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How has Bobby Evans done with trades?

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Has Bobby Evans brought in more wins than he’s shipped out?

MLB: General Managers Meetings Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

As the trade deadline approaches, several questions have arisen. Some of these are familiar questions inherent to any deadline. Should the Giants buy or sell? Which prospects can they part with? Who should they target? But Bryan raised another on Sunday: Is Bobby Evans even any good at making trades?

The GM is in his fourth year of command, so it’s still too early to know what his legacy will be. We can, however, take a look at the early returns Evans has reaped. Over at the Baseball Gauge, there’s a handy tool that lets you look at the sum of bWAR coming into and out of a trade.

For instance, on November 14, 2003, Brian Sabean traded Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, and Boof Bonser for AJ Pierzynski.

Let’s see, the Giants got 0.2 bWAR, and the Twins got 27.9. This was *double checks numbers* a bad trade.

I’ve gone through and compiled all the trades Bobby Evans has made as GM from the Mike Leake trade to the Austin Jackson dump a few weeks ago. Remember that only looking at WAR is a bit reductive in assessing trades. It doesn’t factor in salary considerations or roster construction. It should provide some insight into how Evans’ transactions have translated into wins on the field. I’m also not looking at free agent signings because the point of this exercise is to get an idea of how Evans’ trades have panned out thus far.

Bobby Evans Trades

Date Teams Players Out Players In WAR In WAR in 1st Yr WAR Out WAR Out 1st Yr
Date Teams Players Out Players In WAR In WAR in 1st Yr WAR Out WAR Out 1st Yr
7/30/2015 CIN Adam Duvall, Keury Mella Mike Leake 0.5 0.5 6.3 0.1
8/20/2015 CIN Stephen Johnson Marlon Byrd 0.6 0.6 0 0
1/13/2016 ARI Cody Hall Cash Considerations 0 0 -0.2 -0.2
7/28/2016 MIN Adalberto Mejia Eduardo Nunez 1.2 0.9 0.7 0.7
8/1/2016 MIL Andrew Susac, Phil Bickford Will Smith 1.6 0.4 -0.5 0.1
8/1/2016 TBR Matt Duffy, Lucius Fox, Michael Santos Matt Moore 0.2 0.6 2 0.1
9/27/2016 ATL Richard Rodriguez Gordon Beckham -0.2 -0.2 0 0
12/7/2016 SEA Chris Heston Tyler Herb 0 0 -0.5 -0.5
6/7/2017 TEX Hunter Cole Sam Dyson 0.9 0.4 0 0
7/26/2017 BOS Eduardo Nunez Gregory Santos, Shaun Anderson 0 0 -0.4 0.9
12/15/2017 TEX Matt Moore Sam Wolff, Israel Cruz 0 0 -1.2 -1.2
12/20/2017 TBR Denard Span, Matt Krook, Stephen Woods, Christian Arroyo Evan Longoria 0.2 0.2 2.2 2.2
1/15/2018 PIT Kyle Crick, Bryan Reynolds Andrew McCutchen 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1
1/26/2018 BAL Engelb Vielma PTBNL 0 0 0 0
7/8/2018 TEX Austin Jackson, Cory Gearrin, Jason Bahr PTBNL 0 0 0.2 0.2
TOTAL 6.1 4.5 9.7 3.5

In total, the players Evans has acquired through trades have combined for 6.1 bWAR and the players he has dealt away have combined for 9.6 following their time with the Giants. That’s a difference of 3.5 over three and a half seasons.

If it weren’t for the Mike Leake trade, Evans would be coming out ahead. I find it unlikely that Duvall would achieve the same sort of value playing half his games in San Francisco instead of Cincinnati. In that time, Duvall’s on-base percentage has been under .300. All his value derives from dingers and defense. The defense would be nice to have, but I don’t know how many fewer homers he’d hit at sea level compared to a ballpark built for literal babies.

The other trade that jumps out is the obvious one: the Matt Moore trade. In hindsight, it was a disaster. Moore had the highest ERA among qualified starters last year, and this year, he couldn’t manage to stay in the Rangers’ rotation. All Evans gave up for him was a fan favorite third baseman who was worth more sidelined with an injury than Moore was in 2017. Also, the Giants gave up Lucius Fox, who still hasn’t cracked AA, but has been an above average hitter since leaving the Giants organization.

The trade made sense at the time. Moore was under team control for three additional years at below market prices. He had the potential to be great, and we saw glimpses of what the Giants saw. Remember when he almost no-hit the Dodgers? Or when he threw eight innings of one-run ball in an elimination game against the Cubs?

It was always a bit of a gamble to pursue Moore. He hadn’t been good for years, but the Giants were apparently confident their player development could help him reach his potential. That, uh, didn’t happen, and the Giants shook up their coaching staff and hired a new head of player development. That might be a coincidence or it might be passing the buck or it might be an indication of a failing with Moore.

The Moore trade was risky, but there’s a difference between risky and stupid. I’m not sure this was stupid.

The early returns on Evan Longoria haven’t been good, but who expected to Denard Span to surpass 2017’s WAR by the All-Star break? Christian Arroyo might match or exceed Longoria’s WAR total over the span of his contract, but he might continue to be a replacement-level player while Longoria continues to be a perfectly competent, if slightly expensive two-win player.

Baseball Prospectus projects Arroyo to be worth 4.5 WARP over the life of Longoria’s contract while it projects Longoria to be worth 10.6 over the same time. Just because it hasn’t worked out just yet doesn’t mean that it won’t.

Other than that, Evans has been mostly brought back positive assets. I, for one, am glad the Giants have Will Smith instead of Andrew Susac and Phil Bickford even with the Tommy John. Sam Dyson has been a good, cheap pick-up. Kyle Crick has been great for Pittsburgh, but the Giants needed outfield help more so than relief pitching. The Giants may still turn McCutchen into even more prospects if they decide to trade him, or if he declines a qualifying offer. Evans didn’t have to give up much to get Eduardo Nuñez, and he sold high on him. The Giants recently promoted Futures Game rosteree Shaun Anderson to AAAthe other day and could be ready for the majors in a year or two.

Evans’ record thus far isn’t perfect, but the marks against him were outside of his control. The calculated risk with Matt Moore didn’t pan out, and he gave up a below average hitter that’s having 30-homer seasons in an extreme hitter’s park. All his other moves have helped the Giants win or should help them win.