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The Ultimate Fantasy Baseball Feed, this feed aggregates the work of the top fantasy baseball bloggers and columnists available via RSS.



Updated: 2017-12-11T08:22:00+00:00

 



Mets Reportedly Willing To Trade Matt Harvey

2017-12-11T08:22:00+00:00

Sources close to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News tell her that the Mets have talked to “at least two teams” about trading former All-Star Matt Harvey this winter. This seems to be part of a larger strategy that Ackert describes as “dipping into their strength of starting pitchers to address their needs heading…Sources close to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News tell her that the Mets have talked to “at least two teams” about trading former All-Star Matt Harvey this winter. This seems to be part of a larger strategy that Ackert describes as “dipping into their strength of starting pitchers to address their needs heading into the 2018 season.” One of Ackert’s sources says that the Mets want to “flip Harvey for a reliever”, and are more interested in moving him than fellow Amazin starters Robert Gsellman or Seth Lugo. The report aligns with quotes from GM Sandy Alderson, who told reporters that no player on the roster is untouchable (though in contradiction, the organization has seemingly made it clear that starters Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are not on the table). The thought of trading the right-handed Harvey for a relief pitcher would have seemed ludicrous as recently as 2015. After missing the 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery, Harvey seemingly made a full recovery; he pitched to a sparkling 2.71 ERA across 189 1/3 innings, including a fantastic month of August during which he allowed just one earned run spanning four starts. His performance helped the Mets to a 90-72 record en route to their first NL East pennant since 2006. Unfortunately, Harvey’s numbers plummeted steeply in 2016. The one-time ace experienced a slight drop in velocity (along with some terrible batted ball fortune), which led to a 4-10 record and a 4.86 ERA prior to season-ending surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. His velocity and strikeout rate dropped off even further in 2017, leading to horrific peripherals: 6.51 K/9, 4.56 BB/9, and a 6.39 FIP that ranked third-worst among pitchers who started at least 15 games. The Dark Knight’s fall from grace has been widely publicized. His trade value, of course, is at an all-time low; Harvey performed at nearly a full win below replacement level last season, carries significant injury risk, and projects to earn a $5.9MM salary in his final year of arbitration. Though he carries significant upside, it’s fair to wonder how likely Harvey is to revert back to his 2015 form. After failing to reach 100 innings in each of the past two seasons, teams are likely to be skeptical over Harvey’s bounce-back potential. Still, it’s not difficult to imagine an MLB club taking a flyer on Harvey at the price of an “impact reliever.” The Yankees and Brewers, for example, seem to have reasonable bullpen depth and a need in the rotation; either of them could feasibly flip a relief arm for the chance to play roulette with the former six-WAR player. It’s also important to note that the Mets’ wish list isn’t limited to bullpen help. The club is also looking to add a second baseman, along with a part-time first baseman or outfielder (link). While Harvey has performed poorly in recent years, it’s worth noting that he’ll enter the 2018 season at just under 29 years of age. Regardless of whether he’s traded or not, his storyline headed into 2018 will be captivating and suspenseful.  [...]



Cubs To Sign Brandon Morrow?

2017-12-11T07:45:00+00:00

1:45am: The pact is “not a done deal,” according to a tweet from J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group. Hoornstra’s source says that a two-year deal for $20MM is “not accurate.” 3:54pm: It’s a two-year accord with an option for 2020, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets. The deal is pending a physical. 2:38pm:…1:45am: The pact is “not a done deal,” according to a tweet from J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group. Hoornstra’s source says that a two-year deal for $20MM is “not accurate.” 3:54pm: It’s a two-year accord with an option for 2020, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets. The deal is pending a physical. 2:38pm: The Cubs are expected to sign Morrow to a contract worth $10MM to $11MM per year, according to Heyman. The length of the deal is not yet known (Twitter link). 2:03pm: The Cubs are “moving quickly” to sign free agent reliever Brandon Morrow, Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com reports (Twitter link). The two sides are “closing in” on an agreement, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. The Cubs’ interest in Morrow dates back to at least November, when Patrick Mooney of NBC Sports Chicago reported they had identified him as a target. Morrow is a Wasserman client. The Cubs’ need for Morrow is greater than it was a few weeks ago, considering they’ve since cut ties with Hector Rondon and haven’t re-signed any of Wade Davis, Brian Duensing or Koji Uehara. Those four were among the relievers Chicago relied on the most last season, leaving the club in clear need of bullpen help to complement top holdovers Carl Edwards Jr., Pedro Strop, Mike Montgomery and Justin Wilson. Consequently, in addition to Morrow, the Cubs are likely to sign one other late-inning reliever, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter link). [RELATED: Updated Cubs Depth Chart] The 33-year-old Morrow will provide a significant boost to the Cubs’ relief corps if last season is any indication. In his first full campaign as a reliever, the former Mariners, Blue Jays and Padres starter put past shoulder issues behind him to toss 43 2/3 innings with the National League-winning Dodgers and pitch to a 2.06 ERA, also notching 10.31 K/9 against 1.85 BB/9 and a 45 percent groundball rate. Moreover, the right-hander finished third among relievers with 40-plus innings in infield fly rate (20.6 percent) and 18th in swinging-strike percentage (16.0). Statistically, the hard-throwing Morrow wasn’t quite as successful during the Dodgers’ run to the World Series as he was in the regular season, yielding six earned runs in 13 2/3 innings, but four of those came in one disastrous appearance in Game 5 of the Fall Classic. He was highly effective otherwise – including when he held the Cubs scoreless over 4 2/3, one-hit, seven-strikeout innings in the National League Championship Series – and became the second hurler in major league history to pitch all seven games of the World Series. Morrow’s workload in last season’s playoffs, in which the Dodgers deployed him in an eye-popping 14 of 15 games, and injury history stand out as obvious concerns, but his 2017 dominance nonetheless has him in position to secure a lucrative contract. That’s quite a change from a year ago when Morrow had to settle for a minor league pact in late January. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.[...]



A’s Continue To Have Interest In Stephen Piscotty

2017-12-11T07:04:00+00:00

The Athletics continue to have interest in the Cardinals’ Stephen Piscotty, MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports (video link), as Oakland continues its search for right-handed hitting outfield help. A previous connection between Piscotty and the A’s surfaced in the aftermath of the trade deadline, as the Cardinals reportedly floated an offer of Piscotty and either Luke…The Athletics continue to have interest in the Cardinals’ Stephen Piscotty, MLB.com’s Jane Lee reports (video link), as Oakland continues its search for right-handed hitting outfield help. A previous connection between Piscotty and the A’s surfaced in the aftermath of the trade deadline, as the Cardinals reportedly floated an offer of Piscotty and either Luke Weaver or Jack Flaherty to Oakland in exchange for Sonny Gray.  Those talks never really got off the ground, however, and the A’s subsequently dealt Gray to the Yankees. As Lee mentions in the video, “the A’s have interest in a ton of outfielders right now,” with the team particularly focused on right-handed bats who are controllable, so the A’s aren’t only looking at veteran options.  The Athletics are clearly willing to shop near the top of the trade market, however, as such names as Avisail Garcia of the White Sox and Marlins outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich (a left-handed hitter) have already been reported as landing on Oakland’s radar in talks. Piscotty wouldn’t cost as much in a deal as those aforementioned names, given how Piscotty struggled in 2017.  After signing a six-year, $33.5MM extension with the Cardinals in April, Piscotty went from building block to potentially expendable piece after hitting just .235/.342/.367 with nine homers over  401 plate appearances.  Groin and hamstring injuries didn’t help his cause, and Piscotty was even demoted to Triple-A in August for a brief spell. Still, Piscotty posted strong numbers in his first two big league seasons, he doesn’t turn 27 until January, and the Cards are less than a year removed from locking him up on what could still be a team-friendly extension.  Under normal circumstances, St. Louis wouldn’t be looking to deal a player like Piscotty (especially when his trade value has been lowered), though the club must create room within a crowded outfield picture.  Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham locked into everyday outfield spots next year, leaving just one corner spot for Piscotty, Randal Grichuk, and prospects Magneuris Sierra, Tyler O’Neill, and Harrison Bader.  The Cards may also add another everyday outfielder — they’ve also been linked to Ozuna and Yelich in trade speculation, and J.D. Martinez is a possibility for a Cardinals lineup looking for a big bat after missing out on Giancarlo Stanton. This surplus makes St. Louis a logical trade partner for an Oakland team that is short on established outfielders.  Boog Powell and top prospect Dustin Fowler are the top candidates for center field, while Matt Joyce, Jake Smolinski, Chad Pinder and Mark Canha will be in the mix for playing time in the corners.  Piscotty would step into one of those corner spots for everyday duty right away, and the $30.5MM owed to him over the next five years (counting a $1MM buyout of his $15MM club option for 2023) is a palatable price tag even for a smaller-market team like the A’s.[...]



NL East Notes: Marlins, Parè, Neshek, Phillies, Gio

2017-12-11T05:24:00+00:00

As you might expect, the Marlins aimed high in their trade talks with the Yankees about Giancarlo Stanton.  According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman (Twitter link), Miami initially asked New York about such top prospects as Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield, and Estevan Florial.  Those demands weren’t met, however, and the Marlins had to settle for…As you might expect, the Marlins aimed high in their trade talks with the Yankees about Giancarlo Stanton.  According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman (Twitter link), Miami initially asked New York about such top prospects as Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield, and Estevan Florial.  Those demands weren’t met, however, and the Marlins had to settle for two lesser prospects (Jorge Guzman and Jose Devers) plus second baseman Starlin Castro in exchange for the big slugger.  It wasn’t as if the Marlins had much leverage, of course, as the Yankees were one of the few teams Stanton was willing to waive his no-trade clause to join and Miami’s top priority was getting as much of Stanton’s enormous contract as possible off their books. Some more rumblings from around the NL East… The Braves announced the hiring of Jason Parè as their assistant general manager, research and development.  (The previously-reported hiring of Josh Tamin as the club’s director of Major League operations was also announced.)  Parè spent the last two years as the Marlins’ senior director of analytics, and he previously worked with Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos in Toronto’s front office, where Parè worked as an analyst in 2014-15. The Phillies have had internal talks about signing Pat Neshek, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jim Salisbury reports.  Neshek was acquired by the Phils last winter in a trade with the Astros and then pitched superbly before being flipped to the Rockies for three prospects at trade deadline.  Neshek enjoyed arguably the best of his 11 MLB seasons in 2017, posting a 1.59 ERA over 62 1/3 combined innings with Philadelphia and Colorado, recording 69 strikeouts against just six walks. The Phillies are reportedly open to the possibility of starting the season with a surplus of infielders, though Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer argues that the team is best served by trading at least one of their veteran players (i.e. Cesar Hernandez or Freddy Galvis) this winter and giving J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery a clear path to regular playing time.  Juggling those four players and Maikel Franco during the year leads to fewer at-bats for everyone and, Gelb notes, less opportunity for Hernandez or Galvis to improve their value for a midseason trade. Could the Nationals use Gio Gonzalez as a trade chip?  MASNsports.com’s Pete Kerzel discusses the possibility, as the Nats could obtain some controllable talent by dealing the veteran as he enters the final year of his contract.  Gonzalez is coming off one of the best of his six seasons in Washington (2.96 ERA, 2.38 K/BB rate, 8.42 K/9 over 201 innings), though advanced metrics were less impressed by his performance, so Kerzel believes the Nats could look for a trade while Gonzalez’s value is high. [...]



Latest On The Mets’ Offseason Plans

2017-12-11T04:15:00+00:00

Here’s the latest from Mets GM Sandy Alderson, who spoke with reporters (including Newsday’s Marc Carig, and Mike Puma and Joel Sherman of the New York Post) about where his team stands headed into the Winter Meetings… If there was a general theme to Alderson’s comments, it was that the Mets will be patient when…Here’s the latest from Mets GM Sandy Alderson, who spoke with reporters (including Newsday’s Marc Carig, and Mike Puma and Joel Sherman of the New York Post) about where his team stands headed into the Winter Meetings… If there was a general theme to Alderson’s comments, it was that the Mets will be patient when it comes to making their moves, particularly in the relief pitching market.  The team seemed poised to make a quicker jump for a bullpen arm earlier this winter, though now New York appears to be taking a step back.  “We’re not going to chase players.  There are a lot of guys out there, and a lot of teams looking for relief pitching,” Alderson said.  “We think there’s some values out there. And to the extent that the market gets overheated, I wouldn’t think that we’ll jump into the inferno.  But we do want to improve our bullpen.”  In a follow-up tweet from Puma, Alderson “is sending out signals to” some agents that the Mets might not sign a reliever until after the Winter Meetings or possibly even into January.  The Mets are one of the teams who made a three-year offer to Bryan Shaw, though Carig suggests that Shaw would be holding out for a fourth year or perhaps is looking for an offer from a team whose Spring Training camp is in Arizona (where Shaw owns a home). Dominic Smith “is still very much in the mix” for regular time at first base, Alderson said.  Smith received some criticism from Mets officials, including Alderson himself, after the season, though recent reports had the team looking for just part-time first base help, either in the form of a platoon partner like Adam Lind or an outfielder who could fill in at first like Jay Bruce.  “I wouldn’t expect us to do something that totally eliminates Dominic as a possibility,” the GM said.  “We are still very high on Dominic — some of my comments earlier in the offseason notwithstanding. I would be surprised if we did anything that precluded him from not having an opportunity in Spring Training.” Asdrubal Cabrera is almost certainly going to be used at third base next season, so Alderson said the Mets will look for second base help.  A trade for a second baseman is possible, though “our farm system right now is not brimming with prospects, so in that sense, making a trade isn’t as attractive,” Alderson said. The Mets were never linked to the Giancarlo Stanton trade rumors, as Alderson said he “just didn’t think, given the contract, a variety of circumstances, it made any sense for us to feign any interest for purposes of public consumption.”  While the Mets no longer have to worry about Stanton as an intra-division rival, they’ll get a regular dose of the slugger as both an interleague foe with the Yankees. [...]



