Lewis and Frandsen Traded for Kouzmanoff?: Don't Believe It for a Second

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Lewis and Frandsen Traded for Kouzmanoff?: Don't Believe It for a Second
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This Article Originally Appeared on Friar Forecast

Kevin Kouzmanoff trade rumors have dominated the Padres-related rumors coming out of the winter meetings.  Much of the chatter has been centered around a possible Giants deal and a potential Twins deal.

Jason Stark reported that the Padres offered Kouzmanoff to the Giants for outfielder Fred Lewis and second base/utility guy Kevin Frandsen.  Stark also reported that the Padres have requested pitcher Glen Perkins and some second player in return for Kouz.

Neither deal strikes me as something the Padres should seriously consider.

Kouzmanoff has been an extremely consistent (at least year-by-year) player for the Padres the past three seasons, compiling WARs of 2.6, 2.7, and 2.7, respectively.  He is essentially a league average third baseman.  This year, following three seasons in which he got paid the minimum salary, he is eligible for arbitration and should earn something around $5M, which assuming he will continue to play like he always has, would result in an expected surplus value of about $7M.

Fred Lewis is a speedy outfielder with little power, but an above average glove at a corner position.  He has not played much in center but is probably between average and a bit below average there.

In 2008, Lewis had a decent 2.3 WAR season, but last year (albeit with less at bats) only posted 0.9 WAR. Lewis turned 29 today, so he cannot be described as a youngster.  That 2008 season may have been a career-year for him.  Let's split the difference between his 2008 and 2009 season and call him a 1.6 WAR player going forward.

Frandsen is pretty terrible. He has no power and lacks the on-base skills to make up for it. He can play a lot of positions, but there is not sufficient evidence to claim that he is a great fielder. Frandsen is essentially a replacement level utility player. Let's be generous and say he can put up 0.5 WAR in 2010.

Combined, Lewis and Frandsen equate to an expected 2.1 WAR, trailing Kouzmanoff’s 2.6 WAR.  Their advantage over Kouzmanoff is they will only get paid around $1M between them this year and are under team control for a few more seasons.  Combined, if you accept the assumptions I have already laid out, they will provide around $8.5M in excess value in 2010, which exceeds Kouzmanoff’s expected surplus value of $7M.

Of course, they take up two roster spots, while Kouz only takes up one, which more than cancels out the $1.5M difference in surplus value.  In addition, neither player is very good—certainly not as good as Kouzmanoff.  Neither Lewis nor Frandsen are players the team can realistically build around, making their acquisition somewhat pointless.

The proposed Twins trade makes a bit more sense in that it suggests the Padres would be acquiring a starting pitcher.  Again, though, the issue is that the player in question, Glen Perkins, is not good.

Perkins has been a 1 WAR player the past two seasons and does not project to improve much.  He has decent control but strikes almost nobody out (only about 4.4 K/9).  He is no better (and quite possibly worse) than guys like Clayton Richard, Tim Stauffer, and Sean Gallagher.

Unless the mystery “second man” in the deal is someone significant, this trade makes less sense than the Giants deal.

The Padres need to trade Kevin Kouzmanoff.  It is silly to have Chase Headley masquerade as a corner-outfielder when he is clearly a third baseman.  But taking back a bag of garbage just to make room for him at third does nothing to improve the team.

That said, a package of Lewis and a mid-level prospect or two (the type of players who have a chance of playing at a Kouzmanoff level in a few years) might be enough to get a deal done.

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