On the Report of the Phillies Asking Price for Cole Hamels

With the trade deadline 48 hours away, the Phillies have apparently made Cole Hamels available in trade talks. This is good news for Phillies fans, as Hamels will likely never have more value than he does right now. However, if Bob Nightengale’s sources are correct, the Phillies asking price for Hamels is insane.

Yet, according to one-ranking official directly involved with the talks, the Los Angeles Dodgers recently asked for Hamels. They were told the price would be three of their top prospects – center fielder Joc Pederson, shortstop Corey Seager and left-handed pitcher Julio Urias.

On their midseason Top 50, Baseball America ranked Urias as the #13 prospect in baseball, with Seager at #16 and Pederson at #18. MLB.com had them in the same basic area, with Seager at #17, Urias at #18, and Pederson at #19. Here, Marc Hulet had Seager at #6, Pederson at #18, and Urias as having “just missed” the top 25.

Needless to say, the consensus is that these are three of the ~20 or so best prospects in baseball. As Jeff Sullivan wrote yesterday, the more recent estimates of the value of prospects in this range is something like $30 to $40 million. Each. In other words, if all three were made free agents tomorrow, the estimates are that teams would spend something in that range to sign those guys, and when you look at what the unrestricted international free agents have signed for lately — $42 million for Yasiel Puig and Hyun-Jin Ryu, $68 million for Jose Abreu, $30 million for Aroldis Chapman — there’s plenty of evidence to support the claims, and they might even be on the low side.

But, just for fun, let’s say that each of the Dodgers’ prospects is worth something like $30 million. To receive all three, the Phillies would have to give up about $90 million in surplus value. As I noted in last week’s piece, Hamels has about $5 million in surplus value in his future contract, not counting the remainder of his 2014 production. Even if you get very aggressive with the value of a win down the stretch, you probably can’t justify more than $15 or $20 million in 2014 value for Hamels.

But, hey, let’s give him $20 million in surplus value for the rest of the year, just for fun. Wins are insanely valuable to contenders right now, and teams pay premiums to add pitching this time of year. And a team acquiring him should expect to get to the postseason, so they’re not just paying for the 11 or 12 regular season starts he has left, but that additional postseason boost as well.

But even with that accounted for, Hamels total surplus value still doesn’t even match up to the conservative estimate of the surplus value of one of the three Dodgers prospects.

To ask for all three and not think they are going to get laughed at, the Phillies would have to be selling a genetic clone of Mike Trout or something. The Phillies would do well to land one top 20 prospect for Hamels. Demanding three of them is just being ridiculous.




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


95 Responses to “On the Report of the Phillies Asking Price for Cole Hamels”

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  1. Wags (@wags721) says:

    Amaro is out of his mind and is three years overdue on getting fired.

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  2. Timmy says:

    Amaro just went fully retar*…

    AGAIN!

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  3. Steve says:

    If you look at the returns for some number 1 starters (phillies trade for halladay, phillies dealing lee) etc, it’s no wonder amaro wants several stud prospects to guarantee he hits on at least one considering all the disappointments included in these trades. I remember when dom brown and kyle drabek was considered insane as well. Obviously the contract situation has a lot to do with it as well, but hamels is right in his prime locked in for several years.

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    • Bodhizefa says:

      So you’re citing two Phillies trades that Amaro has been involved with as evidence that he should be asking for more? How about the Phillies get a competent GM, and then they’ll do all right for themselves. Amaro doesn’t need to ask for more via trade; he needs to ask for a golden parachute on his way out the door.

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      • Steve says:

        I’m with you amaro needs to go badly, just saying I understand why he’d ask for so much besides just posturing. I’ve seen tons of guys supposedly be untouchable in these trades and only a small fraction of them have actually panned out. This time 2 years ago mike olt was untouchable when hamels was on the block, in addition to profar obviously. I think amaro knows he’s gone and needs to swing for the fences in a last ditched attempt to save face.

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      • Tim says:

        Phillies trading for Hamels and Phillies trading for Lee.

