So originally this was going to be an "Amazin Avenue Midseason Plan" post, but when I saw that I was up to 600 words on the first move alone I decided to stop there. My other ideas were of the "TRADE FOR STANTON OR CARGO" variety and I think we get enough of that in the comments. But yeah, I would in fact like to have either CarGo or Stanton. Call me crazy. Maybe in the near future I will do a post comparing what each may cost and which I prefer, but that's something for a later date, and first I think I want to do a post comparing Choo and Ellsbury. Anyway, without further ado, my 1 move AAMP:
A Parnell to the Tigers swap has been rumored for some time, and despite recent comments by Sandy Alderson that Parnell is not going anywhere, I don't think people would be shocked to see the Mets without their closer after the deadline. While I love Parnell and he has been incredibly underrated this season, Castellanos (not to be confused AA's own Rob Castellano, although I hear he plays a mean right field) would be a major coup on this trade. Before the season Castellanos was highly regarded with the major knock being his plate discipline, and he has made huge strides in that area this season. Comparing his AA numbers last year to his AAA numbers this year (since the sample size is very similar) he has cut his K% down from 22.3% to a more manageable 16.1% and has seen his BB% more than double from 4.1% to 11.3%. Combine that with the fact that he is the 5th youngest player in AAA and we are talking about one hell of a prospect. Additionally, he fits the Mets most glaring need in the outfield and is an extra right handed bat in the order.
So why the hell would the Tigers trade him? Closerz. That's why. While the Tigers bullpen has actually been pretty impressive by advanced metrics (4th in baseball in FIP) they are 21st in ERA and don't have a player with "closer experience." This may make them more willing to trade for Parnell considering he has major league closing experience and can contribute to the team today. The Tigers also have their outfield pretty much set for the season with Torii Hunter's renaissance in right. As a contender, the Tigers would likely be willing to part with a younger player for one that can contribute now (especially when the player, like Parnell, is still under team control). Buck is in this deal as just a little bit of an extra balancing piece for the Tigers. While the Mets may need to pick up some of his salary, he has little long term value to the team. With Tigers catcher Alex Avila going through an Ike Davis-esque season at the plate (and now injured) I am sure the Tigers would appreciate having a veteran catcher like Buck on the roster.
Comparison: 2011, Rangers trade Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter to the Orioles for Koji Uehara. There are a few major differences between the proposed present day trade and this trade. First and foremost Chris Davis was not quite the prospect Castellanos is. While he did crack Baseball America's top 100, that was three years before he was traded, with two awful seasons in between. Also Davis was 25 at the time of the trade, four years older than Castellanos is now. On the other side of things, Koji Uehara's ERA was a half run lower than Parnell's is now. So I'm sure you're now wondering why I think a trade of a reliever with a significantly better ERA than the one we have to trade for a player four years older than the one we want to get seems like a good comparison. Well that's why I'm transitioning to the next paragraph.
First of all let's note that the balancing players in the deals are on opposite sides of the equation. Buck in this deal and Hunter in the other don't do a ton, but that doesn't mean they are valueless. Buck can provide some value to a team looking to compete now and the Tigers certainly are. When Hunter was traded he had compiled 255 innings in the Majors form 2009-2011 sporting a respectable(especially considering his home park) 3.81 ERA. We are getting no such pitcher and are including a minor major league piece. The second thing that makes the comparison seem more apt is the unholy, bad man line that Chris Davis was putting up in AAA when he was traded. At that point he was slashing .368/.405/.824 in 210 ABs. This was the hitter friendly PCL but the guy had 24 HRs in 210 ABs. Those aren't just video game numbers, those are video game on rookie numbers.
No one expected Chris Davis to become the player he has been so far this year, but he was still highly regarded when the Rangers traded him. Like the Tigers they were in the thick of contending for a title and traded a young player at a stocked position for help in the division race. I think Hunter plus Davis is a similar trade value to what Castellanos is worth now, and if Sandy has the opportunity to pull the trigger on a deal like this he should absolutely jump at the chance. While I have seen numerous Tigers fans absolutely repulsed at the idea of trading Castellanos for a closer, this wouldn't be the first time Sandy pilfered a highly touted prospect for less than the fanbase thought he was worth.