Trade Values: Alex Rios and Nate Schierholtz

There has been a lot of talk about the Pirates trading for Alex Rios or Nate Schierholtz this year. Most of that has been looking at a struggling team with an expensive veteran, and a contending team with a need. In this case the White Sox and Cubs have productive right fielders and aren’t contenders, and the Pirates have a need at right-field and are contenders.

I don’t do Trade Value articles based on connecting the dots between teams. However, if there’s an actual rumor connecting the Pirates to a player, I will look at the values. That hasn’t been the case with Rios and Schierholtz until now. Rob Biertempfel reports that the Pirates have been checking on both right fielders. To get an idea of what they would cost, let’s look at the trade values for each player.

NOTE: The purpose here isn’t to suggest the Pirates are offering this amount for these players.  The purpose is to see the value of these players, using projected values (calculated as [(WAR*$5 M) – Salary]) and prospect trade values. We use our updated values for top 100 prospects, and Victor Wang’s research on prospect values for non-top 100 prospects.

Alex Rios Trade Value

Year Salary WAR FA Value Surplus Value
2013 $12,500,000 3.0 $15,200,000 $900,000
2014 $13,000,000 3.0 $15,200,000 $2,200,000
2015 $14,000,000 3.0 $15,200,000 $1,200,000
TOTAL $39,500,000 9.0 $45,600,000 $4,300,000

Finding the Value: Rios is under club control through the 2015 season. If traded, his future salaries increase $500,000 per year. He has a club option in 2015 which would be for $14 M in a trade. Rios hasn’t been consistent recently. He was a 5 win player in 2007-2008, but has been hit or miss ever since. In 2009 he had a 0.0 WAR. In 2010 he had a 3.4 WAR. In 2011 he had a -1.0 WAR. In 2012 he had a 4.3 WAR. So far this year he is at 1.9. I thought it would be fair to give him a 3.0 WAR each year for his value. That’s lower than his best years, but takes into account that he has been inconsistent. I also set the trade date in 2013 as July 31st, so the Surplus Value reflects the final two months of the 2013 season.

What He’s Worth: Rios would be worth $4.3 M, which would be a Grade B hitting prospect. If his 2015 option was declined, he would be worth $2.1 M. The White Sox could get a better return if they picked up salary. Paying half of his 2014 salary would increase the value to $8.6 M, if you don’t exercise his 2015 option. That would be worth a Top 51-100 hitting prospect or a Top 51-100 pitching prospect and a Grade C prospect.

Analysis: Jim Bowden had a trade idea of Alex Rios and Alexei Ramirez for Gregory Polanco, Nick Kingham, and Jordy Mercer. I estimated Ramirez to have an $18.8 M trade value through the 2016 season. UPDATE: I took a closer look at Alexei Ramirez. I wouldn’t even consider that deal for a lot of reasons. Number one is the value of Polanco. He is a top 11-25 prospect, and would be worth $33.36 M. The White Sox would have to pick up the entire 2014 salary for Rios, and include Ramirez, just to match the value of Polanco. Also, I don’t think Jordy Mercer is a long-term option at shortstop, but I’d take him as a league minimum guy for the next few years, rather than an expensive Alexei Ramirez who is already 31 and turns 32 at the end of the year.

Sticking only with the value of Rios, he’d be worth a Grade B hitting prospect with no salary relief, or a top 51-100 pitching prospect and a Grade C prospect if the White Sox picked up half of his 2014 salary. Nick Kingham is probably going to be a top 51-100 prospect, so that aspect of the trade would be correct. A lesser deal would be a Grade B hitting prospect and two Grade C pitching prospects, similar to the Wandy Rodriguez deal last year. Rios would be a good everyday player for the Pirates through the 2014 season. I think Gregory Polanco will be ready by mid-season next year. If that happens, the Pirates will either have great depth for a mid-season injury, or they’ll be able to shift someone to first base if that’s still in a platoon. I wouldn’t want to give up Kingham, since I think he will also be in the majors this time next year. I’d aim for the Rodriguez-type trade, centered around an A-ball Grade B hitting prospect and a few good Grade C pitching prospects, which the Pirates could spare.

Nate Schierholtz Trade Value

Year Salary WAR FA Value Surplus Value
2013 $2,500,000 1.5 $7,700,000 $1,700,000
2014 $4,000,000 1.5 $7,700,000 $3,700,000
TOTAL $6,500,000 3.0 $15,400,000 $5,400,000

Finding the Value: Schierholtz is having a career year, and is already a 1.5 WAR player this year. I put him at a 1.5 WAR value since he’s averaged 0.8 WAR over the previous four seasons. That should be fair value, especially since he’d be worth 0.5 WAR the remainder of the 2013 season. He’s arbitration eligible after the season, and I put his salary at $4 M. I also set the trade date at July 31st.