        Both deals in which Amaro was on the WINNING side of the deal and two aces were exchanged for not a single player who amounted to a positive value MLB player. Let alone being worth $30 million in surplus value.

        Attrition rates are very high for prospects. Trading for them is a big gamble. And four years of an ace’s prime is a large amount to gamble without hedging your bet.

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        • El Duderino says:

          Yeah, but look at some of the other aces who got traded over the years and what they netted the incoming teams. For example, remember Sabathia to the Brewers? The value of the wins that the Brewers added with Sabathia was INSANE.

          Brewers send: Matt LaPorta, Zach Johnson, Rob Bryson, and PTBNL Michael Brantley.

          The Brewers only got Sabathia from the Indians, but they also got a second round compensation pick from the Yankees when they signed Sabathia in the off season.

          Out of those four players that the Brewers sent to Cleveland, only LaPorta was considered elite. Now, the Phillies have plenty of control left over Hamels, but it’s expensive with him earning $22.5m through 2018, add in the $6m buyout in 2019 and you’ll be paying Hamels $73.5m for three years of service. Sure, he’s an elite pitcher, but he’s still a pitcher and as we know pitchers have a very high rate of injury, in fact, Jeff Zimmerman wrote an article back in 2012 where he found that pitchers who throw strikes at a rate of 62% or more as a group wind up on the DL 37% of the time. That’s a lot of money for a lot of injury risk.

          The only way I can fathom that the Phillies could even reasonably expect to get more than one elite prospect would be if they eat a large sum of money, and according to the article, it’d have to be almost all of the money in a best case scenario. I can see the Dodgers giving up one of their top three, plus a a couple of B prospects and maybe an interesting prospect that doesn’t have a huge ceiling

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        • SKob says:

          I agree about the absolute nothing in long term value the Indians got for trading Lee to the Phillies. Then RAJ spun him around and traded him to Seattle after the season, where again, there was absolute nothing in longterm value out of that deal. So… win 1 lose 1, right?

          Also, Cliff Lee had only had 1 ace-like season at the point the Phillies traded for him (18 win season was hardly ace-like), so I’m not sure how much the ransom was at that time anyway. He was not David Price.

          And what the hell are you talking about with ‘trading for Hamels’? Do you mean drafting Hamels in 2002 – 6 years before RAJ took over?

          Or do you mean Roy Halladay? In which case you are flat wrong! Last I looked, Travis D’Arnaud was still an elite prospect recently and is trying to gain steam as a high end catcher. He struggled at first, but he is a stapple for the Mets right now! Drabek had arm issues… it happens, but he still has a chance to be an effective pitcher, maybe in the bullpen. Michael Taylor hasn’t done anything because Oakland never let him! He is very solid in AAA and if he got a chance he could be better than league average in the OF! All 3 are far better returns than anything Cliff Lee was ever dealt for!

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    • Ghost of Von Hayes trade past says:

      Well looking back at the Roy Halladay deal you had:
      BA=Baseball America, BP=Baseball Prospectus. Rankings are prior to 2010 season
      Kyle Drabek: #25(BA), #16(BP)
      Michael Taylor: #29(BA), #20(BP)
      Travis d’Arnaud: #81(BA)
      (Michael Taylor was flipped to the A’s for Brett Wallace immediately)
      Brett Wallace: #27(BA), #44(BP)

      d’Arnaud looks like the only one to have a chance at continuing to deliver positive MLB value and he was the lowest rated guy in the trade. Taylor, Wallace, and Drabek are all negative MLB value so far.

      Domonic Brown was given a #1 ranking by Baseball America at one point. How’s that working out this year? Or *ANY YEAR* taking away June 2013.

      I think Urias has *EXTRME* bust value. He’s just 17 years old and pretty small. He has yet to show (or been allowed to show) he can pitch SP innings as well.

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      • Wags (@wags721) says:

        And on the other hand, all great MLB players were once prospects.

