Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hot Stove Update: Winter Meetings Day 2

Bobby Evans spent Day 2 of the Winter Meetings looking and sounding terrific in interviews while a couple of other teams made some significant moves(just kidding there, Bobby).  First off the Cubs made a pair of moves which clarified their middle IF situation, signing 2B/OF Ben Zobrist to a 4 year/$56 M contract, then shipping SS Starlin Castro to the Yankees for RHP Adam Warren and great field/no-hit IF Brendan Ryan.  Zobrist is not the 5-WAR stud he was in his Tampa Bay heyday, but he's still a solid veteran ballplayer.  He will likely help the Cubs for at least the first 2 years of the deal, although it covers his ages 35-38 seasons.  The deal also clears the way for Addison Russell to be the undisputed starter at SS.  As for Castro, his career has kind of plateaued at a much lower level than was projected a few years ago.  He may have balked at moving to 2B with the Cubs.  Now he'll do that with the Yankees and like it.

The Giants were rumored to be a possible destination for Zobrist, although that outcome seemed unlikely after it came out that he preferred to play 2B than OF.  I like Zobrist as a player, but he's not getting any younger.  I kind of feel like the Giants are better off not signing him.  I don't know what they will do with LF, but I feel like they still have an opportunity to do better than Zobrist.

The other big deal that went down on Day 2 was the D'Backs trade for RHP Shelby Miller from the Braves.  Now, Miller is a good pitcher and he will make the D'Backs rotation better, but they paid a frightfully high price to get him giving up OF Ender Inciarte, RHP prospect Aaron Blair and their 2015 #1 overall draft pick Dansby Swanson.  Miller was a lot better than his 6-15 W-L record last year would indicate, but he may also not have been as good as his 3.02 ERA would indicate either.  His K/9 and BB/9 were good but not great while his ERA was helped by a ridiculously low HR/FB ratio pitching in a very pitcher friendly ballpark.  His adjusted ERA's were not nearly as good as the 3.02 he put up.  He earned a respectable 3.4 fWAR on the season.  His contract is controlled for 3 more years before he hits free agency.

Here's the thing.  Ender Inciarte put up 3.3 fWAR last year in his first full season in there majors and his contract is controlled for 5 more years.  You could make a case that a straight up trade of Inciarte for Miller would have been a fair deal for the Braves!  Instead, they also got a potential mid-rotation SP who has pitched at the AAA level and put up respectable numbers in the extremely hitter-friendly PCL.  But, that wasn't enough either.  They also got the #1 overall draft pick from 2015, Dansby Swanson!  I mean, not only does Swanson have the potential to become a 5-6 WAR stud in his own right, he will probably move through the system very fast.  2017 is a good bet for his ETA, but don't be shocked if you see his name in a MLB lineup in 2016.

The D'Backs may be thinking they can mitigate the loss of Inciarte with Socrates Brito and/or Yasmany Tomas, or they may be thinking they will pick up another OF this offseason.  If that is the case, then Miller is a pure addition and makes the D'Backs better this year.  In the long run, the Snakes paid a frightfully high price and the Braves turned around their struggling rebuild in one trade.


  1. I think the Dbacks did pay a pretty high price for Miller. Now, maybe Miller really turns it up a notch and starts to record more Ks, but I wouldn't expect that.

    Rumor today is that the Giants are the leading contenders for Gordon. Depending on what Gordon's market is, though, I wonder if pursuing Heyward is a better idea? I don't think the Giants would be willing to offer Heyward the 10-year contract he wants, though. But, he would be a great fit as he could play CF. He also may still have some offensive upside.

    1. I would definitely rather sign Heyward for 10 years than Gordon for 5, but we don't know if Heyward would even come to SF for any price. Just watched Mad Dog interview Sabes on MLB channel. Sabes seemed to be pretty definite that adding another dependable SP is a bigger priority than OF, so we'll see.

