Trades from the Trade Value Lists: Part 4 – 2012-2014

Here’s Part 4 of my look at Dave Cameron’s past Trade Value lists. Over the last three write-ups, we’ve gone from Dave’s 2007 rankings way back on and examined what kind of return teams were getting for their players listed among the top trade assets in the game. We’ve seen young superstars in their prime get dealt, pitchers coming off recent Cy Young seasons shown the door, teams waiting too long to trade their top assets, and even a young stud outfielder shipped off because of makeup concerns. Now it’s time to finish our journey down memory lane with three more trades, all fascinating in their own unique ways.

All trade information was taken from For each player, I’ve included next to his name, his age at the time of trade, along with his final year of team control and the amount due for that player including all team options.


  1. Justin Upton, 25, controlled through 2015, $38.5 million
  • January 24, 2013: Traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks with Chris Johnson to the Atlanta Braves for Brandon Drury (minors), Nick Ahmed, Randall Delgado, Martin Prado and Zeke Spruill.

For Justin Upton, we can do much better in evaluating his trade value than just looking at what Arizona actually received in return. Seattle had made an offer that the Diamondbacks accepted about two weeks before this actual deal went down, and that would’ve been the package, done and done, until Upton himself stepped in and vetoed the whole thing, forcing Kevin Towers to look in a different direction.

The trade that fell through with Seattle would’ve sent prospects Nick Franklin, Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, and Taijuan Walker to Arizona. Let’s look at the pedigree of these guys first.

2013 Opening Day Age BA Overall Top 100 (2/19/13) BA (SEA) Org (12/3/12) FG Overall Top 100 (3/11/13) FG Org (SEA) Top 15 (12/18/12)
Taijuan Walker, RHP 20 18 2 13 2
Nick Franklin, 2B/SS 22 79 5 74 4
Stephen Pryor, RHP 23 N/A 11 N/A 14


Furbush was a 26-year-old lefty reliever who had a solid first season out of the bullpen in 2012 after having a disastrous 2011 in the rotation. He wasn’t nothing, as the southpaw struck out 29.1% of hitters he faced in 46.1 innings that year while accumulating 0.9 WAR. In fact, he’s still doing his thing in Seattle even now in 2015, having carved out a niche for himself in the Pacific Northwest.

For the 23rd best trade chip, Jack Zduriencik and his staff were willing to part with a consensus top-20 prospect, another top 100 guy, a solid organizational piece and a decent lefty arm. If this trade had gone through, Walker would have been the highest ranked prospect moved in this exercise (until the very next trade we look at, that is) since the 2007 trade that sent Miguel Cabrera to Detroit and top-10 prospects Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller to Miami. Had Upton not flexed his veto muscles and shot this deal down, Arizona would indeed have done very well for their outfielder, acquiring both quality and quantity.

Be that is it may, Upton did indeed say no, so the Braves swooped in to match the Upton in Arizona with the new shiny free agent acquisition they signed. With three prospects, a young major-league pitcher, and a wily utility veteran, Atlanta acquired Upton and Johnson. Shall we have a look at the minor-leaguers?

2013 Opening Day Age BA Overall Top 100 (2/19/13) BA (ATL) Org (12/10/12) FG Overall Top 100 (3/11/13) FG Org (ATL) Top 15 (1/18/13)
Nick Ahmed, SS 23 N/A 11 N/A 11
Brandon Drury, 3B 20 N/A 27 N/A N/A
Zeke Spruill, RHP 23 N/A 9 N/A 9

Along with these three organizational pieces, Arizona acquired Delgado, who was a top 50 overall prospect two years in a row before 2013, and Prado, the keystone of the package and the National League equivalent to Ben Zobrist. For his rookie season in 2012, Delgado held his own the first time around the league, putting up a 4.09 FIP and 0.9 WAR in 92.2 innings and 17 starts. The control was a bit lacking as his K-BB% was only a mediocre 8.5%, but still, the 22-year-old performed well enough to keep that prospect shine on and be a valuable trade chip for Atlanta.

