Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Monday, July 22, 2019

Giants’ relievers have fueled playoff push, but also are valuable trade assets

SAN FRANCISCO – The strength of this San Francisco Giants roster that has kept them in the NL wild-card race is also what makes them such an appealing trade partner.

The Giants’ bullpen, anchored by Will Smith, Tony Watson and Sam Dyson, entered Sunday with the second-best ERA in the National League.

That stout collection of relievers has made up for a poor offense and inconsistent starting pitching, and has them within 2 1/2 games of a wild-card spot.

Yet, those three standout relievers represent a chance for the Giants to infuse talent into a system that needs help.

The Giants are about as close to reaching the playoffs as the Red Sox are- but no one will ever run an article suggesting that they should trade Mookie Betts in preparation for their future….

 

QLE Posted: July 22, 2019 at 04:12 AM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: giants, relievers, trade talk

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. TomH Posted: July 22, 2019 at 07:20 AM (#5863681)
"The Giants are about as close to reaching the playoffs as the Red Sox are"

A statement can be factually TRUE but still very misleading. The above is a classic example. Can we all agree that the Red Sox chances of making the playoffs, advancing in the playoffs, and winning the World Series are all EXCEEDINGLY greater than the SF Giants? Which is why the Giants might trade a good reliever, and the Red Sox.... won't.
   2. . Posted: July 22, 2019 at 08:51 AM (#5863693)
I suppose that's true, but it's ultimately irrelevant. The Giants' goal should be to win the 2019 World Series, just as that's the Red Sox' goal.

If Zaidi had properly made that the organization's goal from the get-go, rather than doing things like starting the season with Connor Joe and Michael Reed as the corner outfielders, (*) they'd actually be in better position to accomplish it.

(*) And generally acting if, and playing the offseason as if, he'd inherited a terrible team and terrible farm system. He didn't.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 22, 2019 at 09:03 AM (#5863700)
A statement can be factually TRUE but still very misleading. The above is a classic example. Can we all agree that the Red Sox chances of making the playoffs, advancing in the playoffs, and winning the World Series are all EXCEEDINGLY greater than the SF Giants? Which is why the Giants might trade a good reliever, and the Red Sox.... won't.

Sure, but can we also agree that whatever B-/C+ prospects the Giants are likely to get for their relievers are highly unlikely to have any long term impact on the future success of the franchise?
   4. bfan Posted: July 22, 2019 at 09:28 AM (#5863712)
Sure, but can we also agree that whatever B-/C+ prospects the Giants are likely to get for their relievers are highly unlikely to have any long term impact on the future success of the franchise?


If that is what they get. Maybe this is just silly-sportswriter talk, but the Braves beat writer wrote this morning that the Braves should pony up an Anderson/Waters/Pache prospect (1, and not all 3), to get a top-end reliever at the trade deadline. Those are all a to a+ prospects I would say.
   5. . Posted: July 22, 2019 at 09:36 AM (#5863716)
If you can get a true A+ prospect for a barely-more-than-fungible reliever, of course the Giants should do it. Every team should.

Sam Dyson was DFAd two years ago. Of course you trade him for a true A+ prospect. Of course you trade Tony Watson for a true A+ prospect. (Will Smith has had a nice year, but was barely hitting 90 on the gun yesterday. Pretty much ditto for him.)

For B-/C+ prospects, no, of course you don't do that.

The Giants are actually Exhibit A for why, other than in the most hopeless of circumstances, you never, ever tank seasons. With the second wild card and the built-in give in the relationship between pythag and actual wins, it's virtually always stupid.

   6. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 22, 2019 at 10:07 AM (#5863732)
Maybe this is just silly-sportswriter talk, but the Braves beat writer wrote this morning that the Braves should pony up an Anderson/Waters/Pache prospect (1, and not all 3), to get a top-end reliever at the trade deadline. Those are all a to a+ prospects I would say.


