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Craig: Got something for me this week?
Jeffrey: How do you feel about a scouting report on Isaiah White?
Craig: That is rather straightforward f-
Jeffrey: …that is really an examination of the mid-round prep pick as Orphean figure.
Craig: There it is. Is there some pretentious reference thing I’m going to have to fact check bec-
Jeffrey: So Caihers du Cinema was a resoundingly influential…
Craig: Christ. Can you pretend you are describing Isaiah White's hit tool to an audience that hasn't watched obscure European films on laserdisc. I am trying to write a trade value column.
Jeffrey: …
Craig: What?
Jeffrey: I guess I could help with that. I don't know how long it would take me to properly organize my thoughts on Bailey Falter and the films of Jean Cocteau
Craig: So you are saying the deadline for that would be…
Jeffrey: Idleness is only fatal to the medi…yeah okay let's do your thing.

***

(With apologies to Dave.)

***

15. Drew Pomeranz, LHP, San Diego Padres

Service time: Arb 1

2016 to date: 102 IP, 28 K%, 10 BB%, 2.47 ERA, 2.76 DRA, 3.2 WARP

Five-year projection: “Time is the measurer of all things, but is itself immeasurable, and the grand discloser of all things, but is itself undisclosed.” – Charles Caleb Colton

We would trade Drew Pomeranz for: Anderson Espinoza. Yeah it seems like a lot, but let it permeate. Pomeranz is in the majors and has been steadily reclaiming his “what is” from his “what could have been?” Have you seen the cutter? You should see the cutter. It’ll keep you off the curve. Besides, who wouldn’t trade a minor-league pitcher for an All-Star? We don’t know why people think these articles are so hard.

14. Xander Bogaerts, SS, Boston Red Sox

Service time: Third year, pre-arb

2016 to date: .329/.388/.475, TAv .294, 2.9 WARP

Five-year projection:

“I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I,
and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful.
If not, it can't be helped.”

-Fritz Perls

We would trade Xander Bogaerts for: On a recent Effectively Wild, Sam riffed on an old Andy Warhol quote. We think it was either in reference to sandwiches or Mike Trout, but we can't find the episode in question to clarify which. Anyway, we are using it in reference to crab risotto. Well, specifically the crab risotto at Le Filet in the Mont-Royal neighborhood of Montreal. It is the best single dish Jeffrey has ever had. He doesn't get to Montreal as much as he’d like, and, like Warhol, he worries that it may start to lose it’s appeal (or worse yet, they might take it off the menu). So if you want Xander Bogaerts, figure out a way to get this dish to us every day. It may require a three-way deal with Seamless, but there are some clever GMs out there, and shoring up your shortstop situation is well worth it.

13. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros

Service time: First year, pre-arb

2016 to date: .260/.354/.459, .302 TAv, 2.8 WARP

Five-year projection: “Time is what we want most but what, alas, we use worst.” – William Penn

We would trade Carlos Correa for: 750 ml of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve Bourbon, aged 20 years (the 23-year-old tends to taste too much of the barrel), and two Discommon Lowball tumblers. Sure, Buffalo Trace has created the unwieldy market for Pappy on their own. And okay, it is not an ideal pairing with the crab risotto, but unlike Correa, there is never a risk of a Sophomore slump. Every October it delivers. There was a time that Correa, the Pappy Van Winkle of prospects, gave us the high we seek, the high of superiority. It wasn’t just that he was good, just as it is not that Pappy is good, but rather that you have it and others, well, they do not. Other teams have their versions of Correa now, their Seagers, Lindors, Bogaerts, and so we once again seek the exclusivity we crave—so how about it? Our 21-year-old for your 20-year-old? Just don’t let Craig know I did this, he will probably use it to make a Nor’easter.

Sigh.

12. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets

Service time: First year, pre-arb

2016 to date: 105.2 IP, 30.4 K%, 4.3 BB%, 2.56 ERA, 2.66 DRA, 3.4 WARP

Five-year projection:

“The sun darkens,
earth in ocean sinks,
from heaven trembles
bright stars.
The raging reek
with age to linger
plays load heat
with heaven itself.”

Poetic Edda

We would trade Noah Syndergaard for: It seems like in this era of Peak TV, every show is getting a reboot or a movie nowadays. From critical darlings like Veronica Mars and Gilmore Girls, to cultural phenomenons like The X-Files and Arrested Development, and of course, Fuller House. But one show still lies shamefully dormant. There is some risk in Syndergaard’s arm nowadays, so it will take a GM willing to gamble a bit, a maverick not afraid of the high-stakes room, a bold visionary who can see a future with a healthy Noah Syndergaard in his rotation, and Better Off Ted back on TV.

11. Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers

Service time: First year, pre-arb

2016 to date: .297/.357/.521, .322 TAv, 3.9 WARP

Five-year projection: “Time is precious, but truth is more precious than time.” – Benjamin Disraeli

We would trade Corey Seager for: Ultimately we are not baseball people, we are writers. Language is our stock-in-trade. For that reason we will not part with Seager the Younger for a penny less than the perfect spoonerism. We can see your face right now, the thought “what do you want with Catfish Hunter or perhaps Pat Dean?” etching across the wrinkles in your forehead as your eyebrows reach skyward. Always so juvenile—or perhaps not juvenile enough. The spoonerism we seek is out there for you to find, and us to acquire. We will just need to wait a bit longer until a team hires David Roth, and heck, if they hired us, it can’t be long now.

10. Madison Bumgarner, LHP, San Francisco Giants

Service time: Under contract through 2017, $11,500,000 remaining. Team options/buyouts for 2018-2019 worth up to $24,000,000

2016 to date: 129.2 IP, 28.5% K, 6.3% BB, 1.94 ERA, 2.63 DRA, 4.2 WARP

Five-year projection: “Time is the longest distance between two places.” – Tennessee Williams

We would trade Madison Bumgarner for: The original, 113-minute cut of Jean Renoir’s high society farce, The Rules of the Game. No, not the reconstructed version that they put together for Venice. We can get that through Criterion. The original director’s cut. If it is out there somewhere in a Parisian warehouse, you can have Bumgarner’s durability, guile, and postseason heroics.

9. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians

Service time: First year, pre-arb

2016 to date: .306/.363/.460, .295 TAv, 4.8 WARP

Five-year projection:“It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” – Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

We would trade Francisco Lindor for: One night in the back booth of a mostly empty Italian restaurant; red leather, wood table, and Pat Burrell, three glasses deep on the house red, the bucatini all'amatriciana just cleared by an old world captain in a bow tie. He pauses over the after-dinner menu, but he isn't just deciding between the house-made limoncello or some profiteroles, and he certainly isn't thinking about calling it a night. He's in the mood to tell stories. Lindor’s future is bright, perhaps too bright to shine a light on what The Bat might reveal.

8. Jose Altuve, 2B, Houston Astros

Service time: Under contract through 2017, $4,500,000 remaining. 2018-19 team options worth $12,500,000

2016 to date: .341/.413/.542, .331 TAv, 4.2 WARP

Five-year projection: “Unfortunately, the clock is ticking, the hours are going by. The past increases, the future recedes. Possibilities decreasing, regrets mounting.” – Haruki Murakami

We would trade Jose Altuve for: The last baseball game I went to with my younger brother was a midseason Pirates/Mets game in 2008. It was a Pedro start. He was well past the peak of his powers, but he constructed a hall of smoke and mirrors around the Pittsburgh lineup and left with a lead before the Mets bullpen inevitably blew it. Baseball was always a connection for my brother and I, even as we grew apart a bit as young adults. When I visited him in the hospital while he was undergoing treatment for brain cancer, I realized I was starting to lose him when he didn't know that Albert Pujols had signed with the Angels that previous offseason. He was an avid fantasy baseball player and would have kept close tabs on player movement otherwise. He died that fall. I would trade Altuve for one more sunny getaway day game, beers in hand, with him, even if it involved Aaron Heilman bottling it again.

7. Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Service time: Under contract through 2020, $131,000,000 remaining. May opt out after 2018.

2016 to date: 121 IP, 32.9 K% 2.0 BB%, 1.79 ERA 1.91 DRA, 5.0 WARP

Five-year projection: “The future is uncertain but the end is always near.” – Jim Morrison

We would trade Clayton Kershaw for: Two Burberry Wiltshire trenchcoats, honey for Craig, navy for Jeffrey. Like most prospect writers, our closets are full of Dri-Fit polos and slacks off the clearance racks at Target, but sometimes you require something with a little more sartorial flair. The Wiltshire is a nice blend of classic fit and modern style and perfect for layering on those brisk April nights in the Eastern League. Plus, given that it retails for almost $2,000, we will be getting more surplus value than Kershaw.

6. Chris Sale, LHP, Chicago White Sox

Service time: Under contract through 2017, $12,000,000 remaining. Team options/buyouts for 2018-19 worth $26,000,000

2016 to date: 125 IP, 24.7 K %, 5.2 BB %, 3.38 ERA, 2.69 DRA 4.0 WARP

Five-year projection: “Never make predictions, especially about the future.” – Casey Stengel

We would trade Chris Sale for: In his short story, “The Men Who Murdered Mohammed,” august science-fiction author Alfred Bester pens an amusing and convincing dismissal of the usual time-travel tropes. So we won't be going back in time to kill Hitler or anything, however you could provide us with a device capable of taking us back in time, just as observers, for the very first World Series between the Providence Grays and the New York Metropolitans. A glimpse of future Hall of Famers Old Hoss Radbourn and Tim Keefe dueling in the bitter cold (better bring those trench coats) would be well worth parting with Sale.

