Trade Scenarios: Michael Bourn To The San Francisco Giants

We've got the first requested trade scenario, this one coming from our own Sean Feist (aka native_astro). The reason I chose this one out of his (many) suggestions was that it gave us a chance to look both at a player and team we hadn't reviewed before. By going over Bourn's value with the Atlanta Braves, we'd be rehashing a system we've already discussed, so this provides a few new pieces we didn't have.

Thinking about Bourn, his value below turns out to be almost as high as Pence and should fetch just as high a price on the trade market. Of course, as I also discuss below, the Astros will probably not get full value for him. 

The Giants have been one of the more active members in trade rumors, as they look for ways to upgrade their offense again this season. I'm sure Scott Boras would also like this move, as it'd get his client on a team that will get more exposure in the playoffs, so there are plenty of reasons this makes sense. It's also likely that Bourn will be in play this trading deadline, though it's an open question if Wade will pull the trigger on him.

With that said, onto the analysis...

Let's use the Trade Value Calculator to see what Bourn's value might be. As a refresher, the TVC takes Bourn's projected fWAR totals over the two seasons he's under team control. Since his salary can't be known yet for 2012, we assume that his salary will be 80 percent of his total value. 

By looking at that fWAR projection and multiplying that by the cost of a win on the free agent market, we get his value based on performance. Subtract his current and future salaries from that, and you'll get his surplus value, which is what we use to calculate these trade scenarios.

Based on Bourn's stats through half this season, I've got him down for 5.5  fWAR, then 4.5 for 2012. Add to that a projected Type B free agency at the end of those two years, and Bourn's surplus value is at $27.2 million. That's a pretty good chunk of change, and is probably more than many of you expected of him. But, it also reflects the value of his skills in the field and on the base paths, which some contender would love to add.

A quick refresher on the value of prospects shows us that a Top 50 pitcher is worth 15.9 million, a Top 75 hitting prospect is worth 14.2 million, a Top 100 hitting prospect is worth 12.5 million, a Top 100 pitcher is worth 9.8 million, a Grade B hitter is worth 5.5 million, a Grade B pitcher is worth 7.3 million, a Grade C+ pitcher 23 or older is worth 1.5 million and a Grade C hitter under 22 is worth 0.7 million. So, the Astros might almost expect to get back a Top 50 pitcher and a Top 100 hitter for Bourn.

The problem with that is most teams won't value Bourn as highly as he's worth. It seems like we're a broken record on this point, but Bourn is more valuable to the Astros than he is to another team on the trading market. It's that simple. So, to trade him, the Astros may have to get less than his actual value, which is something they may not decide to do.

But, since we have a framework for Bourn's value, let's look at some prospects from San Francisco's system.

1) Zach Wheeler, RHP - The prize of this list, Wheeler was the sixth overall pick in the 2009 draft. He had a slow start to his pro career, but things are starting to pick up for him. He's pitching at San Jose in the brutal Cal League, but has been really good, striking out 88 in 76 2/3 innings with a 3.76 ERA. If there's a knock against him, it's that his walk rate is really, really high and will probably get hit harder once he's moving on to harder leagues. Still, Wheeler is a Top 75 pitching prospect and should be the jewel of any trade.

2) Francisco Peguero, OF - An adequate Bourn replacement, Peguero has many of the same qualities. He's a plus runner, has a very strong throwing arm in the outfield and uses his speed to hit for a pretty good average. If there's a knock against him, it's that his swing doesn't lend itself to power very well. He also doesn't walk as much as you'd like, but that can develop in time. He also needs some refinement with his baserunning, but the talent was there enough to earn a B- grade from John Sickels.

