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Cameron Analyzes a Hypothetical Elvis/Upton Swap

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Dave Cameron has a post at FanGraphs analyzing a potential Elvis Andrus for Justin Upton trade

Elvis shaving creams Profar
Elvis shaving creams Profar
Jason Miller

Dave Cameron has a post on FanGraphs, analyzing who would come out ahead in a hypothetical Elvis Andrus for Justin Upton swap.

Cameron ultimately concludes that they are similar players (in terms of value), with Elvis having a more favorable contract, at two years and $13 milion, than Upton, who is under team control for three years at $38 million, and thus thinks it is a deal that favors Arizona, rather than Texas.

This is the position I've held for a while, and I've never understood why Rangers fans would advocate giving up Elvis Andrus plus other things for Justin Upton. Elvis is the more valuable commodity, given their respective contracts.

Trading Elvis for Upton also seems to be based upon the assumption that the Rangers have to trade Elvis, right now, in order to get Jurickson Profar into the lineup and get something of value for Elvis because, you know, Scott Boras and all that.

Ben Rogers tweeted yesterday that Elvis wants 7 years at $18 million per year to buy out his post-arbitration years. That means Elvis would be getting $18 million per season through 2021, his age 32 season. Elvis has been worth a little over four wins per season the past two season according to FanGraphs, a little under four wins per season per B-R. If you think Elvis will continue to be at least a 4 win player from now until 2021, paying him $18 million per season seems like an easy decision, since such a contract would be anticipated to generate $15-25 million in surplus value, depending on inflation.

In any case, I continue to be unsure that Profar's presence is such that it mandates that the Rangers do something to move Elvis or Ian Kinsler, either to a new position or to a new organization, because Profar must be in the Rangers' lineup in 2013.

Profar had a very solid season in AA in 2012, putting up a .281/.368/.452 slash line while playing quality defense at shortstop. He'll also be 20 years old at the start of the 2013 season. I question whether Profar would be so good at the major league level, right now, that he represents an upgrade over Elvis or Kinsler in 2013, and whether it makes sense, from a roster management standpoint, to ensure that Profar will be a free agent after his age 25 season, just when he's hitting his prime years.

If there's a deal that makes sense to move Kinsler or Elvis, allowing Profar to move into the starting lineup in 2013, then I think it makes sense to explore that. Elvis for Justin Upton -- or Elvis plus others for Justin Upton -- isn't such a deal.

And I'm not convinced that the best thing for the Rangers in 2013 isn't letting Profar start the season in AAA and going with Kinsler and Elvis as your double play combination.