All Your Dumb Trade Ideas Are Belong To Us

by on December 30, 2010 · 4 comments

Kid 1 (Cardinals fan):  Okay, I’ve got a Wade Boggs and two Dwight Gooden rookie cards in pristine condition, and they are in sleeves.  Heck, they still smell like gum.

Kid 2 (Mets fan):  I’ll give you any 3 Cardinals cards and a pack of gum for one Gooden card.

Kid 1:  I’ll take the Ted Simmons 1973 card, Tommie Agee card, and the Lou Brock card. 

Kid 2:  Deal.

For the record, I’ve still got the Lou Brock card in my collection.  Of course, it’s now housed in both a sleeve and an airtight case which are both inside a locked, fire-retardant safe.  To be fair, the book value of the Gooden card at the time was relatively high for a new card, and the Brock card was not in perfect condition.  The Gooden card was just going into circulation, and every card collector I knew at the time wanted that card badly.  It was the “flavor of the month” of sorts.  To the kid who really, really wanted that brand new Gooden card, it seemed like a great deal.  In the end, my friend learned the hard way that “all that glitters is not gold”.   He turned up 2 Gooden rookie cards in packs over the next 3 weeks in visits to the nearest retailer. 

After perusing several internet sports boards and forums, I was reminded of this story.  It seems that everybody and their hobbit friend has a trade scenario involving Chris Carpenter, David Freese, Albert Pujols, or Colby Rasmus.  It’s not like the Cardinals have a front office full of little yellow Minions who are going to trade players for just a #Banana (properly pronounced “ba na na” with emphasis on each syllable).  Put your minds at ease.  Let me help.

  • Chris Carpenter – He’s a 10/5 guy with $15M due to him in 2010.  Few teams can afford him, and I bet he’d be really picky… he might just want to play for the Cardinals.  To convince him to move, somebody might have to offer to pick up that $15M 2012 option.  Oh, and the Cardinals might not be willing to part with him anyway.  If they were, it might take a hefty price in terms of cost-controlled, young pitching talent.  Sure, why not?  Every team has plenty of that sitting around, right?  #nonotreally
  • David Freese – Yes, he’s been injured, and the Cardinals have to be worried about that.  When he was healthy in 2010, he hit .299/.360/.413/.773 and managed an oWAR/dWAR of 1.2/0.5 in just 270 plate appearances.  He’s just 27 and not arbitration-eligible until 2013.  It’s not gonna happen. 
  • Albert Pujols – If he doesn’t get a contract extension in St. Louis, then it doesn’t make sense for him to constrain the market for his services.  Free agency awaits at that point.
  • Colby RasmusJustin Upton‘s 2010 line is .273/.356/.442/.799 with 69 rbi, 17 hr, and 152 strikeouts.  Rasmus went for .263/.334/.452/.786 with 66 rbi, 23 hr, and 148 strikeouts.  Upton (23) is a much better defender, and Colby (24) is a better offensive player.  When the Diamondbacks talked about Upton being available, there was a frenzy and the asking price was incredibly high.  I’d say that the asking price should be equally high for Colby.  Why?  It’s all about the money.  Upton is owed $4.25M in 2011, $6.75M in 2012, $9.75M in 2013, $14.25M in 2014, and $14.5M in 2015.  Raz?  He’s not arbitration-eligible until 2012 and made just over $400K in 2010. 

By the way Cardinals fans, that Upton contract might be the preview for a long-term Raz deal. 

TIDBIT:  If you aren’t familiar with the broken English syntax in the title, it comes from a video game.  The original line is “All your base are belong to us”, and I’ll leave it at that.  Yes, I am a geek.  I can has cheezburger? 

Like it?  Do all your base are belong to us?  Let me know about it on Twitter!

Cardinals fan since I could hold a fishing pole steady. Accidental blogger. Opinionated. I could care less about what you think of me. Constantly confounded, bemused, and confuzzled (ie I'm a pc and a mac). I'm an IT infrastructure analyst with a penchant for breaking tech toys. I ate a sabermetric primer for breakfast. I love playing "All-powerful GM of MLB". The 2010 Cardinals represented a good, practical definition "cognitive dissonance". The 2011 version got by on duct tape and a prayer, and I'm fine with that. They just need new tape for #12 in 12.
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Anon December 31, 2010

I’d argue Upton is a slightly better offensive player than Rasmus. Upton’s career BA, OBP, SLG, and OPS (by nearly 40 points!) are all higher than Rasmus’s; while Rasmus hit a few more home runs, Upton had more RBI. The real separation lies in baserunning; while Upton’s 18 SB against 8 CS is nothing wonderful, Rasmus’s 12 SB on 20 attempts indicates he’d probably have been better off not trying. (Of course, if Rasmus could get near his minor-league success rate on steals, I could certainly call them even offensively.)
But I’ll agree with you that the trade values should be about equal. Rather have Rasmus at arbitration prices than Upton at 5/50.

Dennis December 31, 2010

Thanks for reading, and thanks for taking time to provide feedback. The Upton vs Rasmus thing is really a push in my opinion, because I don’t think you can go wrong either way. I will say this about Rasmus and his basestealing. He really doesn’t do much of it. Most of his bases stolen/caught stealing numbers come from either failed hit-and-runs, or missed signs. It’s truly sad how bad the Cardinals were in 2010 at hit-and-run baseball. That said, he could probably become a 30-30 guy, if he becomes more polished and is given the green light on a regular basis. If he ever has a “regular” lineup spot, he might just become that guy.

I love Upton’s game, and I think he’s one of the few real 5-tool players out there. Once Raz signs long-term deal at some point, I’ll be interested to see which one turns out to be the better deal. At this point, I’d take Rasmus pre-arb, but that argument could be tipped back and forth in a hurry. I just thought it was an interesting comparison that I hadn’t seen anybody else make yet.

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