Let’s Design a Cole Hamels-to-Boston Trade

Boy is it ever easy to trade away other people’s stuff. From a distance, it’s easy to recognize when a guy has to go, as things are uncomplicated by memories and emotions. It sucks the Philadelphia Phillies just about have to trade Cole Hamels. He’s great, and he’s been there forever, through some really good times, and people have developed an attachment to him. Even the Phillies have officially recognized the era is over, but moving Hamels would be a painful kind of closure. The front office doesn’t want to deal Hamels for younger, unfamiliar talent. But it has to happen. As popular as Hamels is, from an objective standpoint, he’s not getting better. And he’d mean a lot more to a team with a prayer of winning something over the next couple years.

So the Phillies ought to be looking to cash in on Hamels. More seriously than they did around the deadline, I mean. The Phillies are poised to gut what there is to gut, and Hamels is a front-line starter who’d hit a market thirsty for front-line starters. Probably the most popular rumor so far: Hamels leaving the Phillies for the Boston Red Sox, in exchange for a package that involved young players. Clearly, nothing has yet been agreed to, but clearly, there will be some more negotiations. So what could we conceivably see as a trade? Let’s design a Red Sox move for Cole Hamels.

This is the way Hamels’ contract is structured:

  • 2015: $22.5 million
  • 2016: $22.5 million
  • 2017: $22.5 million
  • 2018: $22.5 million
  • 2019: $20 million club option, $6 million buyout

I’m going to make an assumption in this post: Hamels has trade protection against the Red Sox. The assumption is that, in order to waive that, Hamels would need the option picked up. So I’m going to treat his contract as $110 million over five years. It’s less than what Jon Lester is looking for. It’s less than what Max Scherzer is looking for. Not that Hamels is quite up there with Lester or Scherzer.

A huge part of this, obviously, is evaluating what Hamels is today. Whether you like arguments based on contract surplus value, that’s the framework by which moves get made, even if unintentionally. And to figure out Hamels’ surplus value, we need to take a guess at how good he is — and how good he will be. Over the past three years, he’s averaged 4.1 WAR. He’s averaged 4.7 RA9-WAR. He turns 31 a couple days after Christmas. One factor that might be significant: Hamels’ quality of opposition. According to Baseball Prospectus, in 2013, Hamels’ opponents had the second-lowest combined OPS out of all pitchers with at least 100 innings. In 2014, Hamels’ opponents were seventh-lowest, out of 144. So there should probably be some kind of adjustment. Against a more average slate of opponents, it stands to reason Hamels would’ve done a little worse.

But I’ve decided to cover multiple bases. Is Hamels a 4.5-win pitcher? Is he a 4-win pitcher? A 3.5? I’ll show you the numbers for each, subtracting half a win for each future season. I’m also showing numbers starting with $7 million/WAR, and $6 million/WAR. Those would be estimates of current market rates, and I increased them 5% in each future season. The table should be simple enough: Hamels’ starting value, the starting market rate of a win and the surplus value of Hamels’ contract.

2015 Value $m/WAR Surplus Value ($m)
4.5 7.0 23.5
4.5 6.0 4.4
4.0 7.0 4.2
4.0 6.0 -12.2
3.5 7.0 -15.2
3.5 6.0 -28.7

By the most generous estimates in there, Hamels’ surplus value would be $23.5 million. But then you’ve got $4.4 million and $4.2 million and some numbers below zero. Maybe the lowest seems far-fetched, but one could argue the same about the highest, so you can see why the Phillies have so far failed to turn Hamels into a massive prospect bounty. No one believes he’d be worth it. Everyone believes Hamels is good. It’s just he’s already getting paid to be good, for a while.

That’s a key difference between a hypothetical Hamels trade and the actual James Shields trade. Hamels now and Shields then are similarly talented starting pitchers, at similar ages. But Shields earned just $9 million in 2013, and $13.5 million in 2014. He had surplus value on top of that, and there was no long-term commitment to tie up the Royals’ future payrolls. There was also more going on in the trade, but over the two-year period, Shields would have about $20 million more surplus value than Hamels, in current money, and Hamels has those extra expensive years at the back.

So let’s think about this. There are alternatives to trading for Cole Hamels. But maybe there’s some value in getting him, specifically, since the alternatives aren’t limitless. Let’s be nice to Hamels and the Phillies and estimate his real surplus contract value between $10 million and $20 million. It’s below the highest estimate in the table, but above the average. What’s the prospect-return equivalent of $10 million to $20 million?

We can’t actually know, but this is helpful and this is helpful. Those work as some convenient guides. We can rule some guys out right away. Xander Bogaerts is off limits. Mookie Betts, too. Also Christian Vazquez, probably, since he’s already broken in. Blake Swihart isn’t moving — he’s worth somewhere between $35 million and $50 million. Henry Owens seems like he’s worth right around $20 million to $30 million. That’s close, but it’s a little steep. Already, I’m trying to be generous.

Baseball America has Eduardo Rodriguez ranked fourth in the Red Sox’s system. Kiley put him second, a hair north of Owens, because Rodriguez flashed better stuff after arriving from Baltimore. Rodriguez might work as a primary piece, depending on where you put him relative to Owens. He’s in the neighborhood.

So there’s an argument for Rodriguez for Hamels, straight-up. If the Phillies want some quantity on top of that, they can take some lower-level, toolsy sorts. With Rodriguez in there, though, the Phillies can’t get too greedy because Rodriguez might be more than enough on his own.

Move on from Rodriguez. Let’s stay curious. Fifth on Kiley’s list: Manuel Margot. He’s seventh, by BA, right behind Rafael Devers. Kiley has Devers sixth, too. These guys should be pushing for inclusion at the bottom of a top-100, so then they’d be valued right around $10 million to $20 million each. One is 20 and one is 18, so there’s a lot of work left to do, but the ceilings are extraordinary. So here’s another possibility: Hamels for Margot or Hamels for Devers. Each is good enough to be a centerpiece. As before, the Phillies might ask for another piece or two in addition, of far lower value.

Let’s say, instead of focusing on one major prospect, the Phillies wanted a couple pretty good prospects. This leads us to Garin Cecchini and Brian Johnson. BA has them 10th and fifth; Kiley has them seventh and eighth. Cecchini, a year ago, was ranked 74th overall by BA, but then he had an unremarkable year in Triple-A. Johnson, meanwhile, is unexciting, but Kiley describes him as just about big-league ready. Now I’m really just making educated guesses, but Cecchini’s value might be around $8 million to $16 million. Johnson should be at $5 million to $15 million, or so. He could be less than that, in which case Cecchini and Johnson could be combined. Alternatively, you fold in Matt Barnes, who’s a worse prospect than Johnson but who has better raw stuff. Barnes and Johnson would match the estimated Hamels value, more or less. Any combination of two of these three should be enough to satisfy the Phillies, based on the Hamels analysis.

There’s one thing the Phillies can do to improve their haul: cover some of Hamels’ remaining salary. They’re not exactly hard up for money, and they’re unlikely to need all their payroll space at least in the next few years anyway, as they rebuild. Let’s say the Phillies are focused on Henry Owens. Straight-up, that would be a bit steep for the Red Sox, but roughly $10 million might even it out. If they wanted Rodriguez, maybe $5 million does it. If the Phillies wanted Margot and Devers, they’d essentially buy one of them out, at between $10 million and $20 million. The more they chip in, the more they get, because every reduction in how much the Red Sox owe Hamels increases his total surplus value.

That’s about how this ought to go, analytically speaking. Ruben Amaro needs to back off his reported demands. No one’s going to floor him with a prospect package unless the Phillies cover a substantial amount of Hamels’ future money. The above was also somewhat generous to Hamels and to the Phillies, so if the consensus evaluation is that Hamels is a little worse, the cost only goes down (for the team getting Hamels). Which should make the Phillies more willing to throw in money since prospects are more important to them than money right now. This is, to some extent, an opportunity for them to buy a decent prospect or three. The Red Sox have plenty of prospects to offer. There’s a match here, if the Phillies want it to happen.



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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.


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Nik
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Nik
1 year 6 months ago

Ah, the old and invalid surplus value table. I knew I’d find one here. Hamels isnt getting moved for anywhere near this meager return.

The Ancient Mariner
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The Ancient Mariner
1 year 6 months ago

Just asserting it’s invalid is meaningless. If you believe it to be invalid, offer an argument with evidence.

Jake is da Bomb
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

no, it’s invalid because it has nothing at all to do with market forces (supply and demand) which is what dictates how players get valued. If the Sox want to obtain a TOR SPer, they will pay what it takes to get one or more. If they value the shorter term of the Hamels contract as much as they would seem to, then they will most likely prefer to deal prospects (not all of which will have opportunities anyway) than to overpay the available FAs.

Matt
Member
Matt
1 year 6 months ago

Yeah the question becomes: do you want to pay Hamels a similar amount of money AND some prospects OR do you just wanna overpay for similar FA’s? I think Sullivan does a pretty good job of considering this tradeoff in the analysis. I suppose it’s possible that the Phillies would pay some of the contract to upgrade the quality of prospect they get in return, but I haven’t seen any indication that they are willing to do that.

There’s a reason why teams who are willing to pull the trigger on this type of deal (Rays) are competitive, while the teams who aren’t (Phillies) remain a laughing stock.

Nik
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Nik
1 year 6 months ago

Yeah – Phillies and their 5 straight divisions and a WS. Total laughing stock. Cuz you know the Rays never had a rebuild or anything.

arc
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arc
1 year 6 months ago

That doesn’t invalidate it any more than teams signing relievers to horrible contracts invalidates an analysis demonstrating that relievers aren’t worth that much.

Jake is da Bomb
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

“laughing stock”??? you’re talking about the team that averaged 95 wins from 2007 – 2011 and 1st place those 5 straight years. just about every other team would kill to have a run like that.

Matt
Member
Matt
1 year 6 months ago

LOL keep clinging to those titles – Amaro appreciates your support as he searches for the next RBI king to hand out $200 million to . . .

Jake is da Bomb
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

ok, so Boston never gave out a bad contract..?

DNA+
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DNA+
1 year 6 months ago

Didn’t the “laughingstock” stock team beat the “competitive” team in the “competitive” team’s only ever WS appearance? …needing only five games to do it.

Slothrop
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Slothrop
1 year 6 months ago

“Didn’t the “laughingstock” stock team beat the “competitive” team in the “competitive” team’s only ever WS appearance? …needing only five games to do it.”

Now *there’s* a persuasive argument to make a bad trade with a GM who has backed himself into a corner and rather than sensibly resolve his situation just doubled down on what got him there in the first place.

DNA+
Guest
DNA+
1 year 6 months ago

Did you really read that as an argument “to make a bad trade with a GM who has backed himself into a corner and rather than sensibly resolve his situation just doubled down on what got him there in the first place.”?!

Matt
Member
Matt
1 year 6 months ago

Sure, the Red Sox have given out bad contracts. Has Amaro ever given out a GOOD one?

I hear Delmon Young is available to man LF for the Phils next year – then they can have him and French together finally – a dream come true!

Jake is da Bomb
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

typical anger among certain posters here for some reason…

Matt
Member
Matt
1 year 6 months ago

haha who’s angry? What, Phillie fans can’t take it as well as they dish it out?

John
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John
1 year 6 months ago

LOL, Hamels isn’t much of a ‘shorter term deal’

Hamels is owed 110 through 5 years
Lester will maked 140 through 6 years

Not much of a differernce. Definetly not worth any blue chips

Ryan
Member
Ryan
1 year 6 months ago

Matt, log off.

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Give me the names of prospects traded for by selling a Cole Hamels stud who went on to form a core on a playoff team.

Go back as far as you want.

JOHN MIDDLETON

SOLD

CURT SCHILLING -Three Rings

HUNTER PENCE – Two Rings

SCOTT ROLEN – One Ring

SHANE VICTORINO -One Ring

BOBBY ABREU

CLIFF LEE

for

VICENTE PADILLA

That’s SEVEN Rings in 14 years while the Phillies have won two World Series in 125 years.

