Trade Ratings 3.11.19
Kewl idea from SonicBOOM


SonicBOOM had the idea of scoring JeDi's trades.  We'll keep a running total here, update every coupla weeks, and see how things develop.  You can enter your rating in the comments below and can revise your original any time you want.

It seems, no offense, that the following grades are done "in a vacuum."   Which is fine.  75 cents for three quarters, who "won" the trade?  No problem doing it that way.  If that is wrong, please correct me.

Dr. D would understand the CONTEXT here to be:  what if you wanted to kick the can down the road two years for your own contention?  This is both brilliant and foolish:  Jerry Dipoto is very simply making the assertion that the American League will be easy-peasy in 2021 compared to right now, is asserting that baseball is at its toughest in 2018-19 and is going to get easier as time passes.

Does that pass the sniff test for you?  Is that the way things are in the NBA, or NFL, or anywhere generally in history?  Ask the Arsenal Gunners -- who have "kept their powder dry" for twenty years -- what they think about Manchester City's hammer-lock on the EPL.  Back in 2010, they figured they'd rebuild on the excuse that things right then were too tough.  As Arsenal stepped back, Man City stepped into the power vacuum and put an absolute death garroting on the league.  Now it's too late to do anything but play for second.

Anyway, on another level Dipoto didn't rip it down and "rebuild" with 2024 in view.  The rebuild is just a few blocks down the street and 2019 itself could set up to be a Wild Card year for the M's, provided you get Sheffield and a coupla other guys up here in time.

The below grid factors in none of this, does not concern itself with "Sufficient unto the morrow are the evils thereof" theory.  It just axs who won the deals.

Tally Ho!

Grade lines 4 and 5 together if you like.  Original remarks can be found in this thread.

In Boom's column, the 3 for Zunino was his day-of-trade reaction, and the 6 is his evaluation of halfway through ST.  It might be fun to keep a moving whiteboard going as time changes our tunes...

SonicBOOM Rain Wish Moe Diderot Dr.Detecto SABRMatt Total 
Zuumball <> Mallex Smith, and Heredia <> Fraley 3 > 6 6 8 8 "Gentleman's D" 6 8 6.4
Zeus <> Sheffield (with Swanson, DTW) 6 > 6 8 9 8 We'll count this as a 3 everywhere 4 4 6.0
Sugar, Cano, $20M <> Kelenic, Dunn (and Bruce, Swarzak, Bautista)  8 > 9 6 9 9 3 7 9 7.5
Segura and two ML RP's <> JP Crawford and pre-EE 2 > 1 5 I 5 3 7 0 3.5
pre-EE (Santana) <> Edwin Encarnacion and pick #77 5 > 6 7ish 3 5 3 7 2 4.7
Colome <> Omar Narvarez 7 > 8 7+ 9 7 3 6 7 6.7
Gamel <> Domingo Santana 7 > 10 6+ 9 8 3 7 10+ 7.6
Bush leaguer <> Shed Long 7 > 10 4 or 7 7 8 3 6 6 6.5

OK, it seems most of the grades are done in a NEAR-vacuum -- we'll presume that the goal is correctly, logically or reasonably to "rebuild" the team.  In my mind that's the only reasonable rebuild, the quick one, the way JeDi did it.  3- and 5-year rebuilds have way too many moving parts.

But a light, quick "rebuild" agenda in mind?  I'll buy that.  The idea of 2 years' control for Colome vs. 4 years' for Narvarez, that doesn't imply rebuild one way or the other.  So for me Mallex Smith is worth quite a bit more than Mike Zunino even in a vacuum.

My own grades are done in a complete vacuum.  If you were to factor in "rebuild" you'd add lots of points everywhere.


Dr. D



Zunino/Heredia for Smith/Fraley - 8

Paxton deal - 4

Cano deal - 9

Segura deal - 0

Santana for EE - 2

Colome for Narvaez - 7

Gamel for Santana - infinity (ok 10)

Shed Long pickup - 6


Thank you very much, doc, for tqking my wee "potato in the pot" and baking it, adding sour cream and bacon bits...

Since you've introduced the concept of evaluating the trades at different points in time- I'll see your two phases, and raise you one. In the following lines I evaluate each trade a) immediately after it happens ("Dam_! Thdey really did that?!"); b) Today (How things look, ~15 games into SP; and c) gearing up for the 2021 season, in which Jerry has all but promised us a World Series appearance, with remaining suspense around whether they win or not. So, here goes! 

Z... Mallex: 3/6/8       Someone suggested we may find out that Jake Fraley actually was the best player in this trade! I wasn't wild about trading away our starting Catcher (toughest position to fill) for a Center Fielder who spent an hour on our roster two years ago, and a MILB throw-in. Adding insult was the inclusion of last year's best lefty in the whole system! I've warmed up to this one, however, even though none of us has yet seen Mallex in teal (or even in powder blue!) Jake Fraley looks like he could be on the MLB roster by this time next year. 

