12 Trades of Christmas

Justin Verno- With the Winter Meetings far in the rearview mirror, Christmas over, and the New Year quickly approaching, Corey and I SHOULD be writing about how Ben Cherington’s Winter Meeting trade/trades work out from a Surplus Value vantage point. But alas, Mr. Cheringtin left nothing in our trade stocking; nary a lump of coal, Corey. And if I’m being honest, neither did Santa. 

Corey Shrader- Yes, Pirate fans got no earth shaking surprises besides the endless swirl of Bryan Renolds rumors. But on the other side of that coin, that also means that we did not see the team move any beloved pieces either and that ain’t so bad.

JV- With nothing to write about (thanks a lot Ben) I had to dig deep. Then it hit me like 12 reindeers hooves using my back as a landing strip for Ol’ Saint Nick: The  12 Trades Christmas. Okay, admittedly there wasn’t a whole lot of imagination here, but it fits. 

Corey, this is no holds barred; any player, any team, any prospect situation. We can even use the same player on this, the only rule is the surplus value needs to make sense. And for the purposes of this article we can short cut the values, the “after a quick look” estimates will do.   Let’s see if you and I can leave Bucco fans with a nice gift under the tree! 

CS- I think we can possibly give fans something to look forward to in the New Year for sure. Shall we get to it?

12 Trades of Christmas

JV-     1st day of X-Mas- 

I’m starting the X-mas season off with a bang while at the same time getting the obvious name out of the way. The dreaded Bryan Reynolds trade. Corey, it seems there are four teams that seemed to pop up more than the others. The Yankees, Mariners, Marlins and now the Dodgers. The Dodgers are best positioned to acquire Reynolds as the other three teams have some nice pieces but a 3rd team just might be needed to really make a run. Hey, I said no holds barred, so lets have fun with a three team trade!

Yankees get-Bryan Reynolds OF $60+M SV 

LAD get- Gleyber Torres  SS $20-28M SV

Bucco get- Jason Doninguez  OF-50 FV($28M), Andy Pages OF-50 FV ($28M), Yoendrys Gomez SP- 45+ FV($6M)s

Normally I’d suggest Bobby Miller here, but if they can get Pages and add 2 pieces to the future OF I’m all for it. 

CS-2nd day of X-mas-

I too am going to open with a bang, but with a very different angle to  yours, JV. Let’s go to a dream world where GMBC lets it all hang out and lights a fire in the fan base by making a big acquisition instead of moving Bryan Reynolds and likely causing the fans much consternation. What might that move look like?

The trade – 

Boston gets:

Termarr Johnson – SS/MI FV 55 ($46)

Liover Peguero – SS/MI FV 50 ($28)

Pittsburgh gets:

Rafael Devers – 3B (SV $58)

This would FIRE UP the fans. By value, this is an “overpay,” but to land one of the best players in the game, you gotta pay up. In this fantasy world the Bucs would immediately lock Devers up long term and add one of the premier bats in all of baseball to a fast rising core of talent. Lots of moving parts to be secured after this; extending Devers, extending Reynolds, extending Cruz, & sorting out where Devers will play exactly. 

Since this is my dream world scenario let me solve them now quickly – extend Devers to something in the 12 year/$350+ million range, extend Reynolds to 8 years/$ 100 million range, extend Cruz to a 8-10+ year/$100+ million base deal loaded with incentives. Seems like things could be pretty fun in Pittsburgh with these 3 locked in & the bounty of the farm system arriving at a steady pace, doesn’t it?

Absolute dream world stuff here, but we’re having fun aren’t we folks?

JV-3rd Day of X-Mas-

The year is 2012, it’s February , and Neal Hintington has just completed a trade to acquire one OJ Burnett. The Bucs were still a year away from competing, the timing was right. Why are we still waiting  for Big Ben Cherigotn to find his AJ?  It’s time.

Yankees get- Travis Swaggerty OF-45($6M), Po-Yu Chen SP-40+($2M)

Buccos get- Frankie Montas SP-MLB $14M SV

Montas has struggled in NY and I can see the Yankees wanting to shed some money by moving Montas. The Bucs would have to work on getting him extended upon finalizing the deal but the Yanks get a solid glove top of the lineup bat in Swaggs and a good young helium arm in Po-Yu.

CS-4th Day of X-Mas-

Let’s keep it in the desert but with a different spin, an interesting dart throw for the Bucs.

