With only days to go before the regular season, trade talks are heating up with the Rays who are still in the market for a right fielder and have several pitchers that are out of options, including Scott Dohmann, Grant Balfour, and Jason Hammel.
Therefore it is time to update our Tampa Bay Rays Trade Value Index (TVI)…
The TVI ranks every player on the current 40-man roster and the top prospects in the organization. Our goal is to determine which players in the organization are the most valuable to the team. Ultimately, when looking at the rankings, the question should be, if the Rays could only keep one of two players (A or B) from the organization, which player would the front office choose to keep. If the answer is player A, he would be ranked ahead of player B.
The TVI is not based on player potential. Rather the rankings consider a number factors in addition to talent and good looks, such as potential, age, contract and depth of position in organization. This last factor comes into play if one player is stuck behind another player with more ability. For example, Fernando Perez would be a little higher due to his exceptional speed and strong OBP, but loses a little value because he has bad hair, and some more value because the team has BJ Upton firmly entrenched in center field for years to come. Another factor is team needs. A pitcher may be ranked ahead of a more “talented” position player because the team has a stronger need for pitching at the major league level.
We do use a very rough mathematical formula that gives differential weights to the various factors. This gives the list a starting point which is then tweaked based on the discussions of several committee members that may or may not have been under the influence of alcohol. Keep in mind that in many instances there is only a very slight difference in value from one position to the next in which we could easily make a strong argument for swapping two players in the rankings. That being said we are fairly confident that most players are within a couple of spots of where they should be. Or not.
Feel free to tell us where we screwed up in the comments.
[More detailed notes about specific players, follow the Rankings]
- The top of the rankings are much closer than many might think. Scott Kazmir is Scott Kazmir. On the other hand, James Shields is a little more of a mystery. If he can show that 2007 was not a fluke, he is under team control for the next seven years at a reasonable price. That is very valuable commodity.
- If BJ Upton can show that his high strikeout totals are nothing to be concerned about he is the new Carl Crawford. That is he is the Rays outfielder that all Yankees fans wish they had but for once they can’t just go out and buy him or trade whatever is in the system for him.
- David Price slides a few spots after his latest arm troubles that will delay his professional debut and put a nail in the coffin of any chance he might have had about a major league debut in 2008.
- Dioner Navarro gets a very strong ranking based on the shortage of young major league catchers and a strong second half offensively. There are many teams that would love to have a Navi in their lineup.
- In general veteran relief pitchers are ranked higher than their talent levels because those are the most sought-after commodities by contending teams.
- JP Howell is rising fast because of his new role as lefty relief pitcher that is good for 2-3 innings.
- For the prospects we always place a stronger value on players that have performed at the AA or AAA levels. As many of you know already we believe a player like Fernando Perez is more valuable than Desmond Jennings because he is closer to the majors even if Jennings may one day be the better major leaguer.