As a 28-year-old who never had any sort of pedigree in his career, Prado exploded onto the season in 2012, racking up 5.4 WAR as the super utility player that the Braves could plug in anywhere at any time. Unfortunately, he only came with one year of control at the time of the trade, which is in stark contrast to Upton’s three years. It’s this lack of team control that makes me think Arizona’s better deal would’ve been from Seattle, with Walker and Franklin being two strong prospects that the Diamondbacks could’ve really used to get back to their 2011 levels of success.

Instead of what the Mariners offered, the Diamondbacks took on three (much) lesser prospects, a recently graduated pitching prospect, and a breakout player that they could only hold onto for one more year. While they did sign Prado to an extension immediately following the deal, it still doesn’t change the fact that Arizona could’ve done better for Upton, but was unable to because of the outfielder himself.

  1. Wil Myers, 21, controlled for six full years after call-up, PreArb – Arb3
  • December 9, 2012: Traded by the Kansas City Royals with Patrick Leonard (minors), Mike Montgomery and Jake Odorizzi to the Tampa Bay Rays for a player to be named later, Wade Davis and James Shields. The Tampa Bay Rays sent Elliot Johnson (February 12, 2013) to the Kansas City Royals to complete the trade.

Ah, this was a trade to remember. I still remember it like it was yesterday, with almost every analyst in shock that Dayton Moore would do something this incredulously stupid. You had Royals fans frantically trying to defend the move while Rays fans were jumping for joy that a consensus top 10 minor league talent was headed their way. In a twist of how these trades usually work, I’ve created the same prospect ranking graphic for the Royals players, which is the side for the ranked player. For the first time, the asset that Dave ranked was in the package, not being dealt for one.

2013 Opening Day Age BA Overall Top 100 (2/19/13) BA (TB) Org (1/31/13) FG Overall Top 100 (3/11/13) FG Org (TB) Top 15 (1/22/13)
Wil Myers, OF 22 4 1 4 1
Jake Odorizzi, RHP 23 92 5 86 6
Mike Montgomery, LHP 23 N/A 15 N/A N/A
Patrick Leonard 20 N/A 26 N/A N/A

My first impression when I examine this trade is that someone messed up. Either Dave was out of his mind ranking Myers in the top 40 and he shouldn’t have sniffed the list, or Kansas City got absolutely fleeced and could’ve received much more than Shields, Davis, and Johnson for this boatload of prospects. Yes, the current San Diego Padres right-hander was ranked on the last four lists, but he had fallen off by 2012 probably because he only had two years left on the insanely team-friendly contract the Rays got him to sign. Let’s compare the Royals’ return on Myers with the Blue Jays’ return on Halladay four years ago, as both players were ranked 37th at the All-Star Break and traded just months later in the offseason.

Toronto acquired three top 100 prospects in Kyle Drabek, Travis d’Arnaud, and Michael Taylor (not the current Washington Nationals outfielder), and both Drabek and d’Arnaud were ranked in the top 30 at the time of the trade. On the other hand, Kansas City acquired a 30-year-old starting pitcher with only two years of team control left, a failed starter turned useful reliever, and a piece in Johnson that really had no value at all. And keep in mind, it’s not like the Royals got that deal for just Myers. Rather, Myers was joined by fellow top 100 prospect Odorizzi along with two other useful pieces. I have to imagine that if Toronto somehow had prospects at the same level as Odorizzi, Montgomery, and Leonard and packaged them along with the identically ranked Halladay, they would’ve seen their return explode way past the level of Shields, Davis, and Johnson.

Maybe Dave was wrong and ranked Myers much too high, and major league front offices just don’t value unproven minor league talent that much, no matter the pedigree. For example, last year Addison Russell, who BA ranked 14th in the 2013-14 offseason, was dealt along with a couple solid top 10 organizational guys in Billy McKinney and Dan Straily for half a season of Jason Hammel and one and half seasons of Jeff Samardzija. Yes, prices go up during the season, but perhaps we’re overvaluing the top minor league talent in terms of trade value. Or maybe Dayton Moore and Billy Beane messed up in a big way and sold their prospects at laughable prices. I’m not sure.