You win by BUYING players. I see where our money is going. I see the beach houses and castles going up.

How much is your house worth? Can you conceive of owning a “house” so huge and valuable that the yearly property taxes exceed $400,000?

Our Phillies owners can.

That is what we have been paying for.

Start planning for Clearwater. All of your favorite Camden Riversharks will be there.

_

Highlight and Google: John Powers Middleton Felony Fraud

_

Don Von Handburger
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Don Von Handburger
1 year 6 months ago

I agree. The Sox would do any of these suggested deals in a heartbeat.

The Ancient Mariner
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The Ancient Mariner
1 year 6 months ago

And you know this because . . . ?

–No, wait, let me guess: you work for the NSA.

Don Von Handburger
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Don Von Handburger
1 year 6 months ago

Common sense.

Vic Romano
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Vic Romano
1 year 6 months ago

If only people realized that trades in real baseball aren’t like trades in fantasy baseball, we’d see like silly comments like yours.

Mike Fratello's Perm
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Mike Fratello's Perm
1 year 6 months ago

“XXXX isn’t getting moved for anywhere near this meager return.”

This certainly has been the Phillies mantra, and meanwhile the players just get OLDER and OLDER.

RAJ is still waiting for the Orioles to offer up Brian Matusz, top ten prospect, in their offer for Ryan Howard, proven run producer.

Nik
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Nik
1 year 6 months ago

Here is the thing, Hamels does NOT need to be traded. He’ll help attendance and will still be good enough in 3 years when the Phillies can realistically compete again. Why the hell would the Phillies trade him for peanuts? The only way he’s moved is if the prospects actually move the needle.

Mike Fratello's Perm
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Mike Fratello's Perm
1 year 6 months ago

“He’ll help attendance and will still be good enough in 3 years when the Phillies can realistically compete again.”

The first part certainly needs proving, and the second part is pretty optimistic considering the team is still on the way down. I guess they could speed up the process by moving some of their decent players for prospects…oh wait.

Nik
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Nik
1 year 6 months ago

That’s the idea. Get actual prospects, not the poo-poo platter suggested in this article.

Tallman
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Tallman
1 year 6 months ago

The poo-poo platter is a nice dish, thank you very much.

Vic Romano
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Vic Romano
1 year 6 months ago

Wait….you think the Phillies can realistically compete in 3 years?

Allow me to lol.

bobbybonilla
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bobbybonilla
1 year 6 months ago

Hes not worth that much which is sad because other than maybe Utley and Lee, he is the most valuable thing the Phillies have.

Such a horrible team. I’d rather be an Astros fan at this point.

Don’t bother regurgitating your 5 years, 1 WS title crap either. I’m a Yankees fan, that doesn’t mean anything to me. It almost one of those “oh, thats cute… you got one!” comments. If you want to keep reliving the past go nuts but your future is looking very bleak.

bleh
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bleh
1 year 6 months ago

>and will still be good enough in 3 years

baesd on what, wishful thinking?

Dave Cornutt
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Dave Cornutt
1 year 6 months ago

The point being missed is what the Phillies are competing with. For about the same AAV as Hamels’ contract, the Red Sox could sign James Shields, and all it would cost them (besides the money) is a second-round draft pick. Given that, why surrender a bunch of prospects to acquire Hamels? And I think any other team that sees themselves as contenders in 2015 will look at it similarly. And, of course, rebuilding teams have no motivation to spend that kind of money on an aging player.

The possiblem market is pretty much limited to the Yankees, the Red Sox, and maybe the Blue Jays. Those are the only teams that have both the money to pay Hamels and the immediate need for a front-line starter. The Phillies only have three or four possible teams to negotiate with. And those teams have other options, both in the free agent market and in possible trades with other teams.

KCDaveInLA
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KCDaveInLA
1 year 6 months ago

“Don’t bother regurgitating your 5 years, 1 WS title crap either. I’m a Yankees fan, that doesn’t mean anything to me. It almost one of those “oh, thats cute… you got one!” comments.”

It is true then – Yankees fans have no souls.

Joe McMahon
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Joe McMahon
1 year 6 months ago

First of all, the Phillies will not be competitive in three years. Second of all, Hamels won’t be incredibly helpful in 3 years. He probably has 2 great years left, followed by 2-3 decent years that will be worth less than what he’s being paid. 3 years from now, Hamels will be a liability, not an asset.

Dovif
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Dovif
1 year 6 months ago

Mil

3 years when Howard Rollins utley and Ruiz all retired. Who man 1b2b3b and c

Cybermetrics guy
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Cybermetrics guy
1 year 6 months ago

Help attendance in what form or fashion? Surely you can’t mean the same one that has seen a steep decline in season ticket holder renewals over the past 3-seasons?

Matt P
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Matt P
1 year 6 months ago

Serious question. What did you think of the Price trade? Do you think that the Rays really loved Franklin and/or Smyly or do you think that the money owed to Price had an impact on the return?

Nik
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Nik
1 year 6 months ago

Price was only under control one more year and Rays would not be able to resign him. Phillies aren’t under the gun to make a trade.

Joshua_C
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Joshua_C
1 year 6 months ago

The Rays also might have been able to benefit from Price pitching for them in 2015, while the Phillies are unlikely to be good enough to benefit much from Hamels in the next couple years.

That said, a Price-level package for Hamels would be a major coup for the Phillies. But it’s not happening.

Cliff Lee
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Cliff Lee
1 year 6 months ago

You tell em Nik. Never move a pitcher until the last possible minute.

Dovif
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

Don’t worry phillie will get the chance to move him in the last year of his contract

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 5 months ago

Cliff Lee

Traded for eleven prospects total in three trades.

All of those prospects suck balls.

Three trades=ZILCH

Teams only trade garbage so you never trade your stud players. You never rebuild when you’re a big market team. You buy players.

_

Highlight and Google: .John Powers Middleton Felony Fraud.

_

Happy Fun Ball
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Happy Fun Ball
1 year 6 months ago

There are top pitchers available for straight cash. Lester is one, Scherzer, etc…

Hamels, at $110M is a discount. $22.5M is a slight bargain on the $/yr, but at only 5 years in length there is less long term risk than a Scherzer-type pitcher who is probably going to get 7+ years. Add it up and the net price difference is something in the neighborhood of $50M.

So that’s what the Phillies should be looking for in prospects. About $50M worth. Not $10M.

Vic Romano
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Vic Romano
1 year 6 months ago

“Hamels, at $110M is a discount.”

I don’t think you know what the word ‘discount’ means.

Happy Fun Ball
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Happy Fun Ball
1 year 6 months ago

The cost for Scherzer or Lester will be significantly higher than $110M. Ergo, Hamels is a discount.

Mike Fratello's Perm
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Mike Fratello's Perm
1 year 6 months ago

You can’t simply subtract $110 million from whatever Scherzer or Lester gets and call that surplus value. Scherzer/Lester will pitch additional years for that extra money, and will be projected to be lesser (but still valuable) pitchers during those years. So while you might pay them an extra $50 million to only give you $35 million worth of value, that’s STILL $35 million worth of value.

So Cole Hamels surplus value for reduced contract length is the difference in contract price MINUS whatever the others could reasonably be projected to give in those years.

Vic Romano
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Vic Romano
1 year 6 months ago

Thanks for confirming that you don’t know what ‘discount’ means. At least that bit is cleared up now.

Happy Fun Ball
Guest
Happy Fun Ball
1 year 6 months ago

But it’s not automatic value. It is risk. Pitchers get hurt all the time. Anything 5+ years out is a crap shoot. You can’t just apply a gradual aging curve to a player’s WAR and a constant inflation factor to payroll and say “THIS IS VALUE!”. It isn’t. It’s risk, and the further out your project it, the more risk it is. Players take higher total, lower AAV deals all.the.time. because they want the security or a payday today. For the same reason, $110/5yr is a discount over $200/8yr because there’s $0 of commitment after year 5. Who the hell knows what the pitching landscape is going to look like in 2019? It is entirely likely that there will be better options out there for the BoSox than a 35 year old $25M Lester or Scherzer.

Happy Fun Ball
Guest
Happy Fun Ball
1 year 6 months ago

Scherzer is going to get a 7 or 8 year deal because that’s what HE wants. If it was up to the teams, and they were able to collude, I doubt you’d ever see a deal longer than 2 or 3 years. Except possibly in the case of a young and very cheap “can’t miss” guy like the Longoria deal. Any team that signs Scherzer for 8 years is hoping that the first 3 years earn value, because they know the last 3 are going to probably suck. Since Hamel’s deal is only for 5 years, the projections are safer. There will (hopefully) be fewer drag years and they won’t be as bad.

Hence DISCOUNT.

Jason
Guest
Jason
1 year 6 months ago

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

williams .482
Member
Member
williams .482
1 year 6 months ago

Except, Sherzer and Lester are better, and those extra years offer some additional production as well as additional cost. The price difference may be in the $50M range, but the valu difference is going to be much smaller.

nik
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nik
1 year 6 months ago

Except they arent.

a eskpert
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a eskpert
1 year 6 months ago

They are better, they put up similar defense independent numbers in the AL to what Hamels has put up in the NL.

nik
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nik
1 year 6 months ago

Except they arent. By xFIP Hamels is a better pitcher than both. You know xFIP – which is league and park adjusted

a eskpert
Guest
a eskpert
1 year 6 months ago

xfip- is league and park adjusted, xfip isn’t.

Jay29
Member
Jay29
1 year 6 months ago

http://www.fangraphs.com/library/pitching/xfip/

Things to Remember:

? xFIP is not park or league adjusted. We carry a park and league adjusted version called xFIP-, found in the “Advanced” tab of the leaderboards and player pages.

John
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John
1 year 6 months ago

Hamels is essentally worth whats hes being paid 5/110

This is EXACTLY what Hamels would net in a trade

Rich
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Rich
1 year 6 months ago

The Red Sox aren’t willing to give up premier prospects for Hamels. They know Amaro is under pressure and a lot of people in Philly want him iut and the Red Sox have more than enough talent and money available. The Sox stand is very simple, we are interested in Hamel on our terms not yours and we can wait as long as we want.

The Ancient Mariner
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The Ancient Mariner
1 year 6 months ago

How much does it change the analysis if Hamels doesn’t have trade protection against the Red Sox, and it’s just 4 years/$96 million?

William
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William
1 year 6 months ago

I don’t think it would be insignificant. You’re shaving off his age-36 season and a lot of money. Think it’d look like a top prospect and a very good guy?

afnj
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afnj
1 year 6 months ago

Well that is $14M, so basically his scenario’s where the Phillies eat some cash.

Nik
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Nik
1 year 6 months ago

Its also laughable to call Hamels and Shields similarly talented. James Shields 1900 IP – 27 bWAR. Hamels – 1800 IP 40 bWAR. And Hamels is 2 years younger.

The Ancient Mariner
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The Ancient Mariner
1 year 6 months ago

So was James Shields two years ago, which is when he was traded.

Nik
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Nik
1 year 6 months ago

Fair enough, but Shields isnt near the pitcher Hamels is.

The Humber Games
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The Humber Games
1 year 6 months ago

True, but Hamels is tied to a much larger contract than Shields was which makes it closer to even.

s
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s
1 year 6 months ago

You used bWAR which is garbage because it doesn’t use advanced pitching data. By fWAR both have pitched 9 seasons, Shields has 31.6 and Cole 34.4.

Bonus Wagner
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Bonus Wagner
1 year 6 months ago

Isn’t there some sort of Phillies blog on ESPN where you can go and parrot this stuff and wait for everyone to agree with you?

We got it. You think Cole Hamels is simply the best pitcher in the game and you don’t want to be dissuaded from that thinking.

arc
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arc
1 year 6 months ago

Comes to fangraphs, posts rWAR without mentioning fWAR or RA9-WAR.

