What would it take for each team to snag Vladimir Guerrero Jr? AL East

Toronto Blue Jays’ phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr, son of former big leaguer Vladimir Guerrero, is the consensus #1 prospect in baseball. He plays 3B, but he will presumably move to 1B down the line. 

Vlad was born to play baseball and has stormed through the minors, blowing his competition away. He put up video game numbers at AA and AAA this past season as a 19-year-old…

AA

  • PAs: 266
  • AVG: .402
  • HRs: 14
  • BB rate: 7.9%
  • K rate: 10.2%

AAA

  • PAs: 126
  • AVG: .336
  • HRs: 6
  • BB rate: 11.7%
  • K rate: 7.8%

Steamer projects him to produce at a superstar level for the Jays in 2019…

  • PAs: 550
  • AVG: .306
  • HRs: 22
  • BB rate: 8.4%
  • K rate: 12.9%
  • WAR: 4.7

There is no doubt about it; Vlad Guerrero Jr is baseball’s next big thing. If you are remarkably not buying his unbelievable 2018 minor league stat-line and robust Steamer projections, then here is a clip I will let speak for itself…

In Fangraphs’ Update to Prospect Valuation, Guerrero was estimated to be worth $112 million in prospect value, which is highest among all minor leaguers (they also estimated value of non-top 100 prospects). He is the only prospect who was assigned a 70 FV on the 20-80 scouting scale

“The results are presented in present-day WAR and translated to a rough dollar figure based on $9 million as the cost of a win on the free-agent market. Keep in mind that the dollar figure isn’t a direct value, but rather equivalent value of a prospect relative to the free-agent market. Part of the reason prospects have such tremendous value is due to the suppressed salaries permitted by the CBA until a player has reached six years of service time. By translating the WAR figure into a monetary value, we can compare the value of prospects with the values of major-league players and their contracts. These values likely roughly approximate what an individual player might get as a signing bonus if he were declared a free agent and teams could only provide a signing bonus instead of a long-term contract.”

Fangraphs’ Craig Edwards

Now we will take a look at what types of packages teams would have to offer in order to match Guerrero’s $112 million prospect value:

Orioles

RF Yusniel Diaz (45+ FV; $8 million), LF Ryan Mountcastle (45+ FV; $8 million), C Brett Cumberland (45+ FV; $8 million), LHP DL Hall (45+ FV; $6 million), RF Austin Hays (45 FV; $6 million), RHP Grayson Rodriguez (45 FV; $4 million), RHP Luis Ortiz (45 FV; $4 million), RHP Hunter Harvey (45 FV; $4 million), 3B Jean Carlos Encarnation (40+ FV; $4 million), CF Ryan McKenna (40+ FV; $4 million), LHP Zac Lowther (40+ FV; $3 million), RHP Dillon Tate (40+ FV; $3 million), RHP Blaine Knight (40+ FV; $3 million), SS Jean Carmona (40 FV; $2 million), LF D.J. Stewart (40 FV; $2 million), CF Lamar Sparks (40 FV; $2 million), SS Breyvic Valera (40 FV; $2 million), and $17 million in cash for 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr (70 FV; $112 million), C Russell Martin ($-14.6 million), and DH Kendrys Morales ($-7.5 million)

The Blue Jays are paying Russell Martin $20 million in 2019 (the final year of his contract), and Steamer projects him to worth 0.6 WAR. The calculations for Russell Martin’s surplus monetary value can be seen below…

(0.6 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $20 million = $-14.6 million in surplus value

The Blue Jays are paying Kendrys Morales $12 million in 2019 (the final year of his contract), and Steamer projects him to be worth 0.5 WAR. The calculations for Morales’ surplus monetary value can be seen below…

(0.5 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $12 million = $-7.5 million in surplus value

Rays

SS Wander Franco (60 FV; $56 million), LHP/1B Brendan McKay (60 FV; $54 million), and ($2 million in cash OR one of Tampa Bay’s 40 FV position players: 2B Tyler Frank, SS Alejandro Pie, C Michael Perez, C Nick Ciuffo, SS Jermaine Palacios, SS Taylor Walls, or RF Moises Gomez) for 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr (70 FV; $112 million)

or

CF Kevin Kiermaier ($32.3 million), RHP Brent Honeywell (55 FV; $44 million), RF Jesus Sanchez (50 FV; $30 million), and ($6 million in cash OR one of Tampa Bay’s 45 FV position players: LF Joe McCarthy, C Ronaldo Hernandez, CF Nick Schnell, 1B Nathaniel Lowe, SS Lucius Fox, or CF Garrett Whitley) for 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr (70 FV; $112 million)

In order to most accurately gauge the surplus value of Kevin Kiermaier, we need to take into consideration a decline in production as he is on the brink (2019 is his age 29 season).