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        • james says:

          Math is hard, but about 30% of former top 10 prospects become Allstars, 40% MLB regulars, and the other 30% wash out. As you go deeper into the rankings (and include prospects that are not as good) the valuation changes even more. Those numbers do not completely fall apart until you are out of the top 25.

          picking a random year that is long enough ago to have pretty much settled who is good and who is bad- 2005, only looking at the top 25:
          Franchise players: Mauer, King Felix, hanley, prince, Cain, Ricky Weeks
          Regulars: Delmon young, Ian STewart, kazmir, kubel, quieten, Jeff Francis, swisher, Niemann, Billingsley
          Bums: joel guzman, kasey kotchman, andy marte, milliege, frency, adam miller, hermida, dopirak, capellan

          those are poor groupings. you can argue all you want, the top group is all multiple AllStar appearances, the middle was upper division starters for several year, and the bottom is the total wash outs. You can make arguements all over the place, Frenchy is still in the bigs, and has a few allstar games- so not a total bust, Kotchman has been a strong bench bat and was a lower division starter for a while. Stewart fell apart at only 26 and never came back. I can see moving a few between groups, but really for every one you move up, there is one you can argue to move up.

          So of the top 25 in 2005, 24% became franchise players, 36% became upper division starters, and 40% were Busts.

          Saying all prospects are bust is crazy. When we are talking about guys like seager, Urias and Pederson, it is closer to only 40% bust.

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  4. Nick says:

    Ruben Amaro needs to go. Trading for Pence was a mistake, and now he’s held Howard, Lee, Utley, and Rollins so long that they’ve lost almost all value. He can redeem himself by getting a good prospect by dealing Hamels, but I don’t even trust him to that well. I can’t believe this asking price.

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    • Rickey Henderson Sox says:

      FYI, Howard, Lee, et al. haven’t “lost almost all value” – they have significant negative value.

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      • Mike says:

        Howard does – Lee has time to prove his health (after the trade deadline). If he does, he’s nowhere near a negative value player.

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        • james says:

          i think Lee still has a net positive value to a lot of teams. His contract is huge, but there are teams that have massive payrolls. this limitation means they can get a guy like Aaron Judge (or name another solid B range prospect) from the Yankees as the best offer.

          Howard is Chris Carter or another power only player. Richie Sexton, I dunno, there were a ton of them in the 90ies, and a few around today. Who would you rather have Ryan Howard or Carlos Pena…. both profile in a similar way. One is free or signed to a minor league deal, the other is making massive amount of money. Howard is a negative value assett. Either play him knowing that, or deal him to a team in need of a DH to save a few bucks (and expect to still eat 15m of his contract)

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  5. Bodhizefa says:

    Pretty much the entirety of baseball will be glad when Amaro is gone (except for that one agent who keeps peddling his guys to Amaro to sign early in the off-season). What an asshat.

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    • Izzy says:

      Shouldn’t the GMs for the other four NL East teams be glad that Amaro is still running the show in Philly? It makes them just one less team to worry about.

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    • Za says:

      As a Mets fan, I’m with Izzy. Makes me so happy to be in the same division as RAj.

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  6. tz says:

    Look, let’s give Ruben a break. At least he knew who three of the top Dodgers prospects are.

    It’s not like he asked for Clint Robinson, Bob Seger, and Juan Uribe.

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    • Grant says:

      The Phillies are probably one of the best scouting teams, so I’m not surprised they can identify prospects. They just don’t bother with the analytics.

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  7. Jon says:

    Cole isn’t worth a single one, eh? That’s a bigger indictment of the math/analysis than it is of Amaro.

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    • Bip says:

      The problem with the math is the Dave is substituting the free market value of each prospect as their surplus value. The problem with that is the surplus value is free market cost minus actual cost. To place the market value as the surplus value, you have to assume the players have a cost of zero, which is not correct. Each player comes with an opportunity cost, which is the fact that you don’t get any value from the player in the short term, and their actual cost once they get called up and you have to pay them a major league salary. I’m not really sure what Dave is doing there.

