Making the Case for a Strasburg/Betts Trade

The Boston Red Sox have too many outfielders. This isn’t news; it’s been clear for a while now that their outfield is overcrowded, and while shipping Yoenis Cespedes to Detroit for Rick Porcello alleviated the problem to a degree, they still don’t have enough at-bats to go around for the guys they’re going to bring to spring training. It’s a nice problem to have, of course, but it’s still an issue that the team will have to work towards solving.

The Washington Nationals have too many starting pitchers. Well, kind of; you can never really have too many starting pitchers, since the attrition rate of guys who throw a baseball for a living is so high, but Max Scherzer‘s signing does push Tanner Roark out of the initial starting five. Having a solid group of useful starters behind your starting five is important, but having Roark as your sixth starter is something of an embarrassment of riches.

The Red Sox could use a frontline starting pitcher, as Rick Porcello isn’t exactly a classic #1 starter on a team that is hoping to make a deep playoff run. The Nationals could use a long-term solution at second base, and if that guy could also provide outfield depth for 2015, that would be even better. There might not be another situation in baseball where two teams theoretically match up for a deal better than the Red Sox and Nationals. So, Misters Cherington and Rizzo, let’s make the case for a Stephen Strasburg/Mookie Betts trade.

Why Boston Should Do It

The Red Sox currently project as baseball’s fourth best team, according to our calculations, and enter 2015 as the slight favorites to win the AL East. Despite their miserable 2014 performance, this is a good roster, and one that is built to contend this season. Boston didn’t spend $190 million on Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval to move towards the middle of the pack; this team was constructed to get back to the postseason this year.

And yet, this rotation feels incomplete. I like a lot of the pieces they have, and I think both Porcello and Wade Miley were shrewd acquisitions, the kinds of solid rotation pieces that every good team needs. But these are the guys you want starting once in a playoff series, and they’re currently the team’s two best starters, with a couple of lottery tickets and a lower-upside fifth starter behind them. The Red Sox starting five feels like a fantastic middle-to-back-end of the rotation, and if Porcello-Miley-Masterson-Buchholz-Kelly were their #2-#6 starters, we’d be talking about this as a position of strength.

You don’t need an ace to win the World Series, but as Madison Bumgarner just displayed a few months ago, it sure helps. October baseball is different, and the more frequent off days allow teams to allocate a higher proportion of their innings to their best few pitchers. Having a dominant starter make two starts and a relief appearance in a seven game series gives you a distinct advantage, but the Red Sox currently lack the kind of arm that can be deployed in that way.

Stephen Strasburg could be that pitcher. Over the last three years, he’s #3 in baseball in xFIP-, behind only Clayton Kershaw and Felix Hernandez. He’s an ace with upside, and at just 26, he wouldn’t have to be a short-term rental. While he’s only under control for two more seasons, the Red Sox have the financial flexibility to sign him to a long-term deal, and getting him acclimated to Boston ahead of time may give them an advantage in the negotiations. Unlike most pitching acquisitions, Strasburg doesn’t have to be a short-term patch. This is a guy that can provide value both now and in the future.

I know they love Mookie Betts, and so do I, but as much as they value Betts’ overall skillset, the fact remains that he’s a worse fit in Boston than he is on just about any other team in baseball. Betts was considered a plus defensive second baseman in the minors, but the Red Sox have second base blocked off, forcing him to the outfield. But even center field isn’t clearly available, with Rusney Castillo and Jackie Bradley Jr still around, and so if the Red Sox keep Betts for the long-term, he may end up playing primarily right field.

Defense is important everywhere, and as Shane Victorino has shown, this skillset can still result in an impact right fielder, but there are fewer opportunities to utilize a defensive asset in right field than there are at second base or in center field. Betts doesn’t lose all of his value in right field, but he would lose some of it, especially because Victorino is still around for another year.

Right now, we have Betts projected for 385 plate appearances between second base, center field, and right field, and being a legitimate contributor to the roster as a super utility guy: his +2.4 WAR projection for 2015 would make him the game’s best 10th man. But if you reallocate those 385 plate appearances to the rest of the guys on the roster, you don’t actually lose all that much short-term value.

If you split Betts’ 210 center field plate appearances evenly between Castillo and Bradley, their projected total WAR from the position would go from +3.8 to +3.3, a half win drop. They’d lose another quarter of of a win by shifting the non-Pedroia second base at-bats to Brock Holt and a quarter of a win by sliding Daniel Nava and Allen Craig into the right field at-bats that don’t go to Victorino. So, all told, losing Betts costs them roughly one win over his actual internal replacements in 2015.

Meanwhile, Strasburg is probably a three win upgrade over Joe Kelly, especially because Kelly allows the team to use Brandon Workman as a reliever, where he has shown legitimate potential. Because every team needs more than five starters, Kelly doesn’t actually lose that much value, and many of Strasburg’s additional innings would come from guys who should probably spend a good chunk of the year in the minors.

In 2015, swapping Betts for Strasburg is probably something close to a two win upgrade for the Red Sox. It doesn’t sound like a huge difference, but the Red Sox are at the point where wins are highly valuable, and Strasburg is the kind of asset that could be leveraged to an even larger degree in October. While the upgrade is probably smaller in 2016 — with Victorino set to be a free agent, Betts would be able to play most everyday — the Sox still have Allen Craig under contract and Bradley in the organization, so they wouldn’t be dropping down to zero value replacements.

And while they would be surrendering four years of Betts’ prime during years in which Strasburg could theoretically be pitching for someone else, some of that is offset by the ability to exclusively negotiate a long-term extension or get a draft pick as compensation if he leaves. There’s no question that you’d rather have four more years of Betts’ production than either of those options, but the lost value is deferred several years into the future, and the Red Sox should be willing to trade future wins for upgrades in the next two years. Strasburg would represent the kind of upgrade that would make giving up Betts’ future worthwhile.

Why Washington Should Do It

This is maybe the harder sell, because I just argued for the present value of wins taking precedence over longer-term upgrades for contenders. And clearly, the Nationals are also in win-now mode, especially after adding Scherzer to the mix. And with Doug Fister and Jordan Zimmermann set to become free agents at years end, trading Strasburg could mean that the team could enter 2016 with only Scherzer, Gio Gonzalez, and Tanner Roark as stable rotation options. In a year, the Nationals could easily have a significant hole in their rotation if they traded Strasburg away.

But unlike with Boston, Betts fits their organizational weaknesses perfectly, and Strasburg represents more of a luxury than a need. With Jayson Werth likely to begin the season on the disabled list, there’s an everyday job waiting for Betts in Washington, and for the first few months of the season, he’d essentially be replacing some combination of Nate McLouth, Mike Carp and Tyler Moore, both of whom have some value as first baseman but little as outfielders. Even when Werth returns, Betts would have few problems playing everyday for the Nationals, as the Nationals outfield depth was diminished with the Steven Souza trade, and Yunel Escobar is not so valuable that he couldn’t be easily moved to a part-time role to free up time at Betts’ primary position.

In Washington, Betts probably projects as a two or three win upgrade over their internal positional options, especially if Werth’s shoulder proves to be a lingering issue. So while Strasburg is indeed an excellent starter, it’s not completely clear that the Nationals would actually be dramatically worse off in 2015 by making this trade. Strasburg is probably two to three wins better than Roark, and you’d have to also account for some of Roark’s current innings going to lesser options, but even on the high side, you’re looking at a three win drop-off in the rotation, and if you buy into Roark as a guy who can induce weaker-than-average contact, the gap is probably closer to two wins.

The 2015 Nationals wouldn’t be demonstrably worse with Betts than Strasburg, even though Strasburg projects to be the better player. Their high replacement level at starting pitcher and their very low replacement level behind their penciled-in starters in the OF and at 2B mean that the gap between the two players would be reduced in Washington, not emphasized as it would be in Boston. And Scherzer’s acquisition reduces Strasburg’s value in October as well, as there are only so many October innings to be allocated to starting pitchers. Using Scherzer as the Game #1/#5 starter sets him up to pitch in relief in Game 7, but likely excludes Strasburg from that potential third appearance; the first ace provides a lot more marginal value in the postseason than the second one.

So if the Nationals wouldn’t take a significant step back with Betts in lieu of Strasburg in 2015, the rest of the calculation is actually pretty easy. Next year, Betts moves into a full-time second base role, where he projects as roughly a three win everyday player making the league minimum, and the savings in 2016 salary could be applied directly an extension for Jordan Zimmermann. The assumption has been that Zimermann is not going to be re-signed because the team had to keep it’s future salary available to try to re-sign both Strasburg and Bryce Harper, but with Strasburg out of the picture, a long-term deal for Zimmermann becomes more palatable.

And even if Zimmermann isn’t re-signed, the difference in salary alone gives the team roughly $12 million of budget room that Strasburg would have eaten up, giving the Nationals a chance to offset the difference in expected value between the two by upgrading other parts of the roster. Even if you’re low on Betts, and see him as something more like an average big leaguer going forward, an average player plus $12 million in spending money isn’t a huge step back from a $12.5 million Strasburg.

And then there’s the 2017-2020 value, where the Nationals would have four prime years of an athletic second baseman, one at pre-arb and three at arbitration salaries. With ownership already pushing the costs of the present team into the future, stockpiling valuable assets who will make pennies on the dollar is the best way for the Nationals to build a sustained winner, and Betts is exactly the kind of player that the team will need in order to be able to try and keep Bryce Harper in D.C.

And while Betts’ carries the risks of a young player with just 200 big league plate appearances, the risk surrounding Strasburg may be just as high, especially with Tommy John surgery already on his resume. There’s no question that Betts could struggle to adjust to the big leagues, just as there’s no question that Strasburg’s elbow could go out again on any given pitch. The Nationals would be exchanging health risk for performance risk, but it’s not entirely clear that they’d actually be increasing the expected variance of their roster by making the move.

The TL;DR Summary

Swapping Betts for Strasburg would likely make the Red Sox two to three wins better in 2015, and probably a win or two better in 2016. The marginal value of these upgrades, along with the opportunity to try and sign Strasburg long-term before he hits free agency justify giving up the extra four years of control over Betts’ future, especially for a team in their market.

Swapping Strasburg for Betts might not make the Nationals much worse at all in 2015, while freeing up additional payroll space for 2016 to potentially retain Jordan Zimmermann. Strasburg’s postseason value is diminished by Scherzer’s addition, so he’s more of a luxury than a necessity for the team at this point. The Nationals will not be able to retain all of their young talent without supplementing the roster with productive low-cost players, and Betts is exactly the kind of player they should be targeting in a trade.

In talking with people in the game, neither side seems comfortable with the deal, which suggests that perhaps it’s a reasonably fair proposal, or at least in the ballpark of being reasonable on both sides. I know I’m higher on Betts than most, and if you place a very high value on frontline pitching, perhaps you think the Red Sox should add a sweetener to the deal. This isn’t so much about trying to say that Betts are Strasburg are equivalent in value as it is to say that the Red Sox and Nationals are currently setup to help each other about as well as two organizations have been in some time.

It’s almost certainly not going to happen, but as far as speculative trade suggestions go, this one seems to make as much sense on both sides as any I can remember.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Josh
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Josh
1 year 4 months ago

Dave Cameron’s previous Strasburg trade proposal:
http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/ackley-or-strasburg/

Yeah, gonna stop taking these seriously

arc
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arc
1 year 4 months ago

Did you actually read that article? It doesn’t seem like you did.

Nate
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Nate
1 year 4 months ago

Ignorance of the first comment aside, having just read the article, it is interesting to observe how close the voting poll was/is. I just voted Strasburg.

Neil
Member
Neil
1 year 4 months ago

Why are you bothering to vote on a 3 1/2 year old poll?

Scruge
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Scruge
1 year 4 months ago

Why are you bothering to reply to a comment about voting on a 3 1/2 year old poll?

Death To Flying Things
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Death To Flying Things
1 year 4 months ago

Why are you bothering to comment about replying to a comment on voting on a 3 1/2 year old poll? Shoot. I just bothered to reply to a comment and replying to a comment on voting on a 3 1/2 year old poll. Oh no, I just…

RSF
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RSF
1 year 4 months ago

I have a good response to you, Death To Flying Things. I will post it in 3 1/2 years. Be sure to check back here mid-2018.

Dovif
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Dovif
1 year 4 months ago

But u responded already

Seattle Homer
Member
Seattle Homer
1 year 4 months ago

While I agree with arc that using an article from two and a half years ago to dismiss this one out of hand is silly, it IS kind of fun to see some of the comments that got thumbed up or down from 2.5 years ago:

A -5 rating for this comment, which has turned to be absolutely true:
“I’m a bit surprised that it is now a given that Ackley sticks at 2B. I’ve only seen a few games… at times it looks like he might be an average 2B, at others he looks poor. If he does have to go to LF, his value starts shrinking.”

