Trade Value: Geovany Soto

The Cubs are done so there’s no more pretending they have a chance. They don’t. I don’t expect the Cubs front office or the players to give up. Not sure I really want them to at this point. It’s still early and there’s plenty of time to let the trade market develop. No need rushing into any trades. But that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about the possibility.

I already took a look at Carlos Pena and today will be Geovany Soto. As I did the last time, I’m only looking at the final two months of the season. I’m assuing Soto would be traded on July 31st. This means we could expect no more than 200 plate appearances from Soto after that point.

Soto’s rest of season ZiPS is currently .350 wOBA despite it hovering barely above .300. Soto is definitely not a consistent hitter and that may affect his value, but I have no idea how. We’ll say Soto is an average baserunner and fielder, which means he’d be worth 1.2 WAR over the final two months of the season.

Soto will be 2nd-year arb eligible after the season and then have one additional arb year after that. He’ll be eligible for free agency after the 2013 season so any team acquiring him gets his service for 2+ seasons. Soto is 28 years old so he’s not getting any better. He’s likely to get worse over the remaining 2 years on his contract.

Typically, a player gets worse by around .5 WAR per full season. That would make Soto worth 2.7 WAR in 2012 and 2.3 WAR in 2013. Using $4.8 million per win this season and increasing by 7% each of the next two years, that makes Soto’s overall value $32.3 million.

Over the final two months of this season he’ll be paid $1 million. A decent estimate for next season would be $5 million and then $8 million the following season. The team trading for Soto would pay an estimated $14 million over the next 2+ seasons and receive $32.3 million in value. Soto may be a Type A free agent after 2013, but let’s say he’s a Type B free agent. That additional draft pick is worth $2.5 million. The overall value that Soto provides the team traded to is $34.8 million and they paid him $14 million.

In any trade, you’d expect in value the difference between those two figures. In this case, it would be about $24-25 million. This is what you could get in return:

Top 11-50 hitting prospect
1 top 51-75 hitting prospect and 1 top 76 to 100 hitting prospect
Top 10 pitching prospect and a Grade B pitcher
48 Grade C hitters 23 and older
and many other combinations

Something like a player comparable to Brett Jackson for Soto. Or Trey McNutt and another decent pitching prospect.  You can check out John Sickels Minor League Ball and go over the top 20 organizational prospects and get an idea if you have a team in mind.

Soto isn’t worth as much as he was a year ago, but he’s still worth a decent amount. I doubt the Cubs trade him, but they should look into it.