28 October 2016

Blueprint For The 2017 Orioles (Option 4): Aiming For The Wild Card

Next year's Orioles will be fascinating. The team is in win-now mode, as evidenced by the 2014 J.J. Hardy extension, the mammoth contract to Chris Davis, the large commitment to Darren O'Day, and the forfeiture of several draft picks over the past few years. These players were retained to complement a solid core: perennial MVP candidate Manny Machado, exceptionally talented relievers Brad Brach and Zach Britton, and face-of-the-franchise Adam Jones.

The challenge: make the playoffs for $160 million. That's difficult given the large commitments already on staff. The 2016 team opened the season with a $147 million payroll. And although next year a few free agents will come off the books, Britton and Machado will earn over $11 million each, according to MLB Trade Rumors' arbitration estimator. Brad Brach's salary will jump to nearly $3 million. Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman will also see their first arbitration salaries, estimated at $3.4 million for the former and $3.9 million for the latter. I'm happy for these guys; they've played well and earned the money. But that leaves the team in a bind.

With the team looking to contend yet again but with payroll already high, what moves should the Orioles make this offseason?

Qualifying Offers


The most pressing question is to whom, if anyone, the Orioles should make a qualifying offer. MLBTR estimates the QO at a princely $17.2 million. That sounds like a lot but it isn't; with the price of a free-agent win coming in at around $8.5 million, the QO is the going rate for an average (two-win) player. The draft pick element adds another wrinkle, but I'll ignore it here. It's safe to say the Orioles don't care much about those right now, and I agree they shouldn't. I'll ignore that element of their decision.

Offer the QO to Wieters; I think he'll decline it. The new QO represents only an 8.8% raise to him, and Wieters stands out as a good catcher in this year's free-agent market. He will want to test the waters for his age-31 season. He can get a multi-year deal that will exceed the value of the QO. Take the draft pick his rejection will bring.

Don't offer the QO to Trumbo. It's a tempting 87% raise for him, and I think he'll take that sure thing over testing free agency. Enough teams have passed on Trumbo that he and his agent should view him as a marginal player, and enough players have been screwed by rejecting the QO that Trumbo will accept it. Given I don't think Trumbo has another two-win season in him, his acceptance will stick the Orioles with Trumbo at an above-market rate, which they can't afford.

Ditto with Pedro Alvarez: don't make him an offer. The QO represents a 190% raise from his $5.95 million salary. He'd take it in a heartbeat. As with Trumbo, I doubt Alvarez will crack the two-win mark next year.

Good-bye to Wieters, Trumbo, and Alvarez. It was nice knowing you (Wieters especially).

Infield


With the departure of Wieters and Alvarez, the team is down a catcher and a DH. It's time for Caleb Joseph to take the lead with the tools of ignorance. Abysmal 2016 aside, he makes contact at an average rate and has exhibited a roughly league-average ISO before. His defense is also better than Wieters'. Oh, he'll also make about $1 million next year.

As his backup, I'd sign Nick Hundley for 1 year and $4 million. Hundley has cut down on his strikeout rate and increased his walk rate since leaving the Orioles. He also continues to hit for a bit of power, showing a .180 ISO last year. As a result he can put up a wRC+ in the 80's. Not great, but then again he's not making Buster Posey money.

Or, if you want Hundley starting and Joseph backing up, that's fine too. I don't have a strong preference. If you want to swap Hank Conger with Nick Hundley, I'm fine with that too. I would prefer Jason Castro; his excellent framing skills will help paper over the crack in the sidewalk that is the Orioles' starting rotation. But he's too rich for this team's blood.

As for DH, I'd like to give Christian Walker a shot. There's no money available for anyone else. Walker's played the outfield before, so I have him over Trey Mancini. But if you show me a video of Trey Mancini playing left field in Little League, then fine, he can start for the team. Finally, let's keep Ryan Flaherty and his utility-ness at his estimated $1.7 million salary.  

