U.S.S. Mariner has a couple of interesting posts about trade value - this one explains the concept and lists the 40 most valuable commodities in the majors (Jason Bay is #36), and this one lists the Mariners' 25 most valuable trading chips. You're already familiar with the idea of trade value - the gist is that when determining a player's trade value, you have to take into account not only his ability but his age, salary, service time and other factors.
With most of the Pirates sitting at home, and with trading season upon us, here's a list of the 25 Pirates I'd want the most for if I were the Pirates' GM. Notice that someone like Jack Wilson isn't going to make this list. This doesn't mean that he couldn't help another team (he could), but, because of his contract, he isn't a very valuable trading commodity. Notice, also, that many of the guys on this list have no chance of being traded any time soon.
It was actually pretty difficult to make this list. I went back and forth a lot, especially with the top-ranked players. Let me know what you think.
25. Mike Felix: The 2006 second round pick has done nothing to diminish his value since signing.
24. Roberto Hernandez: He might be a decent deadline pickup for someone, but at his age? Buyer beware.
23. Nate McLouth: Still young and has some upside, although he's been hard to watch at times this year, especially when batting at the top of the order.
22. Jonah Bayliss: He's neither young nor very statistically impressive, but his stuff is electric. He might be the sort of guy who figures some things out and becomes a very good reliever in the next few years.
21. Austin McClune: Hey, why not? Obviously, we don't have a lot of data on McClune, who was just drafted out of high school, but he's one of only a small handful of Pirates with unlimited upside and nothing but positives in his performance record.
20. Josh Sharpless: Azibuck wasn't impressed with what he saw of Sharpless, but the numbers have been there for him. He could be a cheap, helpful middle reliever the next few years.
19. Damaso Marte: His control deserted him last year, but it's back this year. Despite crapping out in a lot of important situations this year, he could provide very good relief help for someone.
18. Sean Burnett: He's a huge question mark, but he breezed through the low minors and he's still 23. It'll probably be another year before we know how much he's still got after his injuries.
17. Oliver Perez: We all know how well he can pitch if someone can figure him out. Unfortunately, I doubt anyone ever will.
16. Craig Wilson: He's only a three-month rental, but as those things go, he's a very good one. He could easily get traded, go berzerk and lead a team to the playoffs.
15. Ryan Doumit: I like him a better than Ronny Paulino if he can stay healthy. Unfortunately, that's a honkingly huge "if." Could potentially be a huge offensive contributor if he's allowed to stay behind the plate.
14. Jose Bautista: I'm still skeptical, but he's certainly having a terrific year. He wasn't having a great season in Class AAA when he was recalled. I think he will come back to earth.
13. Mike Gonzalez: Gonzalez is an excellent relief pitcher, but I wonder if my dreams of him as a lights out uber-closer are realistic. He's reaching the age where what you see is usually what you get.
12. Matt Capps: A 22-year-old who strikes out seven times as many guys as he walks? Yes please!
11. Neil Walker: He's having a very poor year in Class A+ Lynchburg, but I don't know how much that has to do with injuries, and he's only 20. He still has some chance of becoming a star.
10. Ronny Paulino: His ability to handle pitchers was badly overstated, as the Pirates' recent run of horrible pitching shows. Still, he was one of the best hitters in the minors last year and has continued to hit well this year. He has been underrated for too long.
9. Paul Maholm: I don't think he has the upside of Duke, Snell, Gorzelanny or Lincoln, but Maholm could be a solid, cheap #4 starter for the next several years. That's valuable.
8. Freddy Sanchez: Obviously, he's having a very good year, but he's already 28, and so much of his value this year is tied up in batting average. When the dust clears, though, he's probably about a .780 or .800 OPS player, which is still pretty good, especially for a team that needs a fix at second base or shortstop.
7. Jose Castillo: Unfortunately, the Pirates brought him up too early, so he should head to arbitration next year. That's a shame, because he's only now maturing into a plus offensive player. He still can get better.
6. Ian Snell: Snell hasn't been horrible this year, and unlike Maholm, he has the kind of peripherals that suggest he might have a bunch of headroom.
5. Brad Lincoln: Obviously, he's this high because of his upside, not because of anything he's done as a pro.
4. Tom Gorzelanny: The one Pirate starter anywhere near the majors who has lived up to expectations and had expectations to live up to in the first place. Also, it's hard not to get excited about a lefty with fantastic stuff.
3. Andrew McCutchen: Having a decent season for Class A Hickory. His upside is still pretty much unlimited.
2. Zach Duke: He's having an awful year, but he's 23 and has an excellent minor league pedigree and even some major league success.
1. Jason Bay: With or without runners in scoring position, he's likely to be a superstar for the forseeable future, and his contract is a bargain.