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What Is A Fair Prospect Price For Marcus Stroman?

The San Diego Padres are rumoured to be discussing a Stroman trade with the Jays.  What would a fair prospect return look like?

Earlier this month, the Cincinnati Reds were rumoured to be discussing a Stroman trade with Toronto.  After the Reds’ recent Tanner Roark and Alex Wood acquisitions, their interest is reputed to have waned. But not to worry – another suitor has (reportedly) stepped up to fill the vacuum.  The San Diego Padres are now reported to be in the Marcus Stroman hunt.

On the face of it, this rumour makes a lot of sense – the Padres have an exceptionally strong system, including many near-MLB-ready arms.  But rumours like these beg the question – just what is a player like Marcus worth in terms of prospects?

The following is a calculation of Stroman’s value, using surplus value analysis, and of the value of the prospects who might be on the table, using the values calculated by Fangraphs in their latest prospect valuation.  This is admittedly simplistic, as the numbers only tell part of the story (and not everyone agrees with the Steamer and Fangraphs numbers I will be using).  But these numbers do provide a starting point for future discussion.

Caveats made, let’s talk value.

Stroman’s value

Marcus’ contract runs for two more years.  He is projected to make $7.2 million in 2019.  Say that, with a good but not great 2019 he would make $11 million in 2020, for an aggregate of just over $18 million.

Marcus is projected by Steamer to earn a 2.7 WAR in 2019.  Say he does the same in 2020. That would total 5.4 WAR, which multiplied by $9 million per win would translate to $48.6 million of value.  Subtracting his projected $18 million salary gives roughly $30 million of surplus value.

Prospect values

Each year, fFangraphsprepares a highly detailed analysis of the value of each of their top 131 prospects. I will not go into details of their calculations here (though I highly recommend the article), but here are the numerical values of the top San Diego prospects:

Fernando Tatis Jr.  – SS – $65 million
MacKenzie Gore –  LHP – $45m
Luis Urias – 2B – $44m
Francisco Mejia – C – $43m
Chris Paddack – RHP – $41m
Luis Patino – RHP – $27m
Michael Baez – RHP – $27m
Anderson Espinosa – RHP – $24m
Adrian Morejon – LHP – $14m
Josh Naylor – 1B – $14m
Logan Allen – LHP – $12m
Cal Quantrill – RHP – $11m

Value for value

It follows that, based on this analysis, two years of Stroman would be worth far less than any of the Padres’ top 5 prospects.  A trade for a mid-range (but still very good) prospect such as a Patino or Baez or Espinoza might be feasible, but the Jays would likely not receive much more than the one prospect.  Alternatively, the Jays could logically target two of the Padres’ lower-end prospects, such as Morejon + Allen or Quantrill.

Next: Blue Jays: More on the trade market for Kevin Pillar

The bottom line

This analysis is only designed to provide a feel for what kind of Stroman package might make sense, whether from the Padres or someone else.  Opinions on individual players vary – for example, mlb.com has Adrian Morejon as SDP’s 6th best prospect and 46th overall on their top-100, while Fangraphs ranks him 108th.  But the bottom line is that, by the numbers, Marcus would be worth something in the range of one solid mid-100-list 55 grade pitcher or two low-100-list 50 grade ones.

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