draft this year), and a need to produce a number of home-grown regulars over the next four years.

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    • Cody says:

      The cardinals aren’t giving up miller though, he’s the only prospect the team has with an ace ceiling. I believe this package would be enough but the cardinals wouldn’t make this trade though. In my opinion the cardinals need a quality innings eater not an ace.

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  2. Kenny says:

    And the latest Jon Niese rumors… is he worthy of being a centerpiece to a deal? I was never that high on him.

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    • J.P. says:

      I think it is a bad move for the Mets. Not because I think Niese is going to be anything more than maybe a nice #3, but because he has a much better chance of being a league average starter the rest of the way than RA Dickey or Takahashi. So the value of the upgrade isn’t as good since he is replacing Niese instead of Takahashi, and then say have Takahashi replacing Mejia in the pen.

      Also, I think the Mariners can probably do better for there centerpiece player.

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      • Felonius_Monk says:

        The Mariners need to net a high-ceiling prospect, I think, even if it’s a slightly riskier one. Their system isn’t bad but it’s a little lacking in potential future stars.

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      • NEPP says:

        Why? They didn’t give up any Top Prospects for him…they dont need to get one to make the deal worth it.

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      • Temo says:

        Jonathan Niese is a 23 year old player with a career 3.73 FIP in 97 innings, and a good minor league record.

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      • nmigliore says:

        lol, the Mets aren’t giving up a cost-controlled #3 starter for like ~2 months of Lee.

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      • Teej says:

        Why? They didn’t give up any Top Prospects for him…they dont need to get one to make the deal worth it.

        Not that I necessarily agree with the idea that they have to get a high-ceiling prospect, but what they gave up for Lee is irrelevant. They don’t need to make it “worth it”; they need to get the best return they can to help them in the future, assuming it’s worth more than the two picks. What’s done is done.

        (Though I agree it probably wouldn’t take an elite prospect to make the whole Lee experiment a net gain.)

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      • NEPP says:

        Teej, I was just ripping Amaro more than anything…I agree that what they gave up for him is irrelevant.

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    • BX says:

      Taking into account TINSTAPP, I would be more than happy to take Niese as a centerpiece if I’m Seattle.

      He’s done something the vast majority of the pitchers being offered in a Cliff Lee trade haven’t —> gotten major league hitters out at a competent clip.

      But, I really don’t like that move for the Mets, as it would blow another long term hole open in that rotation, and fill it with a short term piece.

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  3. jking12 says:

    Dave,

    Do you have any projections of likely teams that will go after Lee, and of those serious contenders for him, what specific prospects do you think they’d be willing to give up?

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  4. Thomas says:

    This is biased. Cameron has always been a M’s homer, and this article is further proof.

    The marginal value of a win magically jumps from $4 million to $5 million with no empirical evidence? There’s greater dispersion of performance the shorter the season, so Lee’s win contribution is more in doubt. $4 million is more appropriate. If you could statistically prove $5 million then fine, but that was not done.

    Also, using $6 million for the value of draft picks demonstrates either Cameron’s (1) selective attention or (2) poor reading comprehension. Wang clearly states in the conclusion of the article that a Type-A free agent is worth between $3-$5 million. In other words, $6 (the amount used in Cameron’s analysis) is wrong and clearly an overestimate.

    You really did a poor job with this, Dave. If you ever want to make it to the big leagues of baseball writing, you’re gonna have to check your Mariners biases at the door. Better luck next time.

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    • TheUnrepentantGunner says:

      while dave has mariners homerism at times (The offer still stands on those franchise rankings dave!!!), i think the value DOES go up in july for some teams

      in april, thoretically some teams are out of contention, but lots feel in contention and the marginal win value is x

      by july, some teams are clearly making the playoffs, and the marginal win value matters less than odds of winning more games in the post season

      other teams are the pirates, and the mariners, and the orioles, and royals, who have a near 0 marginal win value (in some cases negative, if it costs you bryce harper or straburg!)

      but there are teams, maybe half a game in the lead, unsafe in their lead or maybe 3 games out but feeling good for whatever reason, where making the playoffs is HUGELY important. I know the players get alot of the revenue, but beyond flags flying forever, it’s clearly better to make the playoffs than not to make it economically, for next year’s season ticket sales, etc etc.

