Potential Trade Target: Chris Volstad

While, I didn’t go too in depth about my feelings on the Cabrera-Sanchez/Verdugo swap last time (basically I think it’s roughly an even deal, though Melky isn’t a great fit with the way the roster is currently constructed) one thing it did do is it made the back end of the Giants rotation vulnerable. Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Zito are currently slotted in firmly as the team’s 4 and 5 starters, which is fairly risky given that Vogelsong came from nowhere and Zito is coming off a year where he was below replacement level per Fangraphs.

The Giants also lack young pitching as the Giants top pitching prospect is either a guy who has a fastball that rarely jumps over 90 MPH or a guy who didn’t focus on pitching exclusively until his senior year of high school.

Chris Volstad could fill both those problems. There are reports that he could be available, as he is arbitration eligible for the first time and Florida could want to move on from his 4.59 career ERA. But why would the Giants want to take a flier on him?

Well for one, he is still relatively cheap. MLBTR projects him for a $2.6 Million salary after his first time in arbitration. He also has a good pedigree as he was rated as the Marlins top prospect by Baseball America in 2007, and second in their system in 2008.

But most importantly, he is better than he has shown. Volstad has been good at getting ground balls (career 50.4%), however, most of his career Dan Uggla and Hanley Ramirez have been the Marlins middle infield combination and both of those players are below average defenders. Last year, Volstad posted a 4.89 ERA, with a 52.3 GB%, however he also posted a 3.64 xFIP, which is a solid indicator for his future.

This would help him fit well with the Giants as there is a growing likelyhood that Brandon Crawford could be the Giants starting SS, which regardless of whether or not you believe that is a good idea, would improve the Giants defense. Combine that with the solid Freddy Sanchez and the legitimate gold glove candidate Pablo Sandoval, and you have a very good infield defense. Volstad would also be helped by AT&T park as last year he posted a 15.5 HR/FB rate-just below Barry Zito and Bronson Arroyo.

While he would be a good fit, there is the question of what would be fair to give up. I think given the questions surrounding the back of the Marlins bullpen they would be interested in Santiago Casilla and then an 11-20 rated prospect, like a Chris Dominguez or Charlie Culberson.

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9 thoughts on “Potential Trade Target: Chris Volstad

  1. I own Volstad in one of my ottoneu leagues, and would love to see him in the NL West. Don’t care who he pitches for out there, so why not the Giants?

    Also, shame on you for even mentioning golden glove award.

  2. I’d much rather take a flier on someone like Brad Penny or Joel Pineiro. $2.6MM + a useful arm is kinda expensive for a guy who’s never thrown more than 175 innings in a season.

    Also, what would you do with Zito?

    • Brad Penny? No thanks. He’s cheap, but he might as well be Jeff Suppan at this point. Dude averaged 3.7 strikeouts per nine innings this season and was basically a sub-replacement level pitcher.

      Volstad seems like exactly the kind of guy that could blossom under Righetti, and three years of team control of a back-to-middle-of-rotation guy could easily be worth a lot more than Culberson (or Dominguez) + Casilla.

      • Okay fine, Penny was a bad example.

        Still not seeing the upside with Volstad though. Is it the 12% HR/FB rate? If that’s the case, I’d rather have Chris Capuano — similar HR/FB, much better K/BB, and a free agent. MLBTR estimates he’ll sign for something like 2yrs/$8MM. Even though he’s not quite as cheap/controllable, he won’t cost prospects and he’s probably the better pitcher.

  3. Sorry this mobile version won’t let me directly reply.

    I think Volstad has more upside than a guy like Penny/Pineiro though he definitely is more expensive.

    As for what to do with Zito, I think you go into camp and see how it plays out (ie if someone gets hurt) and if they do slot Volstad into the rotation, if not move Volstad into the pen as the long man and stick with Zito for as long as he is effective.

  4. As for mentioning the GG award I just wanted to convey that Pablo is really good defensively without someone bringing up the unreliablity of D-Metrics in a single season so calling him a legit GGer seemed like the easiest way

  5. I like the idea, I don’t think Zito will be a legitimate candidate. They will PR it up, but ultimately he does have to take the field, and when he does he will be shelled. They can only take so much of that.

    Instead of trading away more pitchers, why not just spend a bit of money on Paul Maholm? You get your 2nd lefty for rotation balance, I’m sure Raggs can help him, and he seems like a good shot at going to the next level.

  6. Pingback: San Francisco Giants Linkin' Round The Cove - November 14, 2011 - Frisco Fastball - A San Francisco Giants Fan Site - News, Blogs, Opinion and More

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