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Hot Stove Trade Speculation: The Complete Reboot

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By Robert Cunningham, AngelsWin.com Staff Writer - 

Disclaimer: This trade discussion is purely speculative in nature and presents an unlikely example of how the Angels can improve their roster for 2014. FanGraphs WAR stat is used to help evaluate player value, but it is merely a useful guide for this analysis. This series of articles are meant to entertain, generate discussion and to show that there are multiple avenues to improve the team.

Teams Involved:

Note: This is not a multi-team trade. Each of the trades would be separately conducted between the Angels and each other individual team in question.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
St. Louis Cardinals
San Diego Padres
Toronto Blue Jays

Team Needs:

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim –

The Angels need pitching for both the rotation and bullpen. Additionally a possible upgrade at third base would be desirable. Team budget is a concern (even if Arte Moreno breaks the luxury tax threshold for 2014) so any trade would need to keep the team payroll relatively neutral. Improving their overall farm system is a secondary goal.

St. Louis Cardinals –

The Cardinals are looking for upgrades at both shortstop and center field. Budget is not a concern for them and improving their overall farm system would be icing on the cake as they have probably the premier prospect base in MLB.

San Diego Padres –

The Padres have a stated need for a left-handed bat, a corner outfielder and/or first baseman, and a left-handed reliever. Additionally there is some upheaval surrounding their third baseman Chase Headley so that may be a concern for them as well. The Padres are a small-market team so budget is a concern, requiring any trade to relatively neutral. An improvement to their farm system would also be a bonus for the Padres who already have a good prospect base.

Toronto Blue Jays –

The Jays have made it clear they need to find an upgrade at second base. Also they have stated a desire to acquire a right-handed hitting backup catcher against left-handed pitching. Adding some inexpensive bullpen help could allow them to safely move one or more of their current relievers in trade. The Jays farm system is relatively strong so an improvement there is a bonus.

Players Involved:
playersinvolved2.png

‘Adjusted Value Out’ takes the average WAR of a player, over the last three years, and makes minor adjustments for age (decline), scarcity (projected high WAR season), and whether they project to receive a Qualifying Offer.

Please note that prospects are, by nature, inherently cheaper in value. Top prospects, of course, are more valuable than ‘organizational depth’ type prospects and Minor League experience level is also reflected in their value.

Example: The Rangers traded Mike Olt (#57 on MLB 2013 Top 100), Justin Grimm, C.J. Edwards, and Neil Ramirez for essentially $5.1 million (1.1 WAR for 2nd half of 2013) and a half-year of Matt Garza. Although it was a deadline overpay for one mid-level star and three organizational players, it illustrates the point.

This prospect evaluation is reflected in the ‘Adjusted Value Out’ column in the chart above. Those players under contract that are likely eligible for a Qualifying Offer at contract end, which would net the controlling team a compensatory draft pick, adds additional dollars to their ‘Adjusted Value Out’ total.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim –

The Angels are coming off a disappointing season and know that in order to compete they need to acquire young, controllable pitching and one of the only ways to accomplish that is through trade of some of their position players.

One of those players is Howie Kendrick. Since early June there has been increasing chatter that Kendrick and the remaining two team-friendly years on his contract could be moved. It is also likely that Howie, at the end of his contract when he enters free agency, will receive a Qualifying Offer which would net a draft pick, increasing his value.

Mark Trumbo is also a player that the Angels might consider parting with in trade. Several teams are looking for a corner outfielder/first baseman and the Angels don’t really have a clear starting position for him in 2014. Trumbo is also likely to receive a Qualifying Offer before hitting free agency, netting a draft pick for the controlling team.

Erick Aybar might be the most painful of these players to part with as our replacement options, although defensively sound, are not offensively oriented to the degree that Erick is. Aybar is a solid shortstop with a team-friendly 3 years remaining on his contract, making him an attractive option for a team in need.

Chris Iannetta also has two years remaining on his team-friendly contract. His positive value would allow the Angels to move him in trade and then sign a catcher who can hit left-handed pitching to backup Hank Conger, who would receive the lion’s share of starts in 2014.

Peter Bourjos, whose performance has been hampered by injuries, is quite possibly the most elite defensive center fielder in the game today but hasn’t had too many opportunities to show it. His offensive game started to take a step forward in 2013 before being hit by a pitch that limited his season. Although trading him right now is a sell low moment, other teams recognize the tremendous value he brings and he will net more than most realize.

Prospects Michael Roth and C.J. Cron are expendable pieces for the Angels, especially the latter who is a first baseman/designated hitter type that probably won’t have a positional home on the team for the foreseeable future. Cron, a first round pick, has some value as a potential power hitter while Roth, a lefty specialist, has quite a bit less.

