As I was reading the news today of Jermaine Dye signing a 2 year extension with the White Sox, it dawned on me, how was the 2008 market shaping up for baseball players? The Giants once again will have some holes to fill on their roster. 3B, SS, and 1B will all have openings next year. Excluding the potential for A-Rod to opt out and become a free agent, the market is looking bleak. The players that are going to be available don’t exactly inspire much confidence. It’s mostly a collection of older players with little upside. There isn’t any young, standout talent available on the market. Upgrading with 3B Mike Lowell, SS David Eckstein, and 1B Tony Clark really isn’t much of a upgrade.
Mike Lowell isn’t much of an upgrade over Pedro Feliz (2007 WARP-1 3.6 to 3.2) and you must remember the fact that Lowell hits in the #2 park for hitters in all of baseball only behind the high altitude of Coors Field. Lowell being a RHH can really take advantage of the Green Monster and pepper baseballs off it all day. His home/away splits are skewed because of this, he’s slugging over 12o points higher at Fenway. Eckstein and Clark are also typical of what you are going to find on the market for their respectable positions.
It’s not entirely true that the market of 2008 is devoid of talent, you’ve got guys like Torri Hunter or Andruw Jones who have been All Stars before in their careers but they’ll be highly priced and the Giants have more outfielders than you can shake a stick at. The starting pitcher market is also bare. Guys like Josh Fogg, Eric Milton, and Curt Schilling are the norm. Now that Carlos Zambrano, the undisputed #1 FA in the starting pitcher market, has signed with the Cubs the SP market really doesn’t have a clear front runner as “best available talent”. Schilling is interesting but his declining velocity combined with his age and injury troubles and I would be surprised to see him get more than 1 year with a club option.
Because of the lack of available starting pitching, something that teams are always questing for, and with Zambrano coming off the market with his newly inked 5 year deal, I think the trade value of a pitcher like Noah Lowry will go up. With the Giants setting their sights on rebuilding, Noah could potentially fetch more in the winter than the trading deadline of this year. If Lowry can tack on, say 2-3 more wins this year and keep his ERA under 4, surely some GM might be willing to trade a position prospect for him?
If Lowry doesn’t implode, the winter should be the perfect time to move him for a young player that can play 3B, SS, or 1B in ’08. This is called “selling high” and something that Brian Sabean has seemed to have trouble with in the last few years (dealing Accardo for a terrible Shea Hillenbrand). I don’t like Lowry’s chances to continue throwing sub 4 ERA baseball and it’s possible a less SABR-inclined GM could be impressed with his ERA and win totals enough to send back a prospect or two that could start for the G’s.
Someone like Arizona’s 1B Chris Carter who is rumored to be moving to the Red Sox. Carter, who is almost 25, has hit (.328/.385/.531) this year in AAA but because he’s blocked by Connor Jackson he’s expendable. Brian Sabean should be seeking out the Chris Carters of the world, young guys who’ve got talent but are currently blocked, to see if he can manage a deal. I think that anyone taking a look-see over the FA’s for 2008 can see that the market is very uninspiring for a club looking to improve itself.
Comment Starter: Two Fold question. First, anyone on the market that you would want to plug a hole for the Giants? Secondly, does Lowry have more trade value in the offseason now that Zambrano is off the market?