Thursday, June 09, 2011

N.L. Only Trade Advice

My old friend Dan asks:
interesting offer: Daniel Hudson ($20), Orlando Hudson ($12) and Anthony Rizzo ($5) for Cliff Lee ($32). Assume I can improve everywhere.
In an N.L.-only? I would most definitely not assume improvement everywhere in this kind of trade.

To start, Lee for Hudson is clearly an upgrade for Dan. Here's how ZIPS' updated projection model sees it, prorated for the rest of the season:

Lee: 134 IP, 130 H, 25 BB, 50 ER, 135 K, 9 W, 0 SV, 3.36 ERA, 1.157 WHIP.
D. Hudson: 123 1/3 IP, 117 H, 34 BB, 50 ER, 107 K, 10 W, 0 SV, 3.65 ERA, 1.224 WHIP.

Using last year's pricing model, those stats up there favor Lee $15-12.

I can already hear the objections. Lee's a more proven commodity. Lee's win total is understated since he's with the Phillies. Some value should be built in for Lee's stability.

OK, for the sake of argument, in a best-case scenario, let's give Lee a $5 bump. That gives Lee an $8 advantage.

What about the other Hudson and Rizzo?

O. Hudson: 234 AB, 56 H, 27 R, 2 HR, 18 RBI, 10 SB, .239 BA.

That's a pretty sour projection for Hudson. However, this model of prorating ZIPS's updated projection isn't kind to injured players. But even if this is all Hudson does, this is good for $6 worth of value.

So the owner getting Lee is either only $2 ahead or $3 behind. And I haven't even included Rizzo.

There is no ZIPS projection for Rizzo. But because of Petco and because Rizzo's a rookie, let's be pessimistic and pretend he's going to perform like Lyle Overbay.

Rizzo: 312 AB, 76 H, 38 R, 9 HR, 37 RBI, 1 SB, .244 $7.

Now you're $5 in the hole.

I wouldn't make this trade, but for three reasons that go beyond the stats:

1) If there's no clear advantage, what's the point? Lee is a gain over D. Hudson in possibly every category, but it's not like you're trading Lee for Chris Volstad or J.A. Happ. Hudson is a quality pitcher. The gain in the pitching categories is incremental to surrender two everyday players.

2) Everyday players are hard to replace in N.L.-only. Unless you have a deep reserve list, you're not going to just find guys to fill in for Hudson and Rizzo. Maybe Hudson and Rizzo are already on Dan's reserve list, but I still think Dan can do better than upgrading to Lee from Hudson.

3) Isn't Rizzo a dump chip? If this is a keeper league, Rizzo is a prime dump chip, especially now that he's up (to be fair to Dan, when he asked this question it wasn't 100% clear that Rizzo was going to make the team). Rizzo in a keeper league should by himself get at least Lee back and in some keeper leagues the return is even better than that.

In general, if you’re going to make a 3-for-1 in a one-league format, the three probably should all be solid citizens but no better. Filling two holes is difficult, and the only pitcher in the N.L. for whom I might make this trade if Rizzo’s contract was a non-issue would be Roy Halladay.

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