Two Guys Talking Trades – With Joe Boyd and Justin Verno – The Rentals Edition 6-14-21

Joe Boyd – Alright, Justin et al., we have had several conversations about the value of potential trade chips for the Buccos ranging from the obvious (Frazier/RichRod) to the polarizing (Stallings), so how about today we sing back towards the obvious? There are two players that the Pirates are almost assuredly going to ship out in the coming weeks, and that is Tyler Anderson and Trevor Cahill.  The former has performed admirably this season and Pittsburgh could expect a decent ROI from him, the latter however has left a lot to be desired.  

The values for rentals are substantially lower due to the fact that your trading partner is only getting the player for a portion of the season, whereas your controllable assets allow for that value to multiply.  But I’ll give Justin the first crack at putting together his valuation of these two players.

Justin Verno – There are two kinds of rentals that can still bring a solid return. The first is a power hitter that is on fire. The second? Pitching, specifically LH starters. This bodes well for the Buccos when looking at Anderson. Cahill? I think we have to hold our breath there, Joe.

Before we dive into the monetary trade values, let’s take a look at a deadline trade from last year.  

Mike Minor had seen appearances with the Rangers last year leading up to the 2020 deadline. The fruits of those seven starts?

35.1 innings  ERA+82  FIP 4.89   WHIP 1.35  ERA 5.60  xFIP 4.50

His velo was down. He was a rental player in a season that had a much shorter second half. He had accumulated a WAR of 0.2 and was owed  $750,000. In other words, he wasn’t very good. What did he have going for him? He was a  left handed starter.  And with all due respect to Mike Minor, that’s pretty much the only thing he had going for him. 

Enter one Tyler Anderson.  In Anderson’s 11 starts, his number are a little better:

61.2 innings  ERA+ 87  FIP 4.17  WHIP 1.20  ERA 4.67  xFIP 4.11  WAR 0.8

Now, these numbers aren’t glaring, obviously, but a few things stand out. Anderson has averaged almost a full inning more per start and has fared better in his ERA and WAR.

Here’s the thing: Texas was able to get a solid enough return for Mike Minor. In return for Minor, the A’s traded two Top 20 (organizational) prospects. 

Marcus Smith CF — FV 40+ ($3.0M) now 17th on the Rangers list

Dustin Harris 1B–FV 40+($3.0M) now 20th on the Rangers list

That is not a bad return at all for a Mike Minor. Using the Pirates system, that’s comparable to Canaan Smith-Njigba and Mason Martin.

Cahill, well, that’s a little different.  He isn’t LH. His WAR is similar to Minor’s last year. However, his FIP 3.98 and xFIP 3.99 do suggest some bad luck, so perhaps Mr. Cherington can sell those peripherals. 

JB – Taking the usual approach, Anderson has been good for 0.8 WAR so far this season, and a reasonable assumption is that he can match that over the remainder of the schedule.  He’s making $2.5M this season as a one year deal so no real need to estimate any future salaries here.  Pretty straightforward assessment.  

Cahill is a slightly murkier projection due to his time on the IL.  He’s already posted 0.5 WAR this season, but he needs to get back to the active roster to ensure he’s 100% and a valuable asset.  To hedge that a bit, I’m going to suggest a 0.2-0.3 range for his remaining value this season.  He’s only making $1.5M this season, and like Anderson, there is no need to estimate future salary as he will be a free agent at the end of the season. 

Below we have a breakdown of the value for each rental:

Justin Verno -I don’t think that I will ever get used to how much even a little control can change these values. But, here we are. A modest surplus and pinch of surplus. Not gonna let that ruin my day, Joe. Good value can still be had here, particularly with Anderson and that left arm. But, let’s take a look at some potential deals for these guys.

