Throughout the off-season, we have been looking at potentially available trade targets and non-tender candidates from other teams that the Pirates may have interest in obtaining. One of the analysis tools that we have been using is Victor Wang’s research into Surplus Trade Values of prospects, based on their quality classification. For the complete table of how much each type of prospect is worth, check out this link from Beyond the Box Score.
On Wednesday, the Rockies traded their presumed starting catcher in Chris Iannetta to the Angels for 21-year old starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood. In 2011, Iannetta had a triple slash line of .238/.370/.414 (785 OPS, .347 wOBA), while Chatwood debuted in the majors and pitched 142 innings with a 4.75 ERA, 4.89 FIP, 4.69 K/9, and 4.50 BB/9. Iannetta is under contract only for 2012, as he now has the choice to void his 2013 option since he was traded prior to the 2013 season. Chatwood is still under the Rockies’ control for 5 more years. At first blush, this looks like a steal for the Rockies as they got 5 years of service for a starting pitcher for 1 year of Iannetta. But is it?
Using Fangraphs’ WAR calculations, Iannetta was worth 3.3 WAR in 2011. His career WAR totals have been all over the place as a function of his spotty injury history, but when he has caught 100+ games in a season his WAR’s are 3.4 and 3.3. For discussion purposes, let’s assign Iannetta a WAR of 3.0 for 2012, accouting for a natural decline due to age (29 in 2012) and the switch to the AL and all that entails. As in previous articles, we are assuming 1 WAR = $5M.
Chatwood debuted in 2011 as a 21-year old pitcher for the Angels and made 25 starts that resulted in a WAR of 0.5, barely above replacement level. However, coming into the 2011 season, Chatwood was rated as the #76 overall prospect by Baseball America. If we use Wang’s Surplus Value for pitchers rated 76-100, we see Chatwood is valued at $9.8M. Interestingly, if Chatwood was rated just one spot higher at 75, his presumed Surplus Value would be $12.1M and make this a nearly even trade.
But since Chatwood is technically no longer a prospect, let’s run his value out under his 5 years of Rockie control, as well. Now with a 21-year old starting pitcher, it is very difficult to presume a whole lot about his potential career. Chatwood is projected to be a good back of the rotation pitcher, like a #4, but if things break right he could be a #3. For purposes of this back-of-the-envelope analysis, I’m assigning a consistent 1.0 WAR to each of his five years. I’m not sure if this is overly conservative or not, but it at least gives us a chance to look at a value for him. His salaries are the league minimum in 2012-13 and then 40-60-80 percent of his $5M presumed worth through arbitration.
In this evaluation, you can see that Rockies come out ahead of the deal, with $15.0M presumed Surplus Value to Iannetta’s $11.20M for the Angels. Of course this assumes that Chatwood does not get injured significantly at any point during those 5 seasons or regress, just the same as it does not assume that he may develop into a 2 or 3 WAR pitcher and increase this even more.
The purpose of this article was to evaluate in a vacuum the Iannetta-Chatwood trade, but it is worth noting that in conjunction with trading Iannetta the Rockies also signed Ramon Hernandez to a 2 year, $6.5M deal. Assuming it is an equal split in yearly salary, the Rockies are paying virtually the same amount of money for Hernandez AND Chatwood ($3.75M in 2012) as they would have for just Iannetta ($3.55M). If you consider that Iannetta and Hernandez are the same tier of catcher, then Chatwood is like a “free” player this year. The Hernandez element really swings the deal in the Rockies’ favor.
The Pirates are starting to accumulate a surplus of pitching prospects and outfield prospects that have similar profiles. With a pressing need to obtain a starting pitcher that can bridge this rotation until Cole and/or Taillon hopefully arrive in 2013, I would like to see the Pirates package some players together to obtain such a pitcher. Even though it was just shown above that the Rockies may benefit in the long run, you can see that it is also worth it to obtain a 3-win player for the short-term, too. Factoring in the high attrition rate of prospects, especially pitching prospects, reinforces the idea to get the “bird in the hand” instead of hoarding “two birds in the bush”.
