November 04, 2013

#Cardinals teh stupidz at SS: Miller PLUS Freese for Profar?

Yes, you read that right.

Self-proclaimed St. Louis Cardinals expert Ray DeRousse says the Birds should offer BOTH Shelby Miller and David Freese for the Texas Rangers' prospect (or stumbling rookie phenom) Jurickson Profar to get the needed shortstop upgrade from Pete Kozma.

If that is what he thinks is a smart trade, based on the value of Profar's "prospectism," then, why not this, Ray? As I said at his post:
OK, so, if trading a good rookie MLB pitcher plus a so-so infielder for a prospect is soooooooooooo smart? Then the Dodgers should resign Mark Ellis and trade him plus Hyun-jin Ryu for Kolten Wong, right? (Or, adding to what I said there, Carl Crawford instead of Ellis, since, before last year, Freese is a more similar comp to Crawford.) Heh heh. Because that's the exact equivalent of what DeRousse is proposing. And, if I were the Cardinals, I'd take that Dodgers offer in a New York minute.
But, Ray? That ain't never happening. (I'll go back later to watch himself try to explain how this isn't the same deal, even though it is, since Ryu and Miller were almost identical as rookies, and Ellis is an older, 2B-playing rough equivalent of Freese.)

And (Nov. 7) since Miller beat out Ryu for the third finalist spot on the NL Rookie of the Year ballot, this makes my counter-analogy to DeRousse all the more true. Right, Ray?

And, agree or disagree, with me or or DeRousse, I've got a poll up now, and you can make your comment on best shortstop upgrade options.  

Hey, if you think it would take more than just Miller? OK, Miller plus Kozma, since we wouldn't need Kozma then anyway. Or, if the Rangers have to have a non-SS, give them Ryan Jackson, since Memphis had him playing OF. Or Daniel Descalso.

But, DeRousse clearly thinks more than that is needed, per a Twitter exchange and comment exchanges, even though he says he's not exclusively saying Miller plus Freese. However, he is clearly saying Miller plus someone of Freese's level, or else he would have said Miller plus Kozma right away.

It's also stupid for other reasons. Ken Rosenthal notes that the Rangers have got a logjam in the middle infield, with minor-league prospects pushing hard behind both Profar and Elvis Andrus, as well as Ian Kinsler. Even more reason not to overpay.

Anyway, Ray, contra your self-promotion, you're not a genius, either.

Note. This is, to a fair degree, a rewrite and extension of my previous post, my initial thoughts about what the Cards should do during the Hot Stove League. As I was finishing up that post, and looking for a particular player on Baseball-Reference, I came across DeRousse's post. Eventually, with the above comment by me and an exchange of several further comments with him, I decided I wanted to focus on just this issue.

That said, I would certainly consider Miller plus Kozma for Profar. But, even then, I wouldn't automatically make that trade. Whether trying to get Profar to learn how to field other positions caused that much hitting problem or what, I don't know, but ...

He couldn't hit a whole lot better than Kozma did last year. Now, if he sucked it up more to start 2014, and everybody else played the same as in 2013, then, let's talk about something like DeRousse's idea.

But, trading a rookie who actually showed something PLUS a veteran at least a bit above replacement, at an MLB-thin position? Ray, that's fucking nuts. Profar is a "prospect" who's had an initial stumble. And, for longer that Wong's late season call-up with the Cards, to riff on another comment of DeRousse's, when he said my analogy didn't fly.

It didn't fly because Ray, the Cardinals Expert(TM), is so in love with his own idea he can't let go of it.

But, I can.

First, there's another trade possibility. The Cards did a bit of tire-kicking on the Angels' Erick Aybar at midseason. I don't know why it fell through, but I'd certainly look at it again. At the same price that DeRousse proposed for Profar, I'd do this trade much more quickly. Aybar's a solid talent, league-average or better for SS at the bat, and above-average in the field.

Free agency is also a better route than DeRousse's trade idea, by far, especially if the price is right.

The Cards just bought out Jake Westbrook's option, so that's $9.5 million free. Chris Carpenter's presumed retirement frees another $12.5M. So, that's $22M to be spent on a free agent, in part, and "banked" in part.

Stephen Drew is one option. I wouldn't pay more than 3/$36M myself, but we'll see. Another is a shorter-term deal with previous shortstop Rafael Furcal, which, assuming Drew's marquee from being on a world champion leads to him being overpriced would likely be a better option.