      so in july, most of the teams will have ZERO interest in cliff lee unless they could get him for less than the value of two draft picks.

      some teams will really value him though, and therein lies the paradox…

      right now cliff lee is worth more in a context-neutral environment than in july. but in july the skewing of how teams value wins will be massive.

      i remember my beloved (and occasionally infuriating with their front office lately) phillies picking up iguchi when chase utley went down for 2 months. i cant remember who we gave up, but even though iguchi was average at best, and it was maybe a half a win move at most, it was COMPLETELY worth it, and any phillies fan would tell you that they would pay 7 million per win minimum at that point. (we werent yet 7 back mind you).

      I’d say the same about blanton, moyer when we got him, and i think any playoff team could say the same.

      it’s not irrational, it just creates an imbalance.

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      • TheUnrepentantGunner says:

        oh yes, did some quick research. iguchi was traded for the pitching coaches son, a non-prospect.

        and not to mention, the phillies last year, even though they were relatively safe in their lead, were completely justified in trading for cliff lee, regardless of what keith law or others may have written at thetime, because he probably improved their chances of winning any given series by 4% or more (a huge value relatively speaking)

        now if only they had kept him for one more year instead of joe blanton for 3 :(

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    • Hejuk says:

      I’m guessing this is sarcastic, but I do wonder about the $5 million number for a win. There is a weird tendency to wait until the deadline to make these trades (when the acquired player offers less value because fewer games), and I wonder if there is a relatively deflated market right now for wins: the June market values a win closer to December rates than to late-July rates, even though they are more in a July than a December situation (the contenders have sorted themselves out and know their needs). If that’s the case, the market value for Cliff Lee is either his projected value for the rest of the season at deflated rates ($4-4.5 million, say) or his projected value from late July on at inflated rates.

      Then again, I don’t know what sort of inflation happens in late July for a win, and perhaps $5 million is a relatively deflated number – but that just gets at the point of the (sarcastic?) post, that it’d be nice to have some empirical data on this.

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    • CMC_Stags says:

      You’re obviously biased against Mr. Cameron.

      There have been many article written about how the average value of a win is $4, the value to contenders is much greater for the last few wins.

      As a mental exercise, say the Red Sox are in a dead heat with the Yankees for the Wild Card. Do you think the value of an additional win would be more or less than the average rate?

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    • Sam says:

      Gee, I thought one top prospect and fillers for a top flight starter on a 3 month rental is about fair. Ask Steve Phillips, and he will gladly give you more.

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    • gagecorp says:

      obviously dave is a mariners fan – he runs a blog for them! But if anything that probably makes him harder on seattle.

      Regardless, the reason a win has a higher value is because its a shorter season and you wouldn’t be involved in trade talks if you weren’t in contention, and by being in contention, the importance of each win is magnified. simple enough. and as he stated, its *estimation*.

      and you get TWO draft picks, so with a value of 3(-5) million, that equals 6 million. tada.

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      • Thomas says:

        (1) Gage, read the article. Wang says the value of a Type-A Free Agent (inclusive of two picks) is $3-$5 million.

        Regarding the $5 million being an “estimate”, the $4 is based of statistical relationships and data. There is something behind it. He’s using the derivative of the $4 million based on nothing except emotion and bias. That is bad work. If you did that at a job, your boss would tell you to rework the analysis because that isn’t acceptable in any field.

        I’m quite familiar with Cameron. I’ve been reading off and on what he’s been saying for about 8-9 years now. He can do some good work, but then he’ll turn in a piece of junk like this. The article was written with a bias toward inflating his value. Cameron is prone to writing garbage like this.

        Two thumbs down.

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      • JH says:

        If you believe this, then knock whatever amount you feel appropriate off of each marginal win to get a number you’re comfortable with. The value shifts a maximum of $4 million, but in reality it’s less than that because marginal wins are more valuable to contending teams.

        These posts are meant to be relatively quick and breezy analysis, not in-depth, probing statistical research. There is absolutely no reason to respond to this with vitriol and personal attacks against the author. Find something better to do with your time.

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    • Travis L says:

      The $5 million dollar number is an estimate. So please, let’s not talk about having a “statistical argument” — Dave was just saying that the dollar value of a win goes up.

