Nationals Arm Race

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Archive for August, 2022

Nats Trade Deadline Summary

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We’re already talking about this in the comments … and I already had this written, assuming we’d make 4-5 trades like we did last summer. But we didn’t, so this is a whole lotta nothing of a post. But i’ll post it anyway.

I tried to predict what kind of return we’d get back for all our trade-eligible players a few weeks back. Here’s what we ended up getting back for all our trade candidates:

High Value Trade Candidates

  1. Juan Soto: Predicted Return: 3 top 10 prospects plus two pre-arb Major Leaguers. Actual Return: almost exactly this: the 3 top 10 prospects were Hassell, Abrams and Wood, the two pre-arb major leaguers were Gore and Voit.
  2. Josh Bell: Predicted return: One top10, one 10-15th ranked prospect. Actual Return: Well, we got the 10-15th ranked prospect in Susana, but I may have overvalued his individual/separate trade value.

We separately reviewed this deal so I won’t go back into it.

We’ll Take what we can get:

  • Nelson Cruz: Predicted Return: One 15-20th ranked prospect. Actual Return: was not traded.
  • Cesar Hernandez: Predicted Return: a 20+ ranked prospect. Actual Return: was not traded.
  • Steve Cishek, Predicted Return: a 20+ prospect. Actual Return: was not traded.
  • Carl Edwards Predicted Return: a non prospect. Actual Return: was not traded.
  • Erasmo Ramirez: Predicted Return: a non prospect. Actual Return: was not traded.

At the end of the day, not one of these players actually got traded. All of them are FAs at the end of 2022, and none of them got moved. Why? Well, the WP’s Jesse Dougherty has an article about exactly that. In summary: none of these guys were actually wanted by other teams. Cruz has struggled in 2022, Hernandez is hitting an empty .240, Cishek isn’t dominating enough, Edwards may not actually be a FA (Cots and Dougherty disagree on his eligibility for 2023, perhaps b/c he was a MLFA this past off-season). Ramirez is a workhorse but has a 4.75 FIP. Cruz is the really disappointing one; everyone thought that was a FA bought to flip. Now he’ll play out the string on the worst team in the league.

So … at the end of the day we got nothing for all these potential trade pieces.

Not Likely to be Traded despite being FAs to be:

  • Wil Harris, Predicted Return: wouldn’t be traded. Actual Return: was not traded.
  • Joe Ross, Predicted Return: wouldn’t be traded. Actual Return: was not traded.
  • Anibel Sanchez, Predicted Return: wouldn’t be traded. Actual Return: was not traded.
  • Ehire Adrianza, Predicted Return: I didn’t think he’d be traded. Actual Return: Trey Harris, from Atlanta, a 32nd rounder repeating AA at age 26. So, a non-prospect.
  • Sean Doolittle: Predicted Return: wouldn’t be traded. Actual Return: was not traded.
  • Maikel Franco: Predicted Return: wouldn’t be traded. Actual Return: was not traded.
  • Alcides Escobar: Predicted Return: wouldn’t be traded. Actual Return: was not traded.
  • Tyler Clippard: Predicted Return: wouldn’t be traded. Actual Return: was not traded.

Somehow, out of this list, we got something back for Adrianza. Not surprisingly, most of the rest of these guys are hurt (or have really underperformed) in their walk years and thus netted us nothing. Certainly at the beginning of the year, we looked at a bunch of these guys (especially Harris, Ross, Sanchez, Doolittle) and thought they’d be excellent walk-year trade pieces. In the end though, we got nothing.

Pre-FA players thinking outside the box

  • Kyle Finnegan Predicted Return: a 10-15th ranked system prospect. Actual Return: was not traded.

Dougherty notes that they had some conversations, but not a good enough return to off-set the fact that Finnegan is under team control for 3 more years.


So, at the end of the day, just two trades, a far cry from the 5 separate trade deals negotiated at this time last year. I’m pretty sure this is now how Rizzo thought the 2022 trade deadline would go down. So many of our trade assets have gotten hurt or underperformed this year.

