I started this earlier today and with JI's and marc w's posts about shortstops, now seems like a good time to post it.
As we all know, SS is a huge need for Seattle in 2009 and beyond. I've seen a lot of posts here and other places suggesting a trade for JJ Hardy because he's good and may be too expensive for the Brewers starting with the 09 season - his 2nd arbitration year if I'm not mistaken.
So, based on nothing other than internet rumblings, I thought I'd try and place a value on Hardy vs. Yuni to show the benefits of trading for Hardy and also to come up with a proper trade for him. I'm pretty new to valuing players - I usually search LL / USSM / Fangraphs so I can read the work of smart and competent people. If I did make a mistake or mistakes, please feel free to correct me.
I also am not certain as to what the Brewers need in return for Hardy. I assume with CC & Sheets leaving they will need starting pitching as well as some infield help to replace Hardy. I guess the Brewers wouldn't be thinking of trading Hardy if they didn't feel they have a replacement already available. With Saloman Torres retiring and a few other bullpen pitchers on the FA market they probably need some bullpen help as well.
Moving to player evaluations:
Defense: Looking at The Fielding Bible, Hardy has been about a +1 win a year SS from 06-08 and almost +2 last year. I'll leave him at a +1 player going forward.
Offense: Fangraphs has him with a wOBA of .355 for 2008 with Bill James projecting .348 and Marcel at .344 for 2009. That puts him about league average, but if you think he's entering his prime at age 27 next year and can continue at .355 going forward, maybe he's a +1 offensive player. I don't know enough about him, so I'll stick with the projections and leave him with +0 on offense.
Position Adjustment & Value over Replacement Level Player are +1 and +2 wins respectively.
Overall, I calculate Hardy as about a +4 win over replacement level shortstop with upside to +6. Even if you are pessimistic about his defense (average) and offense (-1) and think he'll have a terrible 2009, he'd be a still be a +2 win over replacement level player.
Defense: The Fielding Bible has Yuni as a -1 win player a year over the 06-08 seasons with a almost -2 wins for 08. I'll be kind and say he'll improve from his terrible 08 season and be a -1 win defensive SS for 09.
Offense: Fangraphs has Yuni's 2008 wOBA at .299 with Bill James projecting .308 and Marcel at .313 for 2009. Looking at his career numbers, that seems like a pretty good projection. It means Yuni is a -1.5 to -2 win player at the plate. Also, with his skill set he seems to have more downside and relatively no upside unless he gets really lucky or develops new skills.
Position Adjustment & Value over Replacement Level Player are +1 and +2 respectively.
Overall, it looks like Yuni is about as replacement level as you can get. His upside may be +1 to +1.5 wins above replacement if everything goes right for him. His downside is below replacement level.
So, the low end difference between the two shortstops is a 1 win advantage for Hardy - if Hardy has a terrible year and Yuni has a fantastic year. If Hardy has the year I project and so does Yuni, the difference is a 4 win advantage for Hardy. On the other extreme, with a great Hardy year and Yuni playing his way out of the majors, you're looking at a 6 win differential - assuming the M's can find another replacement level SS before Yuni accumulates negative wins below replacement level.
Well then, what would it take to acquire Hardy? Also consider he is under team control for 2 years below market value at .6x and .8x (using's Matthew's calculations from the Pedroia extension article). The complexities of valuing arbitration years, marginal win value, the needs of both teams, looking beyond the 2009 season, and many other factors makes it difficult for me to put a reasonable trade together. That is one more reason I usually read other people's work instead of doing it myself.
Also, if Beltre is about a 4 win player with one year of a below-market contract and Hardy is about a 4 win player with two years of below-market team control, it seems like it will take quite a lot to pry Hardy away from the Brewers. I also doubt the Brewers are looking for minor league help - not that the M's have a lot of that either.
Would a Putz + Bedard + Lopez package work? Putz + Lopez + Washburn (& cash to cover some salary) + bullpen arm? I'm not sure outside of Beltre, Felix, or Ichiro, the M's even have enough major league talent to acquire Hardy.