Last night we looked at a long list of players we could pick up via free agency. Today I wanted to follow that up with a look at the trade market. For the sake of this discussion, I'm going to leave Ray Allen out of the mix. My preference is to keep him so I'd like to explore our other options before going in that direction. Besides, we have some other assets to look at first.
A lot has been made over the years about how much Brian Scalabrine was overpaid several years back. (Note: I always felt like he got too many years, but his annual salary wasn't really all that bad) Now his contract becomes one of our best assets since it is expiring at just the right time (in time for the 2010 free agent class).
Now I'm with the majority of you that loved what Scal brought to this team this year. In an ideal world, we'd keep him on the roster for at least another year and let him be the kind of Posey-lite, great lockerroom guy that we've come to love. However, I'm of the opinion that his contract is potentially more valuable to us in a trade. Especially when you couple him with a couple of other guys that were largely non-factors this year.
Tony Allen is in the last year of his deal and JR Giddens only has one guaranteed year left (next year is a team option). You can combine their salaries to get up to almost $7M then you can make a trade with another team for up to 25% +$100,000 more than that.
That means we can turn those three guys (only one of whom was effective last year) and turn them into a guy making over $8M or a few players making over $8M. In fact, if you toss in Gabe Pruitt, the number jumps to $9.6M. Or if you want to really go for the gold, you can replace Giddens with House (assuming he picks up his player option) and get that number up to over $11M (but it better be a really big upgrade since House is very much part of the rotation).
Interestingly enough, even if we do a 3 for 1 or 4 for 1 deal we wouldn't have too much trouble filling out the roster. Counting House we have 11 guys under contract for next year. A 3 for 1 deal would put that number down to 9. But in theory you could resign Powe and Baby, bring in a couple vet minimum guys and a rookie or two and make the roster minimum of 12. And that doesn't even count the option to use the mid level exception (MLE).
Make no mistake, a lot of teams out there are going to be looking to shed salary. Expiring contracts are valuable in a market like this. On the other hand, a lot of other teams have similar expiring contracts and draft picks to sweeten the pot. In fact, for the most part a single player making $8M in expiring dollars is more attractive than a package of 3 or 4 players because he only takes up a single roster spot. But every situation is different and Danny might be able to find the right mix.
Keep your eyes and ears open leading up to the draft, since that seems to be a night where a lot of trades go down.
So toss some names out in the comments. Who do you see that makes somewhere over $8M that you think we could pick up with expiring contracts?