Justin Verno – Okay, welcome to the first edition of the MLB’s AUGUST Trade Deadline. That felt weird to type–I get that the Trade Deadline has been in August before, but not on purpose. This is kind of an historic event, no?
Joe Boyd – Ah, it feels like yesterday that we were running through potential trade offers, Justin. Now that we’re in our second (third?) run through on these players, maybe we can take a look at any potential gained/lost value over time? You and I talked about potentially looking at a BUY situation, but we didn’t strike when the iron was hot, and the Bucs quickly went on a 5 game slide. So maybe we can bring that up further on down the line, but let’s keep it in our wheelhouse for now.
I think a decent plan would be to start with the hardest pieces to (logicially) sway Cherington and work our way towards the deadline with the players that are not going to be here for the next playoff window.
You may think that I have a new player in the top spot, but Bednar hasn’t knocked off the champ just yet. Let’s take a look at Bryan Reynolds.
When we first did a Reynolds trade piece, we settled on a surplus value of $81.7M. In our piece discussing the Winter Meetings, we provided a wide range, but settled on roughly $68-78M surplus value. Since then, Reynolds has signed an ‘extension’ that actually made his trade value go up! He also took a few ABs to get going in 2022, so are we looking at a drop in value? Well, he’s actually still looking pretty consistent! (mainly because ZiPS hasn’t updated, but still!)
JV – How good is Reynolds? As of writing this, his fWAR was at 0.8 with a ROS projection of 2.7 fWAR (again this could be adjusted) in what looks like a down year, and as Joe mentions he has been clawing and scratching his way back as of late. Simply put, he’s good. He’s really, really good.
When Joe and I last wrote about the possibility of moving Reynolds, both at last year’s JULY Deadline and at the Winter Meetings, we both agreed that Reynolds wasn’t going anywhere. Do we still feel that way about Reynolds? Well, I won’t speak for Joe, but I have a hard time getting there.
First off, the trade would need to be an overpay and I’d say it would have to be well over that $65.3M mentioned above. (No discount due to the slow start.) There’s simply no reason to move Reynolds with so much control left, and Cherington has to view him as more than a 3 WAR player to move him. Secondly, it would need to be surgical. We’ve mentioned the rebuild calendar before and that hasn’t changed. The young Bucs have started to arrive. The best is yet to come and there’s no stopping it now! At least one piece if not more would need to be ready to go or to the MLB to fit that window, and that’s not easy to get in most trades. Lastly, while the Bucs have an excellent system, I still think there’s not enough “aces” in the pipeline, so I think a future front line type starter would need to be in the package. Again, not an easy ask for most GM’s.
But somehow, for the first time I think the door is slightly ajar here. I wouldn’t be at all shocked if Ben Cherington finally takes that plunge and makes the move. I’m kicking the first package over to you to get us started.
JB – I’m not there. I think that Cherington is ready to bring up all youngsters not named Cruz and see what will stick around Reynolds/Hayes. But that’s not why we’re here. So my trade partner is the Atlanta Braves. As we speak, they have ripped off 12 wins in a row, but according to Baseball-Reference they have accrued -3.1 WAR from their outfielders! Now with Acuña back in the lineup, one would assume that that would tick up. But what if they added Reynolds, as well? Our source for prospects, Fangraphs, has been a bit behind in updating their prospect rankings this year. So I have to do a bit of projection.
The Braves Package
Michael Harris II (50 FV/$28m FV) – Atlanta’s final Top 100 prospect is a must for this to even work when you squint. If you recall, I’ve tried to obtain Harris in the past, and I even discussed that he’d get a bump to a 50 FV. Don’t believe me? Check it out! Well since then he’s cruised through the Atlanta system, skipping AAA, and he’s now the starting CF!
Kyle Wright ($43m SV) – A former #5 overall pick, Wright is already in the Braves rotation. Trading TWO big leaguers? I know, but it was hard for me to make this work! Wright was a former top 100 prospect, as well, topping in at #95 in 2020. From Longenhagen: “We’re betting that Wright, who is very athletic and has the frame and mechanical ease to eat innings, and who has also developed a very deep repertoire, will find a way to be at least a league-average starter eventually. Whether that’s through further changes to his fastballs’ movement (he throws a four- and two-seamer right now, but both are sink/tail pitches rather than the ride/vertical life breed) or a heavy mix of his various secondary offerings, Wright has promising outs. If he and the Braves ever find a way to make the fastball play better than that, his ceiling is substantial, so there’s rare variance for a 24-year-old here.”
Wright has had a nice season so far, as seen by his percentiles on Baseball Savant. He’s projected to be a 1.3 WAR pitcher over his controllable years and may receive a bump in updated ZiPS, but as Longenhagen says, he has a substantial ceiling.
This package hits our threshold of $65M for Reynolds, and it includes MLB ready players to build around that also have longevity from a contractual perspective. But do you really want a prospect that has to develop in CF and a middle of the order arm for your perennial All-Star?
JV – And that highlights what makes acquiring Reynolds a difficult task. I say the door is ajar because the Bucs have obviously taken calls on him and even told other GMs what the price is. Do that enough, and a GM is bound to meet the demand. I’m not saying it WILL happen, but there will likely be a lot of calls from a lot of GMs. And that is exactly why we are here!
