2013 Trade Value: #50 – #46

Honorable Mentions

We begin with the last five spots on the list. These guys are all excellent players, but they come with some concerns either about their contract, health, or future performance. Teams would love to have any of them, but there are reasons to think that some would hesitate or back away entirely even if these players were made available. They would have significant appeal to a few clubs, but not the broad appeal to start off a league wide bidding war. On to the list.

 

#50 Austin Jackson (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
26 302 10.3 % 20.5 % .280 .355 .403 .336 110 -0.8 4.7 2.0

Under Team Control Through 2015: Arbitration

While Jackson hasn’t been as good as he was a year ago, he’s still an extremely athletic 26-year-old with a pretty strong performance record. Whether he can consistently hit for enough power to be a true star remains to be seen, but his contact rate improvements have made that less of a necessity. He’s already a very good player, but there remains additional upside beyond what he’s done this season.

The two years of team control are the big stickler here, and why he just snuck onto the list. Any team trading for Jackson would get his age-27 and age-28 seasons at a legitimate discount, given that he doesn’t do the types of things that pay huge money in arbitration, and would have be acquiring the right to try and sign him long term. Without that kind of security, though, Jackson’s value is somewhat limited, but his relatively low HR/SB totals could make a multi-year deal with Jackson possible at a reasonable price.

Unless Detroit gets him to sign that kind of deal, though, this is likely Jackson’s last appearance on the Trade Value list. He’s getting closer to the point where he’d be an extended rental, and with Scott Boras as his agent, don’t expect him to pass on free agency once it gets within spitting distance. For now, though, Jackson’s combination of low salary and high performance earn him the final spot on this year’s list.

 

#49 Justin Verlander (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
30 126.0 8.93 3.21 42.3 % 3.50 3.23 3.64 2.6 3.0

Under Team Control Through 2019: $20 million in ’14, $28 million through ’19

This was one of the most difficult ratings of the entire list.  The “What’s Wrong With Justin Verlander” narrative seems to be growing, despite the fact that his 3.23 FIP says that he’s just fine.  Still, Verlander doesn’t look quite as dominant as he did the last few years, and he is a 30-year-old pitcher with a lot of mileage on his arm and a huge price tag for a long time.  Odds are good that the end of his current contract is going to be a bad deal.  

However, we cannot just overlook Verlander’s remarkable amount of present value.  Even at $20 million next year, he’ll be significantly underpaid, and the value of a legitimate #1 starter remains extremely high given that those players just don’t make it to free agency anymore. There are a lot of teams who wouldn’t be able to carry Verlander’s salary, but there are enough high revenue clubs that could to start a bidding war if the Tigers decided to make him available.  

Long term contracts for pitchers generally work out poorly, and Justin Verlander might be showing signs of decline.  However, even during his “struggles”, he’s still among the game’s best hurlers, and his value over the next few years outweighs the potential albatross nature of his deal at the back end.  With money flowing into the game, teams can afford to pay the best players in the game, and Verlander remains a difference maker. 

 

#48 Adrian Beltre (3B)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
34 399 5.5 % 10.5 % .316 .358 .543 .386 140 0.7 -1.9 3.3

Under Team Control Through 2016: $17 million, $18 million, $16 million voidable option

It’s easy to still think of Beltre as a glove first third baseman who also hits sometimes, but since the start of the 2010 season, he has a 139 wRC+, good for 12th best in all of baseball. That’s a better mark that Giancarlo Stanton has put up during the same stretch, if you want some context. Beltre has developed into one of the best hitters in the sport, but it hasn’t come at the cost of the rest of his value. As an all around player, Beltre has few peers, combining MVP level offense with stellar defense at third base.

If he was younger or cheaper, he’d probably be in the top 10, but this ranking reflects the reality that he is 34-years-old and due either $35 million over the next two seasons or $51 million over the next three. For his level of production, the price is still a huge steal, but there aren’t a lot of players that can maintain +6 WAR paces into their mid-30s, and Beltre should probably be expected to slow down in the not too distant future.

However, the contract isn’t so expensive or so long that it would prohibit a team from acquiring a true star who would represent a monstrous upgrade in the present. Beltre might not have as much long term value as everyone else on this list, but his short term value is immense, and would require a significant bidding war to get him from the Rangers.

 

#47 David Price (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
27 80.0 7.54 1.58 48.1 % 3.94 3.45 3.37 0.5 1.5

Under Team Control Through 2015: Arbitration

Last year, Justin Upton was the guy on the list that we all knew was going to get traded, testing the market for his skills.  This year, Price is that guy, as he’s very likely to be moved this winter, as his arbitration payout will price him out of the Rays budget.  So, we’re going to find out in a few months exactly what Price’s trade value actually is.  

My guess is that the price is going to be extremely high.  Price’s mid-season DL stint hurt him somewhat, and his rapidly escalating arbitration payouts thanks to Super Two status have already made him expensive, but for a risk averse team that wants a #1 starter and doesn’t want to commit a couple hundred million to get one, Price might be a very enticing option.  

At probably something in the neighborhood of $35 million in arbitration payouts before he hits free agency, Price isn’t low cost, but he’s easily capable of providing a lot of value beyond those salaries before he hits the open market.  The question will be how whether a team is willing to bet big on a premium arm who both spent time on the DL and showed significant velocity loss.  How he pitches in the second half may go a long way to establishing his trade value, but we don’t have the luxury of knowing how that’s going to turn out at this point.  

So, for now, Price slots in towards the bottom of the list.  There are red flags here, but there’s also a ton of upside.  The trade market for him should be fascinating.

 

#46 Desmond Jennings (OF)


Age PA BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ Fld BsR WAR
26 399 9.0 % 18.3 % .267 .335 .449 .341 119 -2.3 3.8 2.7

Under Team Control Through 2017: Pre-Arb, Arbitration

Jennings might be the quietest star player in baseball.  After spending his first few years playing next to B.J. Upton, he’s now taken over center field full time, and he continues to progress as a hitter at the same time.  While he falls into the category of guys with somewhat mixed offensive track records, he’s over 1,000 plate appearances of above average offense and hasn’t yet turned 27-years-old.  

The contract is a significant part of his value as well.  He’s still got another year of league minimum play, as the Rays kept him in the minors long enough that he should avoid Super Two status, and then he has three arbitration years to go before he gets to free agency.  That leaves Jennings with four low cost seasons, coming from ages 27-30, as a terrific athlete who is showing real offensive promise.  

There’s enough variance in his game that he could go either direction on this list.  The upside is there for him to turn into Andrew McCutchen Lite and be among the most valuable players in the game.  If the power disappears again, he might end up in the pile of +3 WAR players just on the outside looking in.  But, the speed and defense aren’t going anywhere any time soon, and Jennings athleticism gives him enough of a boost to get him onto the back end of the list.  Where he’ll be in a year depends on how much of his current power he can sustain.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.



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Chris
Guest
Chris

Wow, all American League players. Such a homer, Cameron. I knew you’d purposefully exclude Ben Revere from this list.

JoshEngleman
Member

You knew he would specifically exclude him from spots 46 through 50? Interesting.

Chris
Guest
Chris

Well he’s not going to be above Jennings now is he? Man, think before you post things.

The anti-Phillies bashing on this site is nuts. Michael Young is hitting .288 with pop and amazing defense and I bet he doesn’t make this list either.

TheUnrepentantGunner
Guest
TheUnrepentantGunner

troll troll troll city!

i find this hilarious.

while were here, ryan howard only makes 25 million, and will probably hit 20 homers this year and hit 270. A bargain!

Teddy
Guest
Teddy

michael young is also 37 and has a negative fielding of -8.8 this year, he might not even make the top 100 never mind the top 50 lol

Adam
Guest
Adam

You have to pay the troll toll to get inside the boy’s hole.