Nik
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Nik
1 year 6 months ago

Because fWAR is the only measure that we can use, right?

arc
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arc
1 year 6 months ago

I said *without*, not *instead of*.

ElJimador
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ElJimador
1 year 6 months ago

Why are people downvoting this? It was a fair response to being chiding for using the “wrong” stats.

Dik
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Dik
1 year 6 months ago

Because it was a sassy response to a point that wasn’t made, when the point that was made in the first place was a good one (e.g. using rWAR on a site that thinks it has better tools for measuring what rWAR is measuring (without any comment as to why you’d do so) shows that maybe you aren’t terribly well-versed in the kind of things we’re talking about).

ElJimador
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ElJimador
1 year 6 months ago

Why should it require any explanation to use BR stats?

Gotta say, the hive-mind of this place gets really freaking annoying sometimes.

Queen bee
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Queen bee
1 year 6 months ago

buzz buzz ElJimador is above the sheeple

Arc
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

No one “chided” him for using BR. Stop making things up.

By the time you commented, it had already been said twice that he was not told *not* to use rWAR. He was told not to use them without also using the others.

ElJimador
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ElJimador
1 year 6 months ago

That’s a distinction without a difference, Arc. People aren’t required to use any particular stat (either in lieu of or along with any competing measure) just becaue you or the majority here may deem it to be superior.

This kind of effort to dictate of even the terms of debate is a perfect example of the kind of groupthink I’m talking about. Fangraphs should be better than this.

Izzy
Member
Izzy
1 year 6 months ago

He did mention RA9-WAR.

“Over the past three years, he’s averaged 4.1 WAR. He’s averaged 4.7 RA9-WAR.”

You should probably read more carefully before you complain.

Arc
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

Who are you quoting? Certainly not the person I replied to.

You should read more carefully before suggesting someone read more carefully.

Giants Dynasty
Guest
Giants Dynasty
1 year 6 months ago

Yes but shields can be signed for 80 mil or so.
Hamels, you have to give up something to get him at 110. Is the difference big enough to give up something ggood? Definitely a low a ball prospect or two is all he is worth.

Matt
Member
Matt
1 year 6 months ago

Solid analysis – kind of makes me wonder how the various FO’s go through this process. I’m guessing it’s not nearly as sophisticated with the Phillies than it is with the Red Sox, or any other team for that matter.

Mark
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Mark
1 year 6 months ago

So the Red Sox got a return of Rodriguez for a reliever and you think that player is of equal value for Hamels? Let me get this straight…Andrew Miller equals Cole Hamels?

The Ancient Mariner
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The Ancient Mariner
1 year 6 months ago

Andrew Miller seems to think so, judging by his contract demands.

(Plus, remember: higher rate of return in deadline trades.)

Cicero
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Cicero
1 year 6 months ago

Not that high, if the Rockies nixed Rodriguez for 3mo of 32yo De La Rosa(granted not the most logical franchise) because it wasn’t enugh to blow them away then you aren’t likely to get Hamels with that piece

s
Guest
s
1 year 6 months ago

The Orioles were the ones that nixed the deal IIRC. Also, Rodriguez’ value skyrocketed because of a major uptick in velo and vastly improved performance post trade.

Stephen
Guest
Stephen
1 year 6 months ago

If Eduardo Rodriguez had pitched like he did for the Red Sox in the first half of the minor league season, which may or may not have been marred by injury, the Orioles would never have traded him for Andrew Miller. Whether he was traded for one of those hideous relievers or not, he still got ranked as one of the top five prospects in the Red Sox system by both fangraphs and baseball america so yeah, I don’t think you’ve gotten that straight.

IMCHORTLING
Guest
IMCHORTLING
1 year 6 months ago

1. Deadline deals mean higher returns. In the offseason teams have time and options. Up against the trade deadline, there’s less leverage. The O’s were in a playoff hunt.
2. In 2014, Andrew Miller made $2 million. Cole Hamels will make ~$20 million for at least four years. That’s a huge difference. The money matters.
3. Andrew Miller was 29 when he was traded. Hamels is about to be 31 and is under contract until at least his age-35 season.

OtherSideoftheCoin
Guest
OtherSideoftheCoin
1 year 6 months ago

Is the general consensus that Hamels is not up there with Lester? Aside from last year, I would have thought Hamels was higher. And if we take him out of the NL East where the Mets feast on him, he might look even better!

Brian
Guest
Brian
1 year 6 months ago

Take him out of one of the worst offensive divisions in baseball and he looks better? Wasn’t his strength of opponent discussed in the article and found to be extremely weak?

QLB
Guest
QLB
1 year 6 months ago

Or you could go by the league adjusted advanced statistics that say he was still better regardless of all that.

Costanza
Guest
Costanza
1 year 6 months ago

Advanced stats account for league and ballpark strength. People are referencing the more precise analysis that looked at the hitters faced by each pitcher. This information is not included in advanced/adjusted statistics.

Nik
Guest
Nik
1 year 6 months ago

I think they are pretty much neck and neck. Personally I’d take either over Scherzer.

Mike Fratello's Perm
Guest
Mike Fratello's Perm
1 year 6 months ago

There might be some excess value argument to be made, however, for taking on less decline years than you would from a Jon Lester, right? They’re the same age, but instead of paying $25 million to Lester in a year he might be projected as a $5 million player, you’re paying $0 to Hamels.

So I can kind of see an argument for there being some discounted part of $20 million in value there.

indyralph
Member
Member
indyralph
1 year 6 months ago

I’ve made this point twice before on boards about Hamels trade value. You cannot get Hamels on the free agent market for 5/110. You need to account for the negative surplus value that you do not take on, but would need to in years 6 and 7 in free agency. If the option does not get picked up, this is even more so.

Dovif
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

If 3 top prospect is worth 30 mil each that would be 5/200. AgAin maybe 1 top prospect

s
Guest
s
1 year 6 months ago

You think Lester will be worth 0.5 WAR his age 36 season in 2020? Because that will be market rate in 2020.

indyralph
Member
Member
indyralph
1 year 6 months ago

I think you are suggesting that Lester will be worth more than 0.5 WAR in 2020? If so, go look at the pitching leaderboard from 2008. Look at the pitchers with over 4 WAR in 2008 and count the number than exceeded 0.5 WAR in 2014. I’m pretty sure it’s less than half. Then look at how many of them were over the age of 28 in 2008. I think you will end up with three out of 24 – Cliff Lee, AJ Burnett, and Mark Buerhle.

Joshua_C
Guest
Joshua_C
1 year 6 months ago

I actually think this is a pretty reasonable *normative* analysis of what Hamels should fetch. I do, however, agree with the other comments that it’s unlikely the Phillies would actually move him for such a relatively insignificant return.

Part of the issue with the a proposed Phillies rebuild is that there isn’t much actual excess value on their contracts.

southie
Guest
southie
1 year 6 months ago

A lot of people anointing Mookie Betts. We have seen this story before. His value will never be higher once the reality sets in he probably won’t improve all that much offensively from here. Right now everyone expects sheer greatness. The next Gary Sheffield. Bar has been set way way too high.

Jake is da Bomb
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

he’s become this winter’s Danny Salazar.

Bonus Wagner
Guest
Bonus Wagner
1 year 6 months ago

The guy is what? 22? Presumably you’re aware that power tends to peak around 26-27. The guy acquitted himself well in his first go around in MLB.

I honestly hadn’t heard “da Bomb” since maybe 2001. Thanks for bringing it back.

stonepie
Guest
stonepie
1 year 6 months ago

you’re right that his ceiling probably isn’t much higher than what we’ve seen but that doesn’t make him automatic trade bait. nothing wrong with high floor players who consistently make contact, walk and offer some power/speed.

arc
Guest
arc
1 year 6 months ago

I’m not sure that 3 WAR is “sheer greatness”.

Branded Ocean
Guest
Branded Ocean
1 year 6 months ago

Yea, Mookie won’t get much better from here because he already has elite plate discipline and elite contact rates. It’s almost impossible for them to get better than they already are.

You: I’m talking about POWAH!

adam
Guest
adam
1 year 6 months ago

i keep saying this. .296 for half a season proves nothing. i like Betts,but he may end up being a .250 hitter. And has no place to play. Ya cant have a 2b playing rf in Fenway. Hell,there are good seasoned rf that have trouble with that wonky outfield

LukeNalooshe
Member
LukeNalooshe
1 year 6 months ago

lol

Derpflerp
Guest
Derpflerp
1 year 6 months ago

Inherent value and market value are so different

jose
Guest
jose
1 year 6 months ago

Thats what it would take for you to trade him, but we are talking about Amaro here, you know his opinion on Howard, I don’t know how highly he values actually good players.

Both teams have a lot of budget space, the surplus money isn’t nearly as big of a factor as the years of control of one of the best pitchers in the game right now.

The Phillies are not on the clock, and the Red Sox are not the only team interested. And I doubt they’ll get much done if they dont move their “untouchables”, after all, look what a couple of years of Samardzija brought back.

Steve
Guest
Steve
1 year 6 months ago

“after all, look what a couple of years of Samardzija brought back.”

This highlights several points you guys aren’t getting…

1. A *couple* years is key… 2 prime years… not 5 post peak/decline.

2. A couple years of Samardzija costs about $100 million less than Hamels 5 years. Money matters. No one is saying Hamels isn’t good.

3. Deadline deal! That’s why everyone suggested they trade Hamels at the deadline last year.

4. It wasn’t just Samardzija.

bflaff
Guest
bflaff
1 year 6 months ago

This analysis hinges in part on the idea that the BoSox care about the money they’d be spending on Hamels. They probably do. But if a team is out there that focuses on the talent and sees the salary as just the price of doing business to get a premium talent, then the ‘prospect haul’ strategy is more feasible. It only takes one.

Doug Lampert
Guest
Doug Lampert
1 year 6 months ago

If a team doesn’t care about money, but just about talent, then Lester and Scherzer both exist.

You can get talent for money without giving up cheap talent.

BubbaNoTrubba
Guest
BubbaNoTrubba
1 year 6 months ago

About the best article written on a potential Hamels trade.

The sooner Phillies (Amaro) gets real about the true value, the better selection of mid level prospects will he be able to land.

Jake is da Bomb
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

spoken like a true Sox fan.

Dave Cornutt
Guest
Dave Cornutt
1 year 6 months ago

So Jake, what would you have other teams do? If I’m a GM, I can go out and sign James Shields for about the same amount of money, get the same performance, and all I have to give up is a draft pick. Or, if I’m willing to spend more, I can get a superior pitcher like Scherzer. Or, for some valuable prospects but a whole lot less money, I can trade with the Marlins to obtain Jose Fernandez. Why should a team surrender money *and* prospects to get Hamels?

KCDaveInLA
Guest
KCDaveInLA
1 year 6 months ago

The Marlins aren’t about to trade Jose Fernandez, and doubtful the win-now Sox don’t want to trade for someone coming off TJ surgery.

a eskpert
Guest
a eskpert
1 year 6 months ago

“Valuable Prospects.” Kris Bryant for Jose Fernandez who says no?

Bonus Wagner
Guest
Bonus Wagner
1 year 6 months ago

Dave,

Do not feed the trolls.

BaseballGuy
Guest
BaseballGuy
1 year 6 months ago

Somehow, I doubt this article gets written if the team “acquiring” the star pitcher weren’t the Red Sox (or the Yankees or the Dodgers). Funny how even the high-budget Phillies are now just a farm team for the big boys.

I do realize the attraction of thinking in terms of “excess value,” because it eliminates a whole bunch of gooey, emotional, adult stuff from the equation. But the fact is teams are run by human beings, and human beings have desires to be successful in certain time windows. And TOR pitchers, which you need to succeed, are a very scarce commodity. Therefore, if Boston likes Hamels (and we actually don’t even know that), they absolutely offer WAY more than Eduardo friggin’ Rodriguez. And Philly probably still turns them down, because they can get better elsewhere, excess value table or not.