Arizona gets:

Kyle Nicholas – P FV 40+ ($3)

Maikol Escotto – SS/MI FV 40+ ($4)

Pittsburgh gets:

Kristian Robinson – OF FV 45 ($6)

I cannot lie, I am not even certain that Robinson is eligible to be traded. He experienced legal issues in April 0f 2020 and his status is not yet clear. However, prior to his unfortunate mental health crises, Robinson was an enormously well regarded prospect. This proposal would allow Pittsburgh to relieve the D-Backs of having to worry about that and it would return them with a bit of a lottery ticket yet in Escotto and a prime move to the bullpen candidate in Kyle Nicholas. Nicholas profiles as someone who could excel & quickly upon making the shift to the bullpen and that could have value for Arizona as soon as 2023.

JV- 5th Day of X-Mas-

There’s been next to no buzz on the trade market as far as closers are concerned.  The first real rumor this Winter just came down the pike as it broke that the Chicago White Sox are listening in on Liam Hendricks. It won’t be long before we start to hear David Bednar’s name as we walk down the halls  on the way to homeroom.  

Blue Jays- David Bednar RP- $23M SV, Kyle Nicholas SP/SIRP 40+ M)

Bucos get- Ricky Tiedemann SP- 50 FV ($21M) Nate Pearson RP SV?

A note here, Tiedemann is currently a 45+ but he almost assuredly will be getting a bump to a 50 FV with a chance at being a 55, Blue Jays look to win this year and need a closer. However if Tiedemann get’s that 55 this needs rethought. Cherington should be willing to dig a little to get a Tiedemann, kid has it.  Jays get their closer and an arm that could be ready at some point this year. 

CS-6th Day of X-Mas- 

The City of Brotherly Love comes a calling to add a premium arm to their bullpen:

Philadelphia gets:

David Bednar – P/CL ($23)

Pittsburgh gets:

Johan Rojas – OF FV 45+ (8)

Matt Vierling – OF ($5.6)

Griff McGarry – P FV 40+ ($3)

You might notice that the values do not quite add up here & you’d be right. But I am going to go out on a limb and say that in the 2023 update for prospects we see McGarry rise to a 45 (at least) & I think Vierling with a starter’s role could very well be a breakout player.

Giving up Bednar stings. The Bucs 2023 (and beyond, really) bullpen takes a hit losing its best arm. But McGarry is on the shortlist of my favorite lesser known arms. He has big-time, filthy K stuff. He also has some control issues. But the upside is there with any gained command/control for a high K starter or at the worst a nightmare bullpen arm. Vierling has a very under the radar breakout profile, in my opinion. He posted very interesting metrics in 2022 (91.2 AVG EV good!, 92.3 on FB/LD respectable, 92.4 on GB, 47.1% hard hit, above average plate discipline figures, 29.6 ft/sec sprint speed (very fast), and well above average arm strength). Right now he is on the outside looking in for a gig in Philly, but could slide right in to the opening day OF in Pittsburgh. Rojas is a well regarded prospect that looks like he has a shot to become an MLB regular on the strength of his defense & speed, but the bat will need to continue to develop. 

JV-7th Day of X-Mas-

The act of buying  a prospect is a right of passage for small market teams and it’s time GMBC got his. 

Yankees get- Travis Swaggerty OF- 45 FV ($6M)

Buccos get- Aaron Hicks OF-MLB  -$9M , Austin Wells OF/C- 45 SV ($6M), Deivi Garcia SP- 40+ ($3M)

Yankees add an OF to take a peak at and shed some salary at the same time. The Bucs add more power to the OF and a likely BP arm who was once a top prospect.

CS-8th Day of X-Mas-

I swear that we did not view each other’s plans for this piece beforehand, but I too see them shopping Swaggerty. Here might see a move of players that have lost some of their prospect shine for one another.

Oakland gets:

Travis Swaggerty – OF FV 45 ($6)

Pittsburgh gets: 

A.J. Puk – RP ($2.9)

Oakland may very well value Puk more than what the SV says, but his move to the bullpen does take a hit to that value some. That being said, Puk is a good reliever with multiple inning relief ability. Swaggerty could plug right into the Oakland outfield right away. In fact, he would fit right in with a strong defensive profile, good speed, & prospect/draft pedigree (Pache/Ruiz). 

JV-9th Day of X-mas-

How about a change of scene candidate?