That's not implausible if you're talking about someone like Vazquez, who's under control for another four-and-a-half years at below-market rates.
   7. bfan Posted: July 22, 2019 at 10:11 AM (#5863735)
I think the idea is Will Smith, who I think is better than a "barely-more-than-fungible reliever". Now, I don't know if his 4 good seasons in a row now means he is ready to turn back into a pumpkin. But the answer is "no", you don't give up a great prospect for a team's third or 4th best reliever; I agree with that.
   8. Zonk, your King of All that Is Real Posted: July 22, 2019 at 10:13 AM (#5863737)
Just glancing through the last couple WS champs... I see some guys who were gotten for relievers -- Eduardo Rodriguez, Brad Peacock, etc.

It's rather ironic that the Giants WC then get hot in October string was undone by leaky bullpens and now... they don't have a leaky bullpen.
   9. Man o' Schwar Posted: July 22, 2019 at 10:24 AM (#5863744)
Just glancing through the last couple WS champs... I see some guys who were gotten for relievers -- Eduardo Rodriguez, Brad Peacock, etc.

Don't forget Chapman for Torres. The price for a top-level reliever was a top-level prospect (though I guess the perception of closers is different enough that you're unlikely to get a Torres-level prospect for a middle reliever).
   10. . Posted: July 22, 2019 at 10:26 AM (#5863745)
I think the idea is Will Smith, who I think is better than a "barely-more-than-fungible reliever". Now, I don't know if his 4 good seasons in a row now means he is ready to turn back into a pumpkin. But the answer is "no", you don't give up a great prospect for a team's third or 4th best reliever; I agree with that.


There's a little bit of definitional wiggle room in "A+ prospect," but if we mean someone like July 2016 Gleyber Torres, it's not even a close call. Bye bye, Will.
   11. Nasty Nate Posted: July 22, 2019 at 10:29 AM (#5863746)
he above is a classic example. Can we all agree that the Red Sox chances of making the playoffs, advancing in the playoffs, and winning the World Series are all EXCEEDINGLY greater than the SF Giants? Which is why the Giants might trade a good reliever, and the Red Sox.... won't.
Another reason is that the Red Sox don't have any good relievers! Zing!
   12. Zonk, your King of All that Is Real Posted: July 22, 2019 at 10:32 AM (#5863749)
Don't forget Chapman for Torres. The price for a top-level reliever was a top-level prospect (though I guess the perception of closers is different enough that you're unlikely to get a Torres-level prospect for a middle reliever).


Go back a generation prior - and while Harden was the big midseason get, Chad Gaudin came with him.... in the deal that sent Josh Donaldson to Oakland.

   13. bfan Posted: July 22, 2019 at 10:37 AM (#5863756)
There's a little bit of definitional wiggle room in "A+ prospect," but if we mean someone like July 2016 Gleyber Torres, it's not even a close call. Bye bye, Will.


And I would hope the terrible imbalance of this trade would remind the Braves not to give up an A guy for Will Smith (and Will Smith is no Chapman).
   14. Rally Posted: July 22, 2019 at 10:40 AM (#5863758)
but no one will ever run an article suggesting that they should trade Mookie Betts in preparation for their future….


I think they should. They need some depth in the system. Trade Mookie to the Angels for Brandon Marsh, Jaime Barria, and Joe Gatto. Let's see if the Angels can manage the difficult task of missing the playoffs with 2 10-WAR outfielders still in their prime.
   15. Zonk, your King of All that Is Real Posted: July 22, 2019 at 10:43 AM (#5863762)
Haven't done an exhaustive look -- but actually, I think I strongly disagree with this statement:

Sure, but can we also agree that whatever B-/C+ prospects the Giants are likely to get for their relievers are highly unlikely to have any long term impact on the future success of the franchise?


In 2009 - the Cubs sent Josh Harrison (and a few others) to Pittsburgh for John Grabow.... Harrison gave the Pirates about 15 WAR and 5 WAA - and was a fairly important role player on what would become good Pirate teams, while the Cubs.... finished 9 games out of the 2nd WC and embarked on a virtually complete collapse.

So no, I cannot agree.

