While simulating the offseason as part of the FanSided Offseason Simulation, we made four trades, which we’ll document and explain in consecutive posts. The first one went as follows:
Carlos Carrasco doesn’t get enough credit for being a top notch ace because he’s on the same staff as Kluber, but make no mistake – Carrasco is a champ. He’s been an above-average pitcher for five years running. He’s not a workhouse, and he has been beset by injuries at times, but he also hasn’t had an ERA above 4.00 since 2013.
He’s been sturdier recently, going an average 18-8 over 196 innings of 3.33 ERA baseball over the last two seasons. Front-line starting pitching always comes at a premium, so to get Carrasco to slide into the top of the Arizona rotation keeps the pitching staff viable in the near future. Further, he’s under contract for a very reasonable $9.5MM in 2020, so if the wheels fall off the cart, there’s still potential to get a significant return for the 6’3″ right-hander at the deadline.
These are the kinds of acquisitions it’s reasonable to expect the real Mike Hazen to target: high-ceiling contributors who can be dealt for prospects later on. Obviously, such players are not easy gets.
Peralta gives the Indians a legitimate power bat to replace Michael Brantley in left field. Last season was a career year for the lefty, who hit .293/.352/.868 with 30 home runs, 87 RBIs – good for 3.9 rWAR. It was a career year, but it also wasn’t far off his 2015, when he accumulated 3.6 rWAR. Regardless, since he is now entering his age-31 season, it’s likely that Peralta is what he is as a baseball player, a well-rounded bat-first player who can hold his own defensively, worth somewhere between 2 and 5 rWAR per season.
On the fringes of this deal is the swap of two high-ceiling players who have yet to really take off. Naquin is capable of handling center field, but only in a pinch. The former first-round pick is still just 27-years-old, and with 2.033 days of ML-service time, the Dbacks would control his rights for four more seasons. He’s a change-of-scenery candidate who could get significant run in Arizona’s outfield if they end up rebuilding.
Jimmie Sherfy, meanwhile, has potential as a late-inning relief arm. He’ll be a cheap option to fill the void left by departing free agents in Cleveland’s bullpen. In real life, he’ll probably do the same for Arizona in 2019, but in the make-believe world, he was a small price to pay to pick up an arm like Carrasco’s.
All in all, this deal maintains the Diamondbacks flexibility while changing the shape of the roster a little bit. Generally speaking, left field should be an easier void to fill than top-line starting pitching, and the salary difference isn’t so significant at less than $2MM.
That said, free agency doesn’t hold that many options in the outfield, so by the end of this simulation, the Diamondbacks would be left with some combination of Naquin, Eduardo Escobar, Socrates Brito and Jarrod Dyson sharing responsibilities in left field. The morale here being: roster flexibility often comes at the cost of reliability.
Let us know if you’d do this deal in the comments!