Every team has it’s up and down years. But teams who constantly contend, have more than great major league talent. Currency is the most important thing needed by any organization.
Currency: (from Middle English: curraunt, “in circulation”, from Latin: currens, -entis), in the most specific use of the word, refers to money in any form when in actual use or circulation as a medium of exchange, especially circulating banknotes and coins.
MLB Currency: (from any Major League organization front office or scouting department), refers to prospects that are attractive enough to pry away major league talent for deadline deals of contending teams. They can also be used in offseason trades to bolster a teams current roster or get rid of contracts that hinder smaller market teams budgets.
In the Jon Daniels era, currency has been used to bolster the big league club for every playoff year he has been at the helm. To understand MLB currency lets make a key for those who aren’t nerds like some us. (Lets use actual US currency as a frame of mind)
GOLD BAR– this is a prospect who rated by MLB, Baseball America or Baseball Prospectus as a top 5 prospect in all of baseball. They are not only certain major leaguers, but potential all-stars.
$100 bill– this is a prospect that is rated among all of baseball as a top 50 prospect. They are almost certain to play in the big leagues.
$50 bill– this is a prospect rated between 51-100 nationally. More than likely a big league player. Could be a star or possibly just a piece of a winning team.
$20 bill– this is a top 30 prospect for a certain team who ranks in the top 10 at his position nationally. On the verge of raising their value but still just a project.
$10 bill– this is a prospect who ranks in a certain teams top 30 but may not garner national recognition. A prospect of this value can become a high dollar prospect at anytime. Usually a young player who may not have figured something out yet.
$5 bill– these are your babies who are very young and not proven yet. These are also your older prospects who have started to figure things out, but fallen behind younger kids in the process. Players like these are usually add ons in a deal. They may fill a need at some level for a team. The babies may be projects that a team thinks they can capitalize on.
$1 or below– free agent minor leaguers who hold no value and never get dealt. Rosters all over America are littered with these guys.
Now that we have a key, lets give an example of how it works….
In 2010 the Rangers acquired Cliff Lee from the Seattle Mariners. This turned out to be the missing piece needed and he was the best pitcher available. What most don’t remember is that Lee was supposed to be a Yankee. Two days earlier the Yankees had a deal in place for Lee. They would be giving the Mariners, Jesus Montero $100, David Adams $20 and Zach McAllister $50 for Lee. Adams had issues with this physical and the Mariners got skittish. The Yankees offered up Adam Warren $10 instead. But the Mariners said they wanted either Ivan Nova $20 or Eduardo Nunez $20. The Yankees held out thinking they had what the Mariners wanted.
This opened the door for the Rangers. They had been negotiating with the Mariners also but were reluctant to empty their bank (prospects). Not because they didn’t have what the Mariners wanted, but they were also going through a bankruptcy and needed some of Lee’s salary to be eaten by Seattle. In a last ditch effort Daniels offered up Justin Smoak $100, along with Blake Beavan $50, Josh Lueke $20 and Matt Lawson $10 for Lee and salary relief.
Do the math. Yankees first offer was $170, then you subtract Adams $20, and the Mariners wanted another $20 in return. The Yankees offered $10. Rangers swoop in with $180 and steal him away. In the world of baseball you need currency to improve your team. The Rangers have emptied the bank over the years and are just now starting to make hefty deposits.
Don’t be fooled by dollar values of a prospect. It’s not always your appraised value that matters. The buyers value means more. Every organization thinks they have more valuable players. But a buyer may not see it. Maybe a $50 player to a seller is only a $10 player to the buyer. Thus the art of the negotiation.
The Rangers are two years away from contending again. So free agency isn’t that big a player in the offseason right now. They have however, taken flyers on older free agents to fill the big league roster. If they work out, they may be the object of a contenders eye. More importantly, they keep the bank full as the prospects get experience and aren’t rushed to the big leagues.
Currency- in all walks of life it is used in deals. Some currency looks different than others. The Texas Rangers are saving up a lot of it.
Watch out 2020!! We will have a new ballpark and fully stocked bank account. The Rangers are currently hoarding their currency. (OK that was cheesy)
Signing off from the recliner. Nerd out!