The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 511 – Ian Kahn Returns!

2017-12-11T04:08:01+00:00

Ian Kahn returns to discuss the latest big moves with Paul and Jason as well as give thoughts on where the other big ticket players might land.

12/10/17

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 18, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER18!

Follow us on Twitter

Notable Transactions/Rumors/Articles/Game Play

  • Ohtani signing and the impact on fantasy sites (3:00)
  • Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees (33:00)

Strategy Section: FA Guesses

Special Guest: Ian Kahn

As usual, don’t hesitate to tweet us or comment with fantasy questions.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or via the feed. Please rate & review the show in iTunes letting us know what you think!

Approximately 75 minutes of joyous analysis.

(image)



The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 511 – Ian Kahn Returns!

2017-12-11T04:08:00+00:00

Ian Kahn returns to discuss the latest big moves with Paul and Jason as well as give thoughts on where the other big ticket players might land.

12/10/17

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 18, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER18!

Follow us on Twitter

Notable Transactions/Rumors/Articles/Game Play

  • Ohtani signing and the impact on fantasy sites (3:00)
  • Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees (33:00)

Strategy Section: FA Guesses

Special Guest: Ian Kahn

As usual, don’t hesitate to tweet us or comment with fantasy questions.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or via the feed. Please rate & review the show in iTunes letting us know what you think!

Approximately 75 minutes of joyous analysis.

(image)



AL East Notes: Blue Jays, Rebuilds, Longoria, Rays, Bard, Red Sox

2017-12-11T03:28:00+00:00

The Blue Jays are planning to contend in 2018, though with the team facing a tough road back to the postseason, Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith looks at the broader question faced by the Jays and other clubs about deciding when a rebuild is necessary.  Reaching the playoffs even once is a worthy goal, though mortgaging the…The Blue Jays are planning to contend in 2018, though with the team facing a tough road back to the postseason, Sportsnet.ca’s Ben Nicholson-Smith looks at the broader question faced by the Jays and other clubs about deciding when a rebuild is necessary.  Reaching the playoffs even once is a worthy goal, though mortgaging the future to do so won’t lead to a sustainable contender, which is what teams like the Cubs and Astros appear to be after writing off several seasons to totally remake their franchises.  An even greater challenge is trying to rebuild while remaining competitive, which is what the Blue Jays seem to be trying.  “I personally don’t feel that you should ever be in a rebuild mode, especially in this market and in this environment,” Jays GM Ross Atkins said.  “There might be soft resets based on circumstance….But personally, I don’t buy into the strategy that we’re not going to be a good team for five and six years.” Here’s more from around the AL East… Evan Longoria tells Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that the Rays have yet to speak to their longtime third baseman about their offseason plans.  The Rays will certainly be moving some expensive veterans this winter, and if they shift into full-on rebuild mode, that could very well include a trade of Longoria, their highest-paid player and franchise cornerstone.  “I think they have made it pretty clear that they want to cut salary, so I guess that leaves me somewhere in limbo,” Longoria said.  “I think I’ve been pretty up front about wanting to be in Tampa (Bay) for my whole career, but I realize that my window is getting smaller to win a championship.  If they decide to rebuild completely and give everyone up, then I suppose my family and I will adjust.” In another piece from Topkin, he ranks the Rays players most likely to be traded this offseason, perhaps as soon as this week’s Winter Meetings.  Closer Alex Colome sits atop the list, followed by Jake Odorizzi and Longoria.  Chris Archer is a “2A” candidate after Odorizzi, as Archer would be Tampa’s most valuable trade chip if the club did embark on a rebuild.  Topkin writes that the Rays would demand “twice the return of Odorizzi” for Archer, and even more than the five-prospect package the team received from the Cubs in the 2011 Matt Garza trade. The Yankees will hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported (Twitter link).  The New York Post’s Ken Davidoff reported earlier today that Bard stood “a good chance of” being hired after an interview for the position last week.  A former ten-year big league veteran, Bard’s post-playing career includes jobs as a scout and special assistant in the Dodgers organization and, for the last two seasons, the team’s bullpen coach.  Bard and new Yankees manager Aaron Boone were briefly teammates with the 2005 Indians. Now that Giancarlo Stanton is a Yankee, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald proposes a bold counter-move for the Red Sox — sign both J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer in free agency.  This would come at a big financial cost for the Sox, of course, though Silverman argues that since the team will likely be over the luxury tax threshold anyway, the Red Sox will face a slightly lesser financial penalty now than they would in exceeding it next off[...]



Indians Make Contract Offer To Carlos Santana; Rangers, Padres Also Interested

2017-12-11T03:00:00+00:00

9:00pm: The Indians made Santana a contract offer, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes reports.  While the offer wasn’t taken, the Tribe have been informed that they will get a chance to counter any offer Santana receives from another team that he considered acceptable. 6:32pm: Carlos Santana is already drawing quite a bit of interest…9:00pm: The Indians made Santana a contract offer, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes reports.  While the offer wasn’t taken, the Tribe have been informed that they will get a chance to counter any offer Santana receives from another team that he considered acceptable. 6:32pm: Carlos Santana is already drawing quite a bit of interest this offseason, and Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer adds the Rangers and Padres to the list of other teams (including the Phillies, Red Sox, and Mariners) already linked to Santana on the rumor mill. Texas is known to be focusing on adding pitching this winter, though the team’s offense also lacked some of the well-rounded attack of past years.  Santana would clearly be a big upgrade in the first base/DH hole left behind by free agent Mike Napoli, who struggled last year in a sub-replacement level season.  Santana’s arrival would bolster the Rangers’ lineup against the possible departure of Adrian Beltre after the 2018 season. Installing Santana at first base would have a ripple effect throughout the Rangers’ lineup.  Joey Gallo would have to return to left field, with Nomar Mazara shifting to right and Shin-Soo Choo being limited to DH duties.  Top prospect Willie Calhoun had been mentioned as a possible candidate for regular DH or corner outfield duty, though Texas might want to give him a bit more seasoning rather than expect Calhoun to immediately contribute to a team that hopes to contend. Previous reports seemed to downplay San Diego’s possible interest in Santana, though it could be that the Padres have since considered Santana for what seems to be an increasing desire to sign a first baseman.  The Padres have also had interest in Eric Hosmer, with the logic being that the 28-year-old Hosmer is young enough to still be productive in a few years when San Diego is theoretically finished with its rebuild.  Santana, by contrast, turns 32 in April, and while the slugger hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down, he wouldn’t have the luxury of the occasional DH rest day while playing for a National League team. Adding a first baseman would necessitate shifting Wil Myers into a corner outfield role, though the Padres may see that as an acceptable tradeoff for adding offense.  The Padres finished at or near the bottom of most major offensive categories last year, so a proven above-average hitter like Santana (who hit .259/.363/.455 with 23 homers over 667 PA last year and has posted a 123 wRC+ over his career) would add some much-needed pop to the lineup. Santana rejected the Indians’ qualifying offer, and thus the Rangers and Padres would each need to surrender some compensation to sign the first baseman.  Texas would give up their second-highest draft pick and $500K of international signing bonus money, while San Diego would only have to surrender its third-highest draft pick.[...]



Mariners Release Seth Frankoff

2017-12-11T02:32:00+00:00

The Mariners have released righty Seth Frankoff, as per a team press release.  Frankoff was granted his release so he could pursue an opportunity with a team in South Korea. Frankoff made his MLB debut last season, appearing in one game for the Cubs and tossing two innings.  Chicago designated Frankoff for assignment in September,…

The Mariners have released righty Seth Frankoff, as per a team press release.  Frankoff was granted his release so he could pursue an opportunity with a team in South Korea.

Frankoff made his MLB debut last season, appearing in one game for the Cubs and tossing two innings.  Chicago designated Frankoff for assignment in September, only for Seattle to claim him off waivers a few days later.

Originally a 27th-round pick for the Athletics in the 2010 draft, Frankoff posted a 3.80 ERA, 8.9 K/9 and 2.69 K/BB rate over 637 career minor league innings with the A’s, Dodgers, and Cubs.  The 29-year-old has begun working as a starter over the last two seasons after pitching exclusively out of the bullpen from 2013-15.

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Red Sox Pitcher Steven Wright Arrested On Domestic Assault Charges

2017-12-11T02:21:00+00:00

Steven Wright was arrested on Friday on charges of domestic assault, WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford reports (Twitter link).  Wright was released on Saturday.  Wright and his agent didn’t comment on the situation, though NBC Sports Boston’s Evan Drellich received a statement from the Wright family via their attorney: “On Friday night, Steven was arrested at our…Steven Wright was arrested on Friday on charges of domestic assault, WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford reports (Twitter link).  Wright was released on Saturday.  Wright and his agent didn’t comment on the situation, though NBC Sports Boston’s Evan Drellich received a statement from the Wright family via their attorney: “On Friday night, Steven was arrested at our home following a verbal argument, and the police charged him with domestic assault. Although he said things he deeply regrets, he did not raise his hand at anyone during the incident, and the situation was purely emotional. We are working together as a family to make our relationships stronger, and we ask that you respect our privacy as we do so.” The Red Sox have also released a statement in regards to Wright’s arrest… “We are aware of the incident involving Steven. This is certainly a matter that the Red Sox take very seriously. It is my understanding that both local police and MLB are looking into this and for that reason, the club won’t have any further comment at this time.” Wright emerged as a solid rotation piece for the Red Sox in 2016, when he posted a 3.33 ERA, 7.3 K/9, and 2.23 K/BB over 156 2/3 innings and was selected to the AL All-Star team.  A shoulder injury cut Wright’s year short, however, and the knuckleballer was then limited to just five starts in 2017 due to season-ending left knee surgery in May.  Wright had been expected to return as Boston’s fifth starter next season, particularly in the wake of the news that Eduardo Rodriguez will miss time at the start of the year due to his own knee surgery. It isn’t yet known what, if any, further legal obstacles Wright may face, though MLB’s domestic violence policy gives Commissioner Rob Manfred broad authority to issue suspensions even if no further legal action is taken.  Aroldis Chapman, Jose Reyes, Jeurys Familia and Derek Norris are some of the more notable names who have been suspended or placed on the restricted list for domestic violence-related issues since MLB and the players’ union instituted the policy in August 2015.[...]



Angels Held Talks With C.C. Sabathia

2017-12-11T01:06:00+00:00

The Angels have spoken to free agent hurler C.C. Sabathia, George A. King III of the New York Post reports (Twitter link).  The Halos made one big rotation addition earlier this week by landing Shohei Ohtani, but Sabathia would bring more veteran stability to a pitching staff that is full of question marks after two…The Angels have spoken to free agent hurler C.C. Sabathia, George A. King III of the New York Post reports (Twitter link).  The Halos made one big rotation addition earlier this week by landing Shohei Ohtani, but Sabathia would bring more veteran stability to a pitching staff that is full of question marks after two injury-ravaged seasons. Of course, Sabathia himself comes with significant health questions, as it wasn’t long ago that it seemed as if the southpaw’s persistent right knee problems were threatening to end his career.  Despite this lingering injury and other DL stints for hamstring and groin issues over the last two years, Sabathia enjoyed a late-career resurgence as a productive innings-eater at the back of the Yankees’ rotation.  Sabathia posted a 3.81 ERA, 7.5 K/9 and 2.37 K/BB rate over 328 1/3 innings in 2016-17, accumulating 4.5 fWAR over that stretch. The Yankees were also recently in touch with Sabathia, who has previously stated that he would prefer to remain in the Bronx.  That desire probably only grew stronger in the wake of the Yankees’ acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton, though with the team now boasting an outfielder surplus to go with their wealth of prospects, New York has the means to acquire a starter with more long-term potential than Sabathia if it chooses. If Sabathia did choose to return to his home state of California, he’d join an Angels rotation that includes Ohtani, Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker, Tyler Skaggs and a wealth of other candidates like Andrew Heaney, J.C. Ramirez, Nick Tropeano, or Parker Bridwell.  Any of the latter group of arms could be Triple-A starting depth or moved to the bullpen to fill the Angels’ need for multi-inning relief options.[...]



Jack Morris, Alan Trammell Voted Into Baseball Hall Of Fame

2017-12-10T23:36:00+00:00

Jack Morris and Alan Trammell were both elected to the Baseball Hall Of Fame today, as announced on the MLB Network.  The two longtime Tigers greats were voted in via the HOF’s Modern Baseball Era Committee, who weighed the cases of Morris, Trammell and eight others who weren’t originally selected in the traditional writers’ vote. …

Jack Morris and Alan Trammell were both elected to the Baseball Hall Of Fame today, as announced on the MLB Network.  The two longtime Tigers greats were voted in via the HOF’s Modern Baseball Era Committee, who weighed the cases of Morris, Trammell and eight others who weren’t originally selected in the traditional writers’ vote.  (MLB.com’s Barry M. Bloom has the details on the Modern Era Committee’s composition and process.)

Both Morris and Trammell went the full 15 years on the Baseball Writers’ Association Of America ballot without getting the necessary 75% of the vote necessary for election.  Still, both players (as well as the others on the Modern Era Committee’s ballot) had their share of supporters who felt that the duo was long overdue to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

Morris won 254 games over his 18-year career, with 14 of those seasons coming in Detroit.  While advanced metrics weren’t always keen on Morris’ work, he was a prototypical old-school workhorse, tossing complete games in 175 of his 527 career starts.  His most famous outing, in fact, was a complete game on the sport’s biggest stage — Morris tossed 10 shutout innings in Game Seven of the 1991 World Series to help lead the Twins to the championship.  That was one of four World Series rings Morris earned during his career, while posting a 3.90 ERA and 2478 strikeouts over his 3824 career innings.