And the poll results for “Ackley or Strasburg?” actually came out at 45% Ackley 55% Strasburg after about 3600 votes!

Seattle Homer
Member
Seattle Homer
1 year 4 months ago

Shoot. I’ve got to start refreshing the comments before posting (if it takes me more than a minute or two to compose…)

Nate
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Nate
1 year 4 months ago

But did you vote on the poll? I couldn’t help myself.

Hutch
Member
Hutch
1 year 4 months ago

Dustin Ackley was a Gold Glove Finalist at 2B in 2012. Yeah, that’s an arbitrary award, but his move to LF has less to do with his talent and more to do with the M’s bad roster management skills than anything.

Eminor3rd
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Eminor3rd
1 year 4 months ago

Lol, nice post. Was that even the right link, or are you joking?

Yirmiyahu
Member
1 year 4 months ago

If you’re going to call Dave out for something he previously wrote on this subject, it’s this:

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/fg-on-fox-dont-trade-mookie-betts

In that article, 4 months ago, Dave argued against trading Mookie Betts for starting pitching. Dave even mentioned the possibility of trading him for Strasburg. So what the heck has changed for Boston?

dragnalus
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dragnalus
1 year 4 months ago

Going into the offseason it seemed like the Red Sox were going to make a bid on one of the top SP free agents. The markets thinned out now, and it seems unlikely they’ll sign Shields so a trade is the best way to upgrade.

JKB
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JKB
1 year 4 months ago

Depends on how Boston feels about the Coco Crisp brawl today. Shields ain’t going to Oakland, that’s for sure.

Stuck in a slump
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Stuck in a slump
1 year 4 months ago

Weren’t the Red Sox one of the favorites to land Lester? So is it so unreasonable that when a team is a favorite to land one of the top SP’s, that trading a high upside IF for a stud SP doesn’t make much sense? Now that only Shields is left, it makes much more sense for them to try to get an elite SP for what amounts to a bit player for them for the next couple of years.

Yirmiyahu
Member
1 year 4 months ago

Sure, the starting pitching market has thinned, but there are also a couple of factors that make such a trade less logical now than at the beginning of the offseason.

The Red Sox have filled out their rotation with Porcello, Masterson, and Miley. Obviously, they still don’t have an ace, but they have a full rotation of competent guys, so adding Strasburg at this point makes for less of an improvement than it would have a few months ago. In addition, they’ve cleared some of their logjam at 3B/OF by trading Cespedes and Middlebrooks. So there’s now more room on the roster for Betts less than there was a few months ago.

DatDudeJD
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DatDudeJD
1 year 4 months ago

To think that the Nats would trade Stras for just Betts, and not a package centered around Betts and a couple more B grade or better prospects, is laughable. It just wouldn’t happen. No team would trade two years of a pitcher of Strasburg’s caliber for just one prospect with only 200 big league plate appearances, unless said prospect was of the Mike Trout (how he was viewed as a prospect, not how he’s currently viewed)/Bryce Harper variety.

arc
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arc
1 year 4 months ago

Who needs analysis when you’ve got strongly-worded conclusory statements.

KDL
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KDL
1 year 4 months ago

The article, which you keep chastising people for not reading, even admits this is a bit of a stretch for the Nats to want to do it. The title itself implies: “I know this sounds crazy, but…”
Why are you giving people a hard time for taking a slightly stronger stance than the article itself?

arc
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arc
1 year 4 months ago

I “keep chastising people” for not reading the article? Really?

I asked the first commenter if he had read the article he linked to, not this one. I haven’t “chastised” anyone else for anything, or directed anyone to read this article.

Why are you giving people a hard time for taking a slightly stronger stance than the article itself?

Why do you keep making things up? I haven’t objected to anyone’s position or the strength of it.

I teased him for stacking up a set of conclusions without any premises and acting like that could be persuasive to anyone that didn’t already agree with him.

DatDudeJD
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DatDudeJD
1 year 4 months ago

Ok, name me one trade where an elite/star player with two years of team control left was traded for ONE prospect, and not a package centered around a great prospect and some other good to great pieces?

Savin Hillbilly
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Savin Hillbilly
1 year 4 months ago

Betts is a bit more than a prospect, though. He has about a third of a season under his belt during which he produced about two wins’ worth of value according to both FG’s and BBref’s formulas. Granted that’s a small sample, but if you look at the peripherals, there’s nothing that jumps out as suspect or fluky (BABIP, contact and plate discipline rates are all in context with his minor league performance.) This kid is a legit candidate to provide 125 or better wRC+ kind of offense for the next decade, and he’s a good defensive second baseman. That’s a 5-win player if he hits his potential. How many times has Stephen Strasburg been a 5-win player? So what you’re trading is some certainty (though that’s an odd word to use about Strasburg) for a slightly higher ceiling and several more years of control. I’m a Sox fan, so I’m not objective, but I think if anybody should be adding pieces to this hypothetical deal, it’s the Nats.

StroShow
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StroShow
1 year 4 months ago

Basically Jeff Samardzija for Addison Reed?

Kevin
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Kevin
1 year 4 months ago

I’m not sure that you’re looking at that right. Maybe the reason players like Betts are so rarely traded is that teams are so rarely willing to pay the price to get the prospect, which is big league talent. Anthony Rizzo was a lesser prospect when he was traded to San Diego. Addison Russel was packaged with two other guys, but the three of them yielded Samardjia AND Hammel.

I think the Russel trade can be thought of as two simultaneous trades – McKinney and Straily for Hammel, and Russel for Samardjia. And that second deal was, basically, exactly what we have here: an elite prospect for a top-notch pitcher, although it was only for 1.5 years of Samardjia, whereas this is for 2 years of Stras.

Cool Lester Smooth
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Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 4 months ago

You also have to factor in that Samardzija isn’t all that close to Strasburg’s stratosphere as a pitcher or a talent.

The White Sox didn’t fleece the A’s for him. They paid a fair value. The only person who has ever though Samardzija was worth Addison Russell is Billy Beane.

Ben Markham
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Ben Markham
1 year 4 months ago

Betts is right in the sweet spot of value though. He may be a prospect, but he has already contributed 2 WAR at the major league level in just 213 PA. The biggest issue with prospects is bust rate, and he already shown that he could at least initially handle the league. The league may adjust, but he’s already had success at the major league level, with a 130 wRC+ at a sustainable BABIP. In other words, he has a MUCH lower bust rate than say, Addison Russell did when he was traded, who had just 50 PA above high A at the time.

So what the Red Sox would be parting with is 6 cost controlled years of a 22 year old who has already shown to be able to handle the major leagues. That is one incredibly valuable asset.

6 years of a 2.5 WAR player on the free agent market this year, starting at $7 million/WAR with 5% inflation, comes to $142 million. Change it to a 3 WAR player and it’s $171 million. We’ll take the midpoint, $156M, and we’ll say he makes $36 million in arb and his minimum wage years. That is a high estimate, and it still gives them a surplus of $120 million, and that’s at a position that projects to be a replacement level hole for the Nat’ls starting next year.

The Red Sox would be dealing from depth to address an area of need, so it makes sense for them. But really, from a value perspective, they’re giving up the biggest asset. If anything I think the Nats should add something on.

Brian
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Brian
1 year 4 months ago

Savin, as a fellow Sox fan, you are high off your ass for suggesting the Red Sox would require something more than Strasburg to trade for solely Mookie.

Sandy Kazmir
Member
Sandy Kazmir
1 year 4 months ago

Ben, I think you’re over-estimating that surplus value. I’ll be much more aggressive with my WAR projections just as an illustration and then show my calculations for your figures:

I use 40/60/80 for arb based off of the prior year’s “Value”. Anything with a “d” in front should be grouped together to show what it would look like if we discount the value of future wins. If he’s a 2.5 or 3.0 WAR player each of the next six years then you’re looking at something like $66 – 80M in surplus value. This takes into account discounted future wins, but also discounted future dollars.

As the Point of Pittsburgh guys calculated: http://www.thepointofpittsburgh.com/how-much-an-mlb-prospect-is-worth-updated-trade-surplus-values/

that’s something like a top-10 prospect PLUS either another top-11 to 25 guy or another 26-50 guy depending on if you think he’s a 2.5 WAR guy or a 3.0 WAR guy. That’s a ton of trade value. Of course you’re getting Strasburg back who has something like 7.5 WAR over the next two years at Shieldsian prices of around $20M over that time frame. I get that at around $33M. Heck, if Betts is a 1.5 WAR player each of the next six years he still has something like $39M in trade value so outside of him completely collapsing it looks like the Nats are a bit light.

At the end of the day I think you’re very right that the Nats would be getting a steal if they could get Betts straight up for Strasburg, but I think you should take discounted wins into account. You currently seem a little high in your estimates due to this.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 4 months ago

Oh, I’m sure the Nats 89 year old owner will be okay with it if you just explain that it’ll make the Nats much better when he’s 91, 92, 93 and 94, even though it’ll make them worse when he’s 89 and 90!

Surplus value! That’s a great way to sell making the team worse to a guy who just paid Max Scherzer $210m even though he already had the best rotation in baseball.

skmd
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skmd
1 year 4 months ago

@ Cool Lester Smooth – I think you have that Samardzija/Russell trade a little mixed up. It was the Cubs that traded Samardzija to the A’s for Russell last year, this year it was the White Sox that GOT Samardzija from the A’s.

Sandy Kazmir
Member
Sandy Kazmir
1 year 4 months ago

Lester, it’s rare that I agree with Cameron, but he eloquently laid out above why it’s pretty much a neutral move today with plenty of benefit on the back end.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 4 months ago

No, I don’t have them mixed up. I’m saying that Semien is a fair return for a pitcher of Samardzija’s caliber than Russell.

Beane got fleeced by the Cubs, which is why A’s fans flipped out about the White Sox paying fair value for him.

Nick
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Nick
1 year 4 months ago

Why don’t you tell us what you think would be a fair deal so we can laugh at you.

Cool Lester Smooth
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Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 4 months ago

I think the A’s got a fair deal for the single year of a #3 starter that they traded.

JKB
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JKB
1 year 4 months ago

David Price, but it wasn’t two full years…

kevinthecomic
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kevinthecomic
1 year 4 months ago

I think he needs more punctuation to make his case. For example, this would help:

It just WOULDN’T happen!!!!!

See, now I think we can safely ignore the analysis.

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

Everyone has missed the solution here.

Send Dustin Pedroia to Washington for Jordan Zimmerman.

Betts takes over 2B where he belongs and Washington fills an actual need.
_

It’s also remarkable that this publication thinks Cole Hamels is only worth a reliever in return, but a pitcher like Strasburg who isn’t good enough to be put in charge of washing Hamels jock strap is worth Mookie Betts.

tz
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tz
1 year 4 months ago

The first half of your comment is actually a really good idea, though the Sox would worry about losing Pedroia’s intangibles/leadership etc. (not being snarky here).

Now about the gap between Hamels and Strasburg…. not so much.

nerf
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nerf
1 year 4 months ago

This has potential, but I don’t think you’ve thought this through.

Boston sends: Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts, Xander Boegarts, Rusney Castillo
Boston gets: Jonathan Papelbon, Jayson Werth, Dominic Brown

Philly sends: Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee, Chase Utley, Dominic Brown
Philly gets: Mookie Betts, Xander Boegarts, Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper

DC sends: Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, Jayson Werth
DC gets: Rusney Castillo, Cliff Lee

Everyone washes RAJ’s jock strap, because they’re all adults.

Pennsy
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Pennsy
1 year 4 months ago

“Philly sends: Jonathan Papelbon, Cliff Lee, Chase Utley, Dominic Brown
Philly gets: Mookie Betts, Xander Boegarts, Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper”

So, we’ve discovered RAJ’s fangraphs account

John
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John
1 year 4 months ago

Who gets chase utley? Or after this trade was pulled off did he simply vanish? Did his plane crash on route to his intended destination? I’m a little concerned for his well being

Abe Parvez
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Abe Parvez
1 year 4 months ago

You must be a Philly fan , you made me laugh .

Abe Parvez
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Abe Parvez
1 year 4 months ago

You must be Philly fan , you made me laugh .

my jays are red
Guest
my jays are red
1 year 4 months ago

Dustin Pedroia has a full no-trade clause, and if he were to be traded, that would cause significant marketing problems in Boston.

Hamels is worth 4/96 over his age 30-33 seasons while Strasburg will command around 2/20 over his age 26-27 seasons, so there’s an obviously significant difference in value between the two.

Costanza
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Costanza
1 year 4 months ago

I hear it repeated that players leaving town (through trade or non-signing) will cause marketing or ticket sales problems.

I’m going to challenge the internet to disprove my null hypothesis: a player’s value to his team is limited entirely to his on-field contributions.

I’d love to know, one way or another.