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      • tz says:

        I think the issue is that different teams would value the opportunity cost differently depending upon their circumstance.

        In other words, a team that is in full Cubs/Astros rebuild mode would place less value on what the player might do short-term than a contender would. In one of the analyses that Jeff linked to in his post, they used an 8% annual discount rate to come up with the surplus values. In real life, a rebuilder might use a very low discount rate (putting more weight on long-term value) while a contender might use a very high discount rate (skewing very heavily towards immediate value).

        The bottom line here is:

        – From the Phillies standpoint, each of these prospects may actually worth more than $30 million, making it a good deal to get just one.

        – But, from the Dodgers standpoint, the prospects may be worth less than $30 million each if they’re really gung-ho about winning in the next 2-3 years, and they don’t care about beyond that point. So, it doesn’t hurt Ruben to ask, in case the Dodgers are indeed thinking this way.

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      • David says:

        You think they forgot that a prospect won’t start in the majors right away and that they’ll have a salary when they get there? That’s arrogant and facile.

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        • Bip says:

          I’m saying it seems to me like Dave may have left that out of his calculation, unless I’m misunderstanding how he did it.

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    • chuckb says:

      “The analysis doesn’t fit my preconceived notion of Hamels’ value, therefore the methodology is bad.”

      Perhaps you could provide some data that demonstrates why Hamels is worth 1, or all 3, of these prospects.

      I’d guess that, if the Phillies refuse to chip in any money, they won’t be able to get 1 consensus top-20 prospect for Hamels. But I’d love to see your better math that shows me that I’m wrong.

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      • Bip says:

        Considering what the Cubs got a consensus top-10 prospect (and other stuff) for, I wouldn’t be surprised if Hamels brings back a top 20 guy. I guess I’d be surprised if they get that for Hamels alone and no salary relief or auxiliary players, but not THAT surprised.

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        • tz says:

          With the Dodgers trying to seal up the NL West and go for the ring, and their willingness to eat some high salaries, I wouldn’t be that surprised either.

          As others keep pointing out, the fact that Hamels has just 4 years left on the deal is important. It’s not like the sunk cost would be devastating to LA if Hamels fizzles out. The upside/downside ratio here is pretty good.

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        • TheoK says:

          The cubs got a top 10 prospect by trading away two of their 3 best starting pitchers.

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        • Bip says:

          They got a top ten prospect and other stuff, and Hamels is arguably better than both the pitchers the Cubs gave up.

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        • King Buzzo's Fro says:

          Perhaps the difference in contracts between Samardzija and Hamels is the reason?

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      • Schlom says:

        The problem is that surplus value isn’t a good way to compare players for trades. If those three prospects were +$35m in surplus value the total would be $105m. That means that if you think that Andrew McCutchen is going to be worth around 6 WAR a year until his contract is up in 2018 then those three for Andrew McCutchen is an even trade. Same thing if Mike Trout totals about 41 WAR until his contract runs out in 2020. By the same math if you don’t think that Bryce Harper is going to turn into a 7-8 WAR/year player then you would trade him for those three.

        I’m guessing that there is no way that those three prospects would get you any of those players.

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        • cmg8462 says:

          Just because the math works on 3 superstar-players who have years of team-friendly control left doesn’t mean this is a bad way to compare players for trades.

          Dave showed the best place to start, looking at surplus value. We know the Angels aren’t trading Mike Trout for 3 guys who haven’t had a cup of coffee yet.

          Thanks for coming up with a solid 3 examples to discredit a very widely used methodology and adding no new ideas on how to value trades. You have enlightened us all.

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        • El Duderino says:

          Remember that this is a model, and models break at extremes. Just like single game FIP and xFIP for guys like Kershaw and Felix

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        • Schlom says:

          Using surplus value to judge a trade isn’t realistic though. That means that an equal trade would be a six win player making $20m for each of his final three contract years is roughly equal to a rookie who has a total of about 10 WAR in his six years before free agency (assuming he makes about $10m over that time). There is no way anyone would do that trade.

