Who won the trade? Frasor deal shows why snap judgments don't work

Thursday marks one year since the Royals traded minor league right-hander Spencer Patton to the Rangers for Jason Frasor, who celebrated that anniversary by signing with the Braves following his release by Kansas City.This is all stuff that would be at the fringe of the transactions wire, but it shines an interesting light on evaluating trades and being quick to declare winners and losers. MORE: Cubs lead second-half predictions | Pirates built to win the NL CentralUndoubtedly, the Royals can view last year’s acquisition of Frasor as a success. He was the winning pitcher in the American League wild-card game, working two-thirds of an inning in which he allowed an inherited run to score but avoided further damage. In six more playoff outings, the right-hander allowed one more inherited run, and one run of his own. The Royals re-signed him after he got to free agency in November. Even though he was released, it was not as if Frasor was terrible for the Royals this year – he had a 1.54 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 23.1 innings. He had 15 walks, though, and with a bullpen as dominant as Kansas City’s, Frasor got squeezed out.So, the Royals got what they wanted, and their side of the ledger is closed on the trade. Meanwhile, a quick look at Patton shows that in 11 appearances for the Rangers, the 27-year-old has an 8.71 ERA. This does not help to make the point that it takes time to declare winners and losers in a trade.Look deeper, though, and see that Patton has nine strikeouts and two walks in 10.1 innings, and that six of the 10 runs he has allowed for Texas came in a disastrous two-thirds of an inning on July 4, in a 13-0 rout at the hands of the Angels.Patton, who owns a 93 mph fastball, was a 24th-round draft pick for the Royals in 2011, out of Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. He played rookie ball that year, then again the following season, before embarking on a pretty solid trajectory to the majors – some of 2013 in A-ball, some of it in Double-A, then Triple-A with a September callup last year after the trade.This year, Patton has been dominant in Triple-A, going 10-for-10 in save opportunities and striking out 31 hitters with eight walks and no homers allowed in 23 innings. He deserves to be getting a shot in the major leagues, and aside from one disaster outing, has pitched like he belongs.Patton remains under team control through at least the end of the decade. Even though, at 27, he is too old to be considered a prospect, there is no reason that he cannot be a useful player for the contending team the Rangers hope to be sooner than later. To see that, you just have to look at the career path of the player he was traded for: Frasor was a 33rd-round draft pick out of Southern Illinois’ main campus in Carbondale, then went through the minor leagues (getting traded twice along the way) and made his major league debut at the age of 26 years and 251 days – two months older than Patton was when he got to the bigs.It could certainly turn out that the Rangers dealt two-plus months of Frasor for several years of the updated model of Frasor. The Royals will always call the deal a win from their standpoint because of how things worked out with their two-plus months of Frasor, but it would be foolish to call it a loss for Texas.