Infield total: Davis, Schoop, Machado, Joseph, Hardy, Hundley, Flaherty, and Walker for $58.81 million.

Outfield


Trumbo's departure means the team needs a starting right fielder. As I did last year, I implore the team to focus on defense. Teams like the Mets can get away with a bad outfield defense because Syndergaard, deGrom, and Harvey strike a lot of guys out. The Orioles are in the opposite situation; low strikeout totals mean more balls in play.

The Orioles will also need to mix and match in the outfield moreso than in previous years. Jones is big for a center fielder (6'3", 220 lbs). Center fielders with this body type (Vernon Wells, Andruw Jones) moved to a corner by age 32; Jones will be 31 this year. He'll need more days of rest than last year, whether that means DH'ing, riding the bench day-to-day, or spending time on the DL.

With these needs in mind I'd sign Peter Bourjos to a one-year deal at $7.7 million. Bourjos isn't much of a hitter, but he has some excellent defensive seasons on his resume. He's also a good baserunner and extremely fast, meaning he can spell Jones in center and score from second in high-leverage spots. The team will hope he catches BABIP lightning in a bottle en route to a two-win season. As a bonus, Bourjos should not cost the team a draft pick.

The piggy bank is nearly empty, so let's bring back Michael Bourn and Drew Stubbs on deals at the league minimum plus incentives. They provide speed on the bases, defense in the outfield, pinch-running opportunities, and hit from opposite sides of the plate. Stubbs can platoon with Kim in left as well, if need be. Good-bye to Joey Rickard; you never learned to control the strike zone and your defense left a lot to be desired.

Outfield total: Jones, Kim, Bourjos, Bourn, and Stubbs for $28.74 million.

Rotation


No moves on this front. My starting rotation consists of Gausman, Tillman, Miley, Jimenez, and Gallardo in that order. Gausman had himself an under-the-radar three-win season last year; tellingly, he started the Wild Card-clinching game on the final day of the season. Tillman is who he is at this point. Miley is also an average pitcher who suffered horrendous HR/FB and BABIP luck with the Orioles. Would you believe his xFIP with the team was a sparkling 3.34? I predict the same fans who turned on him in August 2016 will sing his praises by August 2017.

These guys are, shockingly enough, not a bad one-two-three. But the same can't be said about the last two guys. I put Jimenez in front of Gallardo because the former at least gets ground balls and can strike batters out. He's also proven he can adjust his mechanics should he struggle too much. Gallardo's K-BB% last year was a pathetic 4.6%. Enough said.

No one will take them in a trade. I would DFA/release them but that wouldn't solve the salary problem. I'd stick them in the bullpen except they'd be useful only as mop-up men. Oh well. At least both will be gone after this season. Would you believe this is the last year of Jimenez's contract? That snuck up on me.

Rotation total: Gausman, Tillman, Miley, Jimenez, and Gallardo for $47.92 million.

Bullpen


The aforementioned rotation means Dylan Bundy starts the year in the bullpen again. With Jimenez and Gallardo in the rotation though, Bundy should see plenty of action as a long reliever. By the end of the year, if the team is in contention, he may replace the latter entirely.

In addition to long relief, Bundy can spot start. Very few teams make it through the year needing only five starting pitchers. That's why Tyler Wilson is in the pen as well. He provides a similar, if less effective, option as Bundy. I chose Wilson over Mike Wright because Wilson walks fewer batters. Throwing 95 MPH isn't so great if you don't know where the ball's going.

O'Day, Givens, Brach, O'Day, and Britton return. I hope Givens works on his change-up this offseason so lefties don't smack him around the park so much. Donnie Hart also gets the call as a much-needed lefty.

I've heard some chatter about trading Britton. That would be a mistake. The Orioles are in urgent, red-light-flashing, sirens-blaring, win-right-the-hell-now mode. The starting rotation will not dominate the opposition and the offense is boom-or-bust. The team needs to be as sure as possible that any mid-to-late inning leads stay that way. Britton provides this assurance.