What He’s Worth: Schierholtz would be worth a Grade B hitting prospect. You could probably try to go the quantity approach and give up a few Grade C pitchers, but I doubt that gets the deal done.

Analysis: I don’t see a reason to trade for Schierholtz. The Pirates don’t have a right-fielder who can hit left-handers. Schierholtz also can’t hit lefties. This year he has a .505 OPS against left-handers, working as a platoon player. In his career he has a .691 OPS against lefties. Jose Tabata has an .843 OPS in 85 at-bats this year against right-handers, which is a much smaller sample size than Schierholtz. He also struggles against lefties with a .632 OPS, so he wouldn’t be a good guy to pair with Schierholtz. The Pirates might get more comfort by trading for Schierholtz, but they’d still need a guy to hit lefties. If they’re giving up a top prospect, I’d rather see them take on more money by trading for Rios, which would give them an everyday player at a lower prospect value.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Mike C.

and I feel bad for morton. seems like since he’s back, mckenry is somehow his designated catcher. and yes, it’s time for tony to replace the fort. seems like a no brainer 2 me.


It’s time to send McKenry down. He has a option left, use it. Sanchez’s throwing can’t be any worse. What is our record with McKenry in there anyways? I’m sure it’s horrible.


Agree Schierholz is not a big upgrade. There is a reason he has been in the majors nine years without ever winning a starting job.


Ehhhh, thats kind of selling the man short. He’s a lefty bat, who does some damage in the fat half of a platoon, and is decent all around. Nothing great, but nothing to turn your nose up at either. That being said, there are other guys I’d rather go after.

Vicente Barletta

Great work Tim. After some thought I dont think Ríos will be an upgrade for the Price he is going: the market is shaping to have him like the best OF available for trade, that means overpaying.
My choice would be Michael Cuddyer. Just the reamin of 10.5 M for 2013 and then 10.5M for 2014, just in time for Polanco to come up and then you can move him to 1B.
I also read that the Phillies are looking for a CF with the injury to Reveré. How about Presley for Kevin Frandsen to take Inge’s spot and the right hand platoon on 2B.
But my main wish is a SP. Pitching wins championships. So I would trade for Jake Peavy. A while back I read That Nick Cafardo said the Pirates were interested in him before his injury, but it seems he is ready to be back.


Cuddyer might not be available, and the reports I hear about him are that the Rockies would really need to be impressed in order to move him. And you really can’t blame them based on the year he’s having. If that stance changes or if they overvalue our prospects then I would love to get Cuddyer. I kinda like the idea to add a pitcher, but I would like a late inning reliever to take the stress off of Melancon and Grilli. They’ve thrown a lot of innings this year, and some relief for the relievers could let our 37 year old closer make it the full season


I wonder what it would cost the Pirates to acquire Aoki from Milwaukee? Aoki would be a great #2 hitter for the Bucs. The Brewers might not want to deal a low cost, high value player within their division, but they could benefit by adding a prospect or two to an otherwise barren farm system

Dom DiDominic

This is one of the best things you do on this site. Keep up the good work, Tim


Any chance of doing one of these on Morales, since there have been legitimate speculation on him? In my mind the problem with him is questions whether he can play 1B on a regular basis, let alone RF vs.LHP if they still want Sanchez to play first.

Vince Riedy

No to Byrd. All this man could add to the Bucs is a needle and his steroid dealer. Neither of which they need.

Andrew Smalley

Jose Tabata has a better career OPS vs. LHP. You wouldn’t know it by just reading this article.

Let’s, at the least, be complete and honest in our analysis.



My offer for a RF upgrade is Barnes and Pimentel, at best. Maybe Snider or Presley instead of Barnes, and maybe Black or Welker for Pimentel. Right now, Tabata is producing at a higher level than either Schierholz or Rios – and he costs us nothing.

For Byrd, I’d give the Mets a choice of any one of the 6 guys listed above. Byrd is a low OB RH semi-slugger – those guys don’t play well in PNC Park. I doubt he’d produce as well as Gaby is doing currently, other than he’d have a few more HR.