Trammell spent all 20 seasons of his career in Detroit, highlighted by his World Series MVP performance in the Tigers’ championship season in 1984.  Trammell hit .285/.352/.415 with 185 homers over 9376 career plate appearances, with six All-Star appearances, four Gold Gloves and three Silver Slugger Awards to his credit.  Despite this impressive resume, Trammell’s overall steady play may have actually led to his being underrated in comparison to star shortstops of his era (as recently argued by MLB.com’s Joe Posnanski), hence his long wait for Cooperstown.

The Modern Era Committee focused on names from 1970-87, with other candidates including union leader Marvin Miller and former star players Steve Garvey, Tommy John, Don Mattingly, Dale Murphy, Dave Parker, Ted Simmons, and Luis Tiant.  Simmons came closest to induction, falling just a single vote shy of the 12-vote threshold.  Miller was the next-highest candidate, earning seven of 16 votes.

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Baseball Blogs Weigh In: Stanton, Nats, Cubs, Orioles, Jays, Phillies, Brewers

2017-12-10T22:59:00+00:00

This week in baseball blogs… The K Zone, Pinstriped Prospects (links: 1, 2) Jays Journal and Good Fundies react to the Giancarlo Stanton trade. District On Deck argues that Yu Darvish wouldn’t be a worthwhile investment for the Nationals. 216Stitches analyzes this winter’s class of free agent infielders. The Loop Sports is bullish on the…This week in baseball blogs… The K Zone, Pinstriped Prospects (links: 1, 2) Jays Journal and Good Fundies react to the Giancarlo Stanton trade. District On Deck argues that Yu Darvish wouldn’t be a worthwhile investment for the Nationals. 216Stitches analyzes this winter’s class of free agent infielders. The Loop Sports is bullish on the Cubs’ signing of Tyler Chatwood. BASEBALLDOCS wonders if the Orioles would be able to trade Manny Machado and still compete in 2018. DiNardo’s Dugout (podcast) discusses Chatwood, Machado, and weighs signing J.D. Martinez versus trading for Stanton. BP Toronto interviews Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro about relationships with the media and the difference between traditional and digital media. Sports Talk Philly previews the Winter Meetings from the Phillies’ perspective. Blue Jays Beat profiles free agent Alex Cobb. The First Out At Third names free agent targets for the Brewers. Big Three Sports has some concerns about Starling Marte. Clutchlings talks with Blue Jays assistant general manager Andrew Tinnish about the team’s international signings this year. Shellshocked (podcast) talks prospects and potential acquisitions for the Braves. Off The Bench believes signing Danny Valencia would make more sense for the Red Sox than splurging on Eric Hosmer. Call to the Pen writes about young Phillies J.P. Crawford, Jorge Alfaro and Scott Kingery. Reviewing the Brew sees the Brewers and Royals as potential trade partners. Pirates Breakdown doesn’t regard free agent Jaime Garcia as a logical target for the Bucs. World Series Dreaming focuses on some potential Cubs moves. The Runner Sports (links: 1, 2, 3) wonders how the Twins will respond to the Stanton and Shohei Ohtani moves from AL rivals, doesn’t see a Kyle Schwarber-Yankees match, and profiles an Astros prospect. Everything Bluebirds thinks the Blue Jays should consider swinging a deal for Nick Markakis. Know Hitter is pleased with the Tigers’ Leonys Martin signing. Clubhouse Corner highlights American League prospects on the cusp of the major leagues. Real McCoy Minor News offers updates on some Dominican Winter League notables. The Point of Pittsburgh believes that Tyler Glasnow’s struggles could be fixed if both sides stopped being stubborn on pitching philosophies. Jays From the Couch is optimistic about Toronto’s Aledmys Diaz acquisition. Musings Of A Baseball Addict makes a Hall of Fame case for Billy Wagner. East Atlantic Look hopes Tim Lincecum returns to the big leagues. A’s Farm runs down the organization’s minor league coaching staff for 2018. Submissions: ZachBBWI @gmail.com.[...]



Dallas Keuchel Hires Scott Boras

2017-12-10T22:24:00+00:00

Set to enter his final year of team control in 2018, Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel has switched representation and is now a Scott Boras client, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports (Twitter link). Keuchel is projected to earn $12.6MM via arbitration next year, which could be his last season with the organization that used a seventh-round…

Set to enter his final year of team control in 2018, Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel has switched representation and is now a Scott Boras client, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports (Twitter link).

Keuchel is projected to earn $12.6MM via arbitration next year, which could be his last season with the organization that used a seventh-round pick on him in 2009. Now 29, Keuchel blossomed into one of the game’s premier starters in 2014 and went on to earn the American League Cy Young Award the next season. Keuchel was a 200-plus-inning workhorse in each of those two seasons, but injuries limited him to a combined 313 2/3 frames from 2016-17.

While Keuchel struggled in 2016, he returned to his front-line ways last season (albeit over just 145 2/3 innings), with a 2.90 ERA, 7.72 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and a major league-best 66.8 percent groundball rate. Keuchel’s regular-season output helped the Astros rack up 101 wins and roll to an AL West title, and he was also an instrumental member of the team’s first-ever championship-winning run in October. Keuchel was at his best in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, firing seven scoreless, 10-strikeout innings in a win over the Yankees, whom the Astros ultimately defeated in seven games.

In the midst of the Astros-Yankees series, Keuchel said that his hope is to remain in Houston for the long haul. It’s unclear whether there has been progress toward that goal, though, and it’s obvious that the Astros are going to have to fork over a significant contract in the coming year if they’re serious about extending Keuchel before he reaches the market next winter. As of now, Boras’ newest high-profile client is on track to be a key part of a class that could feature a slew of other stars, including fellow lefty Clayton Kershaw.

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Cardinals, Luke Gregerson Agree To Deal

2017-12-10T21:18:00+00:00

The Cardinals and free agent reliever Luke Gregerson have agreed to a two-year, $11MM contract with an option, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). It’ll be a $5MM club option or a $6MM vesting option (with a $1MM buyout), Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. The option will vest at 60 games in…The Cardinals and free agent reliever Luke Gregerson have agreed to a two-year, $11MM contract with an option, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). It’ll be a $5MM club option or a $6MM vesting option (with a $1MM buyout), Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. The option will vest at 60 games in 2019 or 130 games from 2018-19, Nightengale adds. He’ll make $5MM in both guaranteed years of the pact, per Ken Davidoff of the New York Post (Twitter link). [RELATED: Updated Cardinals Depth Chart] The deal is pending a physical, which Gregerson will take Tuesday, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Twitter link). Gregerson is an O’Connell Sports Management client. This will be the second stint with the St. Louis organization for the right-handed Gregerson, whom the Cardinals selected in the 28th round of the 2006 draft. Gregerson never got past the Double-A level during his first go-around with the franchise, though, as the Redbirds traded him to the Padres in 2009 in a deal involving shortstop Khalil Greene. Gregerson made his major league debut the same year of the trade and quickly became a highly effective member of the Padres’ bullpen. He stuck with the Friars through 2013 before pitching for the Athletics (2014) and Astros (2015-17). Although the 33-year-old Gregerson has never been a hard thrower, he has nonetheless registered excellent numbers across 599 innings, with a 3.02 ERA, 9.12 K/9, 2.55 BB/9 and a 50.9 percent groundball rate. Gregerson has been quite durable along the way, having never pitched fewer than 55 2/3 frames in any season, and he brings experience as a setup man and a closer. Although Gregerson is coming off a season in which he recorded a career-worst 4.57 ERA as a member of the title-winning Astros, his year wasn’t devoid of positives. With 61 innings, he eclipsed the 60-frame mark for the sixth time. Gregerson also continued to put up appealing strikeout, walk and groundball numbers (10.33, 2.95 and 50.0 in those respective categories), and he notched the third-highest swinging-strike rate of his career (15.6 percent). If the career-worst home run-to-fly ball rate (23.6 percent) Gregerson logged in 2017 proves to be an aberration, he should be a quality piece for a Cards bullpen in need of aid. With Trevor Rosenthal, Seung Hwan Oh, Juan Nicasio and Zach Duke currently on the open market, St. Louis has been on the lookout for relief help since last season concluded. Gregerson may be the first of multiple pickups this offseason for the club’s bullpen, and he’s clearly the most established member of a group that includes a few solid holdovers in Brett Cecil, Tyler Lyons, Matthew Bowman, Sam Tuivailala and John Brebbia. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.[...]



Yankees To Acquire Giancarlo Stanton

2017-12-10T20:30:00+00:00

SUNDAY: The Yankees have planned a press conference for Monday to introduce Stanton, Heyman tweets. SATURDAY: It would appear that the Giancarlo Stanton saga has come to a close. The Yankees are set to acquire the 2017 NL MVP from the Marlins in exchange for infielder Starlin Castro, along with minor-leaguers Jorge Guzman and Jose Devers. The…SUNDAY: The Yankees have planned a press conference for Monday to introduce Stanton, Heyman tweets. SATURDAY: It would appear that the Giancarlo Stanton saga has come to a close. The Yankees are set to acquire the 2017 NL MVP from the Marlins in exchange for infielder Starlin Castro, along with minor-leaguers Jorge Guzman and Jose Devers. The Marlins will also send the Yankees $30MM in cash if Stanton does not opt out of his contract after the 2020 season. The deal is still pending a physical. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports was the first to report that a deal was set, while Joel Sherman of the New York Post mentioned earlier that a deal was “virtually in place”, adding that Castro would be part of the deal. While some other cash numbers were mentioned by some reporters earlier in the day, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic was the first to mention the $30MM figure that has since been confirmed by Morosi as well as Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. Credit goes to Sherman for the report that the prospects involved are in the low minors, as well as first breaking the news that those prospects were Guzman and Devers. Sherman was also the first to report that the Yankees will only get the cash if Stanton doesn’t opt out after 2020. While there was initially some uncertainty surrounding whether or not Stanton would waive his no-trade clause, that dissolved when Heyman reported that Stanton was on his way to New York City for his physical. The acquisition of Stanton by the Yankees brings a dramatic swirl of trade rumors to a firm close. There had been speculation about Stanton’s availability as early as July, though a trade never materialized despite Stanton reportedly clearing revocable trade waivers. Early in November, reports surfaced that the Marlins were interested in moving Stanton (and other big contracts) in order to trim payroll to about $90MM before the start of the 2018 season. While the Marlins were able to work out the framework for deals with the Cardinals and Giants, Stanton ultimately used his no-trade clause to block those deals. The Marlins were ultimately forced to settle for a lesser prospect return from the Yankees, although Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Yankees took on more of Stanton’s salary than the Cardinals were willing to. Stanton will add even more power to a Yankees lineup that finished the 2017 season with 241 homers; more than any other MLB club. Notably, Stanton will unite with the only other player to finish this past season with more than 50 homers: Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge. Those two right-handed power threats, along with a third in catcher Gary Sanchez, should become an absolute terror for opposing left-handed pitchers. The Yankees have made it clear that they plan on trying to get below the luxury tax threshold in 2018, and while the acquisition of Stanton would seem to run contrary to that objective, making the two work in tandem could be easier than it would initially appear. Luxury tax implications are based on the average annual value of guaranteed contracts, and Stanton’s figure towards the threshold is based off of his entire contract with the Marlins. Since that deal was for[...]



Blue Jays Interested In Josh Harrison

2017-12-10T19:17:00+00:00

The Blue Jays join the previously reported Mets as teams with interest in Pirates utilityman Josh Harrison, according to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Angels would also be a logical fit for Harrison, Brink notes, though it’s unclear whether they’re actually pursuing him. Toronto already addressed its middle infield in a notable way…The Blue Jays join the previously reported Mets as teams with interest in Pirates utilityman Josh Harrison, according to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Angels would also be a logical fit for Harrison, Brink notes, though it’s unclear whether they’re actually pursuing him. Toronto already addressed its middle infield in a notable way when it acquired Aledmys Diaz from the Cardinals on Dec. 1, but general manager Ross Atkins revealed a week later that the club was still in the market for help there and in the outfield. The Blue Jays’ interest in Harrison makes sense, then, given that he has racked up vast experience in the infield and in the grass. The 30-year-old has logged at least 110 career appearances at second base, third base and the corner outfield. The majority of Harrison’s work both during his career and from 2016-17 came at the keystone, where the Jays have options in Diaz, who’s coming off a subpar season, and the oft-injured Devon Travis. Like those two, Harrison isn’t a sure bet to produce, having endured an up-and-down career, but he is fresh off one of his best seasons. The right-handed hitter batted a respectable .272/.339/.432 and totaled a personal-best 16 home runs across 542 plate appearances, and he added 12 stolen bases. For Toronto, picking up Harrison would seemingly give the club a front-runner to start at second and protect against further injuries to Travis and another oft-hurt middle infielder, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who now has a capable backup behind him in Diaz. Of course, it’s unclear whether the Pirates are truly open to giving up Harrison, especially considering fellow infielder Jung Ho Kang’s iffy-at-best status for 2018. However, Adam Berry of MLB.com suggested earlier this week that Harrison may be Pittsburgh’s most logical trade chip, as the team would still have David Freese, Adam Frazier, Sean Rodriguez and Max Moroff on hand as versatile infielders even if it were to part with him. So, if the low-payroll Pirates view Harrison as a redundant piece, they could look to jettison him and his relatively lofty salary. While Harrison’s pact isn’t onerous – he’ll make $10MM in 2018 and has club options worth $10.5MM and $11.5MM over the following two seasons – he nonetheless ranks as one of the Bucs’ most expensive players.[...]