There are almost too many teams here to pick from. The Yanks, Padres, Braves and Dodgers are teams I think make a call. And despite the Marlins having a down year, I can see Kim Ng still having interest. I’ve waffled and flip flopped this 10 times, but here it goes: my trade partner is the Marlins.
This feels like cheating since we’ve heard that Ng turned down a Max Meyer and Khalil Watson package, so the story goes, but if I were in Ben Cherington’s shoes they would make the most sense. LAD and the Yankees make sense but the Marlins have the better starters to put in the package. Padres make sense but Gore will be off limits at this point. Braves make sense, but Joe has that covered. There will likely be some teams involved that I haven’t listed, but we know Ng loves Reynolds. The Marlins are in striking distance and should be a contender moving forward. It makes sense she would ante up and get her guy.
The Marlins Package
Max Meyer-SP- ETA: 2021- 50 FV(21M)
*I do think BC will make a hard push for Eury Perez, but I imagine Ng is a hard no on that. I would love to see BC tap into the farm system to balance a package that could have Perez headed to the Bucs, but for now let’s stay away from that kind of package and keep it simple.
Even without the prototype build, Max can ramp it up to 101. His slider(FV 70)/Fastball(FV 60) combo should be elite and he has a promising change up(FV 55) that still needs polish. He’s had an ulnar nerve situation that he is rehabbing and he’s about to ramp it back up at AAA. Don’t worry about the injury–his past suggests he’ll hold up as he never had injuries in NCAA or highschool. If BC can’t pry Perez off of Ng’s hands, Max Meyer is a good consolation prize.
Kahlil Watson-SS – ETA:2026 – FV 50($28M)
Cherington landing two prospects he likely knows a ton about? I would imagine that had both of them high on the Bucs respective draft board would most certainly have him and his staff ecstatic, right? Watson was also one of the names we heard connected to the off-season rumor mill involving Reynolds.
Watson’s hit tool has a long way to go, the 41% K rate is a tad alarming. He does have an FV of 50, but the current 20 grade is showing at the moment. And that’s okay. He’s 19 and playing in A ball. The upside here is worth the gamble.
JJ Bleday-OF- ETA:2021- FV:(45 or 45+) ($6-8M)
This is an interesting case. Fangraphs has not updated Miami’s top prospect list, however Bleday was not on the top 100+ list nor has he been added to it in any of the live updates. So despite his scouting page listing him as an FV 50, he will be losing that once the update is complete. This is important to note for this exercise.
Look closely at his tool chest and you’ll find the next Bryan Reynolds. I’m only half kidding. Both went to Vandy and both score out well across the board, but not exceptionally. Here are the scores for Hit tool, game & raw power, speed and fielding
FV grade Hit GP RP SP F
Reynolds 50 50 50 50 50
Bleday 55 55 55 40 60
Bleday does carry the advantage, at least until Fangraphs updates his page. 13 HR in 56 games, added weight has boosted his power, a welcome development. Bleday being a Buc seems to be destiny. Convince me I’m wrong!
Dax Fulton – SP- ETA:2025- FV: 45($6M)
I’ve used Dax in another trade scenario (So Joe and I both dipped into the past here) but a 6’7” LH starter with mid 90’s FB and a 60 FV curve is worth another look. His ERA(5.48) is bloated but his FIP (2.86) and xFIP (3.34) suggest some bad luck and his K% (29.6%) and walk rate (8.7%) are good enough to build on. At 20 years old and missing 2020 due to TJS, starting him out in A+ was a pretty aggressive move by Kim Ng. She challenged him and he responded well enough to be encouraged.
We’ve had a good amount of feedback from fans of the enemy, so to speak. I’m not sure how word got out but I’ve had conversations with fans from Toronto, New York, San Diego and San Fran. I imagine Marlins fans will pick up on this package I’ve suggested and Joe, I can promise I will be called many names in writing this. It’s a hefty package and I think I’d be happy with this return.
JB – To summarize, I would hate the package from Atlanta and would consider it under market for Reynolds. Did he start slow this year? Absolutely, so then don’t trade him. There’s too much value in keeping him around vice moving him. Now, if Miami backed up the Brinks Prospect Truck like they do in JV’s package? I’m very interested. But we all know it takes two to tango, would Miami do such a deal to get their guy? Maybe. But that’s a lot of future to mortgage to add to a 28-33 ball club. Now something I considered, but didn’t pursue, JV what’re your thoughts if Miami offered Meyer, but instead of those other prospects they offered Jazz Chisolm? He has an extra year of eligibility compared to Reynolds, he looks like an ascending player, and he’s a former 55FV. The catch is that he seems like a bad locker room guy. Do you trade a quiet leader for a budding star/diva?
JV- That is a tremendous question, Joe. And my pants would be on fire if I said I’m not intrigued. Jazz is a talent and I have to ask if this is a maturation issue or a red flag situation. If Ng and her staff are turned off enough to put him on the table, I have to think it’s the latter. Would Miami need a 2B at that point? Are we getting close to expanded trade territory? If I’m BC I would be all ears, but would insisting on Perez in this case be the way to go to ease his worries on said red flag/maturation issue? Would Ji-hwan Bae interest Kim as part of this hypothetical package? My mind is off to the races!
Reynolds and Bae for Perez, Jazz and Bleday (We need a Vandy Boy back, right?) (Just seems like a rule is all)