The trade Bowden proposed is ludicrous. I can’t believe he doesn’t know how prospects for players trades are evaluated today.


r: Agree, and is S’holtz any better than Alex Presley? His stats are just not very impressive, and Rios has been a dud for the CWS ever since they thought they robbed the bank to get him from Toronto. These are “fools gold”. Rios averages about 18 HR’s. but he played in Toronto and now at another band box in Chicago – translate that semi power to PNC where 380′ gets you WT power. I do not touch anyone – we win with what brought us to the dance, and not get like a team that has not won in 20 years and try to force something to happen. We are 12 games beyond mid-season and only two of our Rotation have 100+ innings.


Tim, I wonder if you’re familiar with the rest-of-season projections available on fangraphs. They provide a way of determining a player’s value going forward without having to do any of the hard projection work yourself. On the other hand, they provide a more rigorous projection than the ballparking you do here. It’s worth noting, because ZiPS and Steamer both have rios pegged as about half as good as you’re estimating here. He’s not even close to being worth his contract, let alone worth giving up anything decent. Paying half next year’s salary wouldn’t come close to justifying Kingham. You might want to quibble with ZiPS, but it’s a better starting point than just guessing.

Also, however good you think rios is now, he’s got to be less good than that in two years, since he’ll be in his mid-30s by then. Again, you can argue that he won’t follow a typical aging curve, but you need to factor in some sort of aging adjustment.

Ultimately, I guess it doesn’t really matter, since this is pointless rosterbation anyway, but you’re not really presenting the theoretical trade values accurately here.

Carl Reagle

Oops grilling not griooing

Carl Reagle

Dear Tim,

Is their anyway you could an article about how the AAA guys (Lambo, De Jesus, and Sanchez) would sabermetrically do against their mlb counterparts (Inge, Snider, and Mckenry)? It might be hard to include roller skating and griooing steaks into your analysis but can’t see how all 3 wouldn’t be sinificant upgrades.

Nathan Swartz

I still think they should go for Rios or someone like him. Ifits a salary dump? Fine. I also like that 2015 is a club option year. If GP is ready, unload Rios. I’ve got no problem letting GP play 2014 in the minors. I’m not sure who the grade B prospects are: Dickerson, Lambo, Holmes, Creasy, Crumpton, Black…?

Anyone else follow the live chat during Futures game? Bowden was saying the prospect he questions most is GP. Has he even watched him play? Good lord man.

I also would not trade Dilson. Someone needs to play 2B when Walker continues to crumble.


Bowden considers GP the prospect he questions most? Good grief, I guess that tells us all we need to know about Bowden’s opinion. Well, not quite – see my post below. No wonder he is a talking head now, rather than a GM. Actually, though, I think he may be talking out of a different bodily orifice.

Thom Kay

Jamey Carroll is also on the block. Good against LHP, cheap, veteran, can play 2B, 3B, and even some SS and RF. Could be very useful.

Lee Young

Better than Inge??



Okay Tim, if Rios is going to be the expensive Chicago outfielder, what do you think about Alejandro De Aza? He hits lefties, his stats are almost the same as Rios’s and his defense is miserable in center but a move to a short right field could help. Also, he probably wont carry the same price tag that Rios does because of Rios being widely considered the best corner outfield trading piece this deadline.


I’ve been pushing for him for a little while now. He’s a nice power/speed combo, and as you said, he’s out of position in CF. In fact, his defense has been up one year/down the next, and sometimes I wonder how accurate those defensive numbers are. He’d be a sneaky good get.


It makes sense with all the hype around Rios. The problem is: with Tim’s analysis being based on WAR, its hard to get an accurate gauge on his value because his poor defense is deflating his WAR terribly. But offensively, he’s been nearly as good as Rios with a better contract, and he’s younger


force them to include Casper Wells!


also, i assume kendrys morales will have pretty low trade value value.

I’m all for a lineup of Marte, Rios, Cutch, Alvarez, Morales, Martin, Walker, Mercer. With Jones, G Sanchez, MICHAEL YOUNG (jokes jokes. but really), etc on the bench.

It seems like this could be done for a price similar to the Wandy Deal + not thaaat much more.

I just feel like they need to squeeze every win they can out of this year. The difference between making winning the division and just making the wild card is HUGE.

more guaranteed revenue and an essentially DOUBLED chance at a world championship.


(yes i should’ve proofread that before i posted. oh well.)


Give me Byrd, if his cost is no more than a couple of B prospects, and maybe a guy like Snider or Presley.