NL News & Rumors: Giants, Stanton, Moustakas, Cards, D-backs

2017-12-10T18:40:00+00:00

Before the Giants’ pursuit of Giancarlo Stanton failed, they offered the Marlins a package including right-hander Tyler Beede and catcher Aramis Garcia, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. Beede and Garcia, both 24 years old, rank among the Giants’ top 10 prospects at MLB.com and Baseball America. Along with surrendering those two, San Francisco would’ve…Before the Giants’ pursuit of Giancarlo Stanton failed, they offered the Marlins a package including right-hander Tyler Beede and catcher Aramis Garcia, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. Beede and Garcia, both 24 years old, rank among the Giants’ top 10 prospects at MLB.com and Baseball America. Along with surrendering those two, San Francisco would’ve absorbed $230MM of the $295MM owed to Stanton (the Yankees, who won the Stanton derby, will take on $265MM). That package was to the Marlins’ liking, but Stanton put the kibosh on a deal by declining to waive his no-trade clause for San Francisco. More on the Giants and a few other National League clubs: The Cardinals have had talks with the agents for relievers Addison Reed and Brandon Morrow, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. At one point this offseason, there was “momentum” toward a deal between Reed and the Cardinals, a source told Goold, but it seems this winter’s slow-to-develop relief market has helped prevent an agreement from coming to fruition. Whether he signs with the Cardinals or another team, the soon-to-be 29-year-old Reed is in position to end up as one of this winter’s richest relievers. A lack of financial wiggle room could prevent the Diamondbacks from doing anything significant in free agency, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. Arizona needs bullpen help, for instance, but several agents informed Piecoro that the club’s not showing much willingness to spend. The Diamondbacks “think they’re going to get by spending $5 million” total on bullpen upgrades, an agent for a second-tier reliever told Piecoro. In order to free up payroll space, the D-backs could deal left-hander Patrick Corbin and/or center fielder A.J. Pollock, Piecoro suggests. Both players are only under control for another year – MLBTR’s Matt Swartz projects an $8.3.MM arbitration award for Corbin and an $8.5MM salary for Pollock. The Giants will reportedly pursue the top free agent third baseman available, Mike Moustakas, but Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle casts doubt on the possibility (via Twitter). The club is wary of going after free agents who have rejected qualifying offers because of the compensation it would have to give up to land them, Schulman notes, and Moustakas is part of that class. Signing him would cost the Giants two draft picks (their second- and fifth-highest choices) in 2018 and $1MM in international bonus pool space. The Braves will hire Alex Tamin as their director of major league operations, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets. Tamin was previously the Dodgers’ director of baseball operations, serving in the same front office as new Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos. While with Los Angeles, Tamin “handled rules and transactions” and was “heavily involved” in advance scouting, according to Rosenthal, who adds that he’ll perform similar tasks in Atlanta. [...]



Cubs Among Teams Pursuing Alex Cobb

2017-12-10T17:17:00+00:00

SUNDAY: Along with the Cubs, count the Rangers, Yankees, Blue Jays and Orioles among teams interested in Cobb, according to FanRag’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). SATURDAY: The Cubs added right-hander Tyler Chatwood on a three-year, $38MM guarantee this week, but another sizable investment for their rotation could be on the way. With the Winter Meetings…SUNDAY: Along with the Cubs, count the Rangers, Yankees, Blue Jays and Orioles among teams interested in Cobb, according to FanRag’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). SATURDAY: The Cubs added right-hander Tyler Chatwood on a three-year, $38MM guarantee this week, but another sizable investment for their rotation could be on the way. With the Winter Meetings nearing, they’re making a “strong push” to sign free agent righty Alex Cobb, Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago reports. Their hope is to reach a deal with Cobb prior to Monday, which would enable them to turn their focus elsewhere during the meetings and prevent other suitors from aggressively pursuing the 30-year-old. Cobb going to the North Side of Chicago has frequently come up as a possibility since last season ended, in part because of his connection to multiple members of the Cubs’ coaching staff. He played under manager Joe Maddon in Tampa Bay from 2011-14 and was under the tutelage of pitching coach Jim Hickey with the Rays through last season. Hickey, whom the Cubs hired in October, has been Cobb’s sole pitching coach since he debuted in 2011. Cobb spoke glowingly of those two last month and said he’d be “very honored” to sign with the Cubs. While Cobb would be a risky signing, having undergone two serious procedures (thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in 2011 and Tommy John surgery in 2015) during his career, he’s still poised to land one of the richest contracts on the open market this winter. Across 700 major league innings, including a career-high 179 1/3 last season, Cobb has pitched to a 3.50 ERA with 7.33 K/9, 2.62 BB/9 and a 54 percent groundball rate. Some of his numbers took a dip in 2017 (6.42 K/9, 47.8 percent grounder rate) – his first full year back from Tommy John surgery – though his velocity looked normal and he managed a quality 3.66 ERA/4.16 FIP, also recording a career-best walk rate (2.21 per nine). Along with guaranteeing a notable sum to Cobb, who rejected the Rays’ $17.4MM qualifying offer, the Cubs would have to surrender their second-highest draft pick in 2018 (No. 63 overall) and $500K in international bonus pool space to sign him. But that prospect clearly isn’t scaring off the Cubs, who will collect compensation if their own qualified free agents (starter Jake Arrieta and closer Wade Davis) depart. The Cubs are still interested in retaining those two, per Levine, but picking up Cobb would give them five capable starters (Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Jose Quintana and Chatwood are the others) and seemingly lessen the chances for an Arrieta re-up.[...]



Cafardo’s Latest: Abreu, Giants, Rox, Pads, Braun, Reds, A’s, O’s

2017-12-10T16:35:00+00:00

The Red Sox are “very interested” in White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, which runs contrary to previous reports. The Cardinals are also after Abreu, Cafardo adds, which isn’t surprising for a team that just lost out on Giancarlo Stanton and continues to seek a power bat.…The Red Sox are “very interested” in White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, which runs contrary to previous reports. The Cardinals are also after Abreu, Cafardo adds, which isn’t surprising for a team that just lost out on Giancarlo Stanton and continues to seek a power bat. Abreu, who will turn 31 in January, slashed .304/.354/.552 with 33 home runs in 675 plate appearances last season. He comes with two years of arbitration eligibility and will earn a lofty sum – a projected $17.9MM – in 2018. The White Sox want “top prospects” for Abreu, per Cafardo. More from Cafardo, whose latest column previews the Winter Meetings for all 30 clubs: With an obvious need at third base, the Giants are primed to go after the top two free agents at the hot corner – Mike Moustakas and Todd Frazier – Cafardo notes. The 29-year-old Moustakas (a California native) figures to reel in a much larger pact than Frazier (32 in February). Moustakas is also a qualifying offer recipient, so signing him would cost the Giants their second- and fifth-highest draft picks in 2018 and $1MM in international bonus pool space. Free agent first baseman Logan Morrison has drawn interest from the Rockies, per Cafardo. Signing Morrison, who MLBTR projects will land a three-year, $36MM payday this offseason, would presumably send Ian Desmond to the outfield full time as Carlos Gonzalez’ replacement. It could also give the Rockies a significant offensive boost, with the 30-year-old Morrison having slashed .246/.353/.516 with a personal-high 38 homers in 2017. The shortstop-needy Padres will pursue the premier player available at the position, Zack Cozart, according to Cafardo. Cozart was one of the best players in the majors last season, pairing his usual excellent defense with uncharacteristically great offense (.297/.385/.548 with 24 homers in 507 PAs), but the longtime Red isn’t a free agent at a time when many teams are seeking a shortstop, as MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk recently explained. That could negatively affect his market, then, though MLBTR still forecasts a respectable contract (three years, $42MM) for the 32-year-old. The Brewers would consider proposals for left fielder Ryan Braun, Cafardo suggests. Milwaukee has no shortage of outfielders, which could open the door for a Braun trade, but moving him would be challenging. The 34-year-old posted one of his worst seasons in 2017, thanks in part to injuries, and still has $57MM coming his way (including a $4MM buyout in 2021). He also has full no-trade rights as a 10-and-5 player. Along with the previously reported Raisel Iglesias, the Reds are “open to offers” for left fielder Adam Duvall, Cafardo relays. Duvall, 29, would provide cheap power to a team in need of it – he’s not eligible for arbitration until next winter and is fresh off his second 30-home run season in a row (though he hit an underwhelming .249/.301/.480 in 2017). The Athletics expected to retain infielder Jed Lowrie as of October, but now they’d “certainly be willing” to trade him, Cafardo reports. Lowrie will [...]



Yankees flex financial muscle, steal Giancarlo Stanton from Marlins

2017-12-10T16:00:00+00:00

By taking on a ton of his contract, the Yankees acquire the game’s marquee slugger for almost nothing. In a franchise-altering move, the New York Yankees acquired All-Star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins on Saturday, as Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports first reported. To acquire Stanton, the Yankees gave up just one of their Top-30 prospects, right-handed pitcher Jorge Guzman. Minor League shortstop Jose Devers also headed to the Marlins in the deal, as did Major League second baseman Starlin Castro in order to offset some of the salary. Stanton is a huge get for the Yankees, and he didn’t cost them a lot. Let’s break this whole thing down. The players The most important issue in any trade is to break down the moving parts. Stanton, of course, is the biggest cog in this deal. The 28-year-old is a four-time All-Star and is coming off the best season of his career. He slashed .281/.376/.631 in 2017, with 59 home runs and 132 runs batted in over 692 plate appearances, narrowly beating Joey Votto in the National League MVP race. His 156 wRC+ ranked fifth in the Major Leagues, and his 6.9 fWAR ranked tied for third. Castro is the other Major Leaguer switching teams, but it remains to be seen whether he will remain with the Marlins through the rest of the offseason. While he spent part of 2017 injured, his .300/.338/.454 slash line represented his best offensive output since 2014 when he was with the Cubs. Overall, he was worth 1.9 fWAR over his 112 games played. Castro is just 27, but he is already a four-time All-Star himself and has a career 1,280 hits. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images Guzman, 22 in January, is the “headline” prospect return for the Marlins, but he is still years away from the Majors, pitching his entire 2017 season at Low Class-A Staten Island. There, his numbers were good, posting a 2.30 ERA and a 88:18 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 66 2⁄3 innings pitched, all as a starter. Devers, 18, is the cousin of Red Sox top prospect Rafael Devers, and spent his 2017 season in Rookie-level ball. He hit .245/.336/.342 across 216 plate appearances in the Gulf Coast League and the Dominican Summer League. The contract The two biggest concerns in this trade were the no-trade clause and the money. On the former: Both the Giants and Cardinals announced midday Friday that Stanton had declined to waive his no-trade to come play for either of their two teams. That opened up the door for the Yankees, who were reported as one of the four teams he would approve a trade to. Considering that Stanton is already on his way to New York to take his physical, the no-trade is no longer an issue. The no-trade, however, forced the Marlins into a very limited market that likely diminished the return they were able to get for Stanton. I advocated that this ownership group should figure out a way to keep Stanton at least until next July, when he may be more willing to be traded to more teams after seeing who is in contention. Derek Jeter and company, however, showed an urgency to deal Stanton this offseason, and his no-trade clause ultimately kept them from exploring the larger market. Part of the reason Stanton’s suitors were so limited in the first place was his contract. Stanton still has 10 years and $295 million on his deal, and considering the Marlins wanted to shed so much of it, only teams willing to commit upward of $25 million to Stanton really could be considered. The Yankees, according to Ken Rosenth[...]



Giants Among Teams Showing Interest In Domingo Santana

2017-12-10T14:34:00+00:00

SUNDAY: The Giants also have interest in Broxton, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link). After breaking out during an abbreviated 2016 campaign, Broxton took steps backward last season, hitting .220/.299/.420 across 463 PAs and earning poor marks in center field (minus-7 Defensive Runs Saved, minus-2.2 Ultimate Zone Rating). The soon-to-be 28-year-old…SUNDAY: The Giants also have interest in Broxton, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link). After breaking out during an abbreviated 2016 campaign, Broxton took steps backward last season, hitting .220/.299/.420 across 463 PAs and earning poor marks in center field (minus-7 Defensive Runs Saved, minus-2.2 Ultimate Zone Rating). The soon-to-be 28-year-old still managed to rack up 20 homers and 21 stolen bases, however, and comes with five years of team control. FRIDAY: The Brewers are “getting hits” on quite a few outfielders, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter link). That includes Domingo Santana, who has been pursued by teams including the Giants. It’s hardly surprising to hear that rival organizations are prodding the Brewers to move an outfielder. The team has numerous talented players that fit several different profiles. Veteran Ryan Braun is unlikely to be traded, per the report, due at least in part to his no-trade rights. But with a few other roster needs and other areas to upgrade, it’s certainly reasonable to think that Milwaukee is amenable to considering a move involving some of its other outfielders. Santana is likely the most valuable player of the bunch. He’s just 25, is controllable for four more seasons (one of them at the league minimum), and is fresh off of a season in which he posted a .278/.371/.505 slash with thirty home runs in 607 plate appearances. If the team prefers to keep the established asset, it might consider swaps involving Keon Broxton, Lewis Brinson, or Brett Phillips, each of whom could conceivably be a long-term answer in center field for the Brewers or another team. Of course, that doesn’t mean the Brewers are offering up any bargains. As Brewers GM David Stearns told MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy today (Twitter link), the club is not exactly anxious to pare back its depth and can still option Brinson and/or Phillips. There’s no question whatsoever that Santana, among others, would only be dealt if the Brewers felt they were receiving compelling value — likely, in a manner that would allow the team to improve both now and in the future. Milwaukee is most clearly in need of starting pitching. Santana makes for an interesting target for the Giants, who could also compete with the Cardinals for the best outfielders on the free agent and trade markets after being spurned by Giancarlo Stanton. San Francisco is clearly working through a variety of possibilities now that the Stanton deal won’t be happening. Rosenthal also notes that San Francisco has maintained its interest in free agent outfielder Jay Bruce, and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand tweets that the same holds true of Lorenzo Cain.[...]