Written by Todd Boss

August 5th, 2022 at 9:47 am

Posted in Nats in General

Juan (and Josh) are gone

23 comments

hate to see him go, but you can’t argue with teh return. Photo via NYpost

Well, it had to happen. This is the required “hot take” post on the trade return the Nats got in exchange for sending two months of Josh Bell plus 2 full years of Juan Soto to the San Diego Padres.

Per mlbtraderumors, which is doing a good job following everyone’s tweeting and reporting:

  • Padres get Bell, Soto
  • Nats get the following package (ranks per MLBpipeline)
  1. C.J. Abrams SS: Recently graduated from prospect status, but was San Diego’s #1 overall prospect heading into this season, and routinely considered a top 3-5 prospect in all of the majors. 1st Round pick in 2019 (6th overall), he’s in the majors at age 21 and somewhat struggling right now (.232/.285/.320). But, the potential is clearly there.
  2. McKenzie Gore LHP (Starter): Graduated from prospect status in 2021. Before graduating was San Diego’s #1 prospect and was rated as high as the #2 prospect in the entire sport. 1st rounder (3rd overall) in 2017, he’s 4-4 with a 4.50 ERA in his first year starting for San Diego.
  3. Robert Hassell, OF (CF): San Diego’s new #1 prospect with Abrams graduation, #21 overall. A 2020 first rounder (8th overall), he’s in High-A and slashing .299/.379/.467. This is a significant prospect, a true CF with power.
  4. James Wood, OF (corner): San Diego’s #3 prospect, #88 overall. 2021 2nd rounder, hails from Olney/Rockville before moving to IMG to play his senior year. He destroyed complex ball upon drafting last year and is similarly destroying Low-A ball this year (though, to be fair, its the California league, with a lot of parks at altitude). He’s got an OPS north of 1.000 this year as a 19yr old in low-A, with 10 homers in 50 games. wow.
  5. Jarlin Susana, a RHP starter: San Diego’s #14 prospect. A 2022 IFA, listed by MLB as the top ranked pitcher in the class. Signed for $1.7M. He’s 18, and instead of going to DSL he’s in the Arizona complex league and is holding his own: 8 starts, 2.45 ERA.
  6. Luke Voit, a Hosmer-replacement 1B/DH type who slots into Bell’s old position and off-sets some salary (he makes $5.4M this year). Interestingly, despite being 31 now, he’s still got two arb years left. So its not a throw-away player.

Conclusion?

I think this is a *fantastic* haul. As I put in the comments before, they got two “as good as they get prospects” in Gore, Abrams, two top 100 prospects in Hassel, Wood, and a top IFA.

Yes, there’s risk in prospects. You can go through each of these guys and hem and haw. Abrams is struggling in the majors, Gore might need TJ, Wood is a project, Hassell might flame out, Susana is years away. Yes, that’s the floor-centric viewpoint of all of these prospects.

I look more at what they were: three 1st rounders, a second rounder and their top IFA pick this year. That’s called “gutting the system.” I laugh at the hot takers who think this isn’t a big haul. This is a huge portion of San Diego’s player development system for the last 5 years. And now its ours.

Welcome to the new world. Imagine a rotation with Gore, Grey, Cavalli, Henry, and (hey we’re dreaming right) a healthy Strasburg? Imagine an infield that goes House, Abrams, Garcia, and a veteran basher 1B/DH type. Imagine an outfield of Hassell and Woods in the corners and Vaquero in Center. Or Green thrown in there.


post publishing observation … the Nats may have to do some 40-man shuffling. Bell/Soto out so 38/40 on the 40-man, but coming back are Gore and Abrams (on the 40-man) AND Voit. The rest are non 40-man players … so they’ll have to make a move.

Written by Todd Boss

August 2nd, 2022 at 4:06 pm

Posted in Nats in General