Anecdotally - I'm seeing a lot more "Boy, that was a nice move to pick up X for that fungible reliever".... and very few situations where the acquiring team would say "Boy, good thing we picked up that fungible reliever!"

Larry Anderson for Bags is the archetype, I suppose.... but it sure seems to me if you're a meh team - you ought to be trading relievers for even lottery tickets whenever you get the chance. Teams seem to hit the jackpot far more than you'd think and I'm not seeing a whole lot of instances where acquiring said relievers was any kind of godsend. If anything - "it didn't really matter" is the only thing that competes with "good idea".
   16. bunyon Posted: July 22, 2019 at 10:47 AM (#5863764)
The Giants have to pass four teams while the Red Sox need only pass two.

So the Red Sox are a little closer to the playoffs than the Giants.

If both end up the second wild-card, no, I wouldn't say the Red Sox have an exceedingly greater chance to win the world series. Winning the world series for any playoff team doesn't deviate a lot from a 1 in 8 chance. If you're truly great (Dodgers and Astros this year), maybe it goes up to 1 in 6 or, even, 1 in 4 (but no higher, for even the 27 Yankees in this system).

Basically, both are about the same distance from the crapshoot as each other.

I do agree that if you can trade an average reliever for several great prospects, you should no matter the standings.
   17. . Posted: July 22, 2019 at 10:50 AM (#5863765)
The ultimate in overrated Proven Closers (TM), Fernando Rodney, brought back Chris Paddock. You don't even need to be a "buyer" or "seller" or have any "philosophy" at all to make that trade. It wouldn't even be "giving up on the season" if the Giants (or anyone else) made a deal like that.

In terms of philosophies, the Giants should be buyers. They have a bunch of payroll space from the money they didn't spend last offseason, in the false belief that they couldn't contend. If need be, they could spend it now. And they have some good prospects they could sell high on, starting with Tyler Beede.(*) They should be pouncing on this opportunity.

(*) And there's a decent amount of chatter that they might get Johnny Cueto back sometime in August.
   18. Man o' Schwar Posted: July 22, 2019 at 10:54 AM (#5863767)
At the time of the trade, Donaldson was a 22-year-old catcher in A-ball hitting .217. Yes he was a former first-round pick, but I'm not sure anyone thought he was going to become what he did at that point. People thought that Sean Gallagher was the big loss for the Cubs.

But I guess that's the point of these trades. I can't believe we had a 300-comment thread about the Harden trade. Those were the days.
   19. Zonk, your King of All that Is Real Posted: July 22, 2019 at 11:04 AM (#5863772)
Absolutely - I doubt the A's were even squealing with glee over getting Donaldson (Sean Gallagher was the headliner going to Oakland in that deal).

But the more I just browse past seasons - the more it seems painfully obvious that it's really, really dumb to trade FOR a reliever... so even if you just get a teenager back? Do it.

Look at the other direction... the reliever acquiring team is getting maybe a fraction of a win over just replacement... over average? It's almost reduced to noise.... and forget the Bagwells and the Donaldsons, there are a fair number of Harrisons. Probably more "it didn't matter anyway" (to both teams), but still....
   20. Nasty Nate Posted: July 22, 2019 at 11:07 AM (#5863775)
The Giants have to pass four teams while the Red Sox need only pass two.

So the Red Sox are a little closer to the playoffs than the Giants.

If both end up the second wild-card, no, I wouldn't say the Red Sox have an exceedingly greater chance to win the world series. Winning the world series for any playoff team doesn't deviate a lot from a 1 in 8 chance. If you're truly great (Dodgers and Astros this year), maybe it goes up to 1 in 6 or, even, 1 in 4 (but no higher, for even the 27 Yankees in this system).

Basically, both are about the same distance from the crapshoot as each other.
You are right. But you also have to factor in the talent on the Sox and the Giants, to help estimate the likelihood they make the wild-card game. It's not just about GB and number of teams above them.
   21. TomH Posted: July 22, 2019 at 11:09 AM (#5863776)
#16, Fangraphs and BBProspectus both believe the Giant's chance of making the WC are approx 1/10th of Boston. Not sure I agree the diff is that big, but it *is* big. I suspect Vegas odds (which the nanny at the office won't let me view) would show something fairly similar to them.