Trading Britton would also lead to ... what? Prospects? Those aren't valuable to the Orioles right now. They're all-in for the present. Another corner outfielder? $11 million doesn't buy what Britton gives you: total dominance in the highest-possible leverage situations in baseball.

No, it's best to keep Britton, scratch out a one- or two-run lead, and let the familiar Orioles bullpen put a sleeper hold on the opposition. You look at trading him towards the midpoint of the 2018 season if the Orioles aren't in a good spot then. Plenty of teams will need a rent-a-reliever. Just look at what Chicago gave up for Aroldis Chapman this year.

P.S. I non-tendered Vance Worley and T.J. McFarland.

Bullpen total: Bundy, Hart, Wilson, Givens, Brach, Britton, and O'Day for $24.63 million.

25-man total: $160.1 million.

Conclusion


This exercise was incredibly difficult, but the Orioles now have a reasonably competent 25-man roster that exceeds the budget by only $100,000. That seems good, although it could escalate if Bourn and/or Stubbs hit their incentives. By that time though payroll will be inflated anyway, assuming the team adds a bit of money to push for the playoffs. If Peter Angelos is going to fire me over 100 grand, well, I'm fine with that. I tried! Get Chris Davis to write you a check. He can afford it.

It's reasonable to think the team will contend again this year. In the dual Wild Card era, fielding a true-talent 81-81 team keeps you in contention to the final weeks of the season. Gain 5-6 wins in the standings with some well-timed hits with runners in scoring position (or well timed run prevention), and you vault into legitimate Wild Card contention.

These outcomes are entirely within reach for the 2017 Orioles.

27 comments:

Don Smith said...

You do realize that "your" team is worse than 2016's roster? That team that outplayed their ability to eek into the playoffs?

No way your team makes the playoffs. In fact, with that outfield AND Jimenez and Gallardo in the rotation, you won't sniff .500.

-Bundy MUST be in the rotation, period. The fact that Duquette signed 2 bad starters doesn't mean they need to start. He needs to unload one of them, if not both. Although, since no one else wanted them before he signed them, I doubt they will want them now. The 25 starts they make could make or break the season.

-Britton not bringing back help for this year? That's entirely up to the return. I would use Britton to acquire an actual major league ready outfielder/prospect to man right field. Then, you can platoon Kim and Rickard.

-I agree with you about Jones. He needs a break and Duquette didn't obtain an outfielder capable of playing center, last season. So, you will need Bourn or Stubbs.

-Duquette needs to go. He is under contract for one more season so I don't see that happening. He has tried a collection of AAAA outfielders and it doesn't work. He has signed bottom of the barrel starters and it doesn't work. Let's hope he learned from his mistakes and doesn't try that again.

-I mean Gonzales, who he released, had a higher WAR that Gallardo and Jimenez combined, in 2016.

Anonymous said...

Peter Bourjos wouldn't be a terrible addition, but $7.7M seems like a *dramatic* overpay. He seems like a guy who could maybe be had on a minor league deal with a ST invite.

Pip said...

Ryan, why do you think Britton would only bring back prospects and not, additionally, solid MLB players?
He was better, is less expensive, and has two more years of remaining control, and is more desirable than any other elite reliever traded over the last two seasons.
Plus, "elite reliever" no longer means "ninth inning with a small lead" it means your best pitcher takes the ball for the most crucial part of the game, and Britton has shown he can regularly get 5 or six outs.
Plus, he was literally perfect.
Why do you think he wouldn't net a return that included MLB players?

Matt P said...

BORAS projects Bourjos to receive $7.7 million. Not sure I buy it myself, but it can be self-serving to ignore the objective in favor of the subjective.

Britton may well be able to net a return that included MLB players. But this scenario doesn't allow us to make a trade like that and it seems likely that he won't bring back a star RF that's pre-arbitration. Does adding a decent right-fielder make up for losing an elite closer?

