Shields or Ubaldo?

These two charts show what their values are if they are establishing new levels of production. Shields takes the lead, but it’s not by nearly as much as the last scenario (Edit: It’s much closer now, if not dead-even, but this scenario seems the least likely of the three). The value of Jimenez’s contract is pretty overwhelming. Shields’ contract is getting past the point of being a huge bargain, though it is still a bargain, but Jimenez’s is a massive bargain.


These two charts are if the two go back to being what they were before this season, which I think is the second-most likely scenario. Both seasons could be blips, and it’s possible that either player could just go back to being what they were. In this scenario, Jimenez lays waste to Shields (Edit: Still does, just slightly less so).

As I said, lots of things could happen. That’s the hard part of being a general manager, but I wanted to quantify it a little for you to see their values to illustrate a few important points. One, Jimenez’s contract is a real value, and if you think the Rockies simply need to dump him, you’re insane. Two, Shields’ contract is no longer a big bargain, and it’s the reason the Rays are even considering trading Shields. Three, Jimenez had been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past two seasons, and we shouldn’t assume that he can no longer be that pitcher. Four, I haven’t even accounted for added playoff value when it comes to the value needed in prospects (I’ll get to that in a minute), but they would probably add a similar amount in value this season. Five, I didn’t modify Jimenez’s stats for the AL, but I wasn’t terribly sure how much I should take off, though I don’t think it’s near enough to make up for the difference.

So now, we look at the Yankees. They obviously need starting pitching, or at least covet it, and they have the prospects to get either pitcher if they choose. For looking at the needed prospects, we’ll use the first scenario as a starting point. Starting with Shields, Victor Wang’s research says that a top 10 hitter would take up $36.5 M of Shields’ $40 M value, and that could be Montero, who would play first or DH for the Rays. A B prospect (Banuelos, Nova, Warren, Heathcott) would finish off the difference, but the Rays may want another guy considering the division (Edit: Those prospects would near completing the difference, but the quality of that third player just went up to another one of those B prospects). Jimenez’s value nears $70 M. If the Yankees gave the Rockies the reported Montero (36.5), Betances (12.5), Banuelos (12.5), and Nova (7.3) deal, that would total what would be needed to total $68-70 M. It’s not an unfair trade at all.

The question you have to ask now is if either pitcher is worth it. While pitchers have a chance to get injured, prospects do as well along with the chance to flame out. Both of these pitchers are essentially guaranteed to be front-of-the-rotation good while they’re on the mound. Guaranteed production goes a long way, and neither has such a terrible contract to hurt the Yankees payroll severely. But do you want to pay that price?

29 thoughts on “Shields or Ubaldo?

  1. I feel like Ron Burgandy at the bear pit at the end of Anchorman when he has to decide between saving Veronica or reporting the biggest story of his life. Both pitchers have major pluses, and both have serious questions. To quote Ron, This is hard. But Ubaldo has the biggest upside, and while I hesitate to sell the farm for him, I'd be more comfortable sending Montero and one of the Bs to Denver than Tampa Bay, where they could torture the Yanks for years to come. Basically the biggest story
    of my career, launching me to a level I've never known before, or saving the woman I used to have
    familiar relations with. This is hard.

  2. Don't trade for Shields, please. Unless it's a three way trade, with the prospects going to a different team. If we give the Rays Montero and Banuelos…well, the way the universe works, Montero will be a perennial MVP candidate and Banuelos will be a Cy Young winner at the age of 23. In our division. No thanks.

  3. Nice post Mark. I don't think the Rays will trade with the Yankees, but Shields would definitely be nice.

    Did you ever trend on twitter?

  4. Jiminez's 2014 option is VOIDED if traded (per Cot's)

    People keep looking this as getting a guy under a long term contract… he's a FA after 2013 and it's "just" 2.5 years of control. He's a slightly longer than normal rental/pre-FA trade. The tables are useless unless you are evaluating a Rockies decision (who are the only team with that 2014 option)

    That extra year makes a world of difference.. whether it's evaluating the sanity of trading four cost controlled players that have 6 years (5 with Nova) against Ubaldo's 2.5 years or factoring in that a trade owuld basically have the entire Yankees rotation hitting FA in 2014 (CC, AJ, Hughes) with no internal talent. Odds on picking up 3-4 FA's to fill out the rotation with possibly only CC under contract? Think about trying to fill out the 4/5 this year… now think about filing out 2-5 one offseason, (unless some or one of Noesi or Phelps or Warren suddenly become frontline startes ;))