MLB Trade Bonanza!!!

Juan Soto on the Padres

Contributor: John Dudley

Draft days, the opening of free agency, and trade deadlines are all major events in the seasonal cycle of sports, but the hullaballoo hits hardest in the hobby. MLB’s trade deadline came and went, but not before altering the landscape of the game and the hobby. Let’s check out a few of the biggest trades and see what effects they are already having on card values.

1.  Padres get Juan Soto and Josh Bell. Nationals get Robert Hassell III, Mackenzie Gore, C.J. Abrams, Jarlin Susana, and Luke Voit.

Hobby Impact: The obvious player to look at here is Juan Soto. Soto gets a change of scenery to a contender and gets to play with one of the other young stars of the game. Collectors are excited as Soto’s US300 PSA 10 has gone up to $135 from $110 in the few days since the trade. 

The Nationals get a treasure trove of prospects all of whom have hobby value. Robert Hassell III might be the gem of the deal though. It looks like hobbyists are down on the Nationals though as sales of Hassell’s 2020 Bowman Chrome auto were in the $140 range down from the $220 range pre-trade. With only a couple of sales, these were likely panic sales, but it does seem the move to the Nationals is a negative from a hobby standpoint.

2. Blue Jays get Whit Merrifield. Royals get Samad Taylor and Max Castillo

Hobby Impact: Merrifield is an All-Star, but age and playing for the Royals have limited his popularity to fantasy baseball. While the trade has sparked a good bit of mirth, it has also caused some interest in Merrifield’s cards. Not much, but some. His PSA 10 Topps Heritage RC traded a few times for between $20 and $40 this season, but in a single sale post-trade, it sold for $99. It is hard not to be skeptical of a single sale after major news though.

Samad Taylor is intriguing in that he should have a shot at playing time, but his age and performance have kept his card values in the pocket change territory which seems reasonable. With the Royals having a young exciting team though and available playing time, Taylor could be in line to have a brief bout of hobby relevancy.  Max Castillo is not a random pitcher just thrown in either. He looks like a potential solid starter already and could end up getting some hobby attention someday too.

3. Yankees get Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino. Athletics get Ken Waldichuck, Luis Medina, and Cooper Bowman.

Montas is the headliner here. Any time a player moves to the Yankees it’s a big move in the hobby world. Love them or hate them, the Yankees still bring hobby attention. He’s a solid pitcher and a great addition, but not much of a hobby name.  That said, Montas has seen mighty gains with his 2016 Topps Chrome auto selling for $30 after the trade and as low as $6 a couple of days before. Not every player has to be on a HOF trajectory to be relevant or interesting in the hobby. Sellers that timed things right did well with Montas.

Ken Waldichuck is ready for the majors today. He’s got hobby value with his Bowman 1st Draft Autos (paper version) selling for between $35-$50, but none have sold post-trade. Oakland is a major step down hobby-wise, but he should get a chance to play in the majors soon. 

4. Phillies get Brandon Marsh. Angels get Logan O’Hoppe. 

Hobby Impact: Marsh was a reasonably touted prospect and has attracted some hobby attention, but not much recently. The move to Philadelphia should raise his profile as the Phillies gear up for a division fight. The trade has caused a spike in interest in his cards with his 2018 Bowman Chrome auto trading for $20-$30 up from $5-$10. 

Logan O’Hoppe might sound like a T-206 common, but he’s a very strong prospect. His prices have likewise seen a bit of a jump with his Bowman Chrome autos seeing sales of up to $45 after selling for $20-$35 pre-trade.

5. Trey Mancini and Jayden Murray to the Astros. Jose Siri to the Rays. Chayse McDermott and Seth Johnson to the Orioles. 

Mancini is one of the most loved players in the game due to his amazing comeback story, but he’s never been a major name in the hobby. What he can do though is help rehabilitate the tarnished Astros’ image. It is getting harder to boo the Astros when most of the players involved in the trash can and buzzer antics are gone. Adding a favorite like Mancini makes it even harder. While I don’t expect an overnight bump in Yordan Alvarez or Kyle Tucker cards, I do expect the stigma that keeps Astro pricing down to eventually wear off. It might be time to pick up some Astros cards before they become next on someone’s list of hobby regrets

Wrap Up

It was quite the trade deadline with an absolute all-time whopper at the top. Which trade is your favorite from a hobby perspective? Are there any players you are now targeting or any you are dumping? Let me know in the comments and be sure to check out my new video show debuting this week on the Card Shop Live app under the By the Numbers label.

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