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Trade Value Calculator: Holliday Trades

Last week I introduced Sky Kalkman's Trade Value Calculator with an analysis of the Rafael Betancourt trade. This week, I'll examine three different trade packages using this calculator and determine which had greater value. Data involved comes from Fangraphs (WAR) and Cot's Contracts (salary).

As most of you know, last Friday the St. Louis Cardinals acquired former Rockies LF Matt Holliday from the Oakland A's for prospects 1B/3B Brett Wallace, RHP Clayton Mortenson, and OF Shane Peterson. It was the second time that Holliday had been traded in less than a year--the first of course being from the Rockies to the A's for RHP Huston Street, LHP Greg Smith, and OF Carlos Gonzalez. Before that the Rockies had been considering a package of OF Ryan Ludwick, OF/2B Skip Schumaker, and RHP Mitchell Boggs for their slugger.

Several people have analyzed the latest trade, including Keith Law of ESPN (who valued the second trade as higher than the first), and Marc Hulet of Fangraphs (who agreed). But those two were looking at the moves after the Rockies had received excellent value from Street and little (Gonzalez) or nothing (Smith) from the other two pieces. I will instead examine these trade packages from the times they were proposed or acted on...after the jump.

Without further ado, let's look at the three Matt Holliday trade packages chronologically:

St. Louis Proposal to Colorado, November 2008 (Ludwick, Schumaker, Boggs)

This package was rumored to have been acceptable to Dan O'Dowd and was apparently close to happening.

First, let's look at the theoretical trade value of Matt Holliday going into 2009 using the trade calculator. For Holliday's WAR projection, I used 6.0 WAR--a benchmark that he'll come pretty close to equaling this year. Once again, remember that as a likely Type A free agent Holliday's compensatory two first round picks would be worth around $5 million to the Rockies.

Matt Holliday (full 2009 season)

Year Sal (M) WAR Val (M) Net (M)
2009 $13.5 6.0 $27.2 $13.7
FA Picks $5.0  
Total $13.5 6.0 $32.2 $18.7

In other words, a conservative projection for Holliday (which he's on pace for) would place his value at $18.7 million for the Rockies before the 2009 season.

Here are the values of the St. Louis players:


Year Sal (M) WAR Val (M) Net (M) Sal (M) Arb %
2009 $3.7 2.5 $11.5 $7.8 $3.7  
2010 $9.7 3.5 $16.2 $6.5   60%
2011 $11.1 3.0 $13.9 $2.8   80%
FA Picks $0.0  
Total $24.5 9.0 $41.5 $17.0


Year Sal (M) WAR Val (M) Net (M) Sal (M) Arb %
2009 $0.4 1.0 $4.7 $4.3 $0.4  
2010 $2.3 1.2 $5.8 $3.5   40%
2011 $3.5 1.2 $5.8 $2.3   60%
2012 $3.9 1.0 $4.9 $1.0   80%
FA Picks $0.0  
Total $10.2 4.4 $21.2 $11.1


Rated as a C+ prospect by Sickels, the 25 year old Boggs was worth $1.5 million according to this table.

Total package value: $29.6 million 

This package would have been a net gain of $10.9 million going forward for the Rockies at the time.

Oakland Package to Colorado, November 2008 (Gonzalez, Smith, and Street)

David Ohno compared the Oakland and St. Louis packages as the trade was consummated. Remember, Holliday's value for an entire season is $18.7 million.


I have big-time problems rating Gonzalez, who was rated as a B+ prospect before the 2008 season but lost his prospect status going into 2009. I decided to project Gonzalez as growing into a league-average player by his sixth, last team-controlled year. This is definitely a conservative estimate for someone with Gonzalez's potential, but the risk is still there--that he will completely flame out.

Year Sal (M) WAR Val (M) Net (M) Sal (M) Arb %
2009 $0.4 0.8 $3.8 $3.4 $0.4  
2010 $0.4 1.0 $4.9 $4.5 $0.4  
2011 $0.4 1.2 $5.8 $5.4 $0.4  
2012 $2.9 1.5 $7.2 $4.3   40%
2013 $5.1 1.8 $8.5 $3.4   60%
2014 $7.9 2.1 $9.9 $2.0   80%
FA Picks $0.0  
Total $17.1 8.4 $40.0 $22.9


Greg Smith had a great, fluky 2008 (he was rated a C+ arm under 23), so one would certainly keep expectations low going into 2009 and beyond--never approaching his 2008 career year.

Year Sal (M) WAR Val (M) Net (M) Sal (M) Arb %
2009 $0.4 0.5 $2.5 $2.0 $0.4  
2010 $0.4 0.7 $3.6 $3.1 $0.4  
2011 $1.8 0.9 $4.5 $2.7   40%
2012 $2.9 1.0 $4.9 $2.0   60%
2013 $3.9 1.0 $4.9 $1.0   80%
FA Picks $0.0  
Total $9.4 4.1 $20.3 $10.8


Huston Street came to the Rockies as a proven commodity, one who had established himself as a 1.5 WAR reliever in the tougher AL--a probable Type A free agent.

Year Sal (M) WAR Val (M) Net (M) Sal (M) Arb %
2009 $4.5 1.6 $7.4 $2.9 $4.5  
2010 $6.4 1.7 $8.1 $1.6   80%
FA Picks $5.0  
Total $10.9 3.3 $20.5 $9.5

Total package value: $43.2 million

This package, at the time the trade was consummated, netted the Rockies $24.5 million in value, quite a coup for Dan O'Dowd indeed. Whether one agrees with Gonzales and Smith's projections, it is easy to see that five or six cost-controlled years of league-average or above replacement level player production are cumulatively worth more than one year of superstar level production--provided there is an opportunity for those players to perform at the major league level.

As it has turned out so far, Smith has been a zero, Street a hero, and Gonzalez remains an enigma.

St. Louis Package to Oakland, July 2009 (Wallace, Mortenson, and Peterson)

Erik Manning of Beyond the Boxscore has analyzed this trade already using the trade value calculator--and he finds that Oakland received a surplus of about $14.5 million in the deal.


This analysis shows that Oakland had a net loss of $10 million on their Matt Holliday acquisition and trade...and that Colorado received (by quite a bit) the superior package of players in return for the outfielder. Of course, it seems like a distinct possibility now that Greg Smith will never contribute much of value to Colorado, rendering it a more equal trade...though it could be argued that Street will return a higher value and that Gonzalez could become far and away more valuable than I've projected him to be.