Evaluating blockbuster baseball trades

AccuScore has run more than 10,000 simulations for the 2008 Major League Baseball Season, calculating how each team's performance changes in response to game conditions, opponent's abilities, roster moves, weather and more. Each game is simulated one pitch at a time and the game is replayed a minimum of 10,000 times to generate forecasted winning percentages, player statistics and a variety of game-changing scenarios. Here's AccuScore.com’s analysis of the Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers after their blockbuster trades.

KEN GRIFFEY HELPS WHITE SOX

If the White Sox make Ken Griffey Jr. a regular starter the question is do the benefits (offense) outweigh the costs (outfield defense)? To answer this question AccuScore simulated the White Sox against top competitors in the American League including the Twins, Red Sox, Angels, Rays and Yankees. Thousands of simulations were run for each of the games, one set with Griffey on the White Sox and one set without.

On average, Griffey improved the White Sox single game winning percentage by +0.8 percent. This does not sound like much on a per game basis but extrapolated over the remainder of the season, it helps the White Sox' total playoff chances. Their odds of winning the division increased by 3.5 percent and making the playoffs by 4.5 percent.

  CHICAGO WHITE SOX    WIN DIV PLAYOFFS  
  WITHOUT GRIFFEY 54.9% 58.5%
  WITH GRIFFEY 58.4% 63.0%
  GRIFFEY BENEFIT 3.5% 4.5%

As of today the Chicago White Sox have a 4.8 percent chance of winning the World Series. This is based on their 63 percent chance of making the playoffs and a 7.7 percent chance of winning the World Series as the AL Central winner facing the AL East winner without home field advantage.

MANNY A BIG BOOST FOR DODGERS

The Dodgers acquired Manny Ramirez and AccuScore expects him to make a significant positive impact on the team. AccuScore simulated the Dodgers against key National League competition including Diamondbacks, Mets, Cubs, Phillies and Brewers.

The Dodgers and Diamondbacks have little to no chance of making the playoffs as a wildcard so winning the NL West is essential. AccuScore favors the Diamondbacks in this race heading into the weekend series between the teams. Before the trade the Diamondbacks had a 38 point edge in the battle (Arizona win division 69 percent, Dodgers, 30 percent), but after the trade the gap is Arizona 60 percent, Dodgers 39%.

  LOS ANGELES DODGERS WIN DIV PLAYOFFS  
  WITHOUT MANNY RAMIREZ 30.3% 31.7%
  WITH MANNY RAMIREZ 38.0% 39.7%
  MANNY RAMIREZ BENEFIT 7.7% 8.0%

Arizona still has the edge because they are one game up LA and they have 3 more home games than road games the rest of the season. The Dodgers have to play 3 more road games than home games the rest of the way. But things can change if LA takes 3 of 4 this weekend at home against Arizona. If the Dodgers win 3 of 4 the division becomes a coin flip with both teams winning the division 50 percent of the time.

While Manny significantly improves the Dodgers' chances of making the playoffs, AccuScore still gives the Dodgers under 2 percent chance of actually winning the World Series. Not only do they have just a 40 percent chance of making the playoffs, once they get in playoffs they will likely not have home field advantage in any round.

JASON BAY A FINE REPLACEMENT FOR MANNY

The Red Sox are happy that they acquired Jason Bay whose average (.282), on-base percentage (.375) and slugging percentage (.519) are only slightly lower than Manny Ramirez's (.299, .398, and .529) and Bay will not create the headaches for management and teammates.

Unlike Griffey in Cincinnati or Manny Ramirez in Los Angeles, AccuScore does not expect this trade to have a significant impact on the Red Sox' post-season chances.

  BOSTON RED SOX WIN DIV PLAYOFFS  
  WITH MANNY / WITHOUT BAY 26.7% 53.0%
  WITHOUT MANNY / WITH BAY 26.2% 52.4%
  TRADE IMPACT -0.5% -0.6%

Their chances of winning the AL East is half a percent lower after the trade which is not a significant change. The Red Sox winning percentage against key competition in the American League is unchanged with Jason Bay as the regular left-fielder.

With Tampa Bay not showing signs of letting up and the Yankees getting better by the day, the defending World Series champion Red Sox have just a 52 percent chance of even making the playoffs. If they can get into the playoffs they are given a strong 15 percent chance of winning the World Series. However, as of today their overall chance of repeating is just 7.5 percent.