East Notes & Rumors: Marlins, Red Sox, Schwarber, Stanton

2017-12-10T14:23:00+00:00

An early morning look at the majors’ East divisions: There’s no desperation on the Marlins’ part to trade second baseman Starlin Castro, whom they’ll acquire from the Yankees when the teams’ Giancarlo Stanton trade becomes official, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. With a reasonable $22MM left on Castro’s contract over the next two years,…An early morning look at the majors’ East divisions: There’s no desperation on the Marlins’ part to trade second baseman Starlin Castro, whom they’ll acquire from the Yankees when the teams’ Giancarlo Stanton trade becomes official, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. With a reasonable $22MM left on Castro’s contract over the next two years, the Marlins believe they’re in position to “wait for the right offer,” per Nightengale. Meanwhile, the Fish are entertaining offers for outfielder Marcell Ozuna, whom the Cardinals “badly desire,” Nightengale notes. Ozuna will make a projected $10.9MM in his penultimate arbitration-eligible season in 2018, and he’s coming off a career year, so moving him would help the Marlins further slash their payroll and improve their weak farm system in one fell swoop. The power-needy Red Sox have interest in Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber, according to Scott Lauber of ESPN.com, though he casts doubt on the idea of Chicago moving the 24-year-old. The Cubs’ front office has long been bullish on Schwarber, who’s coming off a disappointing season (granted, he did hit 30 home runs) but still under control for five more years. In the seemingly unlikely event the Cubs deal Schwarber to Boston, he’d be a candidate to slot in at first base/designated hitter. Keith Law of ESPN (subscription required and recommended) regards the Stanton trade as a “no-brainer” move for the Yankees, arguing that he won’t have to replicate the MVP form he showed off in 2017 to justify the 10-year, $265MM commitment for New York. Law also doesn’t close the door on the Yankees adding Bryce Harper in free agency next year, as he’s of the belief that the former center fielder could still be an option there in the short term. While the Yankees may have cleaned up in the swap, Law regards it as an opportunity lost for Miami because, in addition to Castro, it’ll only get a pair of “fringe prospects” in return for an elite player. Law goes on to assess the prospects, right-hander Jorge Guzman and infielder Jose Devers, in depth. [...]



Angels agree to sign “Japan’s Babe Ruth” Shohei Ohtani

2017-12-10T14:00:00+00:00

Understandably, the signing makes the Angels a better team on both sides of the ball. Shohei Ohtani is coming to the United States, but he isn’t playing in Seattle, New York or San Diego, like many thought that he would throughout the course of this young offseason. Rather, Ohtani is coming to Los Angeles — and not for the team that wears the blue or the white. Ohtani’s agents at CAA Sports announced on Friday that Ohtani has made his decision. In a shocking twist, Ohtani will be signing with the Los Angeles Angels, who are now required to pay the $20 million posting fee and his signing bonus, which will not exceed the $2.315 million in their international bonus pool. Explaining Shohei Ohtani In case you haven’t heard, Ohtani is a Japanese sensation who has just about taken the spotlight for the entirety of the offseason. (If not for Giancarlo Stanton, there would be no story talked about more than his.) Not only can he throw 100 MPH on the mound, he can also hit 450-foot home runs at the plate. Ohtani sent a survey to all 30 teams to obtain information about each of the organizations’ plans before narrowing his field down to seven teams—the Dodgers, Giants, Mariners, Cubs, Rangers, Padres and Angels — with whom he met while visiting the United States in Los Angeles. With just a $22 million investment, Ohtani was a “risk” that just about every team was willing to take. On a completely open market, he could have easily earned $200 million. For comparison, Masahiro Tanaka — who just pitched, let alone pitched and hit, at the Japanese professional level — commanded $155 million from the Yankees in 2014. Since money was not an obstacle, Ohtani’s choice was purely upon where he felt the most comfortable. How the Angels got Ohtani One agent told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, “[Angels GM Billy] Eppler made this happen. [It was] 100 percent all him. He has been on Ohtani since he was in high school, and I will bet that he absolutely crushed the presentation. This is a credit to him.” Eppler, as Rosenthal noted, visited Japan while working with the Yankees and after becoming the Angels’ GM in October 2015. Many reports throughout Ohtani’s process suggested that he was only interested in playing for a West Coast, small-market team. The Angels certainly fit the bill for the first qualification, but they still pull from one of the largest markets in the Major Leagues. (The Los Angeles area is very densely populated.) In CAA’s statement, however, they flatly denied this claim: While there has been much speculation about what would drive Shohei’s decision, what mattered to him most wasn’t market size, time zone or league but that he felt a true bond with the Angels. He sees this as the best environment to develop and reach the next level and attain his career goals. Of course, it does not necessarily matter how the Angels got Ohtani or why he decided to sign there. This process was entirely in his hands, and because money was not a decisive factor here—making it a very unique situation—he truly could go to the team and city he felt most comfortable with. And that just happened to be the Angels. Ohtani’s expectations are high This is definitely the most exciting topic of discussion for the Angels and their future. At a minimum, Los Angeles will contr[...]



Rockies Sign Chris Iannetta

2017-12-10T12:48:00+00:00

SUNDAY: Iannetta’s option for 2020 is actually worth $4.25MM, per Heyman (Twitter link). FRIDAY: The Rockies have announced a two-year deal with veteran catcher Chris Iannetta, as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first reported (Twitter link). Iannetta will receive a $8.5MM guarantee, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. Iannetta will get a $300K signing bonus plus…SUNDAY: Iannetta’s option for 2020 is actually worth $4.25MM, per Heyman (Twitter link). FRIDAY: The Rockies have announced a two-year deal with veteran catcher Chris Iannetta, as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic first reported (Twitter link). Iannetta will receive a $8.5MM guarantee, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. Iannetta will get a $300K signing bonus plus successive salaries of $3.45MM and $4MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). The contract also includes a vesting/club option with a $5.25MM price and $750K buyout. It will vest if Iannetta starts at least 220 total games over the next two seasons With the agreement, Iannetta becomes the second backstop to take home a multi-year deal this winter. Welington Castillo previously wrapped up a two-year, $15MM arrangement with the White Sox. Unsurprisingly, Iannetta settles for somewhat less, but still gets a large bump over last year’s $1.5MM salary. The Rockies got a good look at Iannetta last year, as he appeared in 89 games for the division-rival Diamondbacks. Iannetta thrived in that half-time role, posting an excellent .254/.354/.511 batting line and launching 17 home runs in his 316 plate appearances. He continued to draw walks at a solid clip (11.7%) and made up for a career-worst 27.5% strikeout rate by posting a personal-high .257 isolated slugging mark. Of course, Iannetta will also turn 35 just days into the 2018 season. And some regression is almost surely in the cards, though it’s fair to note that he has produced at the same level as recently as 2014 — though he also oversaw two mediocre seasons at the plate in the interim. Iannetta’s framing numbers have ridden much the same roller coaster in recent years. The move represents a return to where it all began for Iannetta, who was drafted and developed by the Rockies. He now figures to occupy a significant portion of the organization’s playing time behind the dish. Perhaps the move does not fully eliminate the Rox as a suitor for Jonathan Lucroy, but it does make it quite a bit less likely that Lucroy will return to Colorado. The team could choose to pair Iannetta with one of its existing catchers, Tony Wolters or Tom Murphy, leaving some untapped resources free to pursue upgrades in other areas. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.[...]



Under-the-Radar Target: Why Jorge Polanco Is Worthy Of Your Attention

2017-12-10T11:30:00+00:00

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor) While he doesn’t get much attention, the Twins’ Jorge Polanco posted a solid season in ’17 across the board.  Whether or not he can maintain it, or even expand on it, is the question as we look ahead towardsby Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor) While he doesn’t get much attention, the Twins’ Jorge Polanco posted a solid season in ’17 across the board.  Whether or not he can maintain it, or even expand on it, is the question as we look ahead towards 2018.  First, let’s look at the numbers: 488 At Bats .256 Batting Average (125 Hits) 13 Home Runs 74 RBI 60 Runs 13 Stolen Bases .313 On Base Percentage .410 Slugging Percentage .278 Batting Average on Balls in Play While the average wasn’t strong, his approach at the plate was.  He made consistent contact (5.8% SwStr%) and didn’t stray outside the zone very often (26.9% O-Swing%).  You would think that would bring better results, though overall he simply didn’t hit the ball very hard (19.3% line drive rate).  Things changed as the season progressed, though, and it could give a glimpse of the future: First Half – .224 Second Half – .293 He was hitting the ball harder after the All-Star Break (21.7%), though before we simply buy the improved number it was skewed.  He posted a 28.6% line drive rate in August, only to watch it sink back to 16.1% in September.  That is a bit of a concern, but even at his current rates we’d expect a .265-.275 average thanks to his strong approach and the anticipation of a better BABIP. Polanco has never been thought of as a power prospect, though he did add 30 doubles last season.  He hit 10 HR in the second half, and a 12.5% HR/FB isn’t unreasonable.  Considering he’s still just 24-years old and maturing, seeing him hit 15-18 HR annually shouldn’t be a stretch.  It’s a step up from what had initially been expected, though Rich Wilson of Prospect 361 noted prior to the ’16 season that: “He has plenty of bat speed and at a solid 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds, has enough physicality to hit 8 to 12 home runs.” It’s not a huge leap, and with his approach and speed we are looking at a potential .270/15/15 shortstop who could develop into even more (specifically from the average).  Considering no one is paying attention, that makes him an ideal player to target late in your fantasy drafts.  He may not alone win you a league, but he’s the type of under-the-radar upside play that could drive you up the standings. Sources – Fangraphs, Prospect 361 ** PRE-ORDER SALE ** Pre-order Rotoprofessor’s 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for just $6.25!!  Click here for the details, but don’t miss out on the best bargain in fantasy baseball preparation. Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Projections: PlayerDate Published Cano, Robinson10/09/17 Castillo, Luis10/03/17 Gerrit Cole10/30/17 Didi Gregorius11/20/17 Wil Myers10/24/17 Quintana, Jose11/13/17 Sanchez, Aaron12/05/17 Schoop, Jonathan11/27/17 Stroman, Marcus10/16/17 Walker, Taijuan 11/06/17 [...]



2018 Cincinnati Reds Minor League Preview

2017-12-10T08:01:00+00:00

Alright Cincinnati, let's just get this out of the way, your chili is gross, but your prospects are tasty. With high picks over the last few years, and a definite Cuban connection, the Reds have done well to add to their farm system of late. Their first round drafting over the last two seasons in particular has been a source of real talent, adding Nick Senzel, Taylor Trammell, Hunter Greene, and Jeter Downs. While the days of highly volatile upside starters seem to be over, there's still some upside arms to dream on, Tony Santillan specifically. With Tyler Mahle, Senzel, and Jesse Winker all in the mix for gigs on the major league squad out of camp, there's some higher end close to the majors talent here too. I may not have any Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees takes, but I got plenty of Top Cincinnati Reds prospects to talk up. After all it's the 2018 Cincinnati Reds Minor League Preview.(image) Alright Cincinnati, let's just get this out of the way, your chili is gross, but your prospects are tasty. With high picks over the last few years, and a definite Cuban connection, the Reds have done well to add to their farm system of late. Their first round drafting over the last two seasons in particular has been a source of real talent, adding Nick Senzel, Taylor Trammell, Hunter Greene, and Jeter Downs. While the days of highly volatile upside starters seem to be over, there's still some upside arms to dream on, Tony Santillan specifically. With Tyler Mahle, Senzel, and Jesse Winker all in the mix for gigs on the major league squad out of camp, there's some higher end close to the majors talent here too. I may not have any Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees takes, but I got plenty of Top Cincinnati Reds prospects to talk up. After all it's the 2018 Cincinnati Reds Minor League Preview.(image) (image)



Mets Rumors: Santana, Bruce, Walker, Kendrick, Reyes, Shaw

2017-12-10T05:31:00+00:00

This is the second time today we’ll focus on the Mets, who are active in the rumor mill as the Winter Meetings draw closer. The latest comes courtesy of Marc Carig of Newsday… Less than a month ago, the Mets were reportedly among several teams with interest in free agent first baseman Carlos Santana. Now…This is the second time today we’ll focus on the Mets, who are active in the rumor mill as the Winter Meetings draw closer. The latest comes courtesy of Marc Carig of Newsday… Less than a month ago, the Mets were reportedly among several teams with interest in free agent first baseman Carlos Santana. Now the idea of the Mets landing Santana looks “very unlikely,” a source told Carig.  The pessimism toward signing Santana stems from the presence of young first baseman Dominic Smith and an unwillingness on the team’s part to make a major financial commitment at the position. With Santana a strong bet to sign one of the most valuable contracts in this offseason’s class of free agents, the Mets are nearly certain to target a cheap stopgap like Adam Lind instead, per Carig, though he adds that they remain interested in a reunion with potential first base option Jay Bruce. Unlike Santana, Bruce is primarily an outfielder, and the Mets value his versatility enough to make a signing possible. Elsewhere around the infield, Carig writes that it’s “unlikely” the Mets will sign free agent second baseman Neil Walker, whom they traded to the Brewers over the summer. They haven’t shown any interest in utilityman Howie Kendrick, meanwhile, but re-signing longtime Met Jose Reyes remains on the table. Reyes turned in a respectable age-34 season in 2017, and he made it known toward the end of the year that he’d like to finish his career with the Mets. New York reportedly made an offer to reliever Bryan Shaw around Thanksgiving, but there’s still no indication as to whether he’s interested in joining the club, Carig reports. The belief around the majors is that Shaw has received multiple three-year proposals in the $24MM range (it’s unclear if any of those came from the Mets), one rival executive informed Carig. Shaw, 30, may be holding out for a fourth year, and the Mets would balk at that, according to Carig. [...]



