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Monday, June 04, 2012

Heyman: Dodgers, Phillies, D-Backs head list of teams with early interest in Youkilis

Boston’s chances to get its asking price are enhanced by the third-base needs of several teams. The White Sox, with a baseball-low .451 OPS for their third basemen, are among other teams expected to join the derby for now believed headed by the Dodgers, Philadelphia and Arizona.

Other teams that have been connected in at least some way (i.e. a scout was spotted at a Red Sox game) or make some sense for Youkilis, who is batting .313 with a .913 OPS since his return and .253 overall, include the Indians, Angels, Rangers, Giants, Reds and Brewers. (A full rundown of all the teams is below.)

Red Sox people are saying publicly they aren’t shopping Youkilis, and while there is indeed no urgency to trade him immediately, some club officials do see a Youkilis trade as the likely solution to alleviate a crowded positional situation that becomes much more crowded once Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford return. The emergence of rookie Will Middlebrooks at third base has made Youkilis expendable. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez helped alleviate the crowd by playing right field capably, but one club official called that scenario “not a permanent solution.’‘

Thanks to Drew.

Repoz Posted: June 04, 2012 at 06:05 AM | 29 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rumors

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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. bobm Posted: June 04, 2012 at 06:28 AM (#4147416)
Player agents, via BB-REF:

Youkilis - Joe Bick
Ellsbury - Scott Boras
Crawford - Greg Genske, Brian Peters, and Scott Parker, previously: Jeff Moorad, Scott Boras
Middlebrooks - N/A
Gonzalez - John Boggs
   2. Lassus Posted: June 04, 2012 at 06:49 AM (#4147418)
1. I don't mean to sound like a jerk, but this HEYMAN/BORAS!!11!! thing is tiresome.

2. If Youk plays a passable 1B, I don't see how the Mets can't be interested, especially if it's a rental for the year.
   3. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: June 04, 2012 at 07:08 AM (#4147423)
Yikes. I did not realize Ike Davis was struggling that badly. Mathis level futility.

FWIW, Youkilis is passable at third. He's a GG candidate at first. (Full disclosure: Red Sox fan & Youk defender)
   4. Greg K Posted: June 04, 2012 at 07:16 AM (#4147424)
Mathis actually DHed yesterday! (Though it was as a replacement for injured Encarnacion)
   5. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 04, 2012 at 07:57 AM (#4147429)
I guess I don't see how his trade value is very high (and I say this as a big Youkilis and Red Sox fan). If he's healthy, he'll hit - but the reason the Red Sox are trading him is because they have little confidence he can stay healthy all year. He's probably a better hitter - healthy - in 2012 than Middlebrooks will be the rest of this season, but you can't rely that Youk will be able to play all season.
   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 04, 2012 at 08:09 AM (#4147431)
I guess I don't see how his trade value is very high
Here's the case for it:

Youkilis projects to hit for an 800-850 OPS, about a hundred points above league average. He can play competent defense at 3B and good defense at 1B.

Last year, when he missed 1/4 of the season, Youkilis' ~850 OPS plus averageish 3B defense were worth about 35 runs created above replacement (fangraphs and B-R agree). That's a very valuable player. Youkilis can fill a hole for a club at either 3B or 1B, and he is an above average hitter at either position. Even if he misses another 20 games, he produces a lot of value.

I'm pretty worried about Will Middlebrooks, everyday 3B all summer, and so the above is also why I don't desperately want to trade Youkilis. If he nets them the prospects to get a front of the rotation starter, I'd be in favor, though. The Sox need another consistent arm in the rotation.
   7. McCoy Posted: June 04, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4147607)
Alfonso Soriano is available if you don't land Kevin.
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4147617)
but the reason the Red Sox are trading him is because they have little confidence he can stay healthy all year.


They would be trading him because they have another option at 3B, and could fill needs by getting something for him (or at least save some money).
   9. tshipman Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:09 PM (#4147625)
Last year, when he missed 1/4 of the season, Youkilis' ~850 OPS plus averageish 3B defense were worth about 35 runs created above replacement (fangraphs and B-R agree). That's a very valuable player. Youkilis can fill a hole for a club at either 3B or 1B, and he is an above average hitter at either position. Even if he misses another 20 games, he produces a lot of value.


A 3.5 win player should be worth something like 16 million (give or take depending on your War/Dollar). Given that he's missed significant time and hasn't been healthy this year, maybe we knock that down to around a 3 win player (14.5 million). Youkilis's current contract is for 12 million with a team option for 13 million (1mm buyout).

