How much is Mike Maroth really worth?

Or how much is a #5 starter worth in today’s MLB market? Turns out that it isn’t much. In the trade made last week by Tiger GM Dave Dombrowski the team dealt #5 starter Mike Maroth to the Cardinals for a PTBNL (“Player to be named later”). This simply means that each team agreed on a list of names and Detroit has until September, if I remember correctly, to decide on who they want. One thing is very clear though; Dombrowski does not see this as a trade that helps the team this year

“We had to make some moves with our staff,” president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said. “I talked to a few clubs [about Maroth]. The Cardinals were the most persistent, but there were a few clubs that were interested. And in this situation, it was good for Mike. He’s done a lot for us throughout his time, and it works out good for him, because they’re putting him right in the rotation. It creates a roster spot that allows Kenny to step into the rotation, and then we’ll get a player to be named later that we consider a prospect.”

So Detroit traded a known quantity in Maroth for a prospect. We don’t know who this will be yet which makes this hard to judge but I did expect a bit more than a prospect. We shouldn’t get our hopes up either as it won’t be one of the Cardinals top prospects.

“We will get a player who we consider a prospect from a list of names we can choose from,” Dombrowski said. “(He is) not going to be a premier prospect, but he’ll be a guy who will have a chance to pitch or play in the big leagues. But it’s not going to be one of their blue-chip-type guys.”

So who will it be? Well I have a few suggestions there. I took a look through some players in the Cardinals Minor League Affiliates and a few players stood out.

1) Bryan Anderson – C – Class AA – Anderson was the fourth-round draft pick for the Cardinals in 2005 and has already worked his way into the Class AA starting lineup and doing very well. With the tenure of Pudge Rodriguez coming up on the next few years Detroit will need to start looking for a catcher of the future. The current Detroit farm system doesn’t have anyone noticeably able to fill those shoes and there is really only a crop of very capable backup catchers in Mike Rabelo and Vance Wilson.

Anderson is hitting an impressive .328/.387/.460 so far this year and hit .302/.375/.417 last year in A ball.

2) Chris Perez – RHP – Class AA – Perez was a 1st round pick last year which puts him squarely as a “blue chip” player so likely not on the list. However, He’d be useful for the Tigers in the coming year and is being groomed by the Cards to be an eventual closer. He’s fitting that very well so far with a 3.05 ERA and an impressive 48 K’s in 29.1 innings pitched and 19 walks with opponents batting .157.

Detroit has Todd Jones, who has stated his intention to look for at least another year with the team. Whether the Tigers oblige or not there will be a closer slot needing filled in the next few years. Having a solid replacement for a closer would also take off much pressure for possibly moving Zumaya out of the long relief role.

3) Matthew Scherer – RHP – Class AA – Matt was a 16th round pick in ’04 but is having a good year Springfield so far. He’s got a 3.15 ERA with a 45-14 K-BB ratio over 40 innings. He could make for a serviceable reliever.

I’ll admit that I probably have my sights set a bit high but trying to be realistic just wasn’t looking to be much fun. There isn’t a whole heck of a lot available of interest, at least enough to get excited about, in the Cards system and they only had 1 player on the Kevin Goldstein Top 100 Prospects list. That was Colby Rasmus who isn’t blowing anyone away in Class AA hitting .247/.340/.487.

With top #1 starters going for $18M or more a year, as with Barry Zito, this trade took me aback a little bit. I certainly didn’t expect anywhere near #1 starter amounts but a single non-top prospect, not what I had in mind. This will be one trade we’ll have to judge in years to come and with the return of Kenny Rogers there wasn’t much of a choice but to move him. In that situation you get what the market gives up and don’t have much of a choice.

I wish Mike Maroth well. He suffered with all of Detroit through 2003 and was always a class act. He’ll face the Mets for his first game in a Cardinals uniform on Monday.

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One Response to How much is Mike Maroth really worth?

  1. erik says:

    nice site. but i have to say, perez and anderson are considered by many at the cards #3 and #4 prospects. Scherer is more like what the Tigers should expect, and if that is who they get, I’d say it wouldn’t be a bad haul. He gets a lot of k’s and grounders with a nice forkball. could be a pretty nice middle reliever for the tigs.

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