      You can use logic and a few assumptions to realize that this fact is true. Now, how MUCH that value rises is up for argument, but I don’t think Dave would fight viciously if you were to suggest it’s $6 million, or 4.5 million. The point is that it’s higher now than preseason.

      How do I justify this?

      Taking the concepts presented in Diamond Dollars, you can see that a win isn’t worth the same to every team. One win for the Royals is worth MUCH less than 1 win for the Yankees, due to where they are on the win curve. (Let’s ignore market size issues). Give the Yanks another win and their postseason odds % rise sharply, whereas the Royals’ postseason odds will remain nearly indistinguishable from 0.

      Teams like the Royals bring the avg marginal win cost down. At the trading deadline, those teams are removed from the sample population, and we’re only going to look at teams that are higher on the win curve (more likely to make the playoffs). For them, a win is worth more than for the Rs.

      Next time please take a moment to reconsider your criticisms before you come off looking like an adolescent. Also, please refrain from ad hominem attacks against Dave, who is just trying to give you relevant, interesting articles for FREE.

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  5. Temo says:

    $15M-$20M might be his true value to a contending team, but if you’re a GM you don’t pay exactly what he’s worth in a trade, do you?

    Lee’s value to the M’s is basically whatever the two picks are worth, plus a little extra for being able to win a few more games in a losing season. So like $8M, right? (lets not subtract the $5M you’d save on salary) Anything above that value, it makes more sense to trade him than to keep him.

    Meanwhile, for a trading team, it makes sense to trade for Lee for any amount up to ~$18M (splitting the difference). So depending on how many suitors there are, it seems like the eventual price will be between $8M and $18M.

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      When you go to a store, do you try to convince them that you should pay just enough to cover their costs with a little bit of a markup rather than the price determined by the market?

      No, of course not. Market forces determine Lee’s value, not his value to the Mariners for the rest of the season.

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      • Temo says:

        “Market forces determine Lee’s value, not his value to the Mariners for the rest of the season.”

        I completely agree, and that’s point I was trying to make when I said “depending on how many suitors there are”. Obviously for a player of his magnitude, the eventual price tag will be much closer to $18M than $8M.

        However, I’m also trying to make the distinction that if Lee’s production is worth X to a team, they will almost certainly pay X minus some (probably small) amount, since paying just X seems like a lateral move.

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      • Thomas says:

        Whenever I buy something from the store there are usually more than 3 potential buyers and I don’t know the exact must-sell-by date. This analogy isn’t completely bogus, but the man has a point.

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      • JoeHova says:

        It depends what kind of store.

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      • Dave Cameron says:

        Let’s use a hotel night as an analogy then. It’s value is fleeting and has a definite expiration, but if you’ve ever tried to negotiate with a hotel desk clerk at 1 am, you know that they’re not budging on the “cost plus” argument – their rate is their rate, even though the value of the product will be nil as soon as you leave.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Your hotel clearly hasn’t been visited by Bill Shatner and Big Deal.

        But I completely agree with you on the demand side determining Lee’s return.

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      • Dennisss says:

        When you go to a store and buy a television, you are paying X for precisely X value. Maybe it’s a lateral move, but you want the TV, the store wants your money, so you do it anyway and both sides come out happy. In this case, playoff contenders need wins this year and an ace in the playoffs, and the Mariners need future wins, so a team can pay market rate for Lee and still come out feeling good.

        As far as what he is worth to the Mariners, that is probably moot, because realistically, if one team chooses not to pay for him, the alternative is that he is traded to one of their competitors, not that the Mariners keep him.

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      • Temo says:

        “When you go to a store and buy a television, you are paying X for precisely X value”

        Not entirely true. The seller doesn’t know the value of the TV for every buyer– for some it may be $200, while for others who cannot live without a quality TV it may be $800.

        What the seller does know, since there are many buyers of TVs, is the price point at which they can profitably sell the most TVs, on average. That’s also why they have so many different kinds of TVs for various prices.

        Dave’s hotel room analogy makes some sense, however.

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      • q says:

        Dave’s right. The Mariners’ “lowest value” isn’t the two draft picks, it’s the next best offer on the table, or BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) as economists call it. If there was only one team interested in Lee, then you would split the difference between what they value in Lee and what the M’s value in Lee. But if there are two, you split the difference between the lesser offer and the most the other team would pay.