Tallman
Guest
Tallman
1 year 6 months ago

” And Philly probably still turns them down, because they can get better elsewhere.”

As evinced by all of the successful trades of high-quality but expensive players made by the Phillies in the recent past.

Jon
Guest
Jon
1 year 6 months ago

Philly turns them down because they “can get better elsewhere” has been the Amaro response to every offer.

Hamels will not leave until his contract expires or Amaro is fired. And Phillies will not be a .500 team until two years after that. What a fiasco. Amaro makes Jim Bowden look like a genius.

IMCHORTLING
Guest
IMCHORTLING
1 year 6 months ago

You doubt this gets written if the team acquiring Hamels weren’t the Sox or another high-payroll team. But what mid-to-low payroll team would be able and willing to acquire a 31-year-old SP signed through at least age 35 at ~$22 million per year?

It’s not like Oakland or Cincinnati or Colorado are knocking down the door to get him. This isn’t like trading for Mike Trout. There’s risk in acquiring Hamels, and it’s not like he’s signed for peanuts. Below market value, sure, but it’s not nothing, and (as the Red Sox) have demonstrated over the past few seasons, flexibility means the ability to bounce back and forth between the cellar and a championship.

Maybe if the Phillies were more flexible in their estimations of what players are worth, they wouldn’t be burdened by so many difficult contracts.

yosoyfiesta
Member
yosoyfiesta
1 year 6 months ago

For the love of all things, please don’t let Benny C make a move for that useless southpaw twat. As an equally avid Sox fan, baseball fan and FG reader, I want nothing less than this trade to happen, ever. Cole Hamels is the pits, he’d get shelled like the beaches of Normandy in Boston, further, he’s generally a bad person.

Also, I’d hate to see anyone bail out Ruben Amaro Jr., he’s easily one of the worst GMs out there and deserves everything he gets for the horrid state of affairs he’s left the Phillies in.

yosoyfiesta
Member
yosoyfiesta
1 year 6 months ago

I changed my mind, I’d be willing to trade for Cole Hamels. Phillies eat the entire contract beyond the 2015 season, the Sox pay him nothing from 2016 and on. As a gesture of good faith, the Sox throw in Allen Craig and a bag of baseballs.

Jake is da Bomb
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

off-loading the Craig contract is likely to be the way that the Sox effectively reduce the obligation to Hamels. Johnson, Marrero, Vazquez, Craig and a 2nd arm for Hamels and Ruiz is probably close to what it becomes.

yosoyfiesta
Member
yosoyfiesta
1 year 6 months ago

So an elite defensive catcher and pitch framer in Vazquez, a nice mid-level MI prospect in Marrero, a guy who has hit his entire career until last season and Johnson for a 37 y/o catcher and a really bad contract for a guy who will return #3 starter value at best for the rest of his career? Oh, and a second arm?! Yeah, that sounds like the pits, hope you don’t have Cherington’s ear dude, you must be from the Ruben Amaro school of GMing.

Jake is da Bomb
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

I do love how “pitch-framing” has become the go-to phrase this winter… LOL.

Jake is da Bomb
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

anyway, the Sox will have to decide if they can part with prospects or are willing to go 6 or 7 years and 150M+ to get either Lester or Scherzer.

Mountain Landis
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

I see how these realistic deals have gotten all Sawx fans rattled. LOL

Mountain Landis
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

thinking the Sawx “deserve” to get Hamels for a couple of C+ prospects is hysterical. the entitlement you constantly see from Red Sox fans is funny.

adam
Guest
adam
1 year 6 months ago

i cant stand Hamels as a person,but as far as getting “shelled”,hes got top 5 lefty in the game numbers

a eskpert
Guest
a eskpert
1 year 6 months ago

Hamels isn’t Kershaw or Price, but he’s not a bad starting pitcher by any means.

Giants Dynasty
Guest
Giants Dynasty
1 year 6 months ago

Cole Hamels is not negative value. He is worth something at 5y 110 million, but not a great deal. Maybe a major league guy like Luis valbuen or tazawa plus one a ball prospects.

the alternative for any gm is just to sign Lester for 30 mil more or shields for 30 mil less without giving up a thing. Phillies have to know this right? No gm is going to give u something good for hamels.

Mike Fratello's Perm
Guest
Mike Fratello's Perm
1 year 6 months ago

“No gm is going to give u something good for hamels.”

I don’t think this is true, but they are certainly hurt by the teams that are interested in big name starters this offseason. At the very least, they aren’t getting the Boston/Cubs/Yankees to give them a ton in return, and they’re not getting a bunch of the other contenders to take on the contract.

unabashed phillies fan
Guest
unabashed phillies fan
1 year 6 months ago

but what about suply and demand in the marketplance Giants Dynasty??? we can talk aboutt value all we want but look at my own team as example — u have to pay to get good players 2 succeed! there are only so many post-peak pitchers making money equivalent to their value out there! Mookie Betts as a start and no cash coming from Phila.

yosoyfiesta
Member
yosoyfiesta
1 year 6 months ago

No way the Sox give up the next elite leadoff hitter in baseball for a 31 year old with two decent seasons left. That’s why the Phillies are terrible, Ruben Amaro gives awful contracts then follows that up with regret, followed by trying to make a trade with a team where in that team gives up top tier prospects AND take on the garbage contract in the first place. Spoken like a true Phillies fan, I wouldn’t give you a bag of used marbles for Hamels, he sucks.

Steve
Guest
Steve
1 year 6 months ago

*Used* marbles no less, that’s a new low.

Dave Cornutt
Guest
Dave Cornutt
1 year 6 months ago

The market for Hamels is actually pretty small — three, four teams tops. Now, if the Phillies are willing to throw in money, then they expand the market and now maybe teams like Kansas City or Pittsburgh get interested. But it would have to be a lot of money — not Mike Hampton compensation, but almost. I’d guess $60-70M.

Steve
Guest
Steve
1 year 6 months ago

This is the biggest thing, as is the fact that those 3-4 teams have 3 decently comparable options in Shields, Lester, and Scherzer that cost only money and a singular draft pick (for some teams a first-round pick, for some a second round; and of course for Lester none at all for any team). Which isn’t to say that someone might not get backed into a corner and end up dealing for Hamels, but from today’s vantage point the idea of paying near market value *and* more than token prospects seems like a really poor decision.

Mountain Landis
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

hysterical logic… sounds similar to the ridiculous arguments we heard against the Royals when they acquired Shields.

Tim Kelly
Guest
Tim Kelly
1 year 6 months ago

I think trying to balance out surplus value (expected WAR * $/WAR – Salary) is really missing part of the calculus in trades like this. I get the point, and it makes sense to some degree, but I just don’t think it works in a real world context. The reason I say this is because of free agency. We all know, and GMs do too, that you have to overpay to “win” the free agent bidding on a player (The Winner’s Curse). “Overpay” in this context means that the (expected WAR * $/WAR – Salary) calculation has a negative value on the day the player signs the contract. If the surplus valuation exercise you worked through for Cole Hamels above was what was actually applied in real life, then it follows that we wouldn’t see overpays in free agency, right?

Andrew
Guest
Andrew
1 year 6 months ago

I agree, it’s the same logic as auction drafts. You might relatively overpay for a Trout, but you have to get more than $260 value on your team somehow. Paying $1 for $5 players has the best margin but won’t get you a winning team.

Los
Guest
Los
1 year 6 months ago

You are missing the constraint of roster construction. The function is the following:

Max{

Val(Xn)

S.t.

Price(Xn) <= $260
Xn = X1, X2, …, X25

}

If you were trying to maximize Val/price then identifying the correct $1 is the way to go but there is no point in leaning money on the table.

JY
Guest
JY
1 year 6 months ago

It seems the prospect valuation is way off. Just about every prospect is a roll of the dice, even with some success at higher levels of the minors. Saying that a prospect is worth $50m, even a top 10 prospect, is extremely difficult to justify.

If one WAR is equal to $7m, and a team does not have to pay the prospect anything for five years (the length of Hamels contract). To get a surplus value of $50m you still need an average WAR per season of about 1.4 [50/7 for a total of about 7 WAR in total; 7/5 for about 1.4 per year].

Betts hit this in only 200 PA, so he is well on his way to covering this valuation, pre-arbitration. However, both Bogaerts (0.4) and Bradley (-0.1) missed completely. While some players hit this mark, this valuation suggests that ON AVERAGE a top 10 prospect becomes a decent starter in the majors. But the “surplus value” is then pushed down significantly once the arbitration period begins, basically adding two additional WAR by the end of arbitration.

Assuming something like $7m, $11.5m $15m in the arb years would mean that a player need to have WARS of 1.5, 1.5, 1.5, 2.5, 3, 3.5 (13.5 in 6 yrs). That means on average a top 10 propsect turns into Howie Kendrick (9 in first 5 yrs 15 in 6) and or Starlin Castro 11 in 5 and Streamer projected 13 in 6).

If teams are willing to value expected prospect production at this level, I would be dealing my prospects like crazy.

gump
Guest
gump
1 year 6 months ago

did you read the linked article on prospect valuation?

Luke
Guest
Luke
1 year 6 months ago

The prospect valuation numbers absolutely take into account the prospects who become busts. The top prospects who do become stars on team control contracts for 6 years end up being worth MUCH MORE than $50M.

If you can earn 20 WAR over 6 seasons, meaning you’re above average, play every day, but aren’t quite a star, that’s something in the neighborhood of $120-140M in production. Even with pretty high arbitration salaries, it’s unlikely you’ll get paid more than $25M for those years. So, yeah, $95-115M in surplus value is a (very) rough estimate.

Also, the prospects who bust are basically worth 0. Since you’re not obligated to pay them anything meaningful, there’s no downside.

JY
Guest
JY
1 year 6 months ago

Definitely correct, if you are a top 10 prospect across all of the minors. And the downside risk is zero, agreed.

But the most reasonable valuation of Hamels is the he is being appropriately compensated (ie no surplus value). Balanced trades, in terms of surplus value) be Hamels (~15 WAR for the life of the contract) for a top 75 prospect (~4 WAR, on average) or Hamels and $50m for a top tier prospect. You take Hamels without blinking in both scenarios, right?

Brian
Guest
Brian
1 year 6 months ago

I’m not really buying in to this theory that Hamels is only worth E Rodriguez or either Devers/Margot as the centerpiece. One of the original posts mentioned supply and demand. If Rodriguez is theoretically all it would take to land Hamels, then there would probably be about 10 other teams willing to get in on that bidding. The Yankees, Blue Jays, Rangers, Mariners, Astros, Marlins, Royals, Cardinals, Cubs, and D’backs are all teams that could make room on the payroll and have the quality prospects to easily surpass a low ball offer from the Red Sox, and would certainly do so. In theory, yes, maybe ERod and another piece seems fair, but there is no way a bidding war wouldn’t drastically effect the cost.

Heck, the Yankees would probably offer up Severino, Judge, and someone like Bird in a heartbeat if they thought it could bring in Hamels, and that is a much better offer than Rodriguez alone. I think a realistic expectation would be a package like ERod/Owens, Ranaudo/Webster/Workman, and Cecchini/Margot for Hamels.

Dave Cornutt
Guest
Dave Cornutt
1 year 6 months ago

I’m sorry but this is delusional. The Astros? What interest would they possibly have in an aging, very expensive pitcher? Here’s the question: Hamels has been available since last June. If there were multiple teams lined up to offer the Phillies a prospect haul for him, why hasn’t it already happened?

Paul
Guest
Paul
1 year 6 months ago

You are way, way off.

