First Pitch: Pirates Comparable Prospects For Today’s Trades

Today there were three trades made in baseball, kicking off the trade season. Ryan Dempster, Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, and surprisingly, Ichiro Suzuki were all moved. The one deal that hasn’t gone through is the Dempster trade, as he has to waive his no-trade clause.

To get an idea of what each player fetched, let’s look at each trade and compare the returns to players in the Pirates’ system. These comparisons will be value only. The values will be determined by Baseball America’s top 100 list (or their mid-season top 50), and any players not on that list will see their value set by John Sickels’ pre-season grades. Note that comparing one player to another is just on value. Saying one guy has the same value as another just says they’re both Grade B hitters or top 50 pitchers, for example. It doesn’t say they’re actually similar players.


Ryan Dempster

Dempster’s Trade Value: His base value is about $1.1 M, although money is included in the deal. We don’t know the money involved yet, which will play a role in Dempster’s return.

Trade Return: The Cubs got Randall Delgado, who is probably a 51-100 pitching prospect. That puts his value at $7.5-8 M.

Pirates Comparisons: Luis Heredia is the only 51-100 pitching prospect. And I like Heredia more than Delgado.


Anibal Sanchez / Omar Infante

Sanchez’s Trade Value: $4.1 M.

Infante’s Trade Value: $18.5 M. His value is high because of his production, plus his $4 M salary for next season.

Trade Return: Jacob Turner was a top 25 pitching prospect coming in to the year, and probably still has the same value ($18.89 M). John Sickels had both Brian Flynn and Rob Brantley as Grade C prospects. Flynn would have a $2.1 M value, while Brantley would have an $0.7 M value. Some could see Brantley as a Grade B hitter, which would be a $5.5 M value. There was also a swap of compensation picks, with Detroit moving from round two to round one, and Miami moving down to the second round. I’m not sure what sort of value to put on that swap. Overall the value package was up to $26.59 M in prospects.

Pirates Comparisons: The value comparison for Turner would be Jameson Taillon. The comparison for Brantley, value-wise, would be Tony Sanchez. The value comparison for Flynn would be any of the young Grade C pitchers, probably one of the 2009 prep pitchers. Then there’s the swapping of draft picks to consider (moving from 33 to the mid-70s, and losing about $600 K in draft money).


Ichiro Suzuki

Ichiro’s Trade Value: Seattle picked up about $4.5 M, which put Ichiro’s value at $3.2 M.

Trade Return: D.J. Mitchell was the #16 prospect in the Yankees’ system heading in to the year, and was a Grade C prospect. That puts him at $1.5 M. Farquhar was added on waivers last month. He’s more of an upper level organizational guy, so we’ll say a Grade C pitcher, with another $1.5 M in value. Total value is $3 M.

Pirates Comparisons: Two guys off the Rule 5 candidates list.


There were some pretty big returns in the first two deals. The Pirates would have had to give up Heredia for Dempster, and they would have had to give up Taillon in the Sanchez/Infante deal. The third deal is more of a salary dump. It actually reminds me of a bad fantasy baseball trade. One team suddenly trades a player out of no where for a bad return. Every other team gets mad that the player wasn’t shopped, and that they didn’t get a chance to make an offer and easily beat what the winning team offered. And to top the comparison off, one of the two players who was traded was on waivers a few weeks ago.

What we’ve seen so far is that teams are willing to pay money to get better prospects. Without any money, Dempster would have been worth a fringe prospect. Instead, the Cubs get a top 100 pitcher, assuming the deal eventually goes through. That trend doesn’t look good for the Pirates going forward. They definitely shouldn’t deal a top guy for a two month rental. That’s not saying it’s a bad move for every team that makes the move. It’s just saying that it’s a bad move for the Pirates, considering their small market status.

Links and Notes

**The Pirates lost to the Cubs 2-0.

**Pirates Notebook: Adjustments Continue to Pay Off For Bedard.

**Prospect Watch: McPherson Strikes Out Eight; Polanco, Curry, Santos Bring the Power.

**14 Innings And A Weird Finish Give Indians The Win.

**MLB Trade Season Begins With Three Big Deals Around the League.

**Padres Asking Pirates For a Significant Package of Prospects For Headley.

**Pittsburgh Pirates 2012 Trade Deadline Preview.

**Prospect Trends — Week Ending 7/22.

**Minor League Schedule: 7/24/12.


  • TonyPenaforHOF
    July 24, 2012 9:40 am

    Excellent article!

  • John DiVito
    July 24, 2012 6:59 am

    If this is the type of trade deadline this is going to be, Pirates fans have to ask themselves this:
    Are we willing to not make a move this year, so we can stay competitive for the next 10 years? Or will we lament about not going “all in” this year?

    • i say play it out, i would rather be good this year and great the next few!

      • Dave Parker's Unfiltered Camel
        July 24, 2012 9:02 am

        I agree. I would take my chances on Marte. If he doesn’t work out this year, no big deal. He gets a two month taste of the big leagues as part of his development. Then use the Indy pitchers as needed to help the big league team.