Poll: Top Prospects For Rental Players

No general manager enjoys trading highly-regarded prospects away. But until this year, GMs have been able to trade elite prospects for players on the brink of free agency with the expectation of obtaining two compensatory draft picks for the loss of the Major League player. It was unpleasant to trade top prospects away, but the draft picks helped replenish teams' minor league systems.

This year, the rules have changed, and teams can no longer obtain draft pick compensation for players acquired midseason. The change in rules, in effect for the first time under baseball's new collective bargaining agreement, creates a dilemma for baseball's GMs: is it worth trading a top prospect for a player nearing free agency when the possibility of obtaining draft pick compensation no longer exists?

It's not hard to see why some teams will refuse to trade top prospects for 'rental' players. In the view of many, the short-term gain wouldn't be substantial enough to overcome the loss of a player who could make an extended impact at the MLB level while earning a relatively modest salary.

But how else will a team obtain a star MLB player such as Cole Hamels or Zack Greinke? Surely second-rate prospects and salary relief won't be enough. And it wouldn't be the first time teams have traded elite prospects without the possibility of obtaining draft pick compensation. The Giants parted with Zack Wheeler last summer in the trade that sent Carlos Beltran to San Francisco (the Beltran-Wheeler swap isn't a perfect comparison, but it shows that some teams are willing to sacrifice top prospects for short-term upgrades).

So, if you were a general manager, would you go all-in despite the change in rules or hold onto your prospects?


Full Story | 46 Comments | Categories: MLBTR Polls

Leave a Reply

46 Comments on "Poll: Top Prospects For Rental Players"


John Dyson
3 years 14 days ago

I voted yes, but then, I’m a Cubs fan. ha!

Ben_Cherington
3 years 14 days ago

Demp and Garza should be minimal top 7 prospect from any team :)

mrsjohnmiltonrocks
3 years 14 days ago

I voted no, but I would consider it if said top prospect is blocked-like a catcher would be in the Cardinals organization or a 3rd baseman in the Nationals organization. The rental player would have to also be the exact perfect fit for what I needed.

schellis
3 years 14 days ago

This was my vote as well. Its way easier to trade a prospect that has no future with your team.

LazerTown
3 years 14 days ago

But you can often times flip prospect for prospect. If the nats had a really good 3b prospect they can trade with the cards top catcher prospect.

WisBrave
3 years 14 days ago

Top prospects yes but not ones you’d find on a top 50 overall prospect rankings at least not strait up unless maybe there is a surplus or blocked. But I’m sure someone will be desperate enough to do it at least in one one of the trades before the deadline.

3 years 14 days ago

It certainly depends. If you feel you are one player away from a championship, it might be worth the risk. Also, if the player is able to get you compensation if he signs elsewhere, it would possibly be worth the risk. Beltran couldn’t be offered arbitration and the Giants got nothing after losing him.

leachim2
3 years 14 days ago

If its a player that will put you over the top to make it into the playoffs, I would, the exception being a team that has a young core and a bright future. (Pirates, Nationals)

drabidea
3 years 14 days ago

The Pirates and Nationals have pretty much guaranteed a playoff spot. What about a team like the Rays that have a young core and bright future but still in the Wild card hunt??

leachim2
3 years 14 days ago

When the Rays get Longoria they will be re-energized. That being said, no I would not.

AaronAngst
3 years 14 days ago

I think “elite” might need to be more defined, but moves for stars just won’t happen anymore unless top prospects (top 5 guys in a system) are on the table. If your team is content with adding, say, a Carlos Lee for the playoff run then you have no need to fret.

bigpat
3 years 14 days ago

Those who say yes= Phillies and Brewers fans.

FacelessGeneralManager
3 years 14 days ago

and cubs

John Driscoll
3 years 14 days ago

And for the last twenty years before this year it would have been you Pirates fans.

alxn
3 years 14 days ago

Contending teams owe it to themselves to try to everything they can to increase their chances of making the playoffs and winning the World Series. The Cards would have been sitting at home in November if they didn’t acquire Jackson last year, and there is a pretty good chance that none of the prospects they traded for him pan out.

That being said, I would draw the line when talking about elite prospects who seem like sure things. They should never be traded for rentals.

drabidea
3 years 14 days ago

But you would still trade a B+ prospect to increase your chance of making the playoffs from 15% to 18%??

alxn
3 years 14 days ago

no

drabidea
3 years 14 days ago

But you said the team owes it self to try anything to increase its chance of making the playoffs??

drabidea
3 years 14 days ago

Also, Edwin Jackson was worth about 0.7 WAR over the rest of the season for the Cardinals. He also pitched a 5.60 ERA. David Freese is the reason you guys won the WS.

jb226
3 years 14 days ago

This is pretty close to my view, but I wouldn’t say “never” to anything. If a player puts you over the top, then it should at least be considered even if the cost is a top prospect. There aren’t a lot of players and situations where this would apply, though; it essentially has to be a big-impact player for a ridiculously strong team with one glaring hole the player just happens to fill. And of course it presumes that you have tried to acquire said player with lesser prospects and can’t get the seller to bite.

