The Marlins traded their All-Star second baseman, Dee Gordon, to the Mariners Thursday. Does this set the benchmark for the Phillies and Cesar Hernandez?
One of the first big trades of the offseason happened Thursday as the Marlins traded All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon and international slot money to the Mariners for minor-leaguers Robert Dugger, Nick Neidert, and Christopher Torres. The Phillies‘ division mate definitely looks like they are going to cut every cost, tear the whole team down, then try to build it back up again.
While this deal affects Philadelphia in terms of the Marlins getting worse in the short-term, it could also impact how they market their own second baseman, Cesar Hernandez, in a trade.
Gordon and Hernandez are similar players. They have similar offensive production as they get on base plenty but don’t hit for much power. Hernandez had a higher on-base percentage than Gordon the last two years, but Gordon is much more dangerous on the basepaths. They both rank pretty equally in terms of dWAR and UZR/150, but Gordon’s defense at second won’t really matter as he will be converted to center field. Both were worth 3.1 wins above replacement according to Baseball Reference in 2017.
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What Gordon has over Hernandez is a better track record. He was an All-Star in 2014 and 2015 before a PED suspension killed his 2016. He has led the league in stolen bases on multiple occasions. Meanwhile, Hernandez has only had two seasons of above-average production and wasn’t even the full starter until 2015.
Gordon also offers another year under contract.
Hernandez is arbitration-eligible and will be a free agent after the 2020 season. Gordon’s current contract runs through 2020 with a team option for 2021. At its max value, Gordon would only be paid $14 million, a steal considering the level of production he is capable of.
Altogether, Gordon is a player that has a few extra intangibles over Hernandez, but their levels of production are similar besides baserunning. To figure out what kind of return the team could get for Hernandez, we can pretty much take what the Mariners gave the Marlins and maybe subtract some value.
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Neidert was the best prospect of the three, and he is considered a mid-rotation arm. Baseball America ranked him as Seattle’s second-best prospect at midseason. Torres is a solid shortstop prospect as well, but has struggled with injuries. He is just 19 years old and still carries a lot of risk. Dugger is more or less a throw-in piece, as he doesn’t have much prospect power, but he did post solid numbers.
One thing that tips the scales in this deal is the $1 million of international slot money Seattle also acquired. They hoped it would give them the edge to sign Shohei Otani, but that ultimately didn’t pan out.
That extra money is what probably got the Marlins more than just one prospect and meant they weren’t going to have to pay any of Gordon’s salary.
To try and bring this back to Hernandez and the Phillies, it would likely be a one-for-one swap with a prospect of Neidert’s caliber, with perhaps another lower-level guy thrown in. Of course, it’s impossible to project how a final deal would look, but looking at the Gordon trade gives a good starting point.
Another possible projection for a Hernandez trade was the FanSided Offseason Simulation TBOH participated in, but there were a lot more moving parts to that deal.