I hope that you’re here because you want to be, not because you’ve stumbled on this site by typing in random letters and those letters just so happened to be bravesjournal.us! This is part 3 of a 3 part series and if you’d like to catch up on the series, here’s part 1 and part 2 .
I promised trade scenarios and I am going to deliver in a mighty way, but I’m not just going to shoot from the hip. Yes, there will be actual methodology as I used Fangraphs to help even these trade scenarios out a bit. They’ve recently put out new values for top-100 prospects and beyond and it really helps weigh what a player is worth trading for in terms of prospects. To read up yourself, click here, but if you’d like to come back to it later, I’ll provide the chart that I’ll be using to weigh values of the Braves prospects:
As you can see, they’ve given dollar amounts to prospects that have graded out between 50 & 70, both position players and pitchers. The dumbed down version of why a 70-grade position player is worth more than a 70-grade pitcher is they’re just less risky.
Acuna was the last Braves player that rated as high as 65, and currently the Braves have no one even rated 60. Let’s take a look at Braves current gradings:
When making the following trade proposals, I won’t get specific with the players above in the packages, rather I’ll just provide a number of how many will be included.
The Price of a 1-year Rental
In the list that I provided for both relievers and pitchers, there were 3 players that were only under team control through 2019 and those are Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith, and David Hernandez. While it might take one of the above 10 prospects to land Bumgarner or Smith, let it be known that it would be a serious overpay as it’s near impossible for Smith, Bumgarner, or any player outside of Mike Trout, to ever recover between 21-46MM of lost value. However, for the sake of argument, let’s throw a hypothetical out there for Bumgarner:
As a prospect, Bryse holds a value of 21 million dollars. In order for Bumgarner to be worth giving up Bryse Wilson, he would have to overcome the ~6MM remaining of his salary AND be worth an extra 21 million. In short order, he’d have to be worth 3 fWAR in ½ season, a feat he has never accomplished in a ½ year in his career.
The only way one makes a trade that’s a definite overpay is if it provides the team with the ability to make it to the postseason, or make it further into the postseason. I’m not sure Bumgarner, who pitches in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in MLB, is that guy.
Breakdown: Just rip the band-aid off and get the big one with all the crying out of the way. Yes, the Tigers just acquired their entire 2020 outfield. Boyd will have 3 years of control left and will likely be making at least 24 million through arbitration over those 3 years. Add this year’s $ to that number and it’s about 25 million with a projection to be worth 120MM+. However, that projection comes with risk as this is his first real breakout year, and while it looks legit, it’s not going to bring back a return equal to the future vale of 95MM. Waters and Bryse cover 50MM on that deal while Ender covers about another 40MM should he continue to be a 2.5 fWAR player. Duvall is the 10-15MM wild card here to make up the difference and the minimal amount that Greene would be worth. There’s argument here that it could take another grade 40-45 player (or 2) to make the Tigers deal.
Breakdown: Both Stroman and Giles are under team control for 1 additional year and that provides quite a deal of value. I’m assuming their 2 combined salaries for 2020 will be ~18MM, adding their ½ salaries for this year bumps the total financial commitment to ~24MM. Their projected value on 1.5 years together is roughly 45-50 million of surplus value. Contreras and Wentz cover most of that and Duvall as the Wild Card pushes the trade to fair. One could easily put a grade 40-45 prospect in place of Duvall and it’d still weigh near the same.
Breakdown: With the money breaking darn near close to even and the production swaying toward the Giants, Kolby Allard and Travis Demeritte provide the value lost in taking on dead 2019 value in Gausman and Ender. Duvall’s presence evens up the money and Pillar becomes the backup CF that is much needed on this Braves team. Assuming Smith and Bumgarner put up roughly 3 fWAR combined for the rest of 2019, Allard and Demeritte make up for the ~27MM value and Giants get 3 free players to test for the rest of 2019.
Breakdown: This is an interesting trade. Throw the prospect grades out because this has none in it! On one end, the Royals get out from under Kennedy’s deal, which has been bad since 2017, and Hamilton’s deal, which was bad from day 1. On the other end, they also take on 3 contracts that will cost ~3MM more in 2019 but get Kennedy’s salary off the books in 2020. The part that swings this deal for the Braves is Diekman’s option for 2020 which is a mutual option for 5.75MM. The real problem here lies in committed money for 2020. However, if looking at Kennedy and Diekman as a combo, paying 2 good relievers a total of 22MM isn’t that much considering it’s only for 1 year, and if they’re worth a combined 2.5 fWAR or more, it’s worth it.
Breakdown: Too easy. Sam’s estimated surplus value for ½ of 2019 and all of 2020 is ~8MM, and the Giants need OFers like an eskimo needs a warm hug. Braves could sweeten the pot a bit if the Giants needed them to, but Demeritte on his own suffices.
The Deals I didn’t Make
There were many names above that I left out of the fake trade proposals, so let me explain. I do think the Reds will see the writing on the wall, and even though they’re playing well, they know that even the 2nd Wild Card is a distant hope. I have no doubt that they will try to sell some assets off like Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, Scooter Gennett, Zach Duke, Tanner Roark, Jose Iglesias, and David Hernandez. However, the ones that could really benefit the Braves such as Garrett, Iglesias, Stephenson, Castillo, and Gray aren’t likely going anywhere as they’re part of the core to build around and that core is looking strong.
There were others I left off and there’s a simple reason: they’re either not proven or didn’t move the needle enough.
What deals would you do? Are there any that you loved? Hated? Let’s hear your thoughts!