Analysis of Potential Trades for Outfielders in 2011

Hey guys, first time poster/ long time reader of this excellent site.  Have been reading it since the MetsGeek days.  I’ve been thinking about the potential trade opportunities that will likely present themselves to the Mets this season and have read a lot of articles about Reyes (I don't think we should trade him).  But I thought I’d lay out a detailed analysis of the market for outfielders to find out if it might be appropriate to trade Carlos Beltran at the deadline this year.  Thanks for reading (this is a super long post) and I’d appreciate any comments or feedback.


First, I started by examining the Supply of potential outfielders in this trade market.  I took a look at current standings and identified a handful of teams that could potentially become sellers of outfielders at the trading deadline.  Next, I drilled down to the roster level for each of the potential sellers and examined the specific assets (players) they may consider selling to contenders. 


The output of that analysis is below (All stats thru May 12th, 2011).

Baltimore Orioles (AL East): 16-19, 4.5 games back.  Run differential -30

Potential Trading Assets

Luke Scott: signed for $6.4m in 2011, Arb4 in 2012, FA in 2013

-The 32 yr old outfielder has been a nice piece to the Orioles lineup and has produced well since he joined the team in 2008 from the Astros

-He’s always been sort of a low batting average, high walk type of player with good but unspectacular power with a career ISO of .228 and a walk rate a bit under 10%

-For the year his slash line is a respectable .263/.336/.495 (career slash is .268/.353/.503) despite a miserable slump to start the year

-Not a great fielder and is more of a LF/DH type which diminishes his value

Summary: Could be a good rent-a-bat in a deep lineup but inability to improve a team defensively limits his value.  Positively, he is under team control for the 2012 season and could likely net a draft pick if he walks after that.


Chicago White Sox (AL Central): 15-23, 9.5 games back.  Run differential -20

Potential Trading Assets

Juan Pierre: signed for $8.5m in 2011, FA in 2012

-This guy sucks.  .248/.325/.276 slash line on the season while leading the team in ABs.  The speedster is also hurting the White Sox on the base paths with 6 steals in 14 attempts so far.

Summary: they’d be lucky to find a trading partner dumb enough to take on Pierre.  He is listed as an asset in name only, but his stats indicate otherwise.


Carlos Quentin: signed for $5.05m in 2011, Arb3 in 2012, FA in 2013

-A powerful 28yr old corner outfielder entering his prime with another cost controlled season in 2012 is a valuable asset.

- Career slash line is sub par for a RF at .253/.348/.493 but those stats include brutal 2009 and 2010 campaigns.  He seems to be re-finding his stroke in 2011 to the tune of .270/.355/.555.

- Crappy 2009 performance can largely be traced to a bout with planar fasciitis.

-Is apparently freakishly strong (was a D1 football prospect as an OLB) and very smart (Stanford alum).  Fans seem to love him calling him Q-perman (as in Superman with a Q.  White Sox fans are apparently not very original).

Summary: If the White Sox fall out of contention and become sellers at the break, they have a very real asset in Carlos Quentin.  He’s having a big year, is still young, and has deep threat power for the middle of the lineup.


Adam Dunn/ Alex Rios

-These guys are immoveable objects given their contract status.  Rios is signed through 2014 at $12.5m in 2011, $12.5m in 2012, $13m in 2013 and $13m in 2014.  He will be 34yrs old at the end of that contract.  Dunn is even worse.  Signed through 2014 at $12m for 2011, $15m for 2012, $15m for 2013, and $15m for 2014.  He can barely play the field at this point in his career and he’ll be 35 at the end of this contract.  Who were the ad wizards that came up with this one?


Minnesota Twins (AL Central): 12-23, 11 games back.  Run differential -74

Potential Trading Assets

Michael Cuddyer: signed for $10.5m in 2011. FA in 2012

- One of the first big stars to emerge from the current generation of Southern Virginia bred baseball players, Cuddyer made a name for himself in 2009 when he belted 32 home runs to go along with a .276/.342/.520 slash line. 

- His power numbers slipped in 2010 (14hrs, .271/.336/.417) but still proved to be a useful part for the Twins.

- Thus far has seemed to regress further in 2011 sporting a .242/.309/.347 line in 124 at bats.  Currently in his age 32 season so unlikely we see much of a bounceback.

Summary: not a great asset but if the Twins kick in some of the remaining 2011 salary a contending team might take him on as a 4th outfielder/ backup DH.


Jason Kubel: signed for $5.25m in 2011, FA in 2012

- The 28-yr old corner outfielder is raking this season (.355/.414/.532) and poised to cash in on the big season when he hits the open market in 2012.  Not sure if the Twins have made efforts to retain him or not but he seems to be more of the solution than the problem for them.