WIlliam
Guest
WIlliam

Sarcasm does not work as well without the tone of voice

Chris
Guest
Chris

What? This isn’t trolling, and of course the commenters on this site would think appreciating Michael Young’s value is nothing more than a joke.

But whatever, I do understand that Young is older and that hurts his long term value.

BUT EXPLAIN BEN REVERE?!?!

He’s making 500k at 25 years old and is hitting .305 while playing a spectatular centerfield, this best in baseball outside Carlos Gomez (forget this year’s UZR; check the last two seasons for a more representative sample).

Young, fast, a good hitter and cost controlled and a premium position…but of course Cameron doesn’t think he makes the CUT, let alone the list.

This is bigotry against the Phillies, plain and simple.

Caveman Jones
Member
Caveman Jones

Wait, the same Ben Revere with a career 81 wRC+? I know he’s a good fielder, this year’s UZR aside, but a good hitter? Come on, this guy has exactly 0 HRs in his career and was traded for next to nothing last year… how much value can he really have?!

John
Guest
John

Doesn’t this site have any better measurements of what makes a hitter “good” than batting average? Maybe we should look at some other stats before we call Ben Revere “good”.

Kazinski
Guest
Kazinski

I can’t wait to rip Cameron for Raul Ibanez not making the list either. He’s got 24 HR at the Allstar break. He’s providing more defensive value than Miguel Cabrera, with a higher ISO.

Two More Cuts
Guest
Two More Cuts

Player A) .305/.338/.352/.305/92
Player B) .267/.335/.449/.341/119

BA/OBP/SLG/wOBA/wRC+

Both players under team control until 2017!

Mr. Jones
Member

Caveman makes the relevant point here. We saw what Ben Revere was traded for in the off-season. It’s nowhere close to what the guys above would command.

rogue_actuary
Member
Member
rogue_actuary

I’m still not sure if you’re trolling or not…

If you’re not, then you clearly don’t understand how this list is being determined. It’s about value in excess of what the player is being paid.

In the last 18 months, Michael Young has been worth negative-1.3 WAR. He’s 37. And he makes $16M in 2013, which is the last year of his contract.

Hitting .288 sounds really good, but … there is more to value than batting average.

Among qualifying batters who play 3B and since the start of 2012, Young’s ranks are:

OBP: 13th out of 15 (ahead of Pedro Alvarez and Moustakas

SLG: 13th (ahead of Alberto Callaspo and Moustakas)

wOBA: 13th (ahead of same two as SLG)

wRC+: 14th (ahead of only Moustakas)

Fld: 14th (ahead of only Miguel Cabrera, Zimmerman > neg.-11.2, -17.3 for Young, -21.6 for Miggy)

BsR: 13th (ahead of Aramis Ramirez and David Freese… and … behind Miguel Cabrera… negative-5.8 for Young, negative-2.2 for the speedy Cabrera).

WAR: 15th (Moustakas > +2.9, ARod > +1.9, Michael Young > negative-1.3)

Over the last 18 months, Michael Young has been paid about $24M and has produced negative-1.3 WAR. At $5M/win, one would have expected about 5 WAR over that same time period.

But… contract aside… Michael Young, relative to his peers, is not even an average baseball player. His exclusion from this list is not a bias against the Phillies, but rather an (I would assume) a very concerted bias against players performing at below replacement levels over 18 month periods.

Compared to every qualifying player over the last 18 months, Michael Young ranks 135th out of 137 in WAR. Ahead of Delmon Young and Jeff Francoeur.

Getting back to his contract and the concept of surplus value, he is not under contract beyond this year. So, even if he wasn’t one of the three worst qualifying position players over the last 18 months, any team trading for him would only be “renting” him for the last 70 or so games of 2013.

The guys on this list are either extremely good baseball players or they play under team-friendly contracts.

Think Mike Trout. He has created 15.6 wins ABOVE replacement. He plays for the league mininum. I’m not sure when his arbitration years start (either 2014 or 2014), but he’ll start getting big raises at that time. They’ll be less than his market value. And that’s where the trade value comes in.

I’m sorry that you think he should be on this list. This is probably the wrong website for your consumption of baseball information. Since Young isn’t from Philly, and since you accuse Dave/Fangraphs of a bias against the Phillies, it seems unlikely that you’re related to Young. But, in any event, you’re probably going to find a lot of content here unsettling.

I would suggest going to the ESPN.com MLB leaderboard and sorting the players by their batting averages. Young’s .288 will be a lot more comforting in that context.

MH
Guest
MH

The best way to get taken seriously on the internet: say “think before you post things”

Matt
Guest
Matt

“Man, think before you post things.”

“Michael Young… amazing defense…”

Don't See How
Guest
Don't See How

Know what Ben Revere and I have in common? We’ve both his exactly the same amount of HRs in the MLB since 2010.

Chris
Guest
Chris

You guys just clearly don’t know baseball.

FINE, if no Revere and no Michael Young, then what about Jimmy Rollins (no way on Dom Brown: he strikes out way too much and takes too many pitches).

J-Ro is a PROVEN WINNER. He plays a premium position and his deal is reasonable.

Too bad we’ll probably see Segura, a ROOKIE, instead of J-Ro. wOBA my behind

Caveman Jones
Member
Caveman Jones

Ahh yes, the “proven winner” label, that screams value to general mangers. Jimmy Rollins is a good player, even now in his decline years, no doubt. However, the point of this list is to be valuable in a trade and there’s not much upside left in a 34 year old middle infielder in his decline years. Yes, he’s only making $11M, but that’s because when he was a free agent 2 years ago nobody thought he was good enough to pay him more than that. Any team could have had him for more just a bit than his salary and they all passed, even at a relatively short length deal (3yrs+1opt).

You’re missing the point of this list. It’s either going to be full of superstars who haven’t hit their payday yet or it’s young guys making no money with a high ceiling. Quite frankly, while Revere’s ceiling is an average hitter with plus defense, that’s Jennings floor at this point. Trade value is based on projection relative to salary/cost certainty, and Revere just doesn’t belong.

Scraps
Guest
Scraps

J-Ro is a PROVEN WINNER.

If anyone had any lingering doubt, he’s a troll, probably a sarcastic troll; the sarcastic troll usually denies it, rolling up the minus votes, enjoying it.

DarkKnight
Guest
DarkKnight

Yeah. We’ve moved directly under the bridge here. No one could be that irrational about the garbage offense that the Phillies trot out there on a daily basis.

bc
Guest
bc

Ya, I’m voting all of Chris’ posts +1 just to mess with him.

Røark
Guest
Røark

Are you saying that you acknowledge that he is not going to be above Desmond Jennings because you acknowledge that he is not as valuable as Desmond Jennings? You might be making Dave’s argument here.

Mcneildon
Guest
Mcneildon

Oh my God. Listen, when somebody is clearly running out some tired Fire Joe Morgan routine on Fangraphs, as Chris clearly is, just leave it alone. Down votes make them happy, and thousands of words worth of rebuttals make them continue to comment. Just recognize the comment for what it is, ignore it, and save your responses for legitimate comments. He’s probably going to do this on each ranking piece now since so many people responded with serious arguments.

Josh
Guest
Josh

Ben Revere’s Trade value = Vance Worley

piratesbreak500
Guest
piratesbreak500

Worley=monster of the called strike. Clearly, using the transitive property…

Eminor3rd
Guest
Eminor3rd

lol Ben Revere

Bab
Guest
Bab

Do you by any chance come from Butthurt Town? I hear it’s a nice place but you have to tread lightly.

Joe Veno
Member

They are all from his favorite team too, the Mariners.

Clifford
Guest
Clifford

Chris. You’re comments are now at a combined -345. Congratulations. That’s a great feat.

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