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

“Hamels is worth 4/96 over his age 30-33 seasons while Strasburg will command around 2/20 over his age 26-27 seasons, so there’s an obviously significant difference in value between the two.”

David Buchanan will be lucky to get the MLB minimum for the next two years so he must be worth more than Stephen Strasburg.

This is supposed to be the brainy discussion board for MLB on the Web?

You show me a GM on a team actually looking to win in 2015 who would want Strasburg over Hamels.

No such GM exists.

Unapologetic Observer
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Unapologetic Observer
1 year 4 months ago

‘You show me a GM on a team actually looking to win in 2015 who would want Strasburg over Hamels.No such GM exists.’

This is a pretty definitive statement to which you can provide zero proof.

Let’s look at last year:

Strasburg had way more strikeouts. He had more IP. He had less walks even though he had more IP. He had a better WHIP. He had a better FIP. He had more WAR.

Hamels had a better ERA, a better BAA and a better SLG% against.

I’m not sure where Hamels so clearly is better to the point that not one GM would take Strasburg over Hamels. The areas Strasburg beats him in are better indicators of performance. Add that to the fact that Strasburg is 5 years younger and a lot cheaper, and I’m not sure your definitive statement holds up, though since I haven’t polled all 30 GM, I can’t be sure.

ThePuck
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ThePuck
1 year 4 months ago

‘It’s also remarkable that this publication thinks Cole Hamels is only worth a reliever in return, but a pitcher like Strasburg who isn’t good enough to be put in charge of washing Hamels jock strap is worth Mookie Betts.’

Strasburg has two years of control left, Hamels has more but is also set to make between 100-118M, depending on whether or not the team exercises the 2019 options. Did you forget to factor that in? Did you forget Strasburg is like 5 years younger? Strasburg has more value, quite a bit more, and he’s still in his prime.

So yeah, Strasburg has more much more on the trade market.

ThePuck
Guest
ThePuck
1 year 4 months ago

‘So yeah, Strasburg has more much more on the trade market.

*So yeah, Strasburg has much more VALUE on the trade market.

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

“Strasburg has two years of control left, Hamels has more but is also set to make between 100-118M, depending on whether or not the team exercises the 2019 options. Did you forget to factor that in? Did you forget Strasburg is like 5 years younger? Strasburg has more value, quite a bit more, and he’s still in his prime.

Cole Hamels is not in his prime? Is that what you’re saying? If so then you have no idea what you’re talking about. Anyone who watched Hamels last year knows he has never been better.

David Buchanan is almost a year younger than Strasburg and he makes the MLB minimum salary and has more years of control left so he must have “more value” than Strasburg.

Now I’m asking you: Did you read the entire argument about Hamels supposed trade value? They covered the money issue, and – according to the geniuses here (includes the author of the article) – even if the Phillies tossed in $50 million than Mookie Betts was still untouchable.

How about if the Phillies gave Boston $96 million with Hamels? How does that compete and compute for you in regard to the lunatic ramblings concerning Big Ears Stevie and his infinite “value”?

Jovins
Guest
Jovins
1 year 4 months ago

Pedroia’s contract is expensive. Betts is not.

Likewise, Hamels has an expensive contract. Strasburg’s contract is much less expensive.

For teams that have to deal with salary restrictions (so all of them) this matters, and it will impact the quality of prospects a player will return.

Sandy Kazmir
Member
Sandy Kazmir
1 year 4 months ago

Haha Hamels will make more money in each of the next five years than Strasburg will make over the next two combined. To be a better pitcher.

jim S.
Guest
jim S.
1 year 4 months ago

Come on, Dave. Strasburg’s agent is Boras, which means he’ll be a free agent in two years and will NOT re-sign with his team.

KDL
Guest
KDL
1 year 4 months ago

ANd he certainly won’t sign before hitting the free market…unless Starsburg REALLY wants to.

Brian
Guest
Brian
1 year 4 months ago

I predict a 7 year/$300M deal for Strasburg where he gets $5M a year for 60 years.

Ty Jammer
Member
Ty Jammer
1 year 4 months ago

Then he takes the contract to JG Wentworth and sells it for $80m cash on the barrel head… like a boss.

Cave Dameron
Guest
Cave Dameron
1 year 4 months ago

Make it Haper and Strasburg for Mookie and you have a deal.

DatDudeJD
Guest
DatDudeJD
1 year 4 months ago

Add Rendon and the Sox might consider it.

Kris
Guest
Kris
1 year 4 months ago

all of the surplus value

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

Whoever has the most “surplus value” sweeps out the postseason.

Dr. Mantis Tobaggon
Guest
Dr. Mantis Tobaggon
1 year 4 months ago

I wouldn’t do this if I were the Red Sox. If Mookie is a +3 win player right off the bat, and most projections have him around there, then he could legitimately provide something like $125 million of surplus value in his 6 years of team control.

On the other hand, does anyone doubt that Strasburg will test the market? Maybe Boston would be able to re-sign him, but I’d bet that they’d have to pay the market (i.e. overpay) price to retain him. And if they’re willing to do that, why not just wait two years and keep Betts.

Lastly, guys on their last legs like Victorino and who have 30 MLB ABs like Castillo should not be blocking a guy of Betts’ caliber. What happens if they make this trade and Castillo needs time in the minors and Victorino predictably gets hurt, not to mention Ramirez’s likelihood of getting hurt. If that happens, they’re looking at an OF of Ramirez, Bradley Jr., and Nava.

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 4 months ago

The obsessive focus on “surplus value” is precisely why FanGraphs writers and many of their readers dramatically overvalue prospects. The objective of owners and teams isn’t really to maximize profit, it’s to win games, preferably the ones in October.

Dr. Mantis Tobaggon
Guest
Dr. Mantis Tobaggon
1 year 4 months ago

Assuming your team has a payroll that isn’t infinite, surplus value is a measure of how much a player helps you win games.

hookstrapped
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

Why aren’t future surplus value figures discounted?

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 4 months ago

Surplus value is absolutely not a measure of how much a player helps you win games. It’s a cost/benefit analysis, and one that emphasizes cheapness over quality. If your claim were true, then contending teams would regularly trade expensive superstars for cheap talent. But aside from Oakland’s bizarre off-season, that does not happen.

Dr. Mantis Tobaggon
Guest
Dr. Mantis Tobaggon
1 year 4 months ago

Contending teams don’t trade expensive superstars for cheap talent because the teams that have cheap talent don’t want to give it up. If the Tigers tried to trade Miguel Cabrera (an expensive superstar) for Yan Gomes, Starling Marte, Christian Yelich, Nolan Arenado, Anthony Rizzo, or Mookie Betts, they’d be rejected on every single offer.

The Humber Games
Guest
The Humber Games
1 year 4 months ago

“It’s a cost/benefit analysis, and one that emphasizes cheapness over quality”

How so? Getting a low quality, cheap player, generates little to no surplus value. Focusing on surplus value is a way of maximizing resources, and while maximizing surplus value is not a panacea, it’s certainly a good way to try to win a lot of games, since you have to get pretty damn lucky to succeed by paying players a lot to do a little instead of the other way around.

Robert Hombre
Guest
Robert Hombre
1 year 4 months ago

Which explains the haul that Cole Hamels has brought in for Philly.

And the Donaldson haul. And the Zobrist haul. And the Samardzija haul. And the Moss haul. When the chips are down in the offseason, it’s clear that teams only part with win-now talent for stud prospects.

Scott Marcus
Guest
Scott Marcus
1 year 4 months ago

Cole Hamels has not brought “a haul” because there is little to no surplus value in his contract. Proving the point that the other GMs DO understand surplus value.

Let’s see Philly be willing to eat a big chunk of Hamels’ contract, and then you might very well see a nice haul.

Robert Hombre
Guest
Robert Hombre
1 year 4 months ago

Sarcasm, comrade. Sarcasm, all of it.

Sandy Kazmir
Member
Sandy Kazmir
1 year 4 months ago

Zobrist brought back a top-50 prospect and a fringe prospect if you assume that Jaso for Yunel was fairly a wash. Which is what I stated a month before he was actually traded:

https://dockoftherays.wordpress.com/2014/12/12/irresponsibly-speculating-on-the-return-from-a-hypothetical-ben-zobrist-trade/

Most analysts don’t discount future wins so of course their estimates will come in high.

Robert Hombre
Guest
Robert Hombre
1 year 4 months ago

Look, I don’t disagree with you.

If it turns out I was snarking on someone who was, originally, objecting to the article on the basis that it neglects to note the factor of the impact of depreciation less $/WAR inflation, that person has my apologies.

You, lesser-known Brother Kazmirazov, are saying useful and clever things in this section, clever things that are edifying and for which I personally am grateful. You, clearly, cannot be dismissed with snark.

But the original focus of the snark seemed like one of the numerous ‘What do you mean Cano doesn’t have trade VALUE, nerds?’ comments that shoot up like mushrooms every time a trade is posited. Those, meh.

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 4 months ago

You do realize the silliness of using a series of Billy Beane deals to generalize about all general managers, don’t you? I suppose not, otherwise you wouldn’t have posted what you did.

nerf
Guest
nerf
1 year 4 months ago

Yeah, the Phillies won a bunch of games in October by ignoring surplus value and just accumulating wins in the present. How is that working out for them now?

arc
Guest
arc
1 year 4 months ago

The primary reason teams want to win games is to maximize profits.

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 4 months ago

Arc, that’s not at all true. Professional sports is a prestige business, not one suited for generating the most amount of money.

Unapologetic Observer
Guest
Unapologetic Observer
1 year 4 months ago

You’re kidding, right jdbolick? It is all about the money for most of them. They certainly won’t tell he fans that, but it’s all about the money as it is with pretty much any unbelievably financially successful person. Prestige is nice, but these are real businesses that make serious money.

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 4 months ago

Unapologetic Observer, you clearly do not understand what “prestige business” means. It does not imply that owners of professional sports teams are indifferently burning piles of money, it means that the primary return is not profit even though profit is still desired. People who prioritize profit absolutely do not get into professional sports because they are not among the most profitable businesses.

Unapologetic Observer
Guest
Unapologetic Observer
1 year 4 months ago

CLEARLY I don’t. Or I just don’t buy the BS you’re slinging.

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

“The objective of owners …. isn’t really to maximize profit, it’s to win games, preferably the ones in October.”

You’re not familiar with Fred Wilpon, Jeffrey Loria or “The Mysterious Owners” of the Phillies are you?

_

Highlight and Google: John Powers Middleton Felony Fraud

_

I don't care what anyone
Guest
I don't care what anyone
1 year 4 months ago

It took the Downvote King this long to post here…..

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
1 year 4 months ago

Highlight and Google: ONE TRICK PONY GOES BACK TO HIS ONE TRICK, TO THE SURPRISE OF ABSOLUTELY NO ONE

Ullu Ka Patta
Guest
Ullu Ka Patta
1 year 4 months ago

I think a more valid argument against surplus value is that too often you see fangraphs writers do this math:

“A prospect is projected to be paid X amount of money for Y WAR over the next Z years , so his surplus value is going to be YZ-XZ”

But if you’re really a GM, and you’re really valuing these prospects, you have to take into account bust rates, the same way you would evaluate a bet in a card game. If that surplus value is only 50% likely to happen, then you wouldn’t want to place a bet assuming he’ll be worth YZ-XZ, you’d want to pay something equal to or less than .5(YZ-XZ) for him.

Fangraphs has really good analysis of bust rates for prospect types, I don’t know why we don’t see this being applied to surplus value numbers.

Dan
Guest
Dan
1 year 4 months ago

The bust potential should already be accounted for in the WAR projection.

Dovif
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

How on earth do you get 125 mil. The arbitration salary will be much higher $70 mil in the best case scenario seem closer

Dr. Mantis Tobaggon
Guest
Dr. Mantis Tobaggon
1 year 4 months ago

WAR totals of: 3, 3.5, 3.5, 3.5, 4, 4.

Assuming roughly $8mil/win average over that time period.

Equals value of $172 million.

Roughly $45 mil in arb payments and you have $125 mil in surplus.

Kris
Guest
Kris
1 year 4 months ago

“and who have 30 MLB ABs like Castillo should not be blocking a guy of Betts’ caliber”

That 178 PA difference in Mookie and Castillo is pretty big for you, eh

nerf
Guest
nerf
1 year 4 months ago

Castillo has 79 professional PAs, Mookie has over 1500. That’s the difference. His MLB PAs are in line with his growth in the minors. Castillo, on the other hand, could be a bust.

Kris
Guest
Kris
1 year 4 months ago

That wasn’t his point. He said Castillo, he of 30 MLB PAs, shouldn’t block Mookie, who has 213 MLB PAs. We just going to use plate appearances for who should play over who?