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      • Heitor says:

        Well, it is not only preconceived notion. Treating all Top-20 prospects as having the same value is a problem and so is comparing those similar subjective projections of a player who is very good at Triple-A to those of someone who has never reached that level. Also, it is unreasonable to expect same value out of a Top-20 prospect who is 22 years old and someone who is 17.

        And the reason for that to be problematic is the fact that you can project the MLB production more accurately in the case of the more experienced one. There is more data to support the projections and he is playing against tougher competition.

        But, to be fair, no. I do not have some data demonstrating that.

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        • David says:

          It’s an estimate. You’re not the first person to think about prospect age and level. You won’t find data representing your opinion much differently than Dave’s because that’s basic stuff that prospect evaluators have been refining for decades and is thus already incorporated. This is like saying “Lol nice one NASA, but I think you forgot about the MOON’S gravity lol.”

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        • Heitor says:

          Already incorporated doesn’t mean accurately incorporated. These are subjective estimations, refined through years or not.

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  8. Heitor says:

    I agree that he is asking too much, but that is the norm when you start negotiations, right? You can’t get a “win-lose” deal unless you ask for a big package. If you are making it clear that you would be satisfied with little value, you can never get a great value from the trade.

    But valuing the trade itself, these calculations are off the mark. No MLB GM would send Hamels just for Urias. He is just so far away from the big leagues to make reasonable projections, it would be silly.

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    • Kurtz says:

      Agreed on Urias, but as a Phils fan, and even though I know it won’t happen, I’d still be satisfied with Hamels for Joc. Just trade anyone. Anywhere. Gahhhhh

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  9. HAAHHA PHILLIES SUCK says:

    LMAOO GARBAGE PHILLIES…WHAT A JOKE OF A TEAM!!!!! CLOWNS!!! HAHAHHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHA SOOO BADDDD YET SOO FUNNY………… RUN BY RETARDS.

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  10. Phillies113 says:

    What if they offered to pay Cole’s entire remaining salary? And asked for two of these guys rather than three? Would this be more reasonable, or would even the Phillies be insane to do this?

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    • Bip says:

      I think the Dodgers would rather take on money than give up talent, rather than give up talent to save money.

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    • Kurtz says:

      I think the Phils taking on Hamels salary now makes it more difficult for them to move the likes of Howard, who will require the Phils to pay most of his salary to make a trade elsewhere.

      Sorry for the pause, I was watching Howard ground into a shift.

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  11. Bip says:

    I’m not sure I understand the value estimations attached to the prospects. So Joc Pederson would get 30 million as a free agent, over what time period? Over the 6 years he’d be under team control? Because if Pederson turns into an average player, he’ll probably make around $25 million over that time anyway, (5/7.5/10 for arbitration years seems like a decent guess for a decent but not great player), so he’s only be worth 5 million in surplus value on a contract like that.

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    • ZZ says:

      Unless I’m mistaken, that’s the surplus value prospects of Pederson’s pedigree have typically produced, not total worth. I.e., if a position prospect in the 10-20 range gets paid 25 million he’d be worth 50-60 million.

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      • Bip says:

        I guess the question then is would Pederson right now get 5-6 years at 50-60 million as a free agent? I could see it happening, in large part because it is extremely rare to find a 22 year old free agent in the current market. Puig got more years for less total money, and that was considered an overpay. Abreu got about that much, and he was like the Barry Bonds of the Cuban league.

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  12. ZZ says:

    I don’t see anything to get worked up about. You have to start somewhere. Obviously, Hamels isn’t worth that much, but it’s not like this is an offer that will end discussions. From the leaked documents, the Astros had some pretty ludicrous starting points and they managed to work out deals. I’m guessing asking for the moon isn’t uncommon. The Dodgers gave up DeLaRosa and Webster to take on several bad contracts, so there is precedent for the Dodgers either valuing players poorly or just not caring about contracts (probably a little of both.) The Phillies really need to hit home-runs with their trades, so they might as well start at the moon and work backwards from there.

