Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Yunel vs. A-Gone: Take Two (Three?)

shoresie wasn't completely clear on why Toz and I seemed to be of two minds when it came to the Braves/Blue Jays swap of Yunel Escobar for Alex Gonzalez:
I don't get it? In the NL FAAB you seem to give the Escobar/Gonzalez deal to the Braves, hands down. Where in the AL FAAB, you say the deal was a "no brainer" for the Blue Jays. I get that these are conflicting 'non-roto' comments - but maybe a longer post is needed? 
Toz and I were looking at two different aspects of the trade.

From a Rotisserie standpoint, I would have argued for Gonzalez over Escobar in a mixed league format at the time of the post. Without even looking at the more esoteric numbers like BABIP, HR/FB%, etc., I would simply have chosen Gonzalez over Escobar from the standpoint that Gonzalez was producing at the time of the trade whereas Escobar wasn't.

But Toz and I don't write about mixed leagues; we focus on one-league only formats.

In both A.L.-only and N.L.-only leagues, Gonzalez and Escobar are players who require no-brainer, aggressive bids...particularly in leagues with no salary caps. I might not break the bank for either one, but I would have come close without the constraints of a salary cap.

(In both the N.L. and A.L., the cap limited me tremendously. But, then, it also limited most other owners. In Tout Wars, where there is no cap, I bid all of the $65 I had left for A-Gone and - thanks to the Vickrey bidding rules - got him for a "mere $52.)

As far as who "won" the trade in real life, I like this trade better for the Blue Jays. However, I can definitely understand what compelled the Braves to make the deal.

Alex Gonzalez has been a below average offensive SS his entire career with the exception of two seasons: 2007 and this year. He's 33 years old and unlikely to get better. While the HR/RBI have made him a very good Roto player when you consider his position, his 793 OPS isn't anything spectacular (and his 341 w/OBA supports this).

Yunel Escobar stunk for the Braves this year. However, his three seasons prior all were offensively better than Gonzalez's career year this season, with 2007 and 2009 being markedly better. While it's entirely possible that Escobar's 2010 is the sign of worse things to come, his 2007-2009 can't be completely ignored. In terms of future potential, the Jays made out if Escobar comes close to his 2007/2009 output. Even if Escobar "only" returns to his 2008 form, the Jays still made a lateral move from Gonzalez...assuming Gonzalez replicates his career year next year at Age 34.

I understand why the Braves made this trade. They're contending this year and flags fly forever. Gonzalez is producing and Escobar isn't. Running a cipher out there in the play-offs is a bad idea.

However, if the Braves don't win it all, I think their fans are going to look back in a few years and wonder why they gave away Escobar for a marginal rental. The Blue Jays could hit the jackpot on this trade. The Braves most definitely cannot.

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