It’s apparent that the Cubs are trading Shark, and probably relatively soon. It definitely won’t be before July 2 (when IFA slots are available to be traded and the hot stove finally warms up), but it could be any time after that. I thought it’d be neat to look at the prospects that the Cubs can hopefully get from the teams that are likely to be in on Jeff.
The obvious caveat is that we don’t really know what value Shark would command on the open market. We have an idea of the types of packages they’ve been asking for, but since they haven’t been accepted, they probably exceed the upper bound of his value. A sample would be the Blue Jays package that reportedly was Aaron Sanchez + Dalton Pompey + Daniel Norris. That’s a huge haul, and it lets us kind of put a cap on what is reasonable to expect.
I’ll be using this spreadsheet to determine what value that package might bring. Aaron Sanchez is a pitcher in the Top 50 range, a medium-aged AA RHP. That’s worth around $18.5MM. Dalton Pompey is a Top 200-250 range medium-aged A+ OF. It’s harder to gauge his value because he’s not a top prospect: the 76-100 range gives a value of $19.44, so I’ll go ahead and say $8MM. Seems fair. Daniel Norris is a LHP in the Top 150 range, a medium-aged A+ LHP. That’s around $12MM.
Add that all together, and you have a value of $38.5MM, which is frankly a ludicrous valuation of Shark’s worth. In arbitration, Shark will get around $11MM next season, and the team that trades for him will owe him $2MM this year. That $13MM will buy the lucky winner perhaps 2 WAR this year and 4 WAR next year – that’s a value of $36 million, which brings his surplus value to $23MM. Since the teams that will look to acquire him will value those marginal wins higher than $6MM, you can play with the number a little bit, but I doubt it’ll bring up the total to $38.5 (especially since the 2015 wins won’t necessarily be marginal). I’d say it’s same to put Shark’s prospect value right around $28MM, with an absolute upper bound at $35MM or so. Anything higher is highway robbery.
Now that we’ve got the math away, let’s go shopping.
The Royals are right in the thick of it, and Dayton Moore’s job is on the line. They will be strong players for Shark unless they absolutely collapse. Pitching isn’t their greatest need, but it is something they’d like to shore up. They also have a loaded-for-bare farm system. OF Jorge Bonifacio is worth around $18 (star is falling, though), and would fit the Cubs’ need of OF prospects. Adalberto Mondesi is a SS wunderkind who is worth more than Shark on his own ($35MM) or so, so he’s probably out of the running. A good fit here would be either Kyle Zimmer (22yr RHP) or Miguel Almonte (21yr RHP), with Zimmer being worth $27 or so and Almonte beign worth $18. Kyle Zimmer and a lottery ticket or two seems like a fair deal, and the upper bound on a realistic deal would be something like Sean Manaea ($15) + Miguel Almonte ($18) with maybe a random 17-year old OF prospect also changing hands.
Every team in the East would like Shark besides Tampa Bay. If we start with the Blue Jays, we can see that the Pompey + Norris + Sanchez package is a bit much, and Stroman is likely untouchable as they’ll just call him up to actually start. Sanchez + Norris, however, is perfectly fair (and as always, the Cubs will probably also get a throw-in lotto ticket).
The Orioles would also love to have Shark, and they have the weaponry to acquire him. Bundy’s purported value is around $41MM, but he is an injury risk and is less likely to stay healthy then the average prospect. It’s hard to estimate his true value, but he’d be the primary piece of a deal. Harvey would be too; in my estimation, he’s now a Top 25 prospect and his value as such is around $29. I’d value Bundy and Harvey more-or-less exactly similarly, and a random throw in like Josh Hart could be the only other notable piece.
The Yankees don’t really have the bullets to get Shark.
The Red Sox are an intriguing match. Blake Swihart is a prospect with helium, valued at around $27MM. Pair him with a Top 10 org guy and you can have a deal. It’s also possible that the Cubs’ FO favors one of the pair of arms they have (Matt Barnes and Henry Owens), and even adding them together is almost fair (the Cubs make out in this scenario). The Swihart deal is most intriguing to me, as a catching prospect that is ready in 2015 sounds awesome.
The Mariners could make a move if they are afraid that Walker or Paxton won’t make it in 2014. They are currently pitching an Erasmo Ramirez every 5th day. I’d take either Walker or Paxton as a return, and it’d have to be one of them because outside of D.J. Peterson they have no other prospects, and even he is a Top-100 cusp type. It might honestly take Paxton AND Peterson to get the Cubs to pull the trigger here.
Angels want him, can’t afford him.
It’s hard to include the Rangers, who seem so obviously out of it to me, so I won’t.
Athletics don’t have the prospects.
I’m discounting teams in our own division because it’s just so rare.
The Braves are saying that can’t afford Shark, and I believe them. I’d bet they are the clubhouse leader for Hammel, who has a back-of-the-envelope valuation of around $7MM. Since the marginal wins are important, we could say $10MM, which is a 150-200 range pitcher or a 250-300 range hitter. Let’s say Mauricio Cabrera and we’ll call it a day. Cabrera is an extreme boom-or-bust prospect with a 6/7 fastball and a 3/? curveball that he’ll need if he ever wants to start.
The Marlins probably can’t afford Shark.
The Dodgers might consider Shark, but they have a solid 1-2-3 already. Joc Pederson is a Top 50 prospect who I am sure will bust given his high K rate (the best player to have a 28% K rate or higher in AAA over the past 10 years is either Tyler Flowers or Justin Ruggiano), but his value is around $22. He’s a good start if a few other org Top 10 guys are included. If you want to dream big, Julio Urias is worth around $30 in my estimation, so getting him and another ok piece would be a big win.
Giants don’t have the pieces.
That’s about it. I’d say that the Red Sox, Orioles, and Blue Jays are all reasonable fits, and the Royals are not far behind. It’s a mistake to expect something much more than a Top 50 pitcher + a pair of Top 10 org guys, or a single Top 30-50 hitter and a lotto ticket. That’s the established value for a guy like Shark – and that’s ok! Those prospects are very valuable.
If it were up to me, I’d take the pair of decent prospects, such as Zimmer + Almonte or Sanchez + Norris. If the Cubs extract more value than that, I’ll be impressed.