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A Trade Value Primer

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Evan Longoria has baseball's highest trade value right now.
Evan Longoria has baseball's highest trade value right now.

Last night, newly appointed manager Brandon C. asked a simple question that sparked a heated discussion. He asked the members of Pinstripe Alley to rank the top 10 most valuable assets the Yankees have in terms of trade value.

When I think of trade value, I think of the surplus value that a player provides his club, as does Sky Kalkman of Beyond the Boxscore, SB Nation's saber-metric baseball site.

I based my answers off of Kalkman's Trade Value Calculator, linked above, and six questions I like to ask myself about the players involved and the organizations making the trade.

Combined with Sky's calculator, answering these six questions can make comprehending what encompasses a player's trade value very simple.

1. What is the player's salary or contract situation? Is he arbitration eligible, is he in the pre-arbitration stages, or is he just a prospect? If he is a prospect, it would be wise to use Victor Wang's prospect value chart, cited in another Sky Kalkman article.

If not, what is he currently making? For those of you who underestimate the monetary aspect of trades, consider the Yankees trade of Alfonso Soriano and Joaquin Arias for Alex Rodriguez and $67MM. A-Rod was arguably the best player in baseball at the time of the trade, and he was in his prime. However, his contract situation forced the Rangers to take less talent in return for financial flexibility.

Financial flexibility has tremendous value.

2. How old is the player? Is he a prospect, just now entering his prime, in his prime, leaving his prime, or on the downfall of his career? Depending on a team's needs, a player at any stage of his career could be acquired.

3. What is the player's current performance? This also relates back to age. Great stats to use here are wOBA and wRC+, which is scaled so that a 100 wRC+ is average, anything higher is above average, and anything lower is below average. This is a quick, easy comparison of players.

Additionally, how good is his defense? Recently, value on defense has been gaining the respect that it deserves.

4. What is the player's projected performance? Simply stated, how well do we expect this player to perform as he ages or develops as a player? How much potential does this player have?

5. How much risk is involved with the player? Does he have an extensive injury history? Has he needed major surgeries? Is he a known clubhouse distraction? Questions like these must be taken into account.

6. Finally, which team has greater leverage in the trade? Does one team desperately need to dump a terrible contract? Is a good team looking for that extra piece to become an elite team? Does a team hold a valuable commodity that is highly sought after?

It is also important to remember that although a player may be more talented than another, it does not mean he has more trade value than that player. For example, maybe a scout thinks Jose Bautista is a better player than Evan Longoria. That's fine, but because of Longoria's contract situation, his trade value tops Bautista's, and it isn't particularly close.

I hope this gives you readers an idea of what to consider when it comes to trade value. Hopefully, as the winter rolls on and more rumors begin to surface, we can look back to this piece as a reminder of trade value.