As I’m sure you’ve seen by now, the Cincinnati Reds acquired right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray from the New York Yankees on Monday afternoon. The official trade brought Sonny Gray and left-handed pitching prospect Reiver Sanmartin to Cincinnati. The Reds send Shed Long, who was immediately traded to Seattle, and a competitive balance draft pick to the Yankees. As a condition for the trade, Gray also agreed to a contract extension with the Reds for three seasons, with a fourth year as an option year.

Let’s start off by looking at the base contract for Sonny Gray. In 2019 he will make the previously agreed upon $7.5M. He was then extended for $30.5M from 2020-2022, and has a club option for 2023 at $12M. There are also escalators in the contract, but what those are is current unknown.

The prospects and the draft pick in the trade can kind of be given some value based on the Fangraphs prospect evaluation system. Shed Long carries a surplus value of $28M as a 50-grade prospect. Reiver Sanmartin didn’t make the Fangraphs midseason Yankees list, but was in the “others” section. Kiley McDaniels said he thinks he could be a future match up reliever. While he’s not of no value, the surplus value is less than $1M. The draft pick is valued somewhere between $5-10M depending on how it’s used. For the following exercise we will call it $7.5M.

From a value standpoint, the Cincinnati Reds sent out about $35.5M in surplus value to acquire Sonny Gray and Reiver Sanmartin. As noted, the surplus value on a prospect like Sanmartin is fairly negligible. Again, that’s not to say there’s not value there – there could be in the future. But based on his current grade, the average of players with that grade – it’s been very small.

That brings us back to Sonny Gray, and his contract. The surplus value he would provide would be what value he provides beyond what he’s being paid. From 2019-2022 he is owed $38M. To be worth that contract, Gray needs to be worth, roughly 4 WAR based on the current prices being paid per WAR. While I’ve got some issues with how the different versions of WAR are calculated for pitchers, let’s just average out the baseball-reference and fangraphs versions here. Last season Sonny Gray was worth 1.2 WAR (averaged). When he was at his best, in 2015, he was worth 4.5 WAR (averaged).

In order for the Reds to “break even” on this trade, using the surplus value tools at hand, Sonny Gray would need to be worth somewhere in the 8-9 WAR range from 2019-2022. That’s not a huge ask. But it’s not a guarantee, either. He made his debut in 2013, but only pitched 64.0 innings in the Majors – he joined the team mid-season. He’s been in the Major Leagues ever since. In those six seasons he’s averaged 2.2 WAR (averaged) per season.

We’ve seen Sonny Gray at his best be significantly better than 2.2 WAR in a single season. We’ve seen it  a few times throughout his career. Making the move to the National League may help as he’ll get a few easier chances with pitchers and pinch hitters instead of designated hitters. But he’s going to have to remain healthy and on the mound. And that’s where he’s had some struggles lately. The last time he threw more than 162.1 innings was in 2015. Over the last three seasons he’s managed just 409.2 innings pitched. While the game is certainly changing and you don’t see as many 200+ inning starters anymore, the Reds are likely hoping for at least 170+ out of Sonny Gray.

The New York Yankees have shifted their pitching philosophy to “less fastball, more offspeed”. In 2018 Sonny Gray saw his fastball usage drop off quite a bit. Those dropped fastballs became curveballs. This was a season, that from a pitch usage standpoint, was not like the rest of his career. Also not like the rest of his career, his walk rate in 2018 was well below-average. Perhaps that could be why the control was an issue.

But, maybe it wasn’t. On the road, Sonny Gray walked just 7% of the hitters he faced. And his strikeout rate was 26.4%. But at home, in Yankee Stadium, his walk rate was 12%. His strikeout rate was an abysmal 15.7%. He was, in nearly every way, a very different pitcher at home versus the road. Was it the ballpark getting in his head? It’s extremely hitter friendly and mistakes often wind up in the seats. Was it simply pitching in New York and the weird pressure got to him? Or was it just one of those weird splits that show up by pure randomness? I don’t have that answer, but the Reds have to be hoping that it wasn’t the ballpark because the reason that Yankee Stadium would get in a pitchers head is exactly the same reason Great American Ballpark would. Mistakes land ten rows deep.