- Not a one year wonder - has been solid-to-good in 3 of the last 4 seasons.  The exception was 2010 when he hit .249/.323/.427.  An issue was that this was the first time the Twins used him as a regular fielder instead of as a DH as they got Jim Thome to DH.  Could be a red flag for teams seeking true outfielders (like, say, all the NL teams).

Summary: All bat, no glove type that would only be attractive to AL teams in the market for outfielders as Kubel would generally work as a #4 outfielder and DH.  Much less value to NL teams that will have to carry a defensive specialist to relieve Kubel in late innings.


Seattle Mariners (AL West): 16-21, 4.5 games back.  Run differential -25

Potential Trading Assets

Not much, but potentially Jack Cust: signed for $2.5m in 2011 and FA in 2012

- Cust may no longer an everyday caliber DH in the league as his line has slipped from .272/.395/.417 in 2010 for the Athletics to .208/.368/.264 this year for the Mariners.  Some of this can be accounted for with park factors and sample size but I just cant see a 32 yr old guy replicating that 2010 line.

Summary: I’m not sure what the market is for 32yr old position players that don't actually play a position.


Washington Nationals (AL East): 18-18, 6 games back.  Run differential -14

Potential Trading Assets

Jerry Hairston Jr signed for $2m in 2011, FA in 2012

- Value here is bench versatility and ability to play multiple positions.

- Career is well on the decline as he’s in his age 34 season

Summary: Unlikely an attractive trade candidate for any contender


Rick Ankiel: signed for $1.5m in 2011, FA in 2012

- He’s hitting a robust .221/.302/.288 and coming off a 2010 line of .232/.321/.389 between Atlanta and KC.  Methinks his days as an everyday player are numbered.  Might provide depth for a contender as a #4/#5 outfielder.

Summary: Value is that he is a legit centerfielder and is relatively low cost (pro-rated portion of a $1.5m base salary is palatable).


Laynce Nix: signed for $700k through 2011.  FA in 2012.

- Some value as a bat off the bench with some pop (.507 slg this year) but little value outside of that.  Doesn't walk, doesn't hit for average, doesn't run too well.

Summary: More likely waiver wire addition than deadline acquisition.


NY Mets (AL East): 16-20, 8 games back.  Run differential -9

Potential Trading Assets

Carlos Beltran signed for $20.07m in 2011, FA in 2012

- Having a great year and one of the most consistent hitters in our lineup with a .282/.380/.513 slash line while among the league leaders with 12 doubles

- Stats are slightly ahead of even his career totals (.282/.359/.494) though he is playing a less premium position this year (RF vrs CF) than he has in the past.  Positively, it seems he can still play CF though has clearly lost a half step.

- Has proven capable of weathering the media scrutiny in NY and has had several productive seasons with the Mets.

- Only played in 145 games combined between 2009 and 2010 and is already 34 yrs old- though he has been healthy in 2011 with a streak of 21 consecutive starts already.

Summary: Though the balance of the 2011 salary is steep, the production has been there so far to justify the price to potential contenders.  Unlike other potential trade targets, Beltran can combine offensive prowess with the ability to play all over the outfield.  Value slightly lower than a comparable player since Beltran has a clause in his contract that prevents teams from offering him arbitration after 2011 so a team would not be able to recoup a draft pick if he walked at the end of the year (though this should be a reason for the Mets to trade him).


Houston Astros (NL Central): 14-23, 7 games back.  Run differential -43

Potential Trading Assets

Hunter Pence: signed for $6.9m in 2011, Arb3 in 2012, Arb4 in 2013, FA in 2014

- Nice young-ish player in his age 28 season under cost control for 2+ more seasons is a valuable commodity

- Had prototypical size (6’4” 220) and an athletic build, has played CF at the major league level

- Good track record with a nice blend of speed and power though not a great base stealer if measured by success rate.

- 2011 slash line is .307/.352/.500, career line is .288/.337/.482

Summary: Unlikely the Astros would look to dump Pence yet as he is a cost effective solution for them and will still be under club control through 2013.


Michael Bourn: signed for $4.4m in 2011, Arb3 in 2012, FA in 2013

- Old school leadoff hitter with a ton of speed and not much pop.  Has consistently been among the league leaders in steals the last few seasons and has a pretty good career success rate for steals (186 successes/ 37 caught stealing)

- Walks a lot more than I thought he would- 59 in 2010, 63 in 2009.  Has really developed this tool.

2011 slash of .259/.340/.341

Summary: Like Pence, he’s cost controlled and young enough to have some upside.  I would hold onto him if I’m the Stros and maybe dangle him on the trade market next year if the team continues to struggle.  Don't think you can get a ton of return for a guy with a 0.81 ISO anyway.