        “However, I’m also trying to make the distinction that if Lee’s production is worth X to a team, they will almost certainly pay X minus some (probably small) amount, since paying just X seems like a lateral move.”

        Dave’s calculation of X is probably closer to the market rate than the actual value the suitors assign to Lee. But, yes, it would not make sense for a team to pay $Y, where Y is the value they asssign to Lee (or even $Y – 1); Jack Z is a good negotiator, but he’s not so good he can obtain all the surplus in the deal.

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      • TheUnrepentantGunner says:

        actually with cars this is exactly the negotiating tactic alot of people use.

        And the hotel room comparison is sort of invalid. Their marginal cost to service a room is relatively low, sure, but there is enough red tape to justify not giving the room away at 40% of rack rate.

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  6. DavidCEisen says:

    What are the odds the Phillies trade Dominic Brown for Lee?

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    • TheUnrepentantGunner says:

      please god, no.

      i suggest we could send RAUUULLLL back to seattle… and a wheelbarrow full of unmarked non-consecutive 20′s for jack z. and maybe 5 million for the mariners too…

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    • NEPP says:

      0.00% chance that Amaro would ever even consider that. For one, to do so would be to admit he was completely wrong to trade Lee in the first place and two, they’ll NEED Domonic Brown to play in the OF next year after Werth departs and Ibanez is 39 years old. He’s their only legit prospect at AA/AAA right now. The rest at those levels are more Org filler and long-shot fringe guys.

      It might behoove everyone to remember what has already been shown enough to land Lee with far more time left on his reasonably priced deal:

      mid-2008:

      SP Jason Knapp (A ball)
      SP Carlos Carrasco (AAA)
      SS Jason Donald (AAA)
      C Lou Marson (AAA)

      Dec-2008:

      SP Phillippe Aumont (AA)
      SP JC Ramirez (A+)
      OF Tyson Gillies (A+)

      Note: Leagues shown were at the time of their trades, not their current locations in the Phillies/Indians minor league systems.

      Both times Lee has been traded, everyone stepped back and said “Wow, GM So and So got robbed”. I wonder what happens this time around…considering that Oswalt is also out there and is pitching nearly as well as Lee and some might even see his long-term deal as easier to swallow than a 3 month rental of Cliff Lee (yeah, logically its a bit iffy but there are many GMs out there that dont think that logically…See AMARO, Ruben for an example of this).

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    • Temo says:

      I think Brown is better than a “25-75″ range hitting prospect. He may be top 10.

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      • NEPP says:

        Several scouting groups have pushed him easily to Top 10 now that so many of last year’s Top 25 have been promoted to the Majors. He’s done nothing to hurt his prospect status this year in AA>

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    • DavidCEisen says:

      Note: I was being largely sarcastic.

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    • Rally says:

      No need to. Just offer Gillies, Aumont, and Ramirez back.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        Seriously, isn’t that a win for both teams? The Phillies desperately need a little help to get back into the race, and the Mariners could use the prospects.

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      • NEPP says:

        If they need prospects, why would they want Aumont back?

        Oh!

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    • BX says:

      Straight up, maybe.

      Brown + anything, no.

      But, it makes almost no sense for the Phillies. I’d rather go for someone like Oswalt if I’m Amaro. They’re going to need SP help next year as well, with Moyer hitting free agency and no top prospects in the wings.

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      • NEPP says:

        The Phillies would have to raise their payroll to $160 million next year to get Oswalt…never happen.

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      • BX says:

        If the Phillies trade Brown for Lee, they’re probably going to have to raise payroll to 160MM next year, as they don’t have a replacement for Werth that costs 400K and will probably be looking in free agency or resigning Werth.

        And Joe Blanton’s contract is mad backloaded.

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  7. MFG says:

    On behalf of the Twins, I offer Wilson Ramos, Tony Slama, and Deolis Guerra for Mr. Lee.

    Thank you.

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    • TMW says:

      Too generous. Ramos and Hendriks is more than fair.