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    • Bip says:

      Both De La Rosa and Webster were never as highly regarded as the Dodgers’ top 3 prospects now. Neither ever cracked the top 40 of a national list, while Urias, Seager and Pederson are all squarely in the top 20 right now. Plus, though it may look like LA got 3 bad contracts and utility guy from Boston, remember that at the time, people were still talking about Adrian Gonzalez like he was an MVP, and Beckett wasn’t far removed from a really good season. None of the players the Dodgers got are making as much as Hamels. The Dodgers got basically half their team, so you can see why it took a couple of good (but hardly can’t-miss) prospects to complete the deal.

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      • ZZ says:

        Every single one of those contracts was considered to be an overpay at the time. It doesn’t matter what people were saying about Adrian Gonzalez. He was 30 years old and in the midst of a three win season. Even if he was one year removed from a six win year, the Dodgers were going to have to gamble 133 million over six years that an older 1B was having an off year, not the beginning of a decline.

        Crawford, at 30, had been replacement level for nearly two years and was still owed 109 million over 5 years. It was a similar gamble to Gonzalez: you’re paying exorbitantly for the hope of a bounce back from a 30 year old.

        Beckett was owed roughly 32 million over two years. He was in the midst of a decent 2012 and one year removed from a 4 win season. Pitchers are weird, but he would need to improve on his 2012 season to be worth the contract.

        Punto was a useful utility player who had some decent seasons when he had positive BABIP swells.

        Essentially, the Dodgers took on two contracts that were guaranteed to be negative values (Crawford, Gonzalez) and another that would require a decent amount of luck to break even (Beckett.) There was zero value here, and more truthfully there was abundant negative value. Despite never being top 40 prospects, DeLaRosa and Webster still had some degree of positive value.

        I’m not saying Hamels is worth those three prospects (or one of them for that matter.) I’m simply saying that Hamels, as roughly a break-even proposition, is worth way, way more than the package the Dodgers got in that 2012 deal. If they were willing to give up okayish pitching prospects for obviously negative-value big contracts, it’s at least worth checking to see what they might give up for a big-contract that has the player valuation correct. I expect the Dodgers to balk at this proposal or any with one of Seager, Urias, or Pederson, but it doesn’t hurt to start at the moon.

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        • Bip says:

          I really don’t agree about Gonzalez. It was not considered an overpay at the time. The overall opinion was that the Dodgers took Crawford to get Gonzalez, and that Gonzalez was a valuable piece. I think at this point we see all 140+ million dollar contracts as overpays, and that may be correct, but I really don’t think that’s how Gonzalez was viewed at the time.

          Gonzalez had just had a year in which he was considered a favorite for the MVP, which can only increase the perceived value of the player. If the deal is an overpay after a year like that, then it is definitely an overpay the year before, in which case, why would Boston have given him the deal in the first place if it was so obviously an overpay? The real test of your assertion is whether Boston would have given Gonzalez and his contract away for free at the time, and clearly, they would not have done that. Crawford, yes, they would have gladly given away, but not Gonzalez.

          As for Beckett, he had some positive value too. Look at what the Giants just gave up for Peavy. In the middle of the season the calculus changes a bit. You can no longer just apply the FA $/WAR rate, because there are no free agents available at that time. So each of these guys, except Crawford, is more valuable that you’re thinking because it was August and the Dodgers were in a division race.

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  13. Schlom says:

    By this logic those three players are roughly equal to Andrew McCutchen. I’m not sure that’s accurate.

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  14. nik says:

    The whole problem with Dave’s analysis is that he’s not calculating Hamel’s worth correctly. To use $/WAR on a such a scarce commodity is illogical. Guys like Hamels dont hit free agency these days. The only way to acquire them is to trade for them or develop them.

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    • nik says:

      And don’t give me Shields. He’s not as good and he’ll get a far larger contract.

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    • Izzy says:

      Lester’s about to hit free agency.