I agree, IF both get in, then the odds are not much different.
   22. bfan Posted: July 22, 2019 at 11:27 AM (#5863785)
I agree, IF both get in, then the odds are not much different.


Given both teams will likely be a wild card qualifier, as opposed to a division winner, for a 1 game play-off to advance and to survive, the Red Sox have either David Price or Chris Sale, to start, and the giants have (with all homage paid to the greatness that he achieved in past play-off series) Madison Bumgarner. When you are starting your odds of winning (or getting to the WS), aren't you starting a good bit higher with the Red Sox in that scenario?
   23. . Posted: July 22, 2019 at 11:31 AM (#5863786)
Actually, no. Of the three, I'd take Bumgarner first to start a WC game. Others' mileage may vary.
   24. bunyon Posted: July 22, 2019 at 12:03 PM (#5863796)
It's probably semantics. I agree the Sox have a better chance of making the playoffs than the Giants. I object to "EXCEEDINGLY". They have a slight edge. I think a ten fold difference is way too much.

And, again, in a one game playoff, I don't think it much matters who pitches. Stats only work with a large sample size. In one game, some journeyman could give you 8 strong and last year's CY could get lit up. One game of baseball is nothing.


All of which is to say, if I'm the GM of either team, I don't actively try to make my team worse right now. They're in the mix. Obviously, if a trade comes a long that makes me a little worse this year but a lot better for the next three, I take it. Because, while both are in the mix, neither have real good odds of playing late in October.
   25. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: July 22, 2019 at 12:25 PM (#5863811)
If you can get a true A+ prospect for a barely-more-than-fungible reliever, of course the Giants should do it. Every team should.

If the Yankees could get a prospect of Torres' calibre for Chapman, Ottavino, or Britton, TODAY, they should do the deal in a heartbeat. Then you go and ship a couple of B/C guys to get a slightly worse RP.

Any team at any point in time should trade any RP for an A prospect.
   26. Hank Gillette Posted: July 22, 2019 at 04:18 PM (#5863957)
And, again, in a one game playoff, I don't think it much matters who pitches. Stats only work with a large sample size. In one game, some journeyman could give you 8 strong and last year's CY could get lit up. One game of baseball is nothing.


No. A large sample size may be needed to determine whether a statistic is significant, but that doesn’t mean that starting a journeyman pitcher gives you the same chance as starting your ace.
   27. bunyon Posted: July 22, 2019 at 05:13 PM (#5863982)
Not the same but not wildly different. If I could choose my ace on short rest or a journeyman rested, I probably go with the latter. I certainly don't bank on "Hey, I've got ACE, I'm going to win a one-game playoff."

Am I overplaying the negligible difference? Probably. But only in response to those vastly overplaying minor differences. Short series, and especially one game events, just aren't too far from whatever you'd expect based on win pct. 60/40 is about as far as it goes in any one game.
   28. Karl from NY Posted: July 22, 2019 at 05:46 PM (#5863993)
I object to "EXCEEDINGLY". They have a slight edge. I think a ten fold difference is way too much.


You guys are arguing whether the difference between 2% and 0.2% is huge because it's 10x, or tiny because it's 1.8%.
   29. Walt Davis Posted: July 22, 2019 at 07:20 PM (#5864009)
You guys are arguing whether the difference between 2% and 0.2% is huge because it's 10x, or tiny because it's 1.8%.

Or Red Sox at 47.6% and Giants at 5.8% (fangraphs, down to 8 to 1) which is "huge" in both senses. Or did you mean WS win in which case it's 3.8% to 0.1% ... which is clearly huge in ratio and also pretty huge in percentage points. (I don't really buy it but fg puts the chance that one of Yanks, Astros, Dodgers will win the WS at nearly 60%. That doesn't leave much chance for any other individual team to grab.