Joc Pederson shouldn’t play over Ethier. Ethier has almost 5k MLB PA’s and Joc could be a bust.

nerf
Guest
nerf
1 year 4 months ago

Yeah, and I’m saying that Mookie’s MLB plate appearances are in line with what he did in the minors, making them more solid, projectable, translatable and believable.

Whereas Castillo is a complete mystery.

Dr. Mantis Tobaggon
Guest
Dr. Mantis Tobaggon
1 year 4 months ago

That’s not what I’m saying at all. If you want to get pedantic, then yes I would reference Castillo’s 79 professional PAs versus Mookie’s 1500+.

The overall point is that the Red Sox, as well as every team and scouting service out there, has a lot more data on Betts than Castillo. And in fact Castillo is a huge mystery given his history in Cuba and lack of pro experience.

schlomsd
Member
schlomsd
1 year 4 months ago

I think the problem with using surplus value to judge potential trades it that you are comparing apples (pre-FA players) to oranges (FA players). For example let’s say that Hamels is worth 20 WAR for the rest of his contract. That’s something like $40m or so in surplus value (if wins are worth $6.5m). An 8 win pre-FA player has the same surplus value if you pay him $10m over those 6 years. Would anyone really trade an 8 win player (over 6 years) for Cole Hamels even though they are generating the same surplus value?

arc
Guest
arc
1 year 4 months ago

What a weird question. Ceteris paribus, would you rather have 8 WAR from 2 players or 8 WAR combined from four? This isn’t illuminating.

All you’ve demonstrated is that there are other factors involved, which everyone already knows. Assuming equal surplus value, you take the better player every time. This isn’t an indictment of surplus value.

Ceteris Paribus
Guest
Ceteris Paribus
1 year 4 months ago

I’d rather have 8 WARS, 4 players, 2 fine young virgins and a partridge in a pear tree.

Ego numquam pronunciare mendacium, sed ego sum homo indomitus

Unapologetic Observer
Guest
Unapologetic Observer
1 year 4 months ago

Ah, a Braveheart quote. When I first heard it, I didn’t think it sounded right. At the time, it seemed like it was pretty sloppy latin, but oh well. It got popular though, because it was said in a great movie. Seeing it again, here, I decided to check it out:

http://www.inrebus.com/index.php?entry=entry080723-185353

james wilson
Guest
james wilson
1 year 4 months ago

The Red Sox man crush on Pedroia is going to cost them no matter what way they turn now.

Jays fan
Guest
Jays fan
1 year 4 months ago

Shhhhhhhhhhh

Brian
Guest
Brian
1 year 4 months ago

Because that Pedroia guy has been terrible, right? I mean this year he was a league average hitter and still cracked 4 WAR. He’s pretty valuable, even if he’s in real offensive decline.

james wilson
Guest
james wilson
1 year 4 months ago

Not at all. But if Betts is going to be the player Pedroia is or better there will be years of regret after Pedroia really does decline. I admit it makes no sense to keep Betts if someone else values him as the Red Sox do. Cherington’s roster makes no sense.

cass
Guest
cass
1 year 4 months ago

They already have three titles in the last decade. I imagine they don’t value WS titles as highly as other teams do by now. Been there, done that.

Sox fan/Betts owner
Guest
Sox fan/Betts owner
1 year 4 months ago

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 4 months ago

Mr. Cameron’s claim that “Betts probably projects as a two or three win upgrade over their internal positional options” seems pretty extreme given that it’s far from certain that Betts would be worth three wins even with a full-time job, which he wouldn’t have in Washington barring injury. I’m not sure that anyone a year ago ranked Mookie more highly than I did, yet somehow the hype has shot him well beyond my projection, as I would never dream of suggesting that he could be traded straight-up for two seasons of a truly elite starting pitcher.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin
1 year 4 months ago

Isn’t Betts the top Red Sox Prospect? One of the top five best in baseball? Maybe top ten? Didn’t a similarly-praised prospect (Russel) yield not one but two starting pitchers at the trade deadline? One of whom (Samardjia) had basically the same season as Strasburg?

Many would say that this was a bad trade by Beane, and they are probably not wrong. But to say that Strasburg is worth WAY more than just Betts may demonstrate a misunderstanding of the trade market and just how much GMs (not just Fangraphs writers/readers) perceive the value of top prospects to be.

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 4 months ago

Technically Betts is no longer a prospect, but looking at players with less than a full season, I would still prefer Xander Bogaerts. I did have Mookie as the second best in that system behind him, although it’s fair to say that the gap has closed. As for Betts being “one of the top five best in baseball,” no, absolutely not.

Betts is exciting because he has advanced baseball skills, but in terms of physical potential there just isn’t much of it. Few 5-9/155 guys have been superstars in the major leagues. Stop and think about who Betts compares to physically that would make you comfortable believing that he will be consistently above average. Pedroia is the only one who comes to my mind, yet while Betts’ contact skills have been impressive they are still well short of what Pedroia showed in his initial major league exposure. Mookie has limited power potential and he doesn’t have the ability to play shortstop. Even a poor man’s Pedroia has considerable value, but Betts does not have the ceiling of an Addison Russell.

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

“Technically Betts is no longer a prospect,”

Betts is also not as talented as Addison Russell.

Russell will haunt Beane.

The Cubs will never trade Russell.

gavzac
Member
gavzac
1 year 4 months ago

Betts, at 21, in 211 ABs at Pawtucket: .335/.417/.503

Pedroia, at 21, in 240 AB at Pawtucket: .255/.356/.382

Both were in their third year in the minors at the time. Pedroia had another 111 games at Pawtucket the following season, and still did not put up the numbers that Betts did in his first season at AAA. Following Bett’s mediocre 2012 in the minors, he has put up a .939 OPS in 226 minor league games, and .812 in 34 games in the majors which is nearly .300 points better than Pedroia’s OPS in his first 31 games in Boston in 2006.

Joe Morgan
Guest
Joe Morgan
1 year 4 months ago

Are you stats loving nerds going to deny that I was a superstar in the major leagues?

Brian
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

Well if it’s far from certain Betts is worth three wins, then it’s far from certain Strasburg is worth four wins next year and stays healthy. In fact it’s much more likely Betts cracks three wins than Strasburg cracks four imo.

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 4 months ago

*sigh* Mookie Betts has never been worth three wins in a major league season whereas Strasburg has been worth four wins in two out of the last three seasons. Nothing is guaranteed, but I don’t know why people like you ignore the significance of a player having an established level of performance. Perversely, you and your ilk almost seem to take the lack of established performance among prospects as all the more reason to make highly optimistic projections.

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

Cole Hamels

Nine seasons 39.9 WARP

John Smoltz

Twenty-one seasons 66.5 WARP

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
1 year 4 months ago

John Smoltz/Cole Hamels? Welp, that was certainly germane to the discussion at hand.

Andrew R
Guest
Andrew R
1 year 4 months ago

Betts absolutely would play everyday for the Nats, likely at 2B, leaving Escobar as utility. Plus, he would back up the OF in case Werth has a lengthy rehab.

CrazyPants
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

Can we just say the Sox aren’t going to trade Betts and call it a day??

Moreover trading Stras doesn’t change the Nats problem of losing (most likely) both Zimm and Fister after 2015. It makes it worse.

The Nats most logical course is either keep everyone or deal Zimm for the best package of prospects they can get assuming the package would beat the sandwich pick they’ll get.

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

One can never, and should never, count on pitching prospects, but by 2017 the Nationals rotation might contain Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, Joe Ross, and/or A.J. Cole. With Gio Gonzalez, Max Scherzer, and Tanner Roark still in the fold, the team can hope that that crop produces two rotation arms and a “depth guy”.

CrazyPants
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

the issue would be 2016. Don’t know if any of those are going to be ready by then. They might have to go out of the org to pick up a couple of short term guys.

And 2017 would be Gio’s walk year iirc.

Petey Bienel
Member
Petey Bienel
1 year 4 months ago

two $12MM options. 2017 is team option, 2018 is player option vesting with 180 innings in 2017 per Cot’s

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
1 year 4 months ago

Everything after “pitching prospects” is dicta.

Nick Donohue
Member
Member
Nick Donohue
1 year 4 months ago

Yunel projects at about 2 wins at 2nd, and Werth isn’t projected to miss much time. This trade would be great insurance by either moving Yunel to the bench or having a superb 4th OF, but I am hard pressed to see this as a net neutral move for the Nats 2015 season.

ScoKo
Guest
ScoKo
1 year 4 months ago

I’m with you Dave. I think something along these lines makes sense. To defend the Wash side of it I think you need to think about this teams setup for playoffs not reg season. Regular season Roark is 1 odd man out, for playoffs you also have Fister/gio as another man out. Just seems a bit pointless to me. With or without strasburg this team has a great 4 for playoffs, while still having insurance with Roark. If they were going to have to battle for the division the regular season pitching depth would obviously be more important. They dnt need to replace starting pitcher injuries with super subs during the regular season.

BoynamedTzu
Guest
BoynamedTzu
1 year 4 months ago

As a Sox fan, I would be really, really disappointed if Betts were traded for anyone let alone Strausburg. Strausburg may be a very good pitcher, but he has durability concerns and correct me if I am wrong but didn’t Washington just choose Scherzer over him.

Betts could be Rickey Henderson 2.0. He is that good, this guy murdered the minors and came up to the bigs and kept raking.

If a #1 starter is so important for the next two years. Sign Shields for his asking price over 4 years and get to spring training.

Betts + Shields is worth way more in present value and future value than Strausburg and his unknown 2017 demands.

emdash
Guest
emdash
1 year 4 months ago

You are incorrect – they signed Scherzer as a response to probably losing Fister/Zimmermann after this season, not as a way of choosing him ‘over’ Strasburg.

Strasburg has had Tommy John and so there is the associated risk of needing a second, but in the three seasons since he’s returned he’s only had one 15-day DL stint, for a lat strain in 2013. He has no more durability concerns than any pitcher at this point.

Given that if they trade Strasburg and their 2016 rotation options if they don’t extend anyone are Scherzer/Gonzalez/Roark/?/?, they’d have to get a trade deal of more than one prospect to move him.

Costanza
Guest
Costanza
1 year 4 months ago

I wonder if the increased in risk from a second TJ is greater than the risk of a first TJ over that same time period.

IE, if a TJ survivor is 40% likely to need a 2nd one in 3 years, what are the odds that any SP of that age need one in that time?

eno's revenge
Guest
eno's revenge
1 year 4 months ago

who’s strausburg? go post on the weei board. i’m sure your level of ignorance would fit right in.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
1 year 4 months ago

“Betts could be Rickey Henderson 2.0. He is that good”

Whoooooooooooaaaaaaaaaaaaa there horsey. Let’s at least see some semblance of sustained MLB success before we crown him as the greatest leadoff hitter of all time.

John Elway
Guest
John Elway
1 year 4 months ago

*slows down, eats some hay*

John Elway
Member
1 year 4 months ago

HAY!!! You are NOT the real fake John Elway.

lewish
Guest
lewish
1 year 4 months ago

I am just glad to see, any not real Johnny Boy…well I’m glad you haven’t been taken to the glue factory, either of you…maybe you have just been way down the comments all this time. I’m getting the bends down here.

BM
Guest
BM
1 year 4 months ago

The assertion that any prospect can project to Rickey Henderson 2.0 is some Free_AEC level bull.

In fact, based on your assertion that this might be true, I am recommending that you be prosecuted for FELONY FRAUD.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 4 months ago

Even though I might get prosecuted myself for unlawful Mookie-love, Rickey Henderson 2.0 is pushing it way too far.

Mookie has more chance of being the next Arquimedez Pozo than he has of becoming another Rickey.

Savin Hillbilly
Guest
Savin Hillbilly
1 year 4 months ago

OK, Rickey 2.0 is a bridge too far. How about Tim Raines 2.0?

Some similarities:

Both short guys (Raines 5’8″, Betts 5’9″).

Both were primarily second basemen in the minor leagues (Raines 379 out of 392 games before making the majors for good, Betts 230 of 293), but broke in as outfielders.

Both had excellent plate discipline and contact, and both racked up more walks than strikeouts as minor leaguers (Raines 289/174, Betts 174/137).

Both were very good all-around hitters in the minors, with almost identical AVG/OBP (.307/.410 vs. .315/.408). Betts has shown a little more power in the minors than Raines did (.155 vs. .103 ISO).

Both showed excellent speed and baserunning ability in the minors. Raines was a more prolific base stealer than Mookie (229 SB in about 800 times on base vs. 92 in about 500), but Mookie was slightly more efficient (86% vs. 82%).

Both had their first substantial taste of MLB action at age 21. Raines had a 136 wRC+ in 363 PA; Betts had a 130 in 213 PA.

Of course none of this proves that Mookie will be as good as Raines; he may not even have a substantial career. He may get hurt, pitchers may figure him out, all kinds of things could go wrong. But so far, in both minor and major league duty, he has shown himself to be a remarkably similar type of player to Raines, and a comparable talent.

