Saturday, January 25, 2014

Hot Stove Update: Odds and Ends

The big news since we last checked in on the Hot Stove is the signing of Masahiro Tanaka by the Yankees.  He signed for a whopping 7 years/$155 M with the $20 M posting fee pushing his total cost to $175 M.  I think I predicted awhile back that Tanaka's contract would come in at well over $100 M and could go as high as $200 M.  It ended up closer to $200 M than $100 M.  I think Tanaka will be a good MLB pitcher, probably more of a #2 or #3 like his teammate Hiroki Kuroda.  While most teams would be better with another pitcher like that in the rotation, including the Giants, the price tag is daunting, even with the wild revenue/price inflation/bubble we are seeing in MLB right now.

What is interesting is that the Dodgers apparently drew a line above which they were not willing to go. The party line is their scouts were not as impressed with Tanaka as some, but you have to wonder if even the Dodgers are getting to a point where they are blinking.

Speaking of…..The Dodgers completed the long-awaited contract extension with Clayton Kershaw for a whopping 7 years/$210 M or $30 M per season.  A healthy Kershaw is definitely worth the price in today's baseball economy.  I have to say I think there is at least a 50% chance he has a major injury before the end of the contract.

The Yankees dropped LHP David Huff from their roster to make room for Tanaka.  Huff is a former supplemental first round draft pick by the Cleveland Indians, 2006, the Timmy draft.  He has a world class change up, but is velocity challenged and has never quite been able to break through into the majors.  The Giants acquired him for cash in the waiver deal.

The Padres and Rays completed an interesting trade involving a total of 7 players, most of whom are minor leaguers.  The Rays sent LHP Alex Torres and RHP Jesse Hahn to the Padres for IF Logan Forsythe, RHP Brad Boxberger, RHP Matt Andriese, RHP Matt Lolllis, and 2B Maxx Tissenbaum.   Here's how it breaks down:

Alex Torres, MLB:  4-2, 1.71, 58 IP, 20 BB, 62 K's.  He's small at 5'11", 175 lbs, but is an effective lefty specialist at the MLB level.

Jesse Hahn, High A:  2-1, 2.15, 67 IP, 18 BB, 63 K.  Drafted out of Virginia Tech in 2010, underwent TJ surgery and 2013 was his first pro experience.  He has a GO/AO greater than 2.

Logan Forsythe, MLB:   .214/.281/.332, 6 HR, 6 SB in 243 AB.  Forsythe had solid BB rate and IsoP. His BABIP was just .255 suggesting he has room of improvement at the plate.

Brad Boxberger, MLB:  0-1, 2.72, 49.2 IP, 31 BB, 57 K over 2 partial seasons.  He's a hard thrower who should be an effective 7'th and 8'th inning reliever.

Matt Andriese, AA/AAA:  11-7, 3.27, 134.2 IP, 29 BB, 105 K.  He's a big body, 6'3", 210 lbs, out of UC Riverside.  He's a native of my hometown of Redlands, CA and graduated from Redlands East Valley HS.

Matt Lollis, High A:  2-4, 2.32, 31 IP, 11 BB, 31 K.  Huge body at 6'9", 250 lbs.  He's had control issues and is trying to find a niche as a reliever.

Maxx Tissenbaum, Low A:  .277/.365/.359, 2 HR, 4 SB, 43 BB, 36 K.  5'10", 185 lbs.  B-L, T-R.  out of Stony Brook.

It just seems to me that Torres for Forsythe would have been an even swap as would Hahn for Andriese.  That the Padres threw in 3 more players with some upside tells you once again what kind of premium lefty relievers are commanding these days.

The Giants came to terms with arbitration eligible Joaquin Arias.  Arias was asking for $1.5 M while the Giants were offering $1.1.  The Giants preferred method of resolving these gaps recently has been to settle on the sum of the 2 numbers over 2 seasons which seems to make everybody happy.

Brandon Belt is the lone arbitration case left.  His may be a bit trickier as there is a larger gap between what the Giants are offering, $2.05 M and what Belt is asking, $3.6 M.  complicating matters is the fact that a lot of people think Belt may be sitting on a breakout season in 2014, which would be an incentive for him to not go more than 1 year, which would take away the most common pathway for the Giants to settle these cases.  I could see this getting settled as a multi-year deal, but there are substantial barriers on both sides so it is not a slam dunk by any means.

Jeremy Affeldt says he has been working out, which he is notoriously uninclined to do, and is going to come to camp in the best shape of his life.  He's also helping Tim Flannery raise more money for Brian Stow and his family as well as organizing food programs for poor communities in East Palo Alto.

Matt Kemp may not be ready to start the season for the Dodgers after offseason surgery.


  1. Nice roundup DrB. I have a hunch that Huff will make the opening day roster, along with either Hembree or Machi. Bochy loves to have that extra lefty in the pen... even though Huff's l/r splits are completely backwards over his career. There are tons of AAA/MLB type arms to sort through though, so maybe a surprise or two break camp. Glad that Tanaka didn't sign with the west, and I'll admit now that I'm glad it's the Yankees sitting on that contract, not the Giants.

    The Padres have made a couple of smaller trades this winter, along with the Josh Johnson signing... Buster Olney thinks they're a Wild Card team. I honestly don't see it. I think the Giants are right where they're comfortable being this time of year... completely off the radar. No complaints from here, maybe there'll be some extra motivation to get back into the hunt this season.

    Speaking of extra motivation, what do you think will happen with Pablo? Videos are coming out from the VWL World Series... I'll admit he looks slimmer, but it wasn't like my jaw dropped when I saw him or anything. I'm honestly very torn on what the Giants should do with him at this point. If they do nothing and he has the breakout season everyone is expecting, he's long gone... and I don't think his production will be easily made up. Do they extend him? That would take a good amount of money, and I don't know if I'm comfortable taking that risk this spring either. Tough decisions!

    1. Personally, I don't go past 3 years with Pablo, ever! Much as I love him, I just don't trust the body over the long haul. What happens when the motivation of playing for a contract is passed?

      I like what the Padres are doing. They won't be pushovers.

      Huff's splits are due to that world class change up which is more effective against RH hitters. Not sure what he needs to do better against LH batters. Maybe a cutter that he can move off the outside of the plate in 2 strike situations?

  2. With lefty specialists commanding a lot, I look forward eagerly to our first home grown, affordable one since, Fultz?

    DrB, as Osich used to be a starter, do his numbers show an ability to get both righthanders and lefthanders out or is he deadlier against LH bats?

    1. Osich is equally effective against RH and LH batters.