With all of that said, even before discussing the option year, the Reds got Sonny Gray locked up for the next four seasons at a price that basically is asking him to be a league average pitcher in order to come out even, or slightly ahead on this deal. There’s upside on the deal, though. And plenty of it. Gray’s got a rare combination of high ground ball rates and the ability to miss bats. Guys that are above-average at both are rare, and they tend to also be pretty good. Staying on the mound will be key, as it is with all players. You can’t produce if you’re not on the field. But if he’s taking the mound every five days for the majority of his contract, the odds seem good that this deal is going to look fine for the Reds.

That’s enough about Sonny Gray for now. Let’s talk a bit about Reiver Sanmartin, the left-handed pitching prospect that came over in the trade from the Yankees. The numbers are outstanding. Only in his first season as a professional was his ERA above 3.00, and he only threw 10.1 innings back in that 2015 season. Since then he’s posted ERA’s of 2.35, 2.45, and 2.81. He’s mostly been used as a starter, and he has also generally been considered old for the levels at which he has played. Here’s a quick statistical look at his career in the minors thus far:

Numbers are one thing, but scouting is another. Players can put up very good numbers in the minors – particularly the lower levels – without projecting to be able to perform in the Major Leagues. So where does Reiver Sanmartin fall on this scale? Well, the numbers are definitely better than the scouting report. It would be tough not to be given the numbers.

His fastball works in the 89-92 MPH range and has good sinking action to it. That’s helped him generate a good rate of ground balls in his Minor League career. He also throws both a slider and a change up. They are both pitches that could be average offerings in the future. Here’s what Fangraphs Eric Longenhagen had to say about him on twitter after the trade:

Kiley McDaniel, the other Fangraphs prospect guru (and former scout as well as Atlanta Braves front office employee), said that he thinks Reiver Sanmartin could be a future match up lefty. Let’s take a quick look at how his career has broken down when it comes to facing lefties and righties.

As a left-handed pitcher it’s not surprising that he’s pitched better against lefties. That’s generally how it works. For Reiver Sanmartin, the splits are pretty big. In his career he’s held left-handed hitters to a .208/.241/.246 line in 216 plate appearances. Right-handed hitters have had quite a bit more success against him. In 639 plate appearances, opposite handed hitters have posted a .283/.320/.382 line against him.

In both cases, Sanmartin doesn’t walk anyone. His walk rate against lefties is 2.8%. Against righties it’s still an absurdly low 3.4%. The strikeout rate, though, is where you see a big difference. The 22-year-old has struck out 17.7% of right-handed hitters in his career. He’s struck out 29.6% of left-handed hitters in his career. That’s the difference between a bottom-tier strikeout rate, and a high-end strikeout rate.

Reiver Sanmartin hasn’t spent much time beyond A-ball. He reached Double-A in 2018, but it was just for one start in Trenton. He was only in Advanced-A ball for two games in 2018, too. It’s a long way from A-ball to the Major Leagues. But he’s absolutely dominated left-handed hitters thus far in his career.

75 Responses

  1. Michael P

    Great write up. Are you going to share your verdict/grade of the trade?

    • redwolf

      considering the short term contracts of both wood and Roark, I have to think we are holding on to all young starting pitching at this point and see what happens ie… injury, effectiveness, etc.

    • Gaffer

      I just don’t see how we lost on this. Sure we could have given up less but we can’t get ANY pitchers to sign in our ballpark! We will never miss She’d Long, even if he ends up being a Lenny Harris type player (way back reference) as there are guys like that on waivers all the time. Sure the sandwich pick is a loss but a) we don’t have to spend $2 million on it and b) there are rarely future stars that low (more like top 100-150 prospect types). Heck, the reliever we got may not be that far off that value, maybe half as good at least. So we gave up redundancy for desperation, that’s a win. Way better than Latos trade!

      • Optimist

        How do you account for Gray signing on for 4 years if they can’t get ANY pitchers at all?

      • citizen54

        We lose if Gray isn’t at least a league average pitcher. Given his 2018, that isn’t even a given, although his projections for 2019 are slightly better than league average.

        My main beef with this trade is that the Reds are paying full value for someone coming off a down year and for someone everyone knew had to be traded. The Yankees were in a worse bargaining position than the Reds were when they traded Chapman, yet the Yankees received a significantly better return.

      • AllTheHype

        @Optimist, because the Reds weren’t competing against other teams to sign him. They were only competing against time. If he were a free agent and had the rest of the universe of teams to choose from, doubt he would have ended up signing with the Reds. Thankfully, we’ll never know.