Reactions To And Effects Of The Giancarlo Stanton Trade

2017-12-10T03:52:00+00:00

The Yankees shook the baseball world early Saturday when they agreed to acquire 2017 National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins. As you’d expect, the deal has elicited no shortage of media reactions, many of which we’ve rounded up here: While the Los Angeles-born Stanton would have preferred to go to the Dodgers, they…The Yankees shook the baseball world early Saturday when they agreed to acquire 2017 National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins. As you’d expect, the deal has elicited no shortage of media reactions, many of which we’ve rounded up here: While the Los Angeles-born Stanton would have preferred to go to the Dodgers, they didn’t make an offer that “intrigued” the Marlins, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets. Sending Stanton to the Dodgers would have required the Marlins to take on more bad contracts than they were “comfortable with,” according to Sherman, who reports that LA wanted Miami to accept one or both of Adrian Gonzalez or Scott Kazmir and absorb $30MM of Stanton’s contract. The Marlins found acquiring Starlin Castro from the Yankees much more appealing, as he’s someone they could slot in at second base or flip elsewhere. The Dodgers’ wariness toward a more aggressive Stanton pursuit stemmed from the back-loaded nature of his 10-year, $295MM commitment, per Buster Olney of ESPN (subscription required and recommended). If he doesn’t opt out of his contract after 2020, Stanton will rake in $96MM over the final three years of his pact, when he’ll be in his late 30s. The Yankees will be able to slot him in at designated hitter then if his work in the field sharply declines with age, whereas the Dodgers would have had to continue running him out as a defender. Adding Stanton gives the Yankees as many as six major league-caliber outfielders, thereby making Jacoby Ellsbury and Clint Frazier potential trade candidates. The Yankees will work to rid themselves of Ellsbury, even if it means eating “a lot” of the $68.3MM left on his contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Ellsbury was reportedly uninterested in leaving the Yankees as of earlier this week, but that was before the acquisition of Stanton relegated him to the role of a fifth outfielder. While Ellsbury, who has a full no-trade clause, would be a salary dump, the 23-year-old Frazier would likely bring back a quality return – perhaps a starter, King suggests. Additionally, the Yankees “would certainly listen on offers” for third baseman Chase Headley, per King. Headley is entering the last year of his contract, in which he’ll make $13MM. With new Marlins owners Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman on a mission to continue paring down payroll to the $90MM range, Castro looks like their most obvious trade chip, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. By parting with Castro – who has two years and $22MM left on his pact – and not taking back another guaranteed contract, Miami would still be about $15MM above its spending goal, Jackson notes. Further payroll slashing could come from deals involving some combination of Marcell Ozuna, Christian Yelich, Martin Prado, Brad Ziegler and Junichi Tazawa. Moving [...]



AL Notes: Hosmer, Royals, Ohtani, Rangers

2017-12-10T01:20:00+00:00

The Royals are interested in re-signing first baseman Eric Hosmer, but their pursuit of the longtime franchise cornerstone isn’t going particularly well, Jon Heyman of FanRag suggests (Twitter link). Kansas City’s belief is that “there are much bigger deals elsewhere” for Hosmer, according to Heyman, though he points out that the club was similarly pessimistic…The Royals are interested in re-signing first baseman Eric Hosmer, but their pursuit of the longtime franchise cornerstone isn’t going particularly well, Jon Heyman of FanRag suggests (Twitter link). Kansas City’s belief is that “there are much bigger deals elsewhere” for Hosmer, according to Heyman, though he points out that the club was similarly pessimistic before it managed to re-up free agent outfielder Alex Gordon two offseasons ago. Gordon landed a four-year, $72MM pact, which stands as the largest deal in Royals history. Hosmer figures to obliterate that total, with MLBTR projecting a six-year, $132MM payday. More from the American League: The Angels introduced newly signed Japanese ace/slugger Shohei Ohtani during a Saturday press conference, at which general manager Billy Eppler told reporters that the team “definitely” expects him to continue as a two-way player in the majors (Twitter links via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register). Ohtani won’t play the outfield, however, which comes as no surprise considering the Angels already have Mike Trout, Justin Upton and Kole Calhoun occupying spots in the grass. As for the Angels’ pitching staff, Eppler noted that the club is “very open minded” to utilizing a six-man rotation. That would seem to benefit not only Ohtani, who pitched once a week in Japan, but the rest of an Angels staff that dealt with a spate of injuries in 2017. Speaking of six-man rotations, the Rangers could be prime candidates to go that route in 2018 if they manage to bring back Yu Darvish, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News observes. The Rangers didn’t enter the offseason planning to spend big money on a single player, but Grant wonders if they’ll pivot from that strategy after failing to reel in Ohtani. As such, he proposes offering a four-year, $80MM guarantee to Darvish and including incentives and a fifth-year vesting option. While that seems light for the longtime Ranger and recent Dodger, Grant posits that both Darvish’s affinity for Texas and the prospect of going with a six-man rotation – something the hurler advocates – could help sway him toward a reunion. In another piece, Grant runs down a Winter Meetings to-do list for the Rangers, arguing that they should look to spend on a top-tier free agent starter (Darvish would qualify), improve their bullpen, attempt to trade Shin-Soo Choo and retain their key prospects. Regarding the bullpen, the Rangers are more inclined to target multiple affordable relievers than sign one of Wade Davis or Greg Holland, per Grant. [...]



Mets Have Talked With Indians, Tigers About Trades For Second Baseman

2017-12-10T01:02:00+00:00

7:02pm: The Tigers’ efforts to trade Kinsler have “intensified” of late, Katie Strang of The Athletic reports (subscription required and recommended). Moving Kinsler will be a key area of focus for Detroit during the upcoming week, Strang adds, given that the team has a full 40-man roster with Thursday’s Rule 5 draft approaching. The Tigers…7:02pm: The Tigers’ efforts to trade Kinsler have “intensified” of late, Katie Strang of The Athletic reports (subscription required and recommended). Moving Kinsler will be a key area of focus for Detroit during the upcoming week, Strang adds, given that the team has a full 40-man roster with Thursday’s Rule 5 draft approaching. The Tigers are slated to pick first in the draft, and dealing Kinsler by then would give them room to select a player with that choice. 9:31am: According to Marc Carig of Newsday, the Mets have had talks about significant potential trades for Ian Kinsler of the Tigers and Jason Kipnis of the Indians. The Mets may also use the winter meetings to explore a deal with the Pirates for Josh Harrison, says Carig. At this point, Carig clarifies, it seems as though the Mets have had much more dialogue with the Tigers regarding Kinsler; however there’s “some skepticism about a deal getting done there”. It’s certainly no surprise to hear that a team with a need at second base has inquired on Kinsler. The last-place Tigers endured a rough first half last season that culminated in a decision to tear down and rebuild. Veterans J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton and Justin Verlander were all traded to different contending teams, and Detroit ultimately finished the season with just 64 wins. With no serious ability to contend next season, MLBTR’s Jeff Todd already pointed out that Kinsler seems like a prime trade candidate. While Kinsler finished 2017 with his worst full season by fWAR (2.4), he’s a solid bounceback candidate for a Mets team with plans to push for a pennant in 2018. Kinsler hit just .236/.313/.412 this past season, but was seemingly held back by some terrible luck with BABIP (.244). At 35, he’s no sure bet to return to previous form, but considering he combined for 9.8 fWAR between 2015 and 2016, acquiring Kinsler could be well worth the risk for the Mets. The news about talks for Kipnis are perhaps a bit more surprising. There’s been some speculation about Kipnis as a trade candidate this offseason; he’s coming off a down offensive year during which he hit just .232/.291/.414 and missed significant time due to shoulder and hamstring injuries, and he seems to have been displaced at the keystone by teammate Jose Ramirez. However, Kipnis is one of the more significant faces in the Indians franchise, and he’s been one of their best offensive players overall for the past half-decade. To this point, there’s been no indication from Cleveland’s camp that they’d be willing to trade Kipnis at all; the fact that they’ve had talks with the Mets about him seems to imply that they’re at least willing to explore trade scenarios. Of course, there&rs[...]



Pirates Notes: Cutch, Kang, Rivero

2017-12-10T00:20:00+00:00

Speaking with Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and other reporters on Saturday, the Pirates’ Neal Huntington didn’t sound like a general manager who expects center fielder Andrew McCutchen to remain in the fold for the long haul. Although Huntington said the Pirates “would love” for the 31-year-old McCutchen to be a careerlong member of…Speaking with Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and other reporters on Saturday, the Pirates’ Neal Huntington didn’t sound like a general manager who expects center fielder Andrew McCutchen to remain in the fold for the long haul. Although Huntington said the Pirates “would love” for the 31-year-old McCutchen to be a careerlong member of the organization, he noted that keeping the five-time All-Star and trying to win championships “are contradictory goals” at times for the small-market club. McCutchen is set to make $14.5MM in 2018, his last year of team control, and Huntington suggested that a contract extension isn’t on the way. The Bucs’ “belief is that the fanbase would rather cheer for a championship team than one really popular player,” according to Huntington, who continued, “If you look around the game and you look at second extensions for most clubs who either, it was the face of their franchise or their best player at the current time, history is not kind to those extensions.” With the Winter Meetings set to begin, we’re approaching a year since the Pirates nearly traded McCutchen to the Nationals at the 2016 festivities. McCutchen ultimately stayed with the Pirates, of course, and enjoyed a bounce-back year at the plate. Since last season ended, the Giants have shown reported interest in acquiring McCutchen, who has been a member of the Pittsburgh organization since it selected him 11th overall in the 2005 draft. More from Pittsburgh: While Huntington said that getting infielder Jung Ho Kang back in 2018 “would be huge,” the Pirates don’t expect it to happen (via Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). Kang still hasn’t secured a work visa to return to the United States since he received his third drunk driving conviction in his native South Korea last offseason, thus forcing him to sit out the 2017 campaign. During his most recent game action, Kang struggled so mightily as a member of Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominic Winter League that the club released him last month. Speculatively, Kang’s status could affect the Bucs’ offseason plans, though in-house options David Freese, Josh Harrison, Jordy Mercer and Sean Rodriguez bring plenty of experience at one or both of his positions (third base, shortstop). Closer Felipe Rivero is coming off his first full year in Pittsburgh, during which he was among the premier relievers in the game. Now entering his first of four arbitration-eligible years, Rivero is already under Bucs control for the foreseeable future, but he’s open to signing an extension with the club (per Elizabeth Bloom of the Post-Gazette). “I wanna stay here for a little bit,” Rivero said. “It’s a good city to stay.[...]



The Wire Troll: Mike James Should Rise in Phoenix

2017-12-09T23:23:00+00:00

This is a dude that is seemingly always on the periphery of Fantasy value, making for a good waiver wire pickup at various times during the season. On Friday, Williams showed his upside, with 17 points, nine rebounds, three treys, one assist, one steal and one block. His three-point shooting is a chief allure, but has been a bit down lately, so it was great to see him go off. Williams is seeing more minutes lately, and while hasn't been jacking up quite as many treys, he remains an elite FT shooter. If he starts hoisting treys at the same rate as he did in the last two seasons, his value will... This is just an article tease. Visit RotoRob.com for full articles, plus plenty of daily fantastic Fantasy sports content! This is a dude that is seemingly always on the periphery of Fantasy value, making for a good waiver wire pickup at various times during the season. On Friday, Williams showed his upside, with 17 points, nine rebounds, three treys, one assist, one steal and one block. His three-point shooting is a chief allure, but has been a bit down lately, so it was great to see him go off. Williams is seeing more minutes lately, and while hasn't been jacking up quite as many treys, he remains an elite FT shooter. If he starts hoisting treys at the same rate as he did in the last two seasons, his value will... This is just an article tease. Visit RotoRob.com for full articles, plus plenty of daily fantastic Fantasy sports content! [...]



Mets Notes: Castro, Reed, Pitchers

2017-12-09T22:36:00+00:00

The Mets may have a new option in their pursuit of a second baseman. Following today’s Giancarlo Stanton trade agreement, the Marlins are on track to acquire Starlin Castro, meaning they could be marketing a new second baseman just days after trading Dee Gordon to the Mariners. According to Mike Puma of the New York Post,…The Mets may have a new option in their pursuit of a second baseman. Following today’s Giancarlo Stanton trade agreement, the Marlins are on track to acquire Starlin Castro, meaning they could be marketing a new second baseman just days after trading Dee Gordon to the Mariners. According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, the Mets plan to speak with the Marlins regarding Castro. The 27-year-old Castro is a great hitter (.300 batting average in 2017), but his offensive value is somewhat held back by his lack of patience (4.9 BB%). Furthermore, he hasn’t provided much in the way of defensive value over the past two seasons. Still, Castro would be an upgrade over any of the current options on the Mets’ depth chart, and he’s been a roughly average big-league player on the whole during his eight-year MLB career. Castro might not require much in the way of a prospect return, either, and he can be controlled through the 2020 season if his club chooses to exercise a $16MM option. More items from Queens… Marc Carig of Newsday throws some cold water on the idea of a Mets-Marlins deal involving Castro. He tweets that although it’s possible the Mets could check in on the Marlins’ newest acquisition, it’s “not likely” that a deal will come together. The Mets reportedly prefer other second base options, so it sounds as though Carig’s sources believe they would exhaust those options before engaging in any serious negotiations with Miami. In news of other Mets pursuits, Carig reports that the Mets are interested in a reunion with Addison Reed (Twitter link). The two sides apparently discussed an extension last spring, and for good reason; Reed was perhaps at his best during his tenure in New York. The righty reliever struck out 139 batters 126 2/3 innings with the Mets while walking just 19. His ERA was a pristine 2.20 during that time, though his xFIP (3.28) suggests there was some luck involved. Still, a 4.47 WPA is a great mark for a reliever over a season and a half, and Reed’s 12.1% swinging strike rate is impressive as well. In a third tweet, Carig reveals that the Mets are open to trading any of their starting pitchers besides Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard. While there’s nothing brewing yet, Carig speculates that the Amazins could shop a starter in exchange for a second baseman. From my perspective, this hypothetical strategy could prove difficult. The Mets have reportedly shown interest in Jason Kipnis, but the Indians’ rotation is an area of great strength for the them and they don’t need to trade for another starter. The Tigers and Marlins are in the early stages of rebuilds, so they might be looking for minor league returns for Ian Kinsl[...]