I also like Marlin Byrd. He brings a positive attitude, veteran leadership, good defense and clutch hitting. I think a lot of what happens at the deadline depends on Tabata. it appears he is making a case to be the fulltime rightfielder. If he can continue, it makes the decision a little easier, and maybe you don’t need an OF.

Lee Young

I like Marlon Byrd….kinda wished we would’ve signed HIM in the offseason….but that is hindsight.




And I agree with everyone here on Schierholtz. Another left handed platoon guy. It is just as likely Jones would give similar production if you plugged him in RF. If they only acquire a 4th OF/bench guy I’d rather it be a right handed hitter. I’d target Chris Denorfia. He gets on base at a pretty nice clip, hits left handers well, runs the bases well, and he is a tough guy to strike out. All of those are traits the Bucs tend to be lacking. Denorfia also has a pretty good track record as a pinch hitter in his career. 266 avg 731 OPS.


How do you determine what the value of a B prospect is? Are you just estimating his WAR over his controllable years?

IC Bob

Personally I have no desire for Schierholtz unless he is a bench player (replaces Inge maybe Snider). I wouldn’t give up much if thats what we get. Its my understanding Rios only has two years left on his contract. I would not want him for anymore. Again I doubt the White Sox get much more then salary relief if they trade him. Their are players out their for the Bucs additionally I think you over extend cost when you use War Tim. I never see anyone get what they ask for. Heck look at the Bucs when we were trading Bay. We asked for the Sun and we got Pluto.


So a concrete example of the values would be Barnes/Herrera + two of Black, Pimentel, Oliver? I don’t think we have many B hitters. Polanco, Hanson, Bell, Meadows, McGuire all seem to be too much value while Allie/Jhang/Dickerson all seem to be too little. T. Sanchez would probably be around Barnes & Herrera’s level. Where’s Sickels when you need him?

Sox offered Rios plus half of his 2014 salary for Kingham. Who here does that deal?

Lee Young

brett……I think I would…..or maybe not….or….
GOOD question….


I doubt either of these 2 would be serious trade targets. While I like this exercise, this unfortunately won’t be the cost of Rios. Name recognition and traditional statistics cost more to acquire. My money is still on Morales or Aoki.


To an extent that’s true, but that was an everything-must-go sale to a team that is building around quantities of prospects. Also, Rios is perceived a little different with the case in point being you’ve got goons like Jim Bowden spouting ridiculous trade ideas centered around him. A diminutive lefty in Houston like Wandy won’t get same level of respect.

joe g.

Nobody in MLB is listening to Bowden.


No, but the guy was a GM at one point, and sadly some people think that way.

Lee Young



Wow.wrote almost exactly same thing on keith law chat.I know u have to give up something but no way bucs should pull trigger.ramires is an upgrade but he’s regressed for about 2 yrs now and comes w big contract.would rather take my chances w mercer and pray he can match his decent stats the rest of the way.Think kingham is one of the most underrated pitchers in minors but couldn’t argue if bucs traded straight up for rios,even paying most of salary


If the other option is Schierholtz, I’d rather see Lambo given a shot to platoon with Tabata and see if he is truly an option there or not. They will never know unless they give him a chance.

Given salary and what he would cost in prospects, IMHO Rios isn’t a big enough improvement over what we already have. Too expensive and not a long term solution.


not a long term solution? they can keep him until 2015 if they want!!

that’s obviously not long on a 6-year-rookie-control time scale, but that’s pretty dang good on a trade-for-a-veteran scale.

Operation Shutdown

I’m not sure I would agree that Tabata struggles against lefties. The .632 OPS you’re citing is in 39 PAs this season. For his career, his platoon split is pretty similar: .716 vs righties and .720 vs. lefties. In 2011, the Tabata we’re hoping shows up the for the remainder of this season, he was .679 against RHP and smashed LHP to the tune of .297/.400/.419.

I’m not saying he’s the ideal candidate to start against lefties, but I don’t think he’s at all a liability, especially in the less important part of a platoon. Adding Schierholtz seems like a clear upgrade to me. If he’ll come cheaply, I’d rather see that than giving up a meaningful prospect for Rios.


Schierholtz doesn’t do much for me. Need something better for 2nd half run at playoff berth.


Schierholtz has overall better numbers this season than Rios. .270 batting average, hitting for decent power, and is finding ways on base. His stats aren’t phenomenal but he fits the mold of what Huntington is usually looking for: a good clubhouse guy who can contribute and be a solid fielder while not costing us a boatload of prospects or money down the road.

Comments are closed.

Most Voted Comments