2011 Trade Value: #35-#31

#50-#46
#46-#41
#40-#36

In this section, we deal with three pitchers at different points in their careers, but all highly coveted by the teams that don’t own their rights at the moment. We also look at two position players who couldn’t be more different, both in terms of on-field attributes and the ramifications of their contracts.

Rank – Player – Position – Team – Past 3 Calendar Year WAR

#35 – Trevor Cahill, RHP, Oakland: +4.3

If this list were just on field value, Cahill would probably not crack the top 50. But Cahill’s early career excellence and the quality of his sinker make him one of the most coveted young pitchers in the game even if his peripherals aren’t quite as good as his ERA. Teams look at his results and his stuff and believe that he’s a front-line guy, even if the walks are a bit higher than you’d like and him not being a dominant strikeout guy. When you add in the contract he just signed (4 years and $29 million left after this season, plus two team options), his value as a trade chip is very, very high.

#34 – Alexei Ramirez, SS, Chicago White Sox: +10.3

Ramirez might not be the most exciting player in baseball, and almost certainly doesn’t come to mind when you think of a franchise player, but given the dearth of shortstops in the Major Leagues, he could fetch a small ransom for the White Sox if they wanted to move him. He’s a solid average hitter who plays terrific defense at the most important position on the field, and it’s getting harder and harder to find that particular skillset. The White Sox were able to lock him up to a 4 year, $32 million contract that kicks in next year, so he’s both good and cheap for the foreseeable future.

#33 – Tim Lincecum, RHP, San Francisco: +20.7

Again, we see another example of placement due to something other than on field value. Lincecum is going to blow up the arbitration system this winter, and it’s widely expected that he’ll land a salary in the range of $20 million for 2012, an unheard of number for a guy with his service time. Even with two more years of team control after this season, Lincecum’s wages are at the point where most teams would be priced out of the bidding. Certainly the teams with the payrolls to have him would be interested, but, realistically, there’s a shallow pool of teams who could say they’re in for $20 million in 2012 and maybe $25-$30 million in 2013. Those organizations would pay a lot to get Lincecum if the Giants ever decided to move him, but Brian Sabean wouldn’t have his pick of teams to deal with.

#32 – Michael Pineda, RHP, Seattle: +2.4

Pineda has burst onto the scene in his rookie season, even getting named to the All-Star team and impressing everyone with a dominant inning on Tuesday night. With a power fastball and a breaking ball that serves as a true strikeout pitch, Pineda has the tools to be a front-of-the-rotation guy, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s 6’7, which causes hitters to have trouble picking the ball up out of his hand. With five more years of team control after this one and a league minimum salary through at least the next two years, Pineda is also one of the most cost effective players in baseball. At this point, only questions about his long term durability would hold teams back from giving up significant packages to acquire Pineda.

#31 – Ryan Braun, OF, Milwaukee: +15.8

A year ago, Braun placed 12th on this same list, and he’s now enjoying the best season of his career, so why did he fall nearly 20 spots on this year’s version? Look no further than the extension the Brewers gave him that doesn’t kick in until 2016. While Braun’s current contract is a huge bargain, the $105 million extension that runs from 2016-2020 is a risk that many franchises simply wouldn’t be willing to absorb. They’d love to have Braun, especially at the wages he’s being paid now, but owing him money for nine more seasons after this one is a rightfully scary proposition. The Brewers clearly signed Braun with the intent to keep him in Milwaukee for the long haul, which is good because the deal almost certainly did more harm to his trade value than anything else.

We hoped you liked reading 2011 Trade Value: #35-#31 by Dave Cameron!

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newest oldest most voted
SC2GG
Guest

If Ramirez is on this list, does that mean Yunel Escobar is on the list later too? I understand if you don’t want to give away the future, but if not, why?

RC
Member
Member
RC

Yunel Escobar was basically dumped last year for Alex Gonazlez and 2 B-level prospects. Since then he has gain a year of service time and signed a guaranteed contract. I don’t think he would qualify in the top 50, since his trade value was so low a year ago.