Other free agents? Yunel Escobar would also be cheaper than Drew, and Tampa is likely to let him walk. Jhonny Peralta would be more of an offensive upgrade over Kozma. Detroit played him in the outfield when he came back from his PED suspension, but they're probably not that wedded to that as a longer term idea. He'd be more pricey than Escobar or Furcal, but less than Drew, in all likelihood. Furcal, for his age, is still the best base running option.

Update, 11:45, Nov. 4: Escobar is out of the running, as the Rays have picked up his option. That said, the $5M price tells me I'm right on what would be the max price for Furcal, and that there's affordable options out there in free agency that are better than Kozma. That said, the Cards could kick the tires on an Escobar trade.

And, as of Nov. 14, no thanks on Peralta, if he's wanting "much more" than 3/$45M, a massive, massive, overpay. Hell, 3/$45 is an overpay itself, let alone "much more," whatever that means. (What it really would mean is Tulo-range money, and in that case, I'll trade for Tulo if the price is halfway right.) There's also an attitude issue, and I don't care what fellow Tigers players said about his clubhouse presence. There's an attitude issue for him wanting that much money coming off the roiding suspension, and who's only busted 115 on OPS+ twice since 2005? 

As of Nov. 16, Christina Karhl, in her weigh-in, for some reason, ignores Aybar entirely, and also thinks Drew is available for less than $10M/year. I kind of doubt that, but ... if he is, I'd take him over Aybar for sure. Because then, we're near a salary wash, without trading anybody. Sign me up.

Given that, that's my preference, as the free agent market at shortstop is thin after the players mentioned above. And, per my caveat on Wong, I'm not expecting him to come up and move Carpenter to third to start the season. So, if Furcal will take a 1-year deal for $6M, with options taking it to $8M, with a second option year for that price, let's make a deal. (And, given Nick Punto just signed a 1-year, $3M contract, I may have overpriced Furcal. Granted, Furcal is better, but this still moves his likely price to $5M, not $6M, especially if he has some bonus targets.)

DeRousse (shock me) disagrees with all of this, citing age, contract demands, PED history. He also says, in his self-assuredness, that the Cards won't go with "stop-gap players."

Although now he appears to have changed his mind, or updated his tune, all while filtering that through different language:
It might be a wiser option for the team to use its stockpile of talented farmhands to land a less-constraining shortstop ...
I don't know what the difference is between "less constraining" (my emphasis in quote; his comment was in the backdrop of Tulo talk) and "stop-gap," but, there you go. And, there's been very occasional rumors about Furcal and steroids, but I think sensible people treat them even less seriously than the claims that Freese still has a drinking problem. (And, yes, some people make that claim, too.)

The reality on "age"?  Aybar will be 30 next year, Escobar 31, Peralta 32. None of them is "old" if you're looking at, say, a 3-year contract. They're all about the same in terms of bat and glove both. Not smash hits at SS, but more than gap-fillers. That's right, Ray, they're all more than gap-fillers. Contract demands? I said the Cards' willingness to deal should be flexible based on demand.

Well, I ruled out Drew, myself, due to likely contract. Escobar and Peralta probably wouldn't cost that much, and I laid out details of what could be done with Furcal. Aybar, at $8.5M/year, and under contract for three more years, certainly wouldn't cost much.

So, one trade option, and two free-agent options better than yours, Ray. And, a "gap-filler" who was the Cards' starting shortstop in 2012, before injury ended his 2013.

But, I'm not stopping there. I'm calling more bullshit on DeRousse's whole animus about "gap fillers." Didn't you read that the 2013 team only had six players left from 2011? Hasn't Beltran been viewed as a stop-gap player all along?
Beyond that, the idea that the Cards wouldn't have more of a "stop-gap" attitude about some positions other than others? And, why not? Mozeliak doesn't have a Yankee-sized budget. That means, unless your entire roster is near-rookie level, you have to treat some positions as more "secondary" than others. And, shortstop is probably one of them.

Back to DeRousse's own trade idea, though. I think he misreads the Rangers, too. I don't think that, as of this offseason, they would insist on his trade minimum for Profar. Now, per my midseason idea, yes, if Profar's BA is up 15 points, OBP up 20 and slugging up 30, they would. And, per my scenario, I'm OK with such talk then.

But now? No, and Ray, that's just fucking crazy.

And, if the Rangers are as crazy as Ray, I don't want to look at them as a prime trading partner then.

And, I need to start marketing myself as a Cardinals Expert(TM), I guess.

If the sarcasm of that point isn't clear, I'm developing a new level of disliking for DeRousse with every exchange of comments I have with him. Which means, if I do comment at his site in the future, it will be "one and done."