Bill
Guest
Bill
1 year 6 months ago

On what planet is Cole Hamels not ‘up there’ with Lester?

yosoyfiesta
Member
yosoyfiesta
1 year 6 months ago

On a sane planet where peopl aren’t so foolish as to compare a top tier starter playing in the toughest division in the game for his entire career with a guy playing in whats been relatively a weak division with big pitchers parks for the last 3-4 seasons.

nik
Guest
nik
1 year 6 months ago

Hahahha.. Citizens Bank is now a “Big Pitcher’s Park” Oh man.

gump
Guest
gump
1 year 6 months ago

he’s referring to marlins/mets i would assume

Pike
Guest
Pike
1 year 6 months ago

should we be surprised that you are myopically ignoring Marlins Park and Metco, and the other parks that play pitcher to neutral in Atlanta and Washington…

werthless
Guest
werthless
1 year 6 months ago

Recency bias. Outside of 2014 — which should play a large role in your evaluation — Hamels meets or exceeds the performance (bWAR, fWAR, FIP, XFIP, ERA+) of Lester over any time period. Including 2014, Hamels meets or exceeds Lester over the same metrics when looking over longer time horizons (Lester can’t pretend 2012 didnt happen). They are comparable, and yet Lester will sign for more money per year over more years.

Steve
Guest
Steve
1 year 6 months ago

This is one of the thickest Fangraphs comment sections I’ve had the displeasure of scrolling past.

yosoyfiesta
Member
yosoyfiesta
1 year 6 months ago

Relax Steve, take a log off the fire, it’s simply because Hamels is a prick and nobody likes him and he’s a Phillie, so the comments section is infused with the stupidity reminiscent of a fan from Philly.

Jake is da Bomb
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

yeah Sawx fans are doing their best to trample all over this one…

jose
Guest
jose
1 year 6 months ago

you werent around for the last deadline?

werthless
Guest
werthless
1 year 6 months ago

When Scherzer and Lester sign for a combined $400MM, this analysis will need to be redone. And I would bet that the revised estimates of surplus value align closer with the presumed package it would take to get a trade done (1 top prospect, 2 mid tier options).

Dave Cornutt
Guest
Dave Cornutt
1 year 6 months ago

You can certainly make an argument that inflation will reduce the cost of the out years of Hamels’ contract, and thereby increase the surplus value. But, given that the near years are pretty much at-market, I still don’t see teams doing it when they can get comparable talent on the free agent market and not have to give up any prospects to do it.

JayT
Guest
JayT
1 year 6 months ago

The thing is, as free agent prices rise, so does the value of prospects, once again lowering the return for hamels.

yosoyfiesta
Member
yosoyfiesta
1 year 6 months ago

This is all very simple, take the money you’d spend on Hamels, keep all your prospects, add $25 million and sign Lester, who is the better option at Fenway with his ability to get RHH out anyway because of his cutter. Watching Hamels’ get taken over the monster through 2020 doesn’t sound fun.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron
1 year 6 months ago

First – going by strictly WAR, Lester and Hamels are pretty much the same guy. Last years 6+ war from Lester is an outlier, he’s done it once previously, and if you take out those spikes he’s on average been worse then Hamels.

Second – trades don’t tend to happen based off the guy you’re picking up salary, if a team wants him they were going to pay that anyway. Unless he’s overpaid, which Hamels doesn’t look to be. Philly won’t take a mediocre prospect for Hamels, nor should they. Using surplus value as a trade base is pretty flawed, and I don’t think teams ever actually use it.

Dik
Guest
Dik
1 year 6 months ago

“Second – trades don’t tend to happen based off the guy you’re picking up salary, if a team wants him they were going to pay that anyway. Unless he’s overpaid, which Hamels doesn’t look to be. Philly won’t take a mediocre prospect for Hamels, nor should they. Using surplus value as a trade base is pretty flawed, and I don’t think teams ever actually use it.”

What is this I don’t even

JayT
Guest
JayT
1 year 6 months ago

“Second – trades don’t tend to happen based off the guy you’re picking up salary, if a team wants him they were going to pay that anyway. Unless he’s overpaid, which Hamels doesn’t look to be. Philly won’t take a mediocre prospect for Hamels, nor should they. Using surplus value as a trade base is pretty flawed, and I don’t think teams ever actually use it.”

You do realize that you’re saying that Hamels with a 5 year $110 million contract would net the same trade return that he would if he had a five year, $5 million contract, right?

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 6 months ago

I personally hope the Red Sox keep some payroll flexibility so they can take a stab at Jason Heyward for 2016 and beyond. He’d be the perfect RF for Fenway.

I’d say if you’re going to go after Hamels, make the Phillies take Allen Craig as part of the deal. Craig + Owens + Cecchini is a package I’d be willing to offer if I were the Sox GM.

Luke
Guest
Luke
1 year 6 months ago

I keep seeing people suggesting the Red Sox “dump” or “make someone else take on” Craig. I’m not convinced that Craig’s contract has negative value. Yes, I know, he royally sucked last year, but he simply isn’t owed that much money and before 2014 he accumulated 7.6 WAR over 3 seasons. $21M for the next 2 years (assuming they buy him out in 2017) means he only needs to be worth 3-3.5 WAR over those 2 years to earn his money. He seems like a great candidate for a bounce-back next year.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 6 months ago

I don’t disagree with you entirely. But if I’m choosing between Craig, Bradley, or Nava as a guy to throw into the deal, Craig has the least surplus value IMO.

derekcarstairs
Guest
derekcarstairs
1 year 6 months ago

There are a few things wrong with this analysis.

$/WAR is a crap statistic.

Do GMs actually use $/WAR in making trades and negotiating contracts? I don’t think so. It’s really a supply-and-demand thing that’s repeated over and over. After the fact, Fangraphs comes along and calculates what teams are paying each year per WAR. This calculation doesn’t really influence teams. Every year, market conditions prevail and dictate what players are worth. $/WAR doesn’t establish value.

Teams interested in Hamels are playoff teams that likely value Hamels’ expected short-term contributions much more highly than a prospect’s expected long-term contributions.

The Phils should be eating $30-35 million of Hamels’ salary to maximize the return. That money alone is worth one very good prospect.

The Red Sox are not the best trade partner for the Phillies. It probably should be one of the nine teams to which Hamels cannot block a trade. That would effectively reduce the other team’s financial commitment to four years and $60 million, making Hamels $100 million cheaper than Scherzer, for example.

I also think that the Cubs and Pirates, to name two, have more attractive prospects than the Red Sox.

gump
Guest
gump
1 year 6 months ago

$/WAR does a real good job at projecting most FA, with the exception of top tier FA

Doug Lampert
Guest
Doug Lampert
1 year 6 months ago

Yeah, if they offer to pick up salary then the surplus value is increased by roughly that much. So if the want a top prospect for Hamels and money they can get one, but it takes the money.

Luke
Guest
Luke
1 year 6 months ago

All that $/WAR does is compare the value of Hamels’s contract to what similar value is likely to cost on the free agent market. Yes, if supply and demand lead to FAs this offseason going for much more than $7/WAR then a lot of this analysis would need to be re-done and Hamels’s contract looks a lot better. Do you have any reason, right now, to believe this will happen?

Arc
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

Multiple GMs have made public comments about $/WAR. Usually their estimates are higher than fangraphs.

But none of them have met you. I’m sure you could straighten those idiots out.

Mr Punch
Guest
Mr Punch
1 year 6 months ago

Isn’t the main question here how much the Phillies care about shedding out-year payroll commitments? If that’s a goal (to facilitate rebuilding) then maybe Cliff Lee should be part of the discussion. There’s a guy who clearly has negative value because of his contract, but also possible upside.

Phillyfan425
Guest
Phillyfan425
1 year 6 months ago

Cliff Lee won’t be traded (if at all) till he proves he is healthy enough to pitch. He can’t do that over the winter, so there is really no point in participating in any topics of what he is worth.

Jim
Guest
Jim
1 year 6 months ago

I have a lot of problems with this article.

I think discounting his performance due to “weak opposition” is unfair. Almost all of the pitchers at the bottom of the list are from the NL East. the difference between his mark (.671) vs. the best (.723) is only 50 points. That’s the difference between every batter you face being Mike Trout or every batter you face being Miguel Cabrera. Is that difference really enough to discount him?

You touched on this, but you are really underestimating the value of Cole Hamels to the Philadelphia organization. He was the 2008 World Series MVP and is one of the best homegrown phillies aces of all time. His value to the organization is far greater than his fWAR.

Cole Hamels is 10th in fWAR among pitchers since 2006. He was a world series MVP. He just came off a 2.46 ERA. You’re telling me the Phillies should give him up for Manuel Margot?

The idea that the Phillies should accept anything less than at least one of Xander, Mookie, or Volquez is ridiculous. Prospects are a total lottery ticket. Hamels is about as proven as you get and if you’re telling me that’s not worth a top prospect you are insane.

A pitcher of Cole’s caliber does not get traded straight up for a sub top 100 prospect. If Shark gets Addison (yes I understand leverage at the deadline, years of control, and salary) then Cole should get more than what you are suggesting.

I’m not saying that Hamels will fetch a huge haul. I’m saying he should fetch one considerably larger than what people are guessing.

Slothrop
Guest
Slothrop
1 year 6 months ago

This would all be nice if you were trading for his WS MVP trophy to place on your mantle, and for the last remaining positive feelings toward baseball of the Philadelphia region. Instead, you’re trading for a contract and expected performance. Contracts and expected performance can be acquired other ways.

Giants Dynasty
Guest
Giants Dynasty
1 year 6 months ago

What we have here is a bunch of Phillies fan overvaluing Hamels, relative to his contract. Likely, he will not be dealt, because Amaro wants a lot for him, just like he want/wanted a lot for Howard/Papelbon/Byrd/etc…

The Red Sox are not dealing Betts/Bogaerts/Bradley. The Cubs are not dealing any of Baez/Soler/Bryant/Russell.

Scherzer, Shields, Lester, Santana, Liriano. Plenty of good pitchers left on the market. Betts + any of the above > Hamels. Same with any of the Cubs prospects. One guy I can see moved for Hamels is Alcantara from the Cubs.

Most teams that want/can afford Hamels probably do not need Phillies to pay a portion of his contract. Like the Cubs. Have so much in payroll space, they’d rather keep their prospects than deal one for Hamels + cash.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 6 months ago

It’s kind of funny. I fear the Red Sox might get fixated on overpaying for Lester or Scherzer, which would make Hamels look like a bargain in comparison.

But I gotta agree with you that I’d much rather have Betts plus a Liriano/Santana type starter than having just Hamels. And either of those two guys would save you $5 million or more per year vs. Hamels salary, which would more than pay for Betts including his first arbitration years.

That settles it for me.

Izzy
Member
Izzy
1 year 6 months ago

If it’s true that Amaro loves “run producers” then wouldn’t the Red Sox be smart to include Cespedes in a hypothetical trade?

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 6 months ago

In all seriousness, if Cespedes had more than one year left before free agency he’d be a good bet.

Actually, Allen Craig had back to back 90+ RBI seasons for the Cards before last year’s debacle. The Phillies might want to consider taking him as a salary dump/lottery ticket to help them land one of the Sox top youngsters. Who knows, he might pay off for the Phillies the way Mike Lowell paid off for the Sox when the Marlins dumped him in the Josh Beckett deal.

Slothrop
Guest
Slothrop
1 year 6 months ago

Great commitment to character, I was cracking up at “90+ RBI seasons.”

Phillies113
Member
Member
1 year 6 months ago

The problem is RAJ is shopping Cole Hamels as if he’s a $100 bill, when he’s more like a $50 (or even a couple of $20’s). And he’s trying to buy a bunch of big brand name cereals (high level prospects) so he can stock the empty cabinets (the farm).

What RAJ needs to realize is A. Cole’s true value is much lower than he (and a lot of my fellow Phillies fans) realizes, and B. store brand cereals (lower tier prospects) can be just as good as brand names STRICTLY for the sake of saying “Hey, our cupboards might not have the REALLY good stuff, but at least we have SOMETHING.”

…sorry, I skipped lunch and I’m very hungry.

