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Thursday, January 31, 2013

ESPN: Diamondbacks Sign Prado for 4/40

The Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a $40 million, four-year contract with Martin Prado just a week after acquiring the former All-Star infielder in a trade that sent Justin Upton to Atlanta.

This strikes me as a rather large overpay for a good but not great player.

The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: January 31, 2013 at 05:57 PM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: diamondbacks

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   1. andrewberg Posted: January 31, 2013 at 08:08 PM (#4359640)
Prado would have been worth $11m or more three out of the last four years, but he is already 29. They are buying out free agency on his 30-32 years. If he stays close to his almost 4 WAR/year rate he has averaged over the last 4, then it is great. If he starts missing more time or showing decline, it might not. I don't think it is crazy to think he will be worth about 4-3.5-3-2.5 WAR each year, which would mean he is worth $11m even in that final year of the deal.
   2. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: January 31, 2013 at 08:18 PM (#4359644)
Seems like a good deal for the D-Backs but it's still a bad trade.
   3. Brian White Posted: January 31, 2013 at 08:34 PM (#4359657)
Seems like a good deal for the D-Backs but it's still a bad trade.


Agreed on both counts.
   4. with Glavinesque control and Madduxian poise Posted: January 31, 2013 at 08:37 PM (#4359662)
Braves fans were under the impression that Prado would not sign such an extension with us, that he wanted to test FA, which we all respected him for because he's only gonna be getting one big contract.

If he /was/ willing to sign precisely this, I wonder that the Braves didn't do it...
   5. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: January 31, 2013 at 08:49 PM (#4359675)
This is about what I thought it would take to sign him - I've been evaluating the trade as if he would do this.
Honestly, I don't think the Braves value him as much as I (we?) do - and if that's true - they may have good reasons for feeling that way.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: January 31, 2013 at 09:08 PM (#4359688)
While I'd never have traded Upton in Towers's shoes -- well, never traded him unless I was getting something unbelievable back -- this has a decent chance of working out just fine for the DBacks. You could start by looking at it like this:

who would you rather have:

Prado, 29-32, $40 M, likely outcome maybe 12 WAR +/- 3
Upton, 25-27, $38 M, likely outcome maybe 11 WAR +/- 3

That's hardly a landslide in Upton's favor. WAR's not everything, but over the last 4 years (which works in his favor) he's got 13 WAR; Prado has 15 WAR in a nearly identical number of PA so it's far from clear which of these guys is the better player at this moment. Upton of course has more potential, likely a much longer career (from today) and a much lower immediate collapse risk, so I'd still prefer Upton straight up.

But it wasn't straight up. Prado plus Delgado plus the other bits (minus Johnson) vs. Upton? That's not a very lopsided deal in retrospect. The main counter-argument is that Prado was possibly going to be an FA after 2013 so 3 years of Upton plus 3 years of Prado or an alternative trade of Upton plus 3 years of Prado were theoretically possible.

This trade makes sense from the DBacks perspective if you're reasonably confident that Upton is not going to become that consistent 5 WAR player and you're reasonably confident Prado is not going to collapse over the next 4 years ... especially if you're pretty sure you can't sign Upton long-term.

Of course you have to believe that WAR is at least in the ballpark and that these guys are roughly equally valuable right now. But how many here realized that Prado had more WAR over the last 4 years? (and the last 3 years and last year and only .6 behind over the last 2 years)
   7. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 31, 2013 at 09:18 PM (#4359693)
Why not sign Prado in free agency and keep Upton?

They saved themselves a few millionabd a draft pick in Prados deal, but gave up Upton for nothing but flotsam to do it.
   8. DA Baracus Posted: January 31, 2013 at 09:23 PM (#4359699)
Honestly, I don't think the Braves value him as much as I (we?) do


It's definitely we. Prado was both a fan favorite and a good player, which don't always go hand in hand, and yet he was rarely promoted by the team. Never understood it other than they always were willing to part with him in a trade and so they didn't want him on a lot of material.
   9. Brian White Posted: January 31, 2013 at 09:41 PM (#4359709)
That's hardly a landslide in Upton's favor. WAR's not everything, but over the last 4 years (which works in his favor) he's got 13 WAR; Prado has 15 WAR in a nearly identical number of PA so it's far from clear which of these guys is the better player at this moment. Upton of course has more potential, likely a much longer career (from today) and a much lower immediate collapse risk, so I'd still prefer Upton straight up.


B-ref's defense numbers give an awful lot of credit to Prado, and I find it a bit hard to believe. To my eyes, he was good in left, but nearly 2 wins worth last year? I know I shouldn't really trust my eyes that much, especially for outfielders, but man that seems high. Granted, Prado can play multiple positions capably, and that has value that isn't captured in WAR, but I think bWAR is overstating him. Fangraphs, for instance, has Upton as nearly 2 wins better than Prado over the last four years.

