In this new weekly article I will take a look at recent MLB Hot Stove action. I’ll analyze each move and look at how well each player will fit in to their new team. I’ll also take a look at each signing’s fantasy impact. And of course I will keep track of the Orioles offseason as well. This first article will feature every offseason move that has taken place up to this point. From here on out I’ll recap moves on a weekly basis.
The Washington Nationals re-sign Chien-Ming Wang- I understand that the Nats fully want to cash in on rebuilding Wang over the last 2 seasons. His previous 2 year commitment only gave them 11 starts. It was important for them to re-sign him so that he can now give back to the organization with a full season. That’s if he can stay healthy. Let’s not forget he has only made 20 starts over the last 4 years. With all that being said I don’t think there was really any room to sign Wang. The Nats rotation is pretty full already. Strasburg and Zimmermann are locks at the top of the rotation. They are rumored to be wanting another veteran starter as well. Assuming that they get one, that leaves 2 spots for Wang, Lannan, Detwiler, Peacock, and Milone. Wang and Lannan have to take rotation spots because of their veteran status. This means that 3 young guys who had success in 2010 must be pushed out of the rotation. Peacock is a k/ip flame thrower who has as much upside as Jordan Zimmermann does. He is not a guy you want to hold down. Detwiler has upside because he was a #6 pick overall and posted a 3.00 ERA in 2011. Wang adds depth but really takes away a spot deserved more by another young pitcher. For fantasy purposes Wang probably shouldn’t be drafted unless the league is very deep. I can see him putting up decent #s, but he is injury prone, and he will have a short leash because of the depth behind him.
The Los Angeles Dodgers sign Juan Rivera- Not too much to talk about here. Rivera is the current #3 guy in the outfield with Kemp and Ethier. I’m sure before the season starts they will have someone else to either platoon with him or to start over him.
The Philadelphia Phillies sign Jim Thome- With Ryan Howard likely missing the beginning of the season this is great insurance for Philly. Thome still has the ability to hit HR’s and should fill in nicely for Howard. Once Howard returns Thome will become a pinch hitter until he’s traded. For that reason Thome will have decent value to start the season and then will lose all fantasy value.
Trade- Kansas City Royals acquire Jonathan Sanchez, San Francisco Giants acquire Melky Cabrera- This one certainly makes sense for both teams. Kansas City has the farm depth to make a splash and contend for a division title in any given season…including 2012. With improvements from Hosmer and Moustakas, and established hitters like Butler and Gordon, KC has a decent offense. Their problem has been pitching. They do have 3 big time pitching prospects coming but to bridge the gap they need starters now. Sanchez is an established arm with tons of upside. He immediately goes to the top of their rotation with Hochevar. If those two can put up a high inning total and their young pitchers can break out the Royals will have a chance to make a big splash next year. They have enough outfield depth as is, so excellent deal for them. This is also a good deal for SF. The Giants have an abundance of pitching and a struggling offense. Even after they shipped Sanchez out they still have Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Vogelsong, Zito, and Surkamp. Melky joins a mediocre outfield with Schierholtz, Torres, and Huff/Belt. If he can repeat what he did last season he fits nicely in the heart of the order with Posey and Sandoval. He adds much needed consistency to their lineup. And if there is one thing Melky was in 2011 it was consistent.
The Arizona Diamondbacks sign Chris Jakubauskas- Are any Orioles fans crying over this? I know I’m not. Jakubauskas brings a 2011 ERA of 5.72 and a lifetime ERA of 5.58 to Arizona. I guess the D-backs think they will strike lighting twice after having success with David Hernandez last year. Jakubauskas will have to come out of their bullpen because he won’t crack the rotation of Kennedy, Hudson, Saunders, Collmenter, and possibly 2011 1st Rd. pick Trevor Bauer. If Bauer isn’t ready then Miley and Enright will still be ahead of Jak on the depth chart.
The Pittsburgh Pirates sign Rod Barajas- They let Doumit and Snyder walk and saved a lot of money in doing so. Both players couldn’t stay healthy for PIT over the last few seasons, something that Barajas has done. He will bring good defense, will work well with the rotation, and will bring minimal offense. I personally think Ramon Hernandez was a better option for them.
The Philadelphia Phillies sign Jonathan Papelbon- Well this isn’t really fair is it. The only thing the Phillies have had problems with over the last few years has been the bullpen. Well you can strike that off the problem list. Papelbon will shut things down in the 9th for Philly. He will succeed there just as well as he did in Boston and may be the top fantasy closer in 2012.
