Jim Bowden Makes A Fake Trade

Behind the ESPN Insider paywall, former GM, Jim Bowden, who often times makes outlandish trade offerings between franchises, has again outdone himself.

In his latest episode of “Watch Me Make A Fool Of Myself But I’m A Former General Manager So You’re Supposed To Take Everything I Say Like It’s Realistic,” he has the Rangers trading SS Jurickson Profar, 3B Mike Olt and LHP Martin Perez to the Miami Marlins in exchange for mammoth offensive juggernaut, Giancarlo Stanton, and RHP Ricky Nolasco.

Let’s break it down:

For starters, let me first admit that I find nothing ostensibly wrong with the package he has the Rangers offering. Profar, Olt and Perez are three potentially All Star-caliber players, and they’ll each be making the league minimum through 2015 — an oft-overlooked and undervalued aspect of trading.

/Associated Press

What I do have a problem with is (a) the notion that Miami will move Giancarlo Stanton, (b) that just because they’ve already traded off the bulk of talent on their roster that they will continue the trend with their most talented player, and (c) that even if Texas offered three of their top 7- to 8 prospects, that Miami would accept such an offer.

It won’t happen.

From a contractual perspective, as I’ve already mentioned, the troika of current Rangers each have 6 years of remaining team control — three years where they’ll make in the ballpark of $480K, and three arbitration seasons. Stanton has four years left of team control, one of the league minimum, and three arbitration seasons where his contract will increase exponentially.

If, like many scouts project, Jurickson Profar plays at an MVP-caliber level over the next 6 seasons, he stands to generate between 20.0-30.0 WAR (or about 3.5-6.0 WAR/season). Like Profar, Olt is also a top-20 prospect, and if he lives up to his promise as a projectable power hitter/Gold Glove-caliber 3rd baseman, he figures to net roughly 16.0-24.0 WAR (or about 3.0-4.0 WAR/year) over the next six seasons. And though Martin Perez was once hyped as a Johan Santana-esque left-hander, many scouts have cooled on him in recent years, to the point where — instead of being projected as a top-of-the-rotation pitcher — he’s more like a future #3. Even at that, 6 years would conservatively make him a 12.0-18.0 win (WAR) pitcher.

So that’s what the Rangers would be giving up.

If we take the bare-bones, basement-level expectation for each of the three players, their combined win projection over the next 6 years would be somewhere in the ballpark of 45.0 Wins Above Replacement — which would be an excellent, perhaps liberal designation to lay on three players who have yet to taste more than a month of Major League action, respectively. If the Marlins knew, for a fact, they’d be receiving that kind of production, they’d be exceptionally witty to make this move at the earliest possible time.

However, the dreaded term “prospect,” which has always been something of a dirty word in the baseball lexicon, is still attached the each Rangers’ commodity.

Giancarlo Stanton is not a prospect. Nothing close. He once was, but has thus far become what everyone has expected — one of the best sluggers in Major League Baseball. In his two-and-a-half big league seasons, he’s hit a combined 93 home runs, and has driven in 232 runs, good for a cumulative 13.1 fWAR.

If that isn’t enough of a reality check for you, he’ll be playing the entirety of the 2013 season as a 23 year-old.

Because he’s so young in his professional life, he still has a lot of room to grow. He blossomed from a 4.5 fWAR player in 2011 to a 5.8 fWAR player in 2012, and, given his prodigious power maintaining, could be a mainstay to hit 40 home runs annually for the next 10 years. These types of talents don’t grow on trees, which is why it behooves the Marlins to hold onto him.

Ricky Nolasco is a veteran at this point, and has the stuff of a legitimate #3 starter. Over the last 4 years he’s produced 4.3, 2.5, 3.5 and 2.7 fWAR, respectively, though his ERA numbers are nothing to write home about. In 2013 he’s due $11.5 million, which is a hefty sum for most teams, but if you’re the Marlins, it’s a contract you’d like to get rid of — given that they’ve vanished away just about every other expensive contract on roster.

If I’m the Rangers, the only way this deal makes sense is if they have real interest in locking up Elvis Andrus longterm. As we know, his contract runs up in two years, which is why Jurickson Profar makes such an excellent insurance policy. Hypothetically, if the Rangers traded Profar in a Stanton deal, and Elvis Andrus walked away in free agency in 2015, Texas would find themselves without a shortstop. This is a scary proposition. Do you bank on Luis Sardinas or Leury Garcia to take over the role? I can’t fathom that scenario. With Andrus and Profar, you know what you have. Matters seem complicated beyond that.

If you’re asking me how the Rangers can ascertain Stanton’s services, the best option would be to trade Elvis Andrus to Team X_, acquire a couple high-level prospects, and trade said prospects to the Marlins. Elvis’s days in Texas are numbered either way, and Jurickson Profar is too valuable to the franchise.

I’ve got nothing against Jim Bowden, per se, but I figure if you’re a former GM you need to think more creatively, rather than just offering up the three prospect names everyone’s heard of and sticking the shit to the wall to see if it sticks. The Rangers are a well-run franchise, and although the Marlins have given away just about everything of value, it does not mean they’d be willing to also trade away their most prized player.

After all, baseball is ultimately about money, and Giancarlo Stanton does not make a lot of it.

Yet.

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  • Mike G.

    Agreed. Texas would never do this deal without resigning Andrus first—something that will more than likely never happen. The Rangers will go forward with Profar, but as to why Andrus hasn’t been traded yet, I have no clue.

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