      • Brennan

        @citizen54 – I don’t know how you can claim its “significantly” better than what they gave up for chapman.

        The chapman trade had 3 players play in the majors for the Reds and the one who didn’t was the highest rated player that came over from New York.

        Jagielo and Rookie were both top 10 prospects in their organization like Shed was for the Reds and the pick likely would’ve been.

        Cotham was forced to retire due to injury but had pitched multiple years in major league bullpens

        Renda was a high average player through the minors that reached the majors for Reds too.

        As far as what the Reds just gave up

        Shed likely won’t ever be a regular starter in the majors and the draft pick is an unknown at this point since it doesn’t have a name attached to it. It could be a great player or it could be a Nick Howard. Maybe the Reds figure they’ll get a pick or two back from the players they have with 1 year left on their contracts and figured they could part with the one they did. At that point it turns into 5 years of sonny gray vs the potential of Shed Long. Since Sonny was a one time cy young candidate and still had good splits away from New York I’ll take him all day and jump to joy at the price they got him for

    • The Duke

      The very premise that every 50 grade prospect is worth $28 million in franchise value is laughable.

    • citizen54

      They took the bottom 57 of Baseball America’s top 100 list for each year from 1996-2010 and calculated the average WAR taking into account present value. The bottom 57 were considered to be 50 FV players on today’s 20-80 scale. Mike Trout being a 50 FV player may have skewed things a little but a 50 FV player averaging 3.1 WAR during his first nine years in the MLB seems reasonable to me.

    • AllTheHype

      If Fangraphs values Shed Long @ $28 Million over 6 years, their calculations are WAY OFF somewhere. Guessing they probably use projected WAR and assign a value to WAR. However they do it, let’s compare to Scooter Gennett, who earned $19.7 Million (total) in his pre-free agency years. Now how is Shed Long, in AA who was mostly average offensively and at best average defensively, projected to be better and make more than Scooter. And Shed’s AA results doesn’t even take into account the fact that Scooter has DONE IT in MLB. There’s risk that SHed will never even make MLB and how is that reflected in the $28 Million.

      I get it, there is value in having a system to value minor league players. But Fangraphs system is obviously hogwash. Taking that hogwash projection for Shed Long and then comparing it to actual dollars in Sonny Gray’s contract is useless, because again, the base from which Shed Long was calculated is WAY OFF first and foremost and doesn’t seem to consider risk of flaming out.

      • citizen54

        You’re confusing surplus value with actual salary. Scooter made $19.7 million in actual salary but since he has produced 10.9 WAR he has been worth around $90 million (assuming 1 WAR = 8-9 million, it changes by year) meaning his surplus value was around $70 million.

      • AllTheHype

        So Shed Long is worth $28 Million more (surplus value) than what he will actually make in his pre-free agency years. That’s even more of a joke.

      • citizen54

        Yes, but keep in mind $28 million is just an average. It doesn’t mean that Long in particular will be worth $28 million. He may turn out to be a bust or he might turn into a star. Joey Votto was once a 50 FV guy. If you disagree with Long deserving a 50 FV grade then that’s another story.

      • AllTheHype

        Yeah but my point is $28 Million surplus value IS NOT Long’s mean surplus value, given all the permutations of his expected future performance. There’s no way $28 Million would be the mean or even close to it. There’s a huge probability, probably in the neighborhood of 80%, that Long will never a starting MLB 2B anywhere. And in the remaining 20%, most often he wouldn’t be a starter for the full 6 years. There’s a very small chance he will become a yearly, quality contributor at 2B that would be required to achieve or exceed that surplus value. This is just based on historical evidence of prospects rated similarly to Long and the likelihood of them being consistent, quality MLB contributors. The odds are greatly stacked against Long in the position he plays with the skills he possesses and $28 surplus value in NO WAY reflects those odds.

      • citizen54

        Well that’s what the data shows and the data includes players that turned out to be busts. Not sure else how to put it. The average production for 50 FV players is 3.1 WAR and the standard deviation is 4.7 meaning 68% of 50 FV players are going to produce between -1.6 WAR and 7.8 WAR. This includes all players that were ranked 44-100 in Baseball America’s Top 100 List from 1996-2010. If you have data or research showing otherwise then by all means go ahead and share it.