5. Kris Bryant, 3B/OF, Chicago Cubs

Service time: First year, pre-arb

2016 to date: .286/.384/.578, .357 TAv, 5.4 WARP

Five-year projection: “I will burn all the calendars that counted the years down to such a worthless day.” – John Darnielle

We would trade Kris Bryant for: We don't have many regrets in love, dear readers. We are not looking to live out a Hong Sang-Soo film, but we must confess that we were callow youths. We perhaps overestimate our gravitational pull on the orbits of others, but maybe a chance for coffee with an ex. Nothing to linger over, a cortado and maybe a scone. A good scone, not too dense, it’s an underrated pastry. We catch up, there’s a wistfulness, but we are happy with our respective lives. Apologies are offered for bad behaviors. We part with Kris Bryant, but we also part as friends.

4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Chicago Cubs

Service time: Under contract through 2019, $25,000,000 remaining. Team options/buyouts for 2020-21 worth $29,000,000

2016 to date: .299/.416/.591, .360 TAv, 4.3 WARP

Five-year projection: “Tel était le but des expériences: projeter dans le Temps des émissaires, appeler le passé et l'avenit au secours du présent.” – Chris Marker

We would trade Anthony Rizzo for: Jeffrey has engaged in a fleeting pas de deux with the new opiate of the masses, but so far Craig has never gotten a chance to shine under bright stage lights and in full 1080 HD. Rizzo has an incredibly team-friendly deal, so we are not settling for a mere stand-up on the MLB Network though. No, we dream big. Many a sick day from school was spent in front of the TV watching Bob Barker preside over the motley cast of characters on the Price is Right. But over the years we never saw anyone get within a hundred dollars and win both showcases. You slip us a little inside information (and a costume that increases our chances of coming on down), and your first base situation is settled for the foreseeable future. Also, we prefer to play Plinko.

3. Bryce Harper, OF, Washington Nationals

Service time: Super 2 Arb 2

2016 to date: .256/.399/.491, .325 TAv, 3.0 WARP

Five-year projection: “Pushing through the market square, so many mothers sighing. News had just come over, we had five years left to cry in.” – David Bowie

We would trade Bryce Harper for: “Eovaldi, Refsnyder, Romine, and Mike I’d even throw in Chase. Whaddya think? I’ll hang up and listen.”

2. Manny Machado, 3B/SS, Baltimore Orioles

Service time: Arb 1

2016 to date: .318/.375/.569, .310 TAv, 3.9 WARP

Five-year projection: “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” – Søren Kierkegaard

We would trade Manny Machado for: David Byrne has repeatedly turned down offers to reunite the Talking Heads. They performed together at the band’s induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but their frontman has refused opportunities for a longer tour or new album. Meanwhile he has collaborated with Brian Eno and St. Vincent on his recent, excellent solo work. He is also still an excellent live act, even at 64, but one only need to watch Stop Making Sense, or the available footage from the Remain in Light tour, to know that the full band had a special alchemy on stage and in the studio. Byrne has repeatedly said that he doesn’t need the money, but surely you could entice him with far less than it would take to re-sign Machado.

1. Mike Trout, OF, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Service time: Under contract through 2020, $122,334,000 remaining

2016 to date: .322/.425/.567, .366 TAv, 5.6 WARP

Five-year projection: “If you’ve got the money, honey, I got the time, and when you run out of money, honey, I run out of time.” – Willie Nelson

We would trade Mike Trout for: The ability to redesign a website.

Thank you for reading

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heterodude
7/15
Lovely prose. I'm going to have to find myself a nor'easter now.
jhardman
7/15
What does Robinson Cano have to do with Clayton Kershaw?
bb10kbb10k
7/15
Jean Cocteau refs at BP... GOD I LOVE YOU GUYS!
sdsuphilip
7/15
Is the pomeranz ranking a token one cause of the trade? Cause him at 15 doesn't make much sense, heck Myers has clearly more trade value
jpaternostro
7/15
This list was composed through painstaking rigor and definitely not just in the service of easy quips.
DeathSpeculum
7/15
time wounds all heels
greenengineer
7/15
Clearly I'm not understanding the point of this article.
GBSimons
7/16
I'm confused by the TAv numbers for Bogaerts, Correa, and Lindor. To recap: Bogaerts: .329/.388/.475, TAv .294 Correa: .260/.353/.459, TAv .302 Lindor: .306/.363/.460, Tav .295 I realize there are park and league adjustments, but are they enough to put Correa on top in TAv despite trailing Bogaerts and Lindor in all three triple-slash categories?
jfranco77
7/17
Dammit I loved Better Off Ted and now I'm worried I'm weird like Craij.
TheArtfulDodger
7/17
You are, I'm sorry.