Archive for the ‘Trades And Signings’ Category

Miami Marlins v Los Angeles Dodgers

Arbitration deadline day! So many figures, so many signings. Please to enjoy some thoughts and feelings on a few that caught my eye.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox

By avoiding arbitration with a one-year, $14 million contract with the Tampa Bay Rays, David Price remains a very good pitcher getting very expensive for a team that doesn’t deal well with cost. The Rays operate on a tight budget and, with free agency looming after the 2015 season, David Price may soon become a luxury they cannot afford.

With a Cy Young in his back pocket, Price earned a $3 million raise on his third trip through arbitration, with one more to come for the Super Two pitcher. Another spin through the arb process should net David Price close to $20 million a year, which is far too rich for the Rays blood.

Read the rest of this entry »

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers

They certainly do things bigger in Texas. Mere weeks after taking on the considerable carriage that is Prince Fielder and the eight years remaining on his contract, it appears the Rangers just went out and spent a whole ‘nother truckload of money, signing Shin-Soo Choo to a seven year deal per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

There is a lot to like about a seven-year deal for Shin-Soo Choo. He’s an excellent baseball player and has been for some time. He is fresh off the best season of his career, leading the National League in on base percentage while putting up the highest overall offensive numbers of his career.

There are some potential red flags in Choo’s numbers, of course. The inordinately high number of times he reached base by hit by pitch for one, his vulnerability against left-handed pitching is another. But as far as safe bets as far as players who should age with dignity, Choo ranks pretty high.

The Rangers get exactly what they need – a REAL leadoff hitter. Choo replaces the departed-to-Detroit Ian Kinlser, though Choo’s approach is much more consistent with traditional (in the modern sense) leadoff guy. He sees a ton of pitches and gets on base like crazy. Should the Rangers continue to deploy Elvis Andrus from the two spot, well it’s their funeral.

The upgrade from Choo to Cruz is not insignificant, as Choo is both a better offensive player and a much, much better fielder. The Korean outfielder won’t be asked to play much center field for Texas so his strong arm and dependable glove can rest easy in left field, as the rangy Alex Rios patrols right field for the Rangers again in 2014.

Reports suggest the deal is worth $130 million over the seven yeas, with limited no-trade protection but no bonuses or options (via Jeff Passan.) Interesting term considering reports earlier this month suggest Choo turned down seven years and $140 from the Yankees. The lack of state tax in Texas makes up the difference in total dollars, Twitter accountants are quick to point out.

The $130 million dollar question remains: is Shin-Soo Choo actually going to earn this very large paycheck? He is a superstar player? Probably not. He’s very good but now being paid as one of the top outfielders in the game. For all his skills, he is hardly a power hitter so what happens when his bat starts to slow with age? As suggested in this space previously, the track records of players with Choo’s skill set as they zoom past the age of 32 is a little scary, but there is hope in the shape of Bobby Abreu.

No matter how Choo ages, the 2014 Rangers team is going to be very, very good. There is still room to upgrade their rotation but an offense of Choo-Beltre-Fielder-Rios-Moreland-Soto-Andrus-Profar-Martin is pretty good indeed. There are upgrades and then there are UPGRADES. The Rangers won 91 games last year and now claim two very good players who will only benefit from the advantages their new home ballpark provides. Yikes. Good luck, Seattle. I’m sure Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez are more than enough to overcome this talented group all on their own.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Los Angeles Angels

The Colorado Rockies made a few questionable decisions this winter, loading up the bullpen of a rebuilding team with expensive toys when the rest of the roster is in dire need of upgrade.

Shipping out one of those relievers – lefty specialist Josh Outman, made superfluous by the Boone Logan acquisition – in exchange for a highly useful outfielder like Drew Stubbs is not a questionable decision. It is a fine decision. A good decision, even.

Read the rest of this entry »

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Seattle Mariners

Baseball is a young man’s game. There aren’t many players still producing into their forties. Raul Ibanez is not “many players.” If you wondered who authored the best age-41 season in baseball history, you might be surprised to learn that Raul Ibanez is in there with a shout.

Read the rest of this entry »

Texas Rangers v Oakland Athletics

Somewhere along the way, the Baltimore Orioles turned themselves into a very smart team. Facing the expensive prospect of giving a reliever coming off a down year, they improved their second base depth, signed another Proven Closer and added a nice setup guy for good measure – today signing Grant Balfour to a two-year deal reportedly worth $14MM.

Grant Balfour is a legit power pitching stud, with gaudy strikeout totals and a big time fastball, brings his spastic show east to Baltimore. His strikeout rate has grown each of the last three years, all while keeping his walks in check and keeping the ball in the park.

Read the rest of this entry »

MLB: New York Yankees at Chicago White Sox

Addison Reed is a pretty good reliever. He was better in 2012 than in 2013 but, by and large, he’s a decent end-of-game option. The White Sox have no real need for just a such a player, heading into a rebuild phase with young players at many key positions. A proven closer one season away from an expensive arbitration payday is a luxury they don’t really require.

It makes sense that Arizona would make a move for a younger pitcher that still has crucial “closer” experience. Their bullpen lead baseball in blown saves last season, tied with the Astros at 29. Somehow, the Snakes’ bullpen in 2013 feels worse than it actually performed. Adding Heath Bell is a sure way to swing opinion the wrong way, but the former Padres and Marlins stopper was quite good in Arizona, earning himself a new job in Tampa Bay to be their end of game guy.

The blown saves are unsightly but David Hernandez rebounded after a shocking demotion to AAA and J.J. Putz was excellent in the second half. Brad Zielger was excellent throughout the season. The blowups live long in the mind Arizona’s general manager Kevin Towers so they got more bullpen depth, more saves and a new pitcher, adding presumptive closer Addison Reed from Chicago in exchange for third base prospect Matt Davidson.

Read the rest of this entry »