      • citizen54

        I think you are talking more about median than average. The median is .8 WAR and about 51% of the players do go bust.

      • AllTheHype

        Here’s another way to look at it. Fangraphs has Greene, Santillan, and India also rated as 50 FV, same as Long. So all are assigned a surplus value of $28 Million. But in no way does Long have the same probability of achieving the same WAR of any of those 3, particularly Greene. Long has same prospect value (in $ terms) as Greene? That’s a joke. The number is meaningless until Fangraphs can figure out a more relevant individualized approach to value.

      • citizen54

        So basically you are just disputing Long’s 50 FV rating. If that’s the case, then you should take that one up with the scouts. If Long is really a 45 FV or even a 40 FV player then that makes this trade easier to swallow.

      • AllTheHype

        No, I’m no disputing Long’s 50 FV rating. I’m disputing that Fangraphs casts a VERY wide net over prospects and values all 50 FV the same, when clearly they are not the same. The Reds have five 50 FV rated prospects. Extrapolate that to MLB and that’s about 150 prospects that ALL have a $28 Million surplus value. That’s just nonsensical and not useful at all. They have valued prospects on the macro level instead of micro. And that makes their system meaningless.

      • AllTheHype

        One other point. Since Greene and Long have the same 50 FV, and therefore the same $28 Million surplus value, it would not change Doug Gray’s financial analysis in this article if the Reds had traded Greene instead of Long. So basically Doug’s financial analysis using Fangraph’s valuation is moot because I’m pretty sure everyone would agree Greene Long.

      • citizen54

        Not sure what you want Fangraphs to do. How do you expect Fangraphs to distinguish between a 50 FV player that you like and a 50 FV that you don’t like? And obviously if you want to get an average of a population you are going to need to look at it from a macro level. Honestly, I’m not even sure what your point is. No one said that all 50 FV players are the same. The only statement they made was that the average production from a 50 FV player is worth around $28 million in surplus value. Whether one particular 50 FV player is more likely to be better than another has no effect on the average.

        As for your comparison between Greene, Long, Santillan and India, yes they are all currently 50 FV prospects but any one of their rankings could change in the future. Long is probably the only one whose prospect rating has peaked. If India, Greene and Santillan are still 50 FV prospects when they hit the big leagues then you could probably value them all equally when it comes to surplus value, after taking into account the discount given to pitchers.

      • Bill

        I’d suggest reading the article, if you haven’t already. Fangraphs has another analysis in the same article that spreads the valuations across the Top 130 prospects. Long is ranked #71 on this list with a value of $24M. I haven’t seen anyone else rank Long in the top 100.

        Here’s a suggestion. Find where you think Long would be on the chart and there you’ll find his value. Jose Siri came in at #118 and a value of $13M. To me, that may be a little closer to where Long is, if not still a little high. Long has 682 PA and 593 AB at AA with a .745 OPS. In the AFL he was 100 points lower. $28M is too high, but that doesn’t mean the Fangraph’s methodology is a bad one.

      • AllTheHype

        Thanks BIll. Fangraph’s scaled valuation (based on top 131 ranking) makes much more sense than just assigning a generic value to all prospects of the same grade, since all prospects are not equal and certainly 150 prospects with a 50 grade are not all equal.

  2. Wes

    The Fangraphs gauge is a joke. No clue why you think it’s a tool to consider value of a player. Here are several easy ways to debunk it-

    Go through all of reds prospects in past 10- 15 years who reached a 50 grade or higher and list how many actually made it to a value of 28 million.

    1 is Alfrod. Everyone said the 6 million he got was a vast overpay, but according to Fangraphs the value reds paid is less than 1/4 of his value at time of sign.

    Prior to new agreement many 50 grade international players sign for 2-5 million. If they are all worth 28 million- why aren’t they signing for 10-20 million when there’s that much profit to turn ?

    Reds fan base is almost unanimous in being upset that they are loosing a pick in early 30s vs long. Yet long is 3x more valuable than that pick ?

    Poor teams like Miami and Tampa and Oakland would sell their prospects for cash if they had that kind of return.

    So As could sell Sheldon neuse, Jeremy eierman, Greg deichmann, for 14 million each and teams purchasing should expect a 2x return on their money. Ever seen that happen in baseball? Players get sold but never for that kind of money.