Minor MLB Transactions: 12/9/17

2017-12-09T21:25:00+00:00

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves in this post. The Rays have bolstered their bullpen depth by signing right-hander Cody Hall to a minor-league deal, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The pact includes an invitation to spring training. As Topkin notes, Hall has made major-league relief appearances with the Giants (who…We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves in this post. The Rays have bolstered their bullpen depth by signing right-hander Cody Hall to a minor-league deal, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The pact includes an invitation to spring training. As Topkin notes, Hall has made major-league relief appearances with the Giants (who originally drafted him in 2011) and the Marlins. He’s only made nine MLB appearances, however, and the results weren’t good; Hall allowed ten earned runs in just 11 1/3 innings. The upside for Hall seems to lie in his strikeout ability; the 29-year-old struck out 33.1% of the batters he faced with the Giants’ Double-A affiliate last season. Earlier… The Nationals announced that they have signed David Goforth to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training camp. The 29-year-old right-hander was a seventh-round selection of the Brewers in the 2011 draft, with whom he’d spent his entire professional career until now. Though he spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons as a starter in the minor leagues, he transitioned into a relief role in 2014 and hasn’t made a start since. Goforth averages about 96MPH on his fastball, but hasn’t been consistent with his command. He’s also struggled to keep the ball in the park at the major league level, as shown by his 1.73 HR/9. However, while the 5’10” reliever’s 5.94 ERA may seem ugly on the surface, his 3.98 xFIP and high fastball velocity paint him as someone with intriguing upside. The Rangers have signed former Braves prospect Yenci Pena for $675K, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. The Rangers were currently holding one of the largest international bonus pools in baseball, perhaps in part because they were attempting to lure Shohei Ohtani to Texas. However, they’ll now focus those funds elsewhere, and the 17-year-old Pena is how they chose to kick off that spending. The shortstop originally signed with the Braves out of the Dominican Republic for $1.05MM, but hit just .230/.328/.327 in his first taste of pro baseball. However, his 12.8% walk rate helped make him a roughly average offensive player in rookie ball. [...]



NL Central Notes: Cardinals, Cubs, Brewers

2017-12-09T21:10:00+00:00

Though the Cardinals weren’t able to convince Giancarlo Stanton to waive his no-trade clause, they may yet be able to work out a trade with the Marlins. Specifically, rival execs say they expect the Redbirds to make a “legit pitch” for fellow outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweets. Crasnick describes…Though the Cardinals weren’t able to convince Giancarlo Stanton to waive his no-trade clause, they may yet be able to work out a trade with the Marlins. Specifically, rival execs say they expect the Redbirds to make a “legit pitch” for fellow outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweets. Crasnick describes a deal for Ozuna or Yelich as more of a “pure baseball trade” than a deal for Stanton, adding that he believes that’s more in the confines of St. Louis GM John Mozeliak’s comfort zone. While it would require a lot more in terms of prospects to land one of the Marlins’ remaining outfielders, previous negotiations for Stanton could potentially expedite trade talks. It stands to reason that the two teams should already be quite familiar with each others’ valuations on several Cardinals prospects. Furthermore, the Cardinals may have already evaluated avenues for what to do with Randal Grichuk or Stephen Piscotty in the event they are able to acquire a new outfielder. It will be interesting to see if anything unfolds between these two teams during the winter meetings. The Cubs have their sights set on Rays pitchers Alex Colome and Chris Archer, Phil Rogers of MLB.com reports with a tweet, though he acknowledges that getting both in one swoop would require a “monster return.” From my point of view, it seems difficult to imagine that the Cubs could put together a package worthy of Archer alone; their farm system is devoid of top 100 prospects following several promotions over the past few seasons, coupled with trades for players such as Wade Davis, Aroldis Chapman and Jose Quintana. Archer alone would require at least some players from the major league club. It’s tough to know whether giving up one or more of Ian Happ, Javier Baez or Kyle Schwarber (to name just a few examples) in exchange for pitching would significantly improve the major league team. The top three names in the Cubs’ farm system (according to MLB Pipeline) are right-handed pitchers Oscar de la Cruz, Jose Albertos and Adbert Alzolay. Tom Haudricort of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel details some of Brewers GM David Stearns’ comments about the upcoming winter meetings. Last year, Stearns had no idea he’d gain enough traction in talks for Travis Shaw to actually complete a trade during the meetings. “You’re never really sure which one will be the one you get a foothold on,” Stearns said. “Last year, we were able to get that foothold in the Shaw talks and get a deal done.” Haudricort describes adding to a thin starting rotati[...]



Reg-gie-ancarlo! Reg-gie-ancarlo! Reg-gie-ancarlo!

2017-12-09T17:53:00+00:00

When I heard about the trade of Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees, I went to Best Buy to secure an overhead projector so I could overlay my Powerpoint presentations of Marlins Park aka Hard Rock Stadium aka The Stadium That A Psychedelic Unicorn Vomited Up with his new park to see how many home runs Giancarlo was going to gain or lose from the stadium change.  However, when I arrived at Best Buy, I was told they didn’t have any overhead projectors, all they had were sales people in blue polos who didn’t know the difference between one computer from another except for the price.(image) When I heard about the trade of Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees, I went to Best Buy to secure an overhead projector so I could overlay my Powerpoint presentations of Marlins Park aka Hard Rock Stadium aka The Stadium That A Psychedelic Unicorn Vomited Up with his new park to see how many home runs Giancarlo was going to gain or lose from the stadium change.  However, when I arrived at Best Buy, I was told they didn’t have any overhead projectors, all they had were sales people in blue polos who didn’t know the difference between one computer from another except for the price.(image) (image)



Two Teams Have Made Offers To Bryan Shaw

2017-12-09T17:10:00+00:00

Dec. 9th: Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets that the Mets made an offer to Shaw around Thanksgiving. Shaw, however, “might be inclined” to wait for closers Greg Holland and Wade Davis to sign in order to let the market for setup men establish itself. Nov. 25th: Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports via Twitter that…Dec. 9th: Mike Puma of the New York Post tweets that the Mets made an offer to Shaw around Thanksgiving. Shaw, however, “might be inclined” to wait for closers Greg Holland and Wade Davis to sign in order to let the market for setup men establish itself. Nov. 25th: Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports via Twitter that the Twins are not one of the teams that made an offer to Shaw, according to a source with “direct knowledge”. Nov. 24th: According to Paul Hoynes of cleveland.com, two separate teams have made multi-year offers to Indians free agent reliever Bryan Shaw. As of now, the identities of the two teams are not yet known. Hoynes notes that the Mets are reportedly among the teams that have shown interest in the right-hander. Shaw has spent the last five seasons with the Indians, during which time newly-minted Mets manager Mickey Callaway was his pitching coach. Shaw has long been one of baseball’s most durable relievers. Since coming to Cleveland in the three-team trade that sent Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds, the 6’1″ righty has logged at least 64 innings. During that time, he’s appeared in a major league-leading 378 games. That kind of consistency from a reliever is rare, making him a coveted asset in this year’s free agent crop. Shaw ranked 25th on this year’s iteration of MLBTR’s Top 50 Free Agents With Predictions. For what it’s worth, MLBTR picked Shaw to land with the Red Sox. Durability wasn’t the only reason Shaw earned a spot in the top 25, however. The former second-round draft pick of the Diamondbacks has a lifetime 3.13 ERA, and has never posted a full-season mark higher than this year’s 3.52. And yet, despite a career-high ERA, Shaw managed to post his highest-ever fWAR total for a single season in 2017 (1.6 fWAR). While his 0.65 WPA for the season doesn’t quite paint the same picture, it’s difficult to argue that Shaw has provided great value to the Tribe in a setup role. Shaw just turned 30 years old this month. It seems likely he’ll command at least a three-year contract.[...]



Yankees, Marlins Reach Deal For Stanton

2017-12-09T16:56:00+00:00

10:56am: Jon Heyman of FanRag reports via Twitter that the Yankees will receive about $35MM from the Marlins in the deal, and confirms that they’ll send back Castro and prospects. Heyman also adds in a separate tweet that Stanton is on his way to NYC for a physical, making it clear that he is waiving his no-trade clause.…10:56am: Jon Heyman of FanRag reports via Twitter that the Yankees will receive about $35MM from the Marlins in the deal, and confirms that they’ll send back Castro and prospects. Heyman also adds in a separate tweet that Stanton is on his way to NYC for a physical, making it clear that he is waiving his no-trade clause. 10:35am: A source close to Morosi confirms Rosenthal’s report that Stanton is expected to approve the trade. 9:56am: A last-ditch effort to acquire Stanton today by the Dodgers is unlikely, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports hears (Twitter link). 9:33am: The main prospects that would be headed back in the deal are down in the lower levels of the Yankees’ minor league system, Sherman adds. 9:20am: Sherman hears that Castro is the only veteran going back to the Marlins in the deal (Twitter link). The other players going to Miami are Yankees prospects, though not their “best.” 8:49am: The expectation is that Stanton will approve the trade, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Rosenthal also mentions that the deal is pending physicals, which seem to be the only real item standing in the way of the trade being considered complete. 7:14am: The Yankees and Marlins have a deal for Giancarlo Stanton, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.  The deal is still subject to Stanton’s approval, as the slugger has full no-trade rights.  Several hours prior, Joel Sherman of the New York Post called the deal “virtually done,” noting the Marlins will receive second baseman Starlin Castro “plus good but not top prospects” if completed.  Before that, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle had reported the deal as “close if not done.” Yesterday, Stanton rejected trades to the Cardinals and Giants.  Previous reporting has indicated that the Yankees are on the short list of teams to which Stanton would be willing to be traded, so his approval in this case may not be a major hurdle.  Stanton will also need to pass a physical by the Yankees, as Sherman has noted. The pairing of Giancarlo Stanton with Aaron Judge will be one for the ages.  Stanton just took home the NL MVP award with an epic 59 home run season, a level that had not been reached since Barry Bonds in 2001.  Meanwhile, Judge won the American League Rookie of the Year award and finished second in the AL MVP voting with 52 bombs, a rookie record.  Throw in catcher Gary Sanchez, and Yankees GM Brian Cashman has assembled a Murderers’ Row of right-handed sluggers. Earlier this year, the Marlins were purchased by[...]



Chris Iannetta Returns To Colorado, Though Don’t Get Excited By It…

2017-12-09T11:30:00+00:00

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor) Coming off what could be considered a career year, Chris Iannetta returns to Colorado (where he played the first six years of his career).  It’s going to be easy to get somewhat excited, considering the park he’ll come home,by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor) Coming off what could be considered a career year, Chris Iannetta returns to Colorado (where he played the first six years of his career).  It’s going to be easy to get somewhat excited, considering the park he’ll come home, but let’s not forget that he put these numbers up playing half his games in Arizona: 272 At Bats .254 Batting Average (69 Hits) 17 Home Runs 43 RBI 38 Runs 0 Stolen Bases .354 On Base Percentage .511 Slugging Percentage .308 Batting Average on Balls in Play It’s easy to get excited about the power number, but just how “real” is it?  That’s the key determination, because a regression there will bring the average back into the realm of unusable (he’s a career .231 hitter) considering his continued inability to make contact (11.3% SwStr%, 27.5% strikeout rate). All we really need to see is his 21.5% HR/FB, compared to a 12.9% career mark, to reach the conclusion that it’s unsustainable overall.  That said, there is an opportunity to try and exploit against southpaws pitching in Coors Field.  Just look at this split from last season: LHP – .303/.404/.563 RHP – .234/.333/.490 There isn’t much disparity in the slugging, but don’t let that cloud the issue.  He owns a career .380 SLG against RHP (.472 against LHP) courtesy of an 11.7% HR/FB.  In other words he’s a platoon player, most likely, the question is who the Rockies ultimately pair him with.  That’s been the case for a long time, as he hasn’t topped 375 PA over the past four seasons (and he’s had over 400 PA twice over the course of his career). Then you throw in the ballpark, which has the perception of being more favorable but wasn’t in 2017: Chase Field – 2.65 HR/game Coors Field – 2.57 HR/game Pigeon-holed as a platoon player who will likely regress (even against southpaws), getting excited about the new locale and his ’17 production would be misguided.  He’s a spot play, at best, and is almost certain to regress.  Even in two-catcher formats, there are better gambles to take. Sources – Fangraphs, ESPN ** PRE-ORDER SALE ** Pre-order Rotoprofessor’s 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for just $6.25!!  Click here for the details, but don’t miss out on the best bargain in fantasy baseball preparation. Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Projections: PlayerDate Published Cano, Robinson10/09/17 Castillo, Luis10/03/17 Gerrit Cole10/30/17 Didi Gregorius11/20/17 Wil Myers10/24/17 Quintana, Jose11/13/17 Sanchez, Aaron12/05/17 Schoop, Jonathan11/27/17 Stroman, [...]



