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Should the Astros Trade for Mullins?

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

Saturday the MLB Trade Rumors site relayed a Jon Heyman tweet that the Orioles were willing to listen to trade trade offers on Cedric Mullins, the All-Star Center Fielder.

Astros fan, spurred by the disappointment of not being able to sign Starling Marte, immediately started to tweet the Astros should get Mullins. As shown in the Off-season Guide and the Verlander/ Marte and Trade plan articles, Mullins would be an ideal upgrade in centerfield. So all of these fans are right. Right?

Who is Cedric Mullins

Before I continue, WHO is Cedric Mullins? Why would the Orioles be willing to trade their All-Star CF?

Mullins had a career year at age 26 with the following slash line

2021- 0.291/ 0.360/ 0.518/ 0.878 in 675PA, 30SB, only 18.5% strikeouts, 136 wRC+, 5.3 fWAR

That is a TREMENDOUS year - the third highest WAR among CFs. He was the ONLY 30/30 player in MLB.

When one sees this, pause ask WHY would the Orioles trade that. Let's compare those numbers to Mullins Career and Projected numbers

Career- 0.265/ 0.333/ 0.451/ 0.784 in 1093PA, 40SB, only 19.5% strikeouts, 111wRC+, 4.9 fWAR

Wait, his fWAR was -0.4 in his 23-25 year old seasons in 418PA, 10SB, 21.1% SO, 72 wRC+? That is like two different players. Will the real Cedric Mullins please stand up? The Orioles don't know either and THAT is why they are willing to sell high NOW.

From 7/1/21 to 10/3/21 Mullins

0.258/ 0.326/ 0.485/ 0.811 in 329PA, 15SB, only 18.2% strikeouts, 116wRC+ in 79G

This seems like a more reasonable expectation for Mullins going forward. What do the projection systems say?

2022 Steamer Proj- 0.259/ 0.328/ 0.446/ 0.774, 677PA, 26SB, 18.9% strikeouts, 109 wRC+, 2.9 fWAR

As an Astros fan I should note this was Chas McCormick's 2021 season

0.257/ 0.319/ 0.447/ 0.766, 320PA, 4SB, 32.5% strikeouts, 109 wRC+, 1.9 fWAR

So Chas strikes out way more and steals way less. Otherwise, McCormick's 2021 part time season was about the same as Mullins projected stats. No one believes McCormick will maintain that pace and his projections are for a slightly below average CF. I will also say McCormick has better defensive stats than Mullins has.

The truth is the Astros have about as much confidence that Chas McCormick can maintain his 2021 stats that the Orioles have in Cedric Mullins in maintaining his 2021 stats. Let that sink in before we talk trade value.

Also, there is a free agent CF with the following 2021 season

0.254/ 0.344/ 0.438/ 0.782, 582PA, 13SB, 28.7% strikeouts, 113 wRC+, 3.1 fWAR

and 2022 Steamer Projection

0.243/ 0.331/ 0.410/ 0.741, 548PA, 8SB, 27.5% strikeouts, 102 wRC+, 1.8 fWAR

You know who that is? Chris Taylor

So who do you want?

2022 Projections

0.259/ 0.328/ 0.446/ 0.774, 677PA, 26SB, 18.9% strikeouts, 109 wRC+, 2.9 fWAR

0.243/ 0.331/ 0.410/ 0.741, 548PA, 8SB, 27.5% strikeouts, 102 wRC+, 1.8 fWAR

The second one cost you money and the first one will cost you a King's ransom in a trade.

What will it take to trade for Mullins?

Whenever I have thoughts like this I use this tool to calibrate to what sort of trade value it would take to make the trade I want. You may want to try this before thinking the Astros will trade for Mullins.

I will come up with trades in this tool that the TOOL says would be acceptable

Mullins's value in the tool is. 66.2

Astros players in this range and down

Alvarez 65.9- others might trade him but I wouldn't

Garcia 54.8

Urquidy 24.8

Korey Lee 22.5

Jeremy Pena 16.3

McCormick 8.9

Leon 8.5

Hunter Brown 8.1

Javier 7.5

Meyers 5.7

Joe Perez 4.3

Colin Barber

Do you get the sense yet what it will take to get Mullins in a trade?

Mullins for Garcia AND McCormick

Mullins for Urquidy AND Lee AND McCormick AND Barber

Mullins for UrquidyAND Pena AND McCormick AND Brown AND Barber

Which of those are you willing to trade? For me, I'm out- no trade.

So when someone tells the Astros to go get Mullins, ask them which of these trades they want to make.

Let's talk more about this here in the Forums

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1 Comment

Nov 28, 2021

I agree Larry. Mullins too expensive in prospects and I would be willing to trust our farm system and McCormick/Myers.

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