Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Brian Roberts & That Other Chicago Team?

Since the rumors are being bandied about, I thought I'd put in my two cents on a possible Brian Roberts - Gavin Floyd trade. First reaction is "no way - why would they do that?" Brian Roberts is an All-Star second baseman and Floyd had a flukey good year with less than stellar peripherals. The non-emotional answer doesn't sound as pleasing on the surface.

I've got Roberts as about a 3.5 Wins Above Replacement player for next year, but he has been more like 4.5 WAR the last couple years. He should provide at least $17 M worth of production next year for just $8 M - an excess value of $9 M.

Floyd went 17-8 last year with a 3.84 ERA in 206 IP, 6.3 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 1.3 HR/9, 4.77 FIP, 4.91 tRA, 4.87 tRA*, 99 tRA+. He's a slightly below average starting pitcher right now, so I'd say to expect 180 IP with a 4.85 tRA next year - that's worth about 2.5 WAR. For that $12.5 M in value, the team that controls him would pay him about $0.5 M. That's $12 M in excess value. If I understand correctly, Floyd is under team control for four more years. Using the rule of 10 (subtract expected innings by 10 each year and win % (used as part of the WAR calculation) by 10% each year to adjust for the risk inherent with all pitchers), Floyd could (it's not an exact science) be worth 2.2 WAR in 2010 while only being paid 40% of his value in the first year of arbitration (it goes about 40-60-80 for the three arbitration years) ($7 M excess), 1.9 WAR in 2011 ($4 M excess), and 1.6 WAR in 2012 ($2 M excess). That adds up to about $25 M in excess value generated by Gavin Floyd over the next four years.

That Brian Roberts will almost certainly be a Type A free agent after next year must also be taken into account, as that would result in the team that losses him gaining two draft-picks. The excess value for draft picks from a Type A free agent is about $5 M, which means that the O's would be giving up about $14 M in excess value while receiving $25 M. That makes it a very solid trade for the O's, since they're gaining three years of control over a not very inferior player. There are still other things to consider. Is Nick Markakis less willing to sign an extension if Roberts goes? Does the team see anything special in Floyd to make them think his 2008 season wasn't a fluke? It's all very ambiguous. If the White Sox were willing to include 25 year-old 2B Chris Getz (.302/.366/.448 in AAA last year) then I'd be all for it. As it is I still think it's a deal the O's should make if they can.

[Edit: Updated with more recent analysis of draft pick value. It's much lower.]

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