Originally Posted by RedsManRick
The more I think about this, the more I think there's actually significant upside for the Marlins. Set aside for the moment that I don't actually believe that the Marlins are thinking this way.
In a sim league I'm in, we have a $50MM salary cap and always have enough cash to meet it. Basically, every team spends $45-50MM every year. When you trade established players with big salaries for prospects, you don't just get the prospects. You get the salary cap space, which you can turn around and use the following year, adding just as much talent as you just gave up. But you get to keep the prospects.
There are always new FA available who you can spend money on. There isn't a comparable ability to add young talent. So, for example, let's say that the Marlins turnaround and spend their savings in FA (assuming they could lure FA, which seems unlikely...)
Bonifacio: $4 (arb)
Blue Jays: $40.75
Net: Blue Jays take on $30.25MM in salary from the Marlins in 2013
How could they spend $30MM? Well, I just read an analysis of Jim Bowden's FA predictions from last year and it turns out that he was quite accurate. So let's use his figures for this offseason to look at some packages of players the Marlins could theoretically get. Since we're just talking 2013, I'm going to take 10% off of Bowden's AAV since contracts are usually back-loaded.
Josh Hamilton: $20MM
Dan Haren or Edwin Jackson: $10MM
Zack Greinke: $18MM
Fransisco Liriano: $4MM
Joakim Soria: $4MM
Ryan Ludwick: $5MM
Brandon McCarthy: $9MM
Shane Victorino: $8MM
Melky Cabrera: $7MM
Jonathan Broxton: $6MM
Now, take any one of those packages and add it to haul the Marlins got. Now who made out the best? I think we sometimes fail to account for just how valuable money is. Sure, teams could spend more if they wanted to, in theory. But we know that they functionally operate within a self-imposed cap. Getting both significant young talent AND significant "cap space" is a pretty nice haul. Unless the expensive players you're giving up are signed significantly below market rate (you can certainly argue that Reyes is), the money is basically worth just as much as the players. The prospects then are the price the other team has to pay for the guarantee of being able to spend that money on those specific players.
Considered differently, would the Blue Jays be a better team today if they had just signed Josh Hamilton and Dan Haren and kept all their young talent? Or Zack Greinke, Melky Cabrera and Ryan Madson?
Rick, I think the problem with this line of thinking is that baseball is not played in a vaccum.
The Blue Jays can go around and offer FMV contracts, but so will other teams. In the end, the players choose the team to some extent. Who says that Greinke or anyone is going to choose the Jays over another team prices being equal? Look at the list of free agents the Jays sign. It has not been a substantial list of talent. Presumably they are making more offers than they are getting talent back.
Likewise, with the Marlins, this trade does not make them a desination. Free agents are going to look at Miami and be afraid they could be traded to any other team in baseball in a year's time. That risk has now been proven after yesterday's events.
The only way the Marlins get an established talent through free agency is by offering contracts firmly above market rates, and even then, if Greinke has offers for 19M somewhere else, is Miami really the destination he is going to pick for an extra 2M a year?
The Marlins may have just significantly closed their ability to acquire talent through 1 of the 3 main streams of acquiring talent. They may have also significantly hindered their ability to lock up their own young talent like Stanton, knowing that they could be part of the next purge, or could be faced playing on a 16M payroll team at a minutes notice.
Needless to say, none of those are good things. The Jays on the other hand might have just moved up their rebuilding effort 3+ years. Considering how long it took the Reds/Nationals/Athletics to rebuild, or watching teams like the Pirates, Royals, Mariners, Houston, Cubs, etc. continuously struggle to field competitive teams, at some point, there needs to be a large amount of value placed on getting good players under contract, even if it costs prospects, and removes payroll flexibility. There are only so many good players to go around that payroll flexibility is not always something that needs to be kept sacred. Getting quality baseball players is the end all objective, and IMO, the Jays just acquired a ton to compliment a team that had the existing talent required to fit with.