Nationals Baseball: Just for the hell of it

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Just for the hell of it

Would you trade Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg for Albert Pujols (with guaranteed contract extension)?

Update : Also for the hell of it... let's say the extension is - 7 years at 200 million, taking him to age 38.


Bryan said...

It's a close one, that's for sure. But I think I break towards not doing the trade.

I'd love Pujols, but one hitter, even one phenom of a hitter, does not a team make. Not that Harper and SS, even assuming they succeed, make a team, but a great pitcher and decent OF seem more valuable to me than one great slugger.

Anonymous said...

Heck no! He is ending his career. Harper and Strasburg will be the nucleus of a young and hopefully play off bound Nats team.

Todd Boss said...

I think money matters. The question should be something like, "Would you take Pujols and his long term $30M/year contract for the next 7 years?" Versus the relatively cost contained Strasburg and Harper for the next 5 years (most of their money is already a sunk cost/bonus already paid) and even then arbitration controlled for the next three after that.

I'd talk the risk on Strasburg and Harper honestly. Pujols is already 31, meaning he's already past his peak/prime years in the game. Its usually a mistake to assume prospects will live up to expectations (see our entire 2006 draft and most of Bowden's high draft picks as proof) but Harper and Strasburg seem to be sure bets so far..

Wally said...

Don't you need to know the contract first? At 10/$300m, that is full value for performance, right? Meaning probably not. 7/$175m or so, then maybe?

I guess that I am saying that the contract terms are not insignificant. What do we have, 4 more years of Stras (post injury) and the first 6 of Bryce? You would probably guess Pujols out WARs them. Without knowing what you pay for each, it seems hard to answer.

I think Pujols probably offers a 20 WAR advantage, but it
starts right away. If you get if for $75m or so less than you expect to pay SS and Bryce, seems like a good deal.

Anonymous said...

Not a chance!

Basil said...


Section 220 said...

Considering the contract is a reasonable, rational thing you would do if this was a real possibility. But I think the spirit of the question, telegraphed by the "just for the hell of it" was just - would you swap them straight up purely as a baseball matter?

It's really a bird in the hand, birds in the bush scenario. I love to wishcast with SS and Bryce, but there are no guarantees for either one - whereas you can be fairly confident in Pujols' production in the near term.

I'm almost positive Pujols would provide more baseball value over the next, say, two years, and maybe three, than Bryce and SS. After that I'm not so sure. I'm probably on the "no" side of things, but that definitely involves fervent crossing of fingers and hoping.

Interesting question.

Harper said...

Bryan - I THINK I agree but it's the "assuming they succeed" part that gives me so much pause. I mean - Strasburg could easily be Prior...

Anon #1 - Pujols is ending his career only in the vaguest sense - assuming he is 31 this year he's got probably 5 or so top notch seasons in the tank.

Todd - fair enough - I guess then we'd also have to add a "Lerner mindset" variable to the equation. Are they reading to spend 150 million or would adding Pujols' 25-30 mill be it? If it's the latter I don't see how you make the deal since that's just not enough to do anything.

Wally - understood - there's also another $ issue to think about - assuming we're a GM should we take into account what bringing inn Pujols would do for the frachise in terms of $?

220 - that's it really. in mid 2001- Cubs fans probably would have said no way to a Bonds for Prior/Corey Patterson deal. In 1986 they might say no way to a Maddux/Palmeiro for Brett deal. Pujols is Pujols but are SS/Bryce Prior and Patterson or Maddux and Palmiero.... man why weren't the Cubs better?

John O'Connor said...

I have my doubts thatr Phat Albert is really 31, so I would be concerned that his shelf-life is shorter than many assume.

Also, a good part of his value is in the next couple of years, and how good can the Nats be in the short term if they also have traded away Strasburg and Harper?

So I'd rather take the lottery ticket of two young and promising players. If we had a better team right now, I'd probably come out the other way.

Wally said...

Harper said "assuming we're a GM should we take into account what bringing in Pujols would do for the franchise in terms of $?"
- Absolutely yes. It doesn't mean the conclusion is definitely do it, but I think that you have to try to measure that (not easy) and take it into account.

Kind of a side point, but even tho my earlier post made it a financial decision, in reality I tend to think of these kinds of decisions differently. I generally feel that it is less important HOW MUCH you pay someone than WHO you pay. If you predict the performance correctly, whether you overpaid or got a good deal fades away into irrelevancy. But giving a big deal or even a medium deal to someone that comes up a crapper are the killers. Magglio's deal from several years ago seemed pretty bad, but he mostly performed through that deal and it worked out fine. Holliday's deal looked like a gross overpay with no other bidders (and it may still turn out that way), but so far, it is working out fine. On the other hand, I remember jason Schmidt's deal with the Dodgers looked like a great deal for LA because the years were so much shorter than expected. But he couldn't stay on the field and wasn't any good when he did, so it was a big drain.

So even tho we focus on the length and dollars in Werth's deal, for instance, it is really about talent appraisal, and luck with injuries. If Rizzo got that right, the deal is fine.

NattyDC said...

hell no...Pujols seems to have picked u pthe injury bug and cant stay 100% healthy.

Bryan said...

Assuming they don't absolutely flame out, you can always flip SS and Harper for picks 2 or 3 or 4 years from now.

In 4 years I doubt many people would give much for Pujols. You could flip a good not great SS for 2 or 3 picks though to fuel your team.

Anyone have any interest in Joe Blanton from the Phils. Word is they want to trade him. He can't possibly be worth much, since he's A) mediocre B) a five on stocked team. He's probably a 3 in reality, and a 1 or 2 here. The Phils pick up some of the salary, we trade a lower prospect or two and we have another legit starter?

Harper said...

JOC - If you are in the group that believes he may be 33 or 34 then yeah - no way you do this. The Nats could be good soon without Strasburg or Harper - but the investment it would take would be substantial. You'd need at least 3 starters.

Wally #2 - Agreed - I think there is too much focus on getting a good deal rather than getting the best results. This isn't a world where win per dollar is rewarded.
Show me a team with good value and I'll show you a team that probably isn't winning enough and is saddled a cheap owner.

Natty - he may be 90% healthy - but a 90% pujols going out there everyday is still better than almost everyone. Also - if we're worried about health Strasburg did kind of get injured too you know.

Bryan - you could but if they aren't playing well you don't get much back. It's all one big gamble (or really two big ones).

As for Blanton - not really. I was curious to see if he was hurt pitching in CB Park - nope. Sucked everywhere. Well "suck" is too strong. He's a durable mid to high 4.00 ERA pitcher. Do the Nats really want to give the Phillies anything they even remotely want for Gorzelanny without the hope? (and who gets bumped from the rotation in this case?)

Anonymous said...

Could we get a 5th round draft pick in the deal?

John O'Connor said...

The problem is that you can't get three frontline starters in an offseason even if you're willing to spend the money. Those guys don't come on the market very often. And if you've sunk big bucks into PUjols and Werth, and presumably will do the same with Zimmerman, how much money do you have to splurge on three top-end starters?

Harper said...

Anon - 5th round? sure why not.

JOC - I was merely saying it was theoretically possible, not that it was a sound strategy. Going after Pujols and trying to make a strong playoff run would mean the Lerner's are willing to become the Sox/Yanks of the NL and that they can lure pitching talent in over 2, maybe 3 seasons. (Nats may not need 3 top-line starters just 3 starters - depends on how ZNN and Strasburg bounce back. But still that's a lot)