Sunday, June 27, 2010

Who Would You Trade for Stephen Strasburg?

After 4 glorious games, have we seen enough of Stephen Strasburg to annoint him as the most valued player in the world? If we put aside team need and contract, is there anyone in the league for whom you would trade Pitching Jesus? I know that some people are curious to see the 21 year old phenom against a better lineup, but this is more curiosity than a concern. Pitching Jesus is legit and the only long term concern is that pitchers are major injury risks, particularly ones throwing stinky cheese. I have been debating this all weekend with friends, and the list of guys I think are more valuable than Strasburg at this moment is short, really short. To be clear, we are doing something similar to the NBA trade value column that Sports Guy does for; we are disregarding team need and contract size, and only taking into account age, performance, position, etc. Here is the list of guys that I at least consider for Strasburg (with age in parentheses and in no particular order):
  1. Matt Wieters (24) - Jokes!
  2. Tim Lincecum (26) - Older than I realized, but seems a safe bet to avoid injury problems and pitch extremely well for years.
  3. Hanley Ramirez (26) - Slightly on the old side, but plays a premium position.
  4. Evan Longoria (24) - Younger than Hanley and without character issues despite not being as good of a hitter.
  5. Jason Heyward (20) - The only player on the list younger than Pitching Jesus is having a monster rookie campaign. He does not play a premium position though, and has only proven himself for half a season.
  6. Felix Hernandez (24) - Don't forget about King Felix. Healthy, young, and dominant puts him as a very strong possibility.
  7. Justin Upton (22) - Going into the season, he was the best young hitter in the game, but has now lost that title to Heyward.
  8. Yovani Gallardo (24) - He is proving himself this year and is still young.
  9. Clayton Kershaw (22) - The youngest pitcher on this list and just a year older than Strasburg. His walk rate and G/F ratios are not good, but a ton of strikeouts and is keeping the ball in the park so far.
  10. Ubaldo Jimenez (26) - The most dominant pitcher this season is a little older than I'd like, and does not have the track record to make me confident that he will continue maintain this level of performance.
  11. Francisco Liriano (26) - having a terrific year, but age and history of arm trouble are not what I'm looking for.
  12. Ryan Braun (26) - Stud hitter but a little old and plays LF.
  13. Albert Pujols (30) - Absurd that a 30 year old can make this list, but he is just that good. He could maintain his level of performance for at least 6 more years and I wouldn't be surprised.
  14. Josh Johnson (26) - A little old, and some previous arm trouble.
That is everyone, just 13 guys that would at least make the Nationals think. Some of my friends think none of these guys make the cut for Strasburg, but I think you have to trade him for the following:
  1. Evan Longoria
  2. Jason Heyward
  3. Hanley Ramirez
As you can see, all 3 of these guys are hitters. The biggest concern for me is the injury risk, and I think you have to play it safe with a position player in these instances. Although Strasburg has a higher injury risk than some of the other pitchers, he is younger and better than his peers and thus no pitchers make the list; the closest call for me is Felix Hernandez, but you can't make that move. I also should note that Strasburg is the biggest draw in baseball right now, and the money he is worth to a team goes beyond his contributions to winning. However, Strasburg's shine will likely wear off a bit after this season, 'Oh, just another 8 K/0 BB/0 HR performance...'.

I can understand if you put Strasburg as the #1 asset in baseball and welcome everyone's opinions, but if Pitching Jesus can maintain his performance through the end of the season, there won't even be a debate.

(Image courtesy of, ages and stats courtesy of and


  1. Are you forgetting our best player plays third base? Where are you going to play Longoria?

    And Hanley Ramirez' developing rep for being lazy and ripping managers decreases his value.

  2. As mentioned, we are disregarding team need, so the fact that Longoria and Zimm play the same position is not important here.

    Agreed on Hanley, but he still makes the 3 man list, just a crazy good hitter who could rake for 10 more years.

  3. this is a ludicrous list

  4. I'd take out Hanley for Justin Upton on that list, and say Upton and Heyward are close calls. I think Longoria is honestly the only one that's a no-brainer.

  5. You sir are an idiot. There are two and only two players worth more than Strasburg right now. The Machine and Doc.

  6. not even a mention of Joey Votto?

  7. Machine and Doc are too old, although they are the reason I didn't make this 'if MLB had a dispersal draft where every roster was emptied, who would be the #1 pick?' In that scenario, I think a team could take the short term low risk route and take Pujols or Halladay.

    I also agree that Longoria is #1 on the my list, and the one that makes me hesitate the least. Justin Upton just missed being the 4th guy for me.

    Votto is a great call and probably an oversight from my list of 13. That said, he is 26 and plays 1B, so definitely not worthy of Pitching Jesus.

  8. Adrian Gonzales!!!

  9. How about Jonathan Pappleborn and Dice Kay

  10. Adrian Gonzalez is a good call. He's rock solid on all counts (character, youth, abilty, health). Young fireballers, however great initially, can always flame out. I'd make the deal.

  11. Sorry but until Pitching Jesus gets around the league at least once through not one of these players would be dealt to the Nationals. Yes, the kid is filthy but we'll see how filthy he really is when is faced the 2nd time around.

  12. No mention of Joe Mauer and all he has done is what no other catcher ever has? Not to mention he could easily move in years to play first or a corner outfield spot to ease health issues that pop up for catchers and keep his bat in there. Not to mention the defense a catcher brings in working with a staff and calling the game is greatly unnoticed, who else could have resurrected the Pavstache!

  13. 26 is old? hahaha
    strasburg has only pitched in like 5 games. He lost 2 of them, sure he strikes alot of people out. As soon as these major league hitters see him a few times, he'll just become another Greinke.
    p.s. stop calling him pitching jesus, that's just dumb.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.