Angels get- Carmen Mlodzinki SP- 40 FV($1M) Matt Fraizer OF- 45+ FV($8M)

Buccos- Jo Adell OF– Change of scene

At just 23 Adell is still plenty young to get it right, but it may look like the Angels are throwing in the towel on the young OF. The Angels have a solid OF and acquired Mickey Moniak last year. Here they also add Fraizer, he struggled last year but his bat is too solid to not rebound in 23. Angels getting a backup plan helps the cause. 

CS-10th Day of X-mas- 

The Mets are making a serious push to put themselves into the MLB elite tier of teams. This move would see the Bucs shopping their bullpen ace again, but this time to land a blue-chip return that just might be on the outside looking in for a job;

New York gets:

David Bednar – CL ($23)

Pittsburgh gets:

Brett Baty – 3B/LF FV 50 ($28)

Pittsburgh gets a blue-chip prospect that, Carlos Correa signing pending, will be out of a long term job which makes him a prime candidate to be shopped. As much as I’d like to keep Bednar, but if he could land a player like Baty, I would certainly make that move.

JV-11th Day of X-Mas-

Bryan Reynolds is the name we hear the most so we may as well reflect that here. I’m finishing like I started. 

Mariners get- Bryan Reynolds OF- MLB $60+M, Carmen Mlodzinski SP- 40 FV($1M) Lonnie White Jr OF- 40+ FV($3M)

Buccos get- Harry Ford C- 45+ FV($8M), Emmerson Hancock SP- 45 FV($4M), Jarred Kelenic OF-MLB and Matt Brash SP- MLB

A few things here, Ford is likely to get a bump to 50 FV($28M).  Kelenic and Brash account for about $30M in trade value with Brash carrying the bulk of that due to Kelenic’s numbers(.168/.251/.338 wRC+ of 68) looking rather anemic as a major leaguer. It’s hard to say how the Mariners view Kelenic. But they are in win now mode so could view him as a guy that can move forward without. However, I’ve included White Jr here to ease the Mariners mind and make this palatable trade for them. They may or may not be ready to move on from Kelenic, but he’s certainly young enough that they still hold him in high regard. 

I can see the Bucs both liking this package and passing on it, but it’s fun to break down. 

CS-12th Day if X-Mas- 

The big rumors swirling at the end of 2022 have been the obvious, unrelenting Bryan Reynolds related ones. So, it only feels like to get in on it with the kind of trade I believe it would take. 

Tampa Bay gets:

Bryan Reynolds – OF $60+ M

Pittsburgh gets: 

Taj Bradley – P FV 55 ($34)

Kyle Manzardo – 1B FV 50 ($28)

The overall value here is about on par with what the D-Backs got for Dalton Varsho. My gut feeling is however that the return would likely not include two top 100 prospects. The concept for this is more of the type of return that would most peak my interest to pull the trade trigger.

                 Final Thoughts

JV- While this was meant to be more of a fun exercise it does highlight one thing for me, GMBC and his staff have done very little this offseason to bring a winner to Pittsburgh, if we’re being honest they’ve done zip that will translate in 24 and beyond.

GMBC getting aggressive and pulling a trade, like any of the ones we’ve built, would go a long way with the base and improve the future outlook of the club. 

I specifically love the idea of adding Rafael Devers, Corey.  This is the type of deal that would have the ticket office putting fans on hold for 2 weeks solid as they gobble up season ticket plans. 

In 2014 when the Marlins signed Giancarlo Stanton to that mega deal, a GM, I can’t remember what GM, blasted then owner Jeff Loria saying that the owner had no intentions of paying Stanton through to the end of the deal. And to that I say, who cares? That’s what trades and opt outs are for. I’d love to see GMBC and Nutting take this approach, front load a deal and move him later. 

Imagine the lineup with Hayes, Devers, Cruz, Reynolds, Bae, Davis and Endy. That’s a playoff lineup that teams wouldn’t want to face Corey. It’s a lineup people buy tickets to see. That fans buy jerseys, and hats and t-shirts for. Isn’t that why we’re here? 

CS- I certainly know that I would be ready to purchase my Oneil Cruz or Devers jersey.  Even if it is pure dream-world stuff, this kind of move would shake up the entire baseball world and totally energize a fan base that is pretty darn pessimistic.

Well, I think we at least had some fun here and hopefully gave people a few enjoyable minutes of reading and considering some different possibilities.

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