Gonzo's success in Chicago was almost completely due to getting out of Camden Yards and reducing his home run rate. In Baltimore, he gets shelled. As for Bundy, if he isn't healthy enough to give you 180 innings, then he needs to start in the pen. If he is, then he needs to start the season in the rotation.

It's going to be hard to improve the 2016 team. The Orioles are losing Trumbo, Wieters and Alvarez. Their players are getting more expensive via arbitration and salary increases while not shedding any of their terrible contracts. Their farm potentially can contribute Sisco (second half of the season), Mancini and Wright (reliever). Maybe Harvey? Unless Mancini can turn into a good DH to save cash there, then you would expect this team to get worse because you don't have a single regular coming out of the farm to start the season.

Jon Shepherd said...

I think there is merit to this idea. However, I think the Bourjos being a great defender is an idea that has aged poorly. His hamstring issues were followed with issues with range and arm. Now he is coming off wrist and shoulder injuries. I am not too positive about him.

Stubbs over Rickard. I am not there. Rickard is not a good defender, but he can bring poor defense at all three spots while handling lefties well. TO me, that is useful.

Other aspects look good to me. I think the Britton for prospects idea came from me. I told the writers that they can trade Britton but only for unnamed prospects and really for the purpose of generating payroll wiggle room.

Jon Shepherd said...

To be more clear, trades are too difficult to fathom in any genuine way so it makes this exercise easier to evaluate without them.

Jon Shepherd said...

Is it worse? Outfield rates about the same. Trumbo was worth about 2 WAR, so a Bourjos/Bourn/Stubbs arrangement probably finds something in here close to that.

Joseph will have trouble being that bad again, so can Joseph and Hundley match that level of performance from bad Joseph and meh Wieters. Does not sound unreasonable.

Starting rotation actually looks better going into 2017 than what happened in 2016.

I do not really get the gloom and doom. Club looks about the same.

Jon Shepherd said...

BORAS sees 3 years into the past and values defense about half as much as it values offensive metrics. Some like Bourjos benefit from that. BORAS also is unaware of his arm and hamstring injuries.

Matt Kremnitzer said...

Trading Britton is not something the Orioles absolutely have to do. And the point is lost on why you'd trade him: yes, it would free up money. But you'd be dealing him for the best possible return of players. Could that be a player who's major league ready? Yes, sure. But anyone dealing for Britton expects to win now -- that's usually why players received in return are typically not ready to be simply swapped onto the major league roster. Most teams need and are looking for those kinds of players anyway!

Also, a team looking to win now accurately describes the Orioles (as Ryan mentioned above). You're not going to completely reshape the club by dealing away Britton, and this is the team the Orioles have built. Get enough hitting to take the lead, field well in the infield, and keep the lead. That doesn't mean you can't make little tweaks, but that's what happens on a team shelling out that kind of money for Chris Davis and Adam Jones. The O's could certainly get by without Britton in the bullpen, but there goes that clear advantage.

Matt Kremnitzer said...

Besides, the Orioles might be able to get more if they shop him at the trade deadline. By then, you'll probably know where this season is headed anyway and have a better idea of what direction to go in.

Ryan Pollack said...

Don: "He needs to unload one of [Jimenez and Gallardo], if not both."

If $ weren't an option, I'd agree. But no realistic move would relieve the Orioles of their salary obligation. The most likely move is a DFA -> Release which leaves the Orioles on the hook for all of each salary. It's tough to hit $160m with those two contracts, and while I don't like either one, I doubt someone like, say, Mike Wright would be significantly better in their place.

If Angelos (Jon, really ;-) gave me $7 or $8m more I may have released Gallardo.

As for your question about an MLB return, see my next answer below.

Pip: "Ryan, why do you think Britton would only bring back prospects and not, additionally, solid MLB players?"