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    • Jahowa says:

      *Deolis Guerra can’t even get his fastball into the 90′s anymore. He is non tradeable commodity. His delivery is terrible and he has never been able to locate. I know you wanna pawn him off so the Johan trade doesn’t look so bad, but it ain’t happening.

      *I’d be way more interested in Loek Van Mil or Carlos Gutierrez ahead of Slama if I’m Jack Z. Both have big time power arms that scout’s love, and Jack is scout at heart.

      *Everybody is forgetting that RIGHT NOW he is the best LHP in the league (Sorry Lester).

      *It would have to be a package like Wilson Ramos\Ben Revere and Kyle Gibson at the very least, because another contender will be willing to pay more in prospects for the best LHP in baseball.

      *I don’t think the Twins would make that trade, and there is no way that Seattle would take anything less than Kyle Gibson as far as a pitching prospect is concerned.

      *In other words Lee ain’t goin to the Twins.

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      • Jahowa says:

        *And that is assuming that the M’s wouldn’t demand Aaron Hicks over Revere in the Ramos|Bibson Deal.

        *The M’s are going to want at least 3 top 10 prospects from whatever team they are dealing with, or they will just hold onto Lee and cash in the draft picks when he signs elsewhere.

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  8. ctm says:

    Dave,

    Does this mean you’re backing off from your suggest Twins package today on USS Mariner? I would think a package of Slowey, Ramos, and Revere would exceed the value of “one high-quality prospect and a couple of fillers,” but maybe I’m exaggerating the value of a young, proven pitcher like Slowey. Something along the lines of Ramos, Revere, and Blackburn/Duensing, seems more in line with what you’ve written here.

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      Ramos isn’t good enough to anchor the package by himself. He’s good enough to be the second guy in the deal, but not the main piece.

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      • MFG says:

        Fine, fine. The M’s can have Loek Van Mil, too. You guys drive a hard bargain.

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      • TMW says:

        Ramos is more valuable than LaPorta was (2 years ago, not now) and Brett Wallace.

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      • Thomas says:

        You’ll take Ramos and Revere and PTBNL like it.

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      • ctm says:

        Yeah, I can agree with that, but similarly I imagine that Slowey is too good to anchor a package for Lee, but I’m probably less than objective on that matter.

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      • ctm says:

        You also said in the comments on USSM that a package of Duensing, Ramos, and Revere wouldn’t even cover the value of the two compensation picks. That seems far-fetched to me. I have a hard time thinking that any organization would expect to get two prospects better than Revere and Ramos out of their two picks, and Duensing alone has already been worth 1.3 WAR over his first 100 innings, which is more than half the value of the two picks. I think if the Twins said, give us 8 million bucks and here’s Ramos, Revere, and Duensing, I can’t see a team in the league turning that down.

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  9. Joseph says:

    Would a package of Rajon Rondo and Tony Allen get it done

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  10. t ball says:

    I’d love to see a similar post for other notable rotation trade targets, Oswalt and Haren. Both offer quite different circumstances than Lee, with longer contracts, more payroll impact, etc.

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    • Jon S. says:

      Also they are less amazing than Cliff Lee. Lee is without a doubt the top arm available. No other pitcher can boost a postseason push like Lee can.

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      • bflaff says:

        Teams will probably factor in the fact that Lee will be gone after the season, though. Whether or not that’s rational to factor it in, I imagine it will impact what teams are willing to part with.

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      • Kevin S. says:

        That’s exactly what they should factor in – they’re getting three months of Cliff Lee and two picks between 16 and 55-60ish. Should they attempt to pursue him as a free agent, they would be forgoing that draft pick compensation, but that’s an entirely different transaction.

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    • BX says:

      Because it really makes sense for the Diamondbacks to sell low on Haren.

      He’s not even close to free agency, unless you think he’s permanently a mediocre pitcher, you don’t trade him. He should rebound to his LONG track record to success.

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  11. Brian says:

    I think the Twins are the most likely destination for Lee, but for me they just don’t have that prospect that will blow us away. Ramos is nice but Lee has been fantastic this year and the Twins could just take the 2 picks and stock up their farm more. I mean our OF situation is pretty good right now. Ichiro will be around for a while and probably stay consistent, Gutz is here to stay and Saunders is our future LF. I just can’t see a deal getting done. I say take the picks and stock up the farm with college talent. Pretty much giving us a similar draft to the 2009 draft when we took Ackley and Franklin in the first round.

