Friday, December 19, 2014

Old MLB Pitchers Still On The Market

Dice K
Earlier this week I looked at old position players on the market and what they have left, now let’s take a look at old pitchers. Old pitchers on the market are kind of like playing the lottery, let’s spin the wheel and see what comes out.

Bruce Chen - The long time Kansas City Royal Bruce Chen’s fastball has topped out in the low 80’s his whole career However he is not in the Royals long term plans so they chose not to re-sign him. A return is possible, not unlikely, and not many teams are in the market for an aging pitcher with a fastball that is about to dive under 80. Chen has probably played his last game in the major leagues.

Hiroki Kuroda - The 40-year-old wonder Kuroda can still be a positive addition to most rotations. However, the only thing stopping him is himself. He says that he either returns to New York or plays in Asia at this point.

Daisuke Matsuzaka - Years ago, Dice-K came over to the Red Sox from Japan with all the hype in the world. But he did not meet expectations. Still, he is a serviceable pitcher and in the right situation, could be a decent number five starter somewhere. He probably gets another contract, and that will be how his career goes until it finishes, on a contract by contract basis year to year.

Wandy Rodriguez - That trade did not work out as the Pirates had hoped, and the even waived Rodriguez, now 36, a year ago. Nobody wanted him last season, and my guess is nobody wants him again this season.

Ryan Voegelsong - Now this is an aging pitcher who still has plenty in the tank. H will eventually return to the Giants later on this off season once everything settles down.

Chris Capuano - Injuries have derailed the career of the former 20-game winner of the Milwaukee Brewers. He is still a positive addition to anyone’s rotation, and he is headed back to New York on a one year contract. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Baseball Off Season Moves As Of December 2014

So far this off season I’ve spent a great deal of time discussing potential moves and trades. Now, let’s look at what has happened in major league baseball so far, for real.

Jon Lester - This off season this has been the biggest move to date. The Cubs were in on Lester all off season and have been rumored for the longest of time to be the frontrunners for landing of Lester. The contract goes for six years and 155 million, which basically means the Cubs had to overpay by about five million to get their man. Theo isn’t done yet, as he still has a high interest in the other two big name free agent pitchers and the Cole Hamels trade rumors are getting hotter by the day.

Giancarlo Stanton - Earlier this off season, Giancarlo Stanton made history when he signed a 13 year, 325 million dollar contract extension with the Marlins. The historical part of this is this is the biggest contract in American sports history. However, if there is one player you give this contract to other than Mike Trout it is Stanton. Stanton is 25 years old, and not even in his prime yet. Stanton is as scary of a player with a bat in his hands at the plate as this game has ever seen, and he is only going to get better and better. On a funnier note, he is expected to pay 140 million in taxes.

Nelson Cruz - The Mariners are trying desperately to improve their offense, so they went out and signed the biggest bat on the market, OF/DH Nelson Cruz, and the contract goes for four years and 57 million. Cruz had a big year coming off suspension in 2014, making a case for the American League MVP award. Cruz will switch coasts now and head to Seattle, where he will be expected to protect Robinson Cano in the batting order, or the other way around, depending on which one can put their giant ego aside and let the other be the big star.

David Robertson - Not as splashy of signing as the three above, but Robertson signed with the White Sox the other day to be their new closer. This contract goes for four years and 46 million. Robertson will take over a closers role that hasn’t been filled for quite some time.

Andrew Miller - Andrew Miller signed a four year, 36 million dollar contract with the Yankees a few days ago. With David Robertson leaving, there are many who wonder if Miller will take over as the Yankees closer. He is good, but I am not sure if he has what it takes to be a closer. We will find out though.

Tori Hunter - By measurement of the advanced defensive analytics, Tori Hunter is the greatest defensive player in the history of baseball. Not just right now, or recently, not just live ball or dead ball, but ever, meaning Tori Hunter is the greatest defensive baseball player who ever lived. Hunter will be returning home to Minnesota, the place where it all started, on a one year, 10.5 million dollar contract. The Twins have a lot of talented young outfielders, and they are hoping Hunter will rub off on them. Specifically Aaron Hicks, who has all the talent in the world, but hasn’t been able to put it together yet.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

2015 NL Central Player Needs By Team

MLB off season needs
Unlike last off season, this one promises to be more newsworthy for the National League Central, and it already has been. Let’s take a look at some of the various needs for each team.

Brewers- The Brewers entered the off season needing to find a first baseman. They did so in trading for Adam Lind from the Blue Jays. They only had to give up Marco Estrada as well, which will be an added bonus for them. They will need to find some more bullpen health, and the return of Tyler Thornburg will help that. Now they won’t be able to afford some of the more pricey bullpen options such as Andrew Miller or David Robertson, but perhaps something like taking a look at Heath Bell and Jared Burton would make sense.

Cardinals- The Cardinals drew first blood this off season when they traded Shelby Miller to the Braves for outfielder Jason Heyward. Now they need to find some starting pitching. They have been linked to all three if the price is right, but don’t expect them to be desperate and overpay for one. They might have interest in someone from the next level such as Ervin Santana or Jake Peavy.