Great question. I should've explained my thinking here better.

Britton can return some MLB players in trade but none who will provide the same amount of value in high-leverage situations. Let's say you trade Britton and use the savings to sign Ian Desmond in right. Desmond may provide +3 WAR, same as Britton. But you can't control when Desmond gets his WAR. With Britton you can. That control, the ability to have Britton dominate high-leverage situations, is worth it to the Orioles right now. It makes Britton far more valuable than another MLB player he'd get in return.

Pip: "Plus, "elite reliever" no longer means "ninth inning with a small lead" it means your best pitcher takes the ball for the most crucial part of the game, and Britton has shown he can regularly get 5 or six outs."

True enough in the postseason (assuming Buck has learned his lesson) but not in the regular season. Miller-type situations will be much rarer during a 162-game slog when players need regular rest, etc.

Jon: "I think the Britton for prospects idea came from me."

Nah not specifically you. I just have heard a lot of talk about trading him and wanted to get my say in :-)


Ryan Pollack said...

"Let's say you trade Britton and use the savings to sign Ian Desmond in right."

I know Desmond's a free agent, but the same thinking applies to any MLB outfielder returned in a trade for Britton.

Pip said...

That's a very fair point, Ryan, but you're thinking only of one player. Britton would return more than a single player. And spreading out WAR is wise.
The Angels know well how useless one superstar is when surrounded by holes. Trading Britton wouldn't bring in only one ~3 WAR player, he'd bring in two or three ~2 WAR players and some solid prospects. Based on recent returns for the other elite relievers, that's not an unreasonable expectation. Which teams and players is of course useless speculation , but I would certainly think that teams with a surplus of worthy players would be happy to deal from that surplus.
I haven't looked at how many solid outfielders the Giants/Nationals have, for instance. Houston might have something. The Dodgers aren't interested-probably- Texas and Seattle have nothing worthwhile, but teams with deep farms and players that are currently blocked by guys ahead of them might reasonably be interested in a swap.
We don't need Jurickson Profar, but his situation is exactly what I mean.
Finally, closer is the cherry on the sundae. He can only save a game if there's a lead to save.

Roger said...

Unfortunately, this exercise doesn't allow for trades which is a major way that DD has changed the face of this team - Trumbo, for example. If you all recall, Trumbo was a salary dump of $9M traded for a backup catcher made irrelevant by the Wieters QO acceptance. I am really quite hopeful that the O's can turn the table on that this year and trade Gallardo and his $11M for a backup catcher made irrelevant by a Wieters or Ramos signing. Let's say the Braves sign Wieters and are looking for two SP plus have a lot of money to spend. The O's could trade Gallardo for Anthony Recker and accomplish two goals. Joseph/Recker would be marginally better than Joseph/Pena but the O's would still have Pena and Austin Wynns (currently not hitting in AFL) to try in that spot while waiting for Sisco to be ready. Further, the Braves have been highly successful with reclamation projects and might be able to turn Gallardo around and flip him for more prospects and not pay his whole salary. Every team - every team - has to take some chances to be able to win, either spend more money or rely on ML players with checkered histories or MiL prospects with no ML history. Even with the O's system, there are at least one or two breakthrough players every year whether it be from Rule 5 or from the farm. There is NO DOUBT that Rickard made a positive impact in April/May when the O's established their competitiveness for the year. Buck and the front office have been very adept at filling holes in season and making incremental improvements during the offseason. Their failing seems to be more in high profile additions that have checkered histories.

I like the approach this option takes but I don't think Conger or Hundley are great solutions. I don't think the O's should be paying any FA catcher short of Wieters or Ramos. I don't know what Bourn might need to stay with the O's and Jay may actually be better, but Bourn fit well and contributed and should be available very reasonably. He wasn't needed late in the season to spell Jones as much as he was needed to spell Trumbo, but he would be eminently capable of doing some time in CF.