The Minnesota Twins sign Jamey Carroll- This guy has been pretty much underrated for years. Although Carroll is 38 years old he still brings a decent average, a good walk total, and great defense. That big park will be perfect for him to be a singles guy. Carroll will hit between .290-.300 in Minnesota, but doesn’t have any power, and can only steal about 10 bases a season.
The Los Angeles Dodgers sign Mark Ellis- So the team that potentially has the 2011 MVP and Cy Young and is only a few pieces away from contending has decided to bring in veterans and get older? Really? Why? Well Mark Ellis won’t stay healthy. The last time he reached 150 games was 2007. So the Dodgers just brought in a .260 AVG, 9 HR, 50 RBI, 65 R, 15 SB. I guess they hit panic mode after they lost Jamey Carroll. To be fair this 2B market is horrific. The best guy left is Kelly Johnson, who I’m not a big fan of. Jose Lopez would have been a better option for them because he finished 2011 strong, has upside, and has a lot of prove in a bounce back year. Instead they get a guy who won’t play more than 125 games. Now they need to have a suitable backup in place to play 35 games.
The Arizona Diamondbacks sign Aaron Hill- I like Hill. I think he was the best 2B on the market this year. Arizona traded for him late in the season and needed to re-sign him. Hill dropped off the last 2 years in Toronto, but that’s not important. What is important is how he played with Arizona. For them he hit .315, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 5 SB in only 33 games. That RBI pace puts him near 90 on the year. I’m sure Hill will have a slight bounce back next season and put up better #s than he has the last 2 years. He will never touch 30 HR again, but he could still put up 20 with 90 RBI and hit .270+
Lets take a look at the Orioles moves so far:
Claimed Darren O’Day off waivers from the Texas Rangers– That’s it. And that’s okay. Most teams have done much yet, so you have to be patient. The Orioles are not going to chase any big time free agents and will start to target guys once all the big fish are off the board. For now we get O’Day who was a very solid reliever before last season. He was an absolute stud in 2009 and 2010 and was one of Texas’ best relievers. He sported a 1.94 ERA in 2009, and a 2.03 ERA in 2010. Here’s a stat you’ll like. Overall in his career in 186 games he has a 2.89 ERA. Compare that to Kevin Gregg’s 4.07 ERA, Jim Johnson’s 3.31, and Berken’s 5.34. This guy is a low risk high reward type guy that could really help the Orioles and their worst bullpen in the league.
Key free agents still available:
C- Ramon Hernandez, Jason Varitek, Ryan Doumit, Chris Snyder, Jorge Posada, Jason Kendall, Dioner Navarro, Ivan Rodriguez, Kelly Shoppach
1B- Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Carlos Pena, Derrek Lee, Casey Kotchman, Lyle Overbay
2B- Kelly Johnson, Clint Barmes, Jose Lopez, Carlos Guillen, Bill Hall, Nick Punto
3B- Aramis Ramirez, Wilson Betemit, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Casey Blake, Brandon Wood
SS- Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins, Rafael Furcal, Alex Gonzalez, Yuniesky Betancourt, Cesar Izturis, Edgar Renteria, Jack Wilson
OF- Yoenis Cespedes, Michael Cuddyer, Carlos Beltran, Josh Willingham, Grady Sizemore, Jason Kubel, Raul Ibanez, Coco Crisp, Juan Pierre, David DeJesus, Johnny Damon, Nate McLouth, Magglio Ordonez, Cody Ross, Pat Burrell, Ryan Ludwick, JD Drew, Kosuke Fukudome, Jonny Gomes, Felix Pie, Andruw Jones, Xavier Nady
DH- David Ortiz, Vladimir Guerrero, Hideki Matsui, Marcus Thames
SP– CJ Wilson, Yu Darvish, Roy Oswalt, Edwin Jackson, Hiroki Kuroda, Mark Buehrle, Erik Bedard, Tsuyoshi Wada, Javier Vazquez, Hisashi Iwakuma, Paul Maholm, Jason Marquis, Aaron Harang, Joel Pineiro, Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia, Bruce Chen, Jeff Francis, Dontrelle Willis, Chris Capuano, Jon Garland, Rich Harden, Livan Hernandez, Wei-Yin Chen, Tim Wakefield, Brandon Webb, Chris Young
Closers- Ryan Madson, Heath Bell, Francisco Rodriguez, Joe Nathan, Jonathan Broxton, Matt Capps, David Aardsma, Frank Francisco, Jon Rauch
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