Throw in the age difference, and a sneaking suspicion that a not terribly fast player who is entirely reliant on batting average might not age all that gracefully, and I think the Braves still come out well ahead in this trade.

   10. Walt Davis Posted: January 31, 2013 at 11:01 PM (#4359761)
Even by oWAR for the last 4 years, it's just 11 for Upton to 9.5 for Prado.

Fangraphs, for instance, has Upton as nearly 2 wins better than Prado over the last four years.

OK, half a win a year better, probably increasing as Prado ages but you have Prado for 4 years now vs. Upton's three plus you have some prospects.

Why not sign Prado in free agency and keep Upton?

I mentioned that possibility. The reason of course being you can't guarantee that Prado will reach FA nor that you will win the bidding for him. Making an extension for Prado a condition of the deal would have been the safest option here.
   11. JRVJ Posted: February 01, 2013 at 01:25 AM (#4359809)
There was a big Twitter fight between Law and Sheehan vs. Dave Cameron, re: whether the Upton should be seen separate from a potential extension of Prado or whether the Prado extension should be wrapped in.

My position was (and is), that it really depends on how concurrent an extension is made public, since teams and players may know more than we know when a trade is made public.

And for my money, this extension is close enough to the Upton trade, that it has to be iincluded as part of any appraisal of the Upton trade.
   12. with Glavinesque control and Madduxian poise Posted: February 01, 2013 at 01:47 AM (#4359813)
Well, the big difference is that Upton is pre-peak and Prado is post-peak. Upton might be reasonably expected to get better, or at least stay the same, but Prado should be expected to get worse.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: February 01, 2013 at 03:52 AM (#4359825)
#11, I generally wouldn't include it unless it was a condition of the deal. In fact, I'm kinda vocal on that one. As you note this one is close enough that we might surmise they had an agreement in principle at the time of the deal. Alternatively you put some value on the exclusive negotiating window but I have no good idea how much that is actually worse. Given how few good players make it to FA these days, that window may look a lot like an extension at the moment. Anyway, for fun in this thread, I'll treat it like it was part of the original deal.

Well, the big difference is that Upton is pre-peak and Prado is post-peak. Upton might be reasonably expected to get better, or at least stay the same, but Prado should be expected to get worse.

Absolutely. But Towers only had 3 years of Upton's early peak vs. 4 years of Prado's late peak. The price is the same.

From a strict WAR perspective, if Delgado et al can cobble together 2-4 WAR, the DBacks should be fine here. Obviously that ignores the value of having a higher impact player in terms of playoff chances, etc.

As noted, it's not Wells for Napoli; it's not Bagwell for Anderson; it's not even Robinson for Pappas although that's a closer analogy than the other two.

Starting from Robinson Pappas, but trying to get the obvious superstar out of it:

Monday for Holtzman -- Monday debuted at 20 and has 12 WAR through 24 as an average defensive CF

and that's about all I can find of guys in the 10-15 WAR through 24 range who were traded around that age for an "established" vet of some sort. At least in the expansion era. I probably missed one or two. Joe Morgan (not good for the DBacks) was a good bit older; Bobby Tolan was younger and not yet producing. Wynn, Reggie Smith, Beltran were all a good bit older.

Not surprisingly, historically teams seemed to have thought that holding onto a productive, talented young player was a good idea. :-)

That WAR list is not that promising by the way. Through 24, Upton has the same WAR as Markakis in 1100 more PA. There are lots of damn good players right there -- Yaz, Olerud, Dw Evans, Vlad, Whitaker -- but generally not OMG types. And lots of flameouts -- Wynegar, Chavez, Horner, Canseco, Mattingly, Straw. Still I guess the flameouts were still generally good to damn good through age 27 which is all the Braves have of Upton at the moment. Looking at some kinda similar guys:

Vlad -- much better at 23-24 than Upton, 16 WAR from 25-27
Markakis -- one huge year so probably not as good as Upton, 7 WAR
Evans -- much more reliant on defense, 8 WAR
Straw -- better hitter, worse defense, 16 WAR
Moseby -- huge at 23-24, 8 WAR
Monday -- not a bad comp really, 8.5 oWAR (bWAR hates his defense)
Lynn -- huge at 23-24, 14 WAR

That's OFs about +/- 1 WAR, skipping Yaz, Canseco and Staub because they strike me as too dissimilar; also Valentine because he just went off a cliff. Compared to Vlad and Lynn, what's missing is that monster year as both had a 7+ year at 23 or 24 and a very good year the other. But Straw and Upton are good WAR matches. Moseby, Monday and Valentine would be the downside.

Anyway, it seems inescapable that Upton will have either 16 WAR or 8 WAR over the next three years. :-)
   14. akrasian Posted: February 01, 2013 at 10:18 AM (#4359873)
Alternatively you put some value on the exclusive negotiating window but I have no good idea how much that is actually worse. Given how few good players make it to FA these days, that window may look a lot like an extension at the moment.