JB –  Trade Partner: San Francisco Giants:

The Giants are a team that are punching above their weight this season, and ahead of schedule on their mini-rebuild.  Everything they have done has turned to gold, including several one-year free agent deals that have paid off.  Despite leading the NL West, Fangraphs still only gives them a 4.5% chance of winning the division and only a 57% chance of making the playoffs.  They have to contend in their division with two of the heaviest hitters in the National League, so it’s understandable that those percentages may seem a bit low.  Could San Francisco push their chips in the middle and make a play for a larger trade asset?  Certainly, but my guess is that they play things conservatively and only marginally add to their roster and don’t give up the farm in anticipation for larger payoffs down the road. 

Additionally, the Giants have familiarity with both Anderson and Cahill as they were both in San Francisco in 2020.  Given the small price tag and the familiarity, I could see the Giants making a move for either player.  

Anderson for Jairo Pomares — Corner OF — ETA: 2023 — 40+ FV ($4.0M)

Pomares is a lefty bat from Cuba that already exceeds MLB average exit velos.  So at 20 years old, the kid is already bringing the power potential.  Longenhagen gave him a Mikey Moniak comp in that he has good bat to ball skills, but a poor approach at the plate, and does not profile as a CF in the future, so he’ll have to hit to get on a major league roster.

Cahill for Camilo Doval  — RP — ETA: 2021 — 40 FV ($1.0M)

If you read Longenhagen’s report on Doval, an optimist can see traits in there that can get you excited that he is a potential unicorn. There’s high velos, there’s high RPMs (which make the velos play up even more), there’s a unique delivery that plays tricks on the batter’s eye, there’s heavy ‘sink’ and risking ‘cut.’  If you trust the Pirates’ Player Dev, maybe you can dream on unlocking these traits and they could get a massive chess piece for high leverage situations. Or you could look at Doval and his poor command as a player that could be unreliable and pitch himself into jams.  Either way, this is a player that is worth the cost of a rental piece like Cahill. San Francisco gets a depth arm and Pittsburgh gets a lottery ticket.

I do not want to construe this as a guess that San Francisco will deal for both players, but rather that they have a higher likelihood of obtaining one of the two rentals. I could pick another team and one of their 40 FV prospects, but at the end of the day, these types of players are pretty fungible and I figured that the Giants, a team probably not looking to go all in, would be a likely partner in these negotiations.

JV– I had my list down to three teams: the Giants, the Marlins, and the Royals. I had a similar thought process–that a team ahead of it’s rebuild schedule could err on the side of a rental. Then I remembered a while back, someone had mentioned the Cubs being in the same group here. The Cubs started to retool and regroup this past winter and are a team that can make a push. Either of these rentals could fit!

When Joe and I started this, I had hoped for a few packages to show more of a gap in the return. Not in the teams we picked or the position players we packaged, but in the type of “value” coming back. We’ve been pretty close in the way we’ve built our deals, and that’s okay as we’ve both gone in different directions with the teams we’ve built the deals from. 

Well, my friends, that ends here! I see more value in Anderson, not because of the “monetary” value, but because of the typical market we see with LHP. Sometimes it’s about the market as I demonstrated in the Mike Minor deal. Yes, I realize that every trade market is different. Sometimes it’s high, sometimes it’s low. Sometimes it’s saturated with similar players at the same positions and other times it’s bare in the same fashion. But, one of the things we can usually count on is getting a little bit of an overpay for left handed pitching. And I for one think Cherington can cash in here and get a few extra shekels for Mr. Anderson.

Trade partner-Chicago Cubs

Kohl Franklin — RHP — ETA: 2023 — FV 40+ ($3.0M)

Kohl is a pure athlete. He has a solid 3 pitch mix. His best offering is his change up with an FV of 60. His curve has an FV of 55. What I do like with Kohl is he experienced a velo bump and is now hitting 95 and at 6’4” he is a candidate to add a few more clicks. 

Ethan Hearn — C — ETA:2024 — FV 40 ($2.0M)

A glove first catcher with some pop. Fangrpahs mentioned he needs his swing reworked but he’s a solid athlete with some interesting tools. 

Now onto Cahill, I could see Cherington getting cash considerations here, but hell, that’d be cheating.

Yunior Perez — RHP– ETA:2021 — FV 35+ ($0.5M)

Another 6’4” pitcher who brings the heat. Yunior is a slider/FB guy that can turn it up to 98, is there untapped velo here? Possible, at 21 that’s always something to watch.

I think the Anderson deals we built are by far the most drastic gap in return value we’ve shown so far, and really, it isn’t all that far. 

JB – I honestly looked at Anderson in a vacuum, so you definitely bring up a good point. I popped over to Cots to see what lefties might be available at the deadline.  My concern is that it may be a buyer’s market.  On teams that could potentially sell, there’s Danny Duffy (1.6 WAR), Steven Matz (0.7 WAR), Robbie Ray (0.5 WAR), Wade Miley (1.5 WAR), and Andrew Heaney (1.0 WAR).  Now, I think that Anderson is probably the most cost-effective of the bunch, but there’s enough of a pool that I would not expect much excitement for the return for Anderson.  Could be wrong, but that’s where I am at.  With that, I’ll give Justin the floor to close us out and pick where we go next.   

JV-That’s a solid point, but with LHP there’s never enough. There’s still some “ifs” in that group. If the Jays are still in the hunt, that would take Matz and Ray off the board. If the Royals are still sniffing around Miley is off the board. Hearn will likely be on the board, but what IF the Reds have a nice streak and jump into the wild card race?  Saturation is always a concern, but LHP is always a big need. With all those variables, I would love to see if Cherington is willing to take phone calls sooner rather than wait until July 30th on Anderson.

Up until the 7th inning or so in Wednesday’s game, I was thinking of Moran next, but we should hold off until we know what is happening with his hand. Let’s attack the bullpen arms next? And there is no shortage of guys the Bucs can look at moving here, we should split them into groups? Say, more likely and less likely? Which group should we start with?

JB – Ha! I’m always going to lean towards more likely, so let’s start with the guys are more likely to move!

Update: Adam Frazier

JB – The injury bug unfortunately struck the South Side of Chicago with Nick Madrigal going on the 60-day IL.  Ben Clemens over at Fangraphs wrote a piece on Friday about potential replacement options. The first suggestion? Adam Frazier. So I wanted to quickly check in at what a potential package from the White Sox might look like.  As a refresher, we put a value of $16.7M on Frazier.  

At first glance, I would consider a rental as the ideal option. We don’t know how long Madrigal will be out, but one would expect that he assumes his role at 2B in 2022, so where would Frazier go in that situation? Well, Frazier has proven to be versatile, so at worst he could be a super utility on an ascending team. 

I expect Cherington’s phone to be ringing quite a bit in regards to Frazier, so there’s no real need to settle here, and I would think Frazier is the closest comp Madrigal of the available trade pieces, so I would also assume that Chicago would want to get something done here rather than play chicken.  

Jared Kelley — RHP — ETA: 2025 — 45FV ($4M) 

According to FG, Kelley is the #5 prospect in the White Sox system, but he’s #1 according to MLB Pipeline.  So I’ll say it depends on how Chicago feels about Kelley.  However, his distance from the majors should be enough to pry him loose.  Kelley is a big righty that possesses a fastball that touches 99 and with a plus-plus changeup.  To reach his full potential, however, he’ll need to develop his breaking ball.  

Matthew Thompson — RHP — ETA: 2024 — 40 FV ($1M)

Fangraphs is certainly lower on Thompson than I am and lower than MLB Pipeline. According to Pipeline, Thompson is the most athletic player in the system, and sits 92-94 mph.  Fangraphs says he can oscillate between that range and 90-92.  Both sites agree that he has the frame to develop and there is still time and hope that he can fulfill his potential and consistently bring the heat.  

In conclusion, if you look at the values from Fangraphs, which we have used for consistency, it looks a bit light.  But if you look at the prospects from a MLB Pipeline perspective, we’re looking at the #1 and #3 prospects in the system.  That’d be a serious haul for Pittsburgh, and gets Chicago a replacement bat for the spark plug for their offense. 

4 thoughts on “Two Guys Talking Trades – With Joe Boyd and Justin Verno – The Rentals Edition 6-14-21

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