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      If Lee goes to MIN, the Twins have a chance to win ONE game against the NYY this year. If not, then it’s another 3 and out.

      How much is it worth MIN to win one wild card round playoff game instead of none?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Thomas says:

        Yeah. No way that bum Liriano would be able to do anything. And Mauer and Morneau? More bums. I’m not sure Cliff Lee doesn’t make them the FAVORITES against the Yankees in a 5 games series.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • CircleChange11 says:

        I would like to think that too.

        Morneau and Mauer were with the Twins in 2009. MIN scored 6 runs total in 3 games.

        Liriano improves their situation. Lee might make the Twins the favorites over the NYY? I would love that (as I hate the NYY), but … no.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Thomas says:

        Actually, they didn’t have Morneau in 2009′s series. But point taken. One would also hope the Twins wouldn’t have to start Tolbert again, but who knows.

        I didn’t say they would be favorites, but anyone predicting a sweep by the Yankees would be way off base. (I don’t think this is going to occur anyway, I think the Yankees are going to win the division and the Twins face the Rays).

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • CircleChange11 says:

        Honestly, I thought the 09 MIN-NYY series was going to be a 5-game nail-biter.

        I didn’t know Nathan was going to throw ARod an 0-2 cockshot. That 2-run HR in G2 changed everything. Instead of a 3-1 win, evening the series 1-1 heading into NYY … The Twins went into NYY 0-2, which is basically a walking dead situation.

        The problem with the NYY is that you can neutralize ARod and Teix and yet the rest of the lineup can beat you … and sometimes quite easily. With the other teams, if you neutralize their top 2 hitters, you’ve pretty much done the job.

        So, Lee makes the game against the other Ace very close. But games 2, 3, and 5 still favor the opposition, with games 1 and 4 maybe being “even”. That’s the frustrating part of facing the Yankees.

        I think Lee is THE difference maker in a closer fought division/series … such as the NL West. If LA could get Cliff Lee (essentially replacing the lost Wolf), that to me would put LAD and PHL as the two NL favorites (if they aren’t already) … it also creates the playoff matchup of Lee-v-Halladay which I think HAS to happen.

        Lee and Kershaw against the great LHBs in the PHL lineup? Advantage LAD … unless they get all CC and throw cutters starting in and moving over the plate to Utley.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. Brian says:

    Are we just ignoring the value of having Cliff Lee once the playoffs roll around? I know the playoffs are at least somewhat luck based, but having Lee would increase, say, the Twins chances of getting to the World Series by at least a percent or two. What’s the marginal value of a wild card game 1 win? $10M? more? less?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Rally says:

      Cliff Lee gives you a better shot to win a playoff series than not having him, because he’s an outstanding pitcher. But don’t expect him to give any better chance at that than another outstanding pitcher. He was unbeatable last postseason, but let’s not read too much into that. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Brian says:

        And what is that better shot worth in terms of dollars? That’s my point I guess. If we’re calculating Lee’s worth, then you have to factor in potential postseason value too I’d think.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. Cole Simons says:

    Twins send M’s Slowey, Valencia, Ramos…I wish

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. Steve says:

    From Wang’s article:

    Tier 1: Picks 16-30
    Tier 2: Picks 31-45
    Tier 3: Picks 46-60

    Tier 1 Surplus Value: $6.51 million
    Tier 2 Surplus Value: $1.17 million
    Tier 3 Surplus Value: $3.43 million

    So…if the Dodgers fail to sign their first round pick (which they will) and the Yankees end up with the best record AND sign Lee, the team that trades for Lee would end up with the 31st pick, and that $6.5M turns in $1.2M….

    This post was slightly tounge in cheek, but I think there is kernel of a point here. If the Yankees sign Lee, you’re not getting that great of a comp pick.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • BilllyBillyBilly says:

      There is more than a kernal of truth there. Just look at the year the Brewers lost CC as a free agent. I;m pretty sure they recieved a sandwich pick and the Yanks pick in the 3rd round!

      If a team like the Yanks signs Lee + some other type A free agent (Crawford) then its up to that goofy Elias formula to determine which team gets awarded which of the yankees picks….