If we estimate him for 3.5 wins for 2012 (going forward, just using full season numbers because it's easier) and 3 wins for next season, Youkilis has something like 5-6 million worth of expected surplus value (roughly 2 wins of surplus value if we're being generous).

That is not a very valuable player. I would give up a B level prospect, a good and cost-controlled reliever, or an average player close to arbitration. Sox fans seem to be evaluating Youkilis as if it were 2009.
   10. Nasty Nate Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:18 PM (#4147639)
Sox fans seem to be evaluating Youkilis as if it were 2009.


That's an unfair response to a completely un-fanboyish post (#6) - especially when you conclude that he has $5-6 million worth of expected surplus value. That conclusion doesn't even conflict with the notion that Youkilis has good trade value.
   11. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:20 PM (#4147641)
If we estimate him for 3.5 wins for 2012 (going forward, just using full season numbers because it's easier) and 3 wins for next season, Youkilis has something like 5-6 million worth of expected surplus value (roughly 2 wins of surplus value if we're being generous).
You can't evaluate mid-season trades on a pure surplus value standard, though. If the team doesn't spend those $8M on Youkilis, they can't just turn around and spend it on a free agent at market prices. There are no free agents. If you want to improve your team midseason, you have to trade, which means you have to pay a significant premium.

The Sox plan with Youkilis, if they make a trade, is clearly to turn around the prospects and package them for a starting pitcher. The SP market is full of guys (Garza, Dempster, Greinke), who just like Youkilis don't actually project to provide huge surplus value. So it should work out either way.
   12. tshipman Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4147671)
That's an unfair response to a completely un-fanboyish post (#6) - especially when you conclude that he has $5-6 million worth of expected surplus value. That conclusion doesn't even conflict with the notion that Youkilis has good trade value.


You're right, and I apologize. I should have said that *some* Sox fans. I didn't actually mean MCOA in my response. I was thinking more along the lines of what I've read in some threads about how Hamels would be a fair trading partner.

You can't evaluate mid-season trades on a pure surplus value standard, though. If the team doesn't spend those $8M on Youkilis, they can't just turn around and spend it on a free agent at market prices. There are no free agents. If you want to improve your team midseason, you have to trade, which means you have to pay a significant premium.

The Sox plan with Youkilis, if they make a trade, is clearly to turn around the prospects and package them for a starting pitcher. The SP market is full of guys (Garza, Dempster, Greinke), who just like Youkilis don't actually project to provide huge surplus value. So it should work out either way.


Okay, Greinke is pretty different from Garza or Dempster.

I was also operating on the assumption that the Sox wanted to shed salary, not add it. Depending on the parameters of the deal (i.e., the amount of money picked up by the Sox), the expected return could vary drastically. If, for example, the Sox were to trade Youkilis for Barry Zito + prospects, I would expect the value of the + to range depending on the amount of money that the Sox are picking up. If the Sox are paying freight on Youkilis, obviously that changes the value you can expect to receive.

I further disagree with your statement about surplus value. That is totally true and appropriate for superstars (or players who are evaluated as such). However, the market for 3.5 win players is not really anything like the market for 6 win + players. Kevin Youkilis is not a guy who is going to turn your season around, and teams do not evaluate him that way. If the Sox do not pay freight, I think that most RSox fans will be disappointed with the return.
   13. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 04, 2012 at 12:55 PM (#4147688)
Okay, Greinke is pretty different from Garza or Dempster.
Greinke's been really disappointing for two and a half seasons running now. His FIP is still awesome, to be fair. I'm not entirely sold on him being a huge step ahead of Matt Garza, and Garza's cheaper with an extra season of team control.

I was also operating on the assumption that the Sox wanted to shed salary, not add it.
The Red Sox are looking to compete this year, so they don't want to simply shed salary. They want to make the team better by trading from a position of strength (1B/3B) in order to improve a weaker position (SP). I don't think the Sox can afford to pay freight on Youkilis and pick up a starter, but they might be able to send along a little extra money if the salaries of the starter and Youkilis don't match up perfectly.
That is totally true and appropriate for superstars (or players who are evaluated as such). However, the market for 3.5 win players is not really anything like the market for 6 win + players.
I agree with that. What I'm arguing is that the market for players in the middle of the season is not really anything like the market for players in the offseason. In the offseason, given the existence of free agency and the relative fluidity of rosters, thinking about trade value in terms of surplus value makes a lot of sense. In the middle of the season, you have to look at the value of a player compared to the actually-existing market in similar players, and there really aren't any other good 1B/3B available in trade right now. It's usually the case, in midseason, that the demand for talent is greater than the supply, which is why midseason trades usually bring a larger return than a surplus value analysis would suggest.