Travis
Guest
Travis
1 year 6 months ago

The fact that they still are trying to peddle Ryan Howard just speaks volumes of how clueless they are at market value player evaluation. A Hamels deal will not happen until RAJ agrees to take back mid-tier prospects, hence why no deal has been remotely close to happening yet.

adam
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adam
1 year 6 months ago

i meant to vote that up. sorry bud

TNR
Guest
TNR
1 year 6 months ago

Love FG. Ruben in an idiot and Hamels is fairly paid so he should be given away for free.

Giants Dynasty
Guest
Giants Dynasty
1 year 6 months ago

But Ruben wants 3 top prospect for Hamels. Mookie Betts for Hamels is an insult to the Phillies.

SABRphreak
Guest
SABRphreak
1 year 6 months ago

Hamels surplus value is higher than calculated when adding in the non-negative surplus value relative to that of the additional years for which comparable FAs will sign. Many commenters here seem to undervalue the FA market for top SPs. It’s laughable to suggest that Lester’s total contract will only be $25MM more than Hamels’ remaining contract… or that Shields has the same value as Hamels yet will only net an $80MM deal. Hamels has $15MM in surplus value on his 5 years plus the lack of a 6th year at $25MM. That’s just to get into the conversation…without a vesting option, opt out or no-trade. All in all, we’re talking about about $30MM in aggregate surplus value relative to the FA market. Many of the prospects discussed here are also over-hyped and therefore overvalued. Let’s review what the Rays just got for 2 years of Hellickson: two well-regarded low level guys rated in the #10-15 prospect slots of their team. For Hamels, I see more along the lines of 3 prospects in the ranges of a team’s #5-10 prospect, #10-15 prospect, and #15-20 prospect. If they’re higher ceiling, lower level guys, 2 of the 3 likely won’t make the show… lower ceiling, higher level guys generally result in 3rd OF and back-end SP…cheaper than but not producing as much as a Hamels. Many FAs will also cost a draft pick (if not protected), which is an additional cost. I like Hamels (5/110) over Shields (5/100 plus pick) enough to give up a couple decent prospects (plus an extra for the pick) that I’m not in love with if I’m in a front office… i.e. the three in the ranges I suggested above.

QLB
Guest
QLB
1 year 6 months ago

Oh boy, this article. Let’s see….

1. Using an outdated surplus value chart that never had any kind of logical or numerical backing in the first place.

2. Using flat out wrong numbers in several spots

3. Citing the highest prospect value rankings only of the about 20 or so that are out there.

4. Valuing players solely based on number rank, not the actual player itself.

5. Completely omitting the fact that when Hamels deal runs out whoever signs Lester and Scherzer will have a Ryan Howard on their books.

6. Etc etc etc

This is an article that is barely passable for Bleacher Report, which the quality of writing and analysis on this site has fallen too in the last year or so. I clicked on this article because I thought it would actually present a realistic trade scenario based on quality analysis, yet all I got was a jumbled mess of cherry picked and overly-subjective crap.

I don't care what anyone
Guest
I don't care what anyone
1 year 6 months ago

#6 was the clincher for me.

Arc
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

An utterly substanceless criticism.

Bob
Guest
Bob
1 year 6 months ago

Whats the value of losing your first round draft pick?

Bob
Guest
Bob
1 year 6 months ago

its funny because more than half the Redsox prospects being discussed as untouchable are first round picks outside of the top 10 in the past 5 years.

Arc
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

How many first round picks will the team signing Lester lose?

Patrick
Guest
Patrick
1 year 6 months ago

The real problem with this article is that it doesn’t fully consider the Red Sox’ situation.

The Red Sox have money; they can afford to overpay for a Lester or a Scherzer or a Shields.

What the Red Sox lack is access to high end talent; they are the only team in baseball not to have a top five pick in the last half century.

Currently they have five or six young players — Bogaerts, Betts, Margot, Devers, Owens and Swihart — who have a reasonable chance to become that kind of player.

In a market glutted with FA pitching, the last thing the Red Sox ought to do is part with high-end players for a pitcher with a five year hundred million dollar contract.

Cole Hamels is worth much more to other teams than he is to the Red Sox.

james wilson
Guest
james wilson
1 year 6 months ago

Yeah, well, I sure hope Cherington sees it that way. The Sox roster is so incoherent it looks like a stack of baseball cards fell off the shelf.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 6 months ago

This.

I’m hoping they can move Cespedes for a respectable starting pitcher (doesn’t have to be Cueto caliber, a solid #3 starter would be just fine) to open up LF for a Nava/Craig platoon, put Betts at 3B, and save their money for a run at Heyward in 2016.

But we’ll see.

John
Guest
John
1 year 6 months ago

I as a Red Sox fan feel as though cole hamel’s may be undervalued here. If contracts were only signed based on surplus value then we wouldn’t see these Stanton type megadeals. I think market rate or even a little below market rate contracts still hold value, at least in a market like Boston, if the player being paid for does still produce. It isnt measured as cleanly as surplus value but a team like the angels likely did not expect to break even; they probably decided they could handle the negative value that the contract had due to their market and were willing to pay higher than the market rate for wins. iIt is sort of the stars and scrubs deal with the assumption that you could get solid players instead of scrubs whether it be through the farm or free angency. Despite this sentiment I don’t want hamels because I don’t want to pay the price. I wouldn’t give up betts or bogaerts because I believe that not only do they have more upside I think that they are safer. In a vacuum I would consider Swihart and Rodriguez but because we can likely just sign a pitcher instead I wouldn’t trade them either. I value Owen below all of them and I think I would do Owens for hamels. However I don’t believe that is a deal the phillies make.

Phil Din
Guest
Phil Din
1 year 6 months ago

There is so much Phillies hatred on this site. Granted, they are on a down trend but let’s not forget they went to three straight worlds series in the relatively near past. Not many franchises have thst opportunity. Yes, mostly everyone understands that you don’t live in the past but what they don’t understand is the what is neccesary to sell tickets to baseball stadiums. Now that isn’t a relevant argument for an informed fan but that’s niether her nor there. The Phillies have money and eventually those contracts will come off the books. Their payroll will give them an opportunity in the next three years. There are pieces there and this team is no the worst frnchise in baseball by any stretch of the imagination. I look to J.P. Crawford as the barometer for the progress of this Phillies team, if he is able to reach his potential, it will allow for the Phillies to build around him. There will be more talents and they always have money so they will never be the Padres. Now trade Hamels for mookie so we can get strong up the middle!

james wilson
Guest
james wilson
1 year 6 months ago

I value Betts like you seem to. I doubt the Phillies makes that trade though.

I have no idea what Boegarts is going to be, but Betts is great. At 21 he is the player Pedroia was at 24. I saw most of his at bats. Poise, approach, and talent. 21.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 6 months ago

The irony in all this is that the Phils still have Utley, who has a no-trade clause. So Betts wouldn’t be playing up the middle, but would probably have to shift to 3B or LF for 2015, unless Utley OKs waives his no-trade clause to exit the Phillies while they rebuild.

Which could bring up the nightmare scenario of the Yankees grabbing Utley to fill their 2B hole for the next few years.

I still think if the Phils can get Owens + Cecchini + Craig for Hamels, they should make the deal.

John
Guest
John
1 year 6 months ago

I doubt the Red Sox trade a relatively safe prospect with the upside to be a premier leadoff hitter, strong base runner and good fielder for a hamels contract that is only a slight discount in aav and only a year or two shorter when they can deal with two bad years at the end from lester due to there large market. Obviously I can’t say what they would or would not do but I would laugh if you asked for mookie in a hamels trade.

Brad Johnson
Member
Member
1 year 6 months ago

I know nobody is going to respond to this because it’s buried 192 posts deep. However, I’m bothered by the approach to prospect valuation because it treats prospects like sure things. In reality, Hamels is akin to a AA rated bond while the vast majority of prospects are junk bonds. You’ll probably get what you paid for with Hamels, but the ROI isn’t great as a result. A prospect might appear to have a fantastic ROI, but the bust rate is so high that it negatively affects their value.

There is a reason junk bonds pay much higher yields. Similarly, prospect valuation models should better reflect risk. We might observe that historically, a top 5 outfield prospect is worth $60MM surplus value. But his “bond rating” also needs to be considered when setting trade value. Of course, a top 5 prospect wouldn’t be in the junk category. A 76-100 ranked outfielder is worth about $20MM according to one of the articles Jeff linked. That player probably does qualify as a junk bond, which should limit what teams are willing to pay for him.

As in financial markets, diversification is crucial. Acquire enough high value junk bonds and the successes will usually* cover the failures. (*The “unusually” is what we observed in the financial crash).

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 6 months ago

^^^^ EVERYONE PLEASE NOTE BRAD’S POST ^^^^

This is a HUGE point. Intuitively, as a Red Sox fan, I feel better about giving up Owens than Betts simply because Owens is still a high-quality junk bond while Betts is probably an A bond at this point. And for a team trying to contend like the Red Sox, you need quality in the portfolio.

And a rebuilding team needs to acquire as many high-upside “junk bonds” as possible. Look at the Cubs loading up on position player prospects – not all of them will pan out, but getting a large enough pool of them increases the odds that a few really good ones will stick.

So, if the Phillies are wise, they’ll take a good look at guys like Margot and Devers, and take consider a gamble or two on “downgraded” assets like JBJ and Craig. They need to stock up their base if they want to rebuild without excessive pain.

And for the Red Sox, these guys are fungible assets whose value they should appropriately discount, like a junk bond, when they evaluate their current value vs. a guy like Hamels.

Juums
Guest
Juums
1 year 6 months ago

Re: the Red Sox glut of “downgraded” MLB-ready talent, this, a thousand times. As a Phillies fan, I think it’s problematic when my cohorts (or the front office, for that matter) get hung-up on acquiring “top prospects”. Because it can distort one’s priorities and cause one to miss opportunities.

What the Phils need is MLB-ready young talent that can eat innings through the upcoming rebuilding years and, hopefully, form the core of The Next Good Phillies Team. (And preferably positional talent, because the Phils have a glut of potential mid-rotation arms in the upper minors, even if half of them are coming back from some form of injury.) Jackie Bradley Jr. and Will Middlebrooks are both guys in that vein and at the nadir of their values, but also who offer tons of upside. Christian Vasquez is another guy who’d be on my shopping list as a potential attainable piece given how high the Red Sox and prospect world are on Swihart. (And of course there’s Xander Bogaerts, but he’s in all likelihood not available unless the Phils eat a fair amount of salary and he’s the whole return.)

Of course, the ideal trade would acquire all three of JBJ, Middlebrooks, and Vazquez, but that’s highly improbable unless the Phils kick in enough salary to make Hamels’ priced as a mid-rotation arm. (And an unspecified number of first-born children.) Vazquez and JBJ are a justifiable return to headline a Hamels trade, though some fiddling at the edges with fringy prospects would be needed to make it work, because the Phils will require at least three guys in return for Hamels. Vazquez and Middlebrooks headlining things is not enough to get it done in light of Middlebrooks’ sustained offensive woes (and lack of JBJ’s absurd defensive upside) means you’re going to be looking at an OrgTop10 high-upside guy in the low-minors like Margot or Devers. If Vazquez isn’t included at all, with JBJ and Middlebrooks and their combined MLB offensive woes headlining, you’re going to need at least a high-upside guy like Margot plus another piece of the same sort, the specifics of which would depend upon how much (if any) salary the Phils eat and just how high on the OrgTop10 guy the Phils (and Sox!) are.

It’s all idle hot stove speculation, of course, so it’s fairly silly. But less silly than the Phaithful dreaming of landing Mookie Betts, Blake Swihart, and Xander Bogaerts. Or the Sox fans sage-nodding at this article and concurring a package built around Garin Cecchini and Brian Johnson is a sensible return for Cole Hamels.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 6 months ago

Totally agree with you on getting younger guys who already played at the MLB level but either (a) have struggled or (b) might be replaceable by their team (like Vazquez with Swihart in the pipeline).

It’s guys like JBJ that are most likely to make that big step forward in their mid 20’s (somewhat like Carlos Gomez), and the Red Sox have given themselves a glut in the OF that would only help the Phils buy low.