St. Louis Cardinals –

The Cardinals are coming off a tremendous season where they nearly won it all. St. Louis is flush with cash to compliment a great farm.

Recently there have been rumors that the Cardinals would be willing to move Shelby Miller or Lance Lynn in trade to fill their other needs. They are so deep in pitching that they can also afford to part with another starter/long reliever in Seth Maness, who is a sinker-ball specialist.

San Diego Padres –

The Padres are facing a big question regarding the retention of their current third baseman Chase Headley. The fact that they haven’t been able to sign him to an extension yet leads to the belief that they might move him in trade this offseason. If they do lose Headley, Jedd Gyorko could be moved over to the hot corner and second base could be filled internally (Amarista for instance) or through trade/free agency.

Beyond Headley the Padres have two prospects, Matthew Wisler, a young right-handed pitching prospect, and defensive-whiz, Austin Hedges who are expendable due to the Padres depth in their rotation (Luebke and Wieland should be available next season) and also their team control of Hundley and Grandal at the catcher position for at least the next two years.

Toronto Blue Jays –

Just like the Angels and Phillies, the Blue Jays are also coming off a disappointing season where they were expected to contend. Questions surround their rotation, second base, and at the backup catcher position behind Josh Thole. Looking towards the future when Edwin Encarnacion’s contract expires they could use a power-hitting first baseman.

Although the Blue Jays would be okay with retaining Casey Janssen, their 2013 closer, he could also be moved in trade to fill some roster holes. Janssen could be a one year rental for an acquiring team or a possible extension candidate.

The Blue Jays also have enough pitching depth in AAA that they can afford to part with young right-handed pitching prospect Marcus Stroman (AA) in a trade for the right players.

The Trades:
TheTrades.png


How Does This Improve Each Team?

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim –

The Angels, by moving Kendrick, Trumbo, Iannetta, Aybar, Bourjos, Cron and Roth, move a lot of salary off of the books to make room for the acquisition of Shelby Miller, a clear front of the rotation starter.

Essentially the Halos trade five controllable, MLB players and two prospects in exchange for one controllable MLB player, two rental MLB players and four controllable, near-MLB ready prospects.

The net cash results of this trade, for the 2014 season, is a reduction of $11,420,000 in team payroll after we pay about half of Aybar’s 2014 contract in salary relief to the Cardinals and receive about a million each in salary relief for Headley and Iannetta for 2014 only.

If the Angels re-sign Jason Vargas, it would give them a starting five rotation of Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Shelby Miller, Jason Vargas, and Garrett Richards which would be an improvement over the 2013 pitching staff.

In addition to controlling Miller for the next five seasons, we acquire sinker ball pitcher Seth Maness who is very good at limiting both walks and home runs. With the new Angels defensive arrangement behind him (Headley, Romine/Field, Lindsey/Green, and Pujols) he should enjoy quite a bit of success with the Halo’s as either a starter or long reliever.

Additionally, from the Padres, we acquire a one-year rental of one of the better defensive third basemen in the Majors: Chase Headley. Chase is also a switch-hitter who hits RHP better than LHP but is a presence in the middle or top of our batting order. He would also be a secondary extension candidate behind Mike Trout.

Beyond that we also acquire a rising young AA RHP prospect in Matthew Wisler and the young, defensive-wizard catcher Austin Hedges who can act as the primary depth option behind Conger and whomever we sign as a free agent catcher for 2014.

Finally from the Blue Jays we acquire a one-year rental of Casey Janssen who immediately upgrades the back-end of our bullpen and young AA RHP prospect Marcus Stroman who is also a rising star in the Jays farm system.

The net result is that the Angels do improve their rotation and bullpen along with acquiring, at least for 2014, a third baseman that is a significant upgrade over what was available to us internally. We do lose some offense at both shortstop and second base but it is made up by the improvements in other areas.

St. Louis Cardinals –

The Cardinals deal from their impressive farm system by trading away top prospect Shelby Miller and prospect Seth Maness for three years of shortstop Erick Aybar and three years of Peter Bourjos.

Losing Miller or Maness doesn’t hamper the Cardinals rotation options and it allows them to reload for another sustained run at a championship in 2014. In particular the upside of Bourjos, if he avoids injury, is favorable to St. Louis.

Additionally they only had to take on a small amount of total salary ($4,325,000) which will allow them to pursue any and all free agents that they choose to pursue and could even allow them to consummate additional trades to further upgrade their already elite team.