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 4 months ago

Raines had a much larger and more muscular frame than Betts. The Mookie hype is becoming obnoxious at this point. Rickey Henderson and Tim Raines? Jesus Christ. Hey, there’s your comp.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 4 months ago

Here’s the best way I can frame all this Mookie-mania:

1) If you are looking for the player most likely to become the next Pedroia, or the next Raines, he’s your best bet. Not because he’s going to be (the odds are against it), but because if you’re looking for the next star or superstar, you need to start somewhere. And Betts’ profile so far has actually fit that criteria. (The similarities with Raines are almost scary, right down to being drafted in the 5th round and being moved to the OF upon reaching the majors)

2) If you are ruling out Betts because of his build, it’s entirely possible for a small guy to become a top MLB hitter.

Looking at Baseball Reference, the top 5 in career batting runs (ie excluding SB/baserunning or defensive value):

5. Roy White 216 (5’10 160)
4. Jimmy Wynn 299 (5’10 160)
3. Tim Raines 334 (5’8 160)
2. Paul Waner 491 (5’8 153)
1. Joe Morgan 497 (5’7 160)

http://www.baseball-reference.com/play-index/season_finder.cgi?type=b#gotresults&as=result_batter&offset=0&sum=1&min_year_season=1901&max_year_season=2014&min_season=1&max_season=-1&min_age=0&max_age=99&is_rookie=&lg_ID=lgAny&lgAL_team=tmAny&lgNL_team=tmAny&lgFL_team=tmAny&lgAA_team=tmAny&lgPL_team=tmAny&lgUA_team=tmAny&lgNA_team=tmAny&isActive=either&isHOF=either&isAllstar=either&bats=any&throws=any&exactness=anypos&pos_1=1&pos_2=1&pos_3=1&pos_4=1&pos_5=1&pos_6=1&pos_7=1&pos_8=1&pos_9=1&pos_10=1&pos_11=1&games_min_max=min&games_prop=50&games_tot=&qualifiersSeason=nomin&minpasValS=502&mingamesValS=100&qualifiersCareer=nomin&minpasValC=3000&mingamesValC=1000&number_matched=1&orderby=abRuns&order_by_asc=1&c1criteria=weight&c1gtlt=lt&c1val=160&c2criteria=height&c2gtlt=lt&c2val=70&c3criteria=abRuns&c3gtlt=gt&c3val=105&c4gtlt=eq&c4val=0&c5gtlt=eq&c5val=1.0&location=pob&locationMatch=is&pob=&pod=&pcanada=&pusa=&ajax=1&submitter=1

3. With all that said, the best bet would be that he ends up being Roy White. The other guys above him on that list are all long shots, though not necessarily impossible because our stars have to come from somewhere.

And as a Red Sox fan, I would have a hard time trading a guy who could be the next Roy White. I actually remember the tail end of White’s career with the Yankees, and even then he was a royal pain in the neck as a leadoff guy and a fine glove for the Yankee Stadium LF.

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 4 months ago

It is “possible for a small guy to become a top MLB hitter,” it’s just extraordinarily unlikely based on the history of the sport. Mookie does not appear to have a frame that can add muscle mass the way that Raines did, which would cap his strength. Look at the steroid explosion to see how relevant muscle mass can be to production at the plate.

Again, in my prospect book last year I had Mookie ranked 39th in all the minor leagues, so I’m not at all down on him. I believed strongly in his skill set and I believed that he had considerable future value. What I didn’t and still do not agree with is the notion that he has the ceiling to be a star. I believe that his physical limitations cap his potential, not just in terms of hitting home runs but also the physical attributes necessary to be average or above at a demanding defensive position.

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

“Raines had a much larger and more muscular frame than Betts. The Mookie hype is becoming obnoxious at this point. Rickey Henderson and Tim Raines? Jesus Christ. Hey, there’s your comp.”

Indeed.

There are those who say the pictures of Jesus popularly depicting him are not historically representative.

Jesus Christ
Guest
Jesus Christ
1 year 4 months ago

I love Mookie. This I know.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick
1 year 4 months ago

I wouldn’t make this deal if I were either team:

1. I think Betts is a below market return for Strasburg. If the Nats were determined to trade him they could get a larger return elsewhere.

2. On the other if you asked me which is worth more, two years of Strasburg or six years of Betts, I would pick six years of Betts without hesitating. If you held a gun to my head and made me bet over/under on double, I’d go over.

3. I’m not sure I’d be anxious to extend Strasburg. He’s already had one TJ; do those things really last forever?

4. The Red Sox have three WS championships in the last 11 years, a relatively young team, and a deep farm system, and, with two wild cards, they already good enough to play meaningful baseball this September and maybe October. I can’t see why — except for local and national media needing something to write about — they would feel an urgent need to borrow from their future for a two to three game improvement in 2015. The Nats, on the other hand, while arguably more talented are less deep and will be losing a fair amount of that talent to impending free agency. They probably should try to optimize their two years of Strasburg and three years of Harper.

ScoKo
Guest
ScoKo
1 year 4 months ago

I feel like Boston is set up well for regular season, but like Dave I dnt see this as a great playoff staff. Boston may very well finish with top record in AL, yet be an underdog in game 1 of the division series vs the WC winner bc they are going up against a true ace.

Anthony
Guest
Anthony
1 year 4 months ago

It seems unlikely the #2 pitcher, realistically, from the WC winner is going to be a true ace. I wouldn’t feel entirely uncomfortable pitting Porcello up against #2 pitchers on contending AL staffs, the White Sox & Shark/Quintana notwithstanding. The Tigers probably have a better #2 in Sanchez/Verlander, the Yankees might if Pineda/Tanaka stay healthy, and I could see the Mariners w/ Iwakuma having a better starters but not many others have a #2 who could best Porcello and they’d likely have to burn their ace in the Wild Card game if they are to win it.

ScoKo
Guest
ScoKo
1 year 4 months ago

Yes true if Red Sox win pennant they would avoid the ace game 1. They would still likely have to get by an ace round 2 that is gna pitch gm 1,5 and potentially get into a game 7. You need to beat aces to make a playoff run, and best way to beat aces is to have yourself. Red Sox would virtualy automatically be a dog when they face an ace, whatever game of the series that would be. And on the opposite end I dnt see them having a big advantage in any possible playoff pitching matchup.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick
1 year 4 months ago

The Nats won 56% of the regular season games pitched by Strasburg; 54% if you include playoffs. Overall, the Nats won 59% of their games.

Trading for an ace because “you need one for the playoffs” isn’t really a good idea.

ScoKo
Guest
ScoKo
1 year 4 months ago

Price, Sale, Kluber, Tanaka vs Porcello in games 1 and 5 of a series is undoubtedly an advantage. I think Strasburg significantly increases their post season odds.

brad
Guest
brad
1 year 4 months ago

why does fg project victorino and rusney to start over betts? betts seems to be their best canditate to lead off, victorino is coming off an injury, and rusney has proved less than betts?

Wags (@wags721)
Guest
Wags (@wags721)
1 year 4 months ago

Excatly what I was going to post. I project Betts to get about 650 PAs and 4+ WAR this year. And he could be in CF instead of RF.

There isn’t much analysis of the years of control difference either. In 2016, Victorino is gone and JBJ might be a complete bust. To replace Betts’ spot in RF would then require signficant money if anyone is even available.

And then also factor in the likelihood that they don’t even get an advantage in re-signing Strasburg in 2 years given that he’s a Boras client, I’d be very hesitant to give up Betts for anyone that isn’t named Chris Sale.

Don Baylor's knee
Guest
Don Baylor's knee
1 year 4 months ago

You guys are cuckoo for cocoa puffs over Betts.

I’ll safely wager Stras has more WAR in 2 years than Betts has in the next 5 combined. And even THAT is pretending that accumulated WAR is worth the same as elite peak performance.

bdsparty32
Member
bdsparty32
1 year 4 months ago

Please let me take your money

Brian
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

I’ll seriously take that bet. Is there any way to get your contact info? I’m fine doing it for charity too, that sounds like free money to me. For the record, Strasburg’s highest two WAR seasons equal 8.4 fWAR, and Betts has reached 1.9 fWAR in his first 213 PA’s. I’ll take the five year vs two year period and feel really good about it. I’ll conservatively expect Betts to average 2.5 WAR over the five years, giving him 12.5 WAR. I’m confident it will be 15+ assuming health, which I’ll do for Strasburg as well. I don’t see Strasburg all of a sudden becoming efficient enough to come close to back to back 6WAR+ seasons. In fact, in the last two seasons, only Kershaw has totaled more than 12.5 WAR. Of course, the Red Sox could win the trade even if Betts totaled more WAR over five years than Strasburg does over two, but you’re the one who’s talking about betting.

Don Baylor's knee
Guest
Don Baylor's knee
1 year 4 months ago

The 5th year probably pushes almost any healthy position player over the top. Let’s say 2 vs 4.

And then there’s the real crux of the matter: averaging 2.5 WAR however many years is not the same as elite peak performance.

bdsparty32
Member
bdsparty32
1 year 4 months ago

Ok, I’ll still take that bet. Strasburg’s total WAR over the next 2 seasons vs Mookie’s total WAR over the next 4 seasons. $100?

arc
Guest
arc
1 year 4 months ago

Proposes “safe” wager, has offer accepted multiple times over, immediately moves to change terms.

Insists the “crux of the matter” is something unrelated even to the weaker, modified form of the bet he is still sure to lose.

Love when money is introduced to these strident opinions. Talk is cheap.

Don Baylor's knee
Guest
Don Baylor's knee
1 year 4 months ago

Scroll down. Challenge accepted.

It is a strident opinion. ALMOST as strident as assuming that a 21 year old with no track record is worth Strasburg’s age 26 and 27 seasons.

arc
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

You didn’t accept a challenge. Your challenge was accepted. Then you modified the terms in your favor, and “accepted” those new terms.

Don Baylor's knee
Guest
Don Baylor's knee
1 year 4 months ago

4 years or 5 years or 6 years, the point is the same: Betts is a high-floor, low-ceiling (and massively overhyped) prospect who would take years just to ACCUMULATE the WAR Stras can deliver in a fraction of the time.

arc
Guest
arc
1 year 4 months ago

Yes, keep trying to draw focus to a more moderate, generalized claim and away from your original, ridiculous proposition:

I’ll safely wager Stras has more WAR in 2 years than Betts has in the next 5 combined.

Don Baylor's knee
Guest
Don Baylor's knee
1 year 4 months ago

Or, keep nitpicking like a little bitch instead of acknowledging that even 4 years of Betts does not equal Strasburg.

arc
Guest
arc
1 year 4 months ago

Offers “safe wager”

Has wager accepted

Tries to change terms of wager

Calls it “nit-picking like a bitch” when others hold him to the original wager he offered

You’re so cool. So cool.

bdsparty32
Member
bdsparty32
1 year 4 months ago

Hey, I was here first Brian!

Wags (@wags721)
Guest
Wags (@wags721)
1 year 4 months ago

Strasburg had 7.6 fWAR in last 2 seasons. Betts had 1.9 in 1/3rd of a season at age 21.

Don Baylor's knee
Guest
Don Baylor's knee
1 year 4 months ago

OMG! REALLY?!@!1!

Let’s project that over a full season! No, 5 seasons!

Dan
Guest
Dan
1 year 4 months ago

Why not? Obviously it’s not as simple as just prorating his performance over five years, but his MLB performance is in line with his MiLB statistical profile and his scouting profile. He’s a very good bet to be a 3-4 win player right away with further upside.

Don Baylor's knee
Guest
Don Baylor's knee
1 year 4 months ago

200 PA and 2 years of MiLB success does not a superstar make.

Not to totally minimize what Betts has done. I mean, there hasn’t been a better first 200 PA since JEFF FRANCOUER. He was even 0.1 WAR better than Jose Ramirez in 266 PA last year. (Who??? …Exactly.)

bdsparty32
Member
bdsparty32
1 year 4 months ago

Then put your money where your mouth is chump. You can respond to this comment but not to my comment trying to make the bet with you that you asked for?

Don Baylor's knee
Guest
Don Baylor's knee
1 year 4 months ago

Alright. 2 yrs vs 4. $100.

Make checks payable to Jeff Francoeur, since we are donating to charity.

bdsparty32
Member
bdsparty32
1 year 4 months ago

Brian was the one talking about doing it for charity, not me. I figured you’d back down when someone tried to take your bet for real, though, so no hard feelings.