I have mentioned before that I think Desmond is the ideal fit for the O's; they just have to make room for his salary. One big signing and fill the gaps with Bourn, Recker, and other players on ML min salaries. Desmond is major insurance for both Jones and Hardy. The O's will have to find the gems among Mancini, Rickard, Walker, Hart, Aquino, Lee, Wright, Wilson, Bradley, Rosa, Corban Joseph, Wynns, or someone we're not quite aware of yet. I would also like to see the O's take a flyer on Tommy Milone. And there will be a Rule 5 addition of some sort (sure am missing Logan Verrett). That would resolve all the losses of Trumbo, Wieters, Alvarez, Worley, Flaherty, McFarland, and Reimold.

I really despise all the hate thrown at "AAAA" players. Every team needs role players to fill gaps or fill in for injuries. Every team uses them to their advantage. No team has 25 superstars on the roster.

Joe Reisel said...

#Roger - two points. First, there are very, very few so-called AAAA players in the strict sense of the term. There is, of course, quality overlap between the last few players on the major-league roster and veterans "stuck" at AAA. But there are almost no players who dominate AAA but don't get to play in the majors.

Second, and the bigger point, is that I don't think throws hate at minor-league veterans. It's just that none of the players you list are difference-makers, with the exception of Mancini. Joey Rickard might have a better year as a part-time player than Dariel Alvarez, say, but he might not. Tyler Wilson might have a better year than Joe Gunkel, say, but he might not. Those players are like the checkout clerks in a Wal-Mart - you need them and they're useful, and some may be better than others, but it doesn't really matter which ones you have - especially before the fact.

Roger said...

Joe, it's not you or the staff here at the Depot throwing the hate at "AAAA" players - mostly other commenters. I agree with you about the players I listed not being difference makers (except Mancini, I hope). I guess what I'm saying is that you get as many "difference makers", star power players, as you can and fill the rest of the roster with, hopefully, competent replacement level players. All I was saying that the players I mentioned and you mentioned are and should be an integral part of the planning for the team. To be able to field a competitive team the O's will have to use players like Rickard and Wilson and whatever Rule 5'er they pick up this year. If we can get one star level player (by using all the available cap money and a salary dump on someone - hopefully Gallardo) then the O's will be better off than by hiring four replacement level players or slightly better like Jay or Coghlan or Bourjos or something like that. I think Jay Bruce would be a better risk if he were available. I also think Tommy Milone ios a better risk because both of these players have shown the ability to be significantly better than replacement level but have lost their way.

Anonymous said...

I think WAR bakes leverage index into its reliever calculation, so Desmond's 3+ WAR should be about the same as Britton's.

I am on the Trade Britton bandwagon. Recently traded top relievers have brought good prospect returns. The O's could trade ZB for a package headlined by a ML-ready prospect then used the dollar savings to fill another need. Seems like a painless way to reload the farm.

Ryan Pollack said...

WAR is context-neutral; it doesn't take leverage into account. Even if it did, Buck still can't control when Desmond hits or makes a great play. But he can control when Britton enters the game.

Anonymous said...

Re: Rickard, he is free to ride the Norfolk shuttle next year, correct? No need to mention in terms of a decision. If he plays well, he is the #5 OF. If not, roll Tides.

I think the only reason Bundy doesn't start early on is if they decide his inning limit is some number that means he has to be protected until June 1. But to your comment, if we need to win now, then Bundy gives us a better chance to win than Gallardo, to say the least.

Re: Britton - no harm in checking the market. He's better than Miller, Chapman, or Boston's closer. If SF will be stupid, them allow them.

Matt Perez said...

Actually, Fangraphs claims that they include leverage index in their calculations, but they may have changed it over the past year and a half. Their documentation for pitching fWAR is poor and inadequate. The fact that Neil tried and failed to update the methodology is a bad sign especially since he was working on it for two years. http://www.fangraphs.com/library/war/calculating-war-pitchers/

Obviously, leverage index takes into account that Buck can control when Britton enters the game. Although, I remember being unimpressed with Fangraphs bullpen chaining strategy. So, if Ryan thinks that a better one would make Britton look better, then he's definitely correct.

