Over at Fangraphs, Dave Cameron is doing a MLB Trade Value Series. I'm going to attempt to do a top ten in trade value list for the Cardinals organization. This is not a prospect list; if you want to see one of those and all the discussion that goes along with on, check out Erik's Mid Season Prospect Rankings over at Future Redbirds. This is a subjective look at how valuable our top assets would be on the trade market. Dave Cameron says it better than me:
Essentially, the idea is to take all the information that goes into encapsulating a player’s value to an organization - his present skills, his future potential, how long he’s under club control, the expected cost of paying him over that time, and the risks involved with projecting his future performances - and figure out which players currently have the most trade value in baseball.
Basically, the better their place on this list, the more we'd expect to get in return if we traded them. I will add that I also took positional saturation into consideration for my rankings(We have a ton of LH hitting OF, so Ank and Dunc aren't as valuable as they would be if we didn't have any in our system) So, without further ado, here is my list. * indicates who I consider untouchable...no injured players included
1. Albert Pujols*--This is a no-brainer. He's the best player in baseball, signed for 2 and a half more years(includes option year) and is getting paid at a below-market value. Obviously, if we traded him this year, we would expect the other team's entire farm system in return, plus the hottest women(or men for those ladies reading) in the team's respective city.
2. Colby Rasmus*--He'll be super cheap for at least the next two years(he'll probably be a super-two), then be arbitration eligible, which would still be a good deal for any club. He plays GG caliber defense in a premium position, and has some serious offensive upside. Basically, he is they type of piece you build a team around.
3. Adam Wainwright*--Ace in the making(may already be there) signed to a team friendly contract through 2011, with options in '12 and '13 that, based on current performance, are also at a discounted rate($9mil and $12mil, respectively). He also looks to be a workhorse(I'm gonna write off last season's DL as a freak injury). I'm always going to rate a proven pitcher high on these lists because, as we all know, TINSTAAPP, so having proven pitching is incredibly valuable.
4. Brett Wallace--Young, cost controlled talent with major upside is always going to be a valuable asset. Add to that his potential of sticking at third, and he is even more valuable. IMHO, you can always find a 1B or LF with offensive upside; 3B, not so easy to find(Exhibit A=Joe Thurston). He's not untouchable because of the chances of him not sticking at third, and therefore being blocked by the best player on the planet. If he had a little more pop, he might be above Waino on the list, but as is, he still a very valuable asset.
5. Yadier Molina--Best defensive catcher in baseball bar none. Also shows a real ability to call games and handle a pitching staff. Last two seasons, he has shown the ablitity to handle the bat, which makes him much more valuable. He's still young and is signed to a team friendly contract until 2012.
6. Shelby Miller--Some of you are not going to agree with this one, and to be honest, I'm not sure I even agree. He hasn't thrown a professional pitch(heck, he hasn't even signed yet), there's TINSTAAPP to deal with, and he hasn't thrown a professional pitch. Still, he is a potential #1 pitcher that throws 97 with nice movement and has a out pitch in his curveball. Learning the changeup will really make his value as a starter soar. I know he can't be traded till a year after he signs, but I guarantee he is one of the first guys other team will ask about in trade talks next year.
8. Mitchell Boggs--Both of these pitchers are potential #3's in a rotation. They are young, can and will eat up innings, and have been moderately successful at AAA(Boggs has even had some success at the ML level). I put Mort above because he is one year closer to arbitration and FA.
9. Jason Motte--He throws really hard, but lacks a secondary pitch. If he figures the slider out, he would soar up this chart, as that would make him a closer candidate(he already is really, that would just solidify it). Best thing about him may be the command that he has shown. I would like to put him higher, but with only one pitch, his ceiling is probably set-up man(and yes I realize that often set-up men are in higher leverage situations than closers, but other GM don't seem to realize that)
10. Daniel Descalso--Middle infield prospects that can handle the bat, and play average to slightly above average defense are valuable and hard to come by(especially in the Cardinal org.) I may be letting myself get Niko'd(getting hopes up only to have them dashed next season), but I think this guy could be guarding the keystone in St. Louis as early as next season, and I think he could be there for a while. Cost-controlled and young, he showed some real pop in AA with a ISO of .208 and an acceptable walk rate. His BABIP is a tad high, but if he can hit .300 with some pop and good defense, he's a pretty valuable piece. Even moreso if he can keep his OBP in the .370 range like it was at AA and has been thus far at AAA.
Oh crap! I completely forgot about Daryl Jones. He'd probably slot in at #7. Leadoff man potential in the Carl Crawford mold. Still young and has shown a really advance batting eye. I would much rather have a player who has a good eye and is developing power than a player with good power who is developing a good eye.