    2. Oh, and Sabes also confirmed that the 6'th year for Greinke was the dealbreaker for the Giants. Kasten pretty much said the same for the Dodgers. Sabes added that the Giants would be unlikely to go more than 5 years for any pitcher. He strongly hinted that the reason the Giants have not signed Leake is he is looking for more than 5 years.

    3. Indeed a frightening high price for Miller, a good pitcher but not somebody who scares me....

      Not one to get on management when the off-season has just begun, and you aren't supposed to worry about what the "other" team is doing, but the Giants, AT THE LEAST, need to bring in a good starting pitcher by FA (Cueto, Chen, Leake) or by trade (?).

      Just as importantly, I think the Giants will be fools to go into the season with Angel Pagan at starting LF or CF..I know all this garbage about bounce-back year but the guy's body is just shot and he will be a non-factor by May-June..Just my opinion, of course.....Rather have somebody that can play CF instead of a GORDON, but Blanco, I guess, can be moved over to CF


    4. I like Heyward and Gordon, but I don't know if either them are ideal fits, at least when the rotation still is not that solid.

      I'm kind of hoping that Cueto's asking price begins to fall. I wouldn't mind him on a 5-year deal for $125M. The Giants could then look to add an OF via trade.

  2. A. I live in St. Louis and Miller was discussed (as an ex-Card) on-and-off (ESPN sports radio) for the year. They like and respect Miller so I tend to think they're not being bitter or dismissive when they believe the Braves won that trade for the same reasons you mentioned.

    B. Gordon is a fine player but with Blanco showing a new bat last year, I'm not feeling that there'd be a big upgrade relative to the cost. So I'd rather spend that money on best-available pitching and get someone for the bench OR go big for someone like Heyward and get a decent, but more-affordable pitcher.

    C. I can see why Leake would want more than 5 years. And I respect that. But I agree with Sabean in limiting FA pitching contracts to 5 years. As of now, the Nationals have an offer on the table for Leake.

    D. Cueto. Chen. Kazmir. I'd love anyone of them. I'd even be happy to get Leake back.

  3. A. Makes sense.
    B. Big time agreement on Blanco! MOAR SP!
    C. Leake's market may dip...perhaps Cueto as well...
    D. Yup. What Moses said.

    Let's Go Giants!


  4. The word on the street is that the Indians wanted Joe Panik and 4 top tier prospects for Danny Salazar. I assume Evans laughed his way out of those talks. The price on young controllable pitching is very high. I would almost rather just spend the money on Cueto, Leake or Chen and keep all of the prospects. Maybe those prospects will pull more weight at the trade deadline.

    Also, it appears the Giants called to check in on Carlos Gonzalez. It might be advantageous in that scenario to pay all of his remaining salary and give up less prospects. If he can stay healthy he is a top 10 corner OF. He proved last year he can stay healthy or was that luck.

    I highly doubt the Giants are in on Gordon as much as reported. I think they are just calling on everyone to make the other teams curious on what they are doing. They have been known to not want to set the market for any player so they may make several calls to check the current prices. One could say that is interest but I just call it due diligence. I doubt he becomes a Giant. Gerardo Parra or Dexter Fowler are more their speed. I don't see them spending 9 figures on an OF.

  5. Well I want Gordon and Kazmir. We need another lefty in the rotation and a 3 year deal looks like an option for Kazmir. Gordon plays pretty good defense and his bat is decent. He looks like the type of guy that would fit in nicely with our crew. 3 years ago I would have put Blanco in CF and moved Pegan to LF, with that said, Blanco should be our starter in CF, we don't really need anything more than that. Get'er done Bobby. BTW, I like Shelby Miller but the Dbags just got fleeced.

    1. Gordon is entering his age 32 season. So, I don't think it is a good idea to pay any outfielder $20MM+ a year after 35. Those last 2 years might not go so well. He is reported as wanting a 5 year/$100MM contract and it might be more if any other teams are bidding. No thanks.

      Kazmir on a 3 year deal wouldn't be that bad. 4 or more no thanks.