The Bako Bums and Mother Lode Argonauts have finalized a fairly significant deal that grew quite rapidly from very modest beginnings. What started as a simple (and small) salary dump proposal, grew to eventually include a true, 5.0 WAR difference maker and one of the elite prospects in baseball. Trying to unload some salary in order to more fully enter the current free agent market, Mother Lode GM, Matt Buland approached Bums GM Brendt Crews with a $2.0-$3.0 million salary dump. From there, and over just 24 hours, the two GM’s constructed a deal that saw Bako trade newly signed center fielder, Tommy Pham in exchange for consensus top 10 prospect, Royce Lewis. Joining Pham in the deal, Bako also sent relievers Hector Rondon and Kyle Barraclough, both expected to play prominent roles in the Argonauts pen. Along with Lewis, Mother Lode sent relievers AJ Schugal and Emilio Pagan to Bako.
Pham, on a very reasonable $6.5 million contract, moves north to assume the center field duties for the Argonauts. Over the past two seasons, Pham has proven to be a top 10 outfielder, ranking right alongside the likes of Bryce Harper, Christian Yelich, and Giancarlo Stanton. Those are MVP names, yet Pham has quietly put himself on their plane offensively (.878 OPS, 138 wRC+), defensively (7.1 UZR/150, 5.5 dWAR), and overall (10.1 WAR).
Since being drafted #1 in the amateur draft, Lewis has done nothing to dampen the sky high expectations that come with such a draft position. Playing a year or two younger at each step, Lewis rose to the High-A level last season at just 19 years of age. Over his two A level stops last season, the shortstop hit a combined .292 while posting a 130 wRC+. He used his 70 grade speed to steal 28 bases at an 80% success rate. His developing power also showed up as he clubbed 14 home runs and 47 extra base hits. Refining his defense, Lewis also began to show the ability to stick at shortstop for the long term. With nothing but close to the majors talent ahead of him on the 2019 prospect lists, Lewis stands poised to possibly assume the #1 ranking in baseball this season and he is driven to do just that.
Rounding out the deal, the two teams shuffle a couple bullpen pieces. Rondon and Barraclough both join Mother Lode as integral members of this years Argonaut bullpen. Bako assumes the contract of the injured Schugal and gains the power arm of Pagan, hoping for a bounce back season next year.
From its beginnings, only Schugal remained once the negotiations had settled, and in the end instead of dumping salary, Buland actually ended up taking on salary. But when that salary comes attached to two competent bullpen pieces and (more importantly) a top ten outfielder like Tommy Pham, the added payroll doesn’t look too bad. “I didn’t see this coming”, was Buland’s reaction once the deal was complete.
Neither did the Bums, I’m sure.