Benjamin
Guest
Benjamin

the guaranteed contract is $10M with 2 $5M team options. that’s an absolute steal for a 4 win shortstop, though your point about what he actually got traded for is a good one

SC2GG
Guest

Just because the Braves made a boneheaded move and traded Yunel doesn’t make his trade value lower, it just makes the deal look even worse for the Braves. If all the worlds GMs went by this list, the world would be less exciting.

I have no doubt that Ramirez is a better overall shortstop, but was taking into account Yunels amazingly team friendly contract, and he’s doing a little better at the plate than Ramirez is this year too.

I certainly felt he should be top 50, given the comparisons available. Hey Dave, did you forget about Yunel?! The adoring public wants to know.

NEPP
Guest
NEPP

Yup, and even at the time, it was regarded as a universally stupid move by the Braves. You have clubhouse issues? Fine, trade him. There is zero reason to take pennies on the dollar even with clubhouse issues. It was a pathetic attempt by the Braves FO to give Bobby Cox one last chance to make a run. Great job, Braves!

And this is coming from a biased Phillies fan that was ecstatic when I saw that trade last year.

TK
Guest
TK

The Braves made the playoffs, which they probably wouldn’t have done if they had not shipped Yunel out. If there was a better SS available and the Braves decided against him, then it was a bad move. If Alex Gonzalez was the best they could get, it was a good trade. I don’t know if Wren overvalued Alex Gonzalez because of his great power in early 2010, or if he really was the best they could get. I do know that Yunel was not only a cancer in the clubhouse, but was really terrible on the field, too. And even now, let’s not act like the Braves traded away Ozzie Smith or Cal Ripken. Yunel has turned it around and is a nice player, but I’d rather have the Braves 2010 Wild Card in Bobby’s last year than who knows what with Yunel. And on another note, I don’t know if it is a Canada thing, but Blue Jays fans with their cult-like praise of AA are just annoying. I mean, I know it’s childish but: scoreboard? Where are the Jays and where are the Braves?

Noxage
Guest
Noxage

“Where are the Jays and where are the Braves?”

The AL East and NL East respectively. Sort of sewers you “scoreboard beak”.

That was a nice way to wrap up an awful post though.

Lewis
Guest
Lewis

@TK

Jays fans are far from the only group that are all about the AA. As an impartial, NL West-centric observer (Padres fan), I think what the Jays (and similarly the Rays before them) are doing in the AL East to compete is fascinating.

Up to this point, all the AA adulation is probably warranted.

TK
Guest
TK

What the Rays have done is amazing, yet you hear much much less about them (maybe they just don’t have fans). On the other hand, the Jays have yet to compete in the AL East. I agree that they’ve made some good moves, but their fans are more obnoxious than Red Sox fans, which is hard to do. It really is baffling to me how one can sit and trash the Braves front office. Anyone who knows anything knows that trading Yunel was a good move for the Braves, as it probably was the difference between winning the WC and going home with nothing. Unless you have a reason to believe they could have gotten more for a clubhouse cancer with 0 HRs, then you’re just blowing smoke.

Guy
Guest
Guy

@ Frank Wren…or TK or whomever…

“Anyone who knows anything knows that trading Yunel was a good move for the Braves”

That is an obviously debatable statement.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B

TK: “The Braves made the playoffs, which they probably wouldn’t have done if they had not shipped Yunel out.”

Uh…because anytime you can trade a 4-win guy for a 2-win guy, you HAVE to do it??? I’m not sure how making your team worse improves your playoff odds. (If that’s the case, Ed Wade is sitting on a 115-win MONSTER! He just needs to unleash the beast!!)

Benjamin
Guest
Benjamin

Ramirez is a much better defender and baserunner (though Yunel is no slouch). Yunel’s contract is even better than Alexei’s, though, so maybe

Mad Dan
Guest
Mad Dan

Escobar and Ramirez are both around $40M in value over the past 3 years, are around the same age, and are both locked up for 4 years.

You could argue Ramirez is the better player since he’s been better this year, and that’s fine, but Escobar’s deal is $12M cheaper and the last two years are team options.

It’s a toss-up between them, but if Ramirez cracks the top 35, I do feel like Escobar should be top 50.

Eminor3rd
Member
Member
Eminor3rd

I’m a big Yunel fan, but Ramirez is absolutely better right now. Yunel’s contract is nice though.