Saturday, August 25, 2012
When the Red Sox traded for Adrian Gonzalez his estimated economic value ([a comparable player's recently signed salary or an estimated market value] - [the player's wage]) was $15.33 million. In April of 2010, Ryan Howard signed a contract extension worth at least $125 million over five years (it should be six since $10 million of the $125 million is an option buyout for 2017). Howard's average annual salary is $20.83 million ($125 million / 6 years) minus Gonzalez's 2011 salary of $5.5 million yields roughly $15.33 million in economic value (EV) that the Red Sox acquired in December of 2010. (The analysis should also layer in future player production but this is the elementary version.)
As we know, the $15.33 million of EV cost the Sox, at the time three highly touted prospects. The Olde Towne Team sent Casey Kelly (Keith Law's 19th prospect for 2011), Anthony Rizzo (38th), and 2009 first-round draft pick Raymond Fuentes. Now, Gonzalez's comp is Prince Fielder. The former Red Sox first baseman's 2012 estimated EV is $16 million. For this, Yawkey Way received Law's 2011 94th prospect, Rubby de la Rosa (he did not qualify as a minor leaguer in 2012), Allen Webster (61st in 2012) and two other not rated prospects - Jerry Sands and Ivan De Jesus.
The trio that went to the Padres was a better haul than the foursome coming back to Boston at the time each deal was made. But it is not a wide margin and certainly not enough to warrant taking on the risks that are Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett (the $12 million going to LA, James Loney and Nick Punto are afterthoughts.) The Dodgers made the Red Sox an offer they could not refuse.
With a less than stellar free agent market in the next few years and financial restrictions in both amateur markets, the Red Sox will have few places (trade market, Japan) to reallocate the funds saved. The only semi-exciting name is Justin Upton. It looks like a rebuilding rather than a reloading process so the fire sale should continue.
Alfredo Aceves, Mike Aviles, and Franklin Morales have to be moved this winter. They trio will be free agents after the 2014 season. With 2012 arguably their best years, the threesomes value will likely never be higher than now. And as Branch Rickey said, "Trade a player a year too early than a year late." They need to be traded. As do the two 2013 free agents, Jacoby Ellsbury and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. The only question is over the winter or in-season to maximum the return for each.
The Sox will not contend in 2013, probably not in 2014, so wait 'til 2015. October 2015 will have the Fens rocking like it is 2007.