Transaction Analysis: Jays/Marlins Supertrade
“That’s not a knife, THIS is a knife.”
There are going to be a lot of transactions written up here at The Dynasty Guru, but few are likely to be bigger trades than the one which went down last night between the Marlins and Blue Jays. Now, I know everyone is up in arms about the deal for reasons much larger than the talent exchanged between the two teams, but for fantasy purposes, we’re not interested in that. However, I will add one brief thought to the echo chamber on the non-baseball related aspect to this deal: I hope that this trade finally spells the end of publicly financed stadiums for sports teams.
And with that said, let’s move on to the baseball aspect of this deal. Here is the full trade:
Blue Jays receive Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio and John Buck
Marlins receive Yunel Escobar, Henderson Alvarez, Adeiny Hecchevaria, Jeff Mathis, Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolino and Anthony Descalfini
The biggest winner of this trade, as far as future fantasy value, is clearly Nicolino. He is a left-hander with average stuff that plays up due to advanced command and pitchability for someone his age. However, don’t think we’re talking about Tommy Milone here — Nicolino can dial his fastball up into the low 90’s. The biggest issue with Nicolino is that he may arrive in the big leagues without a feature pitch, something which will garner swings and misses from batters at the highest level on stuff alone. Fortunately, life is a lot easier for pitchers like that in the NL East than in the AL East — not to mention the difference in future home parks on top of that. Expect Nicolino to make a big jump in my dynasty prospect rankings solely based on the scenery change.
This is going to be a pretty common theme here. Alvarez has a HR problem, which is very severe when compared the amount of ground balls he gets. In his career, Alvarez has allowed a fly ball rate of under 25% (24.8% to be exact) and has still managed to give up 37 HR in only 251 innings. Look for that number to decrease going from a hitters’ park in the American League to a pitchers’ park in the National League. Of course, none of it will matter if Alvarez doesn’t improve his secondary offerings, as then he’ll likely end up in the bullpen.
With Buck out of the picture in Miami, Brantly (who the Marlins acquired as part of the Anibal Sanchez deal at the deadline) should enter the season as the Marlins’ starting catcher. He’s not a sexy catching prospect (like the one who is going to take over in Toronto shortly) but Brantly could be a solid option in deeper two-catcher leagues. He has the contact ability to actually help your team’s batting average, and though he doesn’t have a ton of pop, he has enough to sprinkle in 8-10 HR over the course of a full season. Essentially, he could be Carlos Ruiz before he entered in all those cheat codes in 2012.
Arencibia is on here because the Jays acquiring Buck says to me that they will follow through on their plan to trade Arencibia. And if Arencibia is dealt, he is likely to go somewhere without the top catching prospect in all of baseball (Travis d’Arnaud) breathing down his neck. D’Arnaud will be up this year, assuming he stays healthy, regardless of who is in his way and Arencibia still has more than enough power to be valuable in an environment where he can get 500 AB.
All hitters involved in the trade
I was thinking about this, trying to decide whether this was going to move the needle for me on Reyes, Escobar, Hecchevaria, Marisnick and the catchers. But when push comes to shove, I just think all of the factors involved are a wash. Yes, going from the American League to the National League makes a difference, but it’s mostly countered by the effects of the two home parks. With Jose Reyes, there’s the added difficulty of knowing how he’ll hold up on the turf up in Toronto, but that’s not enough of a concern for me to downgrade him — especially since I think he’ll start putting up power numbers we’re not used to seeing from him at Rogers Centre. Seriously, don’t be surprised if he hits 20+ HR next year, as he puts the ball in the air with more frequency than you’d expect from a speedster (and always has).
You might think that JJ would end up in the “value down” section of the list, but I’m not all that concerned about his move to Rogers Centre. His stuff was depressed for chunks of 2012, but he came out of it as healthy as he’s come out of a season since 2009. And from June 1st on, Johnson had a 3.30 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 8.1 K/9. However, that applies no matter where he’s pitching. The reason I’m less concerned about a move to a hitters’ park is that he’s never allowed more than 14 HR in a season and he has a career ground ball rate of 47%. He shouldn’t be drastically affected by the move from a stats perspective, and what effect it does have may very well be cancelled out by a potential increase in wins.
He’s coming. It doesn’t matter who’s in his way, when the Jays deem him to be ready, he will play.
Take what I wrote about Nicolino and make it the opposite of that. Remember when I said that Josh Johnson had never given up more than 14 HR in a season? Well, Buehrle has only given up fewer than 20 once in his career. Additionally, last season marked the highest HR/9 rate Buehrle has had since 2006 — and that was in a much more pitcher-friendly environment than he’d been in for the rest of his career (in Chicago). Buehrle could give up 30+ HR pitching in Toronto, which would trend the rest of his numbers in the wrong direction.
No, I don’t believe in the myth of player protection. However, a Marlins lineup without Reyes and/or Bonifacio at the top of the order will not provide Stanton with the RBI opportunities that he’s accustomed to. Last season, Stanton had 75 runs and 86 RBI in only 123 games, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he puts up the same counting stats in 150 games this coming season — despite the fact that I still think he’ll hit 40 HR.