MLB Trade Deadline 2013: Teams Seeking Way Too Much Return in Exchange for Stars

Benjamin KleinContributor IIIJuly 30, 2013

Jul 24, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija (29) throws in the first inning during a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Some MLB general managers have gone a bit crazy in terms of price tags this summer.

Teams would obviously love to get as much talent as possible in return for the players who could be dealt. Often times, the front office will put a high price on a star to begin with, knowing that they’ll likely reduce it after a few days. There’s no harm in asking for a lot because one team may be willing to give up a lot.

While there are teams that eventually lower the asking price, some start much too high. Asking for top prospects for players who have never been very good and are just having a solid season is a bold move. It’s tough to negotiate a deal when an asking price is just so crazy that it’s impossible to work something out.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen a slew of rumors. Many of those tend to include what an organization is looking to get back in exchange for some of the team’s most prized possessions—and some are just unbelievably high. Here’s a look at three examples where a franchise is asking for too much in return.


New York Mets: Bobby Parnell, RHP

Bobby Parnell has pitched in nearly half of New York’s games this season and hasn’t done a bad job as the team’s closer. He’s only allowed 12 earned runs in 49 innings of work this year (2.20 ERA) but does have four blown saves in 25 chances. Entering this season, he was 14-of-31 in save opportunities. That’s not good at all.

The Mets could stash Parnell in the back end of their bullpen for the next few years, or they could try to sell high on him. But New York is apparently taking “sell high” to a completely different level.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports the Mets would like to receive a Zack Wheeler-type prospect if they’re going to deal the reliever:

I’m sorry, but what? Do the Mets know how good of a prospect Wheeler is? He’s currently ranked No. 8 in all of baseball, per Does New York think a team would be willing to give up its No. 1 prospect to land a pitcher who has been the 13th-best reliever in baseball this year in terms of WAR, per FanGraphs?

Good luck with that, New York.


Chicago Cubs: Jeff Samardzija, RHP

Jeff Samardzija is now the best pitcher left on the Cubs. Chicago already dealt two starters this summer, trading Matt Garza to the Texas Rangers and Scott Feldman to the Baltimore Orioles. If Chicago is going to get rid of Samardzija before Wednesday’s deadline, the team getting him is going to get hosed.

Here’s what Heyman is saying about Samardzija:

Well, the Cubs are basically requesting of teams that they “take whatever they want” when it comes to a potential Samardzija deal.

That may be a slight exaggeration, but not much.

This is only Samardzija’s second season as a starting pitcher. Before 2012, the Cubs were using him out of the bullpen. After posting a 2.97 ERA in 75 appearances in 2011, Chicago moved him to the rotation. He’s been good since, but he’s still not one of the top pitchers in baseball.

Samardzija’s 3.75 ERA this season isn’t too bad, and he does strike out a bunch of hitters. But while he’s averaging 9.13 strikeouts per nine innings of work, his command isn’t always great, and he is also walking 3.38 batters per nine.

For Chicago to “take whatever they want,” his ERA and walk rate would need to be much lower.


Kansas City Royals: Ervin Santana, RHP

Ervin Santana has been a good acquisition for the Royals. While he’s only 6-6 on the season, he has a 3.06 ERA and has walked just 30 batters in 138.1 innings of work in his first season with Kansas City.

Santana is coming off a bumpy campaign where he went 9-13 with a 5.16 ERA with the Angels.

Santana and Garza are somewhat comparable in terms of their career numbers, and the Royals could look to get a return similar to what Chicago got for its former right-hander.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports the price tag for Santana may even be higher, and the team wants major league talent:

The Rangers really gave up a lot to land Garza, especially since he could become a free agent at the end of the season. Santana’s contract is also expiring at the conclusion at 2013, and to give up a bunch of big prospects and potentially major leaguers for a rental doesn’t seem sensible.

Santana could fall apart in the blink of an eye.


All statistics in this article were obtained via FanGraphs unless otherwise noted and are current through July 29. All injury information was obtained via Baseball Prospectus and all contract information was obtained via Cot’s Contracts.