MLB Winter Meetings, 2017

Posted: December 19, 2017 in Uncategorized
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The Dodgers/Braves deal did little for me.  Matt Kemp returns to his former team.  His former team that he despises.  His former team that has no position available or need for him.  Perfect sense.  Especially given Mr. Kemp’s long-established club house demeanor (less than pleasant in light of little playing time) and tendency to phone-in effort after the 81st game of the season.  As for the Braves, they designate Adrian Gonzalez for assignment hours after acquiring him, aka, baseball human rights.  Adrian is now free to dh in peace in the A.L.  Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy form the back-end of the Braves starting staff.  Given recent history, if the two combine for 30 starts, well done Atlanta.  Charlie Culberson will play a little of this and a bit of that.

The Cubs improve their bullpen with the signings of Steve Cishek (might he challenge for the closer role?  Recall his save totals of 34, 39 and 25 for the 2013, 2014 and 2016 seasons) and Brandon Morrow (his bb per 9 has plummeted since 2015) while the starting staff gets a bump with Drew Smyly whose arm should be most fresh given his lack of work in 2015 and 2016 (19 starts combined).  Addressing the acquisition of Tyler Chatwood . . . why?

San Diego reacquired Chase Headley to access Bryan Mitchell.  I do not understand the fascination with pitchers who walk 4 batters per 9 (Mr. Mitchell’s primary achievement in 48 games in the Bronx) with strikeout ability.  The walks outweigh strikeouts.  Mr. Headley has no place in San Diego’s long-term plan.  I expect a trade prior to Opening Day.  Good luck to Jabari Blash in NYC.  At the age of 27, his time has arrived for good or for bad.

The Padres ridding themselves of Ryan “Swing and a Miss” Schimpf for a productive minor leaguer (Deion Tansel) was more than expected.

The Padres and Phillies combined for the common good.  Freddy Glavis, less 2015, puts up stellar defensive numbers.  However, he strikes out far too often and abhors the almighty walk.  The Phils did well in choosing Enyel De Los Santos (finished 2017 in AA ball and has posted solid starter numbers his entire minor league career) who may well pitch in Philly during August, 2018.

Continuing with the Phillies, signing Carlos Santana improves much about the Phillies.  Mr. Santana is a guaranteed 25/85 with his bat and plays a ballet first base that few appreciate (though the Phillies’ infielders will).  What this means for Rhys Hopkins is a permanent transfer to left field.  The addition of Pat Neshek (lifetime 2.75 era and 1.02 whip) is sorely needed in the bullpen.

The Angels dramatically improve their infield defense (and offense) with the Ian Kinsler trade and Zac Cozart signing.  Mr. Kinsler (a potential rent given 2018 is the final year of his contract) remains a competent defensive second baseman at the age of 35 and will provide the Angels with offensive production from that position for the first time since Howie Kendrick in 2014.  Of the two minor leaguers traded to Detroit, Troy Montgomery (cf, left-handed batter, AA in 2017) has the best chance to play in Detroit by 2019.  Returning to Zac Cozart, last year was the almighty “breakout year”.  He moves to third base to take the place of Yunel “Kick” Escobar whose 31 errors during his time in Anaheim was a glaring weakness and point of pique with Angel pitchers.

Houston signing Joe Smith and Hector Rondon is the baseball equivalent of Warren Buffett winning $1,000 on a lotto scratcher.  Well done, Astros.

Michael Pineda signing with the Twins is perhaps the small-town tonic (as compared to the bright lights of NYC) that may finally help him realize his potential.  If nothing else, the Twins now have a solid #4 or #5 starter.

Brian Cashman should be arrested for Grand Theft Player.  He stole Giancarlo Stanton.  The Yankees offer equates with getting a yacht for two fishing nets and the old guy at the end of the pier who fishes on Thursdays.  Mr. Stanton makes a boom-boom lineup a triple boom lineup.  As for those chosen by Miami, oy vey!  And not a good oy vey!  So many mavens are quick to point out that Jose Devers is Rafael Devers brother.  Who cares?  Jose Devers is 18 and has played a total of 53 games in rookie ball!  An insane choice by the Fish.  But wait!  There’s more bad decision-making by the Fish!  They choose Jorge Guzman who has pitched 5 seasons of minor league ball . . . 4 of which were in rookie ball!  Why does the phrase “running to stand still” enter my mind?  Finally, Starlin Castro, who is getting better with his glove, lands in Miami.

Then, Miami trades Marcel Ozuna.  Granted, Mr. Ozuna must now define himself without the presence of Mr. Stanton in the lineup.  Will Mr. Ozuna be George Foster, II or become Marcel Ozuna, I?  Zac Gallen was a smart choice by the Fish (I can be even-handed).  He finished year 2 in minor league ball in 2017.  He began in rookie ball, skipped both A- and A ball, and finished this year at the AAA level.  He is a legitimate candidate to pitch in Miami during 2018.  As for the other two choices, the Fish return to suspect choices.  Sandy Alcantara was a bb problem and Daniel Castano finished last year in A- ball.  Too soon to say.

Cardinal management is to be applauded for arranging Scott Piscotty’s trade to Oakland to be near his ailing mother.  Mr. Piscotty received full-time work in St. Louis during the 2016 year and offered his best year.  He will receive plenty of at-bats in 2018 on behalf of the A’s.  The Cards receive Max Schrock who is no more than a year away from the Show.  He is an exceptional shortstop (only 23 kicks in 239 games) and skilled with his bat (cumulative minor league numbers of .324/.372) and all of 23 years old.

Sadly, we wait a few more months to see how all the above pans out.



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