Astros Player’s and Trade Value

With the Astros hovering around 10 games back in the NL Central there has already been quite a bit of talk about the Astros being active sellers at the trade deadline. Therefore I have decided to attempt to use Sky Kalkman’s Trade Value Calculator to try to determine how much the Astros could get in return if they chose to move some of their veterans for prospects. All salary information used here came courtesy of Cot’s Contracts, and all WAR totals used came courtesy of FanGraphs. The Astros players that I chose to discuss here are Michael Bourn, Hunter Pence, Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez, and Clint Barmes since they would have the most trade value. Jeff Keppinger could have probably been included on this list, but since he is just coming back from an injury I decided to leave him off the list for now.

Michael Bourn

Bourn has one more year of team control remaining after this year, so his 2012 salary had to be estimated. I chose to use similar WAR numbers to 2009 and 2010 for Michael Bourn since his production to start this season has been on par with those seasons, and he’s not projected to decline before he becomes a free agent. That puts his WAR totals at 4.8 and 4.9. As a rule of thumb Kalkman stated that a player usually makes 80% of there free agent value in their third year of arbitration, but 80% of a 4.9 WAR player would put his salary at 18 million, which is way to high considering Bourn is making 4.4 million this year. Therefore the salary I chose to use for 2012 was 9 million, which is slightly more than double this year’s salary. I also figured that if Bourn was traded then it wouldn’t be until closer to the deadline, therefore the salary that I used in the calculations for this year was 2.2 million, half of Bourn’s 4.4 million total salary.

Using these figures, Michael Bourn would cost approximately 11.2 million for the next season and a half, and his production over that time period would be valued at 32.85 million. That would give him a 21.65 surplus trade value over that time frame.

Hunter Pence

Hunter Pence has two more years of team control remaining after this season, so his 2012 and 2013 salary had to be estimated. There was also a lot more fluctuation in Hunter’s previous season’s WAR values, as his lowest total was 3.3, and his highest total was 4.1. Since Hunter is easily our best player and would require the most in return for a trade, I decided to be optimistic on Pence’s WAR values, and use his 2011 pace for the next three seasons. Pence has currently produced a WAR of 1.6 in 51 games, and if he kept that pace all season he would produce a WAR of 4.9. His salary over that time frame was even harder to estimate, but I estimated that he would make about 12 million in 2012, and 16 million in 2013 if he kept performing at the level he is this season.

By these calculations Pence would cost approximately 31.5 million over the next two and a half seasons, and his production over that time period would be valued at 55.35 million. That would give him a 23.85 surplus trade value.

Brett Myers

Myers was a little easier to calculate since his salary is known for the length of his contract. His WAR over that time frame however was harder to predict. I figured that given Brett’s peripherals last year, he is probably not a 4 WAR pitcher every year, and instead used an average of 2.8 WAR for all three seasons. I included his option year in 2013 in the calculation since it can become guaranteed based on performance in 2012.

Brett Myers would cost 24.5 million over the next two and a half seasons, and his production over that time period would be valued at 31.5 million. That would give him a 7 million surplus trade value.

Wandy Rodriguez

Like Myers, Wandy also has a known salary, and over the last two seasons his WAR has been close to 4. I chose to use an average WAR of 4 for the length of Wandy’s contract. I also included his option year since the option becomes a player’s option if he is traded.

Wandy would cost 39.5 million over the next three and a half seasons, and his production over that time period would be valued at 63 million. That would give him a 23.5 million surplus trade value.

Clint Barmes

Barmes will earn 3.925 million this season. Since any trade would probably happen midseason I used half of Barmes 2011 salary (2 million). So far in 24 games Barmes has accumulated a WAR of 0.7, which is largely based on his defense. If he were to keep up that pace his WAR for the season would be approximately 3.94. However I doubt he would get that high since his WAR has never been over 2.0 in his career. I still decided to go optimistic with Barmes and use a WAR of 3 for his season value, using 1.5 here since he would be traded midseason.

Barmes would cost 2 million over the next half season, and his production over that time period would be valued at 6.75 million. That would give him a 4.75 million surplus trade value. 

Recap

Player Cost (M) Estimated Value (M) Surplus Value (M)
Michael Bourn 11.2 32.85 21.65
Hunter Pence 31.5 55.35 23.85
Brett Myers 24.5 31.5 7
Wandy Rodriguez 39.5 63 23.5
Clint Barmes 2 6.75 4.75

 

Looking at it this way, Hunter Pence, Wandy Rodriguez, and Michael Bourn hold the most trade value to the Astros. So what kind of package could these players bring in a potential trade?

Using Victor Wang’s research the chart below lists an approximate value for prospects based on there rankings. 

Top 10 hitting prospects $36.5M
Top 11-25 hitters $25.1
Top 26-50 hitters $23.4
Top 51-75 hitters $14.2
Top 76-100 hitters $12.5
Top 10 pitching prospects $15.2
Top 11-25 pitchers $15.9
Top 26-50 pitchers $15.9
Top 51-75 pitchers $12.1
Top 76-100 pitchers $9.8
Grade B pitchers (as graded by Sickels) $7.3
Grade B hitters $5.5
Grade C pitchers 22 or younger $2.1
Grade C pitchers 23 or older $1.5
Grade C hitters 22 or younger $0.7
Grade C hitters 23 or older $0.5

 

This is the link to find Baseball America’s top 100 prospects for the 2011 season. 

What could a potential trade of these players yield for the Astros: 

1.)    Michael Bourn

  1. Borderline 1 top 26-50 hitting prospect
  2. 1 top 11-25 pitching prospect, and a grade B hitter or pitcher
  3. 1 top 51-75 hitter, and a grade B hitter or pitcher 

2.)    Hunter Pence

  1. Borderline 1 top 11-25 hitting prospect
  2. 1 top 11-25 pitching prospect, and a grade B and C hitter or pitcher
  3. 1 top 51-75 hitter, and a grade B hitter or pitcher

3.)    Brett Myers

  1. 1 grade B pitcher or hitter 

4.)    Wandy Rodriguez

  1. 1 top 26-50 hitting prospect
  2. 1 top 11-25 pitching prospect, Grade B hitter or pitcher
  3. 1 top 51-75 hitter, and a grade B hitter or pitcher

5.)    Clint Barmes

  1. Borderline grade B pitcher
  2. 2 grade C pitcher or hitters

The team that Hunter Pence has been linked to recently has been the Phillies. In a potential trade with the Phillies, Domonic Brown’s name has been mentioned frequently as someone the Astros should ask for in return for Pence. However, according to the chart above Brown and Pence’s value aren’t comparable. A more comparable trade using the above guidelines in a trade with the Phillies would probably have to center around one of the Phillies top pitching prospects. Ed Wade does have the advantage of demanding top value for Hunter in any trade since the Astros are in no hurry to trade Hunter, but may have a hard time receiving a package of players that would force Wade’s hand to trade away the potential franchise player in a time when new ownership is about to take over.

Looking at it this way, trading away most of the veteran pieces of our team right now, which is a popular sentiment given the current state of affairs, would not net as much in return as what has been mentioned. Being Astros fans, maybe we think some of our players carry more value than what others perceive them to carry because we watch them on a daily basis, and become more emotionally attached to certain players. What do you think the Astros could get in return for trading any of these players? Was I close on estimating any of these guys value?

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