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Trade Values in the Adrian Gonzalez Deal

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With Adrian Gonzalez finally a member of the Red Sox, I wanted to look at the trade values involved in the deal. At $5.5M for next year, Gonzalez is one of the best values in baseball for the 2011 season. His extension changes things, however. Though it has not yet been announced (and likely will not be announced soon) for our purposes, let’s take the rumored seven year, $156M deal as a starting point. Putting those numbers into our trade value calculator, we get the following:

 (After the jump)

 


Adrian Gonzalez

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year

Sal (M)

WAR

Val (M)

Net (M)

2011

$5.5

5.5

$25.0

$19.5

2012

$22.3

5.5

$25.2

$2.9

2013

$22.3

5.5

$25.2

$2.9

2014

$22.3

5.5

$25.2

$2.9

2015

$22.3

5.0

$22.9

$0.6

2016

$22.3

4.5

$20.7

-$1.7

2017

$22.3

4.0

$18.4

-$3.9

2018

$22.3

3.5

$16.2

-$6.2

FA Picks

 

$5.0

 

Total

$156M

39.0

$183.5

$21.9



As we saw with players like J.D. Drew, Josh Beckett and several other veterans, the Red Sox tend to pay an at-or-near market rate for players they sign as free agents (or extend to avoid free agency in this case). With conservative projections (and without adjusting for inflation) that puts Gonzalez as worth a total of $21.9M in surplus value. Almost all of that value comes from his reduced rate 2011 season. Should he decline rapidly, this deal has potential to really hurt Boston.

Of course, the 2011 through 2014 seasons are the important ones to focus on here. Kevin Youkilis, Jon Lester and Dustin Pedroia, the top values among Sox players, are all signed though that time. Jed Lowrie, Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury should all be in their prime during that time. With Gonzalez at first and Youkilis at third, we have three infielders who can reasonably be projected to put up 5+ WAR during those seasons. Do you know how many teams had three 5+ WAR infielders in 2010? None. In fact, only the Reds had three 5+WAR position players. Both competitively and monetarily, the short term impact of acquiring Gonzalez balances out the length of the commitment.

All of that is fine and good. If Gonzalez was just a free agent signing, that would be the whole story. However, Gonzalez cost us three of our top 10 prospects in addition to that money. Based on my original prospect valuations that loss looks like this:

 

Name

BA/Sickels Rating

Prospect Value

Added Costs

Total Value

Casey Kelly, rhp

Top 10 Pitching

12.5

 

12.5

Anthony Rizzo, 1b

Top 50 Hitting Prospect

23.4

 

23.4

Reymond Fuentes, of

Top 100 Hitting Prospect

9.8

 

9.8

 

 

 

TOTAL

45.7

 

Now, as per the forums here, I feel it may be necessary to scale back the rankings on Rizzo and Fuentes, but even given these high-end estimates, the trade is a very reasonable exchange. Even if we take these values as absolute, the Red Sox are giving up only $23.8M in value, or just over one season worth of Adrian Gonzalez. These values are nowhere near absolute, however. One thing is almost certain; none of these players will impact their team in 2011. Only Kelly seems reasonably capable of contributing in 2012. Even if these three players defy the odds and all end up as star level players, their arrival will come in the final years of the current Red Sox team and their best seasons may be after Lester and Youkilis have reached free agency.

If we do scale back the prospect ratings as many of you have suggested, we get an even more balanced deal:

 

Name

BA/Sickels Rating

Prospect Value

Added Costs

Total Value

Casey Kelly, rhp

Top 10 Pitching

$12.50

 

$12.50

Anthony Rizzo, 1b

Top 100 Hitting Prospect

$9.80

 

$9.80

Reymond Fuentes, of

Grade B

$7.30

 

$7.30

 

 

 

TOTAL

$29.60

 

The estimated difference in value is now down to $7.7M. Regardless of which version you find more accurate, the Padres certainly did a good job of getting value out of moving their star. Rizzo may be the replacement for Gonzalez long term and Kelly will benefit from pitching in Petco when does arrive in the Majors. In Fuentes, they get a young player with a lot of raw athletic ability who may one day man center field. That is a good haul for one year of a superstar.

Both sides seem to have done exactly what they set out to do here. Boston has gotten their man and at the discount rate for one year without the cost of draft picks. San Diego has made them pay a premium and stocked their farm system with three high ceiling young players. The estimated values look to favor San Diego, but the Padres also take a greater share of the risk.After all, these are only estimates and the reality tends to the extremes. Boston has given up a lot, but nothing that a shiny new flag (or two) can’t fix.