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fleshing-out-the-market-for-martin-prado | November | 2011 Articles

Fleshing Out the Market for Martin Prado

Written by Joe Lucia on .

When the Atlanta Braves were talking to the Kansas City Royals about trading them Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens earlier this month, the initial package mentioned top prospect Wil Myers being prominently involved, along with Lorenzo Cain. The Royals deemed that package too high. The Colorado Rockies have also been mentioned as a potential trade partner, with young outfielders Tim Wheeler, Dexter Fowler and Charlie Blackmon getting mentioned as possible chips to come to Atlanta. But as the free agent dominos start to fall, I think Prado is actually gaining some value in the market.

Consider this: six middle infielders have signed so far.

Willie Bloomquist, a middling utility player, gets two years and $3.3 million.
John McDonald, an all-glove shortstop, gets two years and $3 million
Jamey Carroll, another utility player who is being given a starting job, gets two years and $6.75 million
Clint Barmes, another all-glove shortstop, somehow gets two years and $11.5 million
Mark Ellis, a type B all-glove second baseman, gets two years and $8.75 million
Aaron Hill, another type B second baseman, gets two years and $11 million

The only player out of those six I'd consider taking over Prado is Hill, and that's assuming that Hill's struggles late in his tenure in Toronto are gone. All of these guys got two years, and the youngest is Hill at 29. Prado, right now, is 28. Before collapsing to a .687 OPS last year, Prado had back to back to back seasons over .800. The only one of those players to EVER have an .800 OPS season is Hill, who did it in 2009. Prado has three seasons like that. Prado is also not defensively limited. He's an above average defender at second, third, and in the outfield. Carroll can play second, short and third, Barmes can play second and short, and Bloomquist can play short and left. The other three players are limited to one position.

So when you look at versatility, defense, and offense, Prado is the best mix of the three. The rest of the utilityish player market right now is hot garbage, with guys like Orlando Cabrera, Craig Counsell, and Adam Kennedy topping the market. There is obviously the higher tier of stud free agents available at the positions Prado plays, like Kelly Johnson and Aramis Ramirez. But Prado would be much more cost-efficient than either of those players, with the only cost being the young outfielders that the Braves desire.

If teams are really looking at multi-year deals for players like that, how would they value a player like Prado, who is better than them all offensively, while also being more versatile? I don't think Frank Wren is going to settle for a below market value return for Prado when you consider what teams have paid for inferior players. I wouldn't mind TWO of the young Rockies outfielders as opposed to one and some filler. And quite frankly, I don't think it's too out of line either. 

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