Trade Target — Gavin Floyd

Continuing in our periodic look at potential trade targets that have been reported by other media sources, let’s turn our attention to a recent piece by Ken Rosenthal for Fox Sports.  In this post, Rosenthal discusses how the White Sox are receiving a lot of interest on two of their top pitchers — John Danks and Gavin Floyd.  Within the piece, Rosenthal has this specific quote:

Floyd, who turns 29 on Jan. 27, is not as accomplished as Danks and lacks the left-hander’s upside, but his price is right. Even a low-revenue club such as the Pirates could afford Floyd’s salaries in 2012 and ’13, and fit him nicely into the middle of their rotation.

Gavin Floyd would be a great “transitional piece” for the Pirates.  The right-hander’s contract is $7 million in 2012, with a $9.5 million team option in 2013.  In essence, his 2012 salary would replace the salary allocated to Paul Maholm in 2011, with the added benefit that Floyd is a superior pitcher at this point in his career than Maholm.

In 2011, Floyd threw 193 innings with rates of 8.4 hits/9 innings, 7.02 strikeouts/9 innings, and 2.09 walks/9 innings.  His ERA was 4.37, but his FIP and xFIP both hint at a pitcher that deserved a better fate (3.81 FIP and 3.73 xFIP).  For the year, he was worth 3.6 WAR.

Floyd’s arsenal consists of a 91 mph fastball, an 85 mph cutter, a 79 mph curve, and an 85 mph changeup.  In looking at his pitch type values, Floyd had the most success with his cutter (1.86 runs/100) and the least with his changeup (-4.80 runs/100).  Most likely, it is due to his changeup being thrown too firm, as there is only a 6 mph gap between his fastball and changeup.  The interesting item in looking at his pitch types is that it appears he abandoned a slider in 2011 in favor of his cutter.  Whether he has always thrown a cutter and it was just never categorized properly is unknown to me.

Even though Rosenthal mentions above that Floyd would fit nicely into the middle of Pittsburgh’s rotation, he would instantly vault to the head of the line and be considered our top pitcher in 2012.  With the potential for Floyd to be here for 2012 and 2013, it would help stabilize the pitching staff until Cole and/or Taillon hopefully arrive in 2013.  With Floyd anchoring the staff in 2013, it would take the pressure off of those two and allow them to acclimate to the majors.

With all trade speculations, it is anyone’s guess what the White Sox would want and what the Pirates would be willing to provide.  The White Sox are in desperate need of youth and athleticism on their team and in the minors.  They’re stuck with terrible contracts like Dunn and Rios, so they can’t completely rebuild, but they also can’t realistically expect to contend in 2012 either.  It appears as if the Sox are looking to shed some payroll, as per Williams speaking recently to the Chicago Tribune.  When asked about if a payroll number had been set for 2012 yet, Williams responded,  “Yes. And it’s a little bit less than what we had last year.”

Gavin Floyd Trade Value

written by Tim Williams

To get an idea of Floyd’s trade value, let’s take another look at the trade value charts:

2012 $7.0 4.0 $13.2
2013 $9.5 4.0 $10.7
TOTAL $16.5 8.0 $23.9

Explanation: Floyd will make $7 M in 2012 and $9.5 M in 2013.  His WAR is set at 4.0, after putting up a 3.6 WAR in 2011 and a 4.3 WAR in 2010.  The total brings his value to $23.9 M over the two year period.

What He’s Worth: As usual there are lots of combinations to get to the $23.9 M that Floyd is worth.  A combination that makes the most sense would be centered around Robbie Grossman.  Grossman profiles as a top 76-100 prospect, giving him $12.5 M in value.  That, plus a Grade B pitcher (Kyle McPherson) at $7.3 M would take up the bulk of Floyd’s value.  From there, you’re probably looking at a major league relief pitcher as the third piece in the deal, or two Grade C hitting/pitching prospects.  Another possibility would be trading Alex Presley straight up, as Presley’s six years of control at his 1.2 WAR from 2011 equal Floyd’s value.  It seems unlikely that the White Sox would take this approach, since they look set in the outfield in the short term.

Analysis: It will require at least one top prospect to land Floyd.  I don’t think it would make sense for the Pirates to deal one of their pitching prospects, as they’d be dealing a potential six years of control of someone like Jameson Taillon in exchange for two years of control of Floyd.  Dealing from a strength (outfield), they could afford to make Grossman the primary piece of the deal, although they’d also have to give up a Grade B pitcher, such as a Kyle McPherson.  If the Pirates were looking to deal some prospects for an established player, this is the type of move that would make sense.  They have the payroll to add Floyd, and I’m not sure they’d miss guys like Grossman or McPherson.  Based on Floyd’s xFIP, he’d become the ace of the staff, and would be a big upgrade over what the Pirates had in Paul Maholm.

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Matt Beam

Let Maholm pitch in the American League and his ERA would be north of 5

Why not trade Grossman at potentially the height of his value? I just don’t see him being any better than Presley and he is in the exact same mold of our other outfielders, projecting a nice player but only 10-20 HR’s. BTW, I’d feel differently if he was a power hitting prospect as we have none of those in our minor league system.


 Yes but we wouldn’t have to have given up 2 prospects for Maholm. 


The difference between Floyd and Maholm isn’t remotely big enough to justify trading Grossman and McPherson. Especially when you consider Floyd won’t be on the Pirates after the 2012 season (what, you think NH would actually pick up his 2013 option?).