Paxton... Sheffield: 6/6/8       If we're not going to be good in 2019, then keeping The Big Maple on the roster is a bit of a waste. Sheffield could end up the best player in this trade! DTW has not particularly impressed, thus far (we suddenly have a deep bench of outfielders.) 

Cano/Sugar.... Kelenic/Dunn, et al: 8/9/10        I was pretty sure we were stuck with Robbie's contract through 2033 or so (for a long time, anyway). Kudos to Jerry for getting himself out from under it. There is a market value for everything, but it's tough to unload a $100+M contract for a 37- year old. I doubt another team would have given much more for Diaz, alone. I think Bruce and Swarzak coud become serviceable assets, with their own significant "market values". The only thing that would have made this more atractive to me is substituting McNeil for Bautista (especially if Bautista turns out to have a major shoulder issue). McNeil could take Gordon's place, if we end up probing HIS "market value" later this year. 

Segura.... Crawford: 2/1/2        My favorite position player, one of my favorite relievers, gone for a high-promise, poor-fulfillment shortstop and a boat anchor of a 1B. Did Segura have to go? Did Pazos and Nicasio have to go (for no aditional return)? Could we not have gotten more from the Phils than Crawford? Why were we obliged to take back Santana? I'm concerned that, if Crawford is the linchpin of our 2020/21 strategy, we could be looking for a new SS in a year or two. THis one doesn't make sense to me- neither the Big Picture, nor the details. 

Santana... EE: 5/6/8        Santana seemed like he might have more mileage left on his tires than EE. I guess the prise here is that draft pick, and we'll take whoever we must to secure the extra high pick. If EE can play 1B, then that clears some runway for Vogs at DH (at least). 

Colome... Narvaez: 7/8/9        Colome was always gonna be on the block. Trading Colome for a first-line Catcher- with the whole league knowing we had to a) unload Colome, and b) replace Z- kudos (again) to Jerry! I was concerned about Narvaez in his first few AZ games, but he seems to have re-acquired his hitting stroke in this past half-week. It still seems like we could have benefitted by pairing him with an older defense-first RH-hitting catcher who could mentor him.

Gamel... Santana: 7/10/8        Santana has hit like... Boomstick? ...Jr.? ...A-Rod? through 15 AZ games. I liked Gamel, but... this was a boy-for-man trade. 

Stowers... the Shedster: 7/10/8        Josh, we hardly knew ye! Long gets an 11 for personality- and his bat looks prety good, also. I'm among the minority that believes there was a reason (beyond reluctance to sell low) that Gordon stayed- I think he sets the tone for the team, unlike Segura- but Shed could be taking reps in September, and breathing down his neck (If Dee is still here) in AZ in 12 months. 

Looking over everyone's ratings- we all seem like "believers": willing to bet on Jerry to develop a competitor by 2020/21. It must be March. Hope springs eternal!


Zunino > Mallex : 8

Mallex is cheaper than Z, under control for longer, and a better player in all MID or LO scenarios. Only in the HI does Zunino win, based on the 15% chance that for one year he manages to keep his swing tight and is a .850 OPS catcher who gets a few MVP votes. Still, the odds of this happening in the next two years are terrible, and if he did it this year we still might not make the playoffs, so who cares? Also, Heredia for Fraley is hilarious. One has upside, the other has none. Pure theft.

Paxton > Sheff : 5.5

If Sheff is the real deal, or Swanson/DTW are useful, this looks better. But just in terms of how they look today, this seems about right for an ace with a short track record and Ferrari injury profile. Again, it looks better in the context of the rebuild, but in a near-vacuum the talent level of the org probably stayed about neutral. But I think there’s more upside than downside.

Diaz/Cano > Kelenic/Dunn : 6

The way I see it, you literally had to trade Diaz to convince someone to take Robby. His contract will pay him 24MM until he's 40. No one wants that, at all. And personally, I hate to see Diaz go. Just like I hated to see Sherm leave the Hawks. You don't let a HOF in their prime walk, if you don't have to. In this case maybe we have had to. Also, if Diaz goes on to have the HOF career he looks capable of, I think he would literally be the first closer ever to do so with his build. Am I wrong? Can anyone think of a wire-thin guy who threw 96-98 for ten years? I dunno, much as it hurts to watch him leave we are definitely selling at the maximum peak of an extremely volatile asset. I would actually argue that Cano for 50MM of dead money would never have flown, and that Diaz' surplus value was equal to not only Kelenic/Dunn, but also the delta needed to make them take Cano. So, long story short, this hinges on Diaz. If he stays healthy, we can't win this trade without Kelenic also going HOF. If he doesn't... which seems likely, given RP history and build... then we win. Emphatically, I bet. So my 6 rating is really just the hybrid of the 4 DWN and 8 UP, which hinge on the 3-4 year durability of one man’s right arm.