The 2013 list saw no players get dealt within the year, but thanks to Billy Beane, we got one more off the 2014 list that stunned the baseball world and still confuses us months later.


  1. Josh Donaldson, 28, controlled through 2018, Arb1 – Arb4
  • November 28, 2014: Traded by the Oakland Athletics to the Toronto Blue Jays for Franklin Barreto (minors), Kendall Graveman, Brett Lawrie and Sean Nolin.

One year after Dave ranked Donaldson 17th and the star third baseman lost one year of team control, he slipped all of… zero spots. Since Oakland dealt him away, Donaldson has only gotten better, hitting for more power than ever before while maintaining the elite defense at the hot corner that allowed him to rack up 14 WAR in 2013 and 2014. The A’s received a former hype machine in Lawrie and these three prospects.

2015 Opening Day Age BA Overall Top 100 (2/20/15) BA (OAK) Org (12/3/14) FG Overall Top 200 (2/17/15) FG Org (OAK) Top 22 (2/24/15)
Franklin Barreto, SS 19 86 2 79 1
Kendall Graveman, RHP 24 N/A 6 N/A 5
Sean Nolin, LHP 25 N/A 7 N/A 8

Lawrie’s best seasonal output in WAR still remains his 2011 cup of coffee when he lit the world on fire with 2.6 wins in a mere 171 PA. Since then, injuries and poor performance have allowed the 25-year-old to only accumulate 6.2 WAR in 1660 mostly mediocre trips to the plate. Right before the trade during his injury-plagued 2014 season, Lawrie did earn 1.8 WAR in only 282 PA, which is approximately a 3.5 pace over 550 PA. If the Oakland front office was hoping for that kind of performance and health from him, that would be understandable and make this trade easier to swallow. Unfortunately, 2015 has been his worst year yet, with not much offense or defense to speak of.

As for the prospects that Beane acquired to restock the system, again, we see how if Donaldson really was the 17th most valuable trade chip, Toronto robbed Oakland blind. Zack Greinke, ranked 20th on the 2010 list, was worth a true blue-chip prospect in Alcides Escobar, another top 100 prospect rated better than Barreto in Jake Odorizzi, a major-league ready center fielder in Lorenzo Cain, and a solid organizational piece in Jeremy Jeffress. With all of Lawrie’s shine long gone after three hugely disappointing seasons, I would say he was not a significantly better trade piece than Cain was. Odorizzi was a better prospect than Barreto, and that leaves the shiny former top 20 prospect Escobar and Jeffress against Nolin and Graveman. No one knows what the Blue Jays could get if they traded Donaldson right now, and we will probably never find out, but you’d have to think they could do better than the package that sent to the Bay Area.

That’s it then. Sixteen players and fifteen deals across seven years of Trade Value lists. Thanks to anyone who stuck around and joined me on this journey through the past. As for the 2015 list, who could we see change teams between now and next year’s break? Could it be Yasiel Puig at 28, with rumors that the Dodgers have been shopping their 24-year-old outfielder? Maybe the 39th name on the list, Carlos Carrasco, gets moved as Cleveland decides to see what they can get for one of their stud pitchers. Or perhaps someone out of nowhere gets sent packing. Christian Yelich? Sonny Gray? Corey Seager? The possibilities are endless.

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8 years ago

I’d say that Dave was overrating Myers. After all, even the brightest prospects can go bust in the big leagues, while what you see is usually what you get with established Major League players (well, aside from sudden injuries, but those also affect minor league prospects).

8 years ago

That Donaldson trade looked bad last offseason, and it seems to get worse every day. What exactly do we think happened there? My guess is that Beane really underestimated the drop off between Donaldson and Lawrie. Maybe he was convinced that his true talent level was somewhere between the 150 wRC+ he put up in 2011 and the 100ish he has put up every other year since.