“a basic rule of thumb is that once a player gets to 30, you sort of expect them to lose about 0.5 WAR per year of value due to aging. Some players will age better or worse, but that’s an average estimate.”

Fangraphs’ Neil Weinberg

Kevin Kiermaier’s Projected WAR (accounting for loss of 0.5 WAR / yr once he reaches the age of 30)

2019 (age 29 season): 2.8 (according to steamer)

2020: 2.3

2021 (age 31 season): 1.8

2022: 1.3

2023 (age 33 season): 0.8

The Rays are paying him $8 million in 2019, $10 million in 2020, $11.5 million in 2021, and $12 million in 2022. For the purpose of this investigation, let’s assume the Rays do not pick up Kiermaier’s $13 million option for the 2023 season. The calculations for Kiermaier’s surplus monetary value can be seen below…

[(2.8 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $8 million] + [(2.3 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $10 million] + [(1.8 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $11.5 million] + [(1.3 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $12 million] = $17.2 million + $10.7 million + $4.7 million – $0.3 million = $32.3 million in surplus value

Red Sox

LHP Chris Sale ($43.5 million), DH J.D. Martinez ($23.6 million), LHP Jay Groome (45+ FV; $6 million), 1B Triston Casas (45 FV; $6 million), 1B Sam Travis (45 FV; $6 million), and $4.8 million in cash for 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr (70 FV; $112 million), C Russell Martin ($-14.6 million), and DH Kendrys Morales ($-7.5 million)

The Red Sox are paying Sale $15 million in 2019 (the final year of his contract), and Steamer projects him to be worth 6.5 WAR. The calculations for Sale’s surplus monetary value can be seen below…

(6.5 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $15 million = $43.5 million in surplus value

J.D. Martinez’s Projected WAR (accounting for annual loss of 0.5 WAR off of 2019 Steamer projection)

2019 (age 31 season): 3.8

2020: 3.3

2021 (age 33 season): 2.8

2022: 2.3

The Red Sox are paying J.D. Martinez $23.75 million annually for the first two seasons (2019-20) and $19.35 million annually for his final two seasons (2021-22). The calculations for J.D.’s surplus monetary value can be seen below…

[(3.8 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $23.75 million] + [(3.3 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $23.75 million] + [(2.8 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $19.35 million] + [(2.3 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $19.35 million] = $10.45 million + $5.95 million + $5.85 million + $1.35 million = $23.6 million

Yankees

CF Estevan Florial (50 FV; $26 million), RHP Albert Abreu (50 FV; $13 million), CF Aaron Hicks ($25 million), LHP J.A. Happ ($11.9 million), RHP Jonathan Loaisiga (45+ FV; $6 million), RHP Luis Medina (45+ FV; $6 million) and ($2 million in cash OR one of New York’s 40 FV position players: CF Antonio Cabello, RF Ryder Green, C Josh Breaux, SS Alexander Vargas, 2B Oswaldo Cabrera, CF Raimfer Salinas, 1B/RHP Dermis Garcia, C Antonio Gomez, or 2B Ronny Rojas) for 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr (70 FV; $112 million), C Russell Martin ($-14.6 million), and DH Kendrys Morales ($-7.5 million)

Aaron Hicks’ projected arbitration salary for 2019 is $6.2 million, per MLB Trade Rumors. Steamer projects him to worth 3.5 WAR. He is tentatively scheduled to become a free agent after the 2019 season (has one more season of control). The calculations for Hicks’ surplus monetary value can be seen below…

(3.5 WAR * $9 million / 1 WAR) – $6.2 million = $25 million in surplus value

The Yankees are paying J.A. Happ $17 million over two seasons (2019-20). If he eclipses 165 IP or makes 27 starts, the option for the 2021 season vests (in which case he would be payed $17 million for his services that year). For the purpose of this investigation, let’s assume the then 38-year-old Happ does not meet either.

J.A. Happ’s Projected WAR (accounting for annual loss of 0.5 WAR off of 2019 Steamer projection)

2019 (age 36 season): 2.8 (according to Steamer)

2020: 2.3

The calculations for Happ’s surplus monetary value can be seen below…

[(2.8 WAR * 9 million / 1 WAR) – $17 million] + [(2.3 WAR * 9 million / 1 WAR) – $17 million] = $8.2 million + $3.7 million = $11.9 million in surplus value

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