Thursday, December 5, 2013

Hot Stove Update: BrewCrew Trade Aoki to the Royals; Wilson Re-Signs With the Dodgers

A significant trade went down today with the Milwaukee Brewers trading OF Norichika Aoki to the KC Royals for LHP Will Smith.  Aoki surprised everybody in 2012, his first year in MLB by OPS'ing .788 with 10 HR and 30 SB.  He was not nearly as good in 2013.  While he maintained his BA and OBP, his SLG% fell way off from .433 to .370 and his SB's fell to 20 with his CS rising from 8 to 12.  Aoki has had slightly negative defensive metrics both seasons.  He became tradeable with the emergence of Khris Davis who will apparently take over in LF with Ryan Braun moving to RF.  Remember that Aoki's numbers were generated in a hitter-friendly home ballpark.  KC's ballpark is not nearly as accommodating to hitters.

The Brewers receieved LHP Will Smith who was a starter in the minors and for the Royals in 2012, but functioned as a lefty specialist in 2013 destroying LH batters along the way.  Once again, we see the value of lefty specialists rising on the market.  The Brewers reportedly turned down a deal for Ike Davis of the Mets because they preferred Smith.  His pitching line for 2013 was 2-1, 33.1 IP, 7 BB, 43 K.

It has been suggested by some that Brian Sabean was asleep at the wheel and should have been outbidding the Royals for Aoki.  Personally, I don't see that a .726 OPS generated in a hitter friendly environment with negative defensive metrics is enough of an upgrade  on Blanco to trade Heath Hembree for, and I'm not at all sure Hembree would have gotten a deal done as Will Smith is lefthanded and has 2 full years of MLB experience.

The Dodgers re-signed Brian Wilson which comes as no surprise.  Wilson pitched surprisingly well down the stretch in 2013.  I was most impressed by what appeared to be improved command as he failed to give Dodger fans a taste of the torture experience.  We'll see if it carries over to 2014, but a 1,2,3 bullpen punch of Jansen, Wilson and Withrow could be real tough to deal with.


  1. What are your thoughts on Justin Maxwell on the Royals coming to play left field? With the Aoki deal they now have 5 major league outfielders. I'm not a huge fan of him and his strikeouts, but he could be a power bat in left field and is somewhat unproven since he hasn't really had any complete seasons. At the very least he could be a relatively cheap option to platoon with Blanco?

    1. I like Maxwell a lot. He strikes out a lot but he has solid walk rates and a strong ISO. Can D it up in CF so should be able to play any OF position and not hurt you. If he's available for not too big a price, I would go for it. I see him and Ruggiano as being similar players with similar upside.