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    • Schlom says:

      I don’t like using that valuation either. If a one WAR a year player for 6 years makes something like $10m before they hit free agency than they have roughly $26m in surplus value. David Price will have to generate about $50m in surplus value before he becomes a free agent to be equal to that 1 WAR/year a player. Considering he’s never had a season over 5 WAR it’s highly unlikely he’ll even come close to that. So would you foolish to trade a hypothetical 1 WAR player for Price? And the Rays would be foolish to turn that down?

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    • nik says:

      Lester is going to cost someone prospects AND a top of the market extension, if he even sticks around – which he wont for a team like Pittsburgh. Hamels is under control at a reasonable length/rate. Wont even cost a compensation pick. Its popular to bag on the Phillies, but if I’m Amaro I negotiate re:Hamels the same way. They dont need to lose his salary – there is noone to spend it on! Free Agency is pretty barren of talent these days. If he stays, he will bring butts into the seats and may be around for the next competitive iteration of the team in a couple years.

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    • munchtime says:

      Is Hamels significantly better than Grienke? I don’t think he is.

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  15. BirdinHand says:

    The $30mm surplus valuation doesn’t seem to properly account for the fact that prospects bust all the time. If a prospect busts, they have a value of $0. Hamels has a much lower bust factor as an established player.

    Say what you want about the Hunter Pence, but so far the Astros have realized very little surplus value from the “overpay,” while Pence has continued to perform like an established major leaguer.

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    • ZZ says:

      Nope, the thirty million includes bust rate. Worst case scenario, if a prospect busts you pay them nothing and get nothing in return. If they turn into a superstar, you’re looking monstrous amounts of value because you still pay them nothing for three years and well below market value for three after that. Thirty million is the middle of those two extremes.

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      • BirdinHand says:

        If signed as free agents, yes. But in trade, you’ve lost Hamel’s sevices.

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        • ZZ says:

          The thirty million is simply what a Top-20 prospect is worth. Hamels is making roughly market value-he’s getting paid what he is worth, or very close to it. Think of it this way-how much more than 24 million dollars a year would Hamels make on the open market? Probably not much, if any at all. There is no surplus value to Hamels, but there is a ton for a soon-to-be-underpaid prospect.

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        • nik says:

          The upside is you get a known commodity. A team in the hunt doesn’t need a prospect, they need someone who can come in and shut it down.

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        • TKDC says:

          Or blow out his arm on his first pitch with his new team.

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  16. Not Ed Wade says:

    I love how, when the Phillies deal him for very little, the Fangraphs consensus will be that they undervalued him.

    Keep up the good work, boys.

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  17. Tim says:

    So then how does the evaluation of the Samardzija trade look, considering Russell was a young, Top 5 SS ($65+ million surplus) and was packaged with other fine prospects?

    Has this not always been the way trades work? You are giving up unsure, potentially higher value to take on (mostly) sure value now, when it is of most use to you. Even if the methodology behind these estimated surplus values for prospects wasn’t questionable, why would you expect the values to match up exactly?

    It’s baseball’s version of a loan. You get the money now, but you’re giving back more in the future.

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    • nik says:

      because its the Phillies and they must be mocked regardless of cause.

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    • Rarer says:

      Fine prospects? They gave up one killer prospect and flotsam for one top line pitcher and a 4th starter.

      Amaro asking for three premium prospects for Cole Hamels ( a 2nd starter on his best day), cloud cuckoo. The mocking is justified. Laugh away. It only hurts inside.

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      • nik says:

        So Samardzjia is top line and Hamels is 2nd starter on his best day? Your argument is void.

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      • Tim says:

        Important points:
        1) Hamels is better than Samardzija (both in current numbers and track record)
        2) That one killer prospect is equal to the surplus value of two of the Dodgers prospects

        So, in expecting the same value the Cubs got for Samardzija in return for a better pitcher, you’d expect two of the Dodgers prospects. In that case, asking for three in hopes of getting Colletti to agree to two sounds like standard negotiating to me. not “cloud cuckoo.”

