Thursday, July 18, 2013

Trade Deadline: Prospect Hierarchy

So the trade deadline is coming up but word has it that the Cubs want to deal Garza before his next scheduled start to maintain/increase his value.  Given the rumored interest from TX I thought I would throw out the names of their most desirable prospects for Garza or other veteran players.

While Texas might consider moving some starting position players on their 25, they are more likely to keep roster in tact by delving into their minor league system.  The only issue with that is that Texas hardly has any talent in the upper minors, so Texas would likely have to include an extra prospect if we are dealing with A-ball kids (and no major leaguers).  They could look into trading Moreland (who we really have no replacement for, giving Berkman's swoon/injuries and Olt's terrible year) or Kinsler/Andrus, but both of those guys would bring back more in an off-season trade, though Profar would be there as a replacement.  You could also look at dealing from your bullpen, say Scheppers  (given that Feliz will be coming back in 2014) or Ross (as some might still view him as having a SP's ceiling) but we really don't have anyone to replace them that is proven.  Unproven but talent arms could fill in, say Grimm and Tepesch, but neither have pitched out of the pen this year so that would be a risk.

So given that they are likely to maintain their 25, what prospects with _ starter ceilings _ does Texas have to offer.  Unless a team is willing to take a chance on Texas' low-A high-ceiling players, the pool is shallow, and even shallower still given that many of them are dealing with assorted injuries:

Justin Grimm SP (recent forearm tightness, out since 7/12)
Nick Tepesch SP (elbow soreness, DL'd since 7/6)

Mike Olt, 3B (vision/hitting issues)

Neil Ramirez, SP/Setup (skipped recent start due to _most recent_ shoulder soreness, which crops up one or more times a year for him)

Luis Sardinas SS (healthy shoulders for the last 1 1/2 years)
Rougned Odor 2b
Luke Jackson SP/Setup (might have been promoted in another system)

CJ Edwards SP (would've been promoted to HighA in another system)
Jorge Alfaro C/RF (repeating LowA so longer full-season track record)

That is about it for the high ceiling guys outside of LowA (or on the verge of a HighA promotion).
The other well-known hitters - and say someone like high risk/high ceiling wildcard like Yohander Mendez in SS Spokane - come with a high degree of risk that would only be offset with a package of 1-2 players who are (near) major league ready (however a club sees it).  Texas might also have to compensate for the added injury risks that some of these currently injured players bring with them, maybe throwing in a lower ceiling arm or utility player of some sort (Beltre, L. Garcia, Chirinos, Teo, Odubel, Alberto).

Now a club like Houston might be quite content to settle on one or more of Texas' high risk/high ceiling hitters (Gallo, Williams, Brinson  and call it a day as it fits their development arc but normally a club is trading for low risk talent at the trade deadline so taking a shot at a player with the very raw skill set of someone like Jorge Alfaro, who is just as likely to stick in RF as he is at C, won't likely make sense for most clubs as a headliner.  One also has to wonder how Texas feels about giving up on players they have invested in so heavily, from 3-5 million dollars.  Those might not be players you want to dump for low value; you want to hold onto them until their value increases in proportion to the investment (as much as possible for a prospect).  So Texas might just suggest that they are not available (Mazara, Beras, Guzman).

Texas doesn't really have any high ceiling pitching depth in the system outside of the players mentioned, but there are some fringy #5/pen types that could be used as filler (Asher, Martinez, Eickhoff, Payano, Sadzeck) most of whom are likely pen arms, with a couple who might have the stuff for a setup role down the line.

A couple of bullpen arms who might be included in the back end of any deal could be Wilmer Font and Justin Miller.  Both pitchers have plus plus fastballs with Font not really having anything else and Miller coming back from TJ (Font had it in 2010).  Given that they will still have West, Mendez, Bonilla, and Henry in the system next year, those are pieces that can be replaced.

However it shakes out, it will be interesting to see what Texas has to give up to get a couple of pieces at the deadline.


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