(As a Red Sox fan though, if I had to choose my regular 3B between Middlebrooks and Cecchini, I’d take Cecchini even right now. Middlebrooks is basically Juan Francisco without the power upside.)

Matt
Member
Matt
1 year 6 months ago

“I’m bothered by the approach to prospect valuation because it treats prospects like sure things.”

Cameron actually addressed this specific question in his chat – I’ll paste his response:

“Saying a prospect is worth $30 million accounts for the fact that he’s going to bust a large percentage of the time. When he doesn’t, he’s worth far more than that.”

You may disagree with how much they adjust the valuation because of bust rate of prospects, but it is accounted for.

I think they base the number value on how much that prospect would hypothetically get as a FA on the market. Most top 50 prospects could probably get $30+ million in the open market – as evidenced by recent extensions and foreign import signings.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 6 months ago

The sources of the estimated values Jeff put on the prospects do have a mild discount for the bust rate of prospects, and are also based on a $5m cost per WAR, which is more appropriate for valuing prospects than the FA $/WAR cost. So there is some reflection of what Brad was questioning in Jeff’s numbers.

But I think in terms of the risk/reward profile of this kind of deal, it would be great to take a grid of possible outcomes like Jeff shows for Hamels and use it for any of the prospects involved. So, say for Owens, the chance of him putting up a stinker of a rookie season is too high for the win-now Red Sox, but is totally cool for the rebuilding Phillies. So if Owens were part of a trade for Hamels, the Sox get more certainty with Hamels while the Phils get Owens’ future upside.

That’s the win-win that drives these types of deals in the first place. It’s all about different risk/reward preferences.

Brad Johnson
Member
Member
1 year 6 months ago

I understand that a basic adjustment is included. But it’s linear in nature based on the average value of a cohort of players. I’d have to do a lot more research to say this for certain, but I sense intuitively that the adjustment should not be linear.

Going back to the bonds example, a cohort of junk bonds can sometimes outperform market averages. That doesn’t mean that individual junk bonds should be more highly valued. What I notice in most prospect analyses is that they take the average performance and then try to apply it to the individual. The lesson isn’t that B-quality prospects are underpriced by the market, it’s that bulking up on them can help a franchise turn around their farm system.

Maybe I’m missing some detail in these analyses.

One other consideration to keep in mind – free agent market values exist because the market is limited. If you put all players on the market one year, you wouldn’t find teams giving $20MM to a Margot or Devers. If you maintain the current market but make Margot a free agent, then yea, he probably does earn $20MM.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 6 months ago

I agree the estimate of prospect values is a little too rough and probably isn’t linear based upon rankings. Somebody did a series on the Community section that incorporated both prospect ratings and actual minor league stats to more closely model the % chance of a minor leaguer making the majors. I’d have to go look back at the articles, but the % chance of highly rated prospects not even making the majors is high enough to make a linear model a poor fit.

And a good point on the FA market values. The size of the FA market and the inflation it induces (just like a keeper fantasy league) explains why contenders should look at player values relative to the prevailing FA rate (say $7MM/WAR), but rebuilding teams should look at the average $/WAR for all MLB (probably closer to $5MM/WAR).

Jake is da Bomb
Guest
1 year 6 months ago

it’s hysterical the extent to which prospects are universally overrated here. the average prospect is worth like 50M to most people here. People went absolutely apoplectic at Kevin Towers for trading Matt Davidson for Addison Reed.

A team with deep pockets isn’t going to pinch pennies in the pursuit of quality talent. WHen it comes to arms, there is always the issue of length of commitment. A 5 yr commitment is far superior to a 7. For that, teams like the Sox will pay a prospect price.

Matt
Member
Matt
1 year 6 months ago

“People went absolutely apoplectic at Kevin Towers for trading Matt Davidson for Addison Reed.”

That had more to do with how little value Reed had than a high regard for Davidson as a prospect. Getting a 1-2 WAR RP for a mid-level prospect just doesn’t make much sense when you consider how replaceable high K relievers are. I think if the D-Backs would have gotten back even a #3-4 starter with 2-3 years of team control back, the trade would have been viewed differently.

“it’s hysterical the extent to which prospects are universally overrated here. the average prospect is worth like 50M to most people here.”

I’m not sure what your definition of ‘average’ is – but the free market would reward $50+ million to many top prospects (maybe the top 15-20?). Look at some of the extensions that top prospects are being offered before they even make it to the majors (Springer) – which also buys out 2-3 years of team control. I can see how people get the impression that this site and others ‘overrate’ prospects – but most teams would gladly take that risk, rather than drop $50+ million on an aging veteran if given the choice. Just look at the contracts that foreign imports are getting – many are similarly as ‘risky’ as prospects in terms of age and track record.

SABRphreak
Guest
SABRphreak
1 year 6 months ago

Yes, the FA market may award $50MM to the top 15 or 20 prospects overall, but that’s not what the Phillies are seeking for Hamels. A couple guys in the #75-125 prospect range plus a low level lotto ticket should be sufficient trade. Frankly, it shouldn’t be too much less than the Price haul. I assigned about $30MM in true surplus value to Hamels relative to current FA rates and estimate about $35-40MM for Price at the time of the trade (inclusive of the draft pick compensation). Players deemed “difference makers” or on the right spot of the win curve, often command a higher price as well. That’s why the prospects given up in these deals tend to appear to have higher surplus value. That surplus value is also FUTURE VALUE that needs to be discounted significantly to present value. Ranaudo/Devers/Margot, plus Marrero, plus Brian Johnson/Matt Barnes…seems like three prospects that would constitute a fair exchange. That way Owens, E-Rod, Cecchini, Swihart, Betts, Holt, Bradley Jr., Vazquez, De la Rosa, etc. are all kept off the table. But you have to give up something to get something.

ODB
Guest
ODB
1 year 6 months ago

You Red Sox fans forget a prospect is a prospect and 9 out of 10 never reach their “potential”. Hamels put a rotation with Joe “Donuts” Blanton and 36 year old Pedro Martinez on his back and won a WS. Mookie Betts couldn’t hit line drives with a cricket bat. Jeff Sullivan also fails to substantiate any reason why Hamels “isn’t quite up there with Scherzer or Lester” other than “they played better teams”. Of course the AL pitchers faced batters with a higher OPS — there are no f******** pitchers batting in the AL you d**s***

John
Guest
John
1 year 6 months ago

First of all very ignorant to state 9 times out of 10 with no justification espcieally when prospect risk varies. A guy with the profile of mookie betts is safe as, contrary to your unsubstantiated opinion, he make very good contact, supported by a strong 20.9% line drive rate. Obviously the sample size is small but scouting reports back up this belief and he has the speed along with this for an even higher babip to help his avg. he also has very good plate discipline. The fact that they played better teams even after park and league adjustments and put up similar numbers shows why hamels may not be up there with them.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 6 months ago

I don’t overhype prospects and as a Red Sox fan I wouldn’t mind dealing guys up to and including Owens and Swihart if it makes a real difference with the team contending now.

But jameswilson put it perfectly earlier in the column – Betts at age 21 was doing what Pedroia was at 24. Which means displaying a natural talent for squaring up the baseball and driving it hard. You don’t just find guys like this, with the skills to be a plus defender in the middle of the infield, growing on trees.

The Expos once had a 5th-round draft pick, a smallish 5’8″ second baseman, who hit tons of line drives, walked more than he struck out, and ran the bases well all through his minor league career. They moved him into the outfield, and Tim Raines became a HOF-caliber player.

Mookie Betts looks like Raines minus about half the stolen bases. When you have that for an upside, and a very good chance of being the next Pedroia (or say Roy White if he gets stuck as an OF), you don’t give that up without a fight. His quick adaptation to the big leagues, in my mind, also makes him a key cog for the 2015 Red Sox, if they keep him.

David
Member
Member
David
1 year 6 months ago

I’m sorry, but prospects and proven starters are just not fungible. Look at Javier Baez. AWESOME PROSPECT. Could TOTALLY SUCK. Cole Hamels is not going to TOTALLY SUCK unless his arm falls off. There is value in predictability.

RobM
Guest
RobM
1 year 5 months ago

David, correct, and that’s exactly why the Red Sox would want him and would pay (in prospects) to get him. The prospects listed, however, are not even close.

JLX17
Guest
JLX17
1 year 6 months ago

My main problem with this article is that it is trying to value players in a market place that does not exist instead of in one that actually does.

If we compare the crowds sourced deals here against the actual deals signed we’ll see that the fangraph community, at least so far, is underestimating the amount of years and money being received. Martin was estimated at 4/56 and got 5/82. Martinez was estimated at 3/45 and got 4/68. Cuddyer was estimated at 2/18 and got 2/21 and cost a first round pick. On average an extra year and 18.9 percent more AAV was given.

So if we take the three big pitchers on the free agent market and corrected the perception to more in line with actual contracts signed you would see:
Name Estimated vs. Adjusted(Years/Total Money)
Scherzer 7/168 vs. 8/226
Lester 6/152 vs. 7/181
Shields 5/90 vs. 6/127

I believe that if you were to compare Hamels to those three pitchers Scherzer would be perceived as a bit better and Shields as a bit worse. So let’s use Lester going forward as the main comparable.

Instead of comparing Hamels 5/110 contract to some calculated perceived value instead compare it to the Lester adjusted contract, which is what he would actually sign for on the open market. So the value you are really getting is 71 million dollars less and two less years of service. Now to correctly get the value difference you need to calculate the value of those two years.

What I prefer to do instead of projecting a steady decline is to instead check the similar players from baseball reference and see what those players were doing at the similar age.
Name WAR(36) WAR(37)
Tim Hudson 1.6 1.0
Jack McDowell 0.0 0.0
Andy Pettitte 2.2 3.3
Josh Beckett N/A N/A too young
Jake Peavy N/A N/A too young
Freddy Garcia 0.6 0.0
Justin Verlander N/A N/A too young
Kevin Millwood 0.7 0.6
Ramon Martinez 0.0 0.0
Carl Erskine 0.0 0.0

I’ll be kind and not count Erskine since he played so far in the past. The average of the remaining players is .85 in age 36 and .82 in age 37. If we take a 6.5 million per WAR number and increase it at 5% like the author did the dollar per WAR value would be 8.3 and 8.7 for a value of 14.19 million.

So Hamels surplus contract value isn’t between 10 and 20 millions it’s 71 – 14.19 or 56.81 million dollars. Even if you used the low ball fangraph crowd sourcing numbers he would be 42 – 7.055 or 34.945 million dollars. That’s the value you should be calculating you prospects off of because no top level free agent is signing for the value calculation used in this article.

RobM
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RobM
1 year 5 months ago

Your first sentence nails it.

Obviously the Phillies will have to take risk in trading for prospects for an established and top MLB pitcher, but the balance that Jeff came up with here is way, way off.

I don’t blame the Red Sox for not wanting to trade Xander or Mookie, but I also don’t expect the Phillies to move one of the top pitchers in the game for a mid-level prospect and lottery tickets. There would just be no reason for the Phillies to make that deal, especially considering with Hamels they actually do have time and talent on their side. This is not a case such as trying to move Rollins to get something, since his contract expires as the end of 2015.