    Promise there is not 1 gm that would use this as any weight in a tool to acquire a player. In the reds case it boiled down to how can you get guys in cincy? and since they were rejected by every free agent pitcher of stature- trading is the only way to acquire talent. So only real gauge of scale is how likely is it prospect succeeds at mlb level, probability of future need, and what did u get in return. When u use that formula- reds hit a grand slam w dodgers and Yankees.

    • Doc

      Agree with you, Wes.

      As far as I am concerned, unless/until these valuations are tracked and published annually for a particular trade, they have no value. Unless it is shown in specific trades how the date-of-trade valuation actually works out over the course of several years, it is worthless drivel. It’s like all the dire predictions for so many other things (climate change, second coming, the list is nearly endless). When the predictions don’t come true, they are quickly forgotten and the prognosticators seldom held to task.

  3. Optimist

    I still like Shed, and think he’s in the right spot with the Ms – much more so than NYY. That said, though, doesn’t his surplus value start diminishing at some point – namely, the longer he’s not in MLB, the lesser it is? Finally, is it currently at its maximum?

    The other side of the question is if Sanmartin has a hot start and jumps a bit in the prospect list, does that get added to the credit column?

    I think we’ll know fairly quickly how it balances out.

  4. Patrick

    Doug you are off on his pitching change
    in 2017 is when he started using his fastball less it was 55% in 2017 and 2018
    He was over 60% before that.
    With the drop in fast balls his strikeout rate changed
    2015 7.31 k/9
    2016 7.23 k/9
    2017 8.48 k/9
    2018 8.49 k/9

    He may not be facing the DH any more but he maybe facing better line ups in the NL Central compared with AL East

    I can see him posting a 4.40 era this year and then regressing slightly each year.

    Also huge concerns with his 7+ era the second time through the line up. Plus with struggling in Yankee Stadium also does not bode well for pitching GABP

  5. Stock

    Easily best trade of the three.

    1. I have looked at the underlying stats a lot the last few days and firmly believe the Gray of Oakland will be pitching in Cincinnati this year. I see a WAR of 3+. This makes him a borderline #1. I have no doubt that Johnson has done more than his share of analysis and the Reds would not have extended Gray had they not felt a consistent 3+ WAR was in the cards. Otherwise why different treatment than Wood who has had a better career (higher career WAR in 100 fewer IP).

    2. Shed Long is over-rated in my opinion. I don’t think he will ever have much more than a cup of coffee as a pro.

    3. Sanmartin may be under-rated. Kind of reminds me of Castillo in a way. All the experts said he was a RP. Turns out the experts were way wrong. I know he doesn’t have Castillo’s FB or change-up. But maybe Bronson Arroyo with better control and command. In 5 year period Arroyo averaged a WAR of 3.3. That is an Ace. Maybe that is Sanmartin’s ceiling. That is fine. I just know he is worth far more than $1 million. Maybe he is Gray? I will rank him above Gutierrez for sure. Since Doug has Gutierrez and Long back to back maybe Sanmartin = Long.

    4. Hard to judge what the draft pick is worth by looking at the # only. Especially back several years where people were drafted 35 but paid 1st round money. They just drop because of sign ability issues.

    • Patrick

      Which Gray of Oakland pre or post injury guy.

      Gray missed time in 2016 and 2017. Quite frankly he has not been the same pitcher since. In 2017 he had a good ERA but his other stats do not back number up (lucky)
      But in 2018 his ERA was higher than it should have been. But looking at sierra he has been the same pitcher the last 3 years which is about a 4.25 era guy. His FIP as a starter last year was 4.26.

  6. Bernie

    I think it’s very simple; if Gray is a slightly above average pitcher or better then the deal and extension are a win for the Reds and only time will tell on that. Generally speaking, pitchers that move from the American League and especially the AL East to the National League tend to improve their numbers.

  7. Doc

    How much is Gray’s 2018 innings negatively influecing his valuation by whichever system is being used? Doug references not having pitched xxx innings since whatever year. However, Gray was removed from the rotation during the 2018 season. Since starters are throwing 160-200 innings and relievers are throwing fewer than 70 innings, it is not legitimate to ding him for not reaching starter level innings in 2018. How much did his trade in 2017 to the Yankees skew his 2017 innings level during the transition from A’s to Yankees?

    I suspect these things are not measured in the fancy schmancy valuation system.