3) Gary Brown, OF - The second first-round pick to show up on this list, Brown is very similar to Peguero and may be more similar to Michael Bourn. He's got a pure 80 speed on the scouting scale and, as Sickels said in his book, "terrorizes pitchers with (his speed) on the base paths." The big concern about him coming out of college was his walk rate, which was nonexistent and didn't show up in a brief pro debut. It'd be harder to trade him (read: he'd need to be a PTBNL) since he was just drafted last June, but Brown might be worth it. If his walk rate stick around 7-8 percent in the pros, he'll be the perfect leadoff hitter. Sickels has him as a Grade B player, but that should shoot up quickly, since Brown was recently ranked No. 33 on BA's Midseason Top 50 prospect list.

4) Eric Surkamp, LHP - Another guy who has really raised his stock this season, Surkamp is a lefty with a killer strikeout rate. He has passed the Double-A test with flying colors, posting a 1.78 ERA with 118 strikeouts in 96 1/3 innings. He's older (23) and doesn't have an overwhelming fastball, but what he's doing in Double-A with less velocity makes me think he might have a higher ceiling than Dallas Keuchel. Would be a great addition to the system, even though he's just a C+ prospect by Sickels' ratings. 

5) Chris Dominguez, 3B - You could easily put Conor Gillaspie here (even though he's made the majors this season), because the Giants have some depth at third base and the Astros do not. Dominguez is the less-developed prospect, though he's also an older prospect at 24. He recently got the bump up to Double-A and is hitting well there. He's showing some power and a pretty good contact rate, though he could walk more. Dominguez is the intriguing throw-in to a deal like this and may profile similarly to Chris Johnson. Sickels has him as a Grade C guy.

6) Hector Sanchez, C - The first player on here that wasn't listed on BA's Top 30 prospects this season, Sanchez has some things that could be very appealing for Houston. For one, he's a great defensive catcher who's hitting pretty well at Triple-A right now. He's also fairly young at 21, especially for his level, though he may have just been called up since Buster Posey went down. But, that also means the Giants may not need a bang-up catching prospect and put him in play in a deal. Sickels grades him out as a C prospect and thinks his future is as a reserve catcher. For me, that's why he's intriguing, because he could be the next Humberto Quintero for Houston, once Q proves too injury prone or expensive to stick on the team.

Where does that leave us? Time to make some deals...

Trade One: Houston trades Michael Bourn to the Giants for Zach Wheeler, Francisco Peguero and Hector Sanchez - In this trade, Houston gets a big, big pitching prospect from a team that is much like Atlanta in having good, young rotational depth. They'd be taking a risk on Wheeler's control, but in getting Peguero too as a potential Bourn replacement, the Astros would have two future big leaguers. The value of this deal ($20 million) is less than Bourn's probably worth, but as we mentioned earlier, Houston's unlikely to get full value for their speedy center fielder.

Trade Two: Houston trades Michael Bourn to the Giants for Gary Brown, Eric Surkamp and Chris Dominguez - Much like the trade above, this one focuses on one big prospect and a couple more intriguing guys. Brown is the big get, providing a future Bourn replacement and a prospect to rival George Springer as the top prospect in the system. Surkamp is a pretty advanced pitching prospect on a team that, as we mentioned, has good rotational depth already. He would also give Houston another advanced guy to pair with all the Corpus Christi players. Dominguez would be a throw-in, but he's got the same potential that Chris Johnson has showed and is younger. Depending on how you value Brown, this deal comes pretty close to getting full value for Bourn.

Trade Three: Houston trades Michael Bourn to the Giants for Wheeler, Brown and Surkamp - This is the most unlikely trade, and also the most valuable one. First off, the Giants would almost certainly not trade their last two first-round picks in one deal. Secondly, that's a whole lot of value for a player who won't be perceived as being worth that. Thirdly, the Giants are going to have to face the reality that their window is smaller with the current lineup and they'll need to pair players like Brown with Posey and Sandoval to compete in the future. Still, this would be a big-time win for Houston.

We could also talk about throwing in guys like Sergio Romo or Madison Bumgarner into deals, but I feel a team trying to get back to the World Series would be less likely to hurt its major league roster for a player like Bourn. What do you think? Which deals work best for both sides? Are there any players I missed who would fit into a trade with San Fran?

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