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Confession of a trade junkie: Deadline Primer, part 1.


I have a confession to make. I'm a trade junkie. Aside from opening day, my favorite part of the season is the few weeks leading up to the trade deadline. The combination of the rampant rumors, general fan stupidity, conversation starters etc.. makes this time as exciting (and in some cases , excruciatingly painful) as game 7 of the series to me.

Every year the Phils do something. This year should be no exception, well, except there are a few wrinkles.

Wrinkle 1: The second wild card has added a dimension of competition unlike any year in recent memory. EXCLUDING the three division leaders, there are currently 6 teams within six games of 2 WC spots in the NL and incredibly, every team in the American league with the exception of KC, Seattle and Minnesota are withing 2 GAMES of a playoff berth. Suddenly, everyone is in striking distance, and everyone seems to be a buyer... Except us. 4 game win streak not withstanding, we've really sucked. There's no real other way to say it. This team has been bad, their odds of making the post season are slim, and we find ourselves looking AT prospects, rather than worrying who we're gonna give away.

Wrinkle 2: There's a new collective bargaining agreement in place that has altered the landscape of the trade world. Seemingly, everyone is waiting for someone else to make the first move to set the market. Over the next 10 days the rumor mill will fly faster than you can say Jon Heyman is to sports journalism what McCarthy was to democracy.

And of course, theres wrinkle 3: the sudden return of The Father , The Son and The Holy Ghost , has suddenly derailed the last train for the coast off track. We're in the midst of a 4 game winning streak, with a fairly full strength team (at the exact point where we went 44-22 the rest of the season last year) gaining momentum, which could actually rip the very Fabric of Time

Will we buy? Will we sell? Will we do both? How does this crap work anyway? A part one primer, after the break.

To fully understand what we can expect over the next ten days, we first have to understand the changes to the collective bargaining agreement.

Before this season, free agents were ranked based on a complicated system and grouped into categories, A an B. It didn't matter how long a player played for someone, if they were classified as a type A or B free agent, and their current team offered them arbitration if the player declined and signed somewhere else the signing team forfeited draft picks. in the case of a type A free agent (see Hamels, Cole) that amounted to two picks, including the signing teams first round opick provided that team didn't have one of the first fifteen picks, or didn't sign a higher ranked type A, in which case the former team got a sandwich pick between the 1st and second round (see Werth, Jayson). meaning in essence that a player like Shane Victorino would likely be a type A and if traded, would net the traded to team two picks. it also meant that if we traded Vic in his free agent year, we'd need to receive a package deemed worth more than 2 picks before the second round.

Confused yet? Yup so was everyone, so to make things easier (and to make more money for players) the following changes were implemented.

1. To be eligible to receive draft compensation, a player must start the season on the 40 man roster. So no compensation for rentals anymore.

2. No more type A or B guys. Instead, a team that makes a QUALIFYING OFFER to a player equal to the average of the top 125 contracts (estimated to be between 12 and 13mm) will receive 1 pick after the first round only. so somewhere between the 30th and 50th overall pick in most seasons.

This is why, As Taco Pal so eloquently put it last week trading Victorino isn't necessarily the no brainer everyone in the general populous seems to think it is. (or would have been last year). Last year, a guy like Vic would have hauled in a B or B+ guy plus a tools type at the least, and if you didn't trade him, you'd be forced to offers him arbitration and a hefty raise or get nothing, and the team you trade him to, well, they get the picks if they can't extend him. Win win.

In this years scenario, the team we trade him to gets nothing if he signs somewhere else, and if we keep him, and offer him 12.5mm on a one year deal, we get a late 1st round pick talent if he signs elsewhere.

So for the Phillies, if say, they can get a C prospect for say, Juan Pierre (who no way in hell will they resign next year, or offer 12.5mm, and can be replaced easily in the lineup), its a no brainer. Take something for nothing. that philospohy should, if the phillies decide to sell, apply to any player on the roster who we have a suitable major league ready player to take his place.

But a guy Like Vic? who you'd be happy to resign for 12.5 for a year or let walk? the option has to be better than

A. a season of HEALTHY VIC for 12.5mm

B. a prospect equal to possibly This Guy or maybe Another version of this guy or even this guy or that guy with the same type of compensation pick.

all supplemental picks. all of them.

So the real answer (for those of you who don't click the links) to my game thread trivia question of What do Nick Castellanos, Travis D'Arnaud and Mike Olt have in common is not, in fact that they are the type of prospect you should expect if we trade Cole Hamels, instead, the answer is they are EXACTLY the type of prospect you should expect if we keep Shane Victorino. Its also the ONLY kind of prospect you should trade him for. anything less and your shooting too low, and just appeasing the masses.

Don't do it Rube. you know better.

I think.

I hope.

As for Cole? well, part 2 tomorrow. Unless he's traded before then. In which case I'll puke at anything less than Jurikson Profar.

editors note: heres a Link to Cot's Contracts where you can find the salary information for the entire roster. its pretty easy to figure out which guys who's deals end this season and, provided anyone is offering anything at all should definitely be dealt (Pierre, Schneider, Fontenot,) versus the guys that should probably be dealt (Blanton) and the guys who you should only deal if you get back more than the draft pics (Vic, Hamels)