  8. James Phillips

    If you aren’t facing one of the Yankees or Red Sox, the AL East wasn’t any better than the NL Central in OPS.

  9. Walter

    I don’t see how Shed Long can be valued at $28M. There’s no guarantee he makes it to the big leagues, let alone an everyday starter. I like him as a prospect, but it was hard to see how he would’ve broke through. I think the biggest thing the Reds lost was their draft pick. It seems the competitive balance picks have become good trade chips for the Reds this offseason.

  10. Oldtimer

    Gray should be good SP for Reds the next few years. Sanmartin should be good LHP in minors for Reds next two years. After that, it depends. Nice throw-in.

    The Mariners thought enough of Shed Long to give up their #2 in 2018 draft (to NYY) for him. With DH is AL, Long may have an opportunity other than 2B.

    The 2019 draft pick sent by Reds to NYY is yet to be determined. Who knows?

  11. Greenfield Red

    It will be interesting to see who the Reds opening day starter is. A case can be made for Castillo, Disco, and Gray with the other two not far behind.

      • Ryan

        I think Disco is right in middle of Greenfield and Bob’s valuation. Definitely not opening day starter but he also deserves a spot to show whether hes healthy or not. Having Gray on-board and Mahle and Reed in the wings mitigates alot of the risk of having Disco on the roster. Their season does not rely on his health or production, which is a very good thing.

  12. Jbrat22

    I think it’s funny how so many commenters are immediately writing off this valuation system as garbage. It sounds like what happens every time someone comes up with a new innovative idea…everyone trashes it for the first 2-3 years until people realize it actually works.

    If you guys don’t think every MLB team has some sort of analytical method like this for valuing their players/prospects, you’re out of touch. It’s most likely not the only thing they use to evaluate trade proposals, but they most certainly exist and are used.

    • AllTheHype

      Approx 150 prospects across MiLB have the same surplus value attached to them, $28 Million. Long has it, and so does Greene, India, Santillan, and T Stephenson. Do you think Hunter Greene and Shed Long have the same value as prospects?

      • Jbrat22

        Not sure where you’re getting your numbers, but Hunter Greene is a 60-grade prospect. According to the value system Doug is referring to, he is worth $60 million. So no, I (and the value system) don’t think Long and Greene have the same value as prospects.

        You are correct about Santillan and Tyler Stephenson being 50-grade. However India is a 55-grade prospect.

      • Jbrat22

        I understand what you’re saying about Fangraphs casting a wide net on valuing 50-grade prospects (and I agree), but I think the $ values from this valuation system Doug is referring to uses Baseball Americas ratings

      • AllTheHype

        They are based on Fangraph’s rating, not BA. Doug linked the Fangraph’s article ( and actually as I read this, it seems Fangraphs themselves states exactly what I’m saying, that valuing all 50 grade prospects at the same number serves no purpose….”so while the numbers come out as one value per valuation, the rankings would serve little purpose if we simply placed the same value on all players with a 50 grade”. So they weighted them based on the players ranking in the top 131. You can see at the top of the 50 tier, Hunter Greene (#46) is valued at $31 M but the last 50 grade player (#131) is valued at $9 M. So I don’t think Doug is using this information correctly or within the context the Fangraphs suggested, where the numbers should be weighted according to top 131 ranking. Since Long doesn’t appear in the top 131, he can’t be weighted and therefore has no value assigned, according to the context of the article.

      • AllTheHype

        Interesting. I didn’t even look for him because I figured he wasn’t ranked.

      • Bill

        Not to be repetitive, but Siri is #118 with a value of $13M … personally, I think that’s a lot closer to a consensus value on Long. I’ve seen no one else show him in the Top 100. His performance at AA is middling over 2 seasons. He did nothing in the AFL to boost his value. He’s near the bottom of the 50 FV players if he’s still on the chart.

  13. Jbrat22

    If you think about it, all a player has to do is produce 1 WAR for his 3 pre-arb years, then be non-tendered and he has produced ~$28 million in surplus value.

  14. Bob Anderson

    It’s really simple. Grey gets it back together or the deal flopped. No matter what Long does.