Ramon Hernandez has always been a decent hitter. He also seems to move from team to team every year. I’d be interested in seeing how the pitching staff’s have fared for each of the teams he has been with the past 10 years. I’d also like to know what each of his managers thought of his whole game other than his hitting, and how his head is screwed on.
Before anyone chimes in, I am aware that Barajas moves around a bit too, but we already have on record some pretty good things said about his overall game from other managers and staff. Also, he was dealt at the last couple trade deadlines to teams trying to win it all, which are different situations than just moving from team to team aimlessly.
I personally like Barajas power hitting more than I like Hernandez’. But I’m not really up on the field captain side of things for both, or their mental states.
Ramon Hernandez moves around from year to year? Did you just come up with that all by yourself because he has been with 4 teams in his 13 year career, and has NEVER, let me repeat NEVER been with a team for only one year. And he was just recently with the Reds for 3 years, and before that he was with the Orioles for 3 years. So he hardly moves around year to year. Do some research!
It’s a shame that Hernandez is getting that low of a salary while the Pirates will be paying Barajas more. Hernandez was clearly the #1 FA catcher.
totally agree! Hernandez for two years at 7.5 million (I know a million more) would have been better than Barajas!
I wonder if the Pirates interest in Hernandez would have been different if his re-classification under the new CBA occured earlier in the offseason. With Hernandez going to a Type B in the last week, the Rockies don’t give up a pick.
I can’t believe more people aren’t talking about how odd and random the whole Type A/B reclassification thing was handled by MLB.
makes me wonder if we can now get Conger and Andrew Romine for Garret Jones
Kevin, do you know who will be in the booth at Piratefest the first day? What will the price of the book be at Piratefest?
We’re still working out the schedules amongst us (we’ll try and get Matt Bandi out of deep storage too). I don’t know if Tim will discount the book for Piratefest or not. Plus side is that you don’t have to wait for it in the mail.
I do know that Tim is planning to bring 1200 copies to Piratefest on the 2nd printing.
With a pressing need to obtain a starting pitcher that can bridge this
rotation until Cole and/or Taillon hopefully arrive in 2013, I would
like to see the Pirates package some players together to obtain such a
The Pirates probably have young starting pitching in their organization equal to Chatwood, they just don’t believe in giving 21 year old pitchers a chance at the major league level.
I do agree that they need pitching, but if they are going to trade some talent away I would rather see them get a good established pitcher, possibly a true 3, Chatwood is a gamble, his stats say very little about what he has or how he uses what he has.
The 2012 team can win, the adding of experiments and tryouts should end, their catching is pretty good right now, they have an outfield that should be very good this year with depth in the minors if needed, 1st base needs to be solidified and a quality backup plan must be put in place for 3rd base. That leaves pitching, the backend of the bullpen and a starter. There are a lot of teams in baseball with more problems.
Although Votto is not on the block, GM’s are starting to look at where the Reds will be in 2013 with Votto when he is due 17mil in the last year of his contract and huge raise that he will get after 2013, could be they could be convinced to move him with Alonzo waiting in the wings.
Correct about not needing a Chatwood-esque pitcher. I’m going back to my burning desire to see Gavin Floyd play for the Pirates or some other type of 3-4 WAR pitcher front this rotation for a couple of years.
Love stuff like this Tim shows the kind of things that happen throughout the league. Maybe give Pirate fans some perspective when it comes to moves.
Did you get a table at Piratefest? And is there another planned interview session with mgmt? That was great stuff last year
You’re welcome. Tim is up to his eyeballs with the book, so let me answer the second part of your question for him.
Yes, Pirates Prospects will be at Piratefest with a booth. We will also be starting a radio campaign in the next week to promote the book and our presence at Piratefest. We are also lining up a live on-air spot with The FAN from Piratefest, as well.
We will definitely be interviewing front office folks and players, just not sure of the format at this point.
It’s important to get your pre-orders in for the Pirates Prospects Guide Book so that Tim can turn the first order around and get a second printing for Piratefest.