      Plus drafting good players in any round is hard while Wang’s value are nice and easy to apply, most 1st round picks do not make it, and the ones that do are worth way more than wang estimates…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. Dr.Rockso says:

    Why would the #6 organization in baseball possibly want to trade Cliff Lee? Surely the #6 organization should be buying instead of selling….

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Thomas says:

      FTW

      -7 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Nax says:

      Do you mean the #6 team that has a lower winning percentage then both of the participants in the offseason ‘Contest’ that was so much fun to read about during this winter? I think we need some more articles making fun of the Mets and Royals to balance out how great the Ms are gonna be…

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Chet says:

      haha dave was wrong about the mariners at #6! *jab*

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jack says:

      That series was more about predicting success in future seasons rather than this season. While I admit that the Mariners have underperformed this year, they still have a lot of good players that could very well bounce back and win 90+ games next year. If they can get a couple more pieces in a Lee trade, I see no reason why they shouldn’t contend for the division next year.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Halo says:

        Underperformed is an understatement. And the team has holes at 1B, C, DH, 3B, and the issues with Bradley (potential issues with Bradley) + the assumed loss of C. Lee…this is not even close to being a 90 win team. Winning 90 games is hard. I mean come on…

        This team is on pace to win 60 games! Ttheir Pythagorin W-L is equal to the actual W-L. This isn’t a 90 win team and as constructed isn’t close to a 90 win team.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • TheUnrepentantGunner says:

        this is foolish at at this point.

        they are well below average at 1b, ss, LF, DH, and just about every pitching spot that isnt Felix or Cliff Lee

        Thats almost half of a team to replace to even just make them average.

        I am not saying it can’t be done, but they need more than a “couple” of pieces.

        Oh yeah, the rangers are probably getting better, the A’s are well run, and the Angels might yet surprise us… again…)

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Rally says:

        A lot of good players?

        Ichiro (will be 37)
        Gutierrez
        Figgins (if he can bounce back, will be 33)
        Hernandez

        Who am I missing?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  16. RonDom says:

    Dear almighty being,
    Have Cliff Lee come to Los Angeles.

    Signed
    Dodgers

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  17. Omar says:

    For a Yankee package would Manny Banuelos, Joba Chamberlain, and say someone like David Adams or Corban Joesph be enough?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  18. david says:

    I think a package centering around Yonder Alonso would work. Maybe throw in Homer Bailey and get Aardsma to come along.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  19. kevinM says:

    Based on Cashman’s method of operating the past few seasons, why is there any reason to believe he would trade high level prospects/young players for a guy he has to give a massive contract to?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Kevin S. says:

      No, and considering he’d replace Javy Vazquez, there’s even less of a reason for him to. Going by Zips’ Rest of Season update, both guys are projected to throw about 120 more innings, and there’s about half a run of FIP difference. Is Cashman going to sell out for a one-win upgrade? Somehow, that seems unlikely.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  20. CircleChange11 says:

    To me the biggest reason (and I’m not sure it’s a tremendously big reason) is it’s better to have Lee pitch for you than against you.

    Still, they were able to survive facing Lee previously. But the NYY are always good for getting involved in the discussion if for no other reason than to drive the price up for their comps.

    With Crwaford and Pena up for FA at the end of the year. 2010 seems like THE year for TBR to go “all in” and make a really good run at a title.

    To me, at least, there’s not going to be too many years like this one for them.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • BX says:

      If the Rays are going to go all out, why not trade for a position player and not a pitcher, since offense is more of a weakness on that team anyway. And, that’s where their positional needs are long term anyway.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • CircleChange11 says:

        If the Rays are going to go all out, why not trade for a position player and not a pitcher, since offense is more of a weakness on that team anyway. And, that’s where their positional needs are long term anyway.

        What position player is available that improves them more than Lee would?

        Also, with Lee in the rotation, how many fewer runs do the Rays need to score per game?

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  21. Rick says:

    On behalf of the Reds, I offer Yonder Alonso, Juan Fransisco, and their choice of Travis Wood or Matt Maloney.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  22. Jeff says:

    To the Tigers for;

    J Turner (or C Crosby)
    Wilken Ramirez
    Fu Te Ni

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  23. drumzalicious says:

    I have a feeling the Nats will make a play for him. They can legitimately push for the WC if they can hold on till the ASB when they get Wang back and possibly Marquis. Their BP is pretty solid and their offense is also good.