H. Diggs said...

"The Orioles are in urgent, red-light-flashing, sirens-blaring, win-right-the-hell-now mode. The starting rotation will not dominate the opposition and the offense is boom-or-bust. Britton provides this assurance."

The Orioles may feel they are in win-now mode....the problem is that they aren't a championship level team. You don't go to the World Series with a boom or bust offense and a below average starting rotation. The 'win now' mindset is irrelevant, considering they don't have a real legitimate shot at winning a World Series.

See what the market will offer for Britton. As we watch Andrew Miller, Chapman, and Janson dominate the playoffs, the value of shutdown relievers is sky high. You never know what the offer will be. Sure, keeping a Britton would be a huge help to the O's should they make the playoffs, but the team simply isn't good enough right now for it to matter.

What if a team like the Nationals offered up their #1 prospect, plus another high level prospect for Britton? Is that out of the question? You might get two players on cheap contracts who could immediately fill voids on the roster for years to come. Not to mention the Orioles have a knack for developing relievers to replace Britton's role. You also can't overlook the rise of Givens. Making a move like this could actually turn the Orioles into a championship level team.

Pip said...

That would not be enough of a return. Any reasonable offer would have to include two solid starters plus prospects, and not bad prospects either. Remember this is for two years. And at the end of that two years, they can re-sign him or take the compensatory draft pick, and that's if they don't extend him before then.
Even his arbitration raises are a bargain compared to the going rate. So if I'm the Orioles, yes I will turn down such an offer as not being enough.

Joe Reisel said...

#Pip - be real. The best we could hope to get in a trade for Zach Britton is what the Padres got from the Red Sox for Kimbrel - four legitimate or better prospects. No one believes Britton will duplicate what he did this season, and no team in need of a closer is going to trade proven major-league starters.

Pil said...

If you look at what the other major relief pictures have brought, and consider that they all were acquired with less control remaining, I think that what I am suggesting is not unreasonable. It of course remains to be seen, but why don't you think Britton would bring more than Chapman( in either trade, Kimbrel, or Miller? He costs less and offers more for longer.

Joe Reisel said...

Britton has less control (2 years0 than Miller (2 1/2 years) or Kimbrel (3 years) did when they were traded, and Britton has less cost certainty than either. Miller will probably end up costing less than Britton as well. More to the point, I know of no relief pitcher who has ever brought even one proven regular player or starting pitcher in a straight-up trade, much less two plus prospects.

Britton will bring more than Chapman did, but I can't Britton getting more than the Yankees got for Miller or the Padres got for Kimbrel. Show me a relief pitcher who was traded for one proven regular player / starting pitcher plus prospects in a straight-up trade, and I'll reconsider.

Pip said...

Miller's contract is favorable, but Kimbrel's is more than Britton will be getting.
I can't find such a trade as you request, but remember that reliever use is evolving and they are becoming more versatile and valuable.
No team is going to create one hole in order to fill another, but most well-run teams have MLB-ready players ready to replace traded vets, and trading from a surplus isn't unreasonable at all( for instance, after four years the Rangers STILL don't have a place for Profar, and would be thrilled to headline a Britton trade with him, although the Orioles don't need him)
I appreciate your comments and I certainly accept that you know more than I do, but this is really uncharted waters, and I think Britton should bring back more than the others did.

Joe Reisel said...

Profar is not a solid major-league player, yet. If he's the headliner in a Britton trade, that trade is a far cry from "two aolid major leaguers, plus (good) prospects."

It seems obvious that the Miller trade is the standard for relief pitchers. There is no substantial reason to think that Britton would bring back any more than Miller did. Miller's cheaper, comes with the same team control, has been as effective. What does Britton have that Miller doesn't?