As I've said, the Sox want to turn Youkilis into a starting pitcher, so they would have to be on the good side of one deal and the bad side of another.
   14. Nasty Nate Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4147715)
I was thinking more along the lines of what I've read in some threads about how Hamels would be a fair trading partner.


I agree that Youk for Hamels is probably a pipe dream (for several reasons). But out of curiousity, what would be Hamels' expected surplus value, even if that would underestimate his actual trade value?
   15. RJ in TO Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4147726)
Yikes. I did not realize Ike Davis was struggling that badly. Mathis level futility.

Be nice. Mathis has a 0.774 OPS (105 OPS+) this year.

Dwayne Murphy is a god.
   16. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4147738)
There is a sense of inevitability surrounding a Kevin Youkilis trade that I think is badly misguided. I may be wrong but I think the Sox are not looking to trade Kevin Youkilis, they are looking to improve the club. There is a semantic difference there but an important one, if the Sox don't find a way to get a Garza/Greinke/pick a name caliber-pitcher they aren't going to just punt Youk out the door.

Since that disaster against the Yankees in April the Sox have the best record in the American League (and best Pythagorean Record too). There is no reason for the Sox to expect to be dropping out of the race dramatically so shedding salary and adding prospects doesn't really have a benefit to them.
   17. tshipman Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4147745)
Greinke's been really disappointing for two and a half seasons running now. His FIP is still awesome, to be fair. I'm not entirely sold on him being a huge step ahead of Matt Garza, and Garza's cheaper with an extra season of team control.


I agree with this. I am only talking about my impression of their perceived trade value--which is admittedly a really fuzzy concept.

What I'm arguing is that the market for players in the middle of the season is not really anything like the market for players in the offseason. In the offseason, given the existence of free agency and the relative fluidity of rosters, thinking about trade value in terms of surplus value makes a lot of sense. In the middle of the season, you have to look at the value of a player compared to the actually-existing market in similar players, and there really aren't any other good 1B/3B available in trade right now. It's usually the case, in midseason, that the demand for talent is greater than the supply, which is why midseason trades usually bring a larger return than a surplus value analysis would suggest.


I don't think that premium that you're talking about shows up at lower levels of value (or perceived value). Hunter Pence, for instance, was traded for Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton and Josh Zeid (none of whom appear to be anything more than a B+ prospect at the time of the trade, and the Astros picked up salary on Pence. Pence was also in the middle of his best season to date, rather than his worst in several years.).

The Michael Bourn deal was similar (all B and C prospects. The top ranked player was #9 in the Braves' system at the time of the trade).

Derrek Lee was traded for Aaron Baker.

Ryan Ludwick was traded for straight cash.

Koji Uehura was acquired (with the Orioles paying freight) for Tommy Hunter and Chris Davis.

Edwin Jackson was traded (with Teahen) for Jason Frasor and Zach Stewart (B prospect).

Generally speaking, there doesn't appear to be a significant trade premium over surplus value (edit:) at the lower bound.
   18. tshipman Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:34 PM (#4147751)
I agree that Youk for Hamels is probably a pipe dream (for several reasons). But out of curiousity, what would be Hamels' expected surplus value, even if that would underestimate his actual trade value?


If we project Hamels to be a 5.5 WAR pitcher for the entirety of 2012, and compare that to his current salary of 15,000,000, we get an approximate surplus value of 9.75MM--all occurring in one year. Elite pitchers are also thought to increase the chance of postseason success, adding to the perceived surplus value for playoff teams.

In addition, teams seem to believe that trading for a player makes it much more likely to be able to sign the player long-term. I'm not sure how to value that, but teams seem to value that quite highly, and especially for pitchers.

If I had to guess, I would put Hamels value at something like 20mm of surplus value. YMMV.
   19. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4147786)
I don't think any of those players other than Pence are good comps for Youkilis. (Maybe Bourn, though you're counting on a lot of defensive value there to carry the comp.) Also, I think a package of B prospects is clearly worth more than $6-8M.

But, really, do you think that any of the pitchers the Sox want would cost lots more than a Pence-level package? And if not, given that the goal of the Red Sox is to get one of those pitchers, then I don't really think we disagree about any of this.
   20. tshipman Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4147810)
I don't think any of those players other than Pence are good comps for Youkilis. (Maybe Bourn, though you're counting on a lot of defensive value there to carry the comp.) Also, I think a package of B prospects is clearly worth more than $6-8M.


The point was not to say that all those guys were direct comps to Youkilis, just that there doesn't appear to be a premium at the lower levels of the market. Even guys who were scarce (Kohi Uehura) for trading partners with perceived needs did not receive greater than expected levels of compensation.

