Monday, March 26, 2012

Rox Talk - Trading for Success?

Trading for Success?

Our Rox consummated eleven trades this offseason.  It is my belief the Rox have decided to rebuild in secret.  Yup our catcher of the future, Iannetta, gone.  Third baseman of the future, Stewart, gone.  Decent right fielder, Smith, gone.  Meanwhile let's sign some aging veterans to fill in for the players we jettison for a better clubhouse atmosphere in Blake, 38 (opening day ages), Cuddyer, 33, and Hernandez, 35 instead of just saying we are waiting for the youngsters to grow up.  Throw in some good excuses for the media and let's just hope that next year Rosario, Arenado, and Wheeler come through (GenR redux anyone?).

Hey that's baseball living in the mid market.  Let's just hope this next generation works out.  Anyway back to the trades.  Best web site in the world came out with a trade database last year.  As with most things I just wanted to know how our Rox have done over the years.  Ideally I think we all think that trades in the MLB are suppose to help each team.  You know trading excess talent for talent you might be lacking.  Unfortunately I don't think baseball really works that way.  Teams get rid of talent they know they can't keep hoping to get something in return.  Some teams do better than others (Tampa Bay anyone?) and ultimately I think every GM probably cringes at the ones who got away.

In comparing trades I looked at comparing WAR - Wins Above Replacement of the players that were involved in the trade remembering that WAR is used to show how many more wins a player would give a team as opposed to replacement level (i.e. someone in the minor leagues).  In spreadsheet below you can see what we have done over 20 seasons.  That's 174 trades over the years.  Frankly it hasn't been pretty for our Rox.  We have gotten 103.2 wins above replacement for our trades and given up 288.5 wins.  Yikes!  Although I will note that the WAR values for the Rox only count to the wins gained while being a Rox while the player traded is the sum of the wins for their entire career.  So a direct comparison isn't particularly useful but it does show what the Rox gave up over that player's career.

In review 95 of the 174 trades Rox were involved had a zero or negative value for the Rox while their trade partners only had 78 trades that were zero or negative.  And let's be honest the Rox have been fleeced in the past.  Worse trade ever?  Yup that was July 1993 when Rox traded Brad Ausmus, Doug Bochtler, and Andy Ashby for Greg Harris and Bruce Hurst.  Rox gave up 35.5 wins above replacement and got a whooping -1.3 in return.  Padres should be ashamed of taking advantage of a expansion team in its infancy!    Of course maybe they were cursed as the Rox only winning record against the NL West have been the Padres...Other people we gave up on included Chone Figgins (21.4 WAR), Craig Counsell (18.1), Ellis Burks (17.1), Jake Westbrook (13), Juan Uribe (11.9), Juan Pierre, Jermaine Dye (9.1), and Jamey Carroll  (8.5) to name a few.

Rox haven't done as well in return.  Our best trade was in December 2001 when we shipped Jeff Cirillo to Mariners for Brian Fuentes, Jose Paniagua, and Denny Stark.  Rox got 7.4 wins while Cirillo finished out his career with -2.7.  Rox other top trades include Jason Hammel (5.5), Kazuo Matsui (5.1), Rafael Betancourt (4.1), Todd Hollandsworth (3.5), Gabe White (2.9), Jason Marquis (3.1), and Dave Veres (3.6).  Rox seem to be doing better in their recent history versus the 90s and early 00s.  We can only hope that our trades from this past off season work versus our history!

In conclusion trades don't seem to be all that beneficial for anyone involved.  Most trades involve no names (the infamous player to be named later) and almost all the trades end up with almost no value (i.e. teams could have just cut lose the player and brought in a AAA player).  While the perception is that teams want to trade a player before a big contract is due and get something in return this rarely happens at least for our Rox.  Again not to rip on management but the importance of a draft cannot be understated in looking at the trades above.  When you have to trade for value you really tend to be gambling.   My guess is that most GMs know this and hedge against you when in a trading proposition.  

No comments: