The Rays have Logan Forsythe under team control for the next two years, as he'll go through his second round of arbitration this off-season. After his stellar year, he is due for a pay raise, but still an excellent deal as he is only projected to make $3.3 million, which if he can keep up his performance from 2015 is a bargain.
But let's say the Rays wanted to trade him now.
In looking for a comparison on the trade market, Eno Sarris recently compared Frosty's performance to that of Johnny Giavotella, Brandon Phillips, Danny Espinosa and Brian Dozier. Giavotella was traded last year from the Royals for Brian Broderick, but he also lies on the low end of the spectrum as his career best wRC+ is a mere 95, and the player was just released by the Angels.
What other infielders have been traded lately? None by themselves.
The Omar Infante Trade was paired with Anibal Sanchez for a package around "top" prospect Jacob Turner (who's still only 24).
Recent Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Dee Gordon was worth fWAR of 3.2 when he was traded last off-season. He was paired with Dan Haren, and netted the Dodgers a nice piece in Miami's #1 prospect,Andrew Heaney, who they then flipped for Howie Kendrick 1 for 1.
Kendrick is not a good comp for Forsythe, though, so move along.
Jeff Keppinger was traded from the Astros to the Giants for two pitching prospects. It was a mid-season move to make room for Jose Altuve, and both arms received remain in Triple-A. Kepp was coming off a career best season in 2010, fizzled in 2011, joined the rays and put up 128 wCR+ in 2012, and then was horrible for the White Sox in 2013, ending his career. Who is the best fit?
Where does that leave us, Jason Bartlett? Not when we traded for him from the Twins, but away to the Padres.He was coming off a 5.3 fWAR season and a 136 wRC+ with the Rays when we traded him, and netted useful relievers in Adam Russell and Cesar Ramos, as well as prospects Brandon Gomes and Cole Figueroa.
Perhaps that's the closest. Guys like Logan Forsythe just don't get traded. But is that because he's a unique case, or that he's likely to implode?
The idea of trading Frosty again comes back to the question is whether or not Forsythe can keep up his performance, and requires the assumption that he won't. I'm not convinced that's the case.
As a part time player, Forsythe put up 73 and 79 wRC+ off the Rays bench, but as a full time player he posted a 110 wRC+ in half a season for the Padres, and then a 126 wRC+ with the Rays last season, dominating southpaws in particular to the tune of a 164 wRC+.
Perhaps it's being everyday play that brings out his value.
Beside that observation, we have tangible improvements we can rely on. We don't have the advantages of HitFX, but by the eye test his hands seemed quicker in 2015, and the numbers show he was much better at getting to fastballs on the inner half of the plate:
That observation isn't born out by his plate discipline numbers (where his approach was generally "worse"), but the results were there. Forsythe exhibited a lower K% and a higher BB% last season -- which indicates a reasonable change, as those stats stabilize quickly, and his ISO increased as well.
Logan Forsythe is a better hitter. It might be that simple. But why is this discussion rooted in only offense? And what's your alternative, rolling the dice with Nick Franklin?
Forsythe provides incredible defense at second base, and his offense has peaked when playing full time. Why field anything less? Daniel Robertson isn't here yet, and Ryan Brett is not a guarantee to be an MLB player. Forsythe already is. He was such a beast in 2015 he was named the team MVP for the season.
Let the wookie win.
If the Rays are at all interested in fielding a competitive team in 2016, who could supply better defense than Forsythe? He snubbing from Gold Glove consideration felt like a travesty just a week ago, but as soon as the 40-man roster crunch comes calling for prospects, he's for sale? Keep him and let him start.