Tag Archives: hot stove

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MLB Hot Stove Catch-Up: Sale gets traded, Fowler and Chapman get paid

It’s been more than a month since the Cubs  won their first World Series title in more than a century, and with the MLB Winter Meetings now in the books, there have been a number of trades and signings that have sent notable players to new teams. The White Sox, clearly in rebuilding mode, have gotten rid of a couple of their top players in exchange for prospects while the Cubs have lost a couple pieces of their championship team.

Perhaps the biggest move of the offseason this far has been the Red Sox acquiring SP Chris Sale, who has a career 3.00 ERA, from the White Sox in exchange for a package of prospects led by 2B Yoan Moncada, one of the top prospects in baseball, and SP Michael Kopech, who is still early in his development but has the potential to be a top-of-the-rotation guy as he gains experience in the pros. The other players going to Chicago in the deal are OF Luis Alexander Basabe and P Victor Diaz. For the Red Sox, Sale adds another top-of-the-line starter to a rotation that already includes reigning AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello and former Cy Young winner David Price. If the Red Sox can get good performances out of the bottom of their rotation in 2017, they could be among the best teams in the American League.

A day after dealing Sale, the White Sox traded CF Adam Eaton to the Nationals in exchange for a trio of pitchers, led by SP Lucas Giolito, who made a few starts in the majors last season but has a 2.73 ERA in 369 innings in the minors. Giolito adds some depth to Chicago’s rotation while Eaton allows the Nationals to send Trea Turner, who played the outfield for much of 2016 after being brought up, back to his natural position of shortstop.

In another trade involving notable players, the Mariners dealt SS Ketel Marte and SP Taijuan Walker to the Diamondbacks in exchange for SS Jean Segura and two minor league players. In Segura, the Mariners get a young second baseman who took a big step forward in his offensive production in 2016, hitting career highs with a .319 batting average, 20 home runs and 64 RBI. He also has speed, stealing 33 bases last season. That gives the Mariners strong offense with their middle infielders in Segura and 2B Robinson Cano. Walker hasn’t achieved much success yet in his major league career, posting a 4.18 ERA with 322 strikeouts in 357 innings. Marte, who has played in 176 games in his major league career, is a .267 hitter without power, but he can steal some but he has some speed.

The Astros, who failed to live up to the high expectations set for them last year after making the playoffs in 2015, have made some moves to boost their lineup. In addition to signing free-agent OF Josh Reddick to a four-deal, they traded a couple of minor league pitchers to the Yankees in exchange for C Brian McCann, which allows them to use Evan Gattis as their full-time DH. The Astros also signed veteran OF Carlos Beltran, who played for them in the second half of the 2004 season, to a one-year contract. That gives the Astros an outfield of Reddick, Beltran and CF George Springer to go along with an infield that includes 2B Jose Altuve and SS Carlos Correa, who are among the best players in the league at their positions. In a lesser move, the Astros signed SP Charlie Morton, who will likely slot into the bottom of their rotation.

As mentioned, the Cubs lost two of their players to free agency. Closer Aroldis Chapman signed a five-year, $86-million contract with the Yankees, who traded him to the Cubs at the trade deadline. Also leaving Chicago is OF Dexter Fowler, who is staying in the NL Central after signing with the Cardinals. Fowler’s contract is worth $82.5 million over five years. Even though they lost Chapman, the Cubs won’t be without a top closer after trading for RP Wade Davis from the Royals. They traded OF Jorge Soler to get Davis.

In other deals:

  • OF Yoenis Cespedes, who opted out of his contract with the Mets after the season ended, re-signed with the team, inking a four-year deal reportedly worth $110 million.
  • The Braves added veteran pitching with the signings of SPs R.A. Dickey and Bartolo Colon, as well as trading for SP Jaime Garcia.
  • The Giants signed RP Mark Melancon to a four-year contract. He should slot in as their closer to start the year.
  • The Dodgers kept SP Rich Hill, who they traded for during the season, by signing him to a three-year contract. He should slot in as the team’s No. 2 starter behind SP Clayton Kershaw.
  • The Marlins signed SP Edinson Volquez to a two-year contract.
  • The Nationals traded 2B Danny Espinosa to the Angels for a couple of pitchers.

This likely isn’t the end of the transactions this offseason, with more than two months to go before spring training gets underway.

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MLB Hot Stove: Mets sign Cespedes to 3-year, $75M contract

One of the last remaining big fish on MLB’s free agent market has been reeled in — and he’s staying with the team he helped lead to the playoffs last season. OF Yoenis Cespedes has agreed to a three-year deal with the Mets valued at $75 million, with an opt-out clause available to him after the 2016 season.

In recent days, the Nationals were considered among the leading contenders to Cespedes, and they reportedly offered him a five-year contract worth $100 million. He potentially turned down more money because he wanted to return to New York, but if he has a big season and opts out of the deal, he could be in for an even bigger payday next winter. If he does opt out after this season, he will be paid $27.5 million. The contract also includes a full no-trade clause.

Keeping Cespedes is a boost to the offense to help provide support for one of the best starting rotations in the majors that includes young SPs Matt Harvey, Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard.

Cespedes played the second half of last season with the Mets, after the Tigers sent him to Queens at the trade deadline. In 57 games with the Mets, he hit .287 with 17 home runs and 44 RBI, almost singlehandedly propelling them to an NL East title and their first World Series appearance since 2000.

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MLB Hot Stove: Diamondbacks add another pitcher, Yankees make a trade

MLB executives have been in Nashville this week for the league’s annual Winter Meetings, where many trades and free-agent signings happen every year. Some of the biggest deals that have been made so far this week are the Diamondbacks adding another starting pitcher to their rotation and the Yankees trading for an addition to their infield.

