Two interesting links to share this morning, while I take a brief break from writing profiles in the 2015 Prospect Guide.
**Every year, Jonah Keri at Grantland releases a “Trade Values” series, looking at the top 50 most valuable assets in baseball. Part one of his list went up today, and includes two Pirates outfielders. Gregory Polanco ranked 45th, falling into a tier of talented young outfielders, along with Jorge Soler and Byron Buxton. Starling Marte ranked higher, finishing at 38th overall, in a tier with Carlos Gomez and Stephen Strasburg. Keri’s write-up had an interesting comparison, asking if you’d want two really good years of Gomez/Strasburg, or all of Marte’s years under his team-friendly extension.
The Pirates won’t be trading Marte or Polanco any time soon, so worrying about what they could fetch in a trade isn’t really important here. It is interesting to see how they compare against other players in baseball. The fact that they’re two of the 50 most valuable assets in the game right now, according to Keri’s list, is pretty significant.
**Yesterday the Pirates tendered offers to all of their arbitration-eligible players. One of the more interesting cases of arbitration this year will be with Mark Melancon. The reliever made $2.6 M last year, and Matt Swartz of MLBTR had him projected for $7.6 M in 2015, which was heavily inflated due to the fact that Melancon had a rare combination of a lot of holds, saves, and a low ERA. Those aren’t the best categories to determine a reliever’s worth, but they’re the categories that get a reliever paid in arbitration.
Swartz broke down Melancon’s arbitration case, which is a good thing to do, considering Melancon is in a unique situation. Ultimately, he looked at Melancon as just a good closer, rather than a good closer who was also a good set-up man in the same year. The updated projection was $5.6-6.1 M. I always go with Swartz’s estimations on the 40-man payroll page, although I didn’t go with Melancon’s original estimate, since I didn’t think he would end up that high. I have updated the 2015 payroll page to reflect the $5.6 M figure, since that could be closer to what Melancon will receive.