But, really, do you think that any of the pitchers the Sox want would cost lots more than a Pence-level package? And if not, given that the goal of the Red Sox is to get one of those pitchers, then I don't really think we disagree about any of this.


On ST, you talk about trading for a "front-line starter." If you mean Garza or Demptster, then yeah, Youkilis is in the neighborhood. If you mean Brandon McCarthy or Jared Weaver, probably not. I guess it depends on how you define it and how much $ the Sox pick up. I can see Johan Santana being available cheaply, for instance.
   21. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4147830)
On ST, you talk about trading for a "front-line starter." If you mean Garza or Demptster, then yeah, Youkilis is in the neighborhood. If you mean Brandon McCarthy or Jared Weaver, probably not.
I was talking about the three good starting pitchers that I assume will be available this summer - Dempster, Garza, and Greinke. Weaver is obviously unavailable, and Brandon McCarthy, huh? Brandon McCarthy is going to be way more expensive than Garza? I seriously doubt that, if he's available.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: June 04, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4147865)
Hmmm ... McCarthy must be available as well as he's an FA at the end of the year and I'd imabine the only reason the A's didn't trade him this offseason was that his value wasn't sufficiently high. Very good last year, worse pitching but better results this year, career 109 ERA+ now and only $4.3 M this year -- he should be a fairly valuable trade piece mid-season.

As pointed outs, this really has to be a 3-team deal to make sense.
   23. zonk Posted: June 04, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4147869)
The Sox plan with Youkilis, if they make a trade, is clearly to turn around the prospects and package them for a starting pitcher. The SP market is full of guys (Garza, Dempster, Greinke), who just like Youkilis don't actually project to provide huge surplus value. So it should work out either way.


Despite being 7 games under, not sure I can see the Brewers being sellers... They're still just 6.5 games out and there are no juggernauts (or potential juggernauts) in front of them. They've still got a handful of star level players in or near their prime (Braun, Weeks, Gallardo) - I know Greinke's a FA after this year, but I think he's also a special case in that I don't see him particularly interested in NY.

This means the Cubs get in on this 3-way regardless.

Hunter Pence, for instance, was traded for Jarred Cosart, Jonathan Singleton and Josh Zeid (none of whom appear to be anything more than a B+ prospect at the time of the trade, and the Astros picked up salary on Pence. Pence was also in the middle of his best season to date, rather than his worst in several years.).


...and Domingo Santana, I believe. I'm not saying Santana is a blue chipper either, but he's an awfully intriguing bat, I think. Personally -- I think that was a fine haul for a good, but not great OF.

To whatever extent the Cubs get involved in this 3-way, presumably with some contender getting Youk, Boston getting one of Garza/Dempster, and the Cubs netting prospects -- I'd be perfectly happy with a return approximating Cosart, Singleton, Zeid, and Santana.
   24. Nasty Nate Posted: June 04, 2012 at 03:16 PM (#4147875)
...ehh just for fun, let's add a 4th team. The Sox can send a reliever to them, and they can add some C-level prospect to the mix.
   25. zonk Posted: June 04, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4147878)
...ehh just for fun, let's add a 4th team. The Sox can send a reliever to them, and they can add some C-level prospect to the mix.


Why do you need a 4th team? The cubs have relievers to shed... or did you mean relievers that someone might actually want?
   26. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 04, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4148033)
Why do you need a 4th team?
Because Theo Epstein is involved. His ideal trade would involve all 30 major league teams, as well as several Mexican clubs and the national bank of Azerbaijan.
   27. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: June 04, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4148035)
There is a sense of inevitability surrounding a Kevin Youkilis trade that I think is badly misguided.

TOTALLY agree with Jose's [16] and I'll continue to say this in every thread on this topic. Boston is ONLY going to move Youk in MCOA's scenario or one much like it. And I'd be surprised if he were traded this year at all. Because this: "The emergence of rookie Will Middlebrooks at third base has made Youkilis expendable" - from TFA - is 100% horse pucky.

I'll also add a data point to Lassus' declaration in [2] - I like the new policy on Heyman links.
   28. McCoy Posted: June 04, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4148052)

This means the Cubs get in on this 3-way regardless.



You wouldn't be suggesting what I think you are suggesting, would you?

To whatever extent the Cubs get involved in this 3-way, presumably with some contender getting Youk, Boston getting one of Garza/Dempster, and the Cubs netting prospects

Drats, you're not.
   29. Enrico Pallazzo Posted: June 04, 2012 at 06:11 PM (#4148123)
Dwayne Murphy is a god.

Seconded. (Though I said this in the Encarnacion thread a few days ago)

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