  15. RobL

    All of this FV worth seems like a waste of analysis. First, the guys at Fangraphs have always been high on Shed. For two years he has been described as an everyday second baseman in the majors. They like his pop. I would venture to say that they are the high side on Shed. To counter that, they have always been low on Santillan. He has been referred to as a future reliever. I would say they are the low side for him. Now to further the point, the Yankees who have jedi mind control on the Reds, flipped Shed and his 28 million dollar value to Seattle for a 35+FV. I don’t know what that relates to in value, but it ain’t close to 50. So who’s right? I have no clue, but obviously FV is in the eye of the beholder and deciding how you feel about a trade based on one site’s ranking seems like a poor choice.

    • Jbrat22

      FWIW, MLB pipeline had Shed as a 50-grade prospect and Stowers, the guy the Yankees traded for, as a 45-grade prospect. I read somewhere that the Yankees didn’t have room on their 40-man for Shed, so they traded him for someone they didn’t have to put on their 40-man

      • RobL

        It’s true that the Yanks picked up two 40 man spots with these trades and it does factor in. And I believe that Stowers must be undervalued by the initial FG ranking. But read Shed’s write up at FG, and you see that they are losing faith in his ability to play 2nd and admit that a corner spot does not work for his offensive profile. To me, a 50 grade should either be a player you are certain will be close to average in the bigs, or have a high ceiling and far from the majors.

        Now for my next point, that FV value can only be realized if he plays in the majors. And with two prospects rated higher than Shed at second, the opportunity to realize that value is slim. So in order to maximize value, you need to find a trade partner. Then you have to find a partner who needs a 40 man second baseman and has a solid veteran arm that they are willing to part with. You are now swimming in a very shallow pool.

        To me, the analysis should be that the Reds traded someone that they didn’t see as a future piece of the Reds for a piece that will be a future Red.

        And the comp pick hurts their flexibility in the draft, but so does picking seventh instead of second, like when they got Trammall. But they got a prospect back that seems like he has some real ability and not just a lottery ticket arm.

      • Stock

        They had to have room. Gray was taken off the 40 man roster in the trade.

  16. $$

    Dumb piece..Shed Long is NOT worth $28M. I am LMFAO at this premise.

  17. Cguy

    Whether you like Sonny Gray being a Reds sp for 4 years or not, You gotta give dibs to the Reds management for this unique method of acquiring him. They more than have held their own with the Dodgers, Nationals, & Yankees this offseason. For this franchise, that’s a trifecta.

  18. Moses

    Slightly off topic, but I suspect that the Reds will now try to extend Wood before his arbitration hearing. I’d offer a 3 year deal for $36 million, which is this year’s roughly $9M and $27M for the next two. Wood has said all the right things since the trade and seems excited to be joining Cincy. I think that something in that range could get it done.

  19. cinvenfan

    You can agree or not, but. Sir, you do not have the right to be urespectful.

  20. Stock

    To be more accurate Fangraphs should break the 50’s into several categories. India is one of the highest ratings so his surplus value is actually closer to $37 million. Long however is at the bottom of the list. His surplus value should be $18 million.

  21. Stock

    I disagree with Long having a surplus value of $28 million. I think $18 million is more reasonable.

    As for the slot CBA pick I think $4 million projection is more reasonable. Last year the slot bonus for the 36th pick was about $2 million. That is about what Siani, Gray and Richardson signed for last summer. Fangraphs give them a value of 6, 3 and 3 (on average $4). These two adjustments mean Gray and Sanmartin need a total WAR of 6.5 in Gray’s next 4 years and Sanmartin first 3 years. I think they will double that.

  22. Bill

    Doug, I appreciate the analysis. The bottom line is that Gray needs to generate a little more than 2 WAR per year to make this trade worthwhile. We clearly needed a starting pitcher more than a AA 2B. For those that see Long a little overrated at $28M, the trade should look even better. I frankly think this trade is a wonderful bet on the Reds part. Moreover, its a bet the Reds can afford to lose if they are wrong.

    • Amarillo

      The fallacy of surplus value is that the WAR multiplier is based on the cost of a free agent player. This means that the metric is based on players who have already spent 6 years in the majors. Among 50 FV players, most will not reach the point in their careers that their evaluation is based upon. A player who has the ability to survive for 6 years in the Major Leagues and reach free agency will by default have amassed at least 1 WAR per year. If they have not, they would likely be non-tendered at some point and replaced. Using the arbitrary 1 WAR per year that I made up out of nowhere for a player that is able to reach free agency, that means they will have earned a surplus value of 54 Million. Basically, a barely above replacement level player is worth double the average expected value and the rest of the players don’t come close to that. It would make more sense to use FV as a metric if the high and low ends were removed from the dataset (maybe the high and low 20%? Or some number closer to the median.