Giants are a weird team. It was easy to see how they might compete this year -- if Posey was Posey, Belt had a good year, Panik bounced back, Crawford kept on, Longoria kept on, Bumgarner was good, Shark was OK, Pomeranz got healthy. But almost none of that has happened -- it hasn't been a complete collapse as Belt has been OK, Longoria has gotten the bat back where it needs to be, Bumgarner and Shark have been OK, but none of them have really exceeded expectations much less hopes.

On the trades ... I don't disagree that relievers for longshots are bad trades but even in the cases of the two Joshes, it was 5 years after the trades that they became genuine contributors, both on very odd career arcs. Trading wins 5 years down the track for wins today will always (on average) lose the WAR comparison but it's of course balanced to a great extent by all the trades where the guy given up for the reliever never made it past AA. I don't think anybody has a particularly good idea of what a win today is worth relative to a win 5 years from now and the ratio of small victories to bad losses is probably about 10 to 1 (WAG). Obviously you need the right situation and the right reliever (probably not John Grabow) to even try it. FWIW (not much), the Cubs also got Gorzelanny in that trade who wasn't any good in 2009 but had a solid year for them in 2010.

Small sample of course but one nice thing about the Giants' relievers this year is that the sparkly ERAs are in alignment with their FIPs. These aren't relievers who've been putting guys on base and just getting lucky (so far this year) ... which is at least more promising than, say, John Grabow.
   30. Dr. Vaux Posted: July 22, 2019 at 07:53 PM (#5864019)
(I don't really buy it but fg puts the chance that one of Yanks, Astros, Dodgers will win the WS at nearly 60%.


That doesn't make sense. The sample size of the post-season is so small that anything besides a 12.5% chance for each of the teams that make it past the coin-flip game seems suspect.
   31. Dr. Vaux Posted: July 22, 2019 at 07:55 PM (#5864020)
Given both teams will likely be a wild card qualifier, as opposed to a division winner, for a 1 game play-off to advance and to survive, the Red Sox have either David Price or Chris Sale, to start, and the giants have (with all homage paid to the greatness that he achieved in past play-off series) Madison Bumgarner. When you are starting your odds of winning (or getting to the WS), aren't you starting a good bit higher with the Red Sox in that scenario?


For one game, I don't imagine that Chris Sale really increases your odds of winning over what they'd be if you started Eduardo Rodriguez, let alone Madison Bumgarner. (It actually might marginally decrease the chances, because the manager will be more tempted to stay with Sale for too long instead of going to the bullpen soon enough.)
   32. bfan Posted: July 22, 2019 at 08:34 PM (#5864029)

(It actually might marginally decrease the chances, because the manager will be more tempted to stay with Sale for too long instead of going to the bullpen soon enough.)


I do not know how to calculate or assess odds when you are trying to factor in managerial stupidity.
   33. Baldrick Posted: July 22, 2019 at 08:40 PM (#5864031)
That doesn't make sense. The sample size of the post-season is so small that anything besides a 12.5% chance for each of the teams that make it past the coin-flip game seems suspect.

I agree that 60% for those three teams is probably too high, but I also think you're overstating the effect of the small sample size. Even in a seven game series, the team that's 55/45 favorites in a given game is over 60% to win the series. 60% chance of winning three series and you've got a 20% chance of winning the whole thing.
   34. The Yankee Clapper Posted: July 22, 2019 at 08:44 PM (#5864034)
Don't forget Chapman for Torres. The price for a top-level reliever was a top-level prospect (though I guess the perception of closers is different enough that you're unlikely to get a Torres-level prospect for a middle reliever).

