The offseason is less than a month old, but the perception is that Joaquin Benoit's three-year, $16.5MM deal with the Tigers has busted the free agent reliever market. It's possible that the most cost effective bullpen pieces can now be found in trades, and Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times believes that David Aardsma's trade value has gone up without throwing a pitch since the end of the regular season.
Aardsma, 29 next month, emerged as Seattle's closer in 2009, and has pitched to a 2.90 ERA with 9.6 K/9 and 4.4 BB/9 in 121 innings with the Mariners. He's 69 for 78 in save opportunities in that time, numbers that are likely to push his salary north of $4MM in his second time through the arbitration process this offseason. Aardsma earned $2.75MM in 2010.
The Mariners, who finished with the game's second worst record in 2010, have a number of holes to fill. They have a replacement closer in waiting in Brandon League, and could shop Aardsma for an upgrade at basically any position not occupied by Chone Figgins, Ichiro Suzuki, or Franklin Gutierrez. As we've seen in recent years, hard-throwing relievers can fetch all kinds of returns.
Matt Lindstrom brought back three non-top prospect minor leaguers in a trade. Kerry Wood returned two low level minor leaguers and salary relief. Leo Nunez brought Mike Jacobs. Chris Perez and another player landed Mark DeRosa. Joel Hanrahan and Sean Burnett were essentially traded for each other. Jose Valverde, Rafael Soriano, Chad Qualls, Ramon Ramirez, Octavio Dotel … the list goes on and on.
The number of teams that could use a guy like Aardsma is 30, for all intents and purposes, but his expected salary will likely limit his market to teams with sizable wallets. Baker speculates about a fit with the Rays, but acknowledges their payroll crunch. The Red Sox are seeking bullpen help and are familiar with Aardsma after his 2008 stint with the team, then of course you have the usual suspects like the Yankees, Dodgers, Cardinals, Cubs, Tigers, Phillies, etc. All of this is one reason why Aardsma will almost certainly not be with the Mariners come Spring Training, as Baker puts it.
Maybe a catcher like in the trade Capps for Wilson Ramos or even a haul of prospects with good upside, in 2009 Aardsma was one of the best closers in baseball
And he wasn’t horrible in ’10. In fact he was decent. He just regressed from ’09…Here are some of the ideas I have…
Blue Jays Drew Permison, Sean Ochinko, and Joel Carreno
Orioles Ryan Berry and Xavier Avery
Yankees Eduardo Nunez
Red Sox Oscar Tejeda and Stolmy Pimentel
White Sox Brandon Short and Duente Heath
Angels Fabio Martinez Mesa
Mets Armando Rodriguez and Bobby Carson
Phillies Josh Zied and Jiwan James
Cubs Yohan Gonzalez, Steve Clevenger and Jeremy Papelbon
Cardinals D’Marcus Ingram and Casey Mulligan
Brewers Mike Ramlow and Evan Frerichs
Reds Jordan Horst and Dave Sappelt
Rockies Isaiah Froneberger and Fernando Cortez
Dodgers Trayvon Robinson
Diamondbacks Keon Broxton and Wes Roemer
Completely agree, Go Mariners!!
Yeah go Mariners, I love the the young Mariners and future Mariners. Felix/Cortes/Ackley/Seager/Pineda/Smoak/Franklin/Saunders/Walker/Littlewood. Pretty soon the Mariners will be a great team again.
I agree 100%
We can only hope so. Last year was a tough, long season.
The general idea is nice, but you went a bit overboard on a few, I think.
Three prospects from any team probably isn’t going to get accepted for a reliever, because either all of the prospects are useless or the team giving up the prospects is overpaying. Also, Trayvon Robinson is really good, and Broxton is probably not a guy that Arizona wants to give up given their lack of toolsiness in the system – maybe Ryan Wheeler or Bryan Shaw.
All in all, though, impressive post.
elscorcho the marlin
well, i guess if the marlins were to trade nunez now, the price would be up. i still think we should keep him though. our bullpen looks good for next year with him in it.
I seriously think the Marlins pen next year is going to be one of the best in Baseball, all 13 of them…So we need to circle the bases and decide how to trim down from 13-7.
