With all the recent hubbub over whether Dan Duquette would depart his higher-up position with the Orioles for another higher-up position with the Blue Jays while still under contract, there has been some discussion over what a GM is worth in a trade. It's a relatively unexplored frontier compared to prospects and Stephen Strasburg and such. I say that it's time to chart a course.
If you haven't heard about the Duquette thing, here's an explanation. The Blue Jays, in their search to replace Paul Beeston, targeted Duquette. The Orioles reportedly sought Jeff Hoffman, the 9th overall pick in the 2014 draft, in addition to two other top prospects. According to the MLBTR article, it is possible the other two were Max Pentecost, the 11th overall pick in the 2014 draft, and infielder Mitch Nay, the 58th pick overall in the 2012 draft. Pentecost made it to Low A in 2014. Nay started the year in A ball and performed well before being promoted to High A. That would have been a decent haul, I guess. It really depends on how you assess the value of GMs these days.
A previous highly-publicized GM trade was when Theo Epstein went to the Cubs in 2011. Chris Carpenter went to the Red Sox in the trade. Obviously, no, not the Cardinals' Chris Carpenter. Carpenter threw 6 innings for the Red Sox in 2012 and was released in 2013. It doesn't seem like he threw even one pitch in 2014 in the minors or the majors.
The gulf between what the Red Sox received for Epstein and what the Orioles were demanding for Duquette is enormous. It seems that teams might value GMs more highly these days than they used to. Andrew Friedman went from the Rays to the Dodgers, and he got around $35 million. GM value among the highly skilled is skyrocketing. I like to think that Lewie Pollis' work has something to do with it, but it's also possible that the further rise in analytics combined with any ability to communicate the insights from analytics has enlightened owners to the value of a good GM.
So, good GMs have a rising price. Some teams do not have good GMs. Maybe it is I alone, but it seems like Dayton Moore is respected throughout the game. Other people liked what he did with the farm system. His team just made the World Series. Moore should have some good trade value, right?
I'll try to spitball what a potential return might be. He's not as good as Friedman. My humble opinion is that he's not as good as Duquette. He's not as good as Epstein, but the market has changed since then. Here's what I propose:
Unsuspecting team (probably the Phillies) receives:
A mutual option
The Royals receive:
Maikel Franco (No 52 on BP's 101 in 2014)
The Royals promote someone like J.J. Picollo or Mike Arbuckle to the vacancy. This might be a best case, or maybe good case, scenario. What's a more realistic scenario?
Suspicious team receives:
A rubber band
A two-week-old blueberry muffin known to hit .270 with 35 stolen bases in A+ ball in 2013
Done deal. Either one.