It’s important to remember that MLB trades in people, not stocks

The Mariners traded for Teoscar Hernandez and are rumored to be involved in a few other trades as well. With that in mind, there are a few important things to keep in mind when seeing how players move. In a way, you can compare player trading and movement to the stock market.

In fact, there are similarities between trading MLB players and trading on the stock exchange:

  • It can involve a lot of money
  • It is important to have a diverse portfolio
  • Trading requires research
  • There are numerous statistics that support such research
  • There is no guarantee that current statistics will predict future results

Of course, people who trade stocks often only trade a portion of their company’s stock, which is impossible since MLB trading involves PEOPLE!

It’s important for fans, and in our case Mariners fans, to remember that there is more to these professions

I can imagine that a traded player needs time to get used to new colleagues, different coaches, fans, a new city and so on. Maybe he felt at home in his last team and preferred to stay. Of course, all MLB players know that trading is part of their lives. A traded player may bring his wife and children, who will also have to adapt to new circumstances.

Alternatively, some players’ wives and children may live apart and trading them further away from their families. Every traded player leaves friends behind. Could it be that some players show their talent more fully in the second season of a trade than in the first?

Player performance may decline

I’ve been investigating the performances of some players as we often hear from players who have had a strong season on one team and then struggled on their new team, especially if they were traded before the deadline in the summer. The Padres’ Juan Soto is one player who didn’t immediately repeat the star performance he had at Nationals.

In the first two-thirds of 2022 (101 games), he had 21 home runs, 46 RBIs, a 13.8 percent strikeout rate, and a 2.8 WAR. In the final third of the season with the Padres (52 games), he had 6 homers, 16 RBIs, the same strikeout percentage, and a 1.1 WAR.

Player performance may improve

I thought I would see a general drop in player stats with the trade, but I noticed that some players improved their performance on their new team. The Mariners’ Eugenio Suarez switched from the Reds to the Mariners during spring training, so he played with his new team for a full year. He had the same number (31) of home runs, eight more RBIs, and his WAR improved from 0.01 to 4.1. Jesse Winker, Suarez’s trading partner for the Reds/Mariners, had a slump in performance.

On November 16, Mariners fans learned that the team would add Teoscar Hern├índez to the roster (welcome!), but that two pitchers are going to Toronto. I don’t know Adam Macko that well, but I was sad to see Erik Swanson go. Baseball people trading would be difficult for me.

Our expectations of traders must be flexible. Some players benefit immediately from a trade, but many may need some time to adjust. Mariners fans should keep this in mind as we see players come and go in Seattle.


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