Brett Lawrie
Guest
Brett Lawrie
1 year 4 months ago

I’m betting on Strasburg here

Anthony
Guest
Anthony
1 year 4 months ago

What? Do you think Strasburg is going to turn into a Cy Young, 7-WAR pitcher? I can’t see it as very likely Betts fails to hit 10 WAR from 2015-2019 and I don’t see it as very likely that Strasburg surpasses 10 WAR from 2015-2016.

screamin_jay
Guest
screamin_jay
1 year 4 months ago

i’m sure that move will somehow turn out bad for the nats!

george
Guest
george
1 year 4 months ago

Just because I don’t think people have really talked abbout last year’s fister disaster (or lottery) quite enough; consider fister in 2012, and 13 : 8 WAR vs stras in 2013, 14: 7.6 WAR. god dammit robbie ray.

screamin_jay
Guest
screamin_jay
1 year 4 months ago

everything that nats fans ask for happens every single time and then some, but it’s so much worse that i’m posting in these threads!

Mr Punch
Guest
Mr Punch
1 year 4 months ago

Washington, more than Boston, is the team that should be going for it all-out this year. The city’s first WS championship since 1924, at a time when the R*dsk*ns are awful, would be worth hundreds of millions in equity.

And, “the first ace provides a lot more marginal value in the postseason than the second one”? I’ll bet Curt Schilling has an opinion on that.

Rational Fan
Guest
Rational Fan
1 year 4 months ago

Strasberg is the most overrated pitcher in baseball. That said, I think it’s even funnier that the Red Sox project out to be the 4th best team in baseball with that starting rotation. Masterson is trash, Kelly is an inconsistent question mark, Wade Miley will be average at BEST in the AL, Buchholz can’t go a week without getting hurt, and Porcello is a nice #3 to have but that’s about it. I don’t understand how that rotation, coupled with the injury risks they have all over the diamond (especially on the IF), can equate to the 4th best team in baseball.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
1 year 4 months ago

Uh

arc
Guest
arc
1 year 4 months ago

I’ve noticed that few of the people who have strong, negative opinions about Strasburg know how to spell his name.

Not sure what this means, but it probably doesn’t mean that those opinions are highly informed.

Nats guy 4 LYFE
Guest
Nats guy 4 LYFE
1 year 4 months ago

Listen fella this Steven Strasbourgh is the best pitcher since 2-finger Browne. You can take that to the banke.

John
Guest
John
1 year 4 months ago

I heard his movies suck. Wait that’s Spielberg? What website am I on?

Rational Fan
Guest
Rational Fan
1 year 4 months ago

Yes, because my phone auto-correcting to Strasberg instead of Strasburg, because my phone assumes all people are Jewish, somehow makes my opinion of him misinformed.

I expect to get down voted when I come into a Nats and Red Sox posting and bring a dose of reality. Strasburg is the 3rd or 4th best pitcher on his own staff, and the Red Sox rotation isn’t top 4 team in baseball good. No one can refute my assessment with actual evidence… if you’d like me to delve a little deeper into the fact that Joe Kelly, Wade Miley and Masterson suck feel free to ask and I’ll happily do so. If you have some points to the contrary, I’m all ears, but I doubt they exist. Miley with his whopping 1 WAR last year, Masterson a wonderful -.8 WAR, and Joe Kelly with his world beating .5 WAR last year… It’s OK though, because they have an ace at the top of their rotation with Buchholz who finished last year with an eye opening -1.1 WAR last year. What was I thinking to think a starting staff, that accumulated a total WAR of 3.1 last year (3.4 of that was Porcello), wasn’t Top 4 teams in baseball good?

James
Guest
James
1 year 4 months ago

Strasberg for Betts is crazy talk. Strasberg for Bucholz, that would be a fair trade.

Mark
Guest
Mark
1 year 4 months ago

“the Sox still have Allen Craig under contract and Bradley in the organization, so they wouldn’t be dropping down to zero value replacements.”

That depends on how you see Craig & Bradley, though. Bradey will be a better hitter than he was this year, so he’ll improve there, but he might not be a 22 UZR player over a full season, good as he is. So he might be fairly close to 0, or between 0-1 WAR. Craig might not rebound, in which case he’d be sub replacement level.

So while you’re right, Betts isn’t best used in 2015, he’d be pretty valuable to Boston in 2016 compared to the replacements. Now, we could argue that they might find better options in FA/trade, but you could say the same for the SP argument, and you could also throw in their SP prospects as well.

I agree that Stras for Betts makes sense for both teams, I just disagreed that the Sox won’t be dropping down to replacements who would be in your words “zero value replacements”. Because there’s a chance that Craig ends up sub replacement level, and that Bradley is right at replacement level.

MDL
Member
MDL
1 year 4 months ago

Bradley will be a better hitter than he was this year

That’s what we said last year

StroShow
Guest
StroShow
1 year 4 months ago

I would like you to take this article down right now so the respective GMs don’t read it and think it’s a good idea. Maybe find some reason to send Strasburg to the Jays or something instead.

SoxOfNorth
Guest
SoxOfNorth
1 year 4 months ago

As a Sox fan, I don’t like this one from Boston’s side. If they can work out an exclusive negotiating window and nail down a extension for Stras (like what they did with AGon), then probably.

CH Smoot
Guest
CH Smoot
1 year 4 months ago

Has anyone ever read a “trade idea” article for which the proposed trade actually ended up happening?

AF
Guest
AF
1 year 4 months ago

Given the number of trade idea articles that are written and the number of trades that are made, it would be shocking if it never happened.

KDL
Guest
KDL
1 year 4 months ago

But the point remains…the success rate is so close to zero it makes you wonder: what’s the point?

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 4 months ago

What I would LOVE to see:

A leak, like the one from the Astros, showing an exchange like this (sometime in 2013);

GM [name redacted]: Hey Ben, I was wondering if you’d be interest in [players redacted] for Felix Doubront?

Ben Cherington: WHAT!! Er, no way we’re giving up Doubront…..tell you what.

How about [same players redacted] for Andrew Miller? Well even throw in a prospect…let’s say Miller and this kid Betts down in A ball. What do you think?

GM [name redacted] @#%$@#$!!! {slams phone}….{dial tone}

Outliar Baseball
Guest
Outliar Baseball
1 year 4 months ago

Clicks and comments. And here we are.

CH Smoot
Guest
CH Smoot
1 year 4 months ago

I agree, but I can’t remember ever reading one. If anyone knows of one, I’d love it if he/she/they would provide link(s).

Ari Collins
Guest
Ari Collins
1 year 4 months ago

Wasn’t Porcello-Cespedes talked about a lot? I can’t find an article explicitly stating it, but my Google Fu is weak today.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 4 months ago

If I was not a Red Sox fan, I’d root for a trade like this just to “free” Mookie Betts into being an everyday 2B instead of being a RF/CF/whatever you want him to be in that muddled Red Sox mix.

But as a Red Sox fan, I’d prefer to cash in the guys who are just shy of the majors (Swihart, Owens etc.) to get something from a rebuilding team, and then use Mookie as a Zobrist-type super-sub. Mostly because Pedroia’s future health absolutely scares me, and the dropoff from Pedroia to Brock Holt/Sean Coyle would basically snuff out the upgrade from Joe Kelly to Strasburg.

nerf
Guest
nerf
1 year 4 months ago

Yeah, I still shudder thinking about 2012. When you have a guy like Mookie Betts around, all the plate appearances that went to Ryan Sweeney, Darnell McDonald, Pedro Ciriaco and SCOTT POSEDNICK could actually be a bit more valuable.

This article is less about how Mookie Betts is expendable (he’s not) and more about how they need pitching (agreed), and Mookie is a valuable commodity that can buy pitching. But he’s not a totally blocked, must-sell asset. He’s a useful player who would get a good return, but we’d be giving up something as well.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 4 months ago

And, I’d argue the same also applies to Strasburg with the Nats. If they lose a couple of starters throughout the year, do they want to have to send a John Lannan type pitcher out there every fifth day?

AF
Guest
AF
1 year 4 months ago

If you take take the idea of trade value as surplus value seriously, it’s almost impossible to see how this trade makes sense for the Red Sox. You’d have to put an enormous value on the having-an-ace-in-the-postseason factor for it to work.

ScoKo
Guest
ScoKo
1 year 4 months ago

Well there is enormous value to have an ace in post season. I wouldn’t have much faith in a game 1 matchup of Rick Porcello vs David Price or Corey Kluber. Right now Id pick the Red Sox to win the AL east, but I’d have trouble picking them to win a playoff series without being able to matchup vs aces games 1 and 5.

Dan
Guest
Dan
1 year 4 months ago

The thing is, if they want their “ace” for the post-season, there will inevitably be one or more available at the deadline that will cost less than Strasburg.

Particularly given the names that will be hitting FA at the end of the year.

ScoKo
Guest
ScoKo
1 year 4 months ago

True. That makes sense. However they do it, I do think they need it for the playoffs.

Free_AEC
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

“If you take take the idea of trade value as surplus value seriously”

Only psychopaths do.

“Snakes in Suits” Dr. Robert D. Hare
_

Nevs
Guest
Nevs
1 year 4 months ago

You know, there’s also tremendous value in having an ace in the rotation during the regular season.

CrazyPants
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

Zimmermann for JBJ, Coyle and an arm prob makes sense.

Zack
Guest
Zack
1 year 4 months ago

I think the more interesting trade is Strasburg for J. Baez(+). Strasburg would be replacing a replacement level SP in Chicago and put them right up there with STL.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 4 months ago

What about a 3-way variation centered around Strasburg to Chicago, Baez to Houston, and Altuve to Washington?

Anthony
Guest
Anthony
1 year 4 months ago

Why would Houston want to do that? They already have Carlos Correa coming up and have Altuve locked up for cheap and providing a ton of surplus value.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 4 months ago

Not saying straight up. Probably the (+) in Zack’s original comment goes to the Astros….maybe Kyle Schwarber to take over Gattis’s function in a couple of years?

Aj Grands
Guest
Aj Grands
1 year 4 months ago

But think how many strikeouts that lineup would have! It could be historic!

Fergie's boys
Guest
Fergie's boys
1 year 4 months ago

I think trade possibilities like this don’t adequately take into account the possibility that a prospect fails. Even the elite ones don’t often make an all star team in their careers. A Betts/ Stras trade only makes sense if Betts has had a great year or two and has shown that he can do it in the majors.

I’m pretty sure MLB GM’s subscribe to that principal as well.

nerf
Guest
nerf
1 year 4 months ago

Yeah, but that’s the difference between a Betts-type prospect and a Baez-type prospect. Baez has a strong chance to fail, but he could also be a superstar.

Mookie, on the other hand, is not gonna ever put up 7 WAR (probably). But he’s projected to be strongly solid, and over the course of a decade, 2 or 3 WAR a year is humongous.

In short, he’s valuable because he’s projected to be solid, not amazing. He’s got a low chance of bustin.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 4 months ago

If you want a guy who’s most likely to become one of the following three guys, Betts is probably your guy in MLB right now:

Nearly 50/50 chance of being:

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=8370&position=2B

Maybe 10-25% chance of being (with less speed/more glove):

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1406&position=OF

Real longshot, but could happen if power kicks in (built the same but bats righty instead of lefty):

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1009179&position=2B

Bottom line – Betts DOES have a shot of being a superstar (as does Baez).

nerf
Guest
nerf
1 year 4 months ago

Yeah, he has a shot, sure, but I think maybe we differ on our definition of ‘superstar.’

I said Mookie wasn’t gonna crack 7 WAR. The first two guys on your list did it once each. I could see Mookie having a Raines-like career, but with less speed and more defense, though.

I don’t think Tim Raines was a ‘superstar,’ though. An All-Star, and a very good player, but superstar? A lot of his value came from longevity, and that’s, like, a whole different thing.

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 4 months ago

Betts does not have a 50% chance of becoming Dustin Pedroia. He has a substantially lower chance, as Mookie’s admittedly strong contact skills are still significantly worse than Pedroia’s.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 4 months ago

If you compare Betts AAA/AA stats last year (age 21) to Pedroia’s AAA/AA stats (conveniently also age 21), Pedroia did have a lower K%, but Betts did more damage with the balls he did hit (and walked more often too):

Betts 464PA 61/50 .346/.431/.529 11HR, 46 XBH

Pedroia 538PA 58/43 .293/.385/.452 13HR, 43 XBH

I’ll scale back Betts’ chance of becoming Pedroia from 50% to 35%-40%. Not because his skills or performance at this age are dwarfed by Pedroia’s, but simply because the odds of 21-year old Pedroia himself becoming MLB star Pedroia were less than 50/50 at that time.

arc
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

Principle. And risk is already factored into a prospect’s status. You don’t get to count it twice.

SABRphreak
Guest
SABRphreak
1 year 4 months ago

…a sweetener named Blake Swihart or Henry Owens? Nats can add a A level guy.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 4 months ago

Having Tanner Roark as your 6th starter isn’t “an embarrassment of riches.” It’s having depth.

Every team needs 6 starters. Having the best 6th starter in the game doesn’t change that.

