Nationals Baseball: If you're thinking about getting Upton cheap

Monday, November 07, 2011

If you're thinking about getting Upton cheap

Melky Cabrera, who is
  1. A worse hitter than BJ Upton,
  2. A worse fielder than BJ Upton,
  3. A worse baserunner than BJ Upton,
  4. on a contract no longer than BJ Upton's (though admittedly will be several million cheaper);

cost the Giants Johnathon Sanchez AND another (older) pitching prospect.  (and some people think the Royals should have gotten more)

Detwiler + Flores != BJ Upton
Desmond + Marrero + Kimball != BJ Upton


Bonsai said...

Mike Rizzo != Brian Sabean

Nate said...

Sanchez was at least partially a salary dump (or reallocation) for the Giants, who didn't want to pay $5M for a guy who was competing to be a 5th starter, so I'm not sure it's a good direct comp. If the Nats are going to get Upton this off-season, it'll be as a FA after he's non-tendered by the Rays to avoid paying him $7M.

Harper said...

Bonsai - ok now give me the > or < ...

Nate - non-tender? You think they'd outrigth release rather than sign and try to deal? I feel like this should be a bet.

DezoPenguin said...

Nate makes a valid point about the salary dump, additional problem with Upton is that he'll be overvalued by the market (trade or FA) based on the player he could be rather than the player he actually is, so that the final deal, wherever he lands, will likely reflect his alleged upside as much as it does what he genuinely brings to the team.

Farid said...

I am not a particular fan of Mr. Upton, but I'd trade Desmond, Marrero and Kimball to Tampa for the kid.

I still think the Nats are better with Espinosa at short and Lombardozzi at second (Lombardozzi hit .357 in the second half of Sept. for the Nats after a horrid start) and won the one-and-only minor league Gold Glove for second baseman.

If Lombardozzi falters (i.e. needs more seasoning) in 2012, sign Jamey Carroll as a super-utility player (he's 38, probably won't get an every-day contract) and give it a go. Carroll hit .290 over the past two seasons for the Dodgers playing pretty much every day.

michael K said...

It's funny, because I'm not the biggest fan of BJ Upton, but I would definitely make the two "omg it would cost this much!" example trades you just mentioned in a heartbeat. Detwiler I think will be a starter in this league, but the Nats have a bunch of those and I value a plus defender in Center more. Flores will never start for this team. Desmond is a singles hitter who can't walk, ruining both his OBP and SLUG. The only reason you keep him IMO is you don't have a sure thing at 2B to replace him yet, but the downside to waiting to trade him is you lose any value he has left. Marrero is a decent hitter if he could play any position other than first. Kimball is good, but he's a reliever and hasn't proven as good as Storen/Clippard. So pretty much you've just listed the Nats' expendables - if we can get a great defending CFer with speed and potential power using only expendables I'm down like a coward in a bank heist.

I'm actually starting to warm up to the idea of BJ Upton the more I think about him. An outfield of him, Werth, and Harper will be in the discussion of best defensive outfield for the next 5 years. His OBP is a bit of a concern, but at least we know he can walk and steal bases, so if he can raise that avg just a teensy bit (back to .270) that's a great player. The downside is his strikeouts might prevent him from doing that.

I agree the Rays do NOT non-tender him. At the very least some team will give them something.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Kimball is damaged merchandised. As for second base we have Rendon coming up. Not a sure thing but a real high possible upside. I'd probably make either trade but certainly the second one where we give up nothing.

Harper said...

everyone - actually I was saying that those deal would not be enough to get BJ Upton. (I guess there aren't many coders in the crowd) What I think it'll take? Detwiler and Norris... Desmond, Moore, and say Robbie Ray.

Dezo - exactly which is why the cost is so high. You're not defaling for what BJ Upton is, you're dealing for what he could be.

Farid - you do know Jamey Carroll is going to get several million. I like the guy but I'm not giving him a Pudge deal to sit the bench. (Of course I'm not the GM so I'm really not doing that)

michael K / anon - how about the above deals?

