Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Carlos Beltran Trade Analysis


The Giants are making a big push, maybe not quite all in but they are doubling down on winning this season. They went out and got their guy Carlos Beltran. The bidding was tough and probably raised his price but the Giants decided in the end it was worth while and pulled the trigger.

In the deal the Giants sent pitcher and top prospect Zack Whe the other way and my first inclination is that this is a solid trade with the Giants slightly overpaying but lets take a deeper look on how this one grades out.

Beltran's value:

Beltran is having a bounce back season after missing a ton of time with injuries. He has a .289/ .391/ .513 line, it is good enough for number 10 in the NL with a wOBA of .392 which would make him the best hitter by wOBA in the Giants lineup. He has a very good walk rate ( 14.3%) and keeps the strikeouts at roughly the same level (14.6%).

Beltran was the best hitter available on the market and will slide in to the middle of the Giants order at either 3rd or 4th (probably 4th because he is a proven run producer!).

His defense was once elite in center field but with knee injuries he is now a corner guy hopefully sliding over to left filed with the Giants. He has rated as a neutral defender this season and I think that is pretty fair, in 2 months his defense isn't going to give him much value nor will it hurt him much. Let's call this a wash.

Taking all of this into account and I think you have a 5 to 6.5 win player. Over the remaining 55 games he will probably be worth about 1 to 2 wins and will be paid approximately $2 million by the Giants (the final numbers haven't been announced yet). That leaves a surplus value of about $5.5 million. There will also not be in chance of getting compensatory draft picks even though he would be a Type A free agent because of a clause that says he cannot offered arbitration after his contract is up.

All said the Giants will get about $5.5 million in surplus value in this deal.

What they gave up:

The Giants gave up their top rated prospect not named Brandon Belt. Zach Wheeler is a right handed starter currently in high A San Jose. He has a plus fast ball, a developing but likely plus curve ball and a change up that is still a project. He was there 6th round pick and has a high ceiling that the scouts really like.

He has put up excellent strikeout and ground ball numbers but is lacking in the command especially to left handed batters who have hit well against him this season.

Here is his career stat line:

YearAgeLevWLERAGSIPHERHRBBSOHBPWHIPH/9HR/9BB/9SO/9SO/BB
201020A333.991358.247260387071.4497.20.05.810.71.84
201121A+753.991688.074397479841.3757.60.74.810.02.09
2 Seasons1083.9929146.212165785168111.4057.40.45.210.31.98
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/27/2011.

As a top 50 pitching prospect his worth would be approximated at around $15 million. I am inclined to push this number down because with the Giants brass willing to part with him he is less of a sure thing so lets call him a top 100 pitching prospect which has a surplus value of about $10 million.

Conclusion:

After running the numbers I am a little more disappointed on the trade than when I first started. Beltran is good but the Giants gave up something worth at least twice (maybe even three times!) what he was worth to get him. With the bidding war and the Giants desperation to get him that was bound to push up the price but the Giants gave up atleast $10 million in value and got $5.5 million in return, which isn't great.

What really kills me on this is that the Giants gave up the prospect but than still had to pick up $2 million in salary. In addition the fact that this is a pure rental with no chance of replenishing the farm system with compensatory picks also hurts.

I guess the Giants decided that going for it now was the best option, part of me wanted to not give away a chance at a longer term window of Championships for a 2 month rental but I understand that there are no guarantees that the Giants will keep getting the same performances from the young pitchers forever.

If this puts the Giants over the top to win a Championship I don't care all that much about what it cost to get here because a second Championship would be another huge cash cow for the team. The thing that scares me is that his wasn't a huge upgrade (by my earlier calculations this helps the Giants score an additional 0.15 runs a game or about 7 or 8 runs over the rest of the season) and this cost a lot.

I hope this is another "I am not an idiot moment" for Brian Sabean.

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