Wade
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Wade
1 year 6 months ago

Full disclosure. Born in Philly. Live in Hadley, Massachusetts. Love the Phils. Love the Sox. Make 10-12 trips a year to both Fenway and Citizen’s Bank. You can argue all you want, but Hamels is one of the top 3 or 4 left-handers in the game. He has playoff and World Series experience. He’s hitting his prime. He’s also not a power pitcher (relying on one of the best change-ups in MLB) meaning he probaly has 3-4 great seasons remaining following by 2-3 good seasons. More imporantly, (and true fans know this) it takes a special type of player to play in Philly and Boston. Philly fans have a well-earned reputation. They will not hesitate to boo and chide visiting players, harass fans of visiting team, and even pelt a drunken Santa Claus with iceballs. For that matter, they can be as ruthless to home team players who screw up or don’t produce. All told, however, they are some of the greatest sports fans in the world and credited as some of the most loyal. Boston fans are slightly more cordial but they demand nothing less from their folks too and they’ll let players hear it when they aren’t cutting it. Players who can play in Boston can play in Philly and vice versa. Hamels is battled tested in a city where baseball is a passion. He’ll stand the test in the Boston. So, realistically, is there a trade that helps both teams? So, let’s look at Mookie Betts (yes, I know he’s supposedly untouchable)but he’s blocked in Center by Rusney Castillo that the Sox just coughed up $72M for and by Pedroia at second. So, where else might Betts fit? If the Sox don’t sign Pablo Sandoval, on of the Sox top Prospects (Garin Cecchini) is the heir-apparent at third. Cepedes (36 2B, 22 HR, 100 RBI) is in left. Top-prospect Bogaerts is manning short. Perhaps Betts might settle out in right but you have former-Phil and BoSox World Series Hero Victorino, followed by Nava and Allen Craig who can all play right. So, how about this: The Red Sox send Mookie Betts, 5’8 second baseman (Pedroia clone)Sean Coyle, top-pitching prospect Anthony Ranaudo, and right fielder Bryce Brentz – an aging (25 years)top 20 organizational prospect. Yes, I know it’s a huge price. But the Sox would not have to surrender ANY of three of their top prospects (Owens, Swihart, and Cecchini). The Phillies get an infusion of youth and 4 major-league-ready players, including: a starting center fielder (Betts), the heir-apparnet to an aging Utley (Coyle), a starter they can immediately plug into their rotation (Ranaudo)to take Hamels place, and a potential right fielder who may be necessary as their current right fielder, Marlon Byrd is drawing considerable trade interest. As for the Phillies: they would give up Hamels, and, to sweeten the pot for the Sox, they toss in $10M in cash for each of the next 4 years (2015-2018). So the Sox get a proven ace, tempered in the fires of Philly, with a record of playoff and world series success, just hitting his prime for essentially $12.5M a season (a bargain at today’s rates) who would be under team control (because of a 2019 option year) for 5 years. 5 years for $70M. The Red Sox’s reported offer to Jon Lester: 6 years, $110-$120 million. Scherzer turned down a six-year, $144 million overture from the Tigers last spring and Scherzer is represented by Scott Boras (you can hear the collective chorus of boos and four-letter words all the way from Philly with the mention of Boras’ name). to get Lester or Scherzer, the Sox will need to cough up $120 to $150M. Under the scenario I laid out Hamels is gotten at $70M (albeit for one less year). Yes, the Sox give up Betts and some top prospects but 3 out of 4 top prospects never pan out, Betts could be surrendered without leaving a huge hole in the major league club, and the Sox get a #1 starter with a proven track record in Hamels.

Bob
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Bob
1 year 6 months ago

You’ve got to be kidding. Betts is going no where. If worse comes to worse, and the Panda doesn’t come to be the 3rd baseman, then I think the RS consider Betts to 3B for a year. It depends upon Victorino’s recovery. If he recovers, then he could play RF and Betts could do 3B. He was adequate at 2B, and his arm is strong enough for CF or RF. He was moved from SS when he signed and made errant throws in rookie ball, but that was two years ago.

The RS sign Lester and maybe Shields, and let Owens and Rodriquez mature in AAA, keep Betts, who has the highest cieling of all their young players. Margot and Denvers mature in the lower minors. Next year, you see how Cecchini, Marrero, and Middlebrooks have fared, and you give up one 2nd round draft choice

Wade
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Wade
1 year 6 months ago

COuld the Sox place Betts in Center and Rusney Castillo in right and pay huge dollars for Lester or Scherzer? I think so. As I see it, Coyle (because of Pedroia) and Brentz are easily expendedable pieces in Boston. To get Hamels, the Sox would probably have to deal one of their better pitching prospects, and chances are the Phillies, who lack internal candidates capable of stepping into the starting rotation, will want a guy already within striking distance of the major leagues. Ranaudo fits that bill. Snagging Hamels and keeping top prospects Henry Owens and Eduardo Rodriguez, and having a glut of major-league ready arms (Escobar, Johnson, Barnes)in their system makes Ranaudo expendable. So the real question is Betts. Perhaps Coyle, Brentz, and Ranaudo would be enough to land Hamels if the Phils didn’t chip in salary… not sure. Maybe the Sox add a Middlebrooks or Larvanway (or Bradely, Jr) who might all benefit from a change of scenary. What I do see is a way for both organizations to benefit if it can be worked out.

RobM
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RobM
1 year 5 months ago

I’m neither Phillie or Red Sox fan, so hopefully removes any emotion from the evaluation. That said, this package would not get the deal done. I’ve brought up prior that Cole Hamels’ quality of opposition is lower than someone like Lester, but that is separate from how he’s rated as a pitcher. He is regarded as one of the top left-handed pitchers in the game. His stuff is his stuff, and he has the success record to back it up. That is why the Red Sox would want him. Front-end starters are not available all that easily in trades and a team has to pay to get one.

If you’re starting with a team’s fourth-ranked prospect as the key to the deal, then you’re starting off in the hole. This is a dog’s breakfast of prospects to lottery tickets, with none of them especially compelling for a pitcher who is regarded as a front-line starter and with a contract that is not over priced. We saw over the summer that Jeff Samardzija was the key pitcher returned for Addison Russell, who is not a 4th best prospect for a team, but he is one of the few best prospects in the game at a key position. So to declare that Xander Bogaerts is off limits, as is Mookie Betts. Heck, even Christian Vazquez because he’s “broken in”, and that another top prospect Blake Swihart isn’t moving, well, you’re basically saying there is no room for deal.

The advantage the Phillies have here is the Hamels has four years remaining. There is not immediate time pressure to make a deal. Amaro can wait until next June, or next offseason to find the right prospects, be it a major single prospect in the Russell category, or several lesser, but higher end prospects listed here.

I understand attempting to assign dollar values to any prospect, but the difference is Hamels is already a MLB player delivering four and five WAR seasons. The players noted may deliver zero WAR, especially the toolsy ones. That’s a danger with any prospect, but some are better bets than others. Most of these listed are not particularly good bets for a pitcher of Hamels’ level.

I do agree that the Phillies should offset part of the contract value to get better prospects, but even without doing that, this proposal is way off the mark.

Pedro
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Pedro
1 year 5 months ago

Hi Dave/Jeff- I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about Hamels trade value lately, particularly in the context of a potential Sox-Phillies trade. The estimates you guys have been giving for his trade value have been significantly lower than anything I’ve seen from anyone else. It’s seems to me like the truth lies somewhere in the middle. I was really hoping Dave would address this issue in his trade value update. Since he didn’t, I thought I’d take some time to chime in. I realize that this comment is WAY too long and you’ll probably never respond to any of it; but I wanted to put it out there just in case.

One the one hand, you’re obviously right that giving up elite talent AND taking on major money would be insane. I completely agree with Dave’s statement from the 11/26 chat: The only way Sox should even consider swapping Betts for Hamels straight-up is if the Phillies covered the full $110 million. And, personally, I wouldn’t do it even then. Betts has every chance to be just as good of a player as Hamels over the next 5 years and elite, up-the-middle position players are much more scarce/expensive than elite SPs. From my perspective, this same principle holds true for Bogaerts and possibly Swihart as well.

The idea of giving up major talent for Hamels seems even more ridiculous when you consider the current market. If the Sox are willing to take on $25 million in AAV for an elite SP, then they should either pony up for Lester (or Scherzer) or wait until next year’s ridiculous FA pitching class (Price, Zimmerman, Cueto, Greinke, etc.).

Having said that, I do understand the counter-arguments: The best of those 2015 FAs are going to get at least 6-7 year deals at an AAV in the same range as Hamels. And, depending on whom Hamels is traded to, he’ll only require a 4 or 5 year commitment. There’s a ton of value in having 2-3 fewer years on the back-end of contract that lasts into a pitcher’s mid-to-late 30s. Furthermore, when you compare Hamels to the other trade options out there he looks even better: who the hell would want to give up the 2-3 top-10 prospects that it would take to pry Price or Zimmerman, only watch them spurn your 7-year $160 million extension offers and test the open market? I’d rather offer give up 1-2 extra prospects for 5y/$110 of Hamels than take that kind of a gamble.

Relating all of this back to the Sox’ context: The bottom line is that they really want to be WS contenders in 2015 and need at least 2 frontline starters in order to make that a realistic possibility. Ideally, they’ll get one of Lester or Scherzer (please not Shields!), who will only cost them money and a possibly 3rd-round pick. But even if they do get one of those guys, they should and will be extremely active in the trade market. And among pitchers who are known to be available, Hamels is probably the best combination of skill level and years under contract. So, how much should they be willing to give up for him?

In my opinion, the Sox absolutely should not give up any of their potentially elite, up-the-middle young guys (Betts, Bogaerts, Swihart, Vazquez). These guys just mean too much to the Sox; both in 2015 and in the future. I also think they should extremely hesitant to give up any of their high-ceiling guys in the low minors (Margot, Devers, Chavis, Ball, etc.). Same goes for the high-minors SP prospects that have top-of-the-rotation potential (Owens, Rodriguez). The Red Sox have the personnel to make virtually any trade they want without including any of these players. Consider this: By my count, they have at least 13 prospects and big-league growth assets that share the following characteristics:
1) They are either big league ready now or project to be within the next year
2) They project to be at least league average at their respective positions
3) Assuming the Sox add 2-3 SPs this offseason, they will be completely blocked on the current roster to the point that they would likely be forced to start the year in the minors.

Here are the guys I’m talking about: De la Rosa, Johnson, Webster, Barnes, Workman, Ranaudo, Escobar, Middlebrooks, Holt, Bradley Jr., Marrero, Cecchini, Coyle.

The Sox’ offer for Hamels should start with 5-6 of these players. I’d even be willing to go up to 7-8 of them if the Phillies cover 15-20% of Hamels’ contract. If they want to bring any one of Owens/Rodriguez/Margot/Devers into the conversation, they’ll need to cover to at least 40% and they’ll only get 4 -5 of the other guys.

From the Sox perspective this kind of a deal makes sense because 1) they really don’t need any of the players next year or beyond (although they should definitely keep some of them for depth purposes), 2) stashing them all in triple-A is a high-risk, low-reward proposition: they have the greater potential to diminish their trade value (via injury or underperformance) than they do to enhance it.

And I know I’m just a biased Sox fan, but if I were a team looking to rebuild, this is exactly the kind of deal I would want to make. These guys may not have high ceilings but there is some upside there. And the fact they are all in triple-A or higher means that 1) there is lower risk that they will totally bust and 2) whoever trades for them will likely know within the next 2 years or so which of them fit into the long term plan and which do not. Not to mention the fact that their cumulative annual cost should be about 20 million less that Cole Hamels’ for at least the next 3-4 years.

So basically, I’m proposing the Sox trade from depth and offer quantity over quality. Do you guys think it’s an overpay? I know the RAJ probably doesn’t think it’s nearly enough. Seems like a happy medium to me.

Charlie Holleman
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Charlie Holleman
1 year 4 months ago

Prepare to bash away. Wanted to put my “trade proposal” out there and see what everyone thinks. Like Pedro above I think it makes sense from both sides for this deal to involve quantity instead of the elite level guys the Red Sox are never giving up nor should they. I do think from the Phillies side they need a headliner, to appease fans if nothing else. So my proposal would look like this: Red Sox get Hamels and Giles Phillies get: One of Owens/Rodriguez/Margot(Headliner) and 4 of the following Bradley,Marrero,Coyle,Brentz,Johnson,Britton,Cecchini,Escobar and Barnes. Craig or Victorino could be worked into the deal going back to offset $ if necissary. Makes sense in my head at least. Thoughts??

Charlie Holleman
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Charlie Holleman
1 year 4 months ago

Full Discloser I am a Red Sox fan.

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