I have an unhealthy, irrational love for Mookie Betts, but there’s no way in hell I’d take this deal were I the Nationals, or were I their 89 year old owner.

Carson Cyst-Stooly
Guest
Carson Cyst-Stooly
1 year 4 months ago

I’ve been thinking about this scenario a bit and I feel like the only way it gets done is as follows:

– Red Sox trade Rick Porcello to the Rays for Hak Ju Lee.
– Rays trade Rick Porcello and Desmond Jennings to Padres for Matt Kemp + cash.
– Padres trade Desmond Jennings to twins for Torri Hunter + cash.
– Twins sign Willy Mo Pena and Jeff Francouer, then trade them as PTBNL along with Desmond Jennings, Brian Duensing and Miguel Sano to Nationals for Bryce Harper, and Steven Strasburg .
– Twins trade Bryce Harper to Orioles for Dan Duquette.
– Blue Jays trade R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole and Jose Reyes + Cash to Twins for Steven Strasburg and Dan Duquette.
– Cubs trade Wellington Castillo to Twins for Josh Thole + Cash.
– Cubs trade Josh Thole + Cash to rooftop owners for rooftop seats.
– Cubs trade rooftop seats to Mets for Bobby Bonilla and Bartolo Colon.
– Athletics trades whole 40 man roster to Mets for rooftop seats.
– Blue Jays trade Paul Beeston and Steven Strasburg to Philles for Cole Hamels , Chase Utley and Ryan Howard +cash.
– Phillies sign Ryan Lavarnway, and then trade him as PTBNL along with Ruben Amaro Jr, Paul Beeston and Steven Strasburg to Boston for Mookie Betts.
– Phillies trade Mookie Betts to Blue Jays for Kevin Pillar and Kelly Johnson game worn batting glove.

Josh Thole
Guest
Josh Thole
1 year 4 months ago

From where I’m sitting, this looks kinda nice.

TKDC
Guest
TKDC
1 year 4 months ago

I like the bolding. It made this so easy to follow.

.
Guest
.
1 year 4 months ago

OK everyone, show some love my way too!

Corey
Member
Corey
1 year 4 months ago

Are those the Cubs rooftop seats that will now be obstructed with the new renovations? If so, I think you gotta take Colon off the Mets side.

Eric R
Guest
Eric R
1 year 4 months ago

Mets don’t care since they’ve cleverly flipped the seats for the A’s 40-man. If they turn out to be obstructed, that is the A’s problem. No backsies! :)

Billy Beane with an "e"
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Billy Beane with an "e"
1 year 4 months ago

Obstructed or not. I just want a safe place in case the sewer lines break again.

Unapologetic Observer
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Unapologetic Observer
1 year 4 months ago

Absolutely fantastic post! Could be the best post of the week!

KCDaveInLA
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KCDaveInLA
1 year 4 months ago

If I were the Sox, I’d do this; Betts is still just a prospect, and Strasburg could be what pushes the Sox past the Jays. But the next time a predicted trade actually happens will be the first.

How about this: Brandon Finnegan, Danny Duffy and Raul Mondesi for Strasburg. Come on Nats, you know you want to….

Malcolm-Jamal Hegyes
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Malcolm-Jamal Hegyes
1 year 4 months ago

Dave has a gift for making the clickbait, huh?

James
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James
1 year 4 months ago

Article needs more Mike Trout.

I Don't Think Anybody Gets This
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I Don't Think Anybody Gets This
1 year 4 months ago

Too much water. 7.8/10

W
Guest
W
1 year 4 months ago

What’s problematic about this idea is that Washington would be better off with the uncertainty of Betts. Strasburg has been a high-level starter for 3 seasons. Betts is a highly-rated prospect, but still has significant bust potential. Strasburg will only decline if he gets injured, while Betts has both injury potential and prospect-bust potential. A team that wants to win this season should be trying to keep players with more certain potential, and for me that is Strasburg.

Phillies113
Member
Member
1 year 4 months ago

When it’s bottom of the 9th in Game 7 of the World Series, and Mookie Betts is up to bat for Washington, with the team down by 1 with the bases loaded, and Strasburg is STILL pitching in hopes to secure the win for Boston, well, I’m gonna come back to this article and just sigh wistfully.

Also I’d be questioning John Farrell’s thinking there, but it would still make for an exciting moment!

Matt Williams
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Matt Williams
1 year 4 months ago

I know what I would do.

Otter
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Otter
1 year 4 months ago

Throw in an arm coming back to the Nats, and I think you might have something. Maybe Henry Owens is too much for the BoSox to give up, so then we’re looking at Brian Johnson/Matt Barnes/Michael Kopech.

I should also add I’m not a big Strasburg guy, but we’ve seen way too many prospects only reach 50%-75% of their ceiling to do a Betts for Strasbourg straight up deal. I mean, a year ago you could replace Betts with Xander Bogaerts in this article. Now, the Nats would probably laugh and hang up if that was the offer.

I understand why prospects are so valuable, but I think we also over value them; if they hit, awesome. If they’re just ‘fine’ then you’re probably kicking yourself over the trades you could have made.

Cracking Chang
Guest
Cracking Chang
1 year 4 months ago

Except Mookie Betts has out hit, out ran, and out fielded Xander Bogearts at low A, high A, AA, AAA and at the MLB level…they are also the same age.

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 4 months ago

I love stats. I use them to evaluate prospects and to identify which guys may be underrated by scouts. But the scouting side still matters. A lot, in fact. Mookie Betts is a small man with limited ability to add muscle mass, which means that his physical potential is rather significantly capped. He also doesn’t play the premium defensive position that Bogaerts does. You can’t just sort the minor leagues by wRC+, adjust for age, and then claim that shows you the best prospects.

Steven
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Steven
1 year 4 months ago

You’re concerned he doesn’t have physical projectability and that he doesn’t play a “premium” defensive position? You do understand that Betts produced 1.9 WAR in 213 PAs last year while playing mostly in the OF, right? He doesn’t need physical projection or to be a shortstop–all he has to do is be close to what he was last year.

Cracking Chang
Guest
Cracking Chang
1 year 4 months ago

I’ll opt for lean, athletic, fast twitch muscle guys in the post PED era. And I’m pretty sure I’ve read just as many scouting reports on Xander as yourself. Both will be good players but my money would be on Mookie being the superior all around player. Frankly Xander has shown us nothing to be excited about in the field, and that was his rap as a prospect by the scouts.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 4 months ago

Even with his “limited” physical potential, Betts hit 16 HR last year and 15 HR in 2013. Also:

– He led Pawtucket last year in BA, OBP, SLG, and SB despite being the youngest position player on the team

– He led Portland last year in BA, OBP, SLG, and SB despite being the youngest position player on the team

– He led Greenville in 2013 in SLG despite being the youngest position player on the team. His .341 BA and .414 OBP only trailed Garin Cecchini, a decent prospect himself who was 2 years older.

– From May 2013 on, his minor league slash line is .344/.432/.537 over 925 PA, without playing in any bandbox parks or hitter-friendly leagues like the PCL or the California League. That .193 ISO over an almost 2-year stretch simply can’t be done by a slap hitter, even in the minors.

I agree you have to look at the scouting side to gauge a prospect’s future. It just appears that Betts has an incredible gifts of strong wrists/hands and superior hand/eye coordination, enabling him to square up on the ball with authority. Much like the guy blocking him as the everyday 2B for Boston.

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 4 months ago

Cracking Chang, you’re ignoring the pre-PED era. Players of Mookie Betts’ stature becoming stars is incredibly rare in baseball history. It’s not impossible, but it is a longshot. People like Steven who freak out in overreaction to a small sample want to ignore all that, and ignore that Betts was not a highly rated prospect by most prior to last season. But while other prospect evaluators should have paid closer attention to the skills that Mookie does have, they weren’t wrong to be focused on the physical projection he does not have.

KMav
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KMav
1 year 4 months ago

A story came out just 3 days ago saying that Betts has added 10 pounds this off season and expects to add another 5 before the start of the season. So I think you are mistaken. Mookie was the lightest looking player I can ever remember playing in the bigs. He had room to grow in spite of his wireness. And supposedly he has. Will be interesting to see if it adds to his power.

nerf
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nerf
1 year 4 months ago

Traffic must be low this week. Fangraphs decided to temporarily boost revenue by making Boston fans (already frenzied by Ballghazi) foam at the mouth.

Not complaining! I think it’s smart. Whatever helps you guys keep the lights on.

Jason B
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Jason B
1 year 4 months ago

That’s it of course. “We need the CLICKZ!! Write something for the chowdah-heads!”

*rolls eyes*

St. Strasburg
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St. Strasburg
1 year 4 months ago

If I go to Boston, Cistulli can see my halo from his back yard.

Alex
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Alex
1 year 4 months ago

Was just talking about this to a league-mate who is a Boston die-hard. I don’t think it will happen, based on how Boston seems to value Betts, but the Nats’ only real deficiency is at 2nd and the Sox could desperately use a legit top-of-the-rotation guy.

Orsulakfan
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Orsulakfan
1 year 4 months ago

So many articles about a last place team and this guy who hasn’t done anything in the big leagues. I can’t tell you how much I hope Betts will fail. And by fail I mean be just another player rather than the 2nd Coming of Rogers Hornsby. No way would I do this deal if I were the Nats. They’re trying to win in 2015, and they should keep an established stud pitcher and go for it.

Jason B
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Jason B
1 year 4 months ago

“I can’t tell you how much I hope Betts will fail.”

Gee as an Orioles fan I can’t possibly see why that would be…

Orsulakfan
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Orsulakfan
1 year 4 months ago

True, but all this hype is making me desire it all the more. Generally I don’t have specific desires for players to be bad, more of a desire that the team as a whole loses. With Boston and New York sometimes it is a bit more specific, I’ll grant you, but generally I don’t focus on one guy. I like rooting for my team’s success more than another team’s failure, in other words, although I know they go together.

Unapologetic Observer
Guest
Unapologetic Observer
1 year 4 months ago

Just add it to the ever growing list of things for Orioles fans to whine about on this site. You know, because Fangraphs wrote an article about a Boston prospect even though they finished in last place and Baltimore won the division going away. It’s like, ‘hey, Boston has a storied franchise and has won 3 World Series in the last 11 years, but they aren’t relevant.’

Krazy Karl
Guest
Krazy Karl
1 year 4 months ago

Stras and Desmond for TULO…

KMav
Guest
KMav
1 year 4 months ago

My prediction is that in 12 months time, Betts and Strasburg will be coming off 4.5 WAR seasons. One will have 1 season of control at 15 million and be a tough sign. One will have 5 years of control at 7 million a year, have extra upside and be an easier sign. That player would have 10-20 times the value.

Ben Hall
Member
Member
Ben Hall
1 year 4 months ago

A minor point, but the Red Sox do not in fact project as the fourth best team, they project as the best team. They project to have the fourth best record, but they have the most projected WAR, at 45. http://www.fangraphs.com/depthcharts.aspx?position=ALL&teamid=1

Sandy Kazmir
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

What you propose is very similar to the Shields for Odorizzi trade that you hated so much.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 4 months ago

That would make more sense i Stras wasn’t better, younger and cheaper than Shields, and if Myers wasn’t regarded at the time as about as valuable going forward as Mookie Betts is right now.

Sandy Kazmir
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

Same money, same years, same level of aggregate production.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 4 months ago

Less money, same years, lower level of projected production.

I love James Shields, but there’s no way to massage the numbers to make a 31 year old who had been worth 10 WAR (96 ERA-, 94 FIP-) over the last 3 years as valuable as a 26 year old who has been worth 12 WAR (82 ERA-, 79 FIP-) over the last 3 years.

I do admire the effort, though.

Sandy Kazmir
Member
Sandy Kazmir
1 year 4 months ago

Shields was on a deal that guaranteed $7M and $12M in his two years. Strasburg is going to get slightly more than that, but it’s close enough for government work. They were both 3-4 WAR pitchers at the time of two more years of control. While Stras is probably the better pitcher on an inning-for-inning basis, Shields is the superior aggregator. That matters. Your admiration is all that a boy could hope for in this crazy mixed up world.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 4 months ago

Shields got $9m in 2013, and $13.5m in 2014. I have no idea where you got $7m and $12m, but you are incorrect.

Stras is getting $7.4m in 2015, so unless you expect him to make more than $15m in 2016 (which would, of course, require his being better than Shields was in 2013), he’s going to be cheaper.

That’s not even getting into the whole “buying future, not past, performance” part. A pitcher’s 26 and 27 seasons are a little different from his 31 and 32 seasons, believe it or not.

So, again, we have two pitchers:

Pitcher A has more WAR over fewer innings than Pitcher B in the previous three seasons (including one in which he was on an innings limit) and he’s 5 years younger, and he’s less expensive.

And you think that Pitcher B has the same trade value as Pitcher A.

