The proper way to evaluate trades

Dreaming of April
Salary arbitration primer

Longtime RAB reader and commenter Dan (better known as “dan” around these parts) has his guest post up over at LoHud. The topic: remembering the correct way to evaluate a trade. Far too often you see fans base their opinions on roster moves based solely on hindsight, which is the absolute wrong way to go about it. You have to consider the context of the trade in terms of what’s given up and what’s received at the time of the deal. Trading Nick Johnson & Juan Rivera – two young & talented but blocked players – for 27 year old Javy Vazquez coming off four straight seasons of 215+ IP and no higher than a 3.68 FIP is a move you make ten times out of ten, no matter how it turned it down the road. Make sure you check it out.

If you want to read more of dan’s stuff, you can check him out at Statistically Speaking or, when he has time, The Poor Man’s Analyst.

Dreaming of April
Salary arbitration primer
  • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    Ugh. I read the post, liked it. For some reason I decided to read the LoHud comments, which I honestly haven’t done in months and months. Just… Ugh. What a bunch of complete f*cking morons. I’m kind of glad about it in a sense… Glad they have a forum where they can all make their loud noises. Poor Pete Abe.

    There’s a ton to choose from (looking at the on-topic comments here, not the Torre discussion that’s going on over there), but I kind of love this one:

    Bronx Jeers
    January 31st, 2009 at 12:44 am
    I have nothing to say about this post as I didn’t really get it’s point. Oh well.

    Although this is pretty good too:

    January 31st, 2009 at 1:09 am
    Aw, I get the feeling Dan isn’t going to get much love due to intense desire to talk about Joe Torre. Don’t worry Dan, now you know how the Superbowl feels.

    Come again? Nobody’s going to pay attention to the Super Bowl because Joe Torre’s book is being released next week? (Shoots self in head.)

    Dan – Nice job.

    • Steve H

      My thoughts exactly. I ventured down to read the comments and was just amazed that it was either idiots, or idiots talking about Torre.

    • Jamal G.

      Heh, great minds think alike, dude. What was also quite ironic was the closing piece by Pete Abe:

      Thanks, Dan. Intelligent, well-reasoned debate? Are you tying to kill my traffic? Just kidding.

      That line was just made ten-times funnier when you read the first few comments.

      • dan

        I was so glad that he threw that in there.

    • La Costco Nostra

      Your post was off-topic, so let the inferiority wash over you.

      Dan – Nice Job” ain’t gonna cut it, buddy.

      Christopher gets it.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        “Your post was off-topic, so let the inferiority wash over you.”

        Um. No. This is just incorrect.

        “‘Dan – Nice Job’ ain’t gonna cut it, buddy.”

        The 177 words before that phrase don’t count, I guess.

        I mean, I’m supportive of those who want to bring some humor to the comments, but it’s nice when the humor makes sense and is, you know, humorous.

  • Troy

    Someone please tell Steve Lombardi that.

    I’m sure he has a good baseball intellect, but his biases against Cashman are absolutely absurd (this is the article I speak of:

    • UWS

      This was my exact thought upon reading Dan’s post. Sadly, as good as that post is, it will change the minds of absolutely no one, including Mr. WasWatching.

      The best was him jumping all over Cashman about the whole “Yankees have reached limit in signing FAs” fiasco yesterday, then acting surprised when commenters rightly called him to task on it.

    • christopher

      i think he should run down a list of every GM’s bad trades. I am not a huge cashman fan and I dont think he is great, but I certainly dont think he is a bad GM and he has done a good job thoughout his tenure.

  • Mike Pop

    Nobody cares about that post over there. Dumb, it was a good post and it seems like noone read it.

  • Pablo Zevallos

    LoHud is too heathen a place for me to go, but kudos to Dan for reminding us all of something that is quite true and important.

  • christopher

    Dan makes some great points in his post. During the Yankees winning years, I woud use the criteria – did this player help the team win a world series. If the answer is yes than I will live with whoever they gave up to get them. While they were fairly lucky during that time as many players really did not come back to bite them aside from Lilly (which as Dan pointed out seemed to be a steal at the time) and Mike Lowell.

    The David Justice and Chuch Knoblauch trades stand out to me as perfect examples of taking into account more than just the stats of a player. Westbrook, until he began to have shoulder issues had 3 good seasons for the Indians and was a valuable middle of the rotation pitcher from 2003-2007. Depending on how he recovers from surgery he may have more in him and had he not had surgery he looked as though he was beginning to put everything together.

    David Justice on the other hand really only profided the Yankees with half a season, but without him, they don’t make the playoffs in 2000 and one could argue that he should have been considered for an MVP award. Even if Westbrook turned out to be a cy young winner, that trade was worth it because it propelled the team to a WS.

    In hindsight it doesn’t look like the yankees gave up a lot to get Chuck, but baseball people were very high on Milton and it seemed like he and guzman (i think that was the other person in the trade) were a lot to give up and Knobby’s production certainly slipped a bit when he came to NY, but he also helped the team to 3 titles.

    There is no doubt that in trades you must be worried about your future, but sometimes you do need to give up a lot in order to win that year. This is especially true for teams that are not perenially in the playoffs. In the future, if LaPorta is as good as people say, he may turn out to be far more valuable then 1/2 a season of Sabathia, but that franchise needed him not only to get into the playoffs for the first time in like a million years, but also to make a statement to the fans.

    There are some deals though that stung when they were made – no hindsight needed. Mike Lowell is certainly one that sticks out as he was dealt in large part because Brosious was coming off a career year he was unlikely to repeat, although, he did have a couple of huge postseason hits. Even still, I didnt like the trade as they got nothing in return. In fact, Cashman has been quted as saying that was a bad deal and he would do it over if he could.

    Last one – I promise. Another deal I didnt understand at the time and one where I think the yankees overpaid and to make it worse they overpaid to the red sox. Tony Armas Jr. for 28 games and 87 at bats from Mike Stanley. What hurt most about that was that Armas helped the Sox land Pedro.

    Some trades work out and some do not. Like Dan mentioned ,you do the vazquez deal 10 out of 10 times. It isnt right to bash GMs who make no-brainer deals that dont work out becaue of injuries or mental issues and if aquired player is a key part of a championship than I can live with it if the player who was dealt becomes a star for another team.

  • christopher

    sorry — that was way to long

    i just got carried away – my bad

  • Jake

    Great post Dan. Well reasoned. Tip ‘o the hat.

  • steve (different one)

    good work Dan, but you might as well try to teach physics to the chimps at the zoo.

    the comments section of Abraham’s blog is Darwin’s waiting room (with a few exceptions).

    the one good thing is that some of the only good posters from over there have started to migrate over here.

    • dan

      I think a lot of them come, and then realize this isn’t the place to spout nonsense, and then leave.

  • drdr

    As this post illustrates, Cashman was really unlucky in some of his best moves. He traded for two young pitchers who were supposed to be aces and lead NYY rotation for the next 7 – 8 years, and both failed. In 2004 he overpaid for 2 starting-quality 1B as bench players, both were injured. He brought 3 closers as setup-men, Torre overworked two, and third one wasn’t trusted. He brought quality lefty to replace Stanton when Stanton started to slip, Torre didn’t use him in the second half. He brought quality CF to share time / replace Bernie, Torre wouldn’t use him.
    If some of those moves worked, he would have been widely considered good GM.
    And most of the moves failed because of Torre and his pitching coaches.

  • dan

    Thanks for the link and thanks for the comments, guys. The LoHud comments annoyed the shit out of me, they were completely irrelevant last time I checked them.