2010 Trade Value: #5 – #1


#5 – Dustin Pedroia, 2B, Boston

Whether it is his size or the fact that he is overshadowed by other players on his team, Pedroia still hardly ever gets the recognition for being one of the best players in baseball. But he is one of the best in baseball at making contact while still hitting for power, and he rounds out his game by drawing walks, stealing bases at a high success rate, and playing excellent defense at second base. Over all, the package adds up to a +5 to +6 win player in his prime. Oh, and he’s under contract for the next five years at a total of $44 million – the last year is voided if he’s traded, but still, 4/33 for what Pedroia brings to the table is a huge bargain.

#4 – Hanley Ramirez, SS, Florida

Yet another guy for whom it was pretty tough to find a final spot. Ramirez obviously brings positives to the table, as he is an offensive monster for a shortstop, especially compared with the current group that comprises his peers. He’s a five tool player producing at a premium position, and at just 26 years of age, he could get even better. And yet, he’s had some pretty public issues with management and is still not considered the hardest worker around. Further his contract is no longer dirt cheap, as he’ll be paid $57 million over the next four years. The performance and talent, however, is too impressive to have him any lower on this list, as teams would gladly put up with Ramirez’s warts in order to get a shortstop with a career .394 wOBA.

#3 – Stephen Strasburg, SP, Washington

This may be as high as any pitcher will ever rank on this list. Strasburg has been nothing short of sensational so far in the big leagues, posting a ridiculous 2.11 xFIP in his first eight starts. His stuff is better than anyone in baseball, and it’s hard to see hitters figuring him out as long as he keeps throwing this hard. Oh, and the Nationals control his rights through 2016. He won’t make any serious money for another three years, so for now, the Nationals get one of the game’s best pitchers at about 5 percent of his market value. But, as with any pitcher, the risks are significant. The superlatives could all disappear with one pitch, as it has for so many phenoms before him. Pitcher attrition would keep other teams from giving up the kitchen sink to get Strasburg, but as good as he is, the refrigerator is probably on the table.

#2 – Jason Heyward, OF, Atlanta

The year’s other phenom, Heyward isn’t as good as Strasburg right now, but he’s a hitter, and that makes all the difference in the world when assigning risk. At just 20 years old, he’s already shown he’s ready for the big leagues, flashing both patience and power at the plate. He’s far from a finished product, but the skills are there for him to become the game’s premier outfielder. It may come sooner than later, in fact. Because the Braves brought him up at the start of the season, they “only” control his rights through 2015, but that’s still five more years of team control for the game’s best young talent who still can’t drink. Almost everyone who is this good at this age becomes a superstar, and few doubt that Heyward is headed that way.

#1 – Evan Longoria, 3B, Tampa Bay

In May, when Heyward was going nuts, I asked my fellow FG authors if they thought there was an argument for Longoria to get displaced from the top spot. The answer – no, that contract is still too ridiculous. And,upon a another look, it is. Despite being one of the game’s premier players, Longoria will make $2 million next year. Over the next six years, he’ll be paid $42 million, or about 25 percent of his market value, which is just crazy. No player in the game provides the same performance for anything close to this kind of cost, and I don’t know that there’s an offer out there that would make Tampa Bay trade their third baseman. Unless Heyward turns into the best player in the game next year, I’m not sure Longoria will be ceding this spot to anyone for quite some time. His contract is the most team friendly deal any player has ever signed.

So, that’s the 2010 Trade Value series. I’ll do another post at 5 pm talking about some of the questions that arose from the list, such as why I left off Roy Halladay and Dan Haren, and look at some of the guys who disappeared from last year’s list.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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Dr. Strangelove
13 years ago

Has Longoria fired his agent yet?

Salty Dog
13 years ago

I wish more guys would think like him. Did he maximize his earning potential? No, but he secured his future and gave his team a great chance to build a winner around him. After all, when he’s sitting back in retirement, is he going to care that the pile of money he’s sitting on is $40 million, and not $140 million? No.

Besides, his agent probably advised him not to do it, if only out of self-interest. If Longoria waits a few years, he gets a ton more money, which makes his agent more.

13 years ago
Reply to  Salty Dog


why would he care about winning to his earnings? he’s not a fricking fan.

13 years ago
Reply to  Salty Dog

Why would he care about winning? Because working for a terrible company sucks. It lowers your standard of living, increases stress, and shortens your live.

At the amount of money we’re talking here, standard of living is way more important than more money. If winning makes him happier, than its everything,.

13 years ago
Reply to  Salty Dog

He could have secured his future while giving up much less of his upside. I’m pretty sure he could have sold rights to his next 6 years earnings to investors for more than $42M, but more importantly he could have secured $20M or so over a shorter time span and gotten to free agency.

13 years ago
Reply to  Salty Dog

After taxes, that $40 million is going to look like $20 million. Take out some money for living and spending and it’s looking like probably 5-10 million. Considering he could’ve had over 100 million in that same time frame, that’s a lot of cash to give up. I mean if he never earned another penny in the majors, he’ll probably be living on 150-200K per year for the rest of his life. That’s comfortable living, but nothing like what he could have generated.

13 years ago
Reply to  Salty Dog

if longoria cares about winning, that’s his pejorative. however, i am simply remarking on salty dog’s desire to see more players like him, and actually implying that players SHOULD prefer winning to their careers.

13 years ago
Reply to  Salty Dog

prerogative rather

hurr me

My echo and bunnymen
13 years ago
Reply to  Salty Dog

His standard of living? Wouldn’t playing in a crummy city like Tampa Bay and a horrific stadium like Tropicana Field, and the unnecessary stress from dealing with catwalks be the definition of poor standard of living?

13 years ago
Reply to  Salty Dog

I hate this line of thinking, if Longoria should be a sport and take less than he deserves because its not about the money, then the baseball team should pony up and volunteer to pay extra because he’s such a good sport.

In the end these cancel out and he deserves market value.