In the end the Cardinals deal from great positions of strength to fortify their main areas of weakness. It would not surprise me to see the Cardinals try to acquire Max Scherzer or another experienced, high-quality starter (maybe even Cliff Lee) to upgrade their rotation in pursuit of another World Series run.

San Diego Padres –

The Padres end up replacing the loss of Headley by moving Gyorko over to third base, his former Minor League position, and acquiring power-hitter Mark Trumbo who they can use at either RF or at first base and the offensive-minded Howie Kendrick to plug in at second base.

This gives the Padres a nice infield of Gyorko, Cabrera, Kendrick, and Alonso/Trumbo. If they want to keep Alonso at first they can move Trumbo to the outfield and trade Will Venable or perhaps Chris Denorfia for some of the pitching depth they want. Also Kendrick has no significant platoon split, giving the Padres added strength vs. RHP.

The catching tandem of Hundley and Grandal mitigates the loss of Hedges. Wisler would probably not contribute significantly this season whereas the likes of Luebke and Wieland probably could help making Wisler’s loss manageable.

San Diego takes on a little over four million in salary for 2014 and pays for almost a million of Headley’s salary, creating a net increase of about $5 million for 2014 which is a reasonable increase for the team payroll. The remaining holes can be filled by a Venable-based trade. The Padres could take a significant step forward in 2014.

Toronto Blue Jays –

The Blue Jays end up using their farm system and bullpen depth to acquire the right-handed hitting catcher they need along with a first base power hitting prospect.

Chris Iannetta would become the backup catcher to Josh Thole, creating a nice catching platoon for the Blue Jays. Chris has a reasonably priced, two-year contract which is a good fit for the Blue Jays current window of contention.

C.J. Cron places a left-handed hitting power prospect who can possibly be the first baseman or DH in the coming years. This would provide insurance behind Edwin Encarnacion and allow the Blue Jays to deal Adam Lind for starting pitching help. Cron could possibly take over first base in two years if Edwin leaves or could hit in the DH spot.

The Blue Jays take on nearly $975,000 in salary for the 2014 season along with an additional $1,100,000 in salary relief for Casey Janssen which is a reasonable increase for their team payroll.

Conclusion:

The actual individual trades are fairly reasonable. Probably the most disagreement will center on the Miller-Maness for Aybar-Bourjos trade. Just so you understand I assumed Peter would project for a 2.4 WAR season in 2014, 3.1 WAR in 2015, and 3.5 War in 2016, his walk year.

These are reasonable values in my opinion and it only reinforces the idea that Bourjos is a valuable commodity. Some focus so much on his offense that they forget he is one of the top 3 defensive center fielders in the game today. Run prevention is criminally underrated by the fans but luckily not so by MLB teams.

Although this was a fun thought exercise it does show what some extreme creativity can do to improve a team. In reality, the likelihood that the team completely sells off all of the players in this scenario is pretty remo


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Speaking of Reboot, I sure hope Hamilton and Pujols are fresh and produce much more than what they did in 2013. 

 

I'd really like to see Pujols become an Edgar Martinez type going forward. +.300 hitter, 25-30 HR, 100 RBI. I think he can be that guy if healthy. 

 

As far as Hamilton. I'll take a .260 BA and 35-40 HR.

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Once again the Angels get the best package Lol

 

So Mark Trumbo, Howie Kendrick, Peter Bourjos, Erick Aybar, and Chris Iannetta have little or no value in your eyes?

 

The Cardinals get 3 years each of Erick Aybar and Peter Bourjos and that is not valuable to them?

 

Padres get 3 years of Mark Trumbo and 2 years of Howie Kendrick and that means nothing?

 

Again this series is simply meant to point out that we have diverse options in trade. I know that some of you won't agree with the valuations or the availability of some of these players but there are real options out there for the Angels to take advantage of.

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This is actually a bit more believable than the other 3 way thread. A bit more balanced, but I don't think the Angels can bring in that big of a haul. 

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I would like to see the scenario that Robert painted.

That's a great 1-2-3 potentially in Weaver, Wilson, and Miller; plus Vargas and Richards could become a rock solid 4-5.

Adding Janssen and Maness, along with Burnett's return, Frieri, DDLR, (Kohn or Morin), and either Shoemaker or Williams creates a deep enough pen.   Jepsen could then be traded. 

 

Because Miller projects no worse than #2/#3 in a great St. L. rotation, I still doubt that he gets traded though.

Edited by Angel Oracle

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This is actually a bit more believable than the other 3 way thread. A bit more balanced, but I don't think the Angels can bring in that big of a haul. 

 

Thanks Cory.

 

One thing I'd like to point out is that when you read an article like the one above there is a tendency to see a name like Chase Headley and forget the fact that he only has one year of control (2014 only) before he hits free agency. Does he have real value? Yes he definitely does and in fact a straight up trade of one year of Headley for two years of Kendrick is about even, give or take.

 

The takeaway is that years of control, projected salary, and quality of the player all have to be considered when making a valuation. There is even more beyond that (such as player leadership skills as an example) which cannot be easily measured that impacts the end value of a player.

 

I don't pretend to have special scouting insight into a player. I'm just trying to paint a picture of possible avenues to improve the team that are within the realm of reality. I try to account for special factors (which admittedly I may not be fully capturing) such as player scarcity and whether or not a player will project to receive a Qualifying Offer when they hit free agency which increases their value a bit.

 

It may very well be that St. Louis doesn't want to trade Shelby Miller. Chase Headley may not be available from the Padres! However the Cardinals do have needs to fill and starting pitching is an organizational strength. The Padres have a 3rd baseman in Gyorko that could move over to 3rd base since they seem to be struggling to extend Chase Headley. Bringing in Kendrick and Trumbo would strengthen their offense and with two of their high-end pitchers returning from the DL (Luebke and Wieland) they are moving towards serious contention in the NL West.

 

As I write this response I'm realizing that perhaps the biggest problem is that we, as Angels fans, don't recognize the value of our own players. Erick Aybar is not a big name shortstop. Howie Kendrick is not considered a top 5 2nd baseman. Mark Trumbo is not viewed in the same light as Miguel Cabrera, Chris Davis, Jose Bautista, et. al. (nor will he ever be in all likelihood). Peter Bourjos is labeled as an offensively-inept, defensive center fielder who hits the DL too often.

 

But when you compare their output, both offensively and defensively, to other players around the league they are productive players. Moreso they are all relatively inexpensive compared to a lot of those other players with similar output. That has real, significant value to a lot of teams and is worth a lot more than they are given credit for. The Angels have good trade chips and they can reinvent the starting rotation by moving one or more of those position players in trade. The above example was extreme (and I stated that in the article) to show how we could transform our roster and make it more balanced.

 

If you like this series I'll continue it. Otherwise I may just stop it here. There are good players out there, especially in the upper levels of the Minors and I really wanted to make more of the casual readers aware of their existence and how we can improve next season and beyond.

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I would like to see the scenario that Robert painted.

That's a great 1-2-3 potentially in Weaver, Wilson, and Miller; plus Vargas and Richards could become a rock solid 4-5.

Adding Janssen and Maness, along with Burnett's return, Frieri, DDLR, (Kohn or Morin), and either Shoemaker or Williams creates a deep enough pen.   Jepsen could then be traded. 

 

Because Miller projects no worse than #2/#3 in a great St. L. rotation, I still doubt that he gets traded though.

 

Maness is particularly interesting to me. I read a couple of the scouting reports on him and his control is nearly impeccable. Go look at his walk rates in the Minors and you'll blink a few times adjusting to the miniscule numbers.

 

A pitcher like Maness who can really place his pitches on the corners would probably enjoy tremendous success with a catcher like Hank Conger who is already becoming well known as an excellent pitch framer. If Maness can spot the outside corners I'm sure that Conger could get more called strikes on those pitches with his framing techniques.

 

Also Maness is a high groundball pitcher so having a good infield defense behind him, especially someone like Romine at shortstop, would increase his success in all likelihood.

Edited by ettin

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I, for one, would encourage you to continue to write these ariticles ettin.  IMO, you present a balanced approach to these scenarios.  Yeah, some of them may not be realistic, but I appreciate the effort and enjoy them.

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You guys are selling Hamilton short after one bad season. The guy has a career .295 batting average a .884 OPS. Seriously, he's only 32 years old and should still be in his prime. I expect something close to his career numbers. I believe that management expects the same.

Edited by Troll Daddy
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Could Maness become someone's answer to Uehara, eventually?

Granted the similarities are mainly in their great control, with Maness pounding pitch after pitch in the low part of the strike zone and getting tons more GB outs, and Uehara being a K guy. 

Edited by Angel Oracle

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I like these articles. 

 

Fans are definitely underrating some of our players we have and what we could possibly get back. 

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We do have some definate trade partners out there (St. L., KC, TB, and Toronto for starters).

Teams who need upgrades at 2B, CF, and corner OF power

 

If Trumbo were to be traded, and Cron did find his hitting shoes this off-season and into 2014, is it possible for him to be a DH in his first MLB season?    Very few, if any, rookies have done solidly at the DH spot.   Even Big Poopy was mainly a position player for his first full season with the Twins in 1998, although he did become their main DH at just age 24 in 2000. 

Edited by Angel Oracle

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Not sure how realistic the scenario is. It does seem to be a 'best case scenario' for us.

That said, it also sounds well thought out and not at all unrealistic/lopsided.

Good job ettin, keep em coming

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Although I disagree on the perceived value of Trumbo, Cron, and Roth, I like your articles, Robert.  Fun to think about.

 

I love Wisler, and am glad you see him as a potential Angels target

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I'm sorry, but I don't see anything that the Angels would offer could net Shelby Miller. Is Aybar better than Kozma? Definitely. Is Bourjous better than Jay? Well, defensively, yes. Offensively, no.

 

So at the end of the day the Cards would be upgrading from a good defensive SS with a horrible bat to a good defensive SS with a better, but still worse than league average, bat. Then they get a CF who helps defensively relative to what they had, but hurts them from an offensive perspective. And for that they have to give Shelby Miller AND Manness? And it costs them $8M more a year.

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If Shelby Miller is on the block, I don't think STL is going to be over valuing him. Hell, was he even on the post season roster? Either they know something we don't, or they were being overly protective with him. No way in hell Lynn or Kelly should have started a game over him.

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Could Maness become someone's answer to Uehara, eventually?

Granted the similarities are mainly in their great control, with Maness pounding pitch after pitch in the low part of the strike zone and getting tons more GB outs, and Uehara being a K guy. 

 

Maness will be good as long as he keeps his mechanics consistent. The two main things I think you have to worry about with him is 1) if he does get his mechanics out of whack he'll get hit harder, albeit more grounders through the middle, finding the holes, etc. and 2) Big league professional hitters will know that he throws a lot of pitches in the zone to induce grounders and the really good hitters will make higher quality contact which could result in poorer outcomes for a pitcher like Maness.

 

However those walk rates are super sexy. Some of his Minor League numbers from 2011-2013: 52.5% GB rate, 1.8% BB rate!, 0.73 HR/9! and a whopping 9.56 K/BB ratio!

 

Maness just really interests me as a pitcher. He was a starter in the Minors but the Cardinals used him out of the pen in 2013. If he sharpens his repetoire a little more (improved change up for instance) he is a starter for sure.

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We do have some definate trade partners out there (St. L., KC, TB, and Toronto for starters).

Teams who need upgrades at 2B, CF, and corner OF power

 

If Trumbo were to be traded, and Cron did find his hitting shoes this off-season and into 2014, is it possible for him to be a DH in his first MLB season?    Very few, if any, rookies have done solidly at the DH spot.   Even Big Poopy was mainly a position player for his first full season with the Twins in 1998, although he did become their main DH at just age 24 in 2000. 

 

I think Cron is probably trade bait for the simple fact that he doesn't appear to have a spot on the Big League club. DH is of course a possibility but I think the team will commit to giving the DH spot to a group that includes Kole Calhoun, Hank Conger, Albert Pujols, and Josh Hamilton on a rotating basis. More likely you'll see Calhoun and Conger hitting out of the DH spot, in my opinion. I actually like the idea of letting Conger DH, his bat needs more repetition and he hasn't really had the opportunity in the Majors to show what he can do from the right side of the plate.

 

I could be completely wrong about Cron though. His power is real but I am not sure if he is truly ready for Major League pitching yet.

 

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The rotation idea for DH makes sense, because Pujols is likely not ever going to be able to play 150 games at 1B again.

Assuming Trumbo gets dealt, can Calhoun take the 1B starts that Pujols can't? 

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Although I disagree on the perceived value of Trumbo, Cron, and Roth, I like your articles, Robert.  Fun to think about.

 

I love Wisler, and am glad you see him as a potential Angels target

 

Yeah Wisler is definitely an interesting pitcher. The Padres really have a lot of interesting pitchers including Luebke, Wieland, and of course Cashner. They really have the makings of a good rotation if they stop the merry-go-round of TMJ surgeries.

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The rotation idea for DH makes sense, because Pujols is likely not ever going to be able to play 150 games at 1B again.

Assuming Trumbo gets dealt, can Calhoun take the 1B starts that Pujols can't? 

 

I think that was the idea AO. My understanding was that Calhoun had some repetitions at 1B in the Minors in 2012 and 2013, although it was not a lot of games started at the position. Beyond actual game time he may have taken additional time in practice but I am not privy to that. Perhaps others like Inside Pitch or the Scotty's might know more about that.

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