  23. Justin

    A couple quotes from Gray mention what reads as motivation. He says that he’s excited to work with Johnson because “he knows what makes me go” and that his year + in New York taught him “what makes him go”.

    We’d all be lying if we didn’t say that sometimes we don’t do our best work because we struggle to find motivation. I think things like this are reasons that some players do make major career turnarounds. Impossible to project but too possible to ignore. I hope he finds what makes him go in Cincy.

    • Ryan

      The thing he said i like the most was along the lines of “Struggles now or in the past can help in the future”.

  24. mark l

    The best thing about this trade is that it keeps us from wasting 100 mil on Keuchel.

    • The Duke

      I’ll be shocked if he even gets $75 mil, let alone $100 mil. My 4 year $72 mil prediction stands, wherever he signs. Philly?

  25. Charlie Waffles

    MLB has cleared a Cuban SS to sign with any ML team. He is said to be a mostly glove and little stick kind of SS.
    Well, well, the Reds better get their checkbook out. The Reds certainly get a stiffy on any all glove, no bat SS’s from Cuba that will never reach the Major Leagues.
    Too bad, I guess the Reds are still under penalty from the last all glove-no bat Cuban SS they signed that is still toiling away in the low, low minors.

  26. Ryan

    I like the trade, i did hate it until the extension came to light. I’m also in the camp that thinks the $28 million dollar valuation is not 100% accurate. Is a War in hand worth 2 in the Bush? Probably. Even if he is worth 28 mil in War, thats spread out over 6 or 7 years. I guess the argument is that he couldve been traded for something more, because he doesnt provide any help to the Reds in the foreseeable future(zero positional flexibility is to blame b/c i really do like his swing). Who can you get thats better than Gray for the package they gave up? Any other pitchers that have more than snowball chance to be a #3 with control on a contract under 10 mil per season? Highly doubt it.

    Before the trade, Disco and one of Stephenson, Reed, or Mahle were guaranteed spots in the rotation. Couldve been a decent rotation. Adding Gray helps the top and bottom of the rotation. If Mahle or any of the others dominate ST, AAA, or bullpen, the Reds have a good problem on their hands. Im very happy that there are no 40 y/o Arroyo’s, Yovani Gallardo’s, Simon’s, or Kevin Gregg’s going anywhere near the pitching staff.
    I think you also have to bring the current market and their market/ballpark into the equation. No starting pitcher is going to sign a 1 year prove it deal, ala Harvey, with the Reds. The exact opposite is true for hitters (Josh Donaldson(and his agent) probably wish Suarez wasnt a Red). Also the second base market is suppressed/saturated right now, and GABP would likely allow the Reds to get one for Market value or even below.

    Another reason to like the trade, as someone who values having a good farm system, is that they likely wont mortgage the future to get Kluber. The Reds also likely feel a lot less pressure to splurge on Keuchle. Both of those guy had a noticeable drop in velocity and would have eaten up much more future payroll. Those are HUGE gambles, unlike the calculated risk they made. They are both older and have much more mileage on their arms. They just got out from under Bailey’s contract, no need to rush right back and sign an aging pitcher for multiple, highly expensive years. Yes they are former CY young winners, but I think there’s a really decent chance Gray outperforms them both over the next 3 years.

    I do disagree with those that say the Reds won b/c at least they did something. AJ Preller did a whole lot of something in San Diego about 3-4 years ago, how did that go?
    No, the Reds won b/c they got a guy that has legit chance to be an above-average pitcher, on a below-average contract, for a guy that has a decent chance to be a platoon-type 2nd baseman(Reds have no need for), and a draft pick(which was the real prize for the Devil, er, i mean the Yankees). 2019 should be a really fun year to watch Reds baseball, unless your into defense lol.

  27. Oldtimer I count 8 times since 1950s that Reds have improved their W total by 15 or more games from the prior year. 1994 and 1995 aren’t included because 1994 was incomplete season due to strike.

    It is certainly POSSIBLE again in 2019. The Reds added 7 MLB quality players to their roster in exchange for 4 MiLB prospects and Homer Bailey’s contract.