Originally Posted by rick vaughn
If you are grading that trade (which 10xWS was doing, and you were rebutting), the question is, in fact, quite simple:
Did they get more back than they would have received had they not made the trade. In that case, the question is a clear yes.
If you want to start asking if they could have gotten more elsewhere, that's certainly debatable. But at that point, you are no longer asking if the trade was a "win or loss" proposition (i.e. did they get more than they gave up), and are starting to ask if they got the absolute maximum return on their investment.
The problem with that is, if you are trying to equate a "win" to the maximum return, then you are considering everything else to be a loss. There would only be one "maximum" return, and literally thousands of trades that would not maximize the return. By that criteria, just about every trade ever would have to be considered a failure, because you could always imagine a better deal.
Furthermore, you again bring up Drew's overall WAR since then, but that wasn't what Jocketty was trading. He was trading only his 2004 season. Any team he dealt with knew that they were taking a risk, in that they may not be able to re-sign the player. As a result, they would hedge their own bets, and not offer as much in return. This ended up being the case, as the Braves did only get one season, at a very high price. When comparing that trade, and what each team got out of it, the Cardinals very clearly won.
And, if you really want to look big picture, again, you still have to look at salaries. The Cardinals unloaded Drew in December 2003, freeing themselves up of a high-salaried player, and someone who was going to continue to be a high salaried player moving forward. They got a AAA pitcher in return who represented a great cost savings. The $95 million Drew made off of other teams, which the Cardinals didn't spend on him, went a long way to affording Albert Pujols' $116 over the same time frame.