Andrew Miller to the Indians for J.P. Feyereisen, Clint Frazier, Ben Heller and Justus Sheffield was a pretty big haul, too. Sheffield was traded for James Paxton, and Frazier still could be a big deal - he put up an .843 OPS this year in ~ 200 PA before being sent down in a roster squeeze. Miller had been a closer, and was being deployed as an “ace reliever” at the time of the trade. I don’t think any of the Giants are at Miller’s level, but they ought to be looking for more than lottery tickets.
   35. Walt Davis Posted: July 23, 2019 at 06:41 PM (#5864328)
#34: Or that's an example of the ups and downs of these things. Sheffield has been pretty highly ranked and looked to be as ML-ready as could be coming into this year. And now he's completely tanked at AAA and been sent back to AA (where he's dominating). Still potential there but also still a pitch away from injury. Frazier can hit pretty well but has been poor defensively and is below-replacement for his "career" so far per bWAR. (I'm not a big fan of chaining trade value -- the Yanks didn't acquire Sheffield knowing they'd trade him for a good starter 3 years later ... obviously they always knew it was a possibility they'd trade him but that's rarely the intent.)

And you possibly understate Miller. He was probably the best reliever in the game at the time. He remained at that level for the Indians in 2017 before becoming a very meh reliever (still with lots of Ks). The Indians got 4.7 WAR and a deep playoff run out of Miller; the Yanks got a couple of trade chits and even if you include Paxton, he might just match the WAR the Indians got.

For completeness -- Heller pitched a bit in 16-17, seems to have been hurt for all of 18 and most of 19. The other guy has made it to AAA as a reliever and has had a huge jump in K rate this year. He's also about to turn 27 and must be getting close to minors free agency (but maybe they still have him next year).
   36. Zach Posted: July 23, 2019 at 08:31 PM (#5864351)
Any team at any point in time should trade any RP for an A prospect.

Yeah, but that's not the market nowadays. Every GM's a prospect hound now.

If you trade a reliever without taking on salary in return, you're looking at the dregs.

The Royals just traded Homer Bailey, with minimal salary issues (Reds are still paying off the big contract), for a minor league utility infielder hitting .246/.292/.339 in AA.

The Royals are terrible this year, so they might as well. But I wouldn't blow up a chance at a playoff run for a utility infielder.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Adam M
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOMNICHATTER for the weekend of August 24-25, 2019
(20 - 4:19pm, Aug 24)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogBaseball fans trashed the MLB Players' Weekend black-and-white jerseys
(16 - 4:10pm, Aug 24)
Last: What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face?

NewsblogTom Brady’s bid to trademark ‘Tom Terrific’ rejected
(4 - 4:05pm, Aug 24)
Last: Nasty Nate

NewsblogRevisiting whether clutch is a skill
(48 - 3:51pm, Aug 24)
Last: Sunday silence

NewsblogOT Soccer Thread - A New Season is Upon Baldrick
(572 - 3:28pm, Aug 24)
Last: AuntBea calls himself Sky Panther

NewsblogAlex Rodriguez shares painful details of MLB suspension on Danica Patrick's podcast
(27 - 2:32pm, Aug 24)
Last: pikepredator

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 8-23-19
(99 - 1:39pm, Aug 24)
Last: ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick

NewsblogCarl Yastrzemski knows it'll be 'emotional' to see Mike play at Fenway
(17 - 1:34pm, Aug 24)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogThe reason Reymin Guduan was suspended
(12 - 1:21pm, Aug 24)
Last: PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina

NewsblogCan Ronald Acuña Jr. join 40-40 club after becoming second youngest to 30-30?
(6 - 1:11pm, Aug 24)
Last: JJ1986

NewsblogHow players are using uniform numbers to break MLB's unwritten rules
(39 - 12:44pm, Aug 24)
Last: ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick

NewsblogOrioles clean house, fire 11 members of scouting and front office departments
(8 - 12:40pm, Aug 24)
Last: Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head

NewsblogOT - NBA thread (Playoffs through off-season)
(6552 - 11:46am, Aug 24)
Last: it's hittin' 53450n.

NewsblogJudge upholds arbitration ruling that Orioles owed Nationals $296.8 million in MASN TV rights dispute
(8 - 9:54am, Aug 24)
Last: Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network)

NewsblogIs Mike Trout really better than Derek Jeter?
(46 - 12:43am, Aug 24)
Last: Walt Davis

Page rendered in 0.4286 seconds
46 querie(s) executed