In a prior post, I briefly discussed two situations involving star players on market value contracts; specifically focusing on their trade value.
After doing some, admittedly not super in-depth aside from scanning transactions from the last 2 years, I saw very few trades* involving recently signed free agents on contracts extending past current year traded. One such example comes from the current offseason: Francisco Rodriguez (either 1 year at $9.5M or 2 years at $13.5M) for prospect IF Javier Betancourt and a PTBNL. Much digital ink has been spilled discussing the merits, and lack thereof, of using WAR for relief pitchers; however, for simplicity, I am going to use the metric to evaluate Rodriguez’s contract: FanGraphs lists his value last season at $8.3M and $7.6M over the last 3 years (average ~$2.53M per year). Assuming Tigers re-sign Rodriguez, there is a reasonable chance they will receive roughly average return on their investment (~$8M per WAR).
So, fairly priced major league closer for defense-first, with possible offense to come, infielder. This would lead me to conclude that the league does not value market-priced players — at least not closers and/or not players who are less than above average to elite — too highly. Then again, this is one example and the more important takeaway may be the lack of trades involving market-valued players.
In his annual look at trade values, Dave Cameron discussed the honorable mentions and included several reasons that can impact trade value: injury, contract (not necessarily bad but think Miggy). decreased performance, etc. As we consider trade values of players, I think dynasty league owners would do well to keep these in mind. Great players on fair to bad contracts do not warrant top notch returns.
Thinking back to the Tulo trade discussed before, I’ve decided that the deal was definitely not veto-worthy (as some league members felt). And, the deal may have actually been fair.
*I purposefully ignored the MLB Tulo trade due to additional piece going to Toronto (Hawkins) and disparity in valuations of Reyes’ contract, which I view as a potential negative moving forward but others may not.