His latest is that he's sure none of these other options will happen.

Well, of course not. He's a Cardinals expert. And we'll see how he reacts to my sarcasm.

Ohh, it's an "insulting tone." Dude, if you'd get off your high horse and stop being condescending, and not just to me, maybe you wouldn't get the sarcasm guns trained on you.

Finally, DeRousse never addresses the issue of why this relates to the need to not pitch Miller more in the postseason for fear of ruining a potential trade, yet, Miller was kept on the postseason roster. Guess this Cardinals Expert(TM) is too naive, or too much a management suck-u, to ever be a skeptic.

And, yet another person, from Yardbarker, who has more sense than DeRousse about trade-making involving Miller.


Anonymous said...

Profar is one of the best short stop prospects to come a long in a long time. Freese is a throw in a this point. Profar offers the cardinals one of the most promising young 2b-ss combos in baseball for the next 5-10 years. i would rather throw in freese than mike adams, like many think would be necessary

Gadfly said...

True on Profar as best *prospect.* But, for whatever reason, he turned in a kind of doggy rookie season at the plate, and

As for Freese? At his 2013 play, he's arguably not much more than a throw-in, yes. But, he had a good 2011 and very good 2012 before that.

Add in that the 3B free agent market is thiiinnnnnn, and I'm not treating Freese as a "throw-in" on a Profar trade. Kozma/Descalso plus Miller, OK. Not Freese. Again, call me back at midseason, so that we can see if (or if not) Profar's moved beyond being a prospect.

Oh, and who are "the many" who think Mike Adams need to be such a deal. stRangers fans? DeRousse followers? They're smoking crack, too.

Anonymous said...

There is no talk about tulowizki. Colorado needs a first baseman and some pitching. I think Matt adams and Miller might do it. I would even throw in Lynn if they asked.

Gadfly said...

Anon 2, as far as the p layer matchup, I do that. You bet.

That said, do the Cards want to take on that contract level? That's a wipeout of the Chris Carpenter and Westbrook money, at $20M a year starting in 2015. That said, if Beltran doesn't come back, the Cards get some new house money. Plus, how much is his record inflated by Coors? His home/road splits are 40 points on BA and 75 on SLG. Even allowing just for road game effects, we probably should put him at .290/.490/.880 as a Cardinal. And the injuries. That said, having him in place would make it easier to move Holliday before he gets too old.

Tony said...

Absolutely no way would I trade Shelby Miller. Lance Lynn, maybe. Remember Jerry Reuss. Remember Mike Torrez. Remember the lefty -- what was his name? Carlton, oh yes. Don't trade top flight young pitchers who have shown that they can win in the big leagues. Reuss early on showed flashes of brilliance along with general confusion and rookie-ness. We should have kept him. Yes, we need a shortstop. I wouldn't trade a young starter for one. MAYBE a Tyler Lyons or someone who has not yet proved his potential. Don't want to trade Miller ...

Gadfly said...

Tony, I at least lean in your direction. Unless there's a good deal (say, Tulo?) I don't want to trade Miller. That said, people who have read any of my posts from during the playoffs know I have no problem with getting rid of Lynn.

That said, DeRousse may have had one bit halfway right in his speculation about Miller, though that seems to have come originally from Strauss, not him. What if Miller for some reason has gotten wrong-sided with Mo?

Anonymous said...

I think Freese is more than just a throw-in - Fangraphs projects him as a 2.0 WAR player in 2014 - but I wouldn't overvalue him. He'll be 31 in April 2014, has a history of injuries, and isn't a plus defensive player at 3B. Between all that and his righty/lefty splits, I think that by 2015 he'll be better used as a platoon/bench player. I appreciate what he's done for the team, but unfortunately I think that we've already seen David Freese's career year - 2012 - and I doubt that he'll age well.

As for Jurickson Profar, I don't think that the Kolton Wong comparison is realistic. Based on Profar's age (20) and near universal ranking as a top 5 MLB prospect (and the best SS prospect), the better comparison is what the Cardinals would expect for Taveras.

Gadfly said...

Anon 3, that's about right on Freese. I don't overvalue him, but do agree that he's more than a throw-in. Plus, 3B is "thin" around MLB right now, so he gets a bit of bump for positional value.

I used Wong in the counter-analogy as deliberate because he had been getting almost as much "tout" before call-up as Profar had.

My point with Profar is that, as compared to Wong, he played a full half season and struggled a lot. It's like a bit of the "prospect" gloss is now off him. At least it is in my eyeballs.