So, yeah. You’re putting in an impressive effort to be as obtuse as possible, regardless of reality, and I respect that.

jdbolick
Member
Member
1 year 4 months ago

Actually Myers was held in dramatically higher regard then than Betts is currently.

redsoxu571
Guest
redsoxu571
1 year 4 months ago

That is patently untrue. Myers had a great looking bat, but no MLB experience and uncertainty at defense. Betts has been skyrocketing, so the perception of some people has lagged, but is athletic and versatile to go with his own tremendous plate production. Given the MLB experience, Betts is at least an equal offensive projection to what Myers was (albeit in a very different way), with the added benefit of playing more valuable positions and playing them better than Myers played his.

Given that Betts is at least halfway out of prospect status now anyways, I would say his value is solidly better than what Myers’s was at the time of that deal.

Cracking Chang
Guest
Cracking Chang
1 year 4 months ago

Yea but can Myers bowl a 299 like Mookie did this winter?

MOOKIE for President 2016….get onboard

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 4 months ago

I know, but I was intentionally couching it for the sake of the Red Sox homers who replied to you.

But yeah, that’s pretty much the point. The Royals gave up more than Betts for less than Strasburg.

Spa City
Member
Member
Spa City
1 year 4 months ago

I doubt the Red Sox would give up another full 6 years of cost-controlled, high end, position-playing talent for 2 years of expensive pitching. The math works out better for the Nats on that deal. The Red Sox could sign James Shields without losing anything, and in so doing they could upgrade their (already strong) rotation while keeping Betts.

I do not see it happening. But who knows?

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 4 months ago

It really doesn’t make any sense for either team, if you stop to take the wider context into account at all.

lewish
Guest
lewish
1 year 4 months ago

Sorry, I just wanted to see how far down this section went.

sandwitchman
Member
sandwitchman
1 year 4 months ago

Betts + Margot (next in line of bogaerts, betts progression) for Strasburg. I think you gotta do this if you’re the Nats, and there’s a compelling case for the Sox too. This helps both teams win it all in 2015/2016. 2 high ceiling guys for the Nats, one low risk (betts) one med/high risk in Margot.

sidenote: what is it about betts that makes him so popular? I love the guy and I’m a Yankees fan!

redsoxu571
Guest
redsoxu571
1 year 4 months ago

It’s always a good start when a guy is named Mookie; I think that has a lot to do with it!

I don’t think such a trade is compelling from Boston’s side, in that Boston would be giving up its leadoff man of today and tomorrow in the process. Remember when Boston dealt “uncertain” Melancon for Hanrahan. I GUARANTEED that that deal wouldn’t favor Boston the very next year and would be even worse in following years, and I was right. This is the same deal…no matter how helpful Strasburg would be, between the production and the cost control of Betts there is virtually ZERO chance that Boston doesn’t come out significantly on the low end of a Betts-Strasburg deal. Toss in more prospects and it just becomes worse.

I say the untouchables are Betts and Bogaerts, because they’re full time MLBers now. Swihart is nearly there, because he is the key to the catching future, but he can be discussed. After that, all ears on everyone else, and the options are plentiful. High upside bats in Devers or Margot? Projectable SPing in Owens, Barnes, Rodriguez, Johnson, et al? Potential fits for 2016 at 3B and/or SS in Cecchini and Marrero?

I don’t get why people always insist deals have to include the very best piece in a system…sometimes that makes little sense. Boston has fantastic breadth at the top of its system, so it’s easy to imagine that Washington could find three pieces that suit its fancy. What would be so wrong with a package of, say, Margot, Cecchini, the pick of the SP litter, and perhaps one other slightly lower tier prospect? That’s a darn good package.

Matt
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Matt
1 year 4 months ago

The TL;DR was over a page long. Get a grip. In the Red Sox portion, your argument was that every team needs more than 5 starters. Game over.

redsoxu571
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redsoxu571
1 year 4 months ago

I think the mistake made in this article is assuming that all prospects are valued equally to their status. In this situation, let’s call Betts roughly equal to what Wil Myers was a couple of years ago, and he was traded, and for a similar return to what is being discussed.

But Betts is not the same as Myers, even as their general league-wide values might seem similar. Betts clearly is a apple of Boston’s eye, and has been for about a year and a half now. His rise has been fairly meteoric, and his production has been remarkable. He is an athlete, is versatile, and has a great feel at the plate, culminating in high OBPs. Add in the strong numbers in a decent MLB sampling, and individually it is easy to have a LOT of faith in Betts.

And therein lies the problem. No matter how much you like certain top-10 prospects, you know they don’t all make it. Heck, even a top top guy such as Delmon Young can disappoint. But it’s easy to think that Boston no longer has such uncertainties with Betts, and so value him more like a guy who has done it for a couple of years in MLB, but still with a full slate of control to go. That kind of asset is HUGE and frankly almost untradeable, as you are taking a surefire bite out of your MLB team (assuming your analysis of Betts is correct) if you deal him away.

Boston has plenty of other prospects that it has the usual uncertain feel for, including Swihart and especially Owens. If a trade involving prospects must be made, don’t have it include the two MLB pieces in the pot, in Betts and Bogaerts. That’s the core of the lineup for the next 5+ years!

Grant
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Grant
1 year 4 months ago

What’s TL;DR mean? Seemed like a summary.

Friendly neighborhood commenter
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Friendly neighborhood commenter
1 year 4 months ago

Too long; didn’t read

Omar
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Omar
1 year 4 months ago

This shit is pure and unbridled insanity.

Bobr
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Bobr
1 year 4 months ago

I am surprised that in projecting the Nationals’ issues to 2016 and beyond, you do not mention Giolito. Of course prospects are chancy, but he has a chance to be an ace, and by 2016-7 could join a still young enough Scherzer in the rotation which would offset the loss of Strasburg.

Brock Holt
Guest
Brock Holt
1 year 4 months ago

I can’t wait for Mookie to turn into the same player as me!

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 4 months ago

There’s an outside chance that 2015 Betts = 2014 Holt

And that 2015 Holt = 2007 Pablo Ozuna

Yo
Guest
Yo
1 year 4 months ago

So Betts for Strasburg…Are you a Boston fan? You got to be kidding for someone mention this trade.

2014 National Champions
Guest
2014 National Champions
1 year 4 months ago

I’m pretty smug about the fact I have been on the Betts bandwagon longer than anyone in the baseball world. Smug smug smug. Middle TN produces ridiculous talent per capita

Umpire Weekend
Guest
Umpire Weekend
1 year 4 months ago

So. I knew the Nashville college hipster scene before it was cool.

Bret
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Bret
1 year 4 months ago

It would be impossible to read all the comments on this article as they are coming faster than I can read (possibly because trading Stras straight for Betts is absurd). Because I haven’t read all the comments, I post at the risk of being repetitive, but here it goes.

A more reasonable trade for the Nats would be to trade Zimmerman and Desmond for Betts, Boegarts, and Owens.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 4 months ago

That would definitely be better for the Nats.

Now as for the Red Sox, I can only presume that they would much rather keep Bogaerts and Betts and try to use their top-tier minor leaguers to get any upgrade. Which, in other words, leads them directly toward a rebuilding team like the Phillies instead of a fellow “win-now” team like the Nats.

I say Boston should offer Castillo, Owens, and Cecchini for Hamels, with no money coming back. Neither team “needs” the money, but basically you’re trading Hamels (a proven ace with a big contract) for Castillo (a proven big contract who could be anyone from Cutch 2.0 to Jackie Bradley III). Owens and Cecchini is the price you pay for the upgrade in certainty.

The Phils, of course, can and should push back. But I think that’s the core of a realistic deal.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 4 months ago

I wouldn’t want Castillo at all were I the Phils. I’d rather have just Swihart, and drop Owens and Cecchini, than commit $70 million to a complete unknown who the Sox overpaid for.

tz
Guest
tz
1 year 4 months ago

I happen to agree. And if Ruben Amaro-Gillick is bold enough to agree to Swihart and one other complementary piece as the return for Hamels, it would be a win-win.

Though my money is on Hamels + cash to the Padres for a flotilla of young players

Dan
Guest
Dan
1 year 4 months ago

Is Strasburg really the pitcher you want to argue can “make two starts and a relief appearance in a seven game series”? He had 0 complete games last season. He went 8 innings once. He only went more than 7.0 innings three other times.

He’s been handled with kid gloves (relatively speaking) his entire career. I’m think you probably aren’t going to be able to count on him getting heavy usage in a series in October, or at least pitching well in that situation. He’s a guy you can probably expect to start twice on normal rest and that’s about it.

Bert
Guest
Bert
1 year 4 months ago

You can’t blame the way the Nats use him on Strasburg, I’m sure if a team asked him to throw two games and relieve another he would.

The Sox wouldn’t be able to say yes fast enough if they were offered Strasburg for Betts. Everyone gets too caught up in team control and surplus value, Strasburg would give the Sox a far better chance to win this year than Betts would. Betts is a nice player to have but he isn’t a player who’s talent is irreplacable.

Dan
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Dan
1 year 4 months ago

I’m not blaming the Nats or Strasburg. Just pointing out that I wouldn’t count on him being able to deliver major innings and short rest with high performance in October.

Brooks
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Brooks
1 year 4 months ago

Well-thought out article and many solid points, but what it fails to mention is that the Nationals most likely have the east locked up. This team is built for October. That’s why they got Scherzer in the first place. I would rather have Scherzer/Strasburg/Zimmermann with Yunel at 2B, than not have those three and have Betts at 2B, in a short series. The former is more impactful.

Cracking Chang
Guest
Cracking Chang
1 year 4 months ago

If I was the Nats I’d rather have Betts at 2nd and Scherzer/Zimmerman/Fister go. Escobar already comes with a crappy attitude and dwindling skills, his bruised ego from moving to 2nd from SS will be fun to watch.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff
1 year 4 months ago

As a Redsox fan, I pass. Strasburg is a Boras client so he wont be open to an extension. I wouldnt trade 6+ years of Betts or 2 years of Strasburg. That simple

Not to mention, over a full season, Steamer has Betts at a 4.5 WAR and Strasburg at a 4 WAR

So Steamer has Betts and Straburg as almost equal players in terms of value. So essentally your trading 6 years for 2 years of the same production… Easy pass

Ted Leavengood
Guest
1 year 4 months ago

As a Redsox fan, Jeff, you may believe that Mookie Betts’ 189 MLB at bats are a legitimate sample size, but the reason that Strasburg has only two years available for Boston is that he has proven his value over 649 MLB innings. In terms of reliability, Strasburg has far greater value and would warrant something more than Mookie Betts in a trade. I understand your myopia, but there is no way Washington would do a straight one-for-one trade, Betts for Strasburg. Throw in a quality reliever to cover the hole in the pitching staff that the trade leaves for the Nationals and it might work, but otherwise it is not worth talking about.

Cracking Chang
Guest
Cracking Chang
1 year 4 months ago

Ted, you do realize that in addition to those 189 MLB at bats where he threw up a 1.9 WAR, he also has had 900+ at bats of insane production at the MiLB level. He played 2-3 yrs younger then the avg. guy in those leagues and it wasn’t like he was putting up those numbers in the California or PCL league. Throw in an above average glove, positional versatility and good speed and you get several projection sites coming up with 4 WAR player next season. Betts is not getting dealt, not for Cole Hamels, not for Jordan Zimmerman and not for Stephen Strasberg.

Spa City
Member
Member
Spa City
1 year 4 months ago

I could not possibly agree with a comment as completely as I agree with Cracking Chad’s comment.

Strasberg has settled in as a solid 4+ WAR starter, which makes him very valuable but certainly not an elite Pedro Martinez-level pitcher.

Betts’ 189 major league at bats only served to show that his minor league performance can be repeated in the majors. Betts has outstanding contact skills, outstanding discipline and batting eye, excellent speed and base running skills, good defense at several positions. He already seems to be a 4 WAR player, with room for improvement. He earns league minimum salary and has 6 more full seasons of team control.

I cannot imagine a reason to trade Mookie Betts at this point. Certainly not for a player of similar projected WAR value with only 2 seasons of team control at a much higher salary.

The Red Sox have minor leaguers they can trade for other pitching help, including Garin Cecchini, Manuel Margot, Deven Marrero and others. And they have the money to sign James Shields if they just need a quick pitching upgrade. I cannot believe they would trade Mookie.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth
1 year 4 months ago

You know what Cecchini, Margot and Marrero have in common?

The three of them put together won’t be able to net you a solid #3 starter.

Also, it’s incorrect to say that Strasburg has “settled in” as anything 659 innings into his MLB career. He’s established a baseline that is roughly in line with an optimistic projection for Mookie (whom I have a deep, irrational prospect crush on FWIW), but he certainly hasn’t “settled in” as anything at the age of 26.

He’s younger than Garrett Richards, remember.

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