        +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • nik says:

          Looking at bWAR last 5 years:
          Hamels: 5.4, 6.6, 4.6, 4.6, 3.5
          Samardjia: 1.1, 1.8, 1.0, 2.2, 0.6

          Yet Samardzjia worth a top 5-10 prospect and Hamels is a #2 on his best day.

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        • nik says:

          Ugh, those last two should be added up for 2014. Point still stands.

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        • Bip says:

          Hamels is also more expensive than both of the guys the A’s got combined, by a fair margin.

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      • Tim says:

        Oh, and I would not call McKinney “flotsam.”

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      • agam22 says:

        Hamels is not only probably a top 15 starter (at worst top 25), he also has the added trade value bonus of a a great playoff track record including a world series MVP. Calling him a 2nd starter on his bast day is simply being an asshat

        +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

  18. Park Chan ho's beard says:

    This seems to just be the MO of front offices I guess. You start insanely high and eventually work down to something more reasonable. Lunhow eventually settled for a reasonable deal for Bud Norris after asking for the moon. I wouldn’t read too much into this.

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    • Bip says:

      The only thing that’s weird to me about that is that no one knew the Astros were asking for such ridiculous packages until the documents were leaked. That almost suggests that type of trade chatter is so low-level that it doesn’t even leak to the press. It makes me wonder why something like that didn’t get reported at the time, and yet this does get reported. It suggests that the Astros asked for Gausman, but the Phillies actually are demanding those three.

      Also, the Astros were offering Norris around, whereas the Phillies are not so much offering Hamels as listening to offers. To me, this paints the Astros strategy more as firing shots into the dark and hoping they hit something. They were the ones shopping Norris, so you feel they probably didn’t think of him as highly as the offers suggest they do. The Phillies by not actively seeking offers for Hamels (and therefore doing nothing to drive up bidding for him) seem to truly feel he is worth Pederson, Urias and Seager.

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      • Nick in ATL says:

        Why would that be weird? Are you so arrogant that you think you’re privy to the real “insider” knowledge rather than the slop that espy and others come up with?

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  19. Miles says:

    They obviously aren’t seriously considering trading Hamels. But they’d love to have Pederson, Seager, and Urias if somebody was dumb enough to hand them over.

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  20. Steven says:

    Hamels for Stephen Piscotty, Marco Gonzales, and Breyvic Valera. Hamels doesn’t have much surplus value with his contract as Dave mentioned, but the Cards get a top 20 (or better) pitcher and the Phils get B+, B, and C+ prospects in return.

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  21. tcrash247 says:

    This article is hilariously awful. I love how you assume all these prospects are going to be superstars at the major league level and none will bust, kinda like Dom Brown. I hope your next article is calling Billy Beane a moron for trading Russell (ranked higher than all 3 of the Dodgers prospects) and McKinney for 2 pitchers worse than Hamels.

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    • King Buzzo's Fro says:

      Are you too stupid to consider the difference in salary here? Also, it’s obvious that Dave thinks all prospects pan out.

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  22. bflaff says:

    Objective analysis of the Phillies no longer seems possible.

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  23. agam22 says:

    Does the analysis change using midseason and preseason lists? By my count 10 of the guys ahead of them got called up accounting for about half the jump, and at least 2 or 3 draft prospects will likely be ahead of them next year. Obviously all three are still going to be highly ranked, I am just wondering if the fluidity of the midseason list means you have to adjust the values somewhat.

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  24. evanwins says:

    How much are Dominic Brown, Jesus Montero and John Lamb worth (2011)?

    How much are Brian Matusz, Alcides Escobar and Logan Morrison worth (2010)?

    How about Tommy Hanson, Travis Snyder and Lars Anderson (2009)?

    Would you trade those players for Cole Hamels? Would that be a ridiculous asking price?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  25. Joshua says:

    Cole Hamels isn’t worth ONE top 20 prospect??? LOL. How you persist with this never-ending fetishization of prospects is just amazing.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  26. jdbolick says:

    The objective in major league baseball is to win as many games as possible, especially the ones in October. You don’t get a trophy for spending the least dollars per win.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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