Pittsburgh Pirates Complete Archer Deal, Trade Baz

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 03: at PNC Park on August 3, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 03: at PNC Park on August 3, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Pirates have completed the trade with the Tampa Bay Rays for Chris ArcherShane Baz will be the player to be named later.  Here’s an overview on the value exchanged between the two clubs.

A few days ago, Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic hinted that Shane Baz would be the player to be named later going to Tampa Bay.  Today, John Dreker of Pirates Prospects reported that Baz was indeed the player to be going in the trade:

Since then, both the Pirates and Rays have confirmed the official deal is Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, and Shane Baz for Chris Archer is the complete deal.  On names, that seems like a high price to give up for the Pirates, trading away a former top prospect, and two guys who were in their top five of prospects entering the season (Meadows has since graduated).

Since the time of the trade, Glasnow has struck out 20 batters and allowed three runs in 12 innings, Archer has allowed seven (five earned) in 9.3 innings, and Meadows has been optioned to Triple-A Durham.

But now that the deal is complete, let’s go back and look at the value received and given up on July 31st, but this time including Baz.  Using the surplus method and Baseball Prospectus projections, it’s a rather easy calculation that gives some look at the value.  For this calculation, we’ll assume one win is worth $8 million on the open market with a 5.90 percent growth rate year-to-year.  Below are Archer’s projections, something noted when he first got here:

YearAgeWARPContractGrowth RateLeague $/WARSurplus
2018291.00 $2,138,889.005.90% $8,000,000.00 $5,861,111.00
2019304.30 $7,666,667.005.90% $8,472,000.00 $28,762,933.00
2020*314.00 $9,000,000.005.90% $8,971,848.00 $26,887,392.00
2021*323.80 $11,000,000.005.90% $9,501,187.03 $25,104,510.72
 13.10 $29,805,556.00 $86,615,946.72

Assuming both options get picked up (2020 and 2021), Archer is projected to be worth 13 wins over three years and two months, and average four wins a year from 2019 through 2021.  Given his team friendly contract, with him topping out at $11 million (or about $9.2 million in 2018 when adjusting for the 5.9 percent growth rate), it fits what the Pirates look for in control.  Add it up, and the Pirates are projected to get about $86-87 million in value from Archer.

On the return side, using the prospect values that The Point of Pittsburgh has licensed out to Fangraphs, the Pirates gave up some value in terms of prospects.  Below are the values in dollar by prospect grade:

75$175 million$83 million
70$107 million$62 million
65$70 million$62 million
60$60 million$34 million
55$38 million$22 million
50$20 million$14 million
45$11 million$13 million

Using The Board, or Fangraphs prospect list, acquiring Meadows and Baz’s dollar value is simple.  The prospect team evaluated Baz as a 50 pitcher with high risk, which equates to $14 million in value.  When the season began, Austin Meadows was pegged as a 55 future value hitter, and he’s essentially still a prospect in terms of value, he just doesn’t meet the criteria of a prospect.  A 55 hitter is worth $38 million in value, adding up to $52 million in value lost.

The last time that Tyler Glasnow was evaluated in 2017, he was a 55 future value, though in years past he was more of a 60.  The lack of control and little success at the big league level has put some damper on his once budding prospect status, which he lost last year.  But now Glasnow has finally started missing bats at the big league level, and a 55 pitcher represents a three or four starter, or a mid level closer.  Glasnow can still be that, if not more given his past.  If he maintains some semblance of control, this deal could look really bad for the Pirates as Glasnow fills into that 60/65 prospect value range ($34 to $62 million).

As a 55, Glasnow represents a player worth $22 million.  That puts the players lost at a $74 million loss, a net gain of $12 million in value for the Pirates.  But here’s the caveat, Glasnow was a 55 in 2017 and Meadows a 65 hitter ($60 million).  Those two have risks, Glasnow control and Meadows health, but they also have great potential to make the deal look really one-sided.  And this doesn’t include the potential that Baz has, whose lack of control and youth makes him more of a question.  That could be another mid rotation pitcher lost, but with how far away he is, that’s tougher to project.

This also assumed Archer is a four win pitcher from 2019-2021, if he’s more of a 3.5 win pitcher his value is $72.5 when including the projected one win in 2018.  That’s more in line with the surplus values above.

The trade seems big on paper with the names, but the surplus between the players reflects the trade is about even, which is the intended goal of all trades (not losing any value, or the equilibrium).  The problem is the volatility in all the players involved.  At times, Archer has looked unhittable but at other times he underperforms his stuff.  The same can be said with Glasnow, whose biggest question is the control.  Meadows hasn’t performed in Triple-A and has a lengthy injury history, but he’s performed at the Major League level and was a 65 just a season ago.  Baz was last year’s first round pick, but he does have some control problems, but it’s a five pitch mix.

dark. Next. Pirates Must Sweep The Twins

Both teams are betting on the upside of the players, and if Meadows and Glasnow (the two Major League ready players) can stay healthy and get it to click, the Pirates will have overpaid.  But the trade, like almost all non Miami Marlins trades, is even in terms of value going in and out given the current climate.  But for the Pirates, simply acquiring Archer and betting on his upside isn’t enough, they also have to make the necessary moves in the offseason (upgrading middle infield) to really make the trade worth it going forward.