After nearly a week of rumors and discussions here about those rumors, the Indians worked out a trade for Brandon Moss. It's been interesting to hear various opinions from LGT readers (and readers at Athletics Nation) on how much various players were worth in a trade. With that in mind (and at the suggestion of Zaza Braggins) I thought it would be interesting to rank the relative trade value of every player on the Tribe's 40-man roster. This is something FanGraphs does every summer with a top 50 from around MLB. (They may or may not have gotten the idea from Bill Simmons, who's done the same thing with NBA players for years and years... or used to anyway.)
Keep in mind that this is NOT a ranking of how good these 40 players are, though that is a strong factor. Longtime LGT readers are well aware of the "You trade contracts, not players" creed, and that's what we're talking about here. A good player under team control for years at a below-market contract has a greater trade value than a great player who's going to earn $25 million this season and then be a free agent.
One might rightfully point out that different players have different values to different teams, based on their needs. For the purposes of these rankings, you might imagine that all teams need all things.
Alright, on to the rankings (which have been split into two parts, because this turned into a 2,000+ word monster):
40) Nick Swisher
He was one of the very worst players in baseball in 2014, and he's owed a total of $30 million over the next two years. The Indians would have to give up a very talented prospect or pay most of Swisher's salary in order to move him.
39) Michael Bourn
His defense and base running have both slipped, making him a below average player over the last couple years, and he's owed $27.5 million over the next two years. The Tribe would find more takers for Bourn than for Swisher, but would still have to pay some part of his salary in order to move him.
38) Ryan Raburn
He's owed another $2.6 million ($2.5M for 2015, plus a $100,000 buyout for 2016). That's too little money to be a big problem, but no one would give up anything for him, so the Indians would have to pay almost all of his salary or send a marginal prospect if they wanted to free up that roster spot without just designating him for assignment.
32-37) Austin Adams, Shawn Armstrong, Charles Brewer, C.C. Lee, Nick Maronde, Ryan Merritt
You're welcome to sort through these guys and argue which ones have more or less trade value than the others. As I see it, these guys all have something close to no trade value. That puts them above the three guys I already mentioned, who have negative trade value, but every organization has half a dozen guys about like this group.
31) Tony Wolters
His offense dipped in 2014, but he's reportedly made the adjustment to playing catcher pretty well, and is still only 22 years old. Someone might bite.
30) Carlos Moncrief
He's got a strong arm and pretty decent offensive numbers, so there are teams that probably view him as a better 4th outfield option than whomever they've got. He's 26 years old though, so "prospect" only mildly still applies.
29) Tyler Holt
He's got a mediocre bat but a really good glove, and the Indians called him up instead of Moncrief, which is what leads me to put him just ahead of Carlos.
28) David Murphy
Murphy was an average hitter but a below average everything else in 2014. He's owed another $6.5 million ($6M in 2015, plus a $500,000 buyout for 2016). He's best off as a platoon partner, but that contract isn't much, and if you think his defense is still decent (as it was rated in previous years), he's a decent platoon option.
27) Mike Aviles
I didn't want the Indians to pick up his $3.5 million option, but they did, and I suspect a lot of other teams would have made the same decision. His ability to play a variety of positions defensively is something that appeals to a lot of managers.
26) Jesus Aguilar
The 24-year-old slugger hasn't impressed at the MLB level in his brief stints, but his Triple-A numbers have been strong and there are always teams looking to add power.
25) Nick Hagadone
A lefty with good stuff. He's not a kid anymore, but that profile would likely attract some interest.
24) Scott Atchison
$900,000 for 2015, $1 million or a $100,000 buyout for 2016. He'll be 39 by Opening Day, so the wheels could certainly fall off in a hurry, but he was really good this year.
23) Zach Walters
As of a few months ago, Walters was worth ~60 games of Asdrubal Cabrera. Strikeouts have been a major problem for Walters during his time with the Indians, but he has positional versatility, he's shown big power, and I think his value is probably a little higher than it was in July.
22) Josh Tomlin
He's going to get something like $1.75 million for 2015, which will be his second year of arbitration eligibility, and he's also under team control for 2016. His MLB results have been mixed, but there are certainly teams that will take note of his career-high strikeout rate from 2014, and his better than average FIP (with a worse than average ERA).
21) Cody Anderson
He was the Tribe's Minor League Pitcher of the Year for 2013, but he had a rough 2014. Still, there's some pedigree there, and at 24 he's still semi-young.
20) Marc Rzepczynski
Under team control for another two years and likely to make something like ~$1.9 million in 2015, Rzepczynski was murder on lefties in 2014, allowing them to hit just .180/.241/.200 against him, with two doubles being the only extra-base hits he allowed.
19) Erik Gonzalez
The 23-year-old shortstop has been earning strong marks in his climb through the farm system, and he could be ready to help an MLB team in 2016.
18) Zach McAllister
McAllister is entering his final year of pre-arbitration eligibility, so he's under team control for another four seasons. After a great beginning to the season he suffered an injury, and his basic numbers the rest of the way weren't pretty. His peripherals were strong though, which explains his very good 3.45 FIP. I still think he's a solid $4 or 5 starter, and while that's nothing fancy, it does have value.
17) Roberto Perez
For the Indians, great defense at catcher plus two good seasons in a row offensively in the minors equals a backup catcher, but for a lot of teams, that'd be an upgrade over the current starter.
16) Bryan Shaw
Shaw is eligible for arbitration for the first time and expected to make ~$1.5 million in 2015, while remaining under team control through 2017. He led all MLB pitchers with 80 appearances in 2014, after pitching in 70 games the year before. There's some concern that he's going to wear out, which probably hurts his value a bit.
The top fifteen will be here tomorrow. In the mean time, feel free to tell me how wrong I am about some of these guys.