Prospect Podcast: Top Arizona Diamondbacks and Baltimore Orioles Prospects

2017-12-09T08:01:00+00:00

The preview season is upon us, and we're kicking it off with the Diamondbacks and Orioles. Lower case yay... On their own these are two relativity boring systems, but combined they create a super system, still less exciting than next week's topic the Braves. Another lower case yay. Lance and I kick off the show with some discussion of the Dee Gordon trade, the prospects headed the Marlins way. We touch on Kevin Maitan signing with the Angels, and some other "hot stove" news, before delving into discussions of Jon Duplantier's mechanics, Ryan Mountcatle's leg kick, and how good Austin Hays really is. Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 15% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy sports game. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast:(image) The preview season is upon us, and we're kicking it off with the Diamondbacks and Orioles. Lower case yay... On their own these are two relativity boring systems, but combined they create a super system, still less exciting than next week's topic the Braves. Another lower case yay. Lance and I kick off the show with some discussion of the Dee Gordon trade, the prospects headed the Marlins way. We touch on Kevin Maitan signing with the Angels, and some other "hot stove" news, before delving into discussions of Jon Duplantier's mechanics, Ryan Mountcatle's leg kick, and how good Austin Hays really is. Finally, please make sure to support our sponsor by heading over to RotoWear.com and entering promo code “SAGNOF” for 15% off the highest quality t-shirts in the fantasy sports game. It’s the latest edition of the Razzball Fantasy Baseball Prospect Podcast:(image) (image)



NL Notes: Nationals, Hamilton, Stanton, Brewers

2017-12-09T06:35:01+00:00

The Nationals are checking over the market for starters, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (subscription required). While the team’s potential targets aren’t yet clear, Rosenthal does list two interesting options, both of whom were among the names we floated as hypothetical candidates in our review of the Nats’ offseason outlook. Gerrit Cole of the Pirates could be a name…The Nationals are checking over the market for starters, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports (subscription required). While the team’s potential targets aren’t yet clear, Rosenthal does list two interesting options, both of whom were among the names we floated as hypothetical candidates in our review of the Nats’ offseason outlook. Gerrit Cole of the Pirates could be a name to watch on the trade market, says Rosenthal. And the Nationals are “kicking around” a pursuit of free agent Jake Arrieta, per the report. Certainly, the club’s numerous dealings with Scott Boras make that possible match one to keep an eye on. It’s certainly still possible the Nationals will go in any number of different directions in filling out their rotation, though the report does suggest the team shouldn’t be ruled out for a significant addition. Here’s more from the National League: Billy Hamilton is generating the most interest of any potential Reds trade pieces, Rosenthal also reports. Hamilton, obviously, is a limited offensive player due to a lack of power and on-base skills, but his baserunning and defensive skills are among the game’s elite. If the Reds do ultimately find an offer to their liking for Hamilton — he’s arb-eligible for two more years and projected to earn $5MM next season by MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz — Rosenthal writes that they’d likely sign a short-term stopgap in center field rather than play a corner option out of position. Both the Giants and Cardinals are now out of the running to land Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins, but their pursuits still carry some information worthy of note. In the case of San Francisco, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Twitter links) that many of the players rumored to have been in the teams’ agreed-upon trade package were not, in fact, slated to be moved. None of Joe Panik, Tyler Beede, Chris Shaw, Heliot Ramos, and Christian Arroyo would have been dealt, per the report. Meanwhile, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweets that the Cards would have absorbed about $250MM of the $295MM still owed to Stanton. Brewers GM David Stearns chatted with the team’s beat writers, including Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, in advance of the Winter Meetings. Regarding the team’s rotation needs, Stearns says that the organization’s “market a[...]



Yankees, Marlins In Advanced Talks On Giancarlo Stanton

2017-12-09T06:35:00+00:00

SATURDAY, 12:35am: “Serious” talks between the Yankees and Marlins have been underway for “at least a few days,” Heyman tweets. Indeed, the presence of a more desirable potential landing spot (from Stanton’s perspective) may even have dissuaded the slugger somewhat from accepting a move to the Giants or Cardinals, Heyman suggests. FRIDAY, 11:41pm: A deal to…SATURDAY, 12:35am: “Serious” talks between the Yankees and Marlins have been underway for “at least a few days,” Heyman tweets. Indeed, the presence of a more desirable potential landing spot (from Stanton’s perspective) may even have dissuaded the slugger somewhat from accepting a move to the Giants or Cardinals, Heyman suggests. FRIDAY, 11:41pm: A deal to send Stanton to New York is “close if not done,” a source tells Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). 10:17pm: The Dodgers are also still involved on Stanton, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi tweets, though the Yankees are at a “more advanced stage” with their new push. Indeed, the Marlins’ discussions with other clubs are not considered serious at this point, per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). Meanwhile, there are some competing forces at work between the Marlins and Yankees. The Marlins are “not remotely interested” in taking on underperforming contracts from the Yankees, Bob Nightengale of USA Today cautions (Twitter link). At the same time, Miami may be hoping to get something done before the Winter Meetings get underway next week, Heyman tweets, to make the move before teams begin committing significant cash elsewhere. 9:33pm: We have heard hints of this in recent days, and now there’s firm indication: the Yankees are “in play” for Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter links). Indeed, there’s real progress between the two organizations, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports adds (Twitter links), characterizing the talks as having “significant” levels of “momentum.” But a Marlins source tells Rosenthal that there’s no deal close at present, while acknowledging the teams are indeed “talking” about a swap. After utilizing his blanket no-trade rights to eliminate the Giants and Cardinals from contention today, the heavily-marketed Stanton is open to new bidders. But with the two most aggressive suitors out of the picture, there’s now less clarity about who’ll drive the market for one of the game’s best players. With the Fish scrambling after their initial efforts fell flat, the Yankees feel they are in a position of strength in negotiations, Passan notes. Reports have indicated that Stanton is amenable to waiving his no-trade protection to go to the Yankees [...]



Free Agent Profile: Yu Darvish

2017-12-09T05:11:00+00:00

Yu Darvish hits the open market as both the top free agent pitcher available and, in MLBTR’s view, the top free agent of the entire 2017-18 class. Strengths/Pros After seven years of stardom in Japan, Darvish came to North American baseball with great fanfare in the 2011-12 offseason, and he has since lived up to…Yu Darvish hits the open market as both the top free agent pitcher available and, in MLBTR’s view, the top free agent of the entire 2017-18 class. Strengths/Pros After seven years of stardom in Japan, Darvish came to North American baseball with great fanfare in the 2011-12 offseason, and he has since lived up to the hype.  In 832 1/3 Major League innings, Darvish has a 3.42 ERA, 11.04 K/9, 3.33 K/BB rate, and 19 fWAR, firmly establishing himself as a front-of-the-rotation arm. Tommy John surgery sidelined Darvish for all of 2015 and limited him to 100 1/3 innings in 2016, though he looked healthy in a full season of work last year plus an extended postseason run with the Dodgers.  Darvish tossed a combined 201 1/3 innings between the regular season and playoffs, the second-highest total of his MLB career.  Beyond just the workload, Darvish also set a new career best by averaging 94.2 mph on his fastball. It’s worth noting that Darvish’s numbers with the Rangers prior to his deadline trade to L.A. were somewhat below his usual standard, thanks in part to a career-high 1.3 HR/9.  While those home run issues continued after Darvish went from Texas to Los Angeles, he took quite well to pitching in the NL, posting better strikeout and walk rates as a Dodger than he did in 137 IP with the Rangers before the deal.  His cumulative 10.08 K/9 for the season was the lowest of his career, though Darvish balanced that minor dip in punchouts with a 2.8 BB/9, continuing his trend of exhibiting better control throughout his big league career. Since Darvish was dealt during the season, he wasn’t eligible for a qualifying offer, and thus a team doesn’t have to give up any draft picks or international bonus money in order to sign him.  This gives Darvish a slight edge over his top competition in free agency, as Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, and Alex Cobb all have QO compensation attached to their services. Weaknesses/Cons Beyond the obvious red flag of the Tommy John surgery, Darvish has made five other trips to the disabled list during his MLB career, ranging from minor neck and back stiffness to rather lengthier DL stints for elbow and shoulder issues.  Though Darvish just turned 31 last August, he has 2127 2/3 regular-season innings on his arm between both Japan and North America, not to mention extensive postseason work.  While he hasn’t really exhibited any signs of slowing down, it’s easy to see how a team could be worried about committing nine figures to [...]



Twins To Sign Yunior Severino

2017-12-09T02:24:00+00:00

The Twins have reached agreement on a deal with former Braves prospect Yunior Severino, as MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez was first to report on Twitter. Severino will receive a $2.5MM bonus, so long as his physical checks out. Severino was one of the prospects that was stripped from the Atlanta organization for its international signing violations.…The Twins have reached agreement on a deal with former Braves prospect Yunior Severino, as MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez was first to report on Twitter. Severino will receive a $2.5MM bonus, so long as his physical checks out. Severino was one of the prospects that was stripped from the Atlanta organization for its international signing violations. Unlike the others, he’ll now receive more in bonus money than he did initially. (He’ll get to keep his initial $1.9MM payout, too.) It seems the Twins will be dipping into next year’s pool money for the signing. The ad hoc rules put in place for this group of players allow for teams to use either their current pool or next year’s pool, but not both. Minnesota shipped out a big chunk of its remaining 2017-18 availability on Wednesday in a pair of deals (here and here), leaving insufficient funds to accommodate Severino. Severino, a switch-hitting middle infielder who recently turned 18, slashed .286/.345/.444 in his 206 plate appearances in the Gulf Coast League in 2017. He’s known more for his bat, as that showing suggests, but seems to have quite some promise. Indeed, he’ll end up scoring a larger second signing bonus than did the more heralded Kevin Maitan, who signed recently with the Angels for $2.2MM.[...]



The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 510 – Ohtani Gets His Wings!

2017-12-09T00:18:01+00:00

Paul and Eno discussing the roaring hot stove and they were blessed with the Ohtani news just an hour before starting!

12/08/17

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 18, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER18!

Follow us on Twitter

Notable Transactions/Rumors/Articles/Game Play

As usual, don’t hesitate to tweet us or comment with fantasy questions.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or via the feed. Please rate & review the show in iTunes letting us know what you think!

Approximately 69 minutes of joyous analysis.

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The Sleeper and the Bust Episode: 510 – Ohtani Gets His Wings!

2017-12-09T00:18:00+00:00

Paul and Eno discussing the roaring hot stove and they were blessed with the Ohtani news just an hour before starting!

12/08/17

The latest episode of “The Sleeper and the Bust” is brought to you by Out of the Park Baseball 18, the best baseball strategy game ever made – available NOW on PC, Mac, and Linux platforms! Go to ootpdevelopments.com to order now and save 10% with the code SLEEPER18!

Follow us on Twitter

Notable Transactions/Rumors/Articles/Game Play

As usual, don’t hesitate to tweet us or comment with fantasy questions.

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or via the feed. Please rate & review the show in iTunes letting us know what you think!

Approximately 69 minutes of joyous analysis.

(image)



Giancarlo Stanton Informs Giants He Will Not Waive No-Trade Clause

2017-12-08T23:10:00+00:00

The Giants have joined the Cardinals in announcing that Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton has rejected the chance at a trade. Both clubs had worked out deals with Miami and then sat down with the slugger to convince him to waive his no-trade protection. In combination with the earlier announcement from St. Louis, this operates as a huge…The Giants have joined the Cardinals in announcing that Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton has rejected the chance at a trade. Both clubs had worked out deals with Miami and then sat down with the slugger to convince him to waive his no-trade protection. In combination with the earlier announcement from St. Louis, this operates as a huge shift in the market for Stanton — one of the game’s preeminent stars, its highest-paid player, and a nearly-necessary trade piece for the cost-cutting Marlins. The Giants and Cardinals were both willing to take on at least the bulk of Stanton’s contract. It’s not clear at all that other teams will do so. Stanton, of course, is under no obligation to green-light a deal. He bargained for his no-trade protection and has every right to use it however he sees fit. But his stance has certainly jammed things up for the Marlins, who have little alternative but to find a trade that he’ll authorize given the team’s determination to oversee a drastic payroll reduction. The only reason that Stanton ended up meeting with these two teams, of course, is that they were the preferred matches from the Marlins’ perspective. Now, with both evidently out of the picture, the Fish will have to be fishermen, seeking another team to take the hook. Indications last night were that Stanton has indicated he’d be open to joining the Dodgers, Yankees, Astros, or Cubs. But only the first two of those clubs have been tied to Stanton in any meaningful way, and both are also reportedly uninterested in taking on the full $295MM still owed to Stanton, owing at least in part to luxury tax considerations. Working something out, then, will surely require some creative accounting work. And there’s also little question that the Dodgers and Yanks will milk their leverage for everything it’s worth. It’s tempting, perhaps, to label this an instance of miscalculation by the Marlins. Entering the winter with new ownership and a new payroll plan, the team certainly did roll the dice that it would generate enough interest and that Stanton’s no-trade rights would not pose too great an obstacle. Clearly, there’s some blame to be distributed around South Beach. At the same time, it’s understandable in some regards that the organization penciled in finding an acceptable Stanton deal — and disappointing[...]



Giancarlo Stanton Informs Cardinals He Will Not Waive No-Trade Clause

2017-12-08T21:47:00+00:00

The Cardinals have announced that they have been informed that Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton will not waive his no-trade clause to approve a deal to St. Louis. Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted the full statement. Miami had put deals in place with both the Cards and the Giants, allowing Stanton…

The Cardinals have announced that they have been informed that Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton will not waive his no-trade clause to approve a deal to St. Louis. Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweeted the full statement.

Miami had put deals in place with both the Cards and the Giants, allowing Stanton to speak with both organizations before deciding whether to approve a deal. (With full no-trade rights, he controls the process.) It’s not certain at present whether a final decision has been issued with regard to the San Francisco organization, but we heard last night that there are indications the Marlins star is disinclined to go there, too.

The Cardinals expressed disappointment that Stanton had decided against joining the organization, but surely have had backup plans on their mind from the get-go. That could even include pursuit of some other notable Marlins outfielders, though there are a wide variety of directions which St. Louis could take.

As for Miami, this is a less-than-ideal development — unless, perhaps, Stanton is willing to go to the Giants. If both of those top suitors fall through, the Fish will need to go back to the drawing board. While yesterday’s news suggested the Dodgers and Yankees could still be brought into the hunt, indications are that those organizations won’t be willing to take on anything approaching all of Stanton’s sizable salary.

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