Matt Wieters, Valuable Player

FanGraphs is doing their annual Trade Value player rankings, and the Orioles’ own Matt Wieters comes in at #45:

“If we view Wieters through the lens of what he was supposed to be, he’s a massive disappointment and probably doesn’t deserve to be on this list at all. However, if we look at what Wieters actually is, he’s a 25-year-old switch-hitting catcher on pace for a +4 win season. He’s not what he was hyped up to be, but there’s still room for future growth and he’s a productive player at a premium position already. Catchers often develop later than other positions anyway, and with four more years of team control after 2011, the Orioles have time to be patient. He might not ever become what he was supposed to be, but given his current value and still-untapped potential, Wieters would command a pretty significant return if the Orioles decided to give him up.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself. Given that Wieters is a good player and Scott Boras is his agent, I don’t like the O’s chances of signing him to a long term deal in his early arbitration years so much. That means the day may come much sooner than expected that trading Wieters might actually be in the Orioles’ best interest. That’s pretty much only if the team continues to be terrible over the next 2-3 years and there aren’t a plethora of prospects on the horizon, but how unlikely is that scenario really? And as Dave Cameron said, Wieters has a ton of trade value right now (and still would in two years, though obviously not nearly as much).

Example:

Year Salary WAR WAR$ Excess Trade Value
2012 $0.5 4 $19.2 $18.7 $42.9
2013 $8.0 4 $20.0 $12.0 $24.6
2014 $12.5 4 $20.8 $8.3 $12.6
2015 $17.3 4 $21.6 $4.3 $4.3

WAR$ is WAR times market rate for a win (starting at $4.8 M for next year and increasing by 4% a year thereafter). Salary has a small bump up for 2012 and then standard arbitration rates thereafter (40-60-80% of WAR$). Excess is WAR$ minus salary – net value to the team. Trade Value is the sum of the excess value from that year on.

$42.9 M in trade value is maybe two high end prospects (talking some of the best in all of baseball – or perhaps a larger package of slightly lesser, but still very good, guys). $24.6 M is one high end prospect, or a couple very good guys. $12.6 M can get you someone more towards the back end of the top 100 and maybe another decent player. $4.3 M is worth all that much. Depending on the team, perhaps one of their top 5 prospects.

Obviously if Wieters takes a step forward he’ll be more valuable, but that’s not a crazy estimate of his trade value I think.


Stats: WAR,