We’re almost a week into July and that means that in a few weeks, the trade deadline will be here. This means that we’ll be hearing every team in contention is in on every guy that is available. This, obviously, includes the Yankees who’ve been said to like Cliff Lee (really?!) and Ty Wiggington among others. I’d like to ignore, for a second, the trade targets of the Yankees and instead focus on the trade pieces they have (at least two of them at the Major League level) and discuss trade value.
This is obviously coming from an amateur but there are two types of trade value in my opinion: actual value and perceived value. Actual value is something that teams rarely get for a player. This is, quite simply, what a guy is actually worth. Granted, this is something hard to define since different players mean different things to different teams. And, if a guy is getting traded, he’s a different type of valuable than he is to the team to which he’s being traded.
Perceived value is basically what we see all the time. It’s not necessarily what the guy is worth, but what other teams and executives think he’s worth. This is where the magic of negotiation occurs.
The distinctions between these two types of value is one that we’ll need to be wary of going forward in this month of rumors, speculations, and trades. One GM will try to push a guy as someone who has high value while the other will say the opposite. It is with this in mind that I’d like to discuss two names I’ve been seeing a lot around the Yankee Blogoverse as trade candidates: Joba Chamberlain and Francisco Cervelli.
In many ways, these two players are pretty different: one’s a pitcher, the other a catcher; one has a potentially high ceiling, the other not so much. However, there’s also a few ways they’re similar: they’re young, they’re cheap, and they’ve both got very low trade value. I’ll repeat that: both Joba Chamberlain and Francisco Cervelli have very little trade value. This is something we’ll need to remember going forward, especially when thinking of potential trade ideas.
I’ll start with Joba. Last week, many comments expressed a “Trade Joba!” type of sentiment and this is something with which I wholeheartedly disagree. Firstly because I have some (possibly/probably ignorant) faith that the Yankees will do the right thing and re-start Joba (literally). Secondly, Joba’s trade value is shot. The minute they chose to put him in the bullpen for the 2010 season he lost a whole lot of his trade value. The fact that he’s now pitching relatively poorly, despite okay peripherals, hurts his trade value even more. IMO, he’s still got a decent bit of upside and that’s the only thing that’s buoying his trade value. He’s staying in New York for that reason.
Finally, we get to Frankie. He’s another one who has low trade value. But, Cervelli’s trade value is low for a different reason. His trade value is low because he’s already reached his ceiling. That ceiling is rather low and there’s not really much that he can bring back in a trade. What he is now–a decent contact, decent on base skill, no power, good defending catcher–is all he is. That is a back up catcher. The chance that he becomes more than this is very low. Because of this, there is almost nothing he can bring back in a trade. At the most in a trade, Cervelli would be a throw in.