Nate said...

I honestly think Upton will be Plan C for the some of the teams that lose out on Cespedes or Sizemore, and that will keep the market from getting truly ridiculous.

I do question whether the Rays will want to tie $7M+ up in a player they may not be able to get a blockbuster return for in trade. The moment there's a dollar value attached to Upton, his trade value goes down b/c it's no longer Upton for A, B & C, it's Upton for A, B & C plus $X million.

michael K said...

I'd probably pursue other trades first, but ultimately I'd pull the trigger. You're still including only expendables, the only issue is you're including a lot of them. It's like the Nationals are blessed with 5 or so "trade chips" whose value will expire in a year or two. So you want to trade them before that happens, but here you're using 4 on one guy. Doesn't really leave room for another big buy. But on the other hand, I don't think the Nats have enough to go after two big buys, and I'd rather get one important piece than two borderline ones (like Melky).

...well now that I read your post again, it appears as if I included both deals into one and STILL said yes. Shows you how much I value key starters over organizational depth.

I think an issue is that the Rays will want an important piece in exchange for Upton...that they won't be happy with our expendables, even 5 of them. I'm not sure I like Upton enough to give up a Storen, Espinosa, etc.

Oh, and in case you're wondering about my odd set of values - yes I'd trade Desmond, Flores, Norris, Marrero, Moore, and Detwiler, even all together - before I traded Storen. One's a piece of your future. The others have value only as trade chips and are not starting come 2013 (except maybe Detwiler).

Harper said...

Nate - My thinking is they roll with Upton in the same manner they handled Crawford. Sign him - keep him all year if they are in the hunt. They never seem to be in a hurry to deal and it's served them pretty well.

MK- If Norris keeps up his hitting through the fall league I think he's a big enough tent pole for a deal (and I wouldn't trade him before Storen.. well on a normal team I wouldn't. With Ramos the argument is much better)

Nattydread said...

Jesus Flores and Detwiler for Upton = win/win.

The best trades help all participating teams and remove blockages preventing advancement.

Do it Rizzo.

michael K said...

I think the Norris/Storen question is an interesting one because it forces us to evaluate our underlying assumptions of value in trades (is what I would say if this conversation was at all philosophically meaningful). I also trade Storen before Norris on a "normal" team. But here, since I choose Ramos over Norris, Norris' only value is that of a trade chip or extremely overtalented backup for 4-5 years before he gets too expensive for that (I prefer defensive backup catchers, anyway).

So then the question becomes: what do you demand from Norris in a trade, knowing he gives your team no real value but is still one heck of a player? Do you demand that other teams respect the player and trade you a legit starter straight up? Or do you only look at your own situation and when assessing value? For sure things, I'd do the former - no reason to give another team a top prospect for less than he's worth, someone will do it. For non sure things, I do the latter - he might bust and he gives you no real value anyway. The difference is the willingness of the other team to make the trade, hence the player's real trade value.

I don't think Norris is a sure thing. Therefore, I'd put him in a package to get a sure thing.


DezoPenguin said...

Can't argue with that link, michael K, which is why I'd hope Rizzo gives the Angels a call...because they've got a major track record for equally nuts decisions, and the Hunter/Wells contracts seem to be luring them into the sunk costs fallacy (i.e. "we paid them, so we'll play them even if they're not our best options"). And I'd rather have Bourjos than any of the other mentioned trade candidates.

(Well, okay, as long as I'm wishing for a pony, I can hope that Derek Jeter's ego demanding that he hit leadoff despite his terminally declining bat skills make Brett Gardner want to leave town and the Yankees ship him to us for, say, Detweiler or Peacock, Norris, and filler. But that's not going to happen.)

Harper said...

the problem with dealing Norris to the Angles is that he's not the best fielder. I have trouble seeing a team that dealt away Napoli so Jeff Mathis could handle the staff, dealing for a poor fielding catcher. Maybe pudge instead!