Pirates- The Pirates were in need of a utility man and they got one when they traded for Sean Rodriguez of the Tampa Bay Rays. Now they need to find some starting pitching. Re-signing Francisco Liriano and Edison Volquez will help, but they may need to go a little further. Now they have no shot on this planet of acquiring any of the top three starting pitchers, but they always do well with finding reclamation projects. Josh Johnson, Brett Anderson, and maybe even Brandon Morrow would interest them.

Cubs- The Cubs are expected to be the most active team this off season. They have been linked as front runners to all three starting pitchers, and they want them all. They also are interested in trading for someone like Cole Hamels. If they miss out on someone, expect them to go after the likes of Ervin Santana, Jake Peavy. And possibly even Roberto Hernandez. Bottom line, Theo Epstein has his guns out and he is on the warpath searching for starting pitching.

Reds- The Reds are looking to get their books in order this off season. They have extended several players recently, and have more to extend. They are currently shopping Jay Bruce as they seem finally ready to give up on him becoming what they thought he was going to become. They also have several pitchers due up for raises that they need to figure out which ones to keep and which ones to trade.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

MLB Free Agents On The Move In 2015

MLB Free Agents
For the last few weeks, we have discussed the free agent market league wide. This week, let’s take a look at some of the potential MLB trade chips and their potential landing spots.

Cole Hamels/SP/Phillies- The Phillies have been rumored to be looking to move Hamels for the last year and a half now. The Red Sox have a deep farm, and are interested in acquiring the services of the big-game experienced Hamels .The Red Sox rival for Hamels is the Chicago Cubs, who are really interested in Hamels, and have a loaded farm to make it happen. Another team interested is the Yankees, although they may not have the pieces to land Hamels. An outside possibility is Texas, but that is unlikely. If he gets moved, he gets moved to Boston.

Cliff Lee/SP/Phillies- Hamels rotation partner in Philadelphia, Cliff Lee, is another potential trade this offseason, although perhaps less likely than Hamels. Someone actually said that Lee could return to Texas via trade, but I just do not see how that is going that happen. The Rangers like Hamels contract a little more than Lee’s. The Yankees are desperate for starting pitching, and they could not only afford to pay Lee, but he would cost less in terms of trade chips than Hamels. Don’t know how much Boston is interested in Lee.

Jay Bruce/OF/Reds- The Reds have made it official, they are trying to move Jay Bruce for “several cheap Major League players”. But the question is, what does that mean? Does that mean prospects who are Major League ready? Until we know the answer to the question, finding a possible suitor for Bruce will be hard to predict.

Jonathan Lucroy/C/Brewers- This one could get interesting really soon. A lot of it depends on how the Brewers do out of the gate this year. Lucroy is eventually going to be too much for the Brewers pocketbook to handle, and it might be in their best interest to move him when his value is at an all time high, which it is right now. They could quickly replenish their weak spots with a Lucroy trade, and many of the Brewers pitchers seem to prefer Maldonado behind the plate.

Carlos Gonzalez/OF/Rockies- The Rockies are looking to move some of their expensive players, and Gonzalez is that the top of that list.  When healthy, he might be the best outfielder in the game, and so the Rockies can ask for the world in return for him. Maybe Texas would be a possible landing spot, they are looking for an outfield bat and they have the pieces to make it happen.

Troy Tulowitzki /SS/ Rockies- Well since the Yankees missed out of Hanley Ramirez, look for the old Tulo rumors to resurface. The Yankees have long coveted Tulo as a replacement for Jeter, and may have just enough, and want him enough, to make it happen. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Bargain Basement MLB Players For 2015

MLB Bargain Players
Two weeks ago we took a look at the big name free agents and where they could end up. Last week we took a look at the second tier free agents and where they could end up. This week, let’s take a look at potential bargain bin deals.

Emilio Bonifacio/UP- Bonifacio is a speed demon with not too much batting power, but one who has a lot of defensive versatility. He won’t light the world on fire, but he can provide versatility on defense and some speed (and average production,) on offense. I look for a team like the Twins to sign him.

Kelly Johnson/2B- Kelly Johnson is a decent player who is often overlooked. Johnson has power for a second baseman, so if you like pop in your middle infielders, Johnson is your man. A return to Toronto could be in the works or maybe the Rangers.

Rickie Weeks/2B- I can already hear Brewers fans screaming when I say his name. But still, Weeks is a potential reclamation project for the ages. If someone can figure out how to get the player Weeks was in his earlier years out of him, they will have an all time steal. If not, well it is just another page in the downfall of Rickie Weeks. Maybe a team like the Yankees or Dodgers would have some interest.

Josh Willingham/LF/DH- Willingham has had a nice long career and has been one of the most unsung players of his generation. Still, at 36 years of age, Willingham has some pop left in that bat, and would provide a good bench option for a contender. Think someone like the Blue Jays.

Chris Capuano/LHP- I am one of those people who still believe Capuano has something left in the tank to give to a contender. He has a nice curveball and can still get left handed batters out. A return to Milwaukee’s bullpen could be a realistic outcome.