Hunter to Tigers, Pierre to Marlins: This Week’s Offseason Transactions
Not even three weeks has passed since the end of the season and it’s already been a busy offseason. Teams are jumping on the free agent market and one of the biggest trades in recent history is pending. This week saw quite a few moves being made as teams are looking to make an early push in the offseason for a postseason team. There are a few moves that you as a fantasy owner should take note of (Previous team –> new team, How Much the Move Helps Him Scale: Terrible — Bad — Neutral — Good — Fantastic):
Juan Pierre, OF, Philadelphia Phillies –> Florida Marlins, Neutral Move
As Juan Pierre gets older, there’s always the question of whether his age will catch up with his physical ability. All signs say that this is not true. Last year with the Phillies, Pierre was able to keep a .307 average while tallying 37 stolen bases, proving that he still has it even at 35. The Marlins are in a state of chaos right now so it’s hard to tell whether those dark storm clouds will pass by the beginning of the season and hinder his production. With the pending blockbuster up in the air as well, who knows whether the Marlins will have a potent lineup that will knock Pierre home. But nevertheless, Pierre is showing signs that age is having very little effect on his stats. A good late round pick-up to help in the steals department.
Torii Hunter, CF, Los Angeles Angels –> Detroit Tigers, Fantastic Move
For winning a championship: this is a good move for him. For his fantasy stats: even better. Angel Stadium is the fourth most pitcher-friendly park in the league according to ESPN’s Park Factor statistics while Comerica Park on the other hand, is the 9th most hitter-friendly park. His skills do not seem to be deteriorating in the slightest after his 16 HR/92 RBI season last year, and the short dimensions of Comerica Park will only boost his power numbers. Furthermore, he joins a lineup chalk-full of productive hitters and he’ll be hitting behind dependable superstars Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, and OBP fiends Austin Jackson and Quinten Berry. His HR total could increase, but look for his RBI total and average to spike above his career averages. He’s a great pick for the early rounds; I’d say around round five or six.
Melky Cabrera, OF, San Francisco Giants –> Toronto Blue Jays, Good Move
Last year, Cabrera was a one-man wrecking machine for the Giants before he was suspended for use of performance-enhancing drugs. He received very little help from the rest of the lineup save Buster Posey, but now, the Blue Jays are pushing for a title run with their offseason moves thus far. If their blockbuster trade goes through, Cabrera will have plenty of good hitters to drive in and he moves from pitcher-friendly AT&T to neutral Rogers Centre. If you thought last year’s numbers were something, wait until this next year for Cabrera. Even post-suspension, he is worth a 6th or 7th round pick.
Jeremy Affeldt, LHP, RP, re-signed by San Francisco Giants, Good Move
Last year Affeldt continued his dominance as a late-inning reliever from 2011 and ended off the year with a 2.70 ERA through 63.1 innings. Over the entire year he had a VORP (Value Over Replacement Pitcher) of 2.8 and returning to pitcher-friendly AT&T Park will only pad his stats. Although he isn’t a closer and he isn’t a strikeout pitcher either, he will go about one and a third innings every other day, making him a reliable guy that can shut down a few batters. He isn’t a top choice among relievers because he doesn’t grab saves or strikeouts, but in an NL-only league, he is a dependable pickup.
Scott Baker, RHP, SP, Minnesota Twins –> Chicago Cubs, Neutral Move
Although he didn’t play last year, this move bodes only well for the the 31-year old Baker. Target Field, the Twins’ home stadium, is known to be a hitter’s park and according to ESPN’s park factors allows roughly 1 more run per game, favoring the hitter in this park. But now he’s shipping up to Chicago where the park is more friendly to pitchers. On the contrary though, he’s moving to a team with virtually no offense (in 2012 they were 28th in the league in runs scored, 29th in RBIs, and 26th in batting average.) Coming back off of a year hiatus will be tough, and Baker won’t be too effective, but in deep NL leagues, he might be an okay pickup if no better option is available.
David Ross, C, Atlanta Braves –> Boston Red Sox, Good Move
This move could not have been better for the aging catcher. He’s never been a strong offensive performer nor has he had a starting role very often, but moving out from behind the shadow of cornerstone catcher Brian McCann is a great step in the right direction. Last year he racked up only 176 ABs, but look for that to increase this year. Unfortunately for him, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the Red Sox starting catcher, is beginning to fall into a niche in Boston. I don’t think that he’s worth taking in the draft beacuse he just doesn’t get enough plate appearances to justify his being picked. On Ross, I’m going to have to say take a pass.
Andy Parrino, SS, San Diego Padres –> Oakland Athletics, Bad Move
Parrino was shipped off to Oakland along with LHP Andrew werner for SP Tyson Ross and infielder A.J. Kirby-Jones. He got very few at-bats last year in San Diego and he’ll be moving to a team where there are more solid middle infield options. He’ll be far down on the pecking list and he will not look to be favored in the position battles. About the only positive that comes out of this trade for him is the fact that he is leaving Petco Park, arguably the most pitcher-friendly park in the game. Overall, don’t waste your time and even consider him as an option.
Tyson Ross, RHP, SP, Oakland Athletics –> San Diego Padres, Good Move
The big name in the four-player trade between San Diego and Oakland, Ross will be leaving an organization flush with starting pitchers where he is sitting without a spot in the rotation. Now, he’ll move to a team with weak starting pitchers where he has the opportunity to be a mainstay. No longer will he be relegated to the bullpen; he’ll be returning to the rotation. His stats though leave more than a little to be desired. This move benefits him seeing as how he’ll move to possibly the most pitcher-friendly park in the game and he’ll be given many more opportunities, I don’t believe that he’s a good enough pitcher to merit a spot on any owner’s team. Therefore, I urge you to only pick him in deeper leagues, preferrably NL-only.
Gerald Laird, C, Detroit Tigers –> Atlanta Braves, Bad Move
Even though he has never been a fantasy producer, this move only hurts his cause more. He leaves the American League and its designated hitter rule behind while moving to a team where the catcher position is absolutely set in stone. Laird is bouncing around from team to team as he has reached the phase of his career that signals it is near the end. Don’t spend a second look at Laird or any articles regarding him.
Jeremy Affeldt’s VORP Statistic: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=1354
ESPN Ballpark Factors: http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/parkfactor
Team Batting Statistics: http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/team/_/stat/batting/year/2012/seasontype/2
Juan Pierre Video: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20121117&content_id=40344764&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb
Torii Hunter Video: http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=25223393&c_id=mlb
Rest of statistics found on espn.go.com