If that's the case, then you need to count that for Upton, too. If Upton develops into a player you would want to wrap up long term, the Braves will have the exclusive negotiating window - and possibly for a superstar, not just a good player. I would think such a window would be much more valuable for an Upton than for a Prado - and the Dbacks gave that up as part of the trade.
   15. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: February 01, 2013 at 10:24 AM (#4359874)
Moseby had a weird career. I really hope Markakis can return to being the player he was at 24, but I'm losing hope.
   16. spike Posted: February 01, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4359881)
I don't think the Braves undervalued him per se - given the financial constraints of financially conservative ownership and a terrible tv deal, this is just the only way they could hope to get a potential superstar player without waiting/hoping on the draft. You really do have to give to get, and in their view, three years of Upton, and the attendant opportunity to extend, was worth one of Prado with the same opportunity. I agree with this.
   17. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: February 01, 2013 at 10:54 AM (#4359893)
1) I think we apply way too much certainty (and uniformity) to the idea of when peaks come, how long they last, etc... Yes, you need to start with some operating assumptions, but people act like your age 27 year is some magical season, etc...
2) JRVJ/11 - that sums my feelings up, yes. As for Upton extension, that's just the howling fantods, right?
3) Spike/16 - Yes.
   18. billyshears Posted: February 01, 2013 at 12:52 PM (#4359995)
When a team trades for a player prior to his free agency, they are acquiring the ability to leverage that particular player's risk aversion. That may or may not have any value (and it may not even be known). I hesitate to call that sort of thing uniformly worthless because there are circumstances, however rare, like the RA Dickey deal where the acquiring team clearly knew the asking price and saw value in the potential contract. The Prado deal seems to be a similar circumstance. But I do agree that the mere right to negotiate with a player for a year before he hits free agency isn't ordinarily a thing of much value.
   19. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 01, 2013 at 12:58 PM (#4360003)
ike the RA Dickey deal where the acquiring team clearly knew the asking price and saw value in the potential contract.


I thought the Dickey deal was explicitly contingent on an extension.
   20. billyshears Posted: February 01, 2013 at 01:24 PM (#4360025)
I thought the Dickey deal was explicitly contingent on an extension.


You're right - it was, but I think the analysis is mostly the same.
   21. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: February 01, 2013 at 01:32 PM (#4360036)
We are forgetting the single most important fact about Prado- that in many formats, he is 2b eligible next year.
   22. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: February 01, 2013 at 01:45 PM (#4360045)
I'm in agreement with spike @16. A chance to build a team around the concurrent peaks of Justin Upton and Jason Heyward is a better strategy than attempting to build a team around the late-peak/decline years of Martin Prado and Jason Heyward's peak. The Braves are counting on healthy Jason Upton and engaged BJ Upton to power a massive OF. They're also counting on extending Heyward and JUpton as Hudson, McCann and Uggla's contracts roll off the books.

One question for the dorks, RE: Prado's defensive valuations via WAR: how much credit does he get for making plays out of zone toward the line or in close, in LF. Because he had a lot of positional help from Michael Bourn covering vast swaths of CF and LCF for him, last year.
   23. John M. Perkins Posted: February 01, 2013 at 01:49 PM (#4360053)
A rational theory I read in a Talking Chop comment:
The Braves didn't extend Prado, or negotiate the arbitration numbers because they knew they were trading Martin to the Diamondbacks. IOW, they were leaving the arbitration/extension to the Diamondbacks, maybe even by the request of the Diamondbacks.
   24. Nasty Nate Posted: February 01, 2013 at 01:53 PM (#4360058)
We are forgetting the single most important fact about Prado- that in many formats, he is 2b eligible next year.


Also, SS-eligible...
   25. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: February 01, 2013 at 02:42 PM (#4360109)
The Braves didn't extend Prado, or negotiate the arbitration numbers because they knew they were trading Martin to the Diamondbacks. IOW, they were leaving the arbitration/extension to the Diamondbacks, maybe even by the request of the Diamondbacks.


That makes sense, given the post-trade comments from Wren that Prado's been involved from the start. Basically, the Braves are betting on better production from Upton-Heyward-Simmons than from Prado-Heyward-Simmons or Upton-Heyward-Prado.
   26. shoewizard Posted: February 01, 2013 at 09:20 PM (#4360464)
As I said elsewhere, you have to believe Upton peaked at age 23 season and that 2012's power outage was not really linked to the thumb injury to think that WAR projections over the next 3 years are very relevant here.

That said, FWIW BP's WARP has Upton 2.6 and Prado 2.3 for 2012, and for the last 4 years they have Upton with 13.6 WARP to Prado 8.6

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