Clay Hensley, Leo Nunez, Brian Sanches, Burke Badenhop, Jhan Marinez, Jose Veras, Ryan Webb, Edward Mujica, Evan Reed, Dustin Richardson, Michael Dunn, Volstad/Sanabia, Omar Poveda. I say the pen is Hensley/Nunez/Dunn/Mujica/Veras/Sanches/Webb. Richardson needs to beat Veras out in Spring Training though.
elscorcho the marlin
yeah, i agree with your line up. i think for that richardson trade to make sense, he does need to beat out veras. veras always worries me. who do you think makes the 5th starter if the marlins get javy? i think volstad, but i can see sanabia as well.
I think Sanabia. And I think either one would work, but I like Sanabia’s stuff more than Volstads. here’s the thing about Richardson and Veras. Obviousl what you just said about the trade is why Richardson should beat put Veras, but with Veras, you get a power righty, and Richardson you get a non power arm, but a lefty. Ill still take either or, but I want to see it be Richardson.
elscorcho the marlin
good points. volstad does have a tendency to keep his balls up too much, making for a lot of home runs. i like how sanabia’s approach seems kinda effortless. the ball is doing more than it seems.
I can’t imagine anyone trading anything of signficance for Aardsma given his walk rate and bloated forthcoming salary. Maybe Aardsma to the Yankees for a bag of Doritos.
I know there’s a joke about Brandon Morrow to be made here, but I can’t quite think of it.
Knock Knock………….Who’s there………..Brandon……….Brandon who?…………Morrow
I think David Aardsma is one of the most overrated closers in baseball. If you look over the course of his career, it’s fairly obvious that Saefco Field has done wonders for him. Before his best season in ’09 (with Seattle), his ERA was below 5 only once, in ’06 (with the Cubs). In ’09, his fly ball rate was 53.9%, and in ’10 his fly ball rate was 44.9%, so unless you’re taking him out of Saefco and putting him somewhere like… PETCO, I think you’re asking for trouble. I think that’s most evidenced by his 2.06 ERA at home, and his 6.75 ERA on the road. He walks about 4 guys per nine… I think the best thing he’s got going for him is his fastball.
I could see where he could have some value to teams that play in large ballparks, but even then, I don’t think they’d be willing to give up much for him. It seems like you take him out of a large ballpark and he becomes an average to below average middle reliever.
Below average middle reliever? Why even type that? It makes you sound silly. So does a statement such as, “I think the best thing he’s got going for him is his fastball.”Bringing up anything pre-2009 is pretty much meaningless as Aardsma has clearly figured something out. You can tell by the decrease in the amount of hits he’s allowing, (believe it or not, the walks are down, too).In 2009 Aardsma was great. He played above his head a little, but you cannot deny the success he had all year. In 2010, he was lousy pre-All Star (6 times giving up 2 or 3 runs), but post-All Star he carried a 0.84 era and gave up 8 hits and 2 runs in 21.1 IP (23 appearances).Over the last two years, he’s given up 82 hits in 121 IP while striking out 129. He walks too many batters. His home park helps his fly ball tendencies. He’s not cheap. He isn’t the perfect reliever.But seriously, he’s a good pitcher. Why don’t you bag on something worthwhile. Note to self: take own advice.
In six big league seasons, it’s safe to say that Aardsma has had one very good season, and a bunch of below average to terrible stints. Aside from a 3.02 FIP in ’09, he posted a FIP of above 4 in every other season, including ’10. It’s ridiculous to say that he’s “figured something out” when he’s posting average numbers. I just can’t see the Mariners being able to market him as a closer, when he’s a set-up man at best and a below average middle reliever at worst.
How am I “bagging” on a guy that had an ERA over 6 away from Saefco? I could easily make the argument that he had a fluke ’09 season, since his ’10 numbers weren’t anything special. You tell me what he has figured out. I don’t get to watch the guy every day living out here on the east coast, but numbers go a long way in analyzing his value. You can say that he figured something out in ’09, but I’m not sure what it was. Anyway you cut it, you’ve got a closer that walks more than 4 guys per nine and has an ERA of over 6 on the road.
I won’t argue that he hasn’t worked out for the Mariners, because sometimes, things just work that way. He’s not worth nearly as much to other teams though.
HAHA your points make me laugh! I dont see how he is below average…that point is invalid. As Raffish declares “he aint perfect”!but that isn’t the point. The point is Aardsma, is fairly young, has shown some strong abilities in recent years, and could come in and help a franchise next season. Good luck to u!