When you then consider how NH wouldn’t make a move like this and is much more likely to sign somone like Jeff Francis, the entire premise of this article becomes laughable.

F Lang

Saying Floyd is superior to Maholm is highly questionable but I agree that he is a somewhat better option for a similar price.

steve-O K

Getting rid of prospects for a 2 year rent a player.  Still not up for it.  We still lose 90 games this year with or without this guy.  Save the money and the prospects.  A team without an infield minus 1 proven player in Walker is in no need of a number 1 starting pitcher. 

Tim Williams

I think it depends on the return. I wouldn’t deal someone like Taillon. I’d rather have Taillon for six years, rather than Floyd for two years. But you could argue that the Pirates wouldn’t miss Grossman/McPherson. Two years from now, the Pirates should have an outfield with McCutchen, Tabata, Presley, and/or Marte. The rotation two years from now could include Cole/Taillon, and should still have options like Morton, McDonald, Lincoln, and Locke.

Vince Riedy

Floyd would work but I’d rather they go after Cahill first.


Your article and suggestion that trading Grossman and McPherson just completely baffles me.  You always mention that the only way for a small market team like Pirates to compete is to build from within, then weeks later claim we should trade 2 of our best prospects for an average LHP.  It also doesn’t make sense b/c Maholm’s extention was only 2M more than Floyd will make this year?  Why not keep Maholm as well as our prospects.  


Small market teams have to build from within, you are correct.  That is something that Tim and I have said numerous times.  But a strong farm system should be used for two things.
1.  Providing cheap, cost-controlled talent for 6 years in the majors potentially
2.  To be used to make trades for established major leaguers to fill holes at the major league level.

No team, not even the Rays, has a 25-man roster of pure homegrown talent. 

PS – Floyd is a RHP, not a LHP, Bob.


Sorry, that actually makes it worse then, will we have any LHP in rotation?  Just like the wise decision to only carry one LHP in bullpen last year….

Tim Williams

I don’t know why, but I always think of Floyd as a LHP as well.

Tim Williams

Floyd is a better pitcher than Maholm.


Maybe…still isn’t worth 2 of our prospects, we should have extended Maholm. 


I would seriously become a fan of Rays or Phillies if PIrates traded Grossman and McPherson, bad idea.  


Let’s not go overboard here.  Rays? OK.  Phillies?  That is insanity.  You cannot go from being a fan of any Pittsburgh team to a Philadelphia fan.  That is like mixing oil and water.  I’m pretty bent out of shape w/ the Bucco’s myself, and am barely hanging onto the bandwagon and have found another team to support too.  But it isn’t, nor will it ever be, the Phillies.  May God have mercy on you if you decide to adopt them as a favorite!


Maybe we should also offer to take Dunn off their hands.  He might be in line for a bounce back year and he could be used at first.  Of course, the CWS would need to pay a good portion of his salary as well.



I like this series of articles that you’ve been writing about potential trade targets.  They mostly seem like realistic targets to me.  So, if the Pirates only sign another Barajas or two prior to the 2012 season will you be upset?  Will it lower your opinion of Huntington as a GM?  Will it change your opinion that the front office has no sense of urgency to win? 

It seems to me that there are a multitude of opportunities each season to make this team better and yet they never capitalize on them.


I don’t think I would put him at NO. 1 on this team, his stats in most areas are a little above Karstens, but there is a wide difference in ERA. Floyd did pitch more innings and that could account for the difference in ERA. Karstens was a very effective 6 inning pitcher, It would be nice to see when Floyd gave up his runs. Most of Karstens runs came when he tired, usually after 70 or 80 pitches.Karstens also depended greatly on very good defense up the middle, something the Pirates had. Floyd strikes out a lot people. They both gave up 22 Hrs. but Karstens did it in 168 innings, and Floyd did it in 199 innings.
In the grand scheme of things, IMO, Karstens is a 4 and if you want to stretch it he might be a 3, does not matter to me if it is the Pirates or the Phillies a No. 1 is a No. 1, the Pirates don’t have any and getting Floyd is not going to get them a No. 1, they still won’t have one. He can be the best on this team, but if he is a No.1 on this team, they still will be hurting for pitching.
Karstens, ERA— 3.38
Floyd ERA——— 4.37
Karstens, Hr.——  22
Floyd Hr.————  22
Karstens, Whip– 1.207
Floyd, Whip——- 1.16
Karstens, S0—–  96
Floyd, SO———  151

Tim Williams

When I look at pitchers, I’m looking at four main stats: K/9, BB/9, HR/9, and ground ball rates. My target numbers are a 6.0+ K/9, a 3.0 or less BB/9, a 1.0 or less HR/9, and a ground ball rate above 42%. No one on the current staff meets all four targets. In fact, no one even meets three targets. Floyd meets all four in the past three years. In that time he has a 7.3 K/9, a 2.5 BB/9, and an 0.9 HR/9, along with a ground ball rate around 44%.

I’ve pointed out several times that the pitchers who excel in all four categories tend to be the star pitchers. That’s why I’d rate Floyd over everyone else on the staff. As for where he rates in relation to the league, his xFIP says he’s an average #2 pitcher.


In addition, Floyd would be going from the AL to the NL.  Pitchers typically get a nice bump when they make that transition.

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