    At the end of the season they could make him a legitimate offer or just pick up 2 draft picks

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  24. Burn says:

    With the emergence of Rod Barajas….this makes Josh Thole expendable now……Mariners want a prospect catcher in return…..Niese stays put….but Thole, Mejia and another prospect should get it done…..

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  25. RR says:

    Despite the mismanagement of Mejia he is more valuable than Niese. And Barajas is not a long-term solution at catcher, whether he has emerged or not this season.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  26. joeyp says:

    dave has a definite mariner bias here, he’s a rental, a package of Duensing, Ramos, and Revere wouldn’t even cover the value of the two compensation picks. that right there is proof of his bias, the best the mariners will likely get in compensation picks is #25 and #31 because only a big market team can pay Lee and those picks are a crapshoot

    Dave had to inflate Lees value to be able to support his conclusion in trade value and he did, but guess what Billy Smith wasnt born yesterday and neither was Minaya I assume

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • frank says:

      When the Phils traded Lee this year they were giving up 1 year of Lee + the comp picks…if the calculated value for 1/2 year of lee + the comp picks is truly 15-20mil does that imply the Mariners gave up ~20-25Mil in propects when they made the trade? (assuming the extra 1/2 year of Lee is at least another 5mil)

      It doesn’t seem like they did, but I’m less familiar with those prospects… were any of them even in your top 100 list? I know they showed up on the top10 org lists, but Philly’s system is pretty thin. Unless the SEA-PHI deal was one-sided shouldn’t SEA expect basically 3 similar prospects minus a half year’s worth of Lee (which would seem to mean dropping 1 or 2 of the three prospects down a tier in quality, or possible eliminating one altogether)

      The conclusion was a 25-75 type player or a top 10 pitching prospect… but did any of the Mariner prospects fit that bill? (and that was for a full year of Lee)

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  27. Kyle says:

    Cliff Lee is worth 20 million for exactly half a season? Really? The few teams who could afford to resign him have their pitching rotations locked up(or would have to admit failure.) I don’t see the Red Sox dropping Lester, Beckett(just signed huge deal), Lackey(admit failure), or Buchholz from their rotation. The Yankees have Phil Hughes and Pettitte as their best pitchers right now, and with Sabathia and Burnett(tons of money owed for years to both of them), why would they take Lee?

    Maybe the Tigers would do it since after saying they were going to cut salary, they actually showed they were bluffing. But the Mariners will not get the type of product you got from the Astros for Randy Johnson. And Lee isn’t a future hall of famer with a 100 mph fastball. He’s a very good pitcher, but will he get teams that are in contention(and looking for an ace pitcher)over the hump? The only team who is willing to trade for him knowing they can resign him is the Mets, and the Mets have no prospects that’d help the Mariners…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Rob says:

      You clearly have no clue about the Mets farm system. And I don’t blame you, I don’t know other team’s systems well either, but I dont claim to know that they “have no prospects that’d help the Mariners”.

      Their farm system has improved INCREDIBLY in the last couple of year and they have many prosects that would interest the Mariners.

      Mejia, Thole, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Evans, Havens, Flores, F-Mart, Holt…

      Do some research before you open your ignorant mouth next time.

      Sorry, but I’m sick of hearing people just state that the Mets have no prospects without knowing anything. Where do you think Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada came from this year.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  28. Penn94 says:

    I think fewer GM’s make calculations of WAR and think more like this article lays out.
    http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2007/11/baseball_tradin_1.php

    Basically, for half a year of Lee, a team would pay $15 million for Lee. He is owed $5, so his value is $10. Plus, the Mariners would save $5 million from trading him, another reason to make the move.

    On behalf of the Mets, I am offering Thole, Stoner, Niuewenheis and your choice of Familia, Gee or Holt. If you don’t like it, I go to Arizona and put Mejia in a deal to get Haren, who is more valuable than Lee, given his contract (even though Lee is the better pitcher now).

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  29. JOE BOYER says:

    JENRY MEIJA MOTHER FUCKERS!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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