Naturally it also depends on the definition of “top prospect.” A specific team’s top prospect may not be much of a prospect, and even if he is it’s not clear where the draw the line for the definition. I voted yes because it was the more accurate of the two options, but it’s a pretty limited set of circumstances I would actually say yes to.

3 years 14 days ago

I hate to beat on my team but I can’t forgive them for dealing Andrus, Feliz, Harrison etc….for Mark Texiera. That set ATL way back.

3 years 14 days ago

At the time what did you think of the deal?

Now, of course, the deal looks extremely rough, but wasn’t it a fair bet that ATL was one piece away, at the time?

3 years 14 days ago

Well I did not care for it then, even if we thought our minor league pieces were expendable. We got a Mark Teixeira rental (granted he gave us pop), which in retrospect now serves as the reason Frank Wren covets our farm system even more. Julio/Christian/etc….. As “The Who” said, “We won’t get fooled again.”

David C. Ruckman
3 years 14 days ago

If I were a GM, I would only deal in elite prospects if there were a sign-and-trade agreement in place (CBA) or a guarantee that I’d have exclusive rights to negotiate a contract extension with the player I acquire at the conclusion of the season. Otherwise, why pay a premium when there’s little or no guarantee that I’d get maximum value? The playoffs are a big-enough gamble as it stands now; I would not want to gamble away my farm system and have nothing to show for it in six months. But that’s just me, and I’m certainly not a GM.

Paul Williams
3 years 14 days ago

I believe if you get a rental player its worth it if you have someone in your organization to take his place after he leaves for free agency. If you dont, then why give up prospects at other positions.

mychiefs58
3 years 14 days ago

you don’t get many chances to win championships. a WS is worth the loss of a future star. now, i’m not saying to gut a system, but if you really have a chance (not an A’s chance or a Pirate’s chance) and you can truly improve your team, then you have to go for it.

Ken Roucka
3 years 14 days ago

Depends, maybe.

mychiefs58
3 years 14 days ago

people stating the crap shoot the playoffs are have not taken into account the crapshoot that prospects are.

melonis_rex
3 years 14 days ago

1-Top 25? No, but that was true with the old CBA. Top 50? Sure. Top 100? Absolutely. But only for a truly elite player, and not for someone mediocre.

2- if a rental player legitimately increases and solidifies the odds for a definite contender (as in one that doesn’t have a bazillion holes or is allowing more runs than they’ve scored) of getting into the divisional serie (whether it be through winning a wildcard and winning a play-in or winning a division), then absolutely trade top prospects for him.

3- The compensation draft pick the seller receives is worth more because it adds money to the cap (you can’t just draft the same player later and overpay him now unless you want to sign a bunch of college seniors below slot later on.

4- There will always be demand for elite players, moreso now with the wildcard. And a .500 team with the 2nd wildcard shouldn’t necessarily sell impending FA core pieces, so there will be less supply.

5- Prospects are a crapshoot. Most of them bust. Sleepers bust out of nowhere all the time.

BosephHeyden
3 years 14 days ago

If you’re trading to obtain someone who is considered one of the best at their position, and it is a position you need and can’t fill on your own, why not? I think the real issue is creating a situation where that player you trade for is enticed into staying after the season. I’ll go with the Dodgers since I’m familiar with that situation, but they do not want to give up Zach Lee for Ryan Dempster or Cole Hammels or Grienke (though Grienke’s anxiety probably makes him less than ideal for LA). But those first two guys alone are going to be highly sought after in free agency by everyone. If you have the willingness to spend money like the Dodgers do, then after you make your trade, make a big effort to nab that player. Especially with a guy like Ryan Dempster, all you need to do is make sure Ted Lilly is resigned and he’s immediately got a reason to want to stay in LA. Then you offer him the big dollars before he hits free agency, and suddenly losing your top prospect isn’t that big a deal.

Jeffrey Wright
3 years 14 days ago

if the organization has a legitimate shot at winning the W.S but needs a player or two i think its ok to get rid of your best prospects because the WS championship is the ultimate goal in baseball that should warrant the teams full attention when they are playoff bound

MLBrainmaker
3 years 14 days ago

It depends…on the team, on the division, and the prospect. The Pirates for example shouldn’t think about moving Tallion or Cole (or anyone really) because the nucleus of that team is young and can afford to wait around, whereas the window for the Dodgers with Kemp and Ethier together is closing and an upgrade at 3B and a #2 SP would probably be enough to get them over the hump.

Jeff
3 years 14 days ago

I think the new wild card means if you’re not real close to a division lead, it isn’t worth it. I don’t want the Braves trading their prospects for a shot at the wild card (find out this weekend if Braves have a legit shot at division or not)

3 years 14 days ago

Not now with the lack of getting the compensation picks. Before the rule change I would have said yes, because if you lose the player you get a pick or two. Now if you lose the player you get nothing.