Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Trade Watch 2011: Tyler Clippard

Here at Capitol Baseball, we're fond of series. That way, we can provide you as much information as we possibly can without writing Joe Posnanski length posts. With this next series, over the next 11 days, we'll be discussing 11 Nats that could end up in other uniforms before the July 31st trade deadline. Today's trade topic: Tyler Clippard.

It makes sense that, just like last season with Matt Capps, the Nats lone All-Star representative (and All-Star Game winner) ends up at the top of our list. We don't want to draw a lot of comparisons between Clippard and Capps, because we think that Clippard has a lot better "stuff" than Capps ever did. But we will use some comparisons to help explain our reasoning to why Clippard could be traded for the right pieces.

Now, this isn't easily put, but relievers are a dime a dozen. Bullpen guys are a crucial aspect of the baseball game, and teams without a bullpen simply can't compete, but that said, besides Mariano Rivera, I can't think of a single "untouchable" reliever in baseball. A GM would be crazy not to take a phone call on Clippard if it would get a valuable piece for the organization. (See: Ramos, Wilson)

It's also proven to be extremely hard for a reliever to remain consistent over multiple years, especially with the number of innings that Clippard has pitched in the 'pen over the last couple seasons. At some point, some guys need to be sold high that have a high probability of breaking down, and sadly, Clipp is on that list.

On the flip side, though, Clippard is under team control until 2015 and could prove to be a valuable piece in the future-Nats successes. We're not saying the Nats should take Clippard and unload him for anyone. He's a valuable piece and if the right trade didn't come along, the Nats would be crazy to let him go.

Clippard is arbitration eligible in 2012 and will command a big raise over his sub-million dollar salary, which is just a bit of extra info to help you make your decision.

So what do you think, CapBallers? Would you trade Clippard for the right pieces? If so, who? Remember to think with your baseball head, and not with your love of "The Goggles."


  1. Clippard is only 26, Capps is a couple of years older, but looks more than that and is less fit. Agree with you in principle -- If we can get something fantastic for him then ok. If not, he stays.

  2. Glad you brought this up. Even though relievers are more prominent today than in the past, the fact remains that relievers are relievers because they aren't as good as starters. They may be good enough to get 3 or 4 hitters out, but they lack either the stuff or the stamina to get hitters multiple times over for 9 innings. How many middle relievers have sterling 15-year careers with one team?

    Clippard may be at his high-water mark, and if the Nats get a good deal, they should take it.

  3. I completely agree with Nick. This is the definition of a buy-low, sell-high situation. Clippard is wonderful but he is also worth a good amount to a team that needs some bullpen stability. We didn't capitalize on trading Burnett when we had the chance and look what happened. It's time to pull the trigger.

  4. joe pos' posts are curiously long...

  5. This is probably their trickiest decision, unless Storen is on the table, which I kinda doubt. For Pudge, Marquis, Herndandez, Desmond, etc. there's a decent replacement option so we won't loose too many games as a result of the trade. But with Clippard, we could lose a bunch. If they trade him and the starts to break-down, Rizzo's a genious. If they trade him and he's in the all-star game again next year while Coffey and Burnett are serving up taters in his place, he looks like an idiot. The only way I'd pull the trigger on this trade is if it's for a virtual sure thing player. No way I do this for an unproven prospect.