The Diamondbacks didn’t waste much time after spending more than $200 million to sign SP Zack Greinke before making another splashy transaction. This time, the team that finished third in the NL West last season has traded for SP Shelby Miller, sending three young players — including their 2015 first-round draft pick, SS Dansby Swanson — to the Braves in exchange for Miller, who posted a 3.02 ERA and 1.25 WHIP last season to go along with 175 strikeouts.

Although trading a first-round draft pick befor he even plays a major league game is risky in case he becomes a superstar, the Diamondbacks appear to be going all-in to win the division this season. In my analysis of the Greinke signing, I questioned the value of the move without much of a rotation behind Greinke. Signing Miller alleviates that concern a bit because he is a legitimate No. 2 starter. With 1B Paul Goldschmidt, one of the best hitters in the game, leading the offense the Diamondbacks now look like serious contenders in the NL West in 2016. One of the concerns with the team now is the lack of a top-tier closer in the bullpen to finish games.

Another trade that transpired in recent days saw the Cubs sending SS Starlin Castro to the Yankees in exchange for P Adam Warren and a player to be named. Castro became expendable for the Cubs after they sgned free-agnet utilityman Ben Zobrist to a four-year, $56 million contract that reunites him with his former Rays manager, Joe Maddon.

Castro had an up-and-down season last year, being benched in the second half after experiencing struggles on both offense and defense. Overall, he hit .265 for the season, but he finished strong, with a .426 average in the month of September.  Castro will be the Yankees’ starting second baseman, forming a double-play combination with SS Didi Gregorius. He’ll replace Stephen Drew, who was the team’s main second baseman last season.

In Warren, the Cubs are getting a pitcher who has spent much of his career as a reliver but got 17 starts in 43 appearances last season. Over his four-year career, Warren is 15-17, with a 3.39 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 245 strikeouts in 289.1 innings. As of now, he is slated to join the Cubs’ bullpen.

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MLB Hot Stove: Analyzing the David Price and Zack Greinke signings

It’s December and the MLB Winter Meetings are getting ready to rev up, which means free agency is in full swing, and two of the biggest pitchers available have been signed. Early in the week, the Red Sox signed David Price to a seven-year, $271 million contract, which works out to an average annual value of $31 million. On Friday, the Diamondbacks signed Zack Greinke to a six-year deal, valued at $206 million or $34.3 million per year. So what do these deals mean for the teams that signed them and their competitors? Let’s take a look.

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The Red Sox finished in last place in a competitive AL East this season, and when that happens they usually look to improve their team rather than standing still and not doing anything. In joining the Red Sox, Price vaults to the top of the team’s starting rotation, making Clay Buchholz a strong No. 2 behind him. Price’s career 3.09 ERA is particularly impressive considering he has spent his entire career in the American League, forcing him to face designated hitters rather than opposing pitchers.

The rest of the rotation has question marks, as Wade Miley and Rick Porcello have proven to be inconsistent in their careers. The current No. 5 starter, Eduardo Rodriguez, is young but had a decent first season in the majors, going 10-6 with a 3.85 ERA in 21 starts. The team has already bolstered its bullpen this offseason, trading for elite closer Craig Kimbrel, who has a career 1.63 ERA and 0.93 WHIP to go along with his 225 saves.

The Price signing puts the Red Sox right in the middle of the race for the division title in 2016. He is right up there with the Rays’ Chris Archer and the Blue Jays’ Marcus Stroman has the best aces in the division. Neither the Orioles or the Yankees has a No. 1 starter up there with those three. The Red Sox had a good offense, and if that continues into 2016 they have a good chance of at least competing for a Wild Card spot in David Ortiz’s last season in the majors.

Social media-savvy Price has already taken to Twitter to indicate he’s ready to help the Sox win.

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The Diamondbacks pulled off a coup by signing Greinke, who opted out of his contract with the Dodgers after pitching for them for three years. Most rumors and reports had the Dodgers and Giants as the front runners to sign the 32-year-old starter, so the Diamondbacks getting him not only helps their rotation but hurts their NL West rivals, especially the Dodgers, who now have a whole to fill atop their rotation.

Greinke posted a career-best 1.66 ERA and 0.84 ERA in 222.2 innings in 2015. He struck out 200 batters, marking the fifth time in his career he has met or surpassed that milestone. Arizona didn’t have a standout starting pitcher last season, so Greinke plugs that hole, but the team doesn’t have a strong No. 2 to throw the day after Greinke starts. The best ERA among starters was Robbie Ray’s 3.52 ERA. Of the five pitchers who started the most games for the Diamondbacks this season, three posted an ERA of 4.30 or worse.

Despite losing Greinke, the Dodgers still have Clayton Kershaw leading their rotation and money available to go after another pitcher, should they choose to do so. The Giants, meanwhile, have their own ace in Madison Bumgarner.  Overall, the Giants may have the best rotation at this time with veterans Jake Peavy and Matt Cain behind Bumgarner.

Unlike the Red Sox signing Price, I don’t think Greinke puts the Diamondbacks in contention to win the division yet, as they still don’t have enough help around him to improve much on their third-place finish this season, especially with the lack of a star reliever to close out Greinke’s games when he doesn’t go the distance. Add that to the inevitable regression that Greinke is due to experience not only in 2016 but also in the future as he gets older, and I don’t think this is a great signing for Arizona. The Dodgers, to me, are still the best team in the division, with Kershaw, closer Kenley Jansen and a pretty good young offense leading the way.

Stay tuned for further coverage of MLB’s hot stove as more signings and trades happen in the coming days and weeks.