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Remembering the Cozart + Wilson trade/salary dump (and Cobb)


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If you remember, the Angels dumped Zack Cozart's salary by throwing in Will Wilson in a trade for Garret Williams. The Giants paid all of Cozart's $12.67M salary and, considering that Cozart was released a month later and Williams was essentially a non-prospect and lost to the Cardinals via waivers a year later, it was basically just the Giants spending $12.67M to acquire Wilson. So as a formula it looks something like this:

0 (Cozart) + X (Wilson) = 0 (Williams) + 12.67

Basic math says that X = 12.67.

I thought of this with regards to Cobb because Wilson and Jahmai Jones are similar caliber prospects; according to Fangraphs, Wilson is a 45 FV, Jones a 40+ FV.  Like the Cozart trade, the Cobb trade is basically a salary dump. Over the last three years and 41 starts Cobb has produced a 5.10 ERA and 1.5 WAR: meaning, he's pretty much the definition of a #5 starter whose performance could be relatively easily replicated by a cheap free agent or a solid AAA pitcher.

Evidently the Orioles will be paying "more than half" of his $15M salary, so let's say $8M, so they're dumping $7M on the Angels. So here's the trade:

Cobb for Jones and $7M

How do we numerically translate that? ZiPs projects Cobb to produce a 0.8 WAR in 2021, which is the same as Carlos Rodon, who signed for 1/$3M. And of course Rodon is six years younger than Cobb. But let's be kind to Minasian and his guys and say that Cobb is worth 3-5M on the open market, so we'll call it 4M. Someone said that Jones, as a 40+ FV prospect, is basically worth $4M in market value. Considering that Wilson, a 45 FV prospect, earned the Angels a $12.67M salary reduction, that seems a bit light (Wilson was at 45 FV when he was traded), but again, we'll be nice to Minasian and value Jones at only $4M.

So here's our translation, in terms of value exchanged:

4 (Cobb) = 4 (Jones) + 7 (cash)

In other words, the Angels are spending about 11M in resources for something worth 4M. Meaning, the trade only makes sense for the Angels if they were getting a prospect worth roughly $7M, or 40+ to 45 FV prospect. 

Again, given Cobb's performance over the last three years and that at age 34 he's unlikely to have some hidden potential waiting for Mickey Callaway to unlock, I'm left with two conclusions:

1) The Orioles are adding a prospect in the mix, someone in the 40+ to 45 FV range. Looking at the Fangraphs Updated 2020 Orioles prospect list, among pitching prospects you have Akin, Baumann, and Kremer at 45, and Lowther at 40+.

or

2) Minasian and his crew got screwed. By a Cobb.

Now as some have suggested, acquiring Cobb could mean that Minasian has a deal in the works involving Canning or Barria, but even then it doesn't make sense to lose Jones in the process as they could have acquired a Rodon-esque pitcher for less money and gotten to keep Jones.

 

Edited by Angelsjunky
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Good perspective on that deal in relation to this.

I think that Jones' value may be lower than a 40+, but that's just speculation on my part. FanGraphs hasn't released their updated Angels 2021 prospect list, so we'll have to see. I'd also assume that the Angels internal projection system sees Cobb providing more than 0.8 fWAR.

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  • Angelsjunky changed the title to Remembering the Cozart + Wilson trade/salary dump (and Cobb)
40 minutes ago, Trendon said:

Good perspective on that deal in relation to this.

I think that Jones' value may be lower than a 40+, but that's just speculation on my part. FanGraphs hasn't released their updated Angels 2021 prospect list, so we'll have to see. I'd also assume that the Angels internal projection system sees Cobb providing more than 0.8 fWAR.

Just looking at Cobb's numbers in the recent years, it would be reasonable to expect something like ~150IP and ~1.5fWAR or so.

I would say that's probably worth 6-8mil.  Makes him a very solid SP4.

If we end up paying him around 4-5mil, then I'd say the trade is fairly reasonable.  We'll see the full deal likely tomorrow, but reports are the Orioles are paying "most" of his salary.

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Anyway that I look at this deal, it was a mistake. A pitcher with Cobbs resume the last three years would be worth a Minor League contract with no invite to ST. There are many options still available in FA who are better than Cobb. Granted, Jones is a fringe prospect but Cobb is a negative factor for the rotation. Minasian should have signed Shoemaker. 

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