Okay? I don’t understand how you’re trying to discredit my points. What I said was that in most bullpens, he is a below average reliever, and he is. Look at his numbers away from Saefco over the course of his career. They’re terrible. He’s an extreme flyball pitcher that benefits from the spacious outfield of Saefco. That’s why he works for Seattle, but they aren’t going to be able to market him as a closer. Where’s the value? The thread is called “David Aardsma’s Trade Value,” and I’m making the point that he’s never proven that he can pitch outside of Saefco Field. One good season in ’09 doesn’t make him very valuable in my eyes. What’s invalid about that?
You are analyzing the numbers wrong. He pitched 14 innings away from Safeco in 2010, compared to 35 at Safeco. He had four bad outings away from home, one of which was due to the pathetic fences at US Cellular. You are basing your home/away argument on less than four innings pitched. And all of the away damage was done before the AllStar Break when he wasn’t pitching well anyway.Look at Aardsma’s stats over the last two years: K/BB, H/IP, BB/IP, AVG, SLG, OBA… they all show marked career improvement since 2009. He simply is not the same pitcher he was in 2005-2008. He did have a solid year in 2006 w/ the Cubs, as you pointed out. Seriously, look at his SLG and AVG over the last two years. Batters are getting way fewer hits, and the hits aren’t going for nearly as many bases.And look at his WHIP over the past two years: 1.16 & 1.17. It’s practically the same. He’s posting a perfectly acceptable whip ratio for a closer, even in a down year.Strong whip + minute SLG and AVG = Closer candidate. Who cares if he walks a few too many? They aren’t hitting him! Who cares if he gives up a few dingers? They aren’t getting squat in between!Now he might not be as effective in Cincinnati, Yankee Stadium or US Cellular…But for you to use FIP as the end all be all of his ability to close games is extremely narrow minded. And for you to base a super small sample home/road split to tell a funny tale of incompetence is peculiar at best. It’s as if you really dislike him so you’re magnifying the problems.
Yes but the number of fields more spacious than Safeco is what 2? Even if he isn’t in ‘bandbox’ I think there are some concerns there, though not major ones. I am most concerned with the walk rate. Now it isn’t the be all end all statistic, for example Carlos Marmol walked over 6 batters every 9 innings, but he also struck out nearly 16 batters, and had a ridiculous 1.6 HR/FB rate. If Aardsma was striking out 11 batters every 9 innings or brought the HR/FB rate down 2 percentage points no one would say anything (hence 2009 love affair). But when he is getting hit pretty hard outside of Safeco it is a bit troubling (esp. combined with the walk rate). It might be a small sample size, but the point is his numbers are better than they would be at most other ballparks, b/c of the Safeco effect. No he wouldn’t be as bad as his road numbers, but his high walk rate/HR rate, and a neutral ballpark aren’t the greatest combination.
Overall I think Aardasma has value, but it isn’t on the Matt Capps for Ramos level. Capps might not be a frontline closer but he could close for at least a third-half the teams in this league. Aardsma isn’t on that level. He is good, but there are likely other better options. Esp. if the Nats or Pirates use some of their bullpen depth for trades.
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purke, cole or rendon too…
David Aardsma probably owes some of his success to Safeco Field, which I why I think Seattle reliever Brandon League has more trade value. Aardsma and League each remain under his team’s control for two more arbitration seasons, but Aardsma is working off his 2010 salary of $2.75 million while League is working off his 2010 salary of $1.0875 million.
I’ve proposed Brandon League, catcher Rob Johnson and thirdbaseman Jose Lopez to Boston for firstbaseman Lars Anderson and outfielder Daniel Nava.
Any kind of hitter will do (SS, 3B, LF, or Catcher).
More like any position not occupied by Ichiro, Figgins, Guitierrez, Ackley or Smoak.
ichiro is getting old. he is 37 now. i know he wants to play until he is 45 but we need to be real and think after ichiro to. i know that wont be for a while but really think ahead
There’s no reason to think Ichiro is going anywhere anytime soon. He’s a permanent fixture in the M’s organization and will be playing well into his 40’s much like Omar Vizquel. Like Omar…. Ichiro defies the laws of Nature.
It would be smart to trade David Aardsma but how many takers would there really be? They have a lot of talent coming up to take his spot. They have a lot of areas to upgrade.