The Trade Formula
I thought I'd expand a little bit on a story that was in the paper today. . .
Relatively speaking, trades are rare, and they are rare because there are a plethora of variables that factor in to the consummation or ruination of any deal. To me, the equation every team must run before settling on a deal is as follows:
Need + Ability + Flexibility + Availability/(Expected return)
I was never good at math, so that might not make any sense at all. But let me try to explain. There are four key factors that must fit before a deal can be struck: A team's need for an extra player, a team's ability to put together a competitive package of players in return, a team's financial flexibility to fit the acquistion into its budget, and the availability of the potential acquisition in the marketplace. Already there are a lot of factors. But then you have to take each one of those factors and divide them by the return your scouting department expects to get from the target.
What is my point? My point is that the Phillies current situation is not as simple as them deciding, "We need to go out and add a top of the rotation pitcher." That's the easy part. And manager Charlie Manuel said publicly yesterday what the entire organization already realizes:
The Phillies would not have won a World Series last season if Brett Myers did not pitch like a top of the rotation pitcher for the final three months of the season. And they will be hard-pressed to win one this year if they don't find somebody who is capable of doing the same.
"Once Myers goes out, we've got to find somebody close to Myers to replace him," Manuel said. "Myers is a top of the rotation pitcher. We pay him a lot of money to pitch for us, and you've got to say he was our No. 2. We've got to find somebody that can go in the rotation and replace him."
But again: that's the easy part. The hard part is making it work.
That's why you should not hold your breath for Jake Peavy or Roy Oswalt. First of all, both players have the power to veto any trade. Second of all, both players will be handsomely compensated for the next three seasons. Big picture, the Phillies will need someone to fill Myers shoes if they elect not to re-sign him at the end of the season. But once you trade for Oswalt or Peavy, you have made the decision who that someone will be. The Phillies say they have financial flexibility to add salary. I estimate they will have $100 million committed to seven regulars, two starters and three relievers before it comes time to fill out the rest of the roster. But they have to decide whether that flexibility, combined with the players you will give up, is worth the reward that target will bring. And all of that is assuming the player is available to begin with.