Segura RP3, RP4 > Crawford, Santana : 2

There is essentially no upside here. Segura is a stellar player on a below market contract at an important position. JP Crawford, in the UP scenario, is hoping to be a 98 OPS bat with a good glove. In that case, maybe he provides a bit more value then Jean did by being cheaper, but meh. The only possible way this makes sense is if Jean had turned into a Figginsesque prima donna, single-handedly threatening to drag the clubhouse below the minimum threshold required to field a functional team. Which, being the only logical explanation, Occam’s Razor suggests is the right one. Maybe this is what Dr. Martin was talking about: Jerry and Scott, in a fit of pique, bemoaning that Robby had turned Jean into a drama queen while both were holed up in the Dominican.

Santana > Boomstick II + Draft Pick : 6

Meh. The pick is nice. It looks better if Edwin kills it in the first half and gets traded to a contender for something cool. If he plays the whole year here, let alone next year, this is just a shuffling of the deck chairs.

Colome > Narvaez : 7

Now we’re talking! An in-arb closer (7.3MM this year, up with a bullet from there) for a catcher who can hit? Sure, maybe Narvaez’ defense tanks this scheme, but I doubt it: Bref has his dWar at 0.0, 0.3, and 0.1 for his three years at C. An average defensive catcher with a career 106 OPS who’s still pre-arb? Age 27 with experience? This is the kind of scrub you build a winner with, baby.

Gamel > Domingo = 9.5

I headed into this post thinking this was a 10/10, brilliant baseball move. Then I discovered that both Bref and Fangraphs hate hate HATE Santana’s defense. Hate it! Both ding him consistently for an entire Win of limited range over a full season. This is troubling. No one had told me he was a trash defender. Mike Blowers said he could run well, Jerry Scott said he might play center, and a Denizen said he has a good arm. I inferred that he was an average LF! Apparently not. And yet, even with that factored in, this is a steal. They’re nearly identical value propositions: a 25-26 year old corner outfielder with several years in the league as a useful backup. Better speed than in-game defense, capable hitter with a high floor. The difference is that one of them hit .278/.371/.505 in 2017. For reference, last year Mitch Haniger hit .285/366/.493, played better defense at a slightly harder position, and racked up 6 WAR. So. Then he was buried behind Lorenzo Cain, Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun. Now he’s at .455/.520/1.091 in ST. And the ball hangs up in the air in our home park’s LF, giving a good runner who takes bad angles time to adjust. You think he’s gonna post 3 WAR this year? Cuz I do.

Josh Stowers > Shed Long : 5

One was a recent 2nd Round pick, the other has the greatest baseball name since Boog Powell left town and a surprisingly emphatic bat launch. Call it a push.

Final notes:

So I’ve got Jerry at a 6.125/10 average for the offseason blizzard. However, some trades matter more than others. Santana for Edwin? Who cares. Shed Long? Meh. Segura, if you assume as I do that this was the only trade made for non-roster-improvement reasons? A decent job of salvaging a rotten asset. If you leave those out, I have Jerry at 7.2 for his five biggest trades. He ditched our Ace, starting C, Star 2B, HOF Closer, other Closer, some useful relievers and two 4th outfielders. In exchange he got far more years of club control over 3 blue chip prospects, a starting C, minor star CF, minor star LF, a 50% chance at a starting SS, and whatever Jake Fraley is. Seems like a fair haul to me, assuming the same number of prospects pan out for us as would be expected to if we weren’t the Seattle Mariners. But hey, I’m cautiously optimistic that Mitch Haniger has broken that particular curse for us.

Final note: funny also that Jerry flipped Ben Gamel, a gritty baseball-rat white guy, for the Domingo Santana, a Dominican with soft rumblings of character concerns in his past. Sound like the move of someone who hates Latinos and doesn’t trust Dominicans especially? Yeah, okay. Sure. Whatever.

Final-final note: Doc, I disagree with your assertion that Jerry thinks the AL is hard now, will be easy in a few years. I think what your missing is how problematic our roster was. We were a team whose UP season was 90 wins, and probably due for a MID or DWN year in 2019. Sure, missing the playoffs by like 10 games last year due to 4 superteams factors in, but the bigger problem is that he had an 85 win roster, + or – 5 games of variability, and no high-probability way to improve it more than regression hurt it. So he did the responsible thing and looked for a way to improve into the 95 win range as soon as possible. He alighted on sacrificing ten wins in 2019 to add them back and then some in 2020-21. Whether it works or not will determine whether he’s a good GM, but I think the logic underlying his decision is sound.

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