Which player would you rather have? Both are 3B:
Player A: .301/.367/.516 WOBA .383 UZR/150 16.6
Player B: .270/.372/.483 WOBA .371 UZR/150 5.0
As the Cardinals are currently constructed, you'd probably love to have both of these players. Both are middle of the lineup types that would certainly give our anemic offense a boost. And both can more than hold their own at the hot corner. Obviously, however, Player A is the who you'd rather have assuming all other things are equal. Player A becomes even more attractive when you realize that he is 24 while player B is 32.
How much does the fact that Player A would cost premium prospects change your feeling about him? Add to that that Player B would cost no prospects at all? That may change things just a bit, but I'd have to say most would still like Player A more.
Ok, enough of this secrecy. If you haven't figured it out by now, Player A is Ryan Zimmerman and Player B is Troy Glaus. Zimmerman's stats are his updated ZiPS projections and while I know that projections are just that, his number through June 3 show that he could potentially exceed these numbers(.322/.391/.550 WOBA .401). Glaus's numbers are from 2008(only his second plus defensive year since 2002 by the way). Zimmerman's .358 BABIP is unsustainable which means his BA and OBP will drop, but his ISO is a hefty .227 meaning he will probably still be very productive even with the anticipated dip in BA. In summary, Zimmerman is a baller and I'd love to see him in a uniform that has birds on a bat.
I'm going to look at the McClouth deal as a starting point for this. Notice I said starting point because, lets face it, Zimmerman is better than McClouth. They are, however, both the face of their respective franchises and probably the best offensive players on the teams, IMHO. The guys over at futureredbirds.net seem to think that the Braves got the raw end of the deal, and I tend to agree with them(not to mention look to them for all of my prospecting needs). An equivalent of the deal that landed McClouth would be Daryl Jones, Clayton Mortensen, and a throw in pitcher. This will obviously not land us Zimmerman, as a two 4 star prospects+a throw in offer will be laughed at very quickly. What about a 5 star, a 4, a 3 and a guy who I think should be a 3-star? The deal I am thinking about is Brett Wallace(5 star), Chris Perez(4-star), Bryan Anderson(3-star) or one of our AAA pitchers(Mort, Boggs) and Allen Craig.
Here's my thinking. Wallace becomes the Nationals answer at first base. Nick Johnson is always hurt and Dmitri Young is, well, Dmitri Young. Wallace becomes very expendable for us if we have Zimmerman and Pujols as he doesn't have a position outside of 3b and 1b(not seeing LF as a viable option, though we have had Duncan there the past 3 years). The Nats get their closer in Chris Perez and we have minor league relievers who can take his spot(Todd). They can take their pick of Anderson, Mort, or Boggs depending on their needs(may actually choose Anderson with all of the pitching they have in the pipelines plus Strasburg). Allen Craig becomes the Nats third baseman. I think Craig is underrated. He can hit for power, puts up an ok average and from everything I have read, can handle the hot corner.
I think with this deal, we answer a huge need for this year and for the future(Zimmerman is signed to a team-friendly contract through 2013(09:$3.325M, 10:$6.25M, 11:$8.925M, 12:$12M, 13:$14M). We answer this need without giving up too much. A lineup with Rasmus, Pujols, Zimmerman as the 2-3-4 makes me salivate. This would also show Pujols that we are serious about winning, which can only help when we start with extension talks. DeWitt has said he is ok with adding some payroll this season as well. Oh, and for those of you are wondering about park factors ESPN has Busch and Nationals Park as almost identical.
So, would you guys do this deal? Do you think the Nationals would do this deal? What would it take?
All Stats from Fangraphs.com
Prospect ratings from Baseballprospectus
Contract info from Cot's Baseball Contracts