Before anybody gets excited here, this is just a hypothetical situation.
It's a situation created in order to prove a point, and to create an awareness of the value of top prospects.
But are they really worth the insanely high price tag placed upon them?
That's what I hope to accomplish with this article.
By the time you are done reading this, I want you to question the train of thought of general managers around the game when they deem a minor league kid untouchable.
That's probably a good place to start—deeming minor leaguers untouchable.
General managers always declare their first round draft choices untouchable. With all they hype surrounding the "future star," teams hope to bank in on the potential of their newest player. But "potential" is clearly the most important word here.
Prospects like Matt Bush (2004), Brien Taylor (1991), Bryan Bullington (2002), Jeff Clement (2005), and Eric Munson (1999) were all number one overall picks in their respective drafts. They all failed to be quality Major League players.
They were all untouchable.
Teams rely heavily on their farm system. Whether they actually depend on it for talent, or for exploiting the other team's desire for prospects, is a question that will continue to be asked for as long as prospects have value in the sport.
The high tier prospects who aren't untouchable, though, are often shipped off to other teams for established Major Leaguers.
Oftentimes, these deals leave me utterly confused.
For example, when the Brewers received several months of CC Sabathia for "the next great power hitter" in Matt LaPorta, I was left speechless. Sabathia went on to pitch absolutely lights out, leading Milwaukee to the playoffs, and LaPorta has still yet to make anything of himself in the bigs.
It happens every trade deadline. Countless prospects are shipped out to bring in veterans who already have a good reputation around the league.
This is my question for the teams giving up the established talent: why would you ever do such a thing?
Sure, sometimes GM's are so enticed by the hype that they salivate when another GM offers their top prospect for a veteran player on their team. But, come on.
Who would you rather have, the player who has actually hit 30 home runs in each of the past three seasons, or the player who has the potential to hit 30 home runs for several years to come?
By now I'm sure you can all tell what my answer is, but think about it.
What do you think?
So herein lies the question—if you are Cardinals GM John Mozeliak, and Nationals GM Mike Rizzo were to offer you his best prospect, 18-year old Bryce Harper, for the decade's best slugger, Albert Pujols, would you make the deal?
Harper has been compared to the second coming of Jesus Christ, and everyone in the baseball world expects him to be the next Babe Ruth.
Pujols, on the other hand, is arguably the best player in the game today. He's already being considered one of the greatest first basemen of all time, and he still has several years ahead of him.
Harper may very well turn out to be the games next legend, but he isn't one yet— but Pujols is. He is every bit one of the best players this game has ever seen.
So, the game's best prospect for the game's current best player.
Would you pull the trigger?