Carlos Lee: signed for $19m in 2011, signed for $19m in 2012, FA in 2013

- If you’re gonna move Lee, you’re going to have to a) find a team with really deep pockets or b) eat some of his contract.  Paying him $19m in 2012 (his age 36 season) is a massive risk.

- Hitting ability has fallen off a cliff the last two seasons and makes you wonder what he has left in the tank.  .246/.291/.417 in 2010 and hitting only .229/.268/.366 so far in 2011.  Body type (6’2” and 265 lbs) makes you think that things could get worse.

Summary: Lee might be untradeable at this point unless Omar Minaya gets another GM job.


Pittsburgh Pirates: (NL Central): 18-19, 3 games back.  Run differential -18

Potential Trading Assets

None really as most of their core talent is playing on rookie contracts


San Diego Padres (NL West): 15-22, 5.5 games back.  Run differential: -15

Potential Trading Assets

Brad Hawpe: signed for $2m in 2011 + $1m buyout, FA in 2012

- Was one of the more dangerous hitters in the league when he was with the Rockies from 2006 through 2009.  Never had an OPS under .879 in that span.

- Production has fallen a lot this year with a .214/ .264/ .306 line and only 6 walks in 104 PAs.  Strange for a guy with a career 12.6% BB/PA and about 13.4% in his prime.

- Contract is palatable so he is a tradable commodity. 

- He can play corner outfield and 1B which gives him some value as a utilityman for a contender.

Summary: Not likely a hot market for a no-hit corner outfielder/ 1B


Ryan Ludwick: signed for $6.775m in 2011, FA in 2012

- A bit of a one-year wonder that has never come close to replicating his monster 2008 season (.299/ .375/ .591) over 152 games.

- Has been an offensive disaster since coming to San Diego in 2010 hitting .211/.301/.330 last year in 209 ABs and only .195/ .282/ .361 so far this year in 133 ABs.

Summary: Not much value here and likely a thin market.


LA Dodgers (NL West): 18-20, 3 games back.  Run differential: -26

Potential Trading Assets

No viable trade assets unless they want to move Ethier or Kemp (not likely)



Guys I might Want (in order of 2011 WAR):

Jason Kubel: 2011 WAR 2.1 / career WAR: 10.8 (4 seasons)

Carlos Beltran 2011 WAR 1.5 / career WAR: 58.0 (14 seasons)

Carlos Quentin 2011 WAR 1.3 / career WAR: 6.9 (6 seasons)

Luke Scott 2011 WAR 0.2 / career WAR: 10.9 (7 seasons)


Guys that suck:

Juan Pierre

Adam Dunn

Alex Rios

Michael Cuddyer

Jack Cust

Jerry Hairston Jr

Rich Ankiel

Carlos Lee

Brad Hawpe

Ryan Ludwick


Guys I might want but will not be able to get:

Hunter Pence

Michael Bourn



There are two viable starters in this year’s crop of potential July trade targets that could be viable outfielders in both leagues- Quentin and Beltran.  Of the two, Quentin certainly has more upside and is also much more likely to be retained by his team and hence may not even be available.  If he is off the table, I think Beltran is the cream of the crop and could potentially command a premium price in prospects if the Mets should decide to trade him. 


Kubel is interesting but is a corner outfielder only- and like the Quentin situation- the Twins may not be interested in moving him given his youth and upside.  Luke Scott would almost certainly be available to potential buyers but his allure is definitely a step or two below the other guys on the target list.  The rest of the guys on this list are likely not worth giving up anything of value to acquire.


If I’m the Mets- and likely out of contention around the All Star Break- I’d be looking to shop Beltran to the highest bidder to get something in return since he will not yield any compensatory draft picks in the 2012 draft.  I’d also keep a close watch on the AL Central race to see if the Sox and Twins remain out of it.  Given the parity in the division, it is entirely possible that the Twins and White Sox play themselves back into contention and become net buyers- rather than sellers- at the deadline.  If this happens, Beltran’s price increases and trade opportunities become that much more attractive.


Obviously a trade market needs both a supply of available players and counterparties with a demand for those players.  I know I’ve only looked at the supply-side of this equation (am far too lazy to do similar analysis for the buy-side and I’m already north of 2,600 words!) but early indications are that there is a severely constricted supply of starting caliber outfielders that would help a contender in a pennant race.  This seems to indicate that the Mets should at least strongly consider the possibility of trading Beltran during the season.

This FanPost was contributed by a member of the community and was not subject to any vetting or approval process. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions, reasoning skills, or attention to grammar and usage rules held by the editors of this site.

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