18 January 2012

Trading Adam Jones: AL Central Edition

The post will focus on a baseline that was suggested by a scout.  So, yes, the opinion of a single professional is how we will value Jones' worth here.  What is that worth?  It was posited that Adam Jones would be worth a top 25 player, a top 50 player, and a top 100 player.  In other words, I would translate this as meaning a A-, B+ and B level player.  One final way of looking at it, a 60, a 56, and a 52.  That means that some in this business think very highly of Adam Jones.  We at the Depot have not thought as highly of Jones in the past, but what matters is who values him the most.

This fourth part will focus on packages from AL Central teams.

Chicago White Sox
Dayan Viciedo, RF
Addison Reed, RP
Gordon Beckham, INF

I think it is often a good exercise to go through and look at each team.  How each team matches up.  The White Sox are obviously a poor fit.  Right now they are going through an Orioles style rebuilding project.  That basically means that are trading away fringe value pieces and inexplicably holding onto their guys with real value.  Their minors is thin which hurts teams wanting young players in return and works against the ChiSox's new goal to beef up their system.  A deal here centers on Dayan Viciedo who is a promising player, but there are questions about his hitting approach with poor discipline and a need for more power.  Much of the hope statistically on him is based on his rapid improvement in walk rate as he faced AAA pitching for the second year in a row.  The other major piece is the struggling Gordon Beckham.  Beckham promising breakout in 2009 is now overshadowed by poor 2010 and 2011 campaigns.  He has developed a habit of chasing really bad pitches.  He is a reclamation project.

Cleveland Indians
Matt LaPorta, 1B
Jason Kipnis, 2B
Michael Brantley, LF

The Indians system thinned out a bit with last year's acquisition of Ubaldo Jimenez.  Otherwise, LHP Drew Pomeranz would have been the target here.  The second target would be Jason Kipnis.  I have always been a big Kipnis fan, lobbying hard in 2009 for Nick to draft him in our Orioles shadow draft.  He logged 150 plate appearances last year and showed a strong bat and the potential to stick it out at second base.  I think the team control on him and his offensive production will make him a hard target to acquire, but one you have to insist on.  The bat certainly looks real, but with his difficulties at second the bat looks not quite as shiny if it needs to be moved to left field.  I also focused on acquiring a couple disappointing prospects and second tier arm.  Matt LaPorta and Michael Brantley are two prospects who came over in the CC Sabathia deal and have disappointed.  LaPorta has never shown the power and contact rate he displayed in the minors.  He does not have much more rope left.  In Michael Brantley the Indians have someone who has logged a couple years and is approaching his more expensive team controlled years.  His two major failings in the Majors have been a lack of meaningful contact and an inability to hit left handed pitching.  Adding a little more salt to the wound, his approach in left field leaves one wanting, but he does have the ability to be average if not better out there. Brantley could also be exchanged out for someone like Zach McAllister.

Detroit Tigers
Casey Crosby, LHP
Nick Castellanos, 3B
Andrew Oliver, LHP

The Tigers at first look like a bad fit with Austin Jackson in center.  However, Jones is a clear upgrade to Jackson with the bat and potentially with the glove.  The Tigers could also pay deference to Jackson and shift Jones to a corner position.  However, shifting Jones to a corner position reduces his value to the team and makes him less of an attractive piece to acquire.  Additionally, the Tigers give up good pieces that should be of use to them.  Crosby and Oliver are not far away from potentially providing meaningful contributions to the big league club. Castellanos is a very good prospect who could be developed by the club or dealt for a player that more fits the team's needs.

Kansas City Royals
Wil Myers, LF
Christian Colon, INF
Tim Melville, RHP

This trade almost makes sense if not for the Royals being set in their outfield.  Alex Gordon finally accomplished with his bat what everyone thought he was capable of doing.  Jeff Francoeur had a career year.  Melky Cabrera broke out big in a career year as well.  All of these guys were in their age 26 or 27 year, so it makes some sense that these performance may be real and qualify as what one might expect from their peak seasons.  For a team like the Royals it would make more sense to use any trade chips to beef up their pitching instead of going after Jones. 

Minnesota Twins
Miguel Sano, 1B/LF
Eddie Rosario, OF
Niko Goodrum, SS

Budget issues, Denard Span, and stopgap Ben Revere make this a difficult place for Jones to land.  Add that to the general feeling that the Twins are trying to retool as opposed to push for the playoffs and it just does not seem like a fit.  Sano would be the prize here.  Oriole fans can often be heard gnashing their teeth when hearing of Sano because the Orioles were turned off by his 3.5 MM price tag and instead took that money along with another million, investing it in Garret Atkins.  Good times.  Of course, Sano is still a very raw hitter who strikes out far more than should against not too advanced hitting.  He is young and could develop into a monster bat.

Conclusion
Adam Jones simply does not appear to easily fit for any team in this division.  The White Sox and Indians appear not to be in the market for Jones and their packages rely far too much on reclamation projects with too much service time already used.  I could see the Tigers being interested as they fill out their outfield.  It appears they are set with Jackson in center and Delmon Young in left field.  The Royals have the young talent to offer, but they sport an outfield that is entering into their peaks years and is reasonably priced.  I also simply do not see the Twins choosing to spend so much to fill a position that they already have coverage with the difficulties they face with their budget allocations already.  However, of those deals...I'd like to find something with the Royals and then the Tigers.  It still appears the only logical place so far for Jones to go is Atlanta.

2 comments:

Tom Fowler said...

I think the Royals traded Cabrera in the J. Sanchez deal. Not sure if they have an MLB-ready replacement in house. Their farm system is certainly deep enough for the Orioles to find three potential "nuggets."

Anonymous said...

Oh right...Lorenzo Cain.

-JS