Who Are The Untouchables?

It’s been a rough offseason for New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman.  First, there was the mud slingathon with Derek Jeter, followed by missing out on Cliff Lee, then the Yankees couldn’t land Zack Greinke or convince the Mariners to move Felix Hernandez, and through it all they’ve been forced to take a laissez faire approach with the possibly returning, possibly retiring Andy Pettitte.

Cashman’s latest failings have been in attempting to prise Joakim Soria from Kansas City, but one has to wonder if Royals GM Dayton Moore isn’t doing his Yankees counterpart a favour by making the team’s closer untouchable to the trade market.

According to Bill Madden of the New York Daily News:

The Yankees [were] willing to part with their top prospect, Jesus Montero, the power-hitting catcher they initially had penciled in to take over for Jorge Posada this season before signing Russell Martin as veteran insurance, and Eduardo Nunez, the shortstop/second baseman they refused to include in the package for Lee that scuttled that deal with Seattle last summer.

Moore’s refusal to consider trading Soria makes little sense considering the eagerness with which he dealt Greinke to the Brewers, and the current state of the Royals franchise.  While they remain unlikely to compete in the next couple of years, most prospect pundits agree that Kansas City’s farm system is far and away the best in baseball.  John Sickels of MinorLeagueBall.com recently compiled a report that lists seven A level hitters currently not in Major League Baseball.  Of the seven, the Royals had three of them: Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Wil Myers.

Even considering Soria’s team friendly contract that includes successive club options from 2012 – 2014, and the hype that Yankees prospects receive in general, how could Moore possibly overlook the chance to add Montero, who would be a fourth A ranked hitter, to his organization for a pitcher who, if he maintains his success over the next four years, will likely price himself out of Kansas City when the rest of the Royals team is reaching their prime?

Moore’s stance on Soria makes me wonder if it’s ever a good idea to label a player untouchable, and stick to that label.  Is there no package in baseball that could inspire the Nationals to trade Stephen Strasburg, or the Braves to move Jayson Heyward, or the Marlins to swap Mike Stanton?

If not, who are the other players in baseball that you, as imaginary wouldn’t consider trading for anything?  Would Joakim Soria be anywhere near your list?

Comments (14)

  1. Those guys, Harper. Maybe Lincecum too.

  2. If I were a GM no one would be untouchable.

    On the other hand you’d really have to examine each situation to determine if a player is untouchable. For instance, if the Cardinals were running away with their division and were offered a great package for Albert Pujols, I wouldn’t make that move. It may help them in the future but they would be hurting their chances at a championship.

    They Royals on the other hand should be getting as much value for their major leaguers now as they can. Their strategy should be to be awful in ’10 and continue to draft well. Unfortunately, they need a new GM before they can start to realize success at the major league level.

  3. Heyward, Starsburg, Harper…and then I don’t know.

    Even those three guys are only untouchable until more major league experience comes there way.

    I would not at all put Lincecum in that category…or Soria. Both are great at what they do, but pitchers are high injury risk crapshoots that break down faster and more unpredictably than any other type of player. If someone came at me with a package for Lincecum that insures the instant rebuilding of a farm system, I’m taking that deal.

    As JTor said, the Royals should be looking at any deal that involves a current legit major-leaguer.

  4. Reed Johnson. No one else.

  5. Heyward, Strasburg, Harper to start. I think you have to add Posey to the list too.

  6. You’ve gotta keep Stras even with TJ, Heyward, Stanton, like you said. I’d think hard about one of Posey/Lincecum. Maybe Upton. Freeman?

    I think I agree with what you’re saying here Parkes, but one thing you don’t bring up is that if KC rids itself of everyone else, Soria would be the only player they’d have to spend money on. It might make sense to keep him around. Especially with the team friendly contract you mention. Still, Montero is a very nice piece that they’re seemingly ignoring.

  7. They should in no way refuse to trade Soria for a player (or two) that will line up perfectly with their rising farm. They are going to be insanely good. Add two more legit prospects to what they have now, and it’s becoming likely that they will be a powerhouse in 2013.

    It’s impossible not to fall in love with the players you develop though, too, ask Travis Snider. I think many GMs send him with Drabek for Upton or Grienke after an 85 win season.

  8. What about Longoria? His is probably the most team-friendly contract in baseball and he’s open to extending it even further.

  9. I think it realistically just reaches a point where a player would demand a higher return than anyone would be willing to give up. Realistically, could a trade be made for Strasburg in which relatively equal talent was exchanged, or the Nationals even won? Yes. But, who would do it? You’d be absolutely routing your farm system, and it’s really not worth it. That’s where untouchables happen, really: it’s not the team won’t move them, it’s that no one will actually give them fair return.

    Or, at least, that would be the intelligent way of doing it. Still, you gotta wonder about Montero; the Yankees seem too willing to move someone who is as good as he is.

  10. I think that an untouchable is somebody who:

    a) Has a reasonable contract
    b) Has unreal talent (5 tools +)
    c) Plays a cornerstone position (not necessarily corner)
    d) In his prime or approaching it
    e) The person has shown to be integral to the cohesiveness/stability of the team

    Thus, my untouchables are:
    1) Joe Mauer
    2) Troy Tulowitzki

    I don’t have a pitcher because if Roy Halladay or Cliff Lee can be traded then even King Felix/Strasburg/Kershaw etc. have a price (usually 5 players/money/picks).

  11. After much thought! Add Evan Longoria to that short list.

  12. It depends also how much of a factor we let things like contracts and team loyalty, etc. take part in this discussion. I’ll give a couple of examples..

    We know Pujols is a fee agent after this year. That said, let’s say he was a Yankee and money wasn’t an issue. Do you honestly think any package could pry Albert Pujols away? For prospects? Even if it’s 5 top tier prospects? I can’t imagine trading Pujols for prospects (again, if money isn’t an issue). But, like the Jays and Halladay, there could be external factors which force the Cardinals to find a trade for him.

    As for the team loyalty one, let’s look at Ichiro. Obviously Ichiro has meant more to the Mariners than just his stats. He’s helped gain an international following for the team. There were (still are? not sure) advertisements in Japanese at Safeco because of the Japanese following of the team IN JAPAN! Yes, he’s 36, but his value as a player is also still very high. Guaranteed 200 hits, speed, defence, etc. What kind of package would it take to pry Ichiro away?

    Obviously if a team tried hard enough, anybody can be had. But as the game shows says “If… the price is right”. And at the prices, the price is wrong, b*****.

  13. I think the Nationals have 3: Strasburg, Harper, and Ryan Zimmerman. Heyward with the Braves, Longoria for the Rays. The giants should make Posey untouchable but not Lincecum. Tulo for the rocks. Those are all players who are entering their prime and are untouchable because of their talent. Players who are untouchable because of what they mean to the franchise and trading them would greatly upset the fans no matter what the return: Rivera, Jeter, Chipper Jones, Pujols, and Joe Mauer.

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