July 31, 2009
Mets Trading Chips

Over at Beyond the Box Score, Sky Kalkman introduced a Trade Value Calculator. With the trade deadline today, I thought it would be a good idea to run some valuations for the Mets. So, armed with contract information from Cot’s Contracts, statistics from, and a case of my favorite beer, I’ve run the numbers.

Brian has quietly been worth his salary this season, but what really helps his value is the fact that will be a Type B free agent at the end of the season. By looking at Erik Manning’s chart, which summarizes Victor Wang’s research, we can see what that $2.1 million is worth on the trade market.

Using all of this information at hand and figuring that the Detroit Tigers are the playoff contender in most need of a catcher, we can figure out a fair trade for Brian Schneider. According to John Sickel’s pre-season Top 20, the Tigers would have to give us Brandon Hamilton. Live arm, no control, and a slight HR problem; I think the Mets are better off with the draft pick.

The reason Sheff is so valuable is because the Tigers are paying his salary. Whichever team acquired Sheff would only be on the hook for under $200,000. However, Sheff would still only command some kind of combination of “C” level prospects, which, as Schneider showed us, can be an unimpressive lot. Still, because of Sheff’s “lost” season last year and the fact that free agent types are calculated heavily on counting stats, I’m not sure that his play this year will even garner him “B” status. If Sheff isn’t even going to be a “B” Type free agent, it makes sense for the Mets to move him. However, if Sheff expresses that he would prefer to play out the year a Met, I think it would be in their best interest to keep him around as the “prospect haul” won’t be worth the possible negative perception of future free agents.

With his 0.9-WAR season thus far, Luis is quietly having a bounce-back year. In order to project his 2010 and 2011 seasons, I used a weighted average of 5-3-1, and they conveniently came out to the same value. The projection is a bit optimistic, but that’s probably because I’m biased. Technically, Luis and $300,000 is worth a grade B hitting prospect, which would be a great move since I don’t think the fanbase is ever going to fully support Luis and the risk of attrition is high. However, other teams recognize the aforementioned risk, and I don’t think Luis and his contact are thought of as highly around the league as I do. Still, Luis does have some trade value which is more than could be said about him during last offseason, but since most teams know the Mets want to move him and his net value is not really all that great, I don’t think the Mets can get a fair deal for him.

Seen as one of the best Mets trading chips, Felicano is having a pretty mediocre season. Sure, his ERA is 2.95, but his FIP is 4.30 due to a .241 BABIP. Overall, Felicano has been worth close to nothing this season, which is an improvement over last year’s negative $800,000. Relief pitchers are fickle creatures, so the weighted average for next year might not be giving him enough credit, but still, technically, Pedro has no trade value. That being said, his ERA looks good and teams love acquiring lefties for the playoff push, so who knows what some wacky GM might do.

I don’t really think that the Mets are going to trade Frankie, I just wanted to show that he is just barely worth the contract he signed without taking into consideration that he has a easily obtainable $17.5 vesting option for 2012. Forgetting about that option, this doesn’t mean Frankie has a bad contract as technically—man, I’m using that word a lot; it’s inconceivable—all free agents should be paid close to their actual value, but in reality, GMs should strive to beat the market and Frankie’s contract does not.

Just for fun, I projected the contract lives of our three core position players. Using the chart above and John Sickel’s Minor League Ball, see if you can come up with any trades that you would actually want to do.

Aside – This article was entirely influenced by the Sky Kalkman link above. I just wanted to point out that what’s going on in the baseball online community is very comparable to Microsoft and Linux in the mid-90s. Simply put, Microsoft made a very popular operating system that introduced many new users to computers. However, in an effort to keep their market share, Microsoft did not wish to let users see/alter the coding for Windows. Along came Linux, an open source operating system that was/is free to use. This parallels baseball analysts, as Baseball Prospectus introduced many baseball fans to better ways of analyzing data; however, PECTOA, SoS, and various other calculations are kept hidden from the end user. Well, with help from Tom Tango, Sky Kalkman, everyone at and many others, baseball analysis is becoming more open source, and I’d like to really implore everyone to take advantage of these tools. (I just want to point out that I’m in no way criticizing any of the above mentioned companies. I actually already preordered Windows 7 and always buy the BPro annual though I love the idea of Linux.)

5 Responses to “Mets Trading Chips”

  1. Comment posted by James Kannengieser on July 31, 2009 at 10:21 am (#1046539)

    This is great work. That Frankie vesting option is terrifying and, barring injury, unavoidable. He hasn’t pitched in a > 1.00 LI situation since July 12th! Oh well.

    And the last paragraph about the availability of sabermetric tools is spot on. I even think the best is yet to come – defensive metrics today are great but that is an area that can always be improved upon. I read a little about upcoming “defense independent hitting” metrics. Kind of scary but also very cool.

  2. Comment posted by littlefallsmets on July 31, 2009 at 5:57 pm (#1047592)

    A defensively over-rated catcher who is struggling to hit .200 is NOT worth his salary. That is not a worth a popcorn fart more than the designated minimum salary’s worth. Boo to that.

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  4. Comment posted by Joe Sokolowski on July 31, 2009 at 6:22 pm (#1047612)

    Hey lfm, thanks for reading. While I do believe Schneider is overrated defensively, he has thrown out roughly 32% of would be base stealers which is alright and his WP+PB/game is at .200 which is amongst league leaders. Yes, Schneider is barely hitting over .200 but that doesn’t give the whole picture as his walk rate is the highest it’s been in his career and his ISO is the highest it’s been since 2003. Overall, his EqA is .250 while the average catcher is hitting .251. With positional adjustment, he has been worth 1.8 mil thus far and if he played a bit more would definitely be worth his salary which speaks more to the state of ML catchers than Schneider’s abilities but that is another discussion.

    James, defense independent hitting sounds dope.

  5. Comment posted by littlefallsmets on August 2, 2009 at 6:15 pm (#1048781)

    Ah… but how much of Scheider’s proficiency with walks coming from being rightly buried in the eight-hole and getting quasi-intentionally walked to get to the pitcher?

    If things had gotten so bad that the Mets were trying to bat him six or something, you know, I doubt he’d even have that.

  6. Comment posted by jwhenry308 on August 3, 2009 at 12:02 am (#1048786)

    Generally, trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements)