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The 50 Most Valuable Trade Assets in MLB


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You'll never guess who has the most trade value in MLB (he's the only Angel in the top 50) according to Jonah Keri. 

 

Trade Value Rules

1. Contracts matter. Max Scherzer is a better pitcher than Gerrit Cole, but Scherzer will be eligible for free agency at the end of next season, while Cole isn't even arbitration-eligible yet and will be under team control through 2019.

 

2. Age matters. Bartolo Colon and Jose Fernandez put up fairly similar numbers in 2013, but Colon is 40 and likely won't be pitching for too much longer, while Fernandez is just 21 and could very well get better.

 

3. It's all relative. Pretend every team started shopping every player as a trade candidate. Who would attract the biggest return from any one of the other 29 clubs? For instance, if we're comparing the trade value of Paul Goldschmidt and Andrelton Simmons, we're not concerned that the Braves have an excellent first baseman of their own in Freddie Freeman, or that the Diamondbacks already have a promising young shortstop in Didi Gregorius. What we want to know is this: If every team were allowed to bid on Goldschmidt and Simmons, which player would net the greater return?

 

4. Positional scarcity matters. If a shortstop and first baseman put up comparable offensive numbers, the shortstop is the more valuable player, since it's much tougher to find a player with the defensive chops to handle short than it is to find one who can man first. That's already reflected in Wins Above Replacement (which you'll see referenced throughout these rankings), but it bears repeating.

 

5. Defense, park factors, and other variables not immediately apparent in superficial stats matter. These are not fantasy baseball rankings, so a player who hits 30 home runs isn't necessarily more valuable than one who hits 20, or even five.

 

6. Major leaguers only. Baseball teams place great value on top prospects, since those players offer the twin virtues of great potential and low price. But going through every minor league level for every team can muddy matters for non-prospect hounds. So we'll stick to players 

. That means Xander Bogaerts and Wil Myers are eligible for this list, but Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano (both of whom would otherwise be strong top-50 contenders) are not.

 

7. The list runs in reverse order. If Felix Hernandez is no. 20 on this list, it means the Mariners wouldn't trade him for anyone ranked 21 to 50, but would have to at least consider swapping him for the players ranked 19 to 1.

 

 

Here's the links to the list with the write-ups for the players on the list.

 

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/10074900/mlb-trade-value-rankings-part-1

 

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/10080878/mlb-trade-value-rankings-part-2

Edited by AngelsAndRamsFan
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For those that aren't interested in clicking the links, he's the write-up on Trout.

 

Group 22: The Best

Alex Rodriguez, 3B, New York Yankees (NR)

Group 22: Let's Start the Bidding at $400 Million

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1. Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels (1): We make jokes at A-Rod's expense, because how can we not? But when we look at Mike Trout's future, we're looking at Rodriguez's past, at least when it comes to contract negotiations. When A-Rod signed his free-agent deal with the Rangers for a quarter-billion dollars, he did so at age 25. It was Rodriguez's historic talent, but also his abnormally young age for a player who'd already used up his first six years of service time, that made Texas owner Tom Hicks's contract offer so stratospheric.12

That's where we are with Trout. He's the best player in the game, and he still has a year to go before arbitration and four years left before free agency. He made $510,000 last season. And if baseball suddenly declared Trout a free agent in a mysterious Rickey Henderson–in–Little Big League kind of way, we probably really could start the bidding at $400 million. Trout was a 10-win player in each of his two big league seasons, having logged the best season ever for a 20-year-old and the best season for a 21-year-old.13 And he's still improving in multiple ways, including the 110 walks he racked up in Year 2 as he learned to be more patient and wait for his pitch.

That's what makes all of this so thrilling. What if this isn't his ceiling? What if Trout's upside goes beyond posting numbers a tick below what Willie Mays did in his prime? For now, in the middle of baseball's cold, dark offseason, we're limited only by our imaginations. So far, Trout has given us no reason to believe in limits.

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It's pretty freaking sweet to see Trout at #1. I really hope this team ponies up the money to sign him long term at some point. 

 

This quote is the best: 

 

"That's what makes all of this so thrilling. What if this isn't his ceiling? What if Trout's upside goes beyond posting numbers a tick below what Willie Mays did in his prime?"

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Incompetence? Maybe. "Utter"? That's a huge overstatement, I think. As Stradling said, he lost to Miguel Cabrera, who is the best hitter in baseball and had two pretty incredible seasons in his own right.

 

I'm a bit advocate of WAR, but I'm not an advocate of "WAR reductionism" - that is, reducing a player's value to just one number.

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Incompetence? Maybe. "Utter"? That's a huge overstatement, I think. As Stradling said, he lost to Miguel Cabrera, who is the best hitter in baseball and had two pretty incredible seasons in his own right.

I'm a bit advocate of WAR, but I'm not an advocate of "WAR reductionism" - that is, reducing a player's value to just one number.

Neither am I re: WAR.

I stand by my accusations against the BBWAA.

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