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August 7, 2014

TTO Scoresheet Podcast

Trade Winds

by Ian Lefkowitz, Ben Murphy and Jared Weiss

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With the MLB trade deadline behind us and the Scoresheet trade deadline fast approaching, now’s a good time to talk trades. Well, any time is a good time good to talk trades, but that’s particularly the case now. Below we list some trade targets and players to move, along with our reasoning. Keep in mind the quirks of the Scoresheet playoffs: you are looking for players who will get playing time in September, but performance to date is banked value.

Players to Consider Trading For:

Byron Buxton
This is about as close as Buxton will get to prospect fatigue for a good long while. His injury tore a hole through his season, and his performance after coming back has been merely okay. That’s good news for you. Offer a trade for Buxton in your league to a point that makes you uncomfortable; you’re likely to still end up with the best player in the deal.

Adam Eaton
We put this list together a few days ago and we’d hate to think we jinxed Eaton into running into a wall. You might remember the White Sox pickup of Eaton as part of the blockbuster three-team trade this past season which also involved Tyler Skaggs, Hector Santiago, Mark Trumbo. You may have heard nothing since, because the White Sox are where hype goes to die. But Eaton is getting on base at a .370 clip and there are reasons to think he may bump up his power numbers a bit.

Gio Gonzalez
A solid player having a solid year in the midst of a solid career, Gonzalez has been overlooked somewhat in the deep Nats rotation. He’s a by-now classic example of a player whose peripherals are outpacing his ERA, and he could be a foundational part of a developing team.

Matt Kemp
The Dodgers and their fans have recently become obsessed with all the things that Matt Kemp can’t do anymore. His weakening bat and horrendous defensive performance have turned him into a real-life boondoggle. The good news is, that unless you come into some parking lot money, you don’t have to pay Kemp’s contract, and the player who remains is still a keeper, even in right field. If there is a player with more present value on your roster, you may want to bet that Kemp can arrest his decline.

Evan Longoria
There’s certainly a risk that Longoria will continue his spiral toward mediocrity. But he’s only a season away from a sixth-place finish in MVP voting, so you might be able to get sneaky good next-year value for peanuts on the dollar right now.

J.D. Martinez
Scoresheet trade advice often mirrors fantasy trade advice but for one thing—the fluky performances provide a real playoff boost. That makes it easier to answer the question, “Is J.D. Martinez for real?” with a flippant “Who cares?” With 40 percent of playoff performance coming from the season to date and only 60 percent from September numbers, Martinez is almost guaranteed to provide value, even if he spends the remainder of the season hitting like his classic self. He’s not someone who we would want to target were we still competing to make the playoffs, however, so he should probably have the most value on the absolute best teams.

Brandon McCarthy
Don’t have room for another prospect? Why not take an alternate route to find keeper value? Scoresheet’s playoff valuation sometimes leads perfectly adequate players to be functionally worthless in the playoffs, whether because they’re being shut down in September, or, as in the case of McCarthy, some bad luck or deficits of unrepeatable skill have caused their numbers to go haywire. As befitting baseball’s foremost Archer fan, McCarthy’s ERA entered the danger zone this season. Even though he’s pitching better than ever, it’s too late for him to be of value in fake October. If McCarthy is rostered on a playoff team, see if you have any relievers or starters you can trade for present help.

Jake Odorizzi
We’ve mentioned it frequently on the podcast, but we are now in on Odorizzi. The sheer amount of strikeouts generated by Odorizzi can’t be ignored, and even if they are due to exogenous circumstances of pitch-calling, defense, and a rusty tin can stadium, those advantages aren’t going away any time soon. His perceived lack of ceiling and relatively humdrum ERA suggests that he could be pried loose in the right deal, perhaps one structured similarly to the Drew Smyly-Nick Franklin for David Price trade in real life.

Ryan Zimmerman
A play for 2015, as you shouldn’t expect Zimmerman to be a factor in the Scoresheet playoffs. Which means you might be able to get him from a frustrated owner looking for help making a run at the postseason. There’s risk, to be sure, but he played in around 145 games the past two seasons and his batting line this season is comparable to those.

Players to Consider Trading Away:

Jose Abreu
Because he can’t keep hitting like this forever, right? Also, the fact that he’s fun to own means that someone will likely be willing to pay a premium for that fun.

Javier Baez
Like most super-hyped prospects, there’s a good chance that Javier Baez will never have more value than he does this week. Just about any player is worth shopping the day they hit the big leagues; Baez just happens to have more potential warts than others. The hacker-ism is a problem for fantasy owners, the defense is likely to be adventurous and error-prone, and his youth means that even if his upside is that of a star (and it is), it may take a few years of keeping a below average player before you realize that potential. You certainly don’t have to trade the kid, but if you’re getting a top-10 talent back from a Baez fan, pull that trigger.

Asdrubal Cabrera
He’s going to be getting plenty of playing time for the Nats for the time being. But remember that playing time in the playoffs is based off of actual playing time in September. If Zimmerman comes back on the early side of his return window, Cabrera could be relegated to a utility role off the bench.

Jesse Hahn
Now’s the time to be reading your favorite baseball news aggregator site to find out which pitchers will be shutting down early. It sounds like Hahn won’t make it deep into September, affecting his usefulness in the Scoresheet playoffs, and given that he is unlikely to repeat this performance next year, his value may never be higher than it is now.

Cole Hamels
He’s certainly having a fantastic season, but his ERA is about a half run lower than his peripherals would suggest, as his walk rates are up and his home run rate is at a career low. And he’ll turn 31 this year. He should hopefully be solid pitcher for years to come, but he’s only going to decrease in value.

Scott Kazmir
His peripherals say he’s merely been a very good pitcher this season instead of the domination his 2.53 ERA would suggest. That’s not sustainable, and there will likely be someone willing to pay for his stats to date and whatever value his name still has.

Carlos Santana
We hope you bought on him earlier in the season, and that his supernova streak has carried you into contention. If not, though, it’s time to see what you can get in return for him, because his value is about to plummet in 2015 with the loss of catcher eligibility. Sure, he’ll qualify next year at third base, but the defensive rating is likely to render him unplayable there, and as a first baseman, he’s merely very good. There may well be a team out there that could use a giant upgrade at catcher this year, and who is willing to settle on a first baseman in the future. If that team isn’t you, get the prospects or rearrange your current roster strengths instead.

Daniel Santana
A pure BABIP play. As his BABIP regresses, so will his hitting numbers. But no one wants to believe the numbers will go down as much as they actually will. Even so, the numbers he’s put up to date could very well be of some use looking for some additional help to contend in the playoffs.

Christian Vazquez
All that could be said above about trading a prospect when they hit the majors goes for Vazquez as well. Vazquez’s hot start covers up for a relatively meek bat. He has some ability to draw a walk and demonstrate some bat control, but A.J. Ellis is a similar profile and remains regular roster churn. His strong defense and potentially stellar pitch-framing ability makes him a more than worthy real-life player, but those skills don’t translate to the Great Electronic Game. Find someone who thinks he’s a keeper and see if you can’t get something you’d prefer in return.

This week in the podcast:
The Outcomes